Category Archives: Science and Technology

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New York Times


Mirin Dajo–the Amazing Human Pincushion

This video is not for the faint of heart. There are graphic images of swords and rapiers being pushed through a human body. It is truly amazing, but could be upsetting for some.

Mirin Dajo was a sideshow and stage performer in the 1940’s. He was by far the most amazing act of his kind that has ever been reported.

He’d stand bare-chested while his assistant would take fencing foils, and one by one, run him through–Dajo never flinched and never showed the slightest pain. He attributed this ability to his yogic training and faith in God.

The curious were invited to watch as closely as they liked, and to examine the blades even while they were stuck through him.

Dajo was invited to a medical center for tests.

Dajo’s assistant stuck a foil into his back–under doctors’ scrutiny, and then pressed it all the way through. The skin pushed outward on his chest and the foil finally broke through.

Dajo seemed well despite the event. With the foil stuck through him, Dajo walked to their X-ray lab, where they took shots verifying the foil did indeed pierce his abdomen all the way through, passing through and among major organs.

Mirin Dajo was born in 1912 as Arnold Gerrit Henskes. The first records of Dajo come from 1947 when he allowed an assistant to plunge a fencing foil right through his body at the Corso Theatre in Zurich.

The foil appeared to have pieced several vital organs, but Dajo was unharmed.

Mirin was forced to undergo many medical tests and to perform his act for baffled doctors. After x-ray tests were conducted, the legitimacy of his abilities was confirmed by the medical community. It could not be explained by any physician.

Mirin Dajo was a very religious man and some media outlets labeled him a “Messiah.”

His sideshow displays were often concluded with a lecture and a message of peace.

During his act he took to being impaled by three hollow skewers. He would then pump water through those skewers to become a human fountain.

On May 26, 1948, Mirin Dajo died from an aortic rupture.

He was not performing at the time, but his death could have resulted from previous acts.

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Spiders and Drugs Don’t Mix:

Birds of a feather talk together

The Australian Museum’s Search and Discover desk, which offers a free service to identify species, has received numerous reports of encounters with talkative birds in the wild from mystified citizens who thought they were hearing voices. Martyn Robinson, a naturalist who works at the desk, explains that occasionally a pet cockatoo escapes or is let loose, and “if it manages to survive long enough to join a wild flock, [other birds] will learn from it.”Birds mimic each otherAs well as learning from humans directly, “the birds will mimic each other,” says Jaynia Sladek, from the Museum’s ornithology department. “There’s no reason why, if one comes into the flock with words, [then] another member of the flock wouldn’t pick it up as well.” ‘Hello cockie’ is the most common phrase, though there have been a few cases of foul-mouthed feathered friends using expletives which we can’t repeat here. The evolution of language could well be passed on through the generations, says Martyn. “If the parents are talkers and they produce chicks, their chicks are likely to pick up some of that,” he says. This phenomenon is not unique; some lyrebirds in southern Australia still reproduce the sounds of axes and old shutter-box cameras their ancestors once learnt.

via Birds of a feather talk together – Australian Geographic#.ToDqYhpDQsM.facebook#.ToDqYhpDQsM.facebook#.ToDqYhpDQsM.facebook.

Living cells out of metal?

Fascinating Science Article:

“Scientists trying to create artificial life generally work under the assumption that life must be carbon-based, but what if a living thing could be made from another element?

“One British researcher may have proven that theory, potentially rewriting the book of life. Lee Cronin of the University of Glasgow has created lifelike cells from metal — a feat few believed feasible. The discovery opens the door to the possibility that there may be life forms in the universe not based on carbon, reports New Scientist.

“Even more remarkable, Cronin has hinted that the metal-based cells may be replicating themselves and evolving.
“I am 100 percent positive that we can get evolution to work outside organic biology,” he said.
“The high-functioning “cells” that Cronin has built are constructed from large polyoxometalates derived from a range of metal atoms, like tungsten. He gets them to assemble in bubbly spheres by mixing them in a specialized saline solution, and calls the resultant cell-like structures “inorganic chemical cells,” or iCHELLs.”

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Dinosaur Feathers discovered in Amber!

dinosaur feathers in amber

dinosaur feathers

“The most diverse, amber-preserved, fossilized feather collection ever found – unearthed in the prairies of southeastern Alberta – is shedding new insight into the evolution of dinosaur and bird feathers.

“The fossils were recovered from pits once used to store tailings from coal mining near Grassy Lake, a hamlet about an hour’s drive east of Lethbridge.

“The region is a treasure trove of remnants from the dinosaur age. A team of scientists from the University of Alberta believes the feathers, 11 in total, are from the Late Cretaceous period, which spanned 99 million to 66 million years ago.

“In the world of fossil hunting, a specimen encased in amber is a precious and rare find. Tough and translucent, amber offers unparalleled preservation and an extraordinarily detailed window to the past.

“Veteran paleontologist Brian Chatterton, co-author of a research paper on the Alberta feathers published Thursday in the journal Science, said these fossilized feathers are significant because they offer the most comprehensive snapshot of the structure, colour and shape of early feathers.

“It’s the first discovery of three-dimensional dinosaur feathers,” added Dr. Chatterton, professor emeritus at the University of Alberta. “The only previous ones occur in China and they’re all compression fossils, basically carbonized films on shale.”

“What is also remarkable is the range of feathers found. The work of combing through about 4,000 tiny pieces of amber, which were no larger than a centimetre and were collected over the past decade by scientists and amateur fossil hunters, fell largely to paleontologist Ryan McKellar. With the aid of a dissecting microscope, it took three weeks to screen the entire sample for feathers.

“The Alberta amber collection represents four distinct stages of feather evolution, including primitive single-filament protofeathers – fuzz, really, which scientists believe belonged to non-flying dinosaurs such as mighty tyrannosaurids – and complex structures with side branches that resemble feathers of modern diving birds…”

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