Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Too scary, too sexy: Adults are hijacking Halloween

Just your average neighborhood scene of terror...

On a front lawn in suburban New Jersey, ghouls are dismembering a bloody “corpse” with a chainsaw.  A blood-curdling scream pierces the night as plastic rats with glowing red eyes lurk behind tombstones and freakishly huge spiders crawl up the house.

For years this house, like many others, has been displaying elaborate Halloween decor designed to scare the wits out of innocent passers-by.  And while it achieves the desired shock effect for adults, a fair number of children are carried away from the creepy scene in tears.

What’s happened to Halloween?  Adults are taking it over: Americans are expected to spend $8 billion on Halloween this year, according to CNBC, up 16 percent from 2011. That buys a lot of fake blood. A holiday that used to mean homemade costumes, jack-o-lanterns and bobbing for apples now means terrifying weapons, ghastly spurting “wounds” and nightmarish creatures.  In the name of shopping for costumes or trick-or-treating, children are now routinely confronted with images and ideas once reserved for R-rated horror movies.

Have adults become so preoccupied with subjects like death and sex that they’ve hijacked Halloween?

Professor of anthropology Dr. Cindy Dell Clark says to some extent they have.

“The real benefit of Halloween is for adults, not children,” she said.  “It’s one day where they can have the catharsis of just mocking death in its face, lampooning it, pinning it up on their house.  But,” she cautioned, “for children it’s serious.  At age six or seven, when adults take them to a haunted house, they are truly frightened.”

Clark, the author of Flights of Fancy, Leaps of Faith: Children’s Myths in Contemporary America, studied six-and seven-year old children to assess their involvement with ritual and belief.  In her 2005 study, she said children who were shown printed images of traditional Halloween icons like bats, spiders and haunted houses were frightened “without exception.”

“Adults think these icons are fun.  But children don’t experience those symbols the same way adults think they do,” she said.  “Kids considered them to be so verboten, scary and grotesque, they put the cards under the sofa so they wouldn’t have to look at them.”

New York parent Caty Bartholomew said her daughter Claire had a similar reaction to Halloween imagery at that age.

“Between age two and five or six, Claire was just scared of Halloween in general,” she said.  “It was over-stimulating.  Then, at around seven, she decided she wanted to dress up as a fairy.”
Now 10, Claire said she likes Halloween -- in measured doses.

“I think it’s kind of fun-scary now,” she said.  “Sometimes it’s fun to get scared just the right amount.”
Bartholomew said she traditionally brings her daughter to a child-friendly parade in their Brooklyn neighborhood that does not expose Claire to some of the more graphic, adult elements of Halloween.  What is harder to shield her from, however, is what she calls “the sexification of Halloween.”

“If you walk into a costume store you see a sexy fire fighter, a sexy nurse, sexy everything.  There’s something really offensive about taking jobs that really help people and turning them into sex objects.  Maybe that’s really fuddyduddy of me, but it does bother me.  Sexy nurse, sexy doctor -- I just feel like, why?”
Bartholomew said they left the store when the only vampire costume they could find was a “sexy vampire.”  “If your kid doesn’t fit into a kids costume any more, you’re in trouble,” she said.

In fact, this year a company called is ringing up online sales of sexy costumes inspired by Sesame Street charactersAnother costume site shows voluptuous models wearing Elmo, Big Bird and Cookie Monster hats paired with fuzzy hats and thigh-high stockings.  Is nothing sacred?

Not surprisingly, teenagers are wasting no time jumping on the adult bandwagon.  One high school girl in Montclair, New Jersey recently informed her mother that she and her friends had devised a plan to dress up as “slutty fairytale characters” for Halloween.

“I think I’ll go as slutty Bo-Peep,” she said airily.

“Anything’s that sexualized has a detrimental effect on a child,” warned New York Child Psychologist Dr. Caire Ciliotta, who said the emphasis on adult themes, combined with the rampant commercialization of Halloween, has obscured its underlying meaning. 

“It used to be called All Souls Day, All Saints Day . . . there was a sense of honoring the dead,” she said.  “It was about the spirit returning.  Now, if you talk to any kid on the street, they have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Ciliotta said the kind of gory imagery children are exposed to at Halloween is particularly worrisome.
“Halloween does traumatize children, because they are introduced to incredibly violent, murderous images without any context,” she said.  “A child under five fundamentally would never have seen anything like that – it’s their first encounter with violence, brutality, death.  I promise you, children aren’t asking to see that.  It’s the parents who want to see it and they bring the child along.”

Source :

Monday, October 29, 2012

Shark falls from the sky on to golf course 4 miles from the sea

A shark which fell from the sky on to a golf course survived its journey and has been returned to the ocean.
The leopard shark dropped out of the sky and flopped around on the 12th tee of a golf course, which is around 4 miles from the ocean.

The creature was spotted at the San Juan Hills Golf Club in California and taken to the clubhouse suffering puncture wounds. It seems a bird plucked it from the water before dropping it.

The Leopard shark fell on to the 12th tee of the golf course but made it back to the ocean alive
The Leopard shark fell on to the 12th tee of the golf course but made it back to the ocean alive Credit: AP Photo/San Juan Hills Golf Club
Golfers at the clubhouse put the Leopard Shark into fresh water before somebody remembered it came from the sea. They then got some sea salt from the kitchen and mixed it in.

It was eventually driven back to its natural home, the Pacific Ocean where it reportedly swam away.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Wash. attorney: 'I have physically traveled in time'

Wash. attorney: 'I have physically traveled in time' »Play Video
Andrew Basiago talks about his alleged time travel experiences.

VANCOUVER, Wash. - The new Bruce Willis movie "Looper" opens this weekend, in which Willis' character is sent back in time to kill himself.

And while most scientists say time travel isn't possible, a Washington attorney claims he's done it dozens of times as part of a secret Cold War project.

"I have physically traveled in time," says Andrew Basiago, an attorney in Vancouver, Wash. "We have - we did over 40 years ago."

Now Basiago is on a mission - to reveal what he calls a 40-year government cover-up - of Project Pegasus - where he says he was teleported back and sideways in time, dozens of times.

"I have the whole story, I have hundreds of facts," he says. "I can tell you what personnel were at what locations where and which travel device was being used."

And his time travel wasn't recent - it's when he was a kid.

"I entered the program officially in the fall of 1969 as a third grader, age 7," says Basiago.

He says he was one of 140 kids, 60 adults - chrononauts, including his dad, who he says joined him on his first jump.

"My dad held my hand, we jumped through the field of energy, and we seem to be moving very rapidly but there was also a paradox and we seemed to be going no where at all," he says.

The TV show "Fringe" aired a similar scene two years ago. A coincidence?

Paradoxes, unscientific claims, unbelievable stories and encounters on Earth and Mars - including meeting Barack Obama when the president was a kid.

Basiago also says he time-traveled six times to the Ford Theatre on the day President Lincoln was shot - but he didn't see it happen. He also saw President Lincoln on another famous occasion, he says.

"In fact, during one probe, the one to Gettysburg, the Gettysburg Address, I was dressed as Union bugle boy," he says.

That's right - he was at the Gettysburg Address. He says a famous photo taken that day proves it. The picture shows a bugle boy who he says is him. It's the only visual evidence he provides for any of his travels - nothing else.

"I was physically at Gettysburg," says Basiago.

He says his time travel experiences show that teleportation as protrayed on the "Star Trek" series is all wrong.

"No, in fact if you had just arrived via quantum teleportation, the Star Trek method of teleportation, you would have collapsed as a dead person," he says.

Basiago weaves his tale with such conviction, he's either a psychopathic liar, a lunatic - or the fastest-thinking science fiction writer on Earth.

"A tunnel was opening up in time-space just like a soap bubble being blown by a child," he says. "And when that bubble closed, we were repositioned elsewhere in time-space on the face of the Earth."

Some would say Basiago is still living in a bubble, but he's put his professional reputation at risk claiming time travel isn't science fiction - because he did it.

It was hard for KOMO News to confirm any of Basiago's claims. Still, he says many out there say they believe Project Pegasus was real.

Chimp expert Jane Goodall says she is ‘fascinated’ by Bigfoot

Jane Goodall may believe in Bigfoot, but she is more concerned with the plight of the chimpanzee, which she calls “very, very” endangered.

Bela Szandelszky/AP

Jane Goodall may believe in Bigfoot, but she is more concerned with the plight of the chimpanzee, which she calls “very, very” endangered.

Bigfoot hunters just got a new champion: chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall.

The Cambridge-educated Ph.D. — long considered one of the world’s leading chimpanzee experts — says that she is “fascinated” by the legendary beast.

"I'm not going to flat-out deny its existence," she told the Huffington Post after a bout of laughter at a fundraiser in La Jolla, Calif. "I'm fascinated and would actually love them to exist.

"Of course, it's strange that there has never been a single authentic hide or hair of the Bigfoot, but I've read all the accounts,” she said.

This isn’t the first time 78-year-old Goodall has publicly admitted to her belief in large, ape-like creatures such as the Yeti, Sasquatch or Bigfoot.

“I'm sure that they exist,” she told an NPR reporter in an interview several years ago.



What some believe to be a female Sasquatch running out of a stream bed in the Six Rivers National Forest in northern California is seen in this frame taken from a piece of 16mm footage taken by Roger Patterson and Bob Gimlin in 1967 during a horseback search for Bigfoot.

At the time, she confirmed that she has always believed in the existence of these creatures.
“Well, I'm a romantic so I always wanted that,” she said.

The scientist and activist has spent her fair share of time with apes: in the early 1960s, her research in Africa showed that chimpanzees could use tools, were not vegetarian, and had distinct personalities. This challenged most scientific assumptions about chimps at the time.

Goodall was in La Jolla at a benefit for the Jane Goodall Institute, an organization aimed at caring for both humans and apes around the world.

Even though chimpanzees might appear frequently in movies and on TV all the time, Goodall said the animals are “very, very” endangered.

When she was working in Africa decades ago, Goodall said there were several million chimpanzees, but now there are only 300,000 spread out over 21 nations.

This reduction has come from habitat loss, logging, and hunting for bush meat.


Nick Ut/AP

Chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall says she’s a romantic and would like to believe that Bigfoot exists.

If the fact that chimps are endangered seems surprising, it is because people have getting the wrong message about chimpanzees from Hollywood and other outlets for a long time, Goodall said.

To improve the lives of chimpanzees, the lives of the people who live near them need to be improved, she said.

On Oct. 9, Animal Planet will air a special about the life of the esteemed researcher called “Jane’s Journey.” The program will track Goodall’s life from her birth in England, to her research in Africa, and to her advocacy work across the globe.

'Vampire' dinosaur had bristles and fangs

Pegomastax would have lived 200 million years ago and could shed light on the evolution of other species.

One of the most unusual dinosaurs, Pegomastax sported a set of vampire-like fangs along with a coat of porcupine-like bristles and a beak like a parrot. A relatively small creature at 2 feet in length it would have resembled something like a two-legged porcupine. "The bristles were not quite as strong as a porcupine's, and they don't look as if they were especially effective for insulation," said paleontologist Paul Sereno. "Perhaps they had colors and helped differentiate species, or made Pegomastaxlook bigger than it actually was to potential predators."

It is believed that its set of vampire-like fangs would have been used in conjunction with its beak to help it break open seeds, nuts and fruits. "It would have looked like Dracula," said Sereno. "Probably appropriate, since we're now moving toward Halloween."

The ancient creature, which was found 50 years ago in southern Africa but drew relatively little attention until now, may shed light on the evolution of the major group of dinosaurs that included famous giants such as Stegosaurus and Triceratops.

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