Why is it "WOW"?

Well ... we think WOW is often an appropriate response to life on this buzzing, happening planet.

Maybe you are like us; every now and then, you see things that just make you want to say 'Wow'

      sometimes said excitedly and flushed with optimism when one's mind is blown ...
      sometimes said in recognition of less-than-obvious connections ...
      sometimes said slowly and sadly in recognition of yet another example of our fallibility

Just for grins, we wanted to make WOW an abbreviation for some phrase; in our opinion, there are three categories of articles and opinion pieces that fit that abbreviation and that therefore deserve inclusion. This list also includes the interests of our disparate WOW staff (VERY part-time, to be sure).

WOW:World Of Wonders - This category is positioned as an upbeat view of the many marvelous things that are happening, many of which are not considered 'news' by the traditional media.

WOW:Weird Old World - This category is easy to populate---need we elaborate? Dedicated to Charles Forte

WOW:World Of [the] Web - This category tries to convey how the World Wide Web is changing our lives; special emphasis is given to social networks and amplification of the power of individuals through disintermediated immediate communication on up through queued messaging systems and further.

Presented for your titillation, consternation and information are tidbits from around the world, and from other eras. For anyone who has an inkling of what's going on in this world, it is hard to be bored for long. May this information 'inkle' you, not 'rankle' you.

Human innovation is increasing exponentially; the combinations and potential are mind-blowing. Here are 10 amazing innovation areas that will impact our future.
Jatinga India is a weird place where birds from many species have been seen deliberately diving into the ground to kill themselves; the sad annual body count ranks into the hundreds.  This is reminiscent of the way that whales sometimes beach themselves.
Mirin Dajo
No one has ever explained the amazingly impervious nature of this twentieth-century Dutch gentleman's body. Fascinating reading.
Peer 2 Peer University
One of the new forms arising from the application of our interconnected world is the Peer 2 Peer University, which, in their own words "is an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses. Think of it as online book clubs for open educational resources."
Sniffing Keystrokes
The technology exists to read what a person is typing through the air.
Decades of evidence
A woman of sound mind, religious, kind, intelligent, and thoughtful, has been capturing images and video of 'light beings' (she doesn't call them UFO's) who have been appearing to her and many others over the last few decades, going back to the 1970's. There is a video of her story, and a remarkable unexpected series of discoveries. For example, as ably testified in the film, the special images that appear to Dorothy Wilkinson-Izatt are authentic.

Dorothy films into what often is just empty space, and gets video frames (always and only a single, discrete frame) that have remarkably different, very rich light patterns. They flash out of nowhere, and are not really visible to a human until the film is developed. Remarkably, one occasion, some of the frames have themselves been printed on large format stock, and videos of them have been made, and these videos have frames with different contents. The 'depth' of this seems unlimited, in that the light captured seems to be split further and further into more layers/levels of images. Reminiscent in a way of fractals. Check it out.
Nano-medicine: tiny delivery systems for drug payloads will revolutionize cancer treatment

This year's winner of the $500,000 Lemelson-MIT award for invention, Dr. Joe DeSimone, has been designing nano-particles that can carry chemicals to specific cells; this has obvious promise for chemotherapy applications, still some years down the road, but good news indeed.

DeSimone and his colleagues at UNC are also working on a therapy called "silencing RNA" or siRNA. The theory is that certain diseases can be cured even before they present by identifying the protein instructions that will cause them. The chemical payload from the nano-particles would suppress or alter the functioning of the proteins. This is truly wonderful. The clip below shows the particles entering the bad cells.

Invisibility Cloak demonstrated in microwave spectrum
Announced in 2007, a group of British and US scientists created a prototype device that did not reflect microwaves projected in its direction. When a sensing device gets feedback from signals that bounce off an object, that object is registered as existing; if the signals never return, the object is effectively invisible to that device. The sense of those who understand the implications is that lightwaves could also be faked out in this fashion, thus making Harry Potter style cloaking theoretically feasible.
New form factors for prosaic technologies
Cell Phone Projectors and Touchscreen Coffee Tables are two of the products generated by the fertile minds of entrepreneurs.
Is Appendicitis a form of Auto-immune disease?
The Hygiene Hypothesis suggests that lack of exposure to germs at a formative age causes health problems down the road, as the body does not react appropriately to relatively innocuous agents. A recent interview on NPR suggests that appendicitis may be a similar reaction, where the body's immune system, confused by this syndrome, starts attacking material in the appendix, causing the malady. Eat a peck of dirt, folks!
That bottled water is usually no better than your tap water! (Well, at least not much better.) Mainstream (pun intended) water bottlers use municipal water sources, while subjecting the water to much more filtering. Take the hint and just get yourself a filter and save money. The inhouse filter will pay for itself easily within a year. Related: If you want to minimize your exposure to chlorine-laden water, consider that a shower or bath exposes the millions of pores in your entire body surface to that water. If you're going to filter your water, don't forget the shower head and bath spigot!
Enfield Poltergeist story in England still chills after 30 years
You might dismiss it entirely, but the part about 'Bill' some 30 minutes into the show is pretty interesting.
The metabolism of hummingbirds is so high, and they burn through nutrients at such a high rate, that they engage in a form of 'hibernation' nightly to avoid starving to death!
Salem Witch Trials of 1600's likely reaction to bad rye crop
More about Salem
Remarkable stories of frogs/toads found within solid rock
It's hard to know what to make of these stories; read, and conclude for yourself. Some can always come up with refutations of ALL odd phenomena, while others can at least on occasion feel a renewed sense of wonder at our weird world.
How about riding around in the Chernobyl area on your motorcycle? Some might think it weird, but 'Kid of Speed' thinks it's no big deal. You decide.

No comment (necessary)
Free, Shareable Scientific Research
The Public Library of Science publishes "peer-reviewed, open access scientific and medical journals that include original research as well as timely feature articles. All PLoS articles are immediately freely accessible online, are deposited in the free public archive PubMed Central, and can be redistributed and reused according to the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License " If you are trying to put together a web site that has original, cutting edge strong scientific content, visit this site.
Charity Focus is an experiment in the joy of giving, and the leveraging of good will volunteers and technology toward pursuit of noble ends. From their web site:
"CharityFocus has partnered with hundreds of small nonprofit organizations... to build custom web-solutions. CharityFocus' unique model enables volunteers to deploy a broad array of expertise to help NPOs better deliver services to their beneficiaries and more effectively reach their target audience. CharityFocus is completely volunteer run, and the services of its volunteers are absolutely free."
A 'Zagats' for Web sites
McAfee SiteAdvisor is a feature of their virus- and spam-protection software. You can join other reviewers and add your opinions about web sites to warn fellow users.
Artist Ollie Palmer on staging an 'ant ballet'
This innovative gent hacked the pheromones ants use to navigate and orchestrated a lovely dance.
On September 11th 2002, the New York Lottery drew 911 as the winning pick-3 combination and the Standard & Poor's 500 futures contract closed at 911.00. (Shudder).
It appears that the wealth of diversity on the web does not equate to a more enlightened populace, as now a person can find web content and communities that will REINFORCE any viewpoints the person may already harbor; sigh.
Millions of Spiders in a 200-yard-long web
Spiders are usually solitary predators; this cooperation on such a scale is remarkable.
The "Michael Jordan of Meditation"
That's what writer George Saunders has said about a remarkable story in the jungles of Nepal. You may have heard about the 'Buddha Boy'. It is an easy story to dismiss, but it may offer a glimpse of human potential, according to Saunders, who is still trying to come to terms with what he experienced, according to the NPR interview. Listen to the story of a modern American who writes for GQ, and who came away convinced that something very unusual, potentially wonderful, is going on there. His full column is only found in the pages of GQ, unfortunately.
Web Site indexes video, audio by text contents
Blinkx (not the pastry!) runs video and audio through a speech-to-text converter, then indexes that content in a large database. You are then able to search for the occurrence of a word or a phrase, and pull up references to any indexed content that meets your criteria. Bet you won't be saying "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" when you see how useful this can be, (although you can search for any film that contains that phrase --- any that are already indexed, that is, and not all are yet)
Akash Bhairab and the Airline
Nepal's state-run airline sacrificed two goats recently to propitiate the Hindu god of the skies. We wonder if there's anything US carriers can sacrifice to add more leg room.
Fly me to the Moon
Now, you, a private citizen, can join the first private expedition to the moon. Price - $100 million. Obviously, not in everyone's budget, but affordable to increasingly many.
Weird, Wonderful, or wonderfully weird, it's Leigh Bowery!!
Artists often act out of their own worldview and inner drives. This flamboyant and often off-putting man had a brief but florid life.
Bionic Eye coming
Hmm. Just in time for the new series on NBC?
A quarter-million people per SQUARE MILE
During the height of the immigration wave into New York the tenements of the Lower East Side had a population density that was the highest on earth, 240,000 people per square mile. The movie Gangs of New York gives us a flavor of what that must have been like. Visit the Tenement Museum if you are ever in New York. It's fascinating.
Rollerblades of Death (shudder)
This is a real product, apparently; we think it belongs in the 'weird' category.
Free Courses from MIT
I think this rates a 'Wow' along with a 'Web'; imagine taking over 1500 courses that are offered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, at home, for free, in dozens of subjects?  Remarkable example of the power of the Internet, and the Open Courseware (OCW) initiative. Statistics from their site:
  • 95% of users report OCW helps them to be more productive and effective
  • 46% of educators have adopted OCW content to improve their own teaching
  • 38% of students use OCW materials to complement a course they are taking; 34% use OCW to learn about subjects outside of formal classes
  • 56% of self-learners use OCW to enhance personal knowledge; 16% use OCW to stay current in their chosen field
  • 96% of all users would recommend OCW to others
Vegetable Oil-powered Bus
One Million Miles in a Saab
A salesman in Wisconsin some years back donated his car to a museum; not that he couldn't have kept driving it, by the way.  The owner cited a Volvo he had heard about that had 2.5 million miles on it. Way to go Scandinavia!
Gun-toting Robots in Iraq
This article discloses a new step in warfare, something we as a species seem to always be taking. 'Terminator', anyone? Competition for Blackwater?
Flat, two-dimensional art of the Middle Ages
You may wonder about the 'primitive' quality of most medieval European art, which has no perspective. This is not a failure of skill, as prior art did not suffer this flat appearance, but rather a deliberate attempt to depict existence from the point of view of an omnipotent God, to whom all look alike. This was a requirement of the Church. The Renaissance was the time in European history when old dogma and authority were challenged, and the (re)introduction of three-dimensional perspective and the 'vanishing point' were part of the reorientation of the world view. The use of perspective in painting supported the conceit that a human observer was looking at the picture.
This is not your Father's Oldsmobile Ford
Some 2008 Ford models will allow integration of your cell phone with the stereo system, to permit voice control of your audio experience, and to have your car read text messages to you. That way, you can still do your nails, shave, etc. without getting that optional third arm  installed on your body (still prohibitively expensive, since it doesn't exist - yet).
In the Netherlands in September 2005, the first civil union of three partners was registered. Victor de Bruijn (46) from Roosendaal “married” both Bianca (31) and Mirjam (35) in a ceremony before a notary who duly registered their civil union.

“I love both Bianca and Mirjam, so I am marrying them both,” Victor said. He had previously been married to Bianca. Two and a half years ago they met Mirjam Geven through an internet chatroom. Eight weeks later Mirjam deserted her husband and came to live with Victor and Bianca. After Mirjam's divorce the threesome decided to marry. Victor said at the time: “A marriage between three persons is not possible in the Netherlands, but a civil union is. We went to the notary in our marriage costume and exchanged rings. We consider this to be just an ordinary marriage.”

Asked by journalists to tell the secret of their peculiar relationship, Victor explained that there is no jealousy between them. “But this is because Mirjam and Bianca are bisexual. I think that with two heterosexual women it would be more difficult.” Victor stressed, however, that he is “a one hundred per cent heterosexual” and that a fourth person will not be allowed into the “marriage.”  Editor note: Well, you have to draw the line somewhere.
Top Ten Weirdest Japanese Condom Designs
  (Mildly offensive, AND mind-boggling)
Clouds for sale in China
Spider Silk used to create tiny tubes
Modern techniques uncover (at least one) secret of the Pyramids
Chimpanzees seem to naturally exhibit selfless behavior to strangers
While we as humans are unique, we do not claim as many singular traits as we used to.
New 7 Wonders of the World
Bar in China allows stressed out customers to beat up staff

A new approach to computing that tries to mimic the brain
Heiress to Rifle fortune feared ghostly retribution, built amazing house
According to some accounts (although this story line is not mentioned in the article cited above) the woman who had the house built hoped that the design of the house would make it impossible for ghosts of people who were killed by Remington rifles to find her and harm her.
Are solutions to our energy problems known, and being suppressed? 
This one truly rates a WOW, if it is even partly true. Although this will be covered in more detail later in the Borderland section, this deserves mention now, in light of our current plight. Note the national/global security implications as well. X-Files, indeed.
If you already liked Tilapia on your plate, here's another reason to favor that fish, as this news from Africa is good news for malaria eradication efforts.


Airplanes the size of dragonflies

Robert Monroe and visits to other realms of existence

True "Blue Bloods"

B.C. Baghdad Battery

The Crystal Skull - what is its origin?

Patterns of weathering on Sphinx contradict official timeline

Edgar Cayce and the Akashic Record/Noosphere

The dead man who appeared in his unit photo

Living in the Midst of a Paradigm Shift
I don't think there is anyone who would deny that we are undergoing a lot of spiritual and physical changes; not everyone is changing, while some are changing a lot.

Throughout history, there have been times when growth in raw information and its mature spriritual sibling, human wisdom, have been rapid and profound, especially given the SYNERGISTIC effect that sometimes kicks in among different strands of enterprise and thought. One example is the Web, version 2.0, as it's called, which is characterized by the already powerful infrastructure of the internet, on which programmers and entrepreneurs have created services, with high availability, security, and high levels of peer-to-peer unmediated (or dis-intermediated, if you prefer) communication and commerce. Also powerful is the community-building and community-enhancing aspects of this global resource.

Think of how much detailed, often temporally deep, reference material is available now, and how more and more will be added. Think of the hand-held device such as the PDA or cell phone, connected to that global, standards-based, highly available network. Think of how you can store files, send movies and documents to anyone in the world, and build web sites like this to get your opinion heard, and visit other sites, to give your opinion. Think of the social impact of these factors. (While we're at it, want to thank CDEIS.COM for coming up with the idea of how the web site is to be organized, and our contributions).

Friends, think, think, think. And don't be afraid. Note also the arguments that a SMALL percentage of the population can have significant, decisive effects. Read Malcolm Gladwell's 'Tipping Point'.

In the Borderland region of CDEIS.COM, you will find engaging, and dare we say, persuasive evidence about this world that is not common knowledge, and has not made it into the popular understanding - yet.   This region also explains why popular acceptance of borderland phenomena is never to be attained, for reasons that are compelling to powerful people.

The evidence on Borderland is enlightening, sometimes frightening, often awe-inspiring. Take a chance and visit our neighbor page, which is still in development.