Science Over the Edge:

A Mix of News, Events, History and Gossip

July 1998

In the News:

An international panel of scientists reviewing UFO phenomena has recommended that physical evidence from some sightings get serious scientific examination. The nine-member group stopped well short of saying they believed the Earth was being visited by extraterrestrials, but were impressed by a photograph from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in 1981, and a report from an airliner crew in 1994 near Paris. The crew saw a gigantic disk with slightly fuzzy edges. Swiss radar also tracked the object for 50 seconds.

Panel director Peter Sturrock said, "The only way to get real answers is to get scientists involved in the problem."

Want to learn about UFO history? Click here!

Two fossils found in China are the strongest evidence yet that apparently birds evolved from dinosaurs. Feather impressions can clearly be seen in the rock, yet otherwise the animals resemble a theropod dinosaur. The creatures, named Caudipteryx zoui and Protoarchaeopteryx robusta, couldn't fly and it is unclear exactly how the feathers were used.

Not all scientists think the fossils are dinosaurs. Some experts maintain they are, instead, primitive birds.

Click here for more dinosaur information!

Sony Corporation, the people who brought us the Walkman, have issued a document that will be a first step in building and marketing "Entertainment Robots" to the public. Sony researchers demonstrated prototypes that chased after a ball and played with it. It is hoped the robots will have sophisticated enough behavior to give the illusion to people they are playing with a kitten or puppy. The company hopes these "entertainment" robots will be the next big fad in personal entertainment.

Under the Freedom of Information Act the FBI has opened some of its real "X Files" to the public on its web site at The files include reports of UFOs and speculation on what happened to Amelia Earhart. Some 16,000 pages are accessible from some 37 investigations. Eventually some 1.3 million pages will be available on-line.

In History:

One of the earliest known reports of a monster in Lake Champlain was published in a newspaper on July 9th, 1873. A railroad crew laying track on the shore near Dresden, New York, "saw a head of an enormous serpent sticking out of the water and approaching them from the opposite shore." The crew scattered in fear. The alleged monster, now affectionately referred to as "Champ," turned toward open water and disappeared.

Check out our page on lake monsters of North America.

In the Sky:

If you have a telescope this is a great month to try and sight the planet Saturn's rings. They are tipped 16 degrees from edge-on, giving the best view since 1992. Even if you don't have a telescope you can still see the planet Saturn toward the South-East an hour or so before dawn.


On June 8th a mysterious fireball crossed the sky over Northern Argentina. Several witnesses observed the ball of fire over Colonia Julio Martin. Some of those that saw it thought it was a UFO. Others thought it might be a meteorite.

Could it have been a bit of space junk? Click here to find out!

On the Tube:

Discovery Channel is airing the series Science of the Impossible. Episodes are Facing Doomsday, July 12th at 9PM & 1AM, July 19th at 1PM ET/PT. Future Body (bionic men) July 12th at 10PM & 2AM, July 19th 2PM ET/PT. Aliens-Where Are They? July 13th & July 19th at 3PM ET/PT. Can We Reach the Stars? July 14 & July 19th at 4PM ET/PT. Invisable Forces July 15th & July 19th at 5PM ET/PT.

Nova takes a look at the Mysterious Mummies of China on July 7th at 8PM ET on PBS.

The Titanic's lost sister ship, Britannic is the subject of a Nova on July 14th at 8PM ET on PBS. The Britannic was sunk during WWI as the result of a bomb or torpedo.

TCL's Science Frontiers and Real History series will be airing a special set of "End of the World" episodes from 1PM to 5PM July 5th. Titles include: Doomsday Asteroid, Killer Virus and Nuclear Holocaust. Not for the easily depressed.

Science over the Edge Archives

Copyright Lee Krystek 1998. All Rights Reserved.