BBC World Service Is Ruining Me

Friday, 14 August 2009, 8:09 | Category : Life, Lunatic Fringe
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I’ve always had sleep problems.  I’ve used a CPAP machine for eight years for sleep apnea, and I do sleep better than I did years ago.  But I still wake up almost every night in the wee hours, 2 or 3AM.  For a long time, I’ve kept a radio by the bed with a pillow speaker, and when I would wake up I’d listen to Art Bell and Coast To Coast AM.  If I just laid there with no radio, I’d start thinking about work stuff, or garden stuff, or whatever, and I would find myself waking up.  But listening to Coast To Coast AM, with all the loonies talking about UFOs and alien visitors and power crystals and government conspiracies and Atlantis – I could listen to that and my brain wouldn’t engage, and I would drift off back to sleep.  That worked for many years.  I became knowledgeable about Mel’s Hole, and the Zetans, and shadow people, and chupacabra, and lost cities on Mars, and many, many other things.  I followed Art Bell through his many personal travails, and stayed with George Noury when he took over the show a few years ago.

Then earlier this year, my local public radio station began carrying BBC World Service every night from 11PM until 5AM.  I started listening to this on those occasions when the Coast To Coast topic was too absurd.  Then I started listening to BBC even sometimes when the Coast To Coast topic wasn’t so absurd (not so absurd within the context of Coast To Coast, anyway,  You don’t tune in to C2C expecting a rational discussion of everyday reality).  But it still just served the purpose of letting me drift back off to sleep.  Until I had listened long enough to start being familiar with the programming on BBC World Service.  Then I found myself actually paying attention to the reports, and looking forward to particular programmes (to use the British spelling):  “The Strand”;  “World Briefing”;  and my favorite, “From Our Own Correspondent”.  So now I sometimes find myself laying awake for two hours listening to the BBC, and I’m getting some great, non-US perspectives on things.  But I need to sleep!

Comet Lunacy

Saturday, 13 January 2007, 22:33 | Category : Lunatic Fringe
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There’s a comet about
and the crazies come out

My first clue was when I noticed my site had a search hit for “comet mcnaught prophecy”. I tried to ignore it, but curiousity got the best of me. No, I won’t post any links, you can google them for yourself. There was some Nostradamus, of course, including some of his quatrains. There was a Mormon end-times blog that called it the Great Red Comet. There was another blog that speculated it was the Hopi Indian Blue star comet. Those two need to get together and decide what color it really is. Or just combine and call it the Purple Comet. I didn’t see anyone talking about a Great Green Comet, or if anything is trying to hide behind the tail.

Anyway, here’s a message for anyone who reaches this site by searching for “comet mcnaught prophecy”:

It’s a ball of ice and dust. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just there, doing it’s cometary thing. Don’t go buying any Nikes.

About Those Tin-Foil Helmets

Thursday, 10 November 2005, 12:27 | Category : Lunatic Fringe
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Among a certain segment of the population, there has been a long-held belief that (pick one) The Government/aliens/Illuminati/Tri-Lateral Commission/Microsoft has/have been attempting to use mind-control rays to render humans captive to the full intent of their Evil Will, or just to read their minds, or influence them to desire Windows the way Tom Cruise doesn’t desire medications. Many among them have advocated the wearing of hats or helmets made of tin foil (aka aluminum foil) as a means of blocking these rays.

Some recommend simple designs. Some have put great (?) thought into the problem. But they think it is quite important that you wear your tin-foil hat. It would probably be unkind to describe these people as delusional, just as it would be unfair to think they probably vote Republican in a higher percentage than the population at large. So I will do neither. But, in case any of these Tin-Foil Hatters read this, I will point out that you might be inviting the very thing you wish to avoid. Researchers at MIT have discovered that tin-foil helmets may actually concentrate radio waves at frequencies assigned to the US government, the bands between 1.2 GHz and 1.4 GHz. They have pictures and everything. So, if you are wearing your tin-foil hat, maybe this is a good time to take it off.

It isn’t known whether any members of the Kansas Board of Education wear tin-foil helmets, and if so, whether they advocate the simple design or more complex, intelligently-designed models.

About that asteroid near-miss

Friday, 27 February 2004, 9:11 | Category : Lunatic Fringe, Stargazing
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Phil Plaitt’s Bad Astronomy Pages has a good article on what really happened (no, they didn’t almost call the President). Phil’s site is a good place to see how the movies and television has represented astronomical topics; he also debunks the loonies like Nancy, Zetans, and the Planet X nonsense.

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