Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Anomalist Roundup

Every weekend I love catching up on The Anomalist. Here are some picks from last weekend (that I never had time to post):

Here's a link to a strangely sincere article about recording things backwards and finding coherent messages (not just in trippy albums).

Shortly afterwards, my little hobby took a dramatic turn when I accidentally stumbled across the phenomenon in normal human speech. One of the first examples I found in speech was in Neil Armstrong’s famous first words as stepped onto the lunar surface. Forwards he says, “That’s one small step for man,” and when this same track is played backwards, the words “Man will space walk” can be clearly heard.

Suddenly my little hobby had turned into an obsession. I began taping as many people as often as I could and I found backward messages to be prolific, many of them as clear as the forward dialogue, occurring in grammatically correct sentences that often related to what was being said forward. I searched libraries and bookshops trying to find any other work on the subject and could find none. It then became obvious to me that this was a field that was totally new.

Uh huh. And here's a tangentially relevant piece on language oddity, a story of a feral girl who grew up with dogs in Ukraine. Like most stories of abandonned children, it's sad and disturbing. She's mentally handicapped. The worst part is how she treats her dog.

Here are three good pieces that collect strange stories. A piece from Pravda (unusually coherent for Pravda) on messages written in the sky throughout history; an article on sightings of flying people (without airplanes); and scary stories of Spring-Heeled Jack, a wacky killer ghost.

Finally from the land of dunes, King Tut's oldest gem may be from a meteor, because it's way too old; and sand dunes sing (sound snippets and article).

1 comment :

steve said...

The singing sands paper is fairly famous and follows quite a bit of work spread over the past decade.

As far as I can tell the initial curiosity was popularized by Jearl Walker. In the 70s Jearl was a physics grad student at MIT and, like most young grad students, was worried about the preliminary exams. It occurred to him that there are many interesting questions that could be posed by his grandmother in Texas that would make excellent questions - and possibly be new physics. He wrote up a list of about 100, which became an underground hit in the physics community. It was published in the mid 70s as "The Flying Circus of Physics" (I know:-)... and may see a new edition soon.

Another fascinating book from the same period came out of a mathematical methods course for biology students taught by a physicist... "Consider a Spherical Cow" by John Harte ... wonderful stuff!