‘Snot So Bad

Serendipity comes in many forms, sometimes in rather disgusting ways. While sampling the properties of paper made from recycled pulp, Marcia Henni of Mainstown Recycling Co, Boston, came upon a stomach turning, yet potentially revolutionary, discovery.

The various sources of pulp were recorded and treated in various ways and, according to Miss Henni, a batch was accidentally contaminated with tissues from a doctor’s office.

“We only noticed once the batch had been fully processed, luckily as it turns out, so we went ahead and performed the sampling anyway. We were on the verge of interfering, when we decided, instead, to see what would happen, you know,” she says, “Turns out it was one of the best things we could have done.”

The paper then sampled was 24% stronger, 18% smoother and 15% brighter than the other samples. Unconvinced, Miss Henni repeated the experiment with another batch of tissues, only to find the quality was much poorer.

“First we thought it was the tissues themselves, that somehow the fibres were able to matt down more or something, but no, it’s the mucous! The proteins in the mucous link the fibres to create very strong bonds. The bleaching process, in particular, appears to play an important part in transforming the relatively gel-like substance into something flexible yet strong,” she explains.

It could be a boon for the recycling industry if the formula can be perfected. As paper is recycled it loses its desirable properties, such as how it performs in printers, how toner adheres and how ink is absorbed. In what could be a boon for the industry, Marcia says that low-grade, contaminated or previously recycled paper could be made usable once more.

“If we can isolate the compounds, we can then apply them in a more scientific manner. I’m optimistic that, from what I’ve seen so far, we can improve grades of recycled paper by at least two levels. That’s like going from scrap and filler to drawing paper. It’s better for us and and better for the environment.”

Miss Henni has not elaborated on how one might source an industrial quantity of mucous.

“It’s early stages, yet. And, frankly, I don’t want to think about that. I’m an industrial chemist, you know, not a janitor.”

Poltergeists need not apply

A stoush has erupted over whether Poltergeists are included under the study of Cryptozoology. While spokespeople from both sides of the fence agree that ‘noisy-ghosts’ belong under the umbrella of Paranormal, there is debate as to where, under that rather large term, the phenomenon falls.

“It is a phenomenon. There is direct interaction with the physical realm,” says Lead Investigator Herbert Lanigan from the Paranormal Institute of Wyoming (PIW), “As such, it cannot be ruled out that it is not animalistic in nature and therefore cannot be excluded as a cryptid or as an effect of a cryptid. One cannot lump everything unexplained into the ghost realm.”

He goes on to cite various examples where poltergeist activity was linked to psychological states of people, fueling his claim that it is caused by an animal, and therefore that animal can be classified as a cryptid.

“Utter rubbish,” says Head Observer of Utah and Surrounds Spiritual Researchers (USSR), “That would mean that anyone who had an Out Of Body (OOB) Experience, or was telekinetic in any way, should be classified as a cryptid. If that’s the case, then anyone with any psychic ability is open to being labeled as such. Besides, when objects are moved or people are slapped, there is no way to say that it is not a spirit interacting with the physical realm.”

He points to the fact that a poltergeist is, by its definition, a ‘noisy ghost’. If, he says, it is shown not to be a ghost, but the results of a psionic projection or an OOBE or telekenisis, then a new classification would be necessary.

“There’s no reason to hijack an established definition,” he says.

Further rebuttles come from the Colorado Cryptid and Anomalous Animals Association (CCAAA) member, Geraldine Andrews, “The definition of what constitutes a cryptid is very clear cut. It has to be an animal, not what the animal does. I can’t call the teeth marks of a Chupacapra a cryptid, any more than I can call tyre tracks a car. I agree that some cryptids are capable of psycho-kinetic powers, but I can’t agree that the manifestation should be included under the Cryptozoological roof.”

Herbert Lanigan responds to this by saying, “The activity of a poltergeist is caused by a single entity, and that entity is unexplained, can interact with objects and can move about, just as an animal can. Who is to say it is not an invisible animal, or an animal that can project itself?”

The debate is yet to be resolved and is to be reconvened in October.ChesterLogoSmall

Ice to See You

Scientists have been taking core sample of permafrost for some time, so you would be forgiven for thinking that there was nothing that could surprise them. The latest revelations by Professor Todd Smotheby of Dorchester, Analytical Scientist and Project Lead for Rockwell Climate Studies, have opened up a can of worms.

“It’s not something that I would have thought possible, but the evidence is pretty compelling,” he says, taking out his slides, “We performed a photonic fractioning analysis on a sample taken from a location close to Alaska, known to be inhabited quite some time ago by various tribes.”

He says that the analysis is a method of ‘walking back through time, layer by layer’ in order to see what environmental conditions were when the ice was formed. Using an increasing set of electromagentic waves, from radio through to x-rays, the typical analysis reveals different structures of ice, particulates and inclusions.

“But look at this!” he says proudly, holding up a set of photographs, “Using two beams crossed at close to seventy degrees, the resulting diffraction pattern actually forms what appears to be a tribe standing around a fire, might like a negative of a photograph!”

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Unconvinced, he repeated his experiment at various fractions, corresponding to dates in history.

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“On each date, I painstakingly adjusted the angle – sometimes for hours at a time – until I got another image. Here you can see the family, if we can assume that it is a family, perhaps a tribe, has grown in number. Here it is declining. This last slide, here, shows a single figure next to the fire, quite possibly the last of the nomads to remain before the frost settled,” he says, “After this point in time, no layers have any discernible images. I would speculate that no fire meant no intense light, and therefore no image could be formed.”

The ice, when cored, must be kept at sub-zero temperatures to maintain the images. It is a stroke of luck, he stresses, that the core cut happened to include the images within the ice as a few inches one way or the other would have a corrupt or incomplete image.

“And then we would never have found it. I’ll be going over the rest of our samples. We have requested funding to make to process automated, but in the meantime I am more than happy to continue my work manually.”

Todd says that the estimated date of the last image corresponds to 1856, which coincides closely with the last official record of the tribe in the area, a diary from a traveling missionary, which was 1858.

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