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01/30/2004: Arcanum Arcanum

Pickled Dragon Mystery
Cross reference "Fraud & Conspiracy"
from The Sydney Morning Herald

dragininajar (30k image)

A pickled "dragon" that looks as if it might once have flown around Harry Potter's Hogwarts has been found in a garage in Oxfordshire, England.

The baby dragon, in a sealed jar, was discovered with a metal tin containing paperwork in old-fashioned German of the 1890s.

Allistair Mitchell, who was asked to investigate the dragon by a friend, David Hart, who discovered it in his garage, speculates that German scientists may have attempted to use the dragon to hoax their English counterparts at the end of the 19th century, when rivalry between the countries was intense.

"At the time, scientists were the equivalent of today's pop stars. It would have been a great propaganda coup for the Germans if it had come off," Mr Mitchell said.

"I've shown the photos to someone from Oxford University and he thought it was amazing. Obviously he could not say if it was real and wanted to do a biopsy."

The documents suggest that the Natural History Museum turned the dragon away, possibly because they suspected it was a trick, and sent it to be destroyed. But it appears a porter intercepted the jar and took it home. The papers suggest the porter may have been Frederick Hart - David Hart's grandfather.

Mr Mitchell said: "The dragon is flawless, from the tiny teeth to the umbilical cord. It could be made from indiarubber, because Germany was the world's leading manufacturer of it at the time, or it could be made of wax. It has to be fake. No one has ever proved scientifically that dragons exist. But everyone who sees it immediately asks, 'Is it real?"'

Some scientists believe that dragons, though the product of imagination, were inspired by the extraordinary creatures that once roamed the Earth.

As J.K.Rowling's alter ego Hermione Granger once suggested, legends have a basis in fact.

Friday the 30th of January, santo26 noted:

cross referece with fraud and conspiracy???

let us assume, for a moment, that someone in the 1800s had the technology/ artistic ability to create something this detailed ( P.T. Barnum used to display something called the " Feejee Mermaid, " which was a woman's corpse and a fish stitched together, and looks pretty crappy), is that a reason not to test the specimen? what if it is a "dragon" aka some hitherto undiscovered member of the reptile/ bird family? is it going to hurt anyone to do one scientific test?

the answer is yes. what scientist in his right mind would risk his credibility and grant $ to do it? this is yet another example of the scientific community's unwillingness to take up a challenge of investigating anything out of the ordinary ( such as strange archaeological ruins being the product of weird farmers building stuff to amuse themselves ).

science isn't really about discovering anything anymore- it is just another corporate- controlled industry that doesn't want to upset their customers. go work on some more male impotency drugs and ergonomic cellphones, boys.

Friday the 30th of January, booty noted:


Friday the 30th of January, awiggins noted:

It sounds like the fellow at Oxford might do a biopsy on it. I was amazed by the quality of the work if it is a fraud though. It looks like a prop from a modern movie. I would never have placed it on the 1800s.

Santo may not be far off on his last statement.

"Scientists said on Wednesday they had created a new form of matter and predicted it could help lead to the next generation of superconductors for use in electricity generation, more efficient trains and countless other applications."

Not that there are not scientists out there who are just interested in adding to the knowledge pool, but fermionic condensate will have some pretty interesting commercial applications.

I guess I will just have to keep an eye out for a follow up on this whole Dragon in a Bottle™ thing.

Friday the 30th of January, Mr. Frodo noted:

They fear soldiers on flying dragon clones will attempt to conquer middle earth.

Friday the 30th of January, santo26 noted:

while i wholeheartledy agree that creating a new kind of matter is very exciting, Dr. Jin is working at "the National Institute of Standards and Technology's joint lab with the University of Colorado " and was "a recent recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant.""

Sounds like a lot of money is involved here. The only way that Dr. Jin's lab could have received enough money to work on this project was if it showed any commercial promise. Think of how much money the U of Colorado is going to get out of inventing a 6th form of matter on their campus.

If Dr. Jin wrote up a grant proposal for $5 to take a sample of the "dragon" and test it, would the Mac Arthur Foundation or the National Institute of Standards and Technology even give her a reply? What good does it do anyone to conclusively prove what the heck it is? It is not commercially applicable unless you open Dragon Park TM- where dragons TM come to life! TM

Or perhaps I should stop giving a shit about the past since the past can't give us new forms of matter.

Friday the 30th of January, Abe Froman noted:

I like that Santos view of science is right out of "House of a 1000 Corpses." Fishboy!!! Dr. Satan, Dr. Satan!!!

Friday the 30th of January, booty noted:

just because there are commerical applications doesnt mean basic research is evil.

do you really think scarce funding resources should be spent on chasing champy or other harebrained ideas? dragons? are you kidding me?

and it want on the campus of U Colorado. READ THE ARTICLES

Friday the 30th of January, booty noted:

it just kills me that you can make broad, sweeping statements about how all science is motivated by greed because someone wont open a bottle to look at a freakin dragon. most scientists are motivated by the desire for knowledge, and particle physics has close to no near term chances of commerical application, despite the billions of dollars spent on it annually. fermilab, cern, the other accelelerators have produced little to nothing in the way of commerical boondoggles for their investors (almost always governments). for all of your conspiracy theories, the big science one is the lease belivable.

Friday the 30th of January, santo26 noted:

Read the articles? I would NOT quote from an article that I have never read!

Also, I never said that basic research was "evil," I was merely snarkily pointing out that the scientific community has blind spots- things that they will not waste research on and laugh at. It would not be worth the time,the money, or the risk to their reputations of serious scientists to do so. But the dragon is still there. Should we ignore it?

As for the science is motivated by greed, why are there several brands of male impotency drugs and no cure for cancer? Why?

I appreciate your passion. I am sorry if I have offended your god science.

"ask Copernicus about pushing limits" -Dr. Octagon