Science Frontiers
The Unusual & Unexplained

Strange Science * Bizarre Biophysics * Anomalous astronomy
From the pages of the World's Scientific Journals

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About Science Frontiers

Science Frontiers is the bimonthly newsletter providing digests of reports that describe scientific anomalies; that is, those observations and facts that challenge prevailing scientific paradigms. Over 2000 Science Frontiers digests have been published since 1976.

These 2,000+ digests represent only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The Sourcebook Project, which publishes Science Frontiers, also publishes the Catalog of Anomalies, which delves far more deeply into anomalistics and now extends to sixteen volumes, and covers dozens of disciplines.

Over 14,000 volumes of science journals, including all issues of Nature and Science have been examined for reports on anomalies. In this context, the newsletter Science Frontiers is the appetizer and the Catalog of Anomalies is the main course.


Subscriptions to the Science Frontiers newsletter are no longer available.

Compilations of back issues can be found in Science Frontiers: The Book, and original and more detailed reports in the The Sourcebook Project series of books.

The publisher

Please note that the publisher has now closed, and can not be contacted.


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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 85: Jan-Feb 1993 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Biology's big bang Representatives of three body plans (phyla): jellyfish (coelenterata); aphid (arthropoda); eohippis (chordata); The title refers to the so-called "Cambrian explosion," that period that began some 570 million years ago, during which all known animal phyla that readily fossilize seem to have originated. The biological phyla are defined by characteristic body plans. Humans, for example, are among the Chordata . Some other phyla are the Arthropoda (insects, crustaceans), the Mollusca (clams, squids), the Nemotada (roundworms), etc. All of these phyla trace their ancestries back to that biologically innovative period termed the Cambrian explosion. Even at the taxonomic level just below the phylum, the class (i .e ., the vertebrates), most biological invention seems to stem from the Cambrian. J.S . Levinton, in a long article in the November 1992 Scientific American, explores the enigma of the Cambrian explosion. Did some unknown evolutionary stimuli prevail 570 million years ago that made the Cambrian different from all periods that followed? Or, has something damped evolutionary creativity since then? Levinton holds that biological innovation has continued unabated at the species level since the Cambrian explosion, but that new body plans; that is, new phyla; have not evolved for hundreds of millions of years. Therefore, something special and very mysterious -- some highly creative ...
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... of some diapirs is not well-understood.) The mussels get the oxygen they require from the ordinary seawater covering the dense brine. Like the biological communities surrounding the "black smokers" and other ocean-floor seeps, the brine-filled pockmark community includes several species of shrimp, crabs, and tube worms. We have here another example of the astounding ability of lifeforms to take advantage of unusual, even bizarre niches. (MacDonald, I. Rosman, et al; "Chemosynthetic Mussels at a BrineFilled Pockmark in the Northern Gulf of Mexico," Science, 248:1096, 1990.) Comment. Such examples of life's adaptability are so common one hesitates to label them as anomalous. Yet, one wonders how and why life acquired this property. Is the human urge to go to the planets a genetically derived extension of this urge to colonize new terri tories. From Science Frontiers #73, JAN-FEB 1991 . 1991-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... eight competing "interpretations" of quantum mechanics, none of which is completely convincing. No wonder, because quantum mechanics implies four characteristics of the universe that are seriously at odds with our everyday experience: The quantization of the properties of matter; The probabilistic nature of physical measurements; Entanglement; that is, the mysterious instantaneous connection of objects and processes across immense distances; and Superposition; for example, an electron is both here and there until we look at it! A. Zeilinger, University of Vienna, advances the idea that we can truly understand quantum mechanics only when we discover an underlying principle -- something akin to the concept of energy which led to the quantification of the laws of thermodynamics. (Incidentally. we only think we know what energy is, but it is a human construct and is not a physical dimension like mass or distance.) Zeilinger asserts that the underlying principle of quantum mechanics is the quantization of information. Every inquiry science makes into the nature of the universe, says Zeilinger, can be reduced to a yes-or-no question; i.e ., a 1 or 0. To a scientist, nature is really like a person on a witness stand being hammered by a prosecutor (i .e ., a scientist) with yes-or-no questions. In other words, nature appears quantized because our knowledge of it is quantized. (von Baeyer, Hans Christian; "In the Beginning Was the Bit," New Scientist, p. 26, February 17, 2001.) Comment. It follows, ...
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... during sleep and wakefulness, relative levels of alertness, mood and sensitivity to pain may be highly dependent on volume transmission. Thus, although information regarding to location of pain is carried by the circuitry of the nervous system, the intensity and duration of the pain may be somewhat modulated by the ambient homoral signals. In this respect, acupuncture may also be a phenomenon that is dependent on volume transmission." (Agnati, Luigi F., et al; "Volume Transmission in the Brain," American Scientist, 80:362, 1992.) Questions. (1 ) Is there a connection between volume transmission and the analog transmission of brain signals hypothesized by R.O . Becker (SF#81)? (2 ) Can a computer really be programmed to think like a human if it is all wires without something analogous to volume transmission; i.e . is artificial intelligence really possible? (3 ) How and why did at least two forms of information transmission evolve? (4 ) Might there still be other modes of information transmission and processing in the brain -- perhaps something associated with genius, psi, or intuition? From Science Frontiers #85, JAN-FEB 1993 . 1993-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 49: Jan-Feb 1987 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Optical Bursters For years astronomers have been puzzling over the significance of "bursters"; i.e ., short bursts of radiation from various spots in the heavens. With sophisticated terrestrial and satellite-borne instruments, they have detected gamma-ray, X-ray, and infrared bursters. The visible portion of the spectrum has been neglected because of the slow development of sensitive, high-time-resolution detectors capable of monitoring large areas of the sky. Of course, the human eye is an excellent instrument for searching for optical bursters, but professional naked-eye astronomers are few and far between nowadays. It has fallen to amateur astronomers to pioneer this field, as first mentioned in SF#39, where we introduced those optical flashes seen in Perseus. At last, the professional astronomers are taking more interest in this class of bright, unexplained flashes in the night sky. Those amateur astronomers, with their "primitive" instrumentation, have actually had a paper published in the highly technical Astrophysical Journal. Their abstract follows: "Between 1984 July and 1985 July, 24 bright flashes were detected visually near the Aries-Perseus border by eight different observers at a total of 12 sites across Canada. One flash was photographed, and another was seen by two observers at different locations. Their duration was usually less than 1 s. The estimated positions of 20 of the events and another seen in 1983 were close enough ...
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... find these organisms at great depths,' he says, 'you have to ask: Where did they come from?' Microbes from the soil could easily infiltrate shallow aquifers...but in very deep sediments, like those in the Texaco well, the microbes may have been entombed when the rock was first deposited, tens or hundreds of millions of years ago. If so, the deep Earth might be a den of survivors, toughened by millenia of evolution in their harsh environment. Attacking rock might be just one of their feats. (Appenzeller, Tim; "Deep-Living Microbes Mount a Relentless Attack on Rock," Science, 258:222. 1992.) Comment. Is Wobber suggesting that these super-tough, deep-living bacteria might be dangerous to humans, like the microorganism from outer space in the movie The Andromeda Strain ? From Science Frontiers #85, JAN-FEB 1993 . 1993-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 72: Nov-Dec 1990 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Birds Of Burden Anthropologists long ago decided that the ostrich was domesticated only in historical times. They pooh-poohed a prehistory sketch showing an ostrich carrying a human rider and pictographs of ostriches apparently fitted with pack saddles. The latest discovery may change their minds. It is a Neolithic figure (5000-7000 years old), deeply engraved on rocks along the River Blaka, in Niger, Africa. Here, the ostrich definitely appears to be loaded with cargo that is strapped on. The bird's legs are folded in a resting position. The Egyptians occasionally captured young ostriches and broke them to harness, but this engraving seems to prove that this practice had been going on long before. (Bahn, Paul; "A Head in the Sands of Time," Nature, 346:794, 1990.) Comment. One wonders what Neolithic goods the ostrich caravans carried and where they were bound. From Science Frontiers #72, NOV-DEC 1990 . 1990-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... see an object, we are detecting light reflected from that object. When underwater, though, our vision is limited because light does not travel far. Sound, however, does; and sound is reflected from objects just as light is. This is of course the basis of underwater sonar, in which a sound source replaces the sun or a diver's floodlight. But even without an active sound source, the ocean is full of sound. Waves, rain, and the sounds made by marine animals create a background of noise that "illuminates" objects, not directly, but from the environment in general. Using only this enveloping background sound, it is possible to create acoustical images of objects. "Vision" of this sort is equivalent to "facial vision" in blind humans, who can hear objects using the environmental sound reflected from them. J. Potter and his colleagues at the National University of Singapore have constructed an array of underwater microphones that detects "slices" of the acoustical environment around it. When processed by a computer, images of objects emerge by virtue of the background noise reflected from them. This group has also estimated the ability of dolphins to detect and process background noise. They suggest that dolphins should be able to "see" objects at least 25 feet away without even using their active sonar; that is, their clicks. This passive acoustical imaging would be a useful evolutionary development because dolphin clicks warn some prey and allow them to escape. (Anonymous; "Cacophony of the Deep," Discover, 19:19, May ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 47: Sep-Oct 1986 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects How The Cheetah Lost Its Stotts "Faced with a predator, for example, a cheetah, many deer, antelope and other bovids turn tail and run. But they also go in for a very curious display, before and during the run. They bounce up in the air, keeping all four legs straight. Stotting, as the display is known, must make the animal visible, and presumably also vulnerable to the predator. It certainly attracts the human observer's attention, and there has been no shortage of 'explanations' for this strange behavior." Actually, at least 11 hypotheses have been proposed. T. Caro has observed Thomson's gazelles stott on more than 200 occasions, usually in response to a cheetah or himself. Caro thinks that adult gazelles stott to proclaim to the cheetah that it has been detected and no longer has surprise in its favor. Cheetahs often do give up after stotting. Further, stotting gazelles have never been seen to be caught -- so far. (Anonymous; "How the Cheetah Lost Its Stotts," New Scientist, p. 34, June 19, 1986.) Reference. More information on stotting and other unusual mammalian behavior, see BMB32 in our catalog: Biological Anomalies: Mammals I. Ordering information here . A springbok stotting or 'pronking' From Science Frontiers #47, SEP-OCT 1986 . 1986-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... .W . Twemlow's associating UFO abductions with NDEs (Near-Death Experiences). Here is an abstract of his 1994 paper published in the Journal of Near-Death Studies. "This article proposes an integrated psychodynamic perspective to account in part for a variety of similarities between near-death experiences and UFO abductions. The psychodynamic psychology of these experiences implies that their "realness" is mainly a function of that psychology, rather than primarily of an objectifiable external reality. Clinical and research examples highlight the theoretical and practical usefulness of this model." (Twemlow, Stuart W.; "Misidentified Flying Objects? An Integrated Psychodynamic Perspective on Near-Death Experiences and UFO Abductions," Journal of Near-Death Studies, 12:205, 1994. As abstracted in: Exceptional Human Experience , 14:261, 1996. Address of the latter: 414 Rockledge Road, New Bern, NC 28562.) Comments. If one prunes away the psychological verbiage, Twemlow seems to be saying that in the minds of the percipients, NDEs and UFO abduction experiences are pretty much the same; that is, both phenomena are mental and not physical. However, in the same issue of the Journal of Near-Death Studies, K. Basterfield asserts that physical evidence exists for UFO abductions but that there is none for NDEs! Apparently, an abductee has brought back a piece of a UFO or something like that. That's news to us, be we are not well-versed on these subjects. From Science Frontiers #120, NOV-DEC 1998 . ...
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... Science Frontiers Catalog of Anomalies (Subjects) Strange reports * Bizarre biology * Anomalous archaeology From New Scientist, Nature, Scientific American, etc Archaeology Astronomy Biology Geology Geophysics Mathematics Psychology Physics Catalog of Anomalies (Subjects)Overview Astronomy Biology Chemistry/Physics Geology Geophysics Logic/mathemitics Archeology Psychology Miscellaneous phenomena Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online Science Frontiers: The Book Sourcebook Project A ASTRONOMY Catalog of Anomalies (Astronomy Subjects)Within each of these fields, catalog sections that are already in print are given alphanumerical labels. For example, BHB1 = B (Biology)+ H (Humans)+ B (Behavior)+ 1 (first anomaly in Chapter BHB). Some anomalies and curiosities that are listed below have not yet been cataloged and published in catalog format. These do not have the alphanumerical labels. AA ASTEROIDS AAB CELESTIAL MECHANICS PROBLEMS WITH ASTEROIDS AAB1 Anomalous Asteroid Orbits AAB2 Asteroid Distribution Anomalies AAB3 The High "Internal Energy" of the Asteroid Population AAB4 Peculiar Distribution of Asteroid Spin Rates AAB5 Unexplained Residual Precession of Icarus AAB6 Evidence against an Explosive Origin for Asteroids AB SOLAR SYSTEM "LAWS" AND INTERRELATIONSHIPS ABB DYNAMICS OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM AS-A -WHOLE ABB1 Solar-System Instability ABB2 Circularity of Planetary Orbits ABB3 Anomalous Split of Angular Momentum between Sun and Planets ABB4 Ubiquity of Resonances in the Solar System ABS REMARKABLE RELATIONSHIPS AMONG PLANETARY AND SATELLITE PARAMETERS ABS1 Solar System Laws of Distance ABS2 Similarity of Densities of Composite Terrestrial Planets ABS3 Multiple Primaries in the Solar System ABS4 Supposed Quantization of Planetary Orbital Periods ABS5 Solar System Mass Laws ABS6 The Quantized Nature of Orbital Systems AC COMETS ACB ORBITAL ...
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