Science Over the Edge:

A Mix of News, Events, History and Gossip

May 1998

In the News:

Scientists at Princeton University's PEAR lab claim they can demonstrate that thoughts can alter reality. In a story in the Philadelphia Inquirer psychologist Brenda Dunne claims that over tens of millions of trials people's concentrations can have a small, but persistent effect and change outcomes like the toss of a coin.

Other scientists are skeptical suggesting that until the results are replicated in another lab, the power of the mind to alter reality by thought is unproven.

The Leonid meteor shower this November is expected to be the most severe in 33 years and aerospace engineers are concerned that many of Earth's communication, weather and navigation satellites may be threatened. At the time of the last heavy shower only 100 satellites were orbiting the Earth. This year there will be almost 500. One of the tiny meteors hitting a satellite would have the same effect as a bullet. Though some think the chances of a hits are small, satellite operators have held a two day conference to discuss the matter. One of the options may be to reposition the satellites to better withstand a strike. The operators of the Hubble Space Telescope are planning to turn its delicate optics away from the incoming tiny pieces of rock.

Using anti-matter to power spaceships may not be just science fiction soon. Scientists working with the particle accelerator at Fermilab think that antihydrogen will soon be created with an efficiency that will allow experimentation with the material as a possible source of power. When anti-matter comes in contact with regular matter an enormous amount of energy is released. For this reason only a small mass of antihydrogen would me needed to drive a spaceship. Amounts as small as a microgram might be sufficient for some missions. The problem in using anti-matter is the high cost of making even tiny amounts and danger and difficulty of handling it once it is made.

In History:

Myrtle Snow claimed that in May, 1935, when she was three years old, she spotted five baby dinosaurs near her hometown in Colorado. Later a local farmer shot one after it attacked some of his sheep.

Dinosaurs alive in Colorado? It hardly seems likely. How about in more remote regions like Africa? Check it out here!

In the Sky:

May's a great month for viewing man-made satellites in low Earth orbit from the northern hemisphere. The tilt of the planet allows even the lowest ones to catch full sunlight even an hour after sunset. Just after sunset look for a silent, lone light moving in a straight line across the sky. It will take about ten minutes to move from one horizon to the other. It may travel in any direction but east to west. Of the thousands of satellites in orbit only a few hundred will be big enough and low enough to be seen.

Sometimes people mistake a satellite for a UFO. To find out what other man-made objects have been misidentified as flying saucers, click here.


Staff of the Discover Channel's Canadian web site have revealed that "Project Snowflake," their story on a government top secret flying saucer program, was a hoax. The April Fool's story, which was part of a series on the Canadian aerospace history, also allowed visitors to be polled on their beliefs about UFOs. Some 74% of those that participated said they believed that the government is hiding UFO technology.

For a strange tale of hidden government UFO's, click here!

On the Tube:

The Dragons of Galapagos is a new National Geographic Special that tells the story of the giant lizards that live on the Galapagos archipelago. Follow the filmmakers as they watch land iguanas climb the steep slopes of an active volcano to lay their eggs in the steaming caldera. Friday May 1st at 8PM ET on NBC.

Discovery Channel is airing Rocketships a histroy of rocket science. Sunday May 31st at 8PM and midnight, Monday, June 8th at 9PM and 1AM, Saturday June 13th at 6PM. ET/PT.

The Great Egyptians is on TLC this month. Rames the Great airs May 3rd at 8PM and 11PM and repeats on May 4th. The Rebel Pharaoh airs May 3rd at 9PM and midnight and repeats May 5th. The Queen Who Would Be King airs May 3rd at 10PM and 1AM and repeats May 6th. ET.

Outer Space is on the Science Channel Mondays at 9PM ET.

The Science Channel will be running Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World on Thursdays at 11PM ET.

On the Screen:

Deep Impact, the story of an asteroid that hits Earth, will be released in theaters on May 8th. If you don't think it can really happen, click here!

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Copyright Lee Krystek 1998. All Rights Reserved.