Friday, April 09, 2004


The "Fortean phenomenon" published by CNN as Offbeat News (on April 1st) obviously fooled the uncritical minds at MSNBC news (who published it as science on 4th April). See:

Well, it was certainly reported by CNN on April 1st. But if you're assuming that it's an April 1st Hoax that got out of control, I think you're jumping to conclusions: a quick google shows that the story has been reported on for some time -- here's a February article that's pretty representative:, and here's a website from March showing the fire locations with hypotheses as to the causes: including links to several Italian articles. So, as far as I'm concerned, it remains true-ish, sitting happily in Fortean territories (Charles Fort would have loved to have written about it). (And for those of you who aren't quite sure who Charles Fort was or what he did, you can read some of his books online -- I'm particularly fond of The Book of the Damned at and Wikipedia has a terrific summary of his life and achievements at

(One day I'll write my Charles Fort in the British Museum short story.)

Hi, Neil!
I'm sure you've seen the article about the Mini that was clocked at Mach 3 ( I forwarded it on to my husband in yet another attempt to convince him to let me indulge my Mini lust. His response: 'But honestly--what kind of gas mileage can you expect at Mach 3, anyway?'

Beyond that, we wondered, what happens if you install one of those noisemaker exhaust pipes, and then break the sound barrier?

Oh! Or those little deer whistles--do they get doppler shifted into ultrasonic frequencies as you approach Mach 1, and keep you from hitting bats instead?

All important questions that must be answered! Care to do some research for those of us who only wish we owned a Mini?


How bizarre. When you first take possession of your Mini you have to sign a piece of paper promising not to use the hyperdrive in Earth's atmosphere. I bet that Belgian's going to get into trouble with the Mini Owner's Association...