Don't Panic! Lighten Up!S


Amazing!! Brain Man

Twenty-four years ago, 60 Minutes introduced viewers to George Finn, whose talent was immortalized in the movie "Rainman." George has a condition known as savant syndrome, a mysterious disorder of the brain where someone has a spectacular skill, even genius, in a mind that is otherwise extremely limited.

Morley Safer met another savant, Daniel Tammet, who is called "Brain Man" in Britain. But unlike most savants, he has no obvious mental disability, and most important to scientists, he can describe his own thought process. He may very well be a scientific Rosetta stone, a key to understanding the brain.

Better Earth

Bulb huggers: Eiffel Tower to switch off lights as scientists finish major report on global warming

On Thursday evening, as scientists and officials put finishing touches on a long-awaited report about global warming, the Paris landmark will switch off its 20,000 flashing light bulbs that run up and down the tower and illuminate the French capital's skyline.

The Eiffel Tower's lights account for about 9 percent of the monument's total energy consumption of 7,000 megawatt-hours per year.

The five-minute blackout comes at the urging of environmental activists seeking to call attention to energy waste _ and just hours before world scientists on Friday unveil a major report Friday warning that the planet will keep getting warmer and presenting new evidence of humans' role in climate change.


Sour puss sweetened by a dose of Prozac

It was a classic case of clinical depression.

The patient would not go out for fear of being bullied, moped around the house and sought comfort in eating.

Eventually there was nothing for it. Twiglet the cat had to be put on Prozac.

Comment: Yeah, right. And if it is good for the cat, it's even better for humans! So step right up and getchyer Prozac!


Eagle flying with a deer head causes power outage

JUNEAU, Alaska - About 10,000 Juneau residents briefly lost power after a bald eagle lugging a deer head crashed into transmission lines.

Comment: Hmmmm - if we live in a 'symbolic reality', what might this say about the Eagle and its overestimation of its own power?



For skeptics, no topic is taboo - except Iraq

In a meeting of 800 skeptics and freethinkers at the Riviera, the taboo topics of polite American life, the stuff no one in their right mind brings up at the office or at a family dinner, were open for discussion.

And everyone pretty much agreed with each other at Saturday's "The Amazing Meeting 5," sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation. It brings together skeptics from across the country - and a handful from abroad - for three days of lectures and socializing.

Better Earth

Geography Professor Studies the Paranormal in Unique Class

Determined to show, "that geography can be a fun and relevant subject," Dr. Charles "Fritz" Gritzner, Professor of Geography at South Dakota State University has begun a new class called, "Geography of the Paranormal".


Amnesia victim walked Dallas streets for days

DALLAS, Texas -- Joe Bieger walked out his front door with his two dogs one morning last fall as a beloved husband, father, grandfather and assistant high school athletic director.

Minutes later, all of that -- indeed, his very identity -- would seemingly be wiped from his brain's hard drive.


Man marries himself

A Chinese man has married himself to express his "dissatisfaction with reality".

Liu Ye, 39, from Zhuhai city, married a life sized foam cut-out of himself wearing a woman's bridal dress.

"There are many reasons for marrying myself, but mainly to express my dissatisfaction with reality," he said.

Comment: Only a bit narcissistic?!

Magic Wand

Nixon and Dixon

After his secretary conveyed psychic Jeane Dixon's prophecies about terrorism, President Nixon ordered Henry Kissinger and others to prepare for attacks

©Jeane Dixon Museum and Library, Strasburg, VA
Dixon greets Nixon in this undated photograph from the 1960s. The psychic's husband, James Dixon, stands behind her.

Bizarro Earth

Don't try it at home! Microwave experiments cause sponge disasters

Reports about a study that found microwave ovens can be used to sterilize kitchen sponges sent people hurrying to test the idea this week -- with sometimes disastrous results.

A team at the University of Florida found that two minutes in the microwave at full power could kill a range of bacteria, viruses and parasites on kitchen sponges.

They described how they soaked the sponges in wastewater and then zapped them. But several experimenters evidently left out the crucial step of wetting the sponge.