Fortean Mysteries SIG      recent history        issue 67         Newsletter of the Fortean Mysteries SIG of American Mensa          
  only 200,000 millicents per 3 issues     Published irregularly since Undecember 1658 AC
       "... all things are possible."  (Matthew 19:26)

1999 OFA
  We see in the 1999 Old Farmer's Almanac, quoting The Fortean Times of London, that last year (presumably 1998) world wide weirdness was up a full 4% with increases in alien visitations, falls from the skies (fafrotskies), spontaneous human combustions (SHCs) and water monster sightings (mostly Nessie) as well as conspiracies, cults, hoaxes, ineptitude, panics and stupidities.
  It also quotes Jacob Rabinow, holder of 230 U. S. patents, with "The inventor has to remember things that seemingly have nothing to do with each other and then put them together in a way that is totally surprising" which shouldn't be hard for any Mensan.
  For example Michael A. Coffino has already expressed concern about the Y10K problem, which will cause computer problems in only 8,000 years even if the one in the year A. D. 2000 is solved. (Perhaps the quantum computer'll be perfected by then.)
  In the solveds the answer to "why is one side of the 'V' of flying geese longer than the other?" has been answered by Richard Hargroder: It's because the longer side has more geese in it.

  The current Titanic-mania has shown up even in Solved: World's Eeriest  Mysteries by Cliff Linedecker in its cover story, "Did Princess Amen-Ra sink the Titanic?" According to the tale told by survivor Frederic Kimber Seward the mummy of Princess Amen-Ra, buried in 1050 B.C. and discovered in the 1880s, was being secretly transported to America in a new Renault automobile, leaving only the casket lid on display at the British Museum.
  If so, the 1,503 killed in the shipwreck could be added to the misfortunes already associated with her:  of the four young men who'd discovered her one walked out into the desert, another was accidentally shot by an Egyptian servant and had to have an arm amputated, a third became a chronic invalid, the fourth lost everything and became a beggar. After an archeologist named Murray acquired the mummy three members of his family were killed in an auto accident and his home was damaged in a mysterious fire.
  In 1889 the mummy was being transferred to the British Museum when the horse suddenly backed up, trapping and seriously injuring a passer-by, a workman fell and broke a leg and another died a few days later. There were many reports of wailing, hammering, sobbing sounds until one watchman died on duty and the other watchmen, as well as the cleaners, refused to go near it. Moving it to the basement (sans lid)
didn't help much -- within a week one mover had taken seriously ill and the supervisor who'd organized the move was found dead at his desk.
  Supposedly the mummy was sold and then resold to the Renault owner, an American, although the Museum denies that it ever had the mummy. Some even say the mummy was saved from the Titanic to ride on the Empress of Ireland and the Lusitania! If so, it couldn't very well be called an unlucky mummy -- it's much luckier than its fellow
  Linedecker makes a better case for what the last songs the Titanic's band played as she went down. Survivors' stories contradicted each other. Bandleader Wallace Hartley, described as a devote Methodist, had discussed what he'd play on a sinking ship on other voyages: "Nearer My God to Thee" and/or "O God, Our Help in Ages Past".
  Besides the mummy and the hymns which the latest movie retelling neglected to mention, we still consider the synchroncity between the Titanic tragedy and Morgan Robertson's fictional (prophetic? precognitive?) Titan (1898) the eeriest aspect of the whole thing. He wrote 14 years beforehand of a 70,000-ton, 800-foot luxury liner with too few lifeboats hitting an iceberg in April.  

   TOSCOD ("triple-or-sum-cubes-of-digits"), we've discovered, is a function much like HOTPO ("halve-or-triple-plus-one", see Mpossibilities 59.5 and 61 or Godel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter). Any integer it is applied and reapplied to is eventually transformed into the same terminal integer. For HOTPO that terminal number's 1; for TOSCOD, 153, the number of fish caught in John 21:11, the sum of the first 17 integers!
  Toscodicity could be even more significant than the properties of hotpoicity or earliness! Or not.
  Here's the first few transformations:
1 in 4: 3, 27, 351, 153;
2 in 11: 6, 216, 225, 141, 66, 432, 99, 1458, 702, 351, 153;
3 in 3: 27, 351, 153;
4 in 6: 12, 9, 729, 1080, 513, 153;
5 in 10: 15, 126, 225, 141, 66, 432, 99, 1458, 702, 351, 153;
6 in 9: 216, 225, 141, 66, 432, 99, 1458, 702, 351, 153;
7 in 6: 21, 9, 729, 1080, 513, 153;
8 in 4: 24, 72, 351, 153;
9 in 4: 729, 1080, 513, 153;
10 in 6: 30, 9, 729, 1080, 513, 153; ...
  So, counting the needed steps in each transformation, we generate the series: 4, 11, 3, 6, 10, 9, 6, 4, 4, 6, ... and also get toscodities of
0 for 153;
1 for 351, 513, 531, ...;
2 for 18, 81, 27, 72, ...;
3 for 3, 24, 42, 204, 240, 279, 297, 402, 420, 729, 927, 972, 1224, 1242,
1422, 1458, 1485, 1548, 1584, 1845, 1854, ...;
4 for 1, 8, 9, 10, 14, 41, 80, 90, 99, 100, 104, 140, 189, 198, ...;
5 for 12, 21, 201, 210, 234, 143, 324, 342, 423, 432, ...;
6 for 66, ...;
7 for 11, 13, 16, 22, 23, 31, 32, 61, 114, ...;
8 for 225, 252, 522, ...;
9 for 126, 162, 216, 261, 612, 621, ...;
10 for 6, 60, 600, 6000, ...;
11 for 2, 20, 200, 2000, ....
   Anyone care to find the numbers under 1,000 with toscodicity of 12? That's xyz, xzy, yxz, yzx, zxy or zyx, where x^3 + y^3  z^3 = 2(10^n).
  Another interesting math project we've working on is improper imaginary number systems, that is, systems using not only i = (-1)^(1/2), but counters higher than the base (though with both real and imaginary dimensions, how can anyone tell?), say, j = 2i, k = 3i, ...., z = 17i, X = 10, E = 11, D = dozen = 12, T = 13, F = 14.
  Lest you this this is mere number crunching, Robert Forward in Indistinguishable From Magic notes than not only does it appear that the neutrino has an imaginary rest mass (1.8 x 10-33 gm for the electron neutino and 7i x 10-27 for the muon neutrino) they (like the other fermions, the common electron, proton and neutron) have to be rotated twice, i. e., 720 degrees, before returning to their original spin.
This would remind an electrician of the hyperbolic sine and cosine functions (sinh x = -i sin x and cosh x = cos ix) which have a period of 2"~i and the hyperbolic tangent (tanh x = -i tan ix) which has one of p^i.
  Then too Forward speculates on the nature of the hyperspace on the other side of a Kerr ring, which needn't be made with a spinning black hole but just an ionized heavy nucleus. Passing through a Kerr ring from the other side may not return you to our continuum, but be related to phase space, something else. Just beyond the ring negatively-massed matter's predicted by the equations. Antigravity!
  But perhaps we wouldn't even have to use a Kerr ring. New evidence from supernovae studies give a negative matter density for the universe, as Sky and Telescope (Sept. 1998) calls it, "an implausible -0.4". The theorists are scrabbling to explain it away: Maybe not all of the matter is directly observable, maybe there is some other hitherto unknown force besides gravity at work, maybe the cosmological constant, Einstein's folly, (vaccuum energy density) is correct after
all! The universe may be expanding like an inside-out black hole to a never reached horizon, ever and ever less and less filled with matter.
  Stan Woosley, University of California at Santa Cruz,  says, "The data don't yet compell me to change my religion." Robert Kirshner of the High-Z Supernova Search Team says: "In your heart you know it's wrong." Peter Nugent, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, says, "It's a hard pill to swallow."
  Recalculations give "empty" space two to three times the energy of matter. Instead of E = mc^2, we now have something like 0 = 3mc^2.
  In inary "Fort" = 14i^3 + 7i^2 + 10^i + 12i = -14i - 7 + 10i + 12i = -7 + 8i;
in bi-inary Fort = 14(2i)^3 + 7i(2i)^2 + 10i(2i) + 12i = -112i - 28i - 20 + 12i = -20 - 240i;
in tri-inary Fort = 14(-27i) + 7i(-9) + 10i^(3i) + 12i = -378i - 63i - 30 + 12i = -30 - 429i;
decinary Fort = 14(-1,000i) + 7i(-100) + 10i(10i) + 12i = -100 - 2,088i;
in duidecimal ["dui" -- like "duo i" and "Dewey", get it?] Fort = 14(-1,728i) + 7i(-144) + 10i(12i) + 12i = -120 - 25,110i;
in sesquidecinary Fort = 14(-3,375i) + 7i(-225) + 10i(15i) + 12i = -47,250i - 1,575i - 150 + 12i = -150 - 48,813i.
  In Mpossibilities 57 [See also Mensa Bulletin May and Sept. 1992] we dealt with base i-to-the-ith, i^i = e^(-p/2), and from hyperbolic trigonometry we know i = e^(ip/2), e^-i = i^(3p/2) and e^(-ip) = -1. So we know: imaginary to an imaginary power gives many real answers; imaginary to a real power gives both imaginary and real answers; real to an imaginary power gives a complex answer.
  So i0 (base i^i) = (i^i)i (or in handy tetrational notation, i^^3) would mean many complex numbers! But that still leaves as a mystery what ii, i raised to the ith power i times means?

We've also added to our collection some (possibly useful) effects,
laws, etc., that demonstrate that some things are somewhat understood:
[For the latest collection, see Laws)
Eddington's Theory: the number of hypotheses varies inversely  to the
amount of knowledge
Hadane's observation: the universe is unimaginably queerer
Huxley's Effect: false thinking eventually produces wrong conduc
Mathew Effect: [Mt. 13:12] aka RHIP (Rank Has Its Priveledges), those
who have get more; those who don't less
90-90 Rule: the first 90% takes 10% of the time and the last 10% 90%
qwerty factor: [Sholes' typewriter keyboard] an innovation  cannot be
replaced, even by a better design, once it's become established
Tirana Index: [Charles Krauthammer's observation of the 1982 Albanian
elections in Tirana, a 1,627,959:1 landslide] tyranny varies with the
margin of victory [so the best would be a 1,627,960-way tie, eh?]
  And we also have three razors to choose rather than Ockham's overused
one (that is, if you must unforteanly use a razor):
Hanlon's -- never attribute to malice, if stupidity serves
Hume's  -- sufficient testimony for the miraculous is that whose falsehood would be
Ulmann's -- when stupidity's sufficient explanation, look no further

  Other "solved" mysteries in Linedecker's book include: "Sodom and Gomorrah" (destroyed by meteor shower), "Do winged dinosaurs live in America?" (bigbird reports as surviving pterodactyls), "Monsters of the deep" (sea monsters as surviving sea dinosaurs), "Was Mata Hari really a super spy?" (yes, though also a pawn), "Adolf Hitler: wanted dead or alive" (many theories), "Dead woman who gassed a hospital staff" (Gloria Ramirez's skin cream reacted with oxygen to form toxin over caming 23 emergency room workers -- and possibly killing her), "Anastasia or Anna?" (according to the DNA tests -- Anna, not Anastasia), "Is God an astronaut?" (No, but Dropas of Bayan-Kara-Ula mountains may be descendants of some), "Was Princess Diana murdered?" (possibly, but if so by whom?)

  In The Bible Code by Michael Drosnin claimed that computer analysis had found hidden words in Scripture revealing details about the assassinations of Pres. John Kennedy, presidential candidate Robert Kennedy and Min Yitzhak Rabin. Warner Brothers has bought the movie rights.
  Since then a not so small boom in publishing such books has occured, reminding one of Ecclesiastes' comment, "Of the making of many books there is no end."
  We now have Cracking the Code: A Look at Hidden Bible Codes by Donald R. Congdon, Decoding the Bible Code by John Welborn, Genesis Code by John Case, Hidden Messages and the Bible Code by Dave Thomas, The Bible Code: Factor Fake by Phil Stanton. They have claimed -- or disclaimed -- supposed prophesies about World War II, the Gulf War, the Six Day War, the Oklahoma City bombing, Princess Diana's death, etc., etc. This new collection is listed in libraries under "ciphers in the Bible: controversial literature'.
  There are even videos of "The Mysterious Bible Codes" and "The Bible Code: Fact or Fiction" and a webline at the Department of Engineering, University of Natal, S. Africa.
  Some "secret messages" found by the equidistant letter sequence search are interesting like the seven kinds of edible plants coded into Gn 1:29-2:16 (barley, wheat, vine, date, olive, fig, pomegranate) or the 25 kinds of trees in Gn 2:7-3:3. Others like, for example, General Schwarzkopf's name (transliterated from Hebrew as ShVRTzKF) or Jesus' (YShA) seem just random combinations.
   Business Week called Drosnin's book "a example of how not to read data". People reported on Dave Thomas, president of New Mexicans for Science and Reason, who got similar results using War and Peace. The New York Times' Edward Rothstein asked "Is destiny just a divine word game?", concluding, "Instructing a computer to decipher long strings of letters from the Old Testament's not that different from interpreting animal entrails or reading tea leaves."
 R. S. Hendel and S. Sternberg called "The Bible Code Cracked and Crumbing" in Bible Review. Even Eliyahu Rips, Drosnin's supposed source, author of The Added Dimension, denounced it.
  The New Age Movement has been involved with this for some time and the Cabalists for centuries. In 1970 Shambala Publishing came out with The Cipher of Genesis: The Original Code of the Qabala as Applied to the Scriptures by Carlos Suares. In 1985 B'Ret Publishers had The Secret Code or The Hidden Language of the Bible by Thierry Gaudine. The "secret" was numerology.
  Jeffrey Satinover, author of Cracking the Bible Code, wrote: "At least as it has been 'decoded' so far, the Bible Code seems to have no content at all -- it is only a watermark, a faintly visible seal of authenticity that must be looked at just so to be seen at all." This is the theme found in more orthodox The Original Code in the Bible: Using Science and Mathematics to Reveal God's Fingerprints by Del  Washburn, and The Signature of God and The Handwriting of God by Grant R.
  As Newsweek's Sharon Begley noted, quoting the Bible,  as plaintext not ciphertext, "Seek and ye shall find". You can seek and find history or current events -- or the Eternal.