Alternative Science

Secrets of the Alchemists

By Joseph Robert Jochmans, Lit.D.

Without a doubt the best known claim of the alchemists was the transmutation of lead into gold. Modern physicists up until the end of the nineteenth century dismissed such notions as ridiculous, for it violated all known laws of the stability and constancy of the elements. But then came Madame Joliot-Curie, radium, and the discovery of radioactive substances which can be transformed by isotope decay from higher atomic number elements to lower number ele­ments. So far, physicists have been able to synthesize up to element…

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Lake Vostok’s Secret Life

By Martin Ruggles

In the twenty years since the discovery of Lake Vostok, the burning—or should we say chilling?—question about the giant sub-glacial body of liquid water has been: will we find life there? In late June of this year the world learned that the definitive answer is a resounding, yes. The enormous lake is, in fact, “teeming” with life. Before the announcement, conventional wisdom has had it that Vostok was probably sterile. It is, after all, very cold and inhospitable down there but once again conventional science…

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Private Space

By Steven Sora

Are you one of those waiting for the day when space travel is no longer reserved for highly trained astronauts? Well, wait no longer.  2012 may go down in history as the year private industry takes over the race to space—at least America’s part. For a price, individuals can take day trips to space, overnight visits to a space station, book a space hotel—even one near the moon—and if one has the desire for romance, it could soon be possible to get married in space…

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The Coming of the Clones

By Patrick Marsolek

In March, a group of South Korean and Russian scientists working through the Sooam Biotech Research Foundation announced that they were actively working on cloning a Woolly Mammoth. Continuing advances in genetic research mean scientists may be closer than ever to realizing this strange dream. The Sooam group is working with DNA extracted from the amazingly well preserved Mammoth that was recovered in 2013 on the Siberian island of Maly Lyakhovsky. While this Mammoth, nicknamed “Buttercup,” was being excavated from the permafrost, a thick, red,…

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Weather Wars

BY JOHN KETTLER

This historic tropical storm season (storm specialists ran out of named storms, substituted Greek letters) appears to have finally jarred the mass consciousness into realizing there’s something fundamentally off with the weather. For “off” substitute “unnatural.” Consequently, concepts and people normally kept on the sidelines and out of the public eye are receiving unprecedented coverage and exposure in such unlikely places as Business Week Online magazine. Consider the following: First, “normal” weather is, from a long-term-climatological perspective, an exception to the general pattern; his­torically it…

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Genetic Manipulation

By Patrick Marsolek

New research and applications for genetically manipulated organisms are in the news almost daily. Genetic manipulation is the new playing field and has many potential uses—and abuses. Are we ready for it? With more refined equipment and computers to work at the sub-cellular level, combined with better understanding of the organic chemistry of DNA and chromosomes, literally anybody, who wants to, can do genetic research. Multinational corporations like DuPont and Monsanto are going full steam ahead, and your neighbor could be, too. In a San…

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X-Ray Vision and Far Beyond

by John Kettler

Superman had it, as did Ray Milland in Roger Corman’s The Man with X-Ray Eyes (see sidebar) and so, too, have other assorted superheroes, and it has been rumored that even Nicola Tesla had a machine that could accomplish it. So-called X-ray vision, or the ability to see through walls, though, has remained pretty much a science fiction fantasy—unless you count the kind hospitals and your dentist can do. All that may be about to change, though, thanks to the efforts of a maverick Canadian…

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Global Drying

By Susan B. Martinez, Ph.D.

Doesn’t Drying Mean Cooling? Cold and dry are a set; think of the Poles: Antarctica, the coldest place on earth, is technically a desert, with barely six inches of annual rainfall. Contrapuntally, the world’s rain forests are near the Equator. Water vapor acts as the most effective greenhouse gas, holding in heat. And it works both ways: “Raising temperature … enhances moisture content of the atmosphere” (“The Human Impact on Climate,” Scientific American, Dec. 1999, p. 103). By the same token, forestlands hold in both…

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How Did the Ice Ages End?

By Cynthia Logan

SIDEBAR: John Anthony West has complained that Ph.D. candidates in Egyptology spend way too much time on subjects like Tutankhamun’s underwear, and far too little on subjects of real significance, like the true meaning of Egypt’s monuments. We end up knowing more and more about less and less, he has argued. The pattern is repeated throughout the entire scientific establishment, as researchers, in order to advance their careers, feel the need to specialize in ever-narrower areas of interest. The smart doctoral candidates politely defer to…

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Solar Catastrophe

Solar Catastrophe Did An Outburst from the Sun End the Last Ice Age and Destroy a Forgotten Civilization? By Robert M. Schoch, Ph.D.   The conventional status quo view is that true civilization and high culture dates back to the period of approximately 3500 BC to 3000 BC in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus region. In the early 1990s, my work on the Great Sphinx of Egypt broke this barrier when I demonstrated, using geological data, that the great statue’s origins go back thousands of…

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