Archive for the ‘News of the World’ category

Modern Pteranodon in a Photo

March 24th, 2017

By Jonathan D. Whitcomb, nonfiction-cryptozoology author

I’ve known about this photograph for a long time. This may be what I saw in a book in a public library in Pasadena, California, in the 1960’s, although I can’t be sure of my memory on that. Others have reported seeing this photo at about the same time, perhaps in a Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” book between the 1950’s and the 1970’s. I call this photo “Ptp.”

19th century photo with an apparent Pteranodon

“Ptp” – declared to be a genuine photograph (click to compare it with a hoax photo)

I examined Ptp in 2013, and found that the skeptical comments that had been written about it were unjustified. I wrote about the possibility that this could be a genuine photograph of a modern pterosaur, but was far from certain about its authenticity at that time.

In January of 2017, I took a closer look and found this old photo to be more credible than I had thought. I talked with the missile defense physicist Clifford Paiva, on January 14th, and we agreed that this has a genuine image of a modern pterosaur, although we stopped short of insisting that it must have been a species of Pteranodon.

Why did it take so long?

If this photograph had been around since before 1870, why did it take so long for it to be proclaimed authentic by two scientists? That’s a long story, but it’s answered in the upcoming nonfiction cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs (to be published around mid-April of 2017).

Part of the problem has been in recent years, when the Ptp photograph has often been confused with a newer image, a hoax-photo created for a television show.

recent hoax, made in imitation of Ptp

Hoax photo made for a TV show (“Freakylinks”)

That fake photo was made with men dressed like Civil War soldiers (but it was really around the year 2000) and posed in a similar way to the men in the original Ptp photograph.

Some people, including Glen Kuban, became confused, assuming that Ptp was the photo that was created for the TV show. In fact, as recently as March 23, 2017, Kuban’s long online publication “Living Pterodactyls?” still had that photo (and text that included “hoax”) showing Ptp next to a paragraph that included, “a promotional stunt for a Fox television series” (meaning the Freakylinks TV show, apparently). By the way, I have found “Living Pterodactyls,” by Kuban, to be a severely one-sided and non-objective attempt to convince people to disbelieve in extant pterosaurs.

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Pre-1870 prop technique used

Branch-prop was used to steady a soldier’s foot during photographic exposure

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Evidences of authenticity in Ptp

The following are some of the evidences that Cliff Paiva and I have found in support of the interpretation that the Ptp photograph has a genuine image of a modern pterosaur:

  1. One or two branches were used as props, similar to pre-1870 photographic techniques
  2. The shadow under one shoe corresponds to shadows on the animal
  3. Belt buckle sizes correlate with the distances expected from camera to soldiers
  4. Drag mark shows where the animal was dragged into the clearing
  5. Small sapling tree was broken down to allow for that dragging
  6. Paiva found evidence of blood effusion in at least two areas on the animal
  7. White areas of wings have both biological symmetry and differences

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copyright 2017 Jonathan Whitcomb

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Genuine Photograph of an Extant Pterosaur

This is a study in cryptozoology, with an apparent “living fossil” that appears to have been a Pterodactyloid pterosaur. Paiva and Whitcomb stopped short of insisting that the animal was a species of Pteranodon, but they have pointed out the obvious similarities in appearance between this image and what is known from Pteranodon fossils.

Living Pterosaurs

Throughout human history, and more recently, come fascinating reports of what may have been living pterosaurs. From “fiery flying serpents” of the Bible ages ago, to strange flying creatures called “dragons” in England and other European countries a few centuries ago, to a huge pterosaur flying across a country highway in South Carolina in 1989, descriptions of these “flying dinosaurs,” commonly called “pterodactyls,” make if obvious that they are non-fictional and non-extinct.

Photograph of a modern pterosaur

What nonfiction book in history has come as such a shock as this? Not only have skeptical dismissals of the Ptp photograph been answered in scientific details but independent evidence is offered to back it up.

Civil War pterosaur photo

The photo shown here, recently given the label of “Ptp,” has been declared to have a genuine image of a modern pterosaur. The proclamation was given by the physicist Clifford Paiva and the cryptozoology author Jonathan Whitcomb on January 14, 2017.

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Benefits of Concentrating on Chess

July 11th, 2016

By Jonathan Whitcomb, chess coach in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah

It’s no secret that focusing on a game of chess is mental exercise, although deeply competitive players rarely think about that during a game. It’s been said that two old men playing chess can wear out two pairs of pants, notwithstanding. But using your head in the royal game—that can win you advantages beyond any chess trophy.

I’m a chess tutor living in Murray, Utah, and writing on many blogs on several subjects, one of which is chess. I gained a passionate interest in the game when I was but thirteen, when John F. Kennedy was president (for those interested in ancient history). In more recent years, I noticed an interesting benefit to playing chess.

I was the organist for my ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Bixby Knolls neighborhood of Long Beach, California. For prelude music I improvised from musical themes in the hymns, a practice common at the time of Johann Sebastian Bach but becoming rare with modern church organists.

Then I had a vigorous day of chess one Saturday and found that the improvising came a bit easier on the organ the next day. I tried again, concentrating on chess on another Saturday and finding organ playing easier on the next day. Yet what first caught my attention was not the improvising, which was only a bit better: I made fewer errors in accompanying the congregational hymn singing, and for me that was markedly better.

If this were only about one chess-playing church organist, some people could refuse to sing along, doubting that an old board game could make anybody smarter. But many experiments, over many years, have confirmed that concentrating on chess can improve thinking in ways that help students do better in school. And if kids can benefit from concentrating on the royal game, doing better in school subjects, an old man like me, wearing out a pair of pants, can benefit as well.

The FIDE, the international organization for chess, has done studies on how various European countries have promoted chess-playing in schools. Here’s one page of their report:

Survey of chess activities in various nations in Europe

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Private Chess Lessons in Utah (by Jonathan Whitcomb)

For those living in or near the Salt Lake Valley in Utah, I am offering chess tutoring in private and group sessions ($25 per one-hour lesson). The first session is a free introductory meeting. It allows you to get to know how I teach and I can make a preliminary assessment of where you stand in chess-playing abilities. I can drive to your home or to a public park or library convenient to both of us (I live in Murray).

Feel free to call me at 801-590-9692 or contact me through email.

I’m a member, in good standing, of the Unites States Chess Federation.

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Two men play a game of chess

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Chess in Holladay, Utah

At least when school is in session, the royal game does not take a holiday [in Holladay, Utah] . . . Chess instructor Jonathan Whitcomb, who photographed the 2016 championship, is now promoting activity in the game during the summer months, offering both a free tournament and $25 private chess lessons.

Chess Tutor in Salt Lake Valley

The following are schools in Cottonwood Heights, Utah, that have chess clubs during their school years. This is not portrayed as a complete listing . . .

Chess Lessons in Utah

Chess Coach Jonathan Whitcomb, of Murray, Utah (author of the book Beat That Kid in Chess), offers private and group lessons in the Salt Lake Valley. . . . he is available for a free introductory chess instruction session for home-school families.

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Dinosaurs and Blind Dates

April 15th, 2015

For several generations, many scientists in Western countries have assumed that all dinosaurs became extinct by many millions of years ago. Some non-scientists have assumed the ancient dates were obtained by directly testing those old dinosaur bones, but a new investigation has shattered that myth.

Modern carbon-14 dating of samples of bones from eight dinosaurs (fossils excavated in Texas, Alaska, Colorado, and Montana) revealed shocking ages when those animals actually lived on the earth: only about 22,000 to 39,000 years ago.

It came to light at the Western Pacific Geophysics Meeting in Singapore, held August 13-17, 2012, a conference of the American Geophysical Union and the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society.

Carbon-14 dating shows dinosaurs lived recently

Dr. Thomas Seiler, a physicist from Germany, gave the presentation for the Paleochronology group, using data from years of investigating and sending samples to Carbon-14 labs for testing.

The dinosaurs tested included Acrocanthosaurus, Allosaurus, Hadrosaurus, Triceratops, and Apatosaur. The findings were so shocking that two chairpersons later deleted the lecture abstract, without prior warning, from the official web site of the conference.

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Dinosaur Bones Less Than 40,000 Years Old

Since dinosaurs are thought to be over 65 million years old, the news is stunning – and more than some can tolerate. After the AOGS-AGU conference in Singapore, the abstract was removed from the conference website by two chairmen because they could not accept the findings.

Carbon-14 Dinosaur Dating

Radiocarbon dating is the most accurate and most verifiable of the radiometric dating systems. Dates for carbon material can often be independently verified by testing something that is known historically, from records of human observations.

Scientific Dating and Young Dinosaurs

A number of pieces of dinosaur bones found in North American have been dated in recent years. So how many millions of years old are those fossils? Well, they’re not actually that old, apparently, dated at tens of thousands of years old, according to carbon-14 testing.

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New Word for the old Marriage

June 29th, 2013

A nonfiction author in Long Beach, California, has introduced a new word for the husband-wife relationship: “adahmeve” (pronounced ah-‘dahm-eev). Jonathan Whitcomb explains that recent government actions in the United States have effectively changed the meaning of the word “marriage,” leaving his society without a word for the union of husband and wife. On June 28, 2013, the same day that same-gender marriages began to be licensed in California, Whitcomb introduced “adahmeve” to allow that ancient relationship of husband-wife to continue to have a name.

Two days earlier, The U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that the group of private individuals (who were trying to save Proposition 8) did not have the authority to bring up the matter before them. Although a majority of Californians had voted to keep marriage between a husband and wife, elected officials in that state fought against Proposition 8. The normal procedure for an American state in defending a state law in the U.S. Federal Supreme Court is for the governor or his representative to defend it. The Californian governor refused to do so, apparently leaving no possible person or persons who could authoritatively represent the case in the Supreme Court. The vote in Washington was deeply divided: 5-4.

Andy Pugno, Proposition-8 General Counsel in the case, announced on June 28th, “We just received word that the Ninth Circuit, without waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision to become final and depriving us of our right to ask for reconsideration, has rushed forward to order same-sex marriage licenses. This outrageous act of judicial tyranny tops off a chronic pattern of lawlessness, throughout this case, by judges and politicians hell-bent on thwarting the vote of the people to redefine marriage by any means, even outright corruption.

Whitcomb suggests that the case illustrates a disturbing weakness in American government. A corrupt governor may combine efforts with one corrupt judge to nullify the vote of millions of the people by making it impossible for a case to be judged by the United States Supreme Court. In this case, according to Whitcomb, the husband-wife relationship no longer has a name specific to itself, unless a new word becomes popular as a replacement. He suggests “adahmeve.”

a young husband and wife hold their new-born baby girl

 

Benefits of Piano Lessons for Kids

June 27th, 2013

New studies on brain activities demonstrate that musicians are mentally highly developed. Those who concentrate on music performance are more alert and have more desire to learn in general.

That kind of mental development helps a person to see the whole picture. Similar abilities have been found in top athletes, the best managers, and those who use transcendental meditation.

Summer Break and Piano Lessons for Children

When kids start their summer break from school—that may be a good time to begin piano lessons. Children need mental activities, not just running around outside. Without school studies, exercising those little brains can be challenging. Piano lessons provide the opportunity for youngsters to develop musical talent between outdoor play activities.

Piano and Chess Lessons in Child Care

A parent is lucky to find a piano teacher for less than $25 per half-hour lesson; some charge more. This could come to $1000 per year or even more, just for the lesson charges, not counting transportation if its done at the teacher’s home or at a studio.

Musician’s Brains Highly Developed

The researchers measure mind brain development in several ways. EEGs reveal special patterns in the electrical activity of the brain in people with high mind brain development. They have well‑coordinated frontal lobes.

Beetle Banquet?

May 13th, 2013

According to a United Nation report, we would be better off eating insects, at least for part of our diet. The main point is that it could reduce world hunger and pollution, assuming we would use less traditional meat, as from cattle and pigs.

The report says that caterpillars have about the same amount of protein as minced beef but ten times more iron. Grasshoppers and dung beetles also have more iron than beef, but not many Westerners are likely to soon begin feasting on beetles that eat poop.

A young lady begins to put a dead tarantula into her mouth. Insects are eaten by people in some places in the world.

Tantalizing tarantula (courtesy of BBC news)

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U.N urges people to eat insects 

It notes than over 2 billion people worldwide already supplement their diet with insects.

However it admits that “consumer disgust” remains a large barrier in many Western countries.

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Do jumping fish look like flying pterosaurs?

A critic has suggested that many stories of extant pterosaurs flying overhead come from misidentifications of large Manta ray fishes that are jumping out of the sea.

What about the 1965 sighting by Patty Carson? This was close to the sea, at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But the “dinosaur” that Patty and her brother watched on one particular day was sitting upright in tall grass before it flapped its wings and flew away. Manta ray fish don’t do that.

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Are they still with us?

November 10th, 2012

Have you ever reminisced on a person who was famous decades ago? Is that celebrity still alive?

Consider the following and take the test, answering who the person is (or was) and the status: living or deceased. If you believe the person passed away, guess the death year. Test yourself.

Does someone look familiar, but you can’t quite get the name? Hints are found near the bottom of this post; answers, at the bottom.

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1) Who is she? (still living?)

famous person number one

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2) Who is he? (still with us?)

famous person number two

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3) Who is this lady? (still living?)

famous person number three

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4) Who is this man? (still here?)

famous person number four

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5) Who is he? (still here?)

famous person #5

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This is a placeholder, so you don’t accidentally scroll down to the hints or the answers before you’re ready. Anyway, how can anybody get rid of him?

cartoon character Bugs Bunny

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HINT FOR PERSON #1:

A young lady, innocent of the crime for which she is about to be hanged, stands dejected high up on a platform above a crowd. Nothing is above her and her executioner but the heavens. But she is rescued by a man who does not use a ladder to get up to the platform. He uses something to get down to her, knocking over the ladder and executioner in the process. The young lady is rescued, but no lady in that city would think of kissing the hero who rescued her. Does that ring a bell?

HINT FOR PERSON #2:

“Laugh and be happy, and the world will laugh with you.

When people see you smiling, they can’t help smiling too.”

If you remember when this sheriff first began to be famous, you’ve put a lot of candles on a lot of birthday cakes.

HINT FOR PERSON #3:

She was the leader of one of the largest countries in the world and had the same last name as an even more famous person of that same country. But those two leaders were not closely related. They died in somewhat similar ways: not a normal way of passing.

HINT FOR PERSON #4:

As American as mashed potatoes.

HINT FOR PERSON #5:

Since he was a small child, he concentrated on one field of competition. Some persons might think he had a checkered career. Anyway, during the Cold War, he was a pain to the Russians in proving they were not invincible.

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Another placeholder – Are you sure you’re ready for the answers?

cartoon character Mickey Mouse

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1) Maureen O’Hara (born 17 August 1920) – She is the only one of these five who is still with us (at least as of September of 2012). This actress played Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) with Charles Laughton.

2) Sheriff John was played on KTTV television by John Rovick (October 2, 1919, Dayton, Ohio – October 6, 2012) from 1952, one of the early children’s programs. We’ll always keep a candle burning in our hearts for him.

3) Indira Ghandi was the third Prime Minister of India, who served for three consecutive terms (1966–77) and a fourth term (1980–84). She was not closely related to Mahatma Ghandi. Both leaders were assasinated.

4) Harry Morgan (April 10, 1915 – December 7, 2011) is remembered by many as Colonel Sherman T. Potter in the M*A*S*H television show. For those who memories go back further, he was Officer Bill Gannon on Dragnet (1967–1970).

5) Robert James “Bobby” Fischer (March 9, 1943 – January 17, 2008) was the first American to win the World Chess Championship, defeating Boris Spassky of the USSR in 1972, in a 21-game match (although only twenty games were actually played). But Fischer’s best performances in 1972 were not in the world championship match: They were in the Candidates matches against two of the top grandmasters in the world, Mark Taimanov and Bent Larsen. Fischer eliminated both of them with perfect scores of 6–0, an accomplishment never equaled before or since in chess history. Until that time, perhaps no chess expert had even dreamed that any top-ranked grandmaster could be defeated 6-0, even against a world champion. When Fischer was hot, he was astonishing.

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Chess Finesse

As white, your pawn has been advancing up the board. What is your best move in this position?

Pterosaurs are not Manta rays

The “pterodactyl” flew up over the jungle canopy and within a minute or so . . . It had a tail “at least” ten or fifteen feet long. It also had a long neck and a long appendage, horn-like, coming out of the back of the creature’s head.

Death of North Korean Leader

December 19th, 2011

Kim Jong Il, leader of North Korea since 1994, has died at the age of 69.

KSN News:

During his 17 years in power, the country suffered a devastating famine even as it built up its million-strong army, expanded its arsenal of ballistic missiles and became the world’s eighth declared nuclear power.

The news of his death spurred South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North more than five decades after their 1950-53 conflict, to put its military on high alert.

Bank of America Comedy

June 9th, 2011

Warren and Maureen Nyerges, in Naples, Florida, were shocked at the foreclosure notice, for they had paid cash for their home in 2009, never having any mortage on that house. Bank of America, however, was adamant, refusing to consider that possibility.

Months passed, with significant legal proceedings, but the issue was finally resolved. A moving truck arrived, escorted by two sheriff’s deputies, and all was ready for removing property; but it was not the furniture of the Nyerges family, for they had won the lawsuit: The deputies informed the branch manager of the local Bank of America that he could paid the legal fee or allow the Nyerges family to remove furniture and cash from the bank.

Apparently it is bad for business for customers to arrive at their bank, ready to deposit their checks, and then be shocked at finding police officers enforcing the removal of the branch manager’s desk and office chair: The manager signed a check to cover legal expenses.

New Drug for Skin Cancer

March 7th, 2011

(KHOU, Houston, Texas) Scientists continue to search for prevention and treatment against skin cancer, especially melanoma, the deadliest form of the disease. One patient, Hilde Stapleton, noticed an itch behind her knee twelve years ago; it nearly ended her life.

The cancer even spread to Stapleton’s knee, thigh and lungs. But after 10 surgeries and 3 rounds of chemotherapy, she had a stroke and nearly died. But Stapleton’s doctors at MD Anderson entered her into a trial for a new cancer-killing drug. And it worked.

Stapleton’s melanoma is now in remission and she credits the drug trial for saving her life.

Oncologist Dr Kevin Kim says these types of trials are symbols of hope in the fight against melanoma, an aggressive cancer that is often resistant to chemotherapy. “Now we see some survivor benefit, finally for the first time in 30 years or more.” said Kim. “This is a very promising time for sure.” Dr Kim is also excited about a promising new drug that started its trials at MD Anderson. Nearly half of the advanced-stage melanoma patients who were treated with the drug saw major improvements. It should receive FDA approval by the end of the year. “We can customize with better medicines in five years,” said Kim. “I believe in five years we will have a definite impact on the survival of patients.”

Reply to Houston Chronicle regarding the Marfa Lights of southwest Texas