BRIEF REPORTS from INVESTIGATOR
INVESTIGATOR 135 (2010
ISLAM BUILDING BIG
The world's biggest
building is in Mecca, Arabia. The Abraj Al-Bait complex has a
1,500,000-square-metre floor area (the biggest of any building in the
world), and is 595 metres high (second highest in the world). The
building also has the world's highest and biggest clock, and a 7-star
Abraj Al-Bait dwarfs the
nearby Grand Mosque annually visited by millions of Hajj pilgrims.
Mecca is undergoing $100
billion of redevelopment. But you can't go and see for yourself unless
you're a Muslim since the city is forbidden to non-Muslims.
If Mecca has the biggest,
Dubai has the highest. The Burj Khalifa skyscraper, costing $US1500
million, rises 820 metres above the desert and was opened on January 5
amidst blazing fireworks.
Despite its oil wealth
and because Dubai property prices collapsed 50% in 2009, Dubai lacked
finances to complete the building and the President of the United Arab
Imirates helped out
Perhaps Dubai rulers
should recall that the construction of the Empire State Building
coincided with the Great Depression, the Sears Tower in Chicago with
the 1974 oil crisis, Hitler's vision for Berlin as the world's capital
with Berlin's virtual destruction in World War II, the Petronas Towers
in Kuala Lumpur (1997) with the Asian financial crisis, and the alleged
Tower of Babel with mankind's dispersal.
The Burj Khalifa's
cooling system could freeze 13,000 tons of ice a day." (The Weekend
Australian 2010, January 2-3, p19)
NOAH'S ARK FOUND AGAIN
According to news reports
in April, Noah's Ark has again been found in Turkey.
A 15-member team of
Chinese and Turkish Christians of Noah's Ark Ministries International
claimed they had recovered wood (carbon dated 4800 years old) from a
wooden structure 4000 metres up Mount Ararat.
Team-member and Hong Kong
documentary maker Yeung Wing-cheung said it is 99.9 per cent certain"
that it's Noah's Ark. He claimed the wooden structure had compartments
with wooden beams. (The Australian, April 28, 2010, p. 9)
The discoverers are
Christians from Noah's Ark Ministries".
Hong Hong has a replica
of Noah's Ark which functions as a hotel, restaurant and museum.
(Investigator #130, p12) At 450 feet in length it's the world's biggest
Noah's Ark, bigger than replicas in various Creation museums.
Did you know that Allah
shakes the ground to express displeasure over female immodesty?
Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi claimed in April 2010 that scantily clad
women cause earthquakes and that in Tehran the failure to cover up from
foot to head risks the lives of the city's 12 million inhabitants.
In his sermon on the
topic he asked, "What can we do to avoid being buried under the
rubble?'' and answered "Take refuge in religion and adapt our lives to
Islam's moral codes.''
This teaching was dubbed
"Boobquake" on the Internet and generated intense Internet comment.
One woman decided to
prove that breasts don't cause quakes. Jennifer McCreight started a
Boobquake Facebook page to urge women to defy the cleric. She wrote:
"If the world doesn't then disappear into an apocalyptic fiery chasm,
then Sedighi will have no option but to admit he was wrong. I encourage
other female skeptics to join me and embrace the supposed supernatural
power of their breasts."
100,000 agreed to show
more cleavage on April 26. An earthquake occurred in Taiwan but not
serious enough for major headlines.
numbered 3154 (0.16% of the population) in the 2006 census of whom 200
were interviewed in the first Australian study of centenarians.
reported that genes accounted for 20-30 per cent of longevity". Other
factors are: Maintenance of a constant but non-extreme weight, avoiding
heavy smoking and drinking, optimism, regular family contact, and
participation in organised group activities. (2010, May 4)
Acupuncture is little
used in mainstream Western medicine due to the absence of a scientific
rationale" but this may soon change.
Morry Silberstein of
Curtin University (Western Australia) suggests that pricking the skin
at certain places with a needle disrupts the branching point of nerves
— contradicting the common belief that the needle stimulates the nerves.
He suggests that this is
how acupuncture works: It's like disrupting the nerves and numbing them
so the sensation of pain goes away." Dr Silberstein conducted his
research using electrical circuits to replicate nerve systems and plans
to proceed further by using animals. (The Australian 2009, October 6,
For a sceptical
discussion about acupuncture (by Harry Edwards) see Investigator
RELIGION IN AUSTRALIA
Despite rumours to the
contrary Australia is statistically still a Christian country. Claimed
religious affiliation in 2006 was:
SHROUD OF TURIN
Imprinted on the Shroud
of Turin is a faint, brown negative image of a 176cm-tall, beared,
apparently crucified man with blood flowing from hands and feet.
In 1988 the 4-metre by
1-metre linen shroud was radiocarbon dated to the 14th century. This
refuted the popular belief that the shroud is 2000 years old and that
the image was miraculously imprinted at the resurrection of Jesus.
Believers responded that
14th century methods could not have produced the negative image 500
years before the invention of photography; therefore the radiocarbon
dating must have given the wrong date.
A team led by Luigi
Garlaschelli, professor of biochemistry at the University of Pavla, has
now used 14th century methods to duplicate the Shroud and image. They
heated a linen cloth in an oven and washed it in water to age it
artificially. The Australian continues: "The cloth was then
placed on a student, who wore a mask to reproduce the face, and rubbed
with red ochre, a well-known pigment at the time." (2009, October 7,
The result was a ghostly image of the student imprinted on the linen
A 2009 TV documentary
argued that the 1988 carbon-dating used a piece of the Shroud that was
added in Medieval times to repair the Shroud which had been damaged. In
other words the Shroud-proper was not carbon-dated and may be much
However, a linen cloth
definitely dated to the 1st century was discovered in a cave in Israel
recently. Its simple two-way weave differs to the Shroud's twill weave
which came into vogue about 1000CE.
and #13 examined claims of religionists regarding the Shroud and
COIN TOSS OUTCOME NOT
The popular practice of
making decisions according to the outcome of a coin-toss may not be
Researchers at the
University of British Columbia found that only a few minutes training
allowed coin-tossers to achieve significantly more heads or tails as
desired. Thirteen Vancouver residents received training and each
brought up more heads than tails in 300 coin flips — the best score was
Success was related to
the speed and height of the toss, how often the coin spun, and how
caught. (The Australian 2009, December 11, p11)
Whether we can avoid bias
when making decisions by switching from coins to dice or cards, remains
The remains of
interconnected villages, pottery, geoglyphs on the landscape, and
Google Earth images give evidence of a pre-Columbian civilization in
the Amazon region.
The geoglyphs are shapes
90 to 300 metres wide seen from air, formed by ditches up to 2 metres
wide and 11 metres deep.
The evidence is written
up in Antiquity (Volume 83) and summarized in other journals
such as New Scientist (2009, December 12, p. 11)