Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Carlos Castenada

Carlos Castenada was a UCLA anthropology student who wrote a popular series of books in the 1970's about his research into the practices of native Mexican "sorcerers" which included the consumption of psychoactive plants. As it turns out, he also had a cult, based in Los Angeles, largely of women devotees, some of whom were supposed to be witches. When Castenada died of cancer in the late nineties, five of the women disappeared without a trace - it is assumed they committed suicide. A skeleton found in Death Valley was identified as one of the "witches" in 2006. See The dark legacy of Carlos Castaneda in Salon and The Sorcerer's Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda by Amy Irving.

Isotope Separation

SWU for U and Me by Jeremy Bernstein. Urananium isotope seperation has been in the news of late because of Iran's efforts in this arena. This paper explains some of the theory behind gas centrifuges and some of the fascinating history as well. If equations aren't your cup of tea, try skipping past those sections to the ancedotes.