By Thomas Burr The Salt Lake Tribune
April 29, 2008
By Thomas Burr The Salt Lake Tribune
April 27, 2008
Robert McCarthy, an anthropologist at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton has used new reconstructions of Neanderthal vocal tracts to simulate the voice. He says the ancient human's speech lacked the "quantal vowel" sounds that underlie modern speech.
Quantal vowels provide cues that help speakers with different size vocal tracts understand one another, says McCarthy, who was talking at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Columbus, Ohio, on April 11.
"They would have spoken a bit differently. They wouldn't have been able to produce these quantal vowels that form the basis of spoken language," he says.
In the 1970s, linguist Phil Lieberman, of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, inferred the dimensions of the larynx of a Neanderthal based on its skull. His team concluded that Neanderthal speech did not have the subtlety of modern human speech.
Some researchers have criticised this finding, citing archaeological evidence of an oral culture and even errors in Lieberman's original vocal tract reconstruction.
Undeterred, the linguist teamed with McCarthy to simulate Neanderthal speech based on new reconstructions of three Neanderthal vocal tracts. The 50,000-year old fossils all came from France.
By modelling the sounds the Neanderthal pipes would have made, McCarthy's team engineered the sound of a Neanderthal saying "E". He plans to eventually simulate an entire Neanderthal sentence. Listen to McCarthy's simulation of a Neanderthal voice
April 25, 2008
Sixty thinkers from around the world rise to that challenge in a collection of essays titled "The Way We Will Be 50 Years From Today."
The consensus view is that we'll muddle through many of the issues that vex us today — including climate change and terror threats. And we'll hit upon so many medical and technological wonders that today's 50-year-olds will have a fair chance of finding out firsthand how the world will look in 2058.
April 23, 2008
A private collector in central Kentucky has been collecting extraordinary stones on private lands near the Mammoth Cave National Park. The stones are estimated to be hundreds of millions of years old according to guidelines provided by the Kentucky Geological Survey. The mystery lies in determining whether these stones, suggestive of ancient vertebrate species, were indeed once alive in the now predominantly agricultural Bluegrass State. That Kentucky's rolling terrains once served as an ancient sea floor remains uncontested in the geological community. Kentucky's volcanic history (which could account for cast-like fossilization suggested here) remains a less explored ancient phenomenon. --Monty Stone
To learn more about the Mammoth Cave region, visit: http://www.nps.gov/maca/ or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammoth_Cave_National_Park
April 19, 2008
Brazil: High Strangeness Creatures
Brazil is one of the largest countries in the world: spreading over an extension of 8,511,965 square kilometers, it is the fifth largest nation after Russia, Canada, China and the USA. Most of it is made up of jungles that remained unexplored to this very day, great savannas and a number of mountain ranges which remain enveloped in dense vegetation, without mentioning the vast swampland of the Amazon, which harbors an infinity of creatures and beings, some of them known to science and others known only through tradition and sporadic sightings made by explorers and aborigines.Our research shows that two groups of entities may be taken into consideration: 1) Strange beings linked to the apparition of UFOs (bearing in mind that Brazil is foremost among the nations with the greatest number of sightings, landings, contacts, abductions, etc.; 2) Giant cats, winged creatures, hairy humanoids, dwarves, sea monsters, gigantic serpents, etc, which steer the investigator toward a cryptozoological or paranormal phenomenon.
Inexplicata-The Journal of Hispanic Ufology
April 14, 2008
The year was 1974. I was married at the time. It was late summer. I was in my bedroom on the second floor of our suburban home getting ready for bed. It was about 11 o'clock that evening. A large window in the bedroom covered a considerable portion of the bedroom wall. The window looked out over a small grove of pine trees standing between our house and our neighbors’ house. The trees stood about 30 to 40 feet high. I glanced out the window as I changed into my nightshirt. I thought I saw something strange outside but a second glance revealed only the same old tree. Nothing else seemed to be there. I sat on my bed to fiddle with my slippers. From my bed I had a full view out the window. This time I clearly saw something. In the tree at the center of my window--the biggest tree, up near the top--sat a large glowing red orb, just hovering there. I looked at it for what seemed a very long time as my mind tried to figure out what I was seeing. I had never noticed anything like that before. I wondered if my neighbor had placed some type of light in the tree. I wondered why he would do that as its only purpose seemed to be illuminating my bedroom. I looked at it and realized it seemed to move slowly in a clockwise rotation. I also felt a little dizzy. I heard my husband in the kitchen and called for him to come into the bedroom and look at this thing.
I told him there was a strange light in the tree just outside the window. I was still sitting on the bed. He walked into the bedroom, handed me my nightly cup of tea and then walked over in front of the window. I heard him whisper, “What the hell is that?” I stood up next to him at the window. He was fully dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt and I was wearing my nightshirt with my cup of tea in my hand. We stood staring at this strange glowing red orb slowly moving in the tree. It had a deep red color and a semi-transparent depth making it multi-dimensional yet without a fixed shape. It was the size of a beach ball or maybe slightly larger. I couldn’t determine exact dimensions as the light distorted the size of the orb from second to second making it appear to pulsate as it hovered within the tree.
I would like to give a detailed explanation of what happened from that point onward but that is not how this experience played out. The next thing I recall is waking up in the morning on top of my bed next to my husband. We were both groggy, feeling as if we had huge hangovers. We apparently had not been under the covers but were lying on top of them instead. The bed was still perfectly made. I was still in my nightshirt but wearing my robe now as well. My husband was still fully dressed in his jeans and tee-shirt. We remembered the red orb but had no memory of lying on the bed or falling asleep. My husband recalled getting very dizzy and apparently blacking out. I could only recall looking out the window. We were confused and felt very odd.
My husband immediately walked outside to see if he could find whatever might have caused that red light. I quickly threw on shorts and a shirt and ran after him. Frankly, I did not want to be alone in that room.
We searched the yard. We searched our neighbors’ yard. We found nothing unusual. My husband then climbed up into the tree where the red orb had been hovering. He found nothing at all. We walked over to the neighbors’ house and asked them if they had shone a light into the tree the night before or seen one there. They acted as if we were a bit nutty. We could not figure out what that red orb had been or why we could not recall anything from the point of seeing the orb until morning.
We never saw that red orb again nor was its temporary presence ever explained. A short time after that night my husband began declining into a depression and significant personality change. Fall and winter arrived. As time moved on he became very difficult to live with. About a year later we decided to divorce and go our separate ways. We did remain friendly. I would see him often in various social settings over the years.
It was October, 2002. I had remarried years before and had a great family and happy life. My ex-husband also had remarried and seemed content. Every now and then we would see him and his wife. We all got along well. October had rolled around and we received from them an invitation to a big Halloween party. It was going to be a large party and everyone was asked to arrive in costume. Word around town was that they went crazy and had wonderful decorations. They had been working for weeks on this event. Our friends and family were also invited. Everyone was going to be there and so we decided to go too.
Without question, this party was the most mind-blowing thing any of us had ever seen. I was beginning to feel a little weird. The detail given to each decorative scene was way over the top for the likes of a fun Halloween party. The content of the displays also made me extremely uncomfortable. As we wandered around the house we made our way out to this huge tent they had erected on the back of the house. In this tent were food, a bar, chairs and a stage they had built. The stage had a curtain over it with a sign stating the show would begin at midnight. I tried to relax and enjoy the party but frankly this insane display of detailed aliens and UFOs made me uneasy at first and then very nervous. The aliens were made of some kind of rubber. They were grayish and looked very real. It must have taken him months if not longer to create all of it. His wife later told me he had been obsessed with this party for over a year and spent hours every night and weekends building it all in their garage and attic.
Midnight arrived and we all gathered around while he pulled the curtain open across the stage for the show to begin. When the curtain opened, a display of a bridge of a UFO appeared with about four life-size mechanical aliens moving about, pushing buttons and making strange sounds as if communicating with one another. A table-like slab that seemed to float was in the corner of the display. It had a human-like full-size doll on it with an alien leaning over it. The alien held a tool in its hand and was waving it over the doll. The display had flashing lights and sound effects and everything in it moved. It was the most incredible thing I had ever seen and it frightened the hell out of me. The people at the party were thunder-struck by this scene and yelled and clapped and laughed. They loved it. My ex-husband stood there looking very pleased. I walked over and just stared at him. He turned and stared back. I then said to him in extreme seriousness, “You remember this, don’t you, from that night?” Without blinking an eye or giving it much thought, he looked right at me and said, “Yeah, I think so.” He then turned and walked back to his party. I thought I was going to cry, vomit, or faint. I found my husband and told him
I had a stomachache and wanted to go home.
On the drive home I told my husband about the red orb I had seen so many years ago and what had happened at the party and how upset it made me. Like all good husbands he reassured me my ex was just a bit off and that I shouldn’t take it to heart. I could tell, like a wife can, that my husband was concerned and found it all very odd as well.
I think something happened that night years ago when that red orb sat in that old pine tree. I think it changed my ex-husband for the rest of his life. I also think I subconsciously block all memory of it. Maybe his experience that night was worse than mine. I tried a few times to bring it up to him. He just tells me he is not sure what happened that night and will not discuss it past that. I am very fearful of it all since that Halloween party and so I just let the subject stay, as it is, unspoken.
I never take the stance that unexplained events people sometimes talk about are ridiculous or untrue. I lived a few experiences in this life I cannot explain. I simply refrain from letting them become the center focus of my life and I accept that we know far less than we think we do. I accept there are many things we do not yet understand. I also try to stay aware of my surroundings. I am a firm believer that it is best to walk away from that which one does not understand rather than to walk toward it. The unknown is just that--the unknown. My motto will always be to walk softly and carry that big stick. ♥
Copyright © 2008 Chris Holly