Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sick again, bad Rolling Stone Magazine, new computer desired.

I was just dying last Friday at work, going from feeling fine to knowing that a cold was on its way. I was sick on the weekend but still managed to make it out to an important meeting at the CLL. I made it into work on Monday to complete some timely paperwork to procure some printers, a new super-thin laptop (actually, the thinnest with an optical drive) and some A/V equipment. I still have to figure out some software purchases, more A/V ewquipment including a five-figure touch screen, more laptops, desktops and monitors, not to mention some very pricey graphic arts workstations.

I renewed my subscriptiion to Rolling Stone and was surprised to see that my last issue actually arrived last July! I can't believe that I hadn't noticed not receiving it, since it arrives every two weeks. What upset me about them is that on their checkout page for backissues, you can only select "United States" as the country for your address! This is crazy! They already charge a fortune to buy their issues, but not allowing Canadians to buy them is downright crazy. Needless to say, I e-mailed them to find out what is going on.

I spent part of my evening making inkjet labels for several CD-roms. I have a few different versions of Linux that I want to try. I downloaded screen shots and made really colorful labels from them. It's alot nicer than using a Sharpie. I now the next step is to use Lightscribe technology to draw a label directly on the surface of the label, or... get a printer that prints directly onto the surface of white discs. I have a Lightscribe burner at work but I haven't had the time to use its drawing feature.

My computer is showing its age. Even as I am typing this, it's taking a moment for the letters to appear on the screen. I could spend a lot on a custom PC and get one that has everything I want, or I could spend a lot less and get one that I need, but the latter wouldn't be as much fun. There are some technologies thatI really want but they may not show up until next year.

I ordered the new Whitley Striber book, The Grays whichi I will pick up later this week, along with the new Chris Rutkowski book about UFOs outside of Canada.

If I can find the time, I think I'm going to really use this blog as a record of what's new with me, rather than just a repository of articles that I have found to be interesting.


Monday, January 28, 2008

23,000 Linux PCs forge education revolution in Philippines

Linux still cheaper than heavily-subsidized Microsoft products

Providing high school students with PCs is seen as a first step to preparing them for a technology-literate future, but in the Philippines many schools cannot afford to provide computing facilities so after a successful deployment of 13,000 Fedora Linux systems from a government grant, plans are underway to roll out another 10,000 based on Ubuntu.

Visiting Australia to discuss Linux and open source software in education at this year's linux.conf.au in Melbourne, independent open source consultant Ricardo Gonzalez, said there were a number of factors that led to Linux being chosen over the venerable Microsoft Windows.

Gonzalez, based in Manila, told Computerworld Linux became popular in the Philippines soon after the 1997 Asian financial crisis when open source was investigated for its value proposition to organizations.

"Open source was a viable business alternative because no one was doing it commercially," Gonzalez said.

While Gonzalez was teaching the IT dealer network how to profit from open source, Microsoft launched its anti-piracy policy in the Philippines, so he told the government there was an alternative.

Also at the time, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Education launched the PCPS program, or PCs for Public Schools with the aim of providing one PC for each of the 10,000 public high schools in the country.

With funding from the Japanese government, the PCPS program started around the 2000 timeframe when the contractors installed Windows PCs, but five years later it was discovered a lot of the computers were not being used because nobody knew how to use them.

A company by the name of Advanced Solutions Inc (ASI) asked Gonzalez to come on board as a consultant as it was preparing to do bids for 1000 schools. However, this time it would not be only desktops, but one server, 10 desktops, and Internet connectivity in every school.

"We wanted to use Fedora 5 and it went all the way to office of [the Filipino] President and they kept passing it around saying 'why would they offer something for free, and how would they support and teach it'," Gonzalez said. "The project dragged on for four to five months to a point where Microsoft matched the price by offering Windows XP for $US20 a copy and throwing in Office for $US30, but we still came out cheaper. Microsoft was also providing free training to high school teachers."

After "jumping through all the hoops", including having the Department of Science and Technology evaluate the Linux solution for its usefulness, ASI got the contract and all 10,000 computers were delivered at the end of December, 2007.

"Because we saved so much we gave the government 3000 additional units, so now another 300 schools have Linux networks," Gonzalez said.

However, the Philippines' Linux education story is just beginning and the "reward" for the successful initial deployment was before Gonzalez left for linux.conf.au, the company got the contract to do another 1000 high schools over the next 12 months.

"The flavour this time is Kubuntu and Edubuntu," he said, adding the old questions about Linux's suitability aren't being asked any more. "They have also asked us to install the Joomla! and Drupal content systems on the server so students can create content," he added.

People in the government now understand Linux can do so much for so little outlay

ASI had initially requested the then IBM, now Lenovo, to factory-install the Linux images, but Gonzalez said since IBM had no experience with Linux deployments, and there were too many errors, some 60 percent of the operating system images had to be deployed after the PCs arrived.

"We were only three people, but during the next contract they put in more people to make sure it gets out the door faster - they doubled it to six people," he said. "There will be a phase four, five and six -- it just depends on funding."

With 7000 islands in the Philippines, the task at hand is no mean feat as the team had to install the systems, test them, do integration work, ship the computers out, ensure it was installed correctly, and provide training to the schools' principal and head of IT.

"If you look at it from a third-world perspective I'm very pleased," Gonzalez said. "For us it's one of the biggest Linux installations in the Philippines. The question is if it's free does it work, but with Linux it does work and it's free."

Gonzalez believes the project has helped begin a mindset revolution for accepting the power of free software.

"People in the government now understand Linux can do so much for so little outlay," he said. "In a brand new computer 50 percent goes to the operating system and office suite, so how many people can afford that?"

When asked why the popular One Laptop Per Child, which ships with Linux, was not used instead, Gonzalez said at the time it was not feasible due to the sheer number of units that needed to be purchased all at once.

To analyze the results of the program, Gonzalez is conducting a survey and he intends to study the flow-on effects to people's home computers, which may take some time to eventuate.

"There are 80 million Filipinos who are sending 20 million text messages so I'm thinking how to get SMS into the education market and tie it down with open source," he said. "I'm looking for the guy who has already done that."

Regarding the country's universities, Gonzalez said they are very much "tied down" to Microsoft, and course material is still tailored for the proprietary world.

"If Linux and open source wants to take hold in the education market it must deliver course material for high schools and elementary schools."

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Guide to Ubuntu Linux

A Guide to Ubuntu Linux

'Open source' means lots of people and resources can help, but here's a reference for both beginners and the experienced.

Don Marti, LinuxWorld

Sunday, January 27, 2008 7:00 AM PST



With all the people out there willing to offer help on Linux, getting started should be pretty easy. But with many options in introductory books and easy-to-install distributions, choosing a place to start can be the hard part.

Where to Find Support

Picking a distribution gets a lot less challenging when you remember to choose based on where you plan to go for help. Your local user group mailing list will be a lot more useful when other members know the locations and utilities you're talking about. Just subscribe to your local user group mailing list, and lurk for a while to find out what distribution the most helpful people there use. Then pick up a copy of a good Linux book, burn an install CD, and jump in.

There is lots of useful online documentation for specific tasks. But so far, books offer the best introductions to basic concepts such as file permissions or working with the shell. And looking for the distribution's name in the title of your first Linux book can be a time and frustration saver for new users. Instead of telling you to do things this way on one distribution, that way on another, or worse, telling you to find things for yourself, a book that concentrates on one distribution can point you straight to the file, tool or feature you need.

Lately, though, there's been a catch. The most helpful introductory books for beginners, Mark G. Sobell's "Practical Guide..." series, cover Red Hat Linux and its descendants Fedora and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but many of the participants in user groups and mailing lists that offer the best help for new users are running Ubuntu. Sobell's new "A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux" closes the gap.

Ubuntu's Advantages

Part of Ubuntu's popularity among user group members is because it nails down and documents many of the best system adminstration practices. For example, many administrators recommend that you never log in as root. Just log in as yourself, and use a properly configured sudo to run individual commands as root when needed. Ubuntu actually disables the root account, and forces you to use sudo.

A new user who installs Ubuntu and does things the Ubuntu way will find himself or herself acting in many ways like a cautious, experienced sysadmin without realizing it. Now, in A Practical Guide to Ubuntu Linux, you can get a thorough Linux intro book that works the Ubuntu way, while still drawing on the author's long experience with old-school Unix and older Linux environments to cover the basics that haven't changed.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

How a fast driver learned to go slow

I wish I had a mileage indicator in my car, as I might drive a little slower and save some gas.

From the Free Press.

How a fast driver learned to go slow

Sat Jan 19 2008

I have slowed down. Middle age may be part of the reason. But a little display on the dashboard of my car has played the biggest role in this change.
This past summer I started driving a car that displays how much fuel the engine is using at any time.

It flickers in the lower left hand of the dash, continuously displaying the number of litres of gas per 100 kilometres that the car is burning.

It has done more to change my driving than anything since I first got behind the wheel of a farm truck 34 years ago.

It tells me after every light and stop sign whether I am speeding up too quickly.
I used to have a lead foot, racing away from stops. Then I noticed that the engine was burning twice as much fuel as when I gained speed more slowly.

I used to be in favour of higher speed limits. I always drove at, or slightly above, the limit. No more.

Out on the open highway, the car burns the least fuel per 100 kilometres at speeds of between 60 and 80 kilometres an hour.

By the time I reach 100 km/h, gas consumption -- and cost -- is 30 per cent higher. By 110 km/h or 120 km/h, fuel consumption is 50 per cent above the most efficient levels, adding about $5 per 100 kilometres to gas costs.

I shudder now when I think of the speeds that I used to travel on Hwy. 401 around Toronto -- usually 120 km/h and sometimes more, and that was just to keep up with traffic.

On a recent to the Asessippi ski resort in western Manitoba, I drove below the speed limit all of the way, a first for me, and probably saved $30 in fuel costs over 800 kilometres.

None of this is new. It has long been known that car engines operate more efficiently at lower speeds. That is why many jurisdictions dropped highway speed limits to 80 km/h during the first oil crisis in the 1970s.

The main reason then was not environmentalism or price, but the scarcity of gasoline.

Now that we have other reasons, I wonder why we are looking at raising speed limits -- to spend more money and burn more fuel to get to the same places.
The little fuel consumption display in my car was what got me hooked on slowing down.

But another reason will keep me hooked.

Driving more slowly to Asessippi was actually quite relaxing and stress-free. Life in the slower lane can be better for both drivers and the environment.

Bob Cox is Publisher of the Free Press.

film - The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly 4/5

Overly long, and definitely not for mainstream audiences.

A guy has a stroke and paralyzed almost completely, save for the ability to blink one eye. He communicates and actually writes a book, fulfilling a contract that was set up before his stroke.

Filled with both bleak and vivid imagery, this film is not a cheesy Hollywood, Disney-fied take on seeing the silver lining when life gives you lemons. Excellent acting and direction.

A bit too long for me, but worth seeing if you want to see something different. French with subtitles. The beautiful blonde will look familiar to some. She was also in the 1988 Roman Polanski film Frantic with Harrison Ford , Emmanuelle Seigner (41) and is married to Polanski. The speech therapist is played by Montrealer Marie-Josée Croze, who was also the Dutch assassin in Spielberg's Munich. The film's main character is played by Mathiew Amalric, who will be appearing in the upcoming James Bond film, due out in Nov.


film - Cloverfield

Cloverfield 3/5

I enjoyed this film, but since it doesn't follow a typical storyline formula, many will not like it. At the end of the screening that I took in, people were commenting on how it was not to their liking.

The film follows a group of people who were at a going away party, until what seemed like an earthquake hit Manhattan. One of them has a video camera and documents everything and provides the footage for the film, in a sense.

The film's first flaw is the use of these parasites that fall from the sloth-like Godzilla-sized creatures. The parasites are the size of large dogs and appear very spider like.

Visually, the film looks just like what you would expect it to look like if someone filmed everything on a hand-held camera. The footage will make you feel seasick or you will applaud it for being realistic. If you thought the shaky camera work from the Bourne Supremacy was extreme, this is more so.

The acting wasn't too bad but I don't think anyone will be up for an Oscar.

I would be surprised if this isn't the top film this weekend, but I don't think it will have legs. I'm giving the film 3 stars because they had the guts to try something different and while the results aren't hugely satisfying, it's still not a bad film. Just don't expect greatness.


Writing for fun and for profit

Andrew is a guy I used to know fairly well. I would describe him as a creative kind of person and I'm really happy to see that he's getting his book published, along with a lot of attention.

From the Winnipeg Free Press.

Winnipeg's Andrew Davidson has hit the literary jackpot with his first novel's big payday

Sun Jan 20 2008

LAST May, New York culture mavens were buzzing with the news that a first-time novelist had landed a book deal with Doubleday worth a reported US$1.25 million.

That astounding figure is not unprecedented in the high-stakes world of American publishing. Nevertheless, it is the literary equivalent of winning the lottery.

The brief accounts of the deal in New York media contained little of substance. They simply said the author's name was Andrew Davidson, his novel, being released Aug. 5, is called The Gargoyle, and its story is said to echo bestsellers by everyone from Umberto Eco and Michael Ondaatje to John Fowles and Chuck Palahniuk.

Eight months later, we're happy to announce an additional detail.

Davidson is a Manitoban, born and raised in Pinawa.

He studied English at the University of Manitoba, spent 10 years in Vancouver (where he went to finish his English degree) and another five in Japan before moving back to Winnipeg in 2005.

And though he has been working quietly from his Crescentwood home, polishing the final edits on what Doubleday hopes will be a fall blockbuster, his cover is now blown.

"I've been intentionally trying to stay below the radar," Davidson, 38, said in a recent interview at Bar Italia on Corydon Avenue.

"It's daunting to realize my anonymity is about to end."

In Canadian publishing lore, there is only one recorded case of an unpublished novelist scoring a seven-figure advance for a single book.

This was in 1985. Ottawa's Anthony Hyde earned national headlines after he sold his debut effort, a thriller, The Red Fox, to Penguin U.S. for a reported $1 million.

Of course, a cool million in 1985 went further than $1.25 million today. But Davidson might still own bragging rights.

He has scored a separate advance from Random House Canada, which will release The Gargoyle here, also in August. He has a deal with Canongate Books in the U.K. and with its subsidiary for Australia. Foreign-language rights have already been sold in 18 jurisdictions.

Though Davidson isn't saying, his total advances so far (and these exclude potential film sales) probably exceed $2 million.

"I didn't do this for the money, because who could have guessed anything like this would happen?" he said. "I wrote the book because I had to write it."

Davidson is abiding by his publishers' wishes not to show anyone pages from The Gargoyle. But he did type this thumbnail for the Free Press:

"It is the story of a severe burn survivor who, while recovering, meets a schizophrenic woman who claims that they were lovers in 14th-century Germany, when she was a nun and he was a mercenary."

His Toronto publisher, Anne Collins of Random House, calls it a "book of incredible erudition subsumed by a love story that crosses centuries."

She acknowledges that Davidson is living every aspiring author's dream.

"But it doesn't come true for every author," she said, "because not every author writes like Andrew Davidson."

Tall, handsome and conservative in demeanor, he looks more like a dentist or an actuary than a writer possessed by a story he had to tell.

He started the novel in 2000, early in his stint teaching English in Japan. Since his teens, Davidson had always written for his own enjoyment -- poetry, plays, movie scripts, you name it.

This idea came to him in the form of an image: "A woman with wild hair standing in front of a church and spouting crazy things."

He spent five years producing a 200,000-word draft, finishing it back in Winnipeg. He knew the next step, finding an agent, would be a hard one.

He researched a list of the top New York reps, ones he felt would be interested in his type of book.

Among those he queried was Eric Simonoff, co-director of Janklow and Nesbit Associates.

Simonoff was intrigued by Davidson's cleverly ironic cover letter ("10 reasons why you should not represent my book"), so he started reading.

He told Davidson the story had promise but it needed a serious edit. Davidson spent much of 2006 researching and rewriting to Simonoff's specs.

Among those he contacted for help was Linda Dietrick, a professor in German studies at the University of Winnipeg.

"He needed help translating certain words," she says. "He was very meticulous. He gave me a draft to read, and it's a great story. I really respect the guy."

After finishing the rewrite, he paid US$25 for a single-bound copy from the online printing company Lulu.com, prettying it up with stock illustrations. He fired it back to Simonoff, who spent the next six months shopping it around.

Simonoff turned down a pre-emptive bid of $1 million from an undisclosed publisher, setting up a minor bidding war and finally selling the U.S. rights last May to bigshot Doubleday editor Gerald Howard.

The Canadian rights had actually been picked up the previous fall by Collins, who saw the Lulu.com manuscript when she was visiting Simonoff in New York. With typical Canadian discretion, Collins refuses to divulge how much she paid.

"It is certainly rare for any first novelists of any nationality to garner seven figures for their work," said Simonoff, whose clients include Vancouver star Douglas Coupland and U.S. Pulitzer Prize-winners Jumpha Lahiri and Edward P. Jones.

"It is a testament to the power of The Gargoyle and of Andrew's vision."

Davidson has a few more months to enjoy his old life, which he says has always been about "gathering experience, not material possessions."

He loves reading, writing, going to movies and playing old-timers hockey. He's in the research phase of his follow-up novel. He isn't married, though he does have a steady girlfriend.

In the summer he will make himself available to begin an international media blitz. His money, at least the first few transactions, may be in the bank, but The Gargoyle's fate is outside his hands.

"I'm very happy with the faith the publishing industry has shown in the novel," he said, "and I'm proud that I've worked on it as hard as I could. But ultimately, the final judgment on every book comes from its readers, and that's the way it should be."


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Sportshow participant makes case for existence of Bigfoot

Posted on Thu, Jan. 10, 2008 10:15 PM

By BRENT FRAZEE | The Kansas City Star

The only solid proof that Bigfoot believers have is this grainy photo that was taken in California in 1967 by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin.
The only solid proof that Bigfoot believers have is this grainy
photo that was taken in California in 1967 by Roger Patterson
and Robert Gimlin.

Larry Battson has seen the smirks, the winks, the rolling of the eyes.

But that doesn’t bother him in the least. When you profess to believe in Bigfoot, that comes with the territory.

“When I used to talk about Bigfoot at sports shows, I’d have skeptics,” said Battson, a nationally known educator on wildlife, who is displaying rattlesnakes and other reptiles at the Kansas City Sportshow this week.

“I’d have ‘good old boys’ come up and say ‘What are you trying to feed us?’ But I’d always tell them, ‘You believe what you want to believe. I’m convinced it exists.”

Call it what you like — Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti, the Abominable Snowman — it’s out there, Battson says.

He’s convinced that secretive, mysterious, apelike creatures inhabit the deep forests of the United States. He and others describe them as 7 to 10 feet tall, weighing more than 500 pounds, with feet 20 to 25 inches long. They are covered in brown hair, walk on two feet and have a pronounced brow ridge, believers claim.

They are highly intelligent, keeping to themselves and offering only fleeting exposure to humans. That explains why they are so seldom seen and why scientific proof of their existence is so scarce, believers say.

But many, including the scientific community, remain unconvinced. If colonies of this Bigfoot creature do indeed exist, they say, get us the documentation.

There is a distant, grainy photo of a supposed Bigfoot taken in 1967 by Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin, two men who say they ran across the creature in a remote part of northern California. But that’s it.

Since then, there have been proven hoaxes and much skepticism.

“In all the time I’ve been with the Conservation Department, I’ve never heard an agent talk about a Bigfoot sighting,” said Brian Bartlett, a conservation agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation. “With all the hunters we have out in the woods and with all the trail cameras that are set out these days, you’d think someone would spot one if they do exist.

“But we’ve learned to never say never.”

Battson has heard such skepticism before. Be he remains undeterred.

He has been studying Bigfoot for about 30 years now, traveling the country to research alleged sightings.

He has taken molds of footprints, he has audio tape of the sounds the creatures make in the wild, he has read journals of families that had close encounters with them, and he has mountains of testimony from people who claimed to have seen the primate. He spotted what may have been a Bigfoot, but he isn’t certain.

One of those testimonies came from his wife, who spotted what she believed to be a Bigfoot in the headlights of her car as she returned to the Battsons’ home in rural Indiana one night.

That sighting came as no surprise to her husband. There have been other alleged spottings in Putnam County, Ind., where the couple lives.

“These aren’t just a few crackpots making up stories,” said Battson, 55, who lives in Clinton Falls, Ind. “There are literally hundreds of people across the nation who have reported seeing Bigfoot.

“In fact, the only states where there haven’t been sightings are Hawaii and Rhode Island.”

Battson first became intrigued with Bigfoot when he talked with noted wildlife researcher Jim Fowler of the “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” television show years ago.

Fowler was in Russia to tape footage of the brown bear, but all the guides wanted to talk about was Bigfoot.

“Jim said it was very convincing,” Battson said. “These guides got a good look at this creature, and they were afraid of it.”

Battson runs Battson Wildlife Educational Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating people about wildlife. He has a collection that includes everything from the snakes, gila monsters and tarantulas he is displaying at the Sportshow this week.

When he heard about this mysterious creature supposedly roaming the woods, it piqued his interest.

“I look at Bigfoot as just another form of wildlife,” he said. “That’s why I find it so fascinating.”

Battson began looking into reports of Bigfoot sightings and was intrigued by what he found.

The creature was mentioned in early American Indian writings and in the journal of explorer Daniel Boone. Even President Theodore Roosevelt related in one of his books an account of Idaho trappers’ encounters with a Bigfoot.

“I read one account of miners in the 1920s who encountered a Bigfoot and shot at it,” Battson said. “That night, their cabin was just bombarded with rocks and boulders. They thought it might have been retaliation for what they had done.

“Anyway, they were so scared that they just took off and left.”

But the modern-day accounts are just as fascinating to Battson.

He remembers one incident when a group reported being out searching for mushrooms when they heard some sounds in the brush. When the sounds grew louder, as if they were being followed, they made their way back to their vehicle. As they went to pull away, what they thought to be a Bigfoot pounced on the hood of their vehicle, made some menacing sounds and then bounded away.

But perhaps the most memorable sighting Battson has investigated involved a family that was building a house in a remote area where Bigfoot creatures had allegedly been seen before.

“When the house was being built, something kept vandalizing it,” Battson said. “At first, this man thought it was kids.

“But one night he saw this big hairy creature out there on his land. He told me that it even came up and screamed in his window one time.

“Over time, I think things got better, and now they kind of coexist there. But that guy tells me he has his land lit up like Shea Stadium now.”

Battson has read dozens of such accounts and has talked with many of the people who said they had spotted Bigfoot. He has seen the footprints in the woods and the way tree limbs have been thrashed at a level higher than any other animal could reach.

That’s enough to convince him that this mysterious creature does indeed exist.

“People say, ‘If this Bigfoot is out there, why don’t we find carcasses in the woods?’ ” Battson said. “But think about it. There are millions of animals out there, but how many times do we run across a carcass?

“I believe that this creature is highly intelligent and able to sense danger. That’s why we don’t run across them that often.

“But I’m convinced they’re out there.”

Battson paused and added, “Either this is the greatest hoax ever pulled off, or there really is a Bigfoot.”


Depending on whom you talk to, it’s either a big creature or a big hoax. Believers depict Bigfoot as a 7- to 10-foot tall apelike creature that lives in the woods. It supposedly walks on two feet — very big feet. Footprints have been measured at 20 to 25 inches long.


Bigfoot supposedly is a creature of the deep woods. It is most common in the Northwest. But sightings have been reported in every state except Hawaii and Rhode Island.


The scientific community wants proof — photos, a carcass, a captured animal, anything. But that concrete evidence is scarce. There is a one frame of photos taken in 1967 in northern California, showing a grainy image of a Bigfoot. And researchers have recordings of sounds allegedly made by the creatures and molds of the footprints in the woods. But there also have been admitted hoaxes.


There have been literally hundreds of Bigfoot sightings over the years. Those sightings are catalogued on the Web site bigfootencounters.com. Researchers believe the creatures are highly intelligent and secretive — thus, the reason for them being able to avoid humans whenever possible.

MonsterQuest is a weekly series at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on The History Channel that looks at monster sightings around the world. Besides Bigfoot, here are some of the other featured creatures:

•CHAMP: A prehistoric dinosaurlike animal, 15 to 25 feet long most resembling the extinct plesiosaur, in Lake Champlain in Vermont. The locals nicknamed it Champ.

•GIANT SQUID: Tentacled beasts as large as whales in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico.

•BIRDZILLA: Giant birds with 15-foot wingspans seen in Illinois, Texas and Alaska in the 1970s.

•SWAMP BEAST: Locals in Louisiana and Florida call it the Swamp Creature or Skunk Ape, a 7-foot tall thing with red hair and a rotten-egg smell.

•MUTANT CANINES: In 2006, something locals described as a mutant was killing pets in Maine and Minnesota.

•GIANT FISH: Catfish big enough to swallow a child, and trout as large as a boat.

I'm a staunch conservative and I believe. Keep in mind that the Pacific Northwest is so dense that airplanes have gone down in it and have never been found. Also, the gorilla was just a myth until the early 1900's.

Posted by: Tom
1/11/2008 9:00 AM

Johnkel, you make a lot of sense but the mountain gorilla is often in excess of 400-450 pounds, standing nearly 6 feet tall and lives strictly on vegetation and berries. It's not impossible that a small number of an undiscovered primate species lives in the Northwest.

Posted by: Tom
1/11/2008 9:38 AM

I am not saying there is or is not a "bigfoot" creature. But think about the hundreds of new species of insects and animals that have been discovered over the years. There was no prior scientific proof of those either before they were found. There are thousands upon thousands of ocean life species we have yet to discover.

So it is possible for large animals to go undiscoverfed for hundreds even thousands of years.

The forrests are dense and hard to navigate. When Steven Foster the explorer disappeared they did searches for him and ended up finding something like a dozen airplace crashes they never knew about including osme as old as 50 years. Now if we cant find a plane how could we find mobile creatures?

You never know

Posted by: shane
1/11/2008 9:57 AM

I've seen one myself and don't expect others to beleive it till they see it for them selves.when you do see it , you will be amazed that it is so big and that it is indeed very real.and kinda scary too.

Posted by: dano
1/11/2008 10:09 AM

I would not just yet rule out this creatures existence completely. This is the stuff of legend. Thanks for this informative, entertaining article Mr Frazee - this was quite a read, enjoyed it very much, thank you.

Posted by: Quik draw McFitz
1/11/2008 10:16 AM

To Bigfoot Jr.

Not true that it was video. 1967 was before the days of the handheld video camera. It is a 16 millimeter film that was analyzed last year at the request of the Monsterquest series and the conclusion reached was that it could not have been a costume. Muscular movement was observed in detail and it was also proven that a man could not walk in the way this animal did.

Posted by: It is real
1/11/2008 11:32 AM

To Big Sam,

It is not video and Patterson went to his death claiming it to be real. It was his brother-in-law who claimed to be the hoaxer. For the money

Posted by: It is for real
1/11/2008 11:35 AM

Not True Hmmm.

Patterson went to find Bigfoot and it was not amateur hiker photographers. There is a video from the early 90's that was a hoax but not the Patterson film. Scientific analysis has proved that it was not a costume. That a man could not match the stride or even walk in the way the muscular motions were captured on film.

Posted by: It is for real
1/11/2008 11:41 AM

It's amazing how many people make ill informed comments who obviously have not studied this subject in depth. I have a newspaper article mentioning 2 events in the late 1800's here in Olathe, one at the Olathe dam. Go online and research the Texas Bigfoot research Conservancy and the Alliance of Independent Bigfoot Researchers for more details on this subject. P.W. Kansas Bigfoot Investigations, Bigfootpass@Yahoo.com

Posted by:
1/11/2008 12:09 PM

It's kind of interesting reading all of these posts. In fact the story itself was very poorly researched. The University of Wisconsin has obtained DNA from hair samples and has classified it as "unknown primate". There are other photographs as well. One recent one was taken by a game trail camara and can be viewed at BFRO.net They have been observed eating bark and hunting in packs. If you happen to be fortunate enough to see one you would realize that human interaction is the last thing these creatures want.

Posted by: sasquatch
1/11/2008 12:16 PM

The footage was never proven to be a hoax:


Posted by: LC
1/11/2008 3:01 PM

This is a subject that has always facinated me.
My wife's cousin related a story to me of a time he worked on a pig farm in south central Mo (around Warsaw). One morning early his boss called and frantically told him to come to the farm, as soon as possible. When he arrived he described a sow dead, outside the holding pen with her throat ripped out and one or two of her legs ripped out at the sockets, with blood everywhere. Upon further inspection they found no blood on the 6.5 foot steel fence, used to secure the animal. They surmized that whatever had killed the, 500 plus pound, sow had thrown it over the fence without the carcus toughing the fence. As I watched him tell this story I could see fear and amazement on his face and hear it in his voice. This was not a tale handed down from person to person. This was a first hand account of something that defied explaination. He was and is an avid coon hunter, but told me it was a long time before he could muster the courage to go into the woods during the day much less at night.
My e-mail adress is garysmo@sbcglobal.net. I would love to try to put these two together if the bigfoot guy is interested.
Gary Smotherman

Posted by: Gary Smotherman
1/11/2008 3:03 PM

I remember watching an analysis done by some noted anthapologists several years ago on the footage of bigfoot. They were convinced the movements were that of a primate and not of a human. There were several points they made to support this theory, but I don't remember the details.

Posted by: Gary
1/11/2008 3:13 PM

Your "What" section mentions foot sizes of 20 to 25 inches which is somewhat exaggerating the average size. While there is a print that measures 27inches, most common is in the 15-18 inch range with 17in. being most common. Dr. Henner Fahrenbach has done analytical studies of the footprint sizes and proves that it is likely that there is something living making these tracks other than hoaxes. Again if people would do some research they would find there is more to it than some idiots running around in a costume suit. Hair samples have been found, dermal ridges in footprints examined by experts (Jimmy Chilcutt and Jeff Meldrum just to name two). There are newspaper article going back to the mid-1800's and even a US President spoke of an unusual encounter(T. Roosevelt), which is attributed to bigfoot by description of what he heard. Research it, you might find it interesting; at least then you can say you educated yourself before commenting on the subject.

Kansas Bigfot Investigations
Ottawa, KS

Posted by: P.W.
1/11/2008 3:44 PM

Bizjet 66 writes: "Sort of like believing in God. This is why they call it faith, but there is no objective scientific evidence that such a creature exists".

Do you know for sure that you will wake up tomorrow without any doubt...of course not, but thats faith. In the same way you go about life as if you are going to get up tomorrow morning and yet there is no scientific evidence that can prove you will or will not get up. It is same with the idea of faith that God created everything including all animals on earth of which bigfoot is included. Sooner or later evidence always presents itself. Research how many new species of animal life has been found on earth this past year, you will be amazed.

Kansas Bigfoot Investigations
Ottawa, KS

Posted by:
1/11/2008 4:44 PM

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Metacritic's top 30 CDs of 2007

Metacritic.com consolidates reviews to arrive at their top 30 list of the best music of 2007.

The 30 Best-Reviewed Albums of the Year

1 Untrue by Burial 2007 91
2 From Here We Go Sublime by The Field 2007 90
3 In Rainbows by Radiohead 2007 88
4 And Their Refinement Of The Decline by Stars Of The Lid 2007 88
5 Raising Sand by Robert Plant And Alison Krauss 2007 87
6 Let's Stay Friends by Les Savy Fav 2007 87
7 Neon Bible by The Arcade Fire 2007 87
8 Children Running Through by Patty Griffin 2007 87
9 Kala by M.I.A. 2007 87
10 Sound Of Silver by LCD Soundsystem 2007 86
11 Comicopera by Robert Wyatt 2007 86
12 Person Pitch by Panda Bear 2007 86
13 Mirrored by Battles 2007 86
14 45:33 by LCD Soundsystem 2007 86
15 Boxer by The National 2007 86
16 New Moon by Elliott Smith 2007 85
17 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend by Miranda Lambert 2007 84
18 Ire Works by The Dillinger Escape Plan 2007 84
19 The World Has Made Me The Man Of My Dreams by Me'Shell NdegéOcello 2007 84
20 Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga by Spoon 2007 84
21 Copia by Eluvium 2007 84
22 Sweet Warrior by Richard Thompson 2007 84
23 A Place To Bury Strangers by A Place To Bury Strangers 2007 84
24 The Shepherd's Dog by Iron & Wine 2007 84
25 Beauty & Crime by Suzanne Vega 2007 84
26 Frank by Amy Winehouse 2007 84
27 Vieux Farka Toure by Vieux Farka Toure 2007 84
28 The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse by The Besnard Lakes 2007 83
29 Grinderman by Grinderman 2007 83
30 23 by Blonde Redhead 2007 83


San Diego new year's lights UFOs or Chinese lanterns?

Strange lights were spotted over the skies of San Diego. Some friends in Clairemont captured the unusual sighting on camera.

It was about half past midnight on the first day of 2008 when a string of nine lights from east to west were spotted over San Diego.

"There is a big commotion over the corner; I could tell there was something really exciting going on.” Says witness Nat Coil.

Nat Coil was among a group of college friends at a new Years party in West Clairemont.

"I looked up at where they were looking at, and right then and there I knew it was a once in a life time thing, so I had the camera on me and I started to record."

"They all moved uniformly, in a uniform speed, they moved in an arc, they didn't move in a straight line." says Dustin Gannon, "We live with a couple of guys that are astrophysics majors, and they were sitting there running through the list of possible things and we ran out of things before we could identify what it possibly was.”

Identified Flying Objects?

Possible explanations flooded into FOX6 after we aired our first report, from top secret military drones to rockets.

Several viewers suggested the lights were Chinese flying lanterns. Basically, minature hot-air balloons fueled by a candle or other flame.

They are customarily released at the New Year for good luck.

Israel to Brief Bush on Strike Against Iran

From Reuters.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 09, 2008
FROM BLOG: The Largest Minority - the eventual current of current events
The following blog post is from an independent writer and is not connected with Reuters News. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not endorsed by Reuters.com.

As Bush arrives in Israel today, Israeli security officials will be briefing him on their latest intelligence about Iran’s nuclear program… and how to destroy it.

Despite the fact that a US National Intelligence Estimate from last month had revealed that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barah will be doing his best to convince Bush that an Israeli military strike against uranium facilities in Iran should occur because he has “rock solid” information that it has started up again. Note that this is not being presented as a direct US military engagement, but one by proxy with Israel as our nuclear angel of death. Since Americans are much more concerned about American troops dying than Iranian civilians, they are likely to accept an Israeli strike supported with American weaponry. As they did during the war against Lebanon in 2006, such an agreement would allow the Bush administration to pretend as though it’s trying to end the conflict. In fact, Seymour Hersh reported that the war against Lebanon was just a prototype for a future war with Iran.

Recent remarks made by President Bush seem to suggest that he is also intent on ignoring the National Intelligence Estimate. “I read the intelligence report carefully,” Bush said. “In essence, what the report said was that Iran had a secret plan to develop nuclear weapons.” He continued, “I’m saying that a state which adopted a nontransparent policy and had a secret plan for developing nuclear weapons could easily develop an alternative plan for the same purpose. So to conclude from the intelligence report that there is no Iranian plan to develop nuclear weapons will be only a partial truth.”

In addition to the war with Lebanon, America more recently gave Israel the green light to attack a Syrian target last September. Israeli security officials say that Iran should be denied its right to enrich uranium, and that the only way to do so is to destroy Iranian instillations. With Lebanon and Syria successfully bombed, Israelis are now eager to see if Bush will give them a third gift in Iran. Even without the likely possibility of US support, it looks as though Israel may go ahead with its plans regardless. Right-wing opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu remarked soon after the NIE came out, “We always prefer international action, led by the United States, but we have to ensure that we can protect our country with all means.”

Despite the fact that US/Iranian relations have been contentious at best, US naval vessels have been performing threatening maneuvers off the shores of Iran for months. Now, with the Pentagon releasing footage from the USS Hopper of Iranian boats buzzing the vessels (video here), it does seem as though the US is trying to ratchet up anti-Iranian sentiment once again. When asked whether he would support an Israeli attack, Bush said that “all options are on the table.” This is a phrase which has been frighteningly echoed by the “top three” Democrats running for president. Since we’re not currently in a war with Iran, maybe that’s the kind of “change” they’re all talking about.

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