Oddly Enough

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The Independent Online
War fever: The Third World War will start in July in the Balkans, last seven months and end in victory for Nato, according to a new analysis of Nostradamus.

"He is clear it will start before the end of the century during the period of Cancer which is between 22 June and 23 July, and in a triangle bordered by Greece, Italy and Turkey, which is the Balkans," said Willie Breytenbach, Professor of Political Science at South Africa's University of Stellenbosch.

Breytenbach said he found references to the conflict in 18 of the 950 quatrains written by Michel de Notre Dame in 1555, which have supposedly been found to refer to the fire of London, Louis Pasteur and Adolf Hitler, among others.

"In one quatrain he mentions the Slav people. He also mentions war in the mountains which, taken with what we know and the talk of land forces, all gelled." One quatrain also mentions a "tyrant" whose name begins with "M". Another notes that the Serbs will "change their prince", which Breytenbach took to be a reference to the possible overthrow of the Serb leader. Another verse refers to three years and seven months of peace before the war.

"I suddenly noticed that the Dayton peace accord was signed on 21 November, 1995. Adding three years and seven months to that brings us to the end of June 1999," Breytenbach said. The Dayton peace accord, to which Milosevic was a signatory, finally ended the conflict in Bosnia. "Nostradamus is quite clear the war will last seven months and the ultimate victor will have been born on American soil," he continued. "I have to emphasise I am a sceptic. I am an academic who was bored on a Sunday."

The smell of fear: Scientists have long laughed at the theory that a newborn baby will be frightened of things that scared its mother during pregnancy. But researchers at the University of Sydney have now found possible evidence of this phenomenon in Australian skinks (a type of lizard).

Newborn skinks reacted more strongly to their first whiff of a lizard- eating snake if their mother had smelled the same snake during pregnancy. Biologist Richard Shine told New Scientist: "It certainly surprised the hell out of us."

New Scientist reported: "The researchers are not sure what causes these changes. They could be just an accidental consequence of maternal stress, which can upset developmental patterns in mammals. Or mothers could be priming their offspring by activating genes that are helpful in snake- filled habitats."