What a lovely holiday… Saint Patrick’s Day is my personal favorite, for a variety of reasons. I’ll likely be toting a Guinness on draft this evening (and on that note, cheers Jim; as well all you others who like to raise a glass every so often).

The funny thing about Saint Patrick’s Day is that, traditionally, it was once associated with the color blue rather than green, as this color was originally pinned to Saint Patrick early on. However, being the color most often associated with Ireland and its people, “the wearing of the green”, likely stemming from the practice of wearing a Shamrock on one’s clothing, overtook the color blue at some point. Hence, the colored beer we drink in bars on this day looks more like a leprechaun, rather than a smurf.

Saint Patrick’s Day is no exception to strange phenomenon, however. Today over at the Wired blog, an interesting discussion regarding cows and their apparent electromagnetic sixth-sense is all the rage. Wired reports that “Satellite images of cattle and deer herds suggest that low-frequency magnetic fields disrupt the tendency of four-legged animals to align their bodies with geomagnetic fields. When herds stand next to power lines, which emit a mild electromagnetic field, they point in different directions. In the absence of power lines, they point along a north-south axis.”

Elsewhere, scientists are discussing an asteroid which came dangerously close to Earth (41,000 miles) on March 2 of this year, which some “experts” have said was capable of Tunguska-like devastation. Unlikely, according to MIT News, who say that the asteroid was a near miss, but not a “monster”. “Some fast-tracking observations by MIT Professor of Planetary Sciences Richard Binzel proved that this rock was actually much smaller than that,” MIT News said. “Likely just 19 meters (about 60 feet) across, it would probably have disintegrated high in the atmosphere, with only a few small fragments making it to the ground.”

In other scholarly circles, scientists are claiming that alleged authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls never existed. TIME Magazine writer Tim McGirk writes that “Rachel Elior, who teaches Jewish mysticism at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, claims that the Essenes (alleged to have authored the scrolls) were a fabrication by the 1st century A.D. Jewish-Roman historian Flavius Josephus and that his faulty reporting was passed on as fact throughout the centuries. As Elior explains, the Essenes make no mention of themselves in the 900 scrolls found by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947 in the caves of Qumran, near the Dead Sea.” According to Elior, “Sixty years of research have been wasted trying to find the Essenes in the scrolls, but they didn’t exist. This is legend on a legend.”

And in somewhat more mundane news from an entertainment perspective, Sci Fi network plans to change their name to “SyFy” this summer. According to Sci Fi network President David Howe in a statement today, “By changing the name to Syfy, which remains phonetically identical, the new brand broadens perceptions and embraces a wider range of current and future imagination-based entertainment beyond just the traditional sci-fi genre, including fantasy, supernatural, paranormal, reality, mystery, action and adventure. It also positions the brand for future growth by creating an ownable trademark that can travel easily with consumers across new media and nonlinear digital platforms, new international channels and extend into new business ventures.” Could the fun and entertaining Sci Fi network actually get any weirder? I suppose that remains to be seen… but weird is seldom bad, in this business.

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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at info@micahhanks.com.