Stephen Hawking charmed a group of Chinese students on Wednesday, telling them he liked Chinese culture and women while warning that global warming might turn the Earth into a fiery planet.

Before an audience of 500 at a seminar in Beijing, the wheelchair-bound celebrity cosmologist said, "I like Chinese culture, Chinese food and above all Chinese women. They are beautiful."

Asked about the environment, Hawking, who suffers from a degenerative disease and speaks through a computerized voice synthesizer, said he was "very worried about global warming." He said he was afraid that Earth "might end up like Venus, at 250 degrees centigrade and raining sulfuric acid."

Ask me if there is anything about this that doesn't give me the creeps.  But we are so jaded.  If Nostradamus had spoken with a computerized voice synthesizer and predicted sulfuric acid rain, they probably would have tried to make him Holy Roman Emperor or something.