NTS LogoSkeptical News for 27 July 2001

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings


Friday, July 27, 2001

Russian Physicist Reveals New Information on Enigmatic "Cylinders of the Pharaohs"

SOUTHWICK, Mass., Jul 24, 2001 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Ancient Egypt continues to keep secrets buried beneath the sands of time.

Nothing could stop Russian physicist Dr. Vladimir Kovtoun, however, from digging for an explanation on an elusive Egyptian artifact he now refers to as "Cylinders of the Pharaohs."

Kovtoun originally spotted the cylindrical objects in the hands of Egyptian statues while visiting a museum near Saint Petersburg, Russia. Kovtoun queried Egyptologists and historians, but no one could provide an adequate explanation as to their purpose. He began his own extensive research, and discovered that a set of cylinders was unearthed at several archeological sites including one in Iraq.

As to the Cylinders' identity in the hands of the statues, archeologists speculated that the cylinders were perhaps a truncated version of the staff and baton, a roll of papyrus, or a bolt of cloth. These possibilities did not account, in many cases, for the size, color and style of the Cylinders.

Years after Kovtoun's initial inquiry, he discovered a handwritten manuscript called "The Secrets of Life and Death, Egypt, India, Caucasus" which held a chapter on the mysterious Cylinders, their true function and the formula for replicating them. According to Kovtoun, the manuscript explained that the Cylinders were used by Pharaohs and Priests to "re-energize and re-organize" the body's bio- electromagnetic field, creating health and longevity.

Kovtoun brought the replicated cylinders to research facilities in Russia where scientists discovered that they do exhibit a measurable beneficial effect on patients with a variety of disorders.

Russian athletes have also begun using the Cylinders and are claiming better performance and faster recovery. ? The Cylinders of the Pharaohs are now being tested by several U.S. scientists. Thus far the scientists have discovered that the Cylinders create a micro ampere voltage when held in people's hands. They are looking for an explanation as to how or why the Cylinders may have an effect on health.

For more information please contact:
Patricia Baker
The Big Picture Agency
LLCVoice: 413-569-1595
Email: pbaker@bigpictureagency.comMAKE
CONTACT:

Patricia Baker of the Big Picture Agency
LLC, +1-413-569-1595
http://www.prnewswire.com/

http://library.northernlight.com/FA20010724920000031.html?cb=0&dx=1006&sc=0#doc

http://hometown.aol.com/sbelle2766/index.html

Earth's crust gains 200 million years - Ananova Alerting

An improved dating technique has pushed back the age of the Earth's crust by 200 million years.

The crust is now thought to be 4.3 billion years old rather than the previous estimate of 4.1 billion years.

As a result, models of the formation of the Earth's core, intermediate mantle layer, and surface crust, may have to be revised.

Researchers estimate the ages of the Earth's oldest rocks from the radioactive decay of certain trace element isotopes, such as lutetium-176.

A team of German scientists has now re-calculated the decay rate of lutetium-176 and found as a result that the age of the Earth's crust had been underestimated.

The scientists, led by Erik Scherer from the University of Munster, used a new technique to compare the ages of samples previously too small to be analysed.

Their findings, reported in the journal Science, showed that earlier age estimates based on lutetium-176 were out by 4%.

They go some way to resolving the mystery of how the Earth appears to have had liquid water and possibly emerging life so soon after its formation.

The oldest known rocks on Earth are water-deposited sediments that contain evidence of life and photosynthesis up to four billion years ago.

But the Solar System's planets, including the Earth, only formed about 4.5 billion years ago.

Scientists call the gap between the planets forming and the age of the oldest known Earth rocks the Hadean era. At present little is known about what happened on Earth during the Hadean, other than that it was a time of heavy bombardment from space.

The German team said their results suggested that Earth's first persistent crust "formed between 60 and 260 million years after the condensation of the oldest solid matter in the solar system."

See this story on the web at

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_360783.html

Edgar Cayce Book Banned in 47 Countries

FORBIDDEN PROPHECIES OF EDGAR CAYCE!

http://www.weeklyworldnews.com/features/revelations_story.cfm?instanceid=12399

By MICHAEL CHIRON and DRAKE ANDERS

PARIS - A blockbuster book that claims to contain the final deathbed prophecies of Edgar Cayce has been banned in 47 countries - because officials around the world fear that some of the predictions could spark public panic and deadly riots!

The book, entitled The Deathbed Prophecies of Edgar Cayce, is said to be based on notes taken by one of Cayce's followers shortly before the legendary seer died in 1945.

Cayce, who accurately foretold hundreds of events while in a mysterious, trance-like sleep, is generally considered America's greatest prophet.

That's why governments are taking the new predictions so seriously and the book has been banned in Iraq, Turkey, Spain, China, Ethiopia, Argentina and 41 other countries. Even in America, where the book is slated for release next fall, officials are talking about putting an injunction on its publication.

Here, for the first time anywhere in the United States, are some exclusive excerpts. According to Cayce, all the prophecies will come to pass between now and 2005:

· Great figures from the past will contact the world's national leaders, providing guidance and absolute proof that the soul survives physical death.

· Britain's great leader from World War 2, Winston Churchill, former U.S. President Richard Nixon, engineer, inventor and scientist Nikola Tesla, and agricultural genius George Washington Carver will be among the first to offer their services to help make the world a better place.

· Biorhythms, the rhythmic cycles of the body clock, will be in common use by people around the world to organize most of their life activities - including conception of babies.

· Educators and others will also take advantage of the science to improve learning and help adults and children to function at their very best in every endeavor.

· Americans, then other people around the world, will learn to communicate telepathically. The skill will be taught in elementary school, and telephones and other forms of mechanical communication will be eliminated.

· A worldwide dream laboratory will be established in San Francisco and people will be taught to program their dreams before going to sleep.

· Dreamers will be able to program learning channels, or the entertainment of their choice with simple meditation.

· Crime will be virtually eliminated in the Western world before the end of the century's second decade when scientists learn to implant a "conscience gland" into the brains of sociopaths and other outlaws.

· The world of medicine will be revolutionized by the success and broad acceptance of non-traditional healing methods, including the use of gemstones, talismans and prayer.

· Many hospitals will close and doctors will change professions as the ill and injured learn to take care of most of their health problems by themselves - or with the help of self-taught specialists.

· Scientists will discover a parallel world, and interdimensional travel will replace cruise ships and national parks as favorite holiday activities.

· A horrifying and bizarre "brain flu" sickens and kills 3 million people worldwide in, as Cayce put it, "the terrible, terrible summer of 2001."

· A horde of sex-crazed incubi - demons of night - will invade girls' schools around the world, leading to an alarming number of pregnancies. The demons will eventually be defeated by a multinational strike force of exorcists trained by the Vatican.

· Jesus Christ will return at the end of this decade, and reveal himself to the world as a 9-year-old Central American boy. After a period of turmoil and difficulty with religious leaders, He will be accepted as the Messiah - and begin His healing mission among all of God's children in the world.

· Magnetism will be harnessed as an inexhaustible new energy source, and change the lives of people around the globe. Oil-rich countries will seek to block its use, but efforts to sabotage the revolutionary achievement will be overruled by a consortium of nations.

· A fleet of UFOs will land in Birmingham, Ala., to issue an ultimatum to all mankind: Live in peace or die.

· The space aliens, who have been monitoring human activities from a base in the inner Earth, will set a six-month deadline to prevent the world from being destroyed.

· Framed King Arthur's legendary sword, "Excalibur" will be discovered imbedded in a huge rock in the central Kentucky mountains. After a succession of strong men, including a contingent of Sumo from Japan, fail to extricate the sword - it will be pulled out by an 11-year-old boy.

· Guided by the spirit of the ancient English king, the boy will develop into an honest and astute politician, who will lead the world to global peace.

· Biblical plagues, led by an infestation of billions of locusts, will settle over the world. Millions of people will die of starvation, disease and war as nations fight each other over dwindling resources before the plagues vanish and peace is restored.

· A cure for AIDS is found in an unlikely place. A mold that grows on the back of an obscure brand of cheese produced in the state of Oregon turns out to contain a chemical that kills the HIV virus.

· Scientists are able to stop and reverse Alzheimer's - using a computer chip that replaces damaged brain cells and restores memories.

· Researchers discover "an entirely new form of sleep" that slows the aging process dramatically and cures depression as well as several other forms of mental illness. Learning how to change your brainwaves to the health-enhancing new sleep pattern takes just a little training.

· In the wake of an unprecedented economic upturn following this year's recession scare, Congress abolishes the Internal Revenue Service and all federal income taxes. Free gasoline for all Americans becomes a reality as the government uses record budget surpluses to help citizens achieve the highest standard of living ever..

· A mummy believed to be that of Satan is dug up by archaeologists studying self-proclaimed Messiah David Koresh's Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Tex. Federal authorities called to the scene find the horned figure missing.

· A dozen women, each one closely resembling a Renaissance painting of the Virgin Mary, appear in cities across the world, beginning in Springfield, Ill. The 12 mystery women, who become known as the 12 Sisters of Mercy, perform miraculous acts of healing as they travel by foot across the land.

· Missing for 400 years, the Hammer of Lucifer is found in Germany, sparking panic among those who fear it is a sign that the final battle between good and evil is about to begin. The Hammer - believed to be the one used to nail Jesus to cross - mesmerizes all who see it, causing the weak-minded to bow down to the Devil.

· A great ball of fire measuring an unbelievable 18 miles wide streaks across the sky on August 3, 2001. The enormous fireball, visible from everywhere in the continental United States, is seen by many as a sign that the end of the world is near.

· For one terrifying day in mid-September, 2001, time stops on the West Coast of the United States, while continuing normally elsewhere - creating mass confusion when time resumes.

· In Central China, a horde of winged beings described as looking like medieval gargoyles lay waste to two cities, leaving an estimated 200,000 people dead. An additional 13,500 victims, mostly women and children, are taken prisoner by the demonic beings, which vanish into "a swirling black hole in the sky" with their captives, according to 17 survivors.

· With the help of a new form of astral projection introduced to the West by a Hindu mystic, it becomes possible for ordinary people to visit Heaven while still alive.

Junior Psychics

http://www.weeklyworldnews.com/features/revelations_story.cfm?instanceid=13073

YOUR BABY MAY HAVE AMAZING PSYCHIC POWERS!

By KAYE ROSEBURG

BOSTON - Is your baby trying to hypnotize you? Children as young as 1 week old can exhibit paranormal abilities - and use their powers to control their parents' minds, a fascinating new study shows.

ESP researchers in Boston studied 100 babies ages 0 to 24 months and found that 70 percent of them had "moderate to strong" telepathic abilities.

"Youngsters use the ability to let parents know when they are hungry, wet or frightened and summon them to their cribs," says research psychologist Dr. Alexis Shorney, who co- authored the study.

"We found they are able to signal their mothers at a distance, in an acoustically sealed room down the hall where the moms cannot hear their cries."

In the study, pairs of mothers and their babies were separated and each mom was instructed to type into a computer what her baby was feeling at any given moment. Researchers later compared the subjects' guesses with videotapes of the tots, showing when they cried. Astonishingly, most of the time, moms accurately stated when their infants were hungry or uncomfortable - and, especially, when they were afraid.

"When a loud noise was played on a speaker in the room where the baby was lying, the child would begin to cry," continues Dr. Shorney. "And at the same moment, the mother would invariably express concern that her child was afraid. Often she would feel an irresistible compulsion to go see her child and would demand to leave the room."

Experts say babies use their mind-control powers to mold their parents' emotions.

"We believe that infants cause adults to feel affection and form a deep emotional bond with the child," says Dr. Shorney. "This causes parents to willingly make sacrifices for their children - to give up their lives if need be. The survival value of this trait is obvious."

Paranormal abilities seemed to weaken with age and appeared to dissipate entirely among most children by age 2, the study found.

Science In the News

The following roundup of science stories appearing each day in the general media is compiled by the Media Resource Service, Sigma Xi's referral service for journalists in need of sources of scientific expertise.

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IN THE NEWS

Today's Headlines - July 25, 2001

HOUSE PANEL OKs ANTI-CLONING BILL
from Newsday

Washington - The House Judiciary Committee approved a bill yesterday to outlaw human cloning, but critics said the legislation also could restrict medical research on embryonic stem cells.

The bill, passed by an 18-11 vote along party lines, could be taken up by the full House as early as next week. It would impose fines of at least $1 million and up to 10 years in prison for any attempt to clone a human in the United States or knowingly import an embryo produced by human cloning.

In cloning Dolly the sheep in 1996 in Britain, scientists took an adult body cell (or somatic cell) and fused it with an egg whose DNA-containing nucleus had been removed. The resulting embryo, when implanted in a womb, gave rise to a genetic copy of the adult donor.

There have been bipartisan calls in Congress for a law explicitly banning such reproductive cloning in humans. But critics said the bill approved yesterday, drafted by Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.), is too broad and would bar use of somatic cell nuclear transfer methods to produce embryonic cells meant for use in research or treating disease.

http://www.newsday.com/coverage/current/health/wednesday/nd5762.htm

PROSTATE CANCER TRIAL LINKS DIET, PREVENTION
from The Chicago Tribune

Suspecting that two ordinary over-the-counter dietary supplements may contain valuable cancer-fighting properties, the National Cancer Institute announced Tuesday the start of the largest study ever devoted to the prevention of prostate cancer.

Researchers conducting the 12-year clinical trial will recruit 32,400 healthy men across the United States and Canada to determine whether taking vitamin E and selenium, which are found naturally in foods, can protect against a disease that kills about 31,500 men in the U.S. each year.

The study follows a similar effort that recruited 22,000 women in 1999 to look at the effectiveness of tamoxifen and raloxifene in preventing breast cancer. The current research, however, focuses on diet rather than drugs, and some medical experts believe it represents a significant step toward the mainstreaming of vitamins and nutritional therapies.

"It has always been our dream that taking a vitamin may prevent cancer, and vitamin E may be it," said Dr. Daniel Shevrin, an oncologist at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare. "The whole idea of diet and prostate cancer is poorly understood."

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0107250296jul25.story?coll=chi%2Dnews%2Dhed

APPARENT ASTEROID FRAGMENT CRASHES TO EARTH
from The San Francisco Chronicle

A space object, possibly a chunk of rock roaming the universe since the formation of the solar system, flamed through Earth's atmosphere yesterday, causing a flash visible in broad daylight and sonic booms heard from Virginia to upstate New York.

Pieces of the object reportedly fell to Earth intact, said U.S. Naval Observatory spokesman Geoff Chester in Washington, D.C., although there was no immediate confirmation.

"It got brighter and brighter. Halfway up in the sky, it sort of evaporated into a bright flash," said CNN Military Affairs Correspondent Jamie McIntyre, who watched the phenomenon from his office in the Pentagon. "This downward arc of flaming object was bright against the sky. Then it appeared to evaporate in a burst of flame."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/07/24/MN133483.DTL&type=science

IT'S NOT THE HEAT OR THE HUMIDITY; IT'S THE OZONE
from The New York Times

There was an ozone alert in New York City for the third day in a row yesterday, and with it the usual warning that everyone should avoid strenuous outdoor activities. But did cyclists Dan Plitman and Shayna Kadidal, racing down the Hudson River bikeway in 90-degree-plus heat, show any concern?

Not much.

A sociological note, from Mr. Plitman, about ozone alerts:

"I used to go to L.A. a lot. It was a much bigger deal out there. They used to put it on the news every morning, rated 1 to 10."

Actually, there was something else of sociological interest on the Hudson River bike path yesterday: many people were unaware of daily ozone alerts, and environmental pollutant brand-name confusion was markedly high. Some associated ozone with a hole in the atmospheric layer, which might result in a nasty sunburn, not a particle that is a major component of smog, which might cause coughing or shortness of breath.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/25/nyregion/25HEAT.html

RELIGIOUS BELIEFS MAY IMPACT BLOOD PRESSURE AMONG BLACKS
from Scripps Howard News Service

Using prayer to cope with life's stresses may help lower blood pressure in African Americans, according to a new study.

Blacks reporting higher levels of religious beliefs had lower blood pressure in clinical settings, during the workday and at nighttime, than did blacks who were less religiously active, said researchers from Duke University Medical Center.

"Our findings suggest that 'religious coping' may help buffer cardiovascular disease in African Americans," said Patrick Steffen, a researcher in Duke's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and lead author of the study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

The researchers define "religious coping" as the extent to which the subjects put trust in God, seek God's help, try to find comfort in religion and "pray more than usual."

http://www.nando.net/healthscience/story/49424p-740258c.html

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CSICOP In the News

From: Barry Karr SkeptInq@aol.com CSICOP In The News
June/July 2001

Quick notes:

*Don't forget to check out all ten "Skeptical Inquirer" episodes on the Discovery Science Channel (available on digital cable).

*See link on About.com's "Talk Shows" department to CSICOP's "scathing" review of "Crossing Over With John Edward

*The First Online Church of Bob at http://www.modemac.com give high marks to CSICOP and Skeptical Inquirer in its "Science abd Pseudo-science page.

July 20 & 21, 2001
The Learning Channel
"Best Kept Secrets of the Paranormal"

CSICOP Senior Research Fellow Joe Nickell and University of Pittsburgh Physics Instructor David Willey blast holes in paranormal explanations for ghosts, firewalking and other seemingly superhuman and supernatural feats. Rebroadcast. Appeared at 7:00 pm Friday 7/20/01 and 2:00 am Saturday 7/21/01.

July 18, 2001
Ithaca Times (Ithaca, NY)
"Spirits Willing"

Ithaca Times writer M. Tye Wolf interviews Matt Nisbet on the subject of psyhics and CSICOP.

July 13, 2001
The Daily Record (Morris City, NJ)
"Friday the 13th"

Writer Rob Siemen quotes CSICOP PR director Kevin Christopher on the origins of superstitious beliefs and Friday the 13th fears.

July 13, 2001
Times-Leader (Martin's Ferry, OH)
"Friday the 13th"

Times-Leader editor Joe Lampert offers a paean to CSICOP and a jeremiad against superstitious thinking and other forms of paranormal escapism.

July 13, 2001
The Journal (Middletown, OH)
"Are you scared? It's Friday the 13th"

Dave Wasinger interviews Joe Nickell on triskaidekaphobia, friggatriskaideakphobia, and the origins of Friday the 13th angst.

July 13, 2001
The National Post (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
"Skeptics say, Thank God it's Friday... the 13th"

Post writer Mary Vallis interviews Paul Kurtz on Friday the 13th and its history.

July 13, 2001
WIVB (Buffalo, NY, CBS Affiliate)
Evening News

Coverage of the 6th Annual Friday 13th Superstition Bash at CSICOP's HQ in Amherst, NY.

July 13, 2001
WKBW (Buffalo, NY ABC Affiliate)
Late Night News

Coverage of the 6th Annual Friday 13th Superstition Bash at CSICOP's HQ in Amherst, NY.

July 8, 2001
The Post (New York, NY) - Post Wire Services
"Bring me your dead"

Post writer Ylan Miu cites CSICOP's position on mediumship.

July 6, 2001
Wireless Flash News Service
"The Truth About Lie Detectors"

Elaine Camuso writes a release for the Flash News Service on Sandia National Laboratories' Sr. Scientist Alan Zelicoff and his article for Skeptical Inquirer on polygraphs.

July 3, 2001
The Herald (Chicago, IL)
"Aliens Invade Schaumburg!"

Hilary Schenfeld writes on UFO sightings, quotes CSICOP's Joe Nickell.

July 2001
Karma Central
ComedyCentral.com

Susie Felber talks about the events planned for the Friday 13th Superstition Bash in online article.

June 29, 2001
The News (Buffalo, NY)
"Evangelist Benny Hinn Packs Arena"

Dave Condren gets Joe Nickell's skeptical take on evangelist Benny Hinn's "healing" services.

June 27, 2001
Community Times (Maryland)
"Who could possibly be afraid of a little ole... ghost!"

Staff Writer Baxter Smith cites Skeptical Inquirer and quotes Joe Nickell on the more reasonable explanations for alleged ghost sighting.

June 19, 2001
Gannett News Service (SYNDICATED)*

GNS writer Greg Barrett investigates the claims of mediums like John Edward, quotes CSICOP chairman Paul Kurtz, and James Randi.

*Syndicated in:
USA Today (6/20/01)
Indianapolis Star (6/19/01)
Sacramento Bee (6/19/01)
Rochester (NY) Democrat &Chronicle (6/21/01)
And elsewhere

June 17, 2001
The Sunday Times (London, UK)
"On another planet"

Senay Boztas quotes Paul Kurtz on CSICOP's investigation of astrology.

May 31, 2001
South Journal News (Yonkers, NY)
"Energy healers reunite spirit and medicine"

Gary Stern quotes Dr. Wallace Sampson on alternative healing practices.

May 27, 2001
Standard-Examiner (Salt Lake City, UT)
"What's In The cards?"

Staff writer Amy Schoon gets the skeptical scoop on tarot readings from CSICOP's Bob Steiner.

Einstein Was Wrong!

From: Shaun Cronin

Heh,heh. I love deliberately provocative subjects. For those interesed, some lively letters on Einstein and his critics can be found at

http://www.salon.com/people/letters/2001/07/23/hughes/index.html

I did a search for Herbert Ives (whose expirements are mentioned as allegedly showing the relativity was wrong) on google but what turned up was a torrent of "Einstein is wrong" or creationist sites with little objective information.

The common claim is that Ives' expirements have never been shown to be wrong.

Anyone familiar with the experiments and their significance?

Shaun

My UFO friend

From: Paul Oldenburg

My UFO friend keeps coming up with all the proof I will need, to believe. Along with much material I won't bore you with. This is his latest.

http://www.billymeier.com/Photo_Gallery.html

Since I'm no photography expert I ask someone, maybe Dave Palmer to please point out the deficiencies in this," best evidence".


Thursday, July 26, 2001

New Jersey Preliminary (UFO) Investigation

From: Terry W. Colvin

Filer's Files #30 -- 2000, MUFON Skywatch Investigations
George A. Filer, Director, Mutual UFO Network Eastern
July 22, 2001, Sponsored by Electronic Arts, Majorstar@aol.com.
Webmaster Chuck Warren http://www.filersfiles.com

NEW JERSEY PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION

CARTERET -- A series of strange extraordinary lights were seen flying over Carteret only 10 miles from downtown Manhattan on Sunday morning July 15, 2001. This sighting has created a great deal of interest in the news media and the local population. Peter Davenport at the National UFO Reporting Center received at least fifteen reports concerning the sighting. We are working to investigate the cause of the sighting. The story was carried on CNN, MSNBC, ABC New Jersey FM 101.5, and many other stations. The object flew about a five miles south of Newark Airport around 12:30 AM. Witnesses reported seeing a cluster of lights estimated as 15 to 30 amber, gold, orange lights hovering and moving slowly at an estimated 10 mph. Many witnesses were traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike when they noticed the lights above them and an estimated 75 cars stopped on side of the highway. Many of their occupants stood outside their vehicles watching the formation of lights. This is a twe! lve lane lighted highway and the light pollution creates difficult viewing.

Six policemen and hundreds of witnesses viewed the huge unidentified flying object or objects. After initial investigation witnesses agree that a very large object was flying at about 10 to 20 mph described variously as a V, U, or M formation. The light formation appeared different to various witnesses. Some people claimed to have seen 30 white lights; some claim they were only able to view a dozen lights. Those in darker locations described the lights as white, others called them amber or gold. About ten lights stayed lit continuously and at least a half dozen other brightened and dimmed in unison. The witnesses claimed the lights stayed in the same relative position as they moved slowly across the sky towards the southeast. Some people claimed the lights appeared to fall or climb just before going out.

I have made an initial examination of the videotape taken off the news channel. There appears to be a smaller structured object in the lower right hand part of the screen. This object appears to have two smaller lights and may be the source of all the lights perhaps using holographic projections. In-depth analysis of the videotape is needed. The sound bite from the video was also interesting in that you could hear a woman's voice say, "Isn't it amazing!" This lends credibility to the video, since it doesn't sound like their acting. In recent days many of the witnesses were whisked off in limousines to appear on the various news shows. Some were paid for their videos and photos making it difficult for our research until things quiet down.

Peter Davenport appeared on MS NBC and discussed the sighting. I thought it was significant that the host commented that the station gets numerous UFO reports everyday, and they could spend all their time covering UFO reports, but this one was special. "Eyewitness Joe Malvasio said, "It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. They were just hovering, and then they just disappeared. One at a time, each one started to fade until they were gone." According to investigator Bob Durant the wind was measured at 2351 hours from 340 degrees at 10 mph, and at 0051 hours on July 15, from 310 degrees at 10 mph with clear sky. The winds indicate the lights may have been drifting with the wind to the southeast. The descriptions and video are similar to the Phoenix Lights, where a similar V formation appeared in March of 1997. Another similar sighting was reported over Rockford, Illinois on March 18, 2001. The formation also matches reports of unexplained lights in the sky ! from all across the United States, as well as England and Europe.

According to ABC news, Colm Kelleher of the National Institute of Discovery Science (NIDS) says that from what he's heard, this one sounds like the Jersey Lights were a set of military flares. The NIDS claims their witnesses saw pieces of burning debris coming off the lights, and another said he saw a puff of smoke when one of the lights went out through his night vision binoculars, although he did not see a parachute. Unless these two witnesses are lying (one is a cop, the other in "special forces"), it sounds like something man-made.

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/ufo_nj010719.html

We know that each witness will observe extraordinary objects in a different way. It is interesting to note that MUFON witnesses did not see any evidence of flares. The lights did not swing like they were attached to parachutes nor was there smoke, lines, or structure visible. The lights operated in a continuous manner similar to aircraft lights, unlike flares. The lights moved in unison as if connected to a flying object. Another group of five or six lights brightened and dimmed in unison. Flares when dropped from an aircraft are generally blown around randomly and will drift and descend downwind. Generally, they do not remain burning or airborne for more than 5 minutes, while most witnesses claimed a much longer time period. Smoke trails are usually quite visible as flares slowly descend. I have also fired Anti-Sam flares from my aircraft that travel like a rocket with a visible trail. In most videos and eyewitness accounts flares with parachutes are discernible as t! hey meander and descend fairly quickly. We estimate the total sighting to be ten to twenty minutes. Flares also tend to illuminate the parachutes and area around them. They do not brighten and dim in unison. I visited the area of the sighting specifically looking for any signs of parachutes or similar remains. So far the police have not located any evidence of flares or similar burning or pyrotechnic objects. There have been no fires reported. The entire area over flown is densely populated with homes, and numerous fuel tanks. Signs are posted stating no smoking due to the obvious danger from fire among the tanks. I also visited the shoreline of the Arthur Kill River. There was no evidence on or along the shore of parachutes or pyrotechnic devices. We can hypothesize that a formation of balloons or aircraft could carry the lights or special long burning flares.

The Federal Aviation Administration said, that there were no planned military operations in the area and that air traffic was light at the time of the reported sightings. No pilots flying in or out of Newark Airport reported seeing anything out of the ordinary. One witness claimed that an aircraft on approach to Newark Airport appeared to be diverted prior to landing. The military has denied having flights in the area. The New Jersey Air National Guard 177th Fighter Wing at Atlantic City Airport denied any exercises or having any F-16 aircraft airborne at the time. McGuire AFB 305th Air Mobility Wing also denied having any aircraft airborne at the time. There are no restricted areas in the Carteret area although air traffic is under tight control because of the three major airports. The Army's Picatinny Arsenal is 30 miles northwest of Carteret. Based on the wind direction the lights are likely to have flown over the arsenal. I called and spoke to the Command Section w! ho denied launching any kind of balloons or flares with artillery. They assured me they didn't do anything like that there,

I drove several hours to Carteret to interview a Ukrainian Priest, Right Reverend, Father Chubenko on July 17, 2001. I believe he is probably the strongest witness because of his location at a comparatively dark observation point next to the rectory on Roosevelt Road. He is extremely intelligent, an excellent witness, an electrical engineer, and a pilot. He was adamant in his belief that the lights were not flares. He has flown over the area on a regular basis and felt the lights were at 3,000 feet altitude. He measured the lights with his fist at arm's length and the lights covered 5 widths of his fist about 24 inches. He estimated the lights covered a 1000 feet of air space.

Additionally he documented his sighting immediately after it occurred and before any news media coverage. He specifically tried to analyze what he was viewing. We were both interviewed on ABC Channel 12 by Cynthia Scott. His son Greg Chubenko was driving in Carteret, when he spotted the UFO and phoned his father who was in bed. Father Chubenko got dressed and went outside to observe and immediately spotted 15 or more lights flying over the Rectory. Father Chubenko indicated, that an apparent craft flew overhead, although he did not see a structure only lights. He watched the lights very closely for more than 5 to 10 minutes. The lights were completely synchronized and brightened and dimmed in unison. There was emission from the light like a candle droppings, as the lights would descend before shutting off. Almost all witnesses claim these were not flares, candles in bags etc. The lights were similar to glowing stars, but not shining in any particular direction.

I asked specifically if he thought these were flares? He said, these were not flares he was sure of that. The lights did go out periodically. He felt that many lights moved in unison that they appeared to be attached to some kind of an object probably a craft, although he did not personally see a craft. The lights moved in unison and they brightened and dimmed in unison as if they were attached to the same craft. The newspaper claimed that the lights might be bags of garbage on fire. He laughed since fuel storage tanks cover this area and burning objects could easily cause a fire. The lights periodically stopped working and shut down as if one was turning off a light. Some may have fell 400 to 500 feet like they were shutting down. It did not appear as a burning light, a flame, a fire, or a flare. They were more like a star or planet. This is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Since there have been no fires associated with the UFO sighting the po! lice are not investigating the possibility of arson or pyrotechnic devices.

I also interviewed Middlesex County Sheriff's officer Andrew Halkovich. He had not actually seen the craft, but was on his porch with his dog at the time the UFO flew over. His dog suddenly jumped up and started barking, jumping, and running around on his two back feet. He had never seen his dog do anything similar to this and was quite surprised and concerned. He had trouble trying to keep the dog quiet and calming it down. He did not think to look into the sky at the time. They live near the Newark Airport and his dog is quite familiar with aircraft flying overhead. He felt it was very significant that his dog felt or heard the UFO. No one has reported that the object made any noise.

Another, MUFON investigator has been able to interview Lt. Daniel Tarrant of the Carteret Police Department who claims, "I saw 16 golden-orange colored lights, several in a V-type formation, others were scattered around the V." Lt. Tarrant felt it was some kind of falling space debris. At least 15 people contacted the Carteret Police Department.

NOTAMS: The Notice to Airmen (NOTAMS) or warnings are much earlier in the day and fifty miles to the south. This area around Carteret is also devoid of low level Military Training Routes or restricted flight areas. The investigation will continue.

Salon article on Sai Baba

From: Brian Siano

http://www.salon.com/people/feature/2001/07/25/baba/print.html

Science in the News

The following roundup of science stories appearing each day in the general media is compiled by the Media Resource Service, Sigma Xi's referral service for journalists in need of sources of scientific expertise.

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IN THE NEWS

Today's Headlines - July 26, 2001

EARLY SUCCESS SEEN WITH 2ND TYPE OF STEM CELL
from The New York Times

A second kind of human embryonic stem cell appears to have demonstrated promise in repairing damaged tissues by helping paralyzed mice regain some powers of movement.

Dr. John D. Gearhart, a biologist at Johns Hopkins University, said the mice, whose spinal nerve cells had been destroyed by a virus, managed to move again, though not perfectly, after receiving injections of human embryonic cells.

The result, which Dr. Gearhart described at a scientific meeting at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Me., seems likely to influence the stem cell debate because of the striking nature of paralyzed animals regaining the power to walk.

Other scientists cautioned that the clinical relevance of the finding was far from clear. But the cells have an interesting political advantage: Dr. Gearhart derived them from fetuses that were aborted for the sake of the mother's health, not from the discarded embryos produced in fertility clinics. In his view, work with the cells would not be prohibited by the Congressional stipulation that no federal money be used for research in which a human embryo is destroyed.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/26/health/genetics/26MOUS.html

X-RAYS SOLVE A COLD CASE: AN ARROW KILLD ICEMAN
from The Los Angeles Times

ROME -- It took about 5,300 years to find the body and an additional decade to perform the autopsy, but researchers in Italy now say they know what killed the Iceman: He was shot with an arrow.

Who fired it--a rival hunter, perhaps, or a warrior in battle--is still under investigation as scientists work to reconstruct the life and death of the Bronze Age's best-preserved mummy, in search of precious knowledge about that prehistoric time.

The mummy's caretakers announced the latest discovery Wednesday at a news conference in Bolzano, Italy. X-rays "revealed a sensation: a flint arrowhead is visible in the left side of the thorax," said Bruno Hosp, president of the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology.

The Iceman's frozen corpse turned up in 1991 when two German hikers noticed it protruding from an Alpine glacier near the Italy-Austria border 11,000 feet above sea level. The ice also preserved a treasure trove of prehistoric artifacts--the metal, wood, fruit, hay, grass, leather and weapons that composed his worldly possessions.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-072601iceman.story

UNCERTAINTY OVER WHALES SPARKS DEBATE
from The Los Angeles Times

LONDON -- Just how many whales are there in the southern hemisphere?

Scientists don't know, and their uncertainty sparked angry debate at an international conference Thursday, with anti-whaling nations saying the population has dwindled dramatically and Japan claiming it had increased.

At issue was a Japanese research program that kills about 400 minke whales in the hemisphere every year in the name of science. New Zealand led calls for an immediate halt, saying minke populations are frighteningly low.

Until last year, the International Whaling Commission held to its 1992 estimate that there were 760,000 minkes in the southern hemisphere.

Now the group's scientists say their efforts to update that estimate have been inconclusive, and they won't have an up-to-date number until 2003.

New Zealand, one of the most vociferous anti-whaling nations at the commission's weeklong meeting, said preliminary data shows there could be as few as 268,000 minkes left in the southern hemisphere.

Japan, which wants to change the whaling rules so it can expand its hunts, says it's more than a million.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-whaling-commission0726jul26.story?coll=sns%2Dap%2Dnationworld%2Dheadlines

SCIENCE CROSSES PAIN THRESHOLD
Images of brain suggest mechanics of relief and why some suffer more
from The Chicago Tribune

For the first time, neuroscientists have captured images of the brain coping with sustained pain, providing insights into the body's natural painkilling system and suggesting why some people are more sensitive to pain than others.

The power of endorphins to fight pain has been well known since the 1970s, when it was found that the brain produces chemicals far more potent than morphine, opium and heroin.

Now, University of Michigan scientists have published images that show the famous but elusive endorphins in action. And by recording people's perception of pain as the chemicals do their work, the researchers confirmed long-suspected links between brain chemistry and our senses and emotions.

People who claim to have a low tolerance for pain can find some ammunition here against skeptics. The study indicates it is possible their brains simply can't handle as much pain.

Coming as health advocates complain that severe pain often goes untreated, the study's findings may lead to more effective ways to relieve chronic and unnecessary pain and the psychological distress that accompanies it.

"It's very rare that we see a study that so ably puts together the psychological and physiological aspects of pain," said Dr. Kenneth Gruber, chief of the chronic diseases branch of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, which funded the study.

Published this month in the journal Science, the study found that exposure to pain over 20 minutes caused a surge of endorphins in the brain. As the surge occurred, the subjects reported feeling less pain and fewer pain-related emotions.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0107260235jul26.story?coll=chi%2Dnews%2Dhed

FDA BOOST OXYCONTIN WARNINGS
from The Boston Globe

WASHINGTON - Doctors were urged yesterday to restrict the prescription painkiller OxyContin to patients with serious pain, as the government strengthened warnings that improper use of the pills can cause addiction and kill.

The actions by the Food and Drug Administration and OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma are an attempt to stem illegal use of the painkiller.

OxyContin is a long-lasting version of oxycodone, a narcotic considered important therapy for many patients suffering long-term, moderate to severe pain from cancer or other illnesses, the FDA stressed. When swallowed whole, the tablet provides 12 hours of pain relief.

But if chewed, snorted, or injected, OxyContin produces a quick, and potentially lethal, high. It has been linked to more than 100 deaths.

Drug abusers don't read warning labels. But the hope is that if doctors give OxyContin just to patients with serious, chronic pain, it will become harder for abusers to get leftover tablets.

http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/207/nation/FDA_boost_OxyContin_warnings+.shtml

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Rip-off psychic pensioner is jailed

From Ananova at:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_359965.html?menu=

A Minnesota pensioner who promised to use psychic powers to improve people's love lives and reveal winning lottery numbers has been jailed for money laundering.

Merna J Sunde, 67, from Albert Lea, Minnesota was given four years and three months after pleading guilty to the charge.

Prosecutors say over 100 people paid Sunde around a total of £230,000 for psychic services.

US District Judge Paul Magnuson in the St Paul court said the scheme was a rip-off.

Her co-defendant, Scott B Taylor, 37, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison. Taylor was convicted in November of five counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to launder money.

Their adverts in tabloid papers also offered to improve people's career prospects and remove spells for a fee.

When the promises weren't realised, victims who asked about their service were threatened.

They were told tragic events would happen in their lives or the lives of their families and friends, the Star Tribune reports.

Psychic investigator offers $1m after reading Ananova story

From Ananova at: http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_360933.html

American psychic investigator James Randi is calling on people in the UK to take part in his million dollar paranormal challenge after reading a story on Ananova.

Mr Randi, who runs the James Randi Educational Foundation, is offering the prize to anyone who can prove any paranormal, supernatural event or occult power.

Mr Randi contacted Ananova after reading about Dougie Scriven, who's retiring after 24 years as a water diviner for Yorkshire Water.

The challenge first began in 1968, when the prize was just $10,000.

"Most of the people who take up the challenge are dowsers," Mr Randi told Ananova.

"We have had people from all over the world taking part, including Denmark, Germany, Russia and the UK and they invariably fail.

"They can't do what they say they can do, they believe they can. Dowsers can never find the same spot twice and two dowsers can never find the same spot."

Mr Randi said it is up to the individual to make their claim and then to prove it. "People usually politely decline to take up the challenge. They like myth rather than reality," he said.

The rules for the challenge are explained on the Foundation website. The foundation is based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Miss Cleo's realm reaches way beyond TV infomercials

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/News/F69F94AB9AEE6E0486256A95000F1922?OpenDocument&Headline=Greg%20Freeman%3A%20Miss%20Cleo's%20realm%20reaches%20way%20beyond%20TV%20infomercials%20

COPIED FROM: ST: LOUIS POST-DISPATCH - JULY 26, 2001- PAGE B1

Greg Freeman: Miss Cleo's realm reaches way beyond TV infomercials

07/25/2001 08:29 PM

I guess Miss Cleo didn't see this one coming.

The suit, that is, filed this week by Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon against the Caribbean-accented psychic. Nixon is accusing the operator of the psychic hot line - Access Resource Services Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. - of violating Missouri's "no-call" law. The suit is a result of the company's telemarketing calls to Missouri residents on the "no-call" list.

And just when I was ready to give Miss Cleo a ring.

In fact, it was only a week ago that I received, out of the blue, an e-mail from Miss Cleo herself. The e-mail surprised me; I thought Miss Cleo got all of her clients through her television infomercials.

I'm not sure how she got my e-mail address but, after all, she is psychic. So I opened the e-mail. There, she told me, "I had an exciting dream last night that could affect the rest of your life!"

I scrolled down. What was the dream, I wanted to know. She continued, "I can't tell you too much here, but I will say that the experience will amaze you as much as it did me."

Then she gave me a number to call where I could talk with her (or one of her gifted readers).

I decided against calling. After all, life should hold some mysteries, shouldn't it? Besides, I'm cheap, and $4.99 a minute is more than I want to pay for just about anything.

I have, however, spoken with a friend who has called. He told me that he spoke with someone and then was put on hold. He was then told that Miss Cleo was busy - poor woman, she gets so many calls - and that she had assigned another young woman to talk to him. This woman - another psychic who regularly works with Miss Cleo, she said - told him that she saw something ahead that would change his life. She then asked him if he wanted her to go into more detail. After eight minutes -or $39.92, to be exact - he decided that he had heard enough and ended the call.

Miss Cleo, in case you weren't aware, was recently ranked No. 1 in television exposure among infomercials. Doing a little digging, I found that Miss Cleo's feisty persona is generating hundreds of thousands of calls, making her the guru of TV psychic personalities (take that, Dionne Warwick).

Miss Cleo's popularity has grown so much, in fact, that her licensing company is developing "Dreams Come True" vacation experiences in South Florida that will include giving players the chance to meet Miss Cleo and get a personal reading. Miami and Key West are among the destinations being offered as part of the promotions.

Considering all of that, I figure this psychic gig isn't a bad one to have. Maybe I should try my hand at offering psychic predictions. Let's see:

I sense that St. Louis will experience a population shift in 10 years.

I predict that Nelly and the St. Lunatics will produce another hit record.

I feel that a new baseball stadium will be built - or not built - in the near future.

I predict that in this century, the Cardinals will play in the World Series.

I sense that another CEO will get a seven-figure bonus the same year that he conducts layoffs of thousands of employees.

I sense that St. Louis will have some 90-degree weather next month.

I see that Chuck Berry will again perform at Blueberry Hill.

I predict that gas prices will increase.

Move over, Miss Cleo. You're getting competition. Of course, you probably could have predicted that.

Also:

Nixon sues psychic hotline, accuses firm of violating state's "no-call" law

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COPIED FROM: ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH on line
STORY DATE: JULY 24, 2001

Nixon sues psychic hotline, accuses firm of violating state's "no-call" law

BY TIM BRYANT
Of the Post-Dispatch
07/24/2001 09:12 PM

Miss Cleo is the name of a supposed psychic. She appears on TV commercials, promising in a Caribbean accent to reveal insights for a fee.

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon is not a believer. This week, he took the operator of the psychic hotline to court.

"Miss Cleo should have seen this coming," Nixon said. "It doesn't take a crystal ball to realize that ripping off consumers isn't without consequences. I predict the courts will see that Miss Cleo pays for a serious lack of foresight."

A hearing was set for today in St. Louis Circuit Court on Nixon's request for a restraining order against the hotline operated by Access Resource Services Inc. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The suit, filed Tuesday, alleges 94 violations of Missouri's "no-call" law by the company as a result of its telemarketing calls to Missouri residents on the "no-call" list.

In a related case, the attorney general's office got a restraining order Monday from a Jackson County Circuit Court judge. That suit, in Kansas City, claims that Access Resource Services billed customers for services it advertised as free, including tarot and psychic readings.

The suit alleging violations of Missouri consumer protection law says that the company misrepresented reduced rates and fee-waivers for the first three minutes of phone calls to the hotline.

Instead of getting advice about love, personal finances or the future in those three minutes, customers provided their names, addresses and phone numbers and were billed for time they spent on hold waiting to speak with a psychic, the suit alleges.

The owner of Access Resource Services, identified in the attorney general's suits as Steven Feder, was unavailable Tuesday at his office in Fort Lauderdale.

Under the suit filed in St. Louis, Access Resources Services could face fines of up to $5,000 for each violation if found liable.

Since legislation passed last year authorized the no-call list, 614,333 phone numbers representing more than 1.5 million consumers had signed up as of Monday, Nixon's office said.

Complaints against telemarketers who violate Missouri's no-call list can register on Nixon's Web site or can call 866-662-2551.

Reporter Tim Bryant:
E-mail: tbyrant@post-dispatch.com
Phone: 314-621-5154

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COPIED FROM: ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH - JULY 26, 2001-PAGE B2

Law & Order : Law & Order

07/26/2001 03:56 AM

ST. LOUIS

State gets court order against psychic hot line

State officials got a court order Wednesday to prohibit the "Miss Cleo" psychic hot line from making calls to people on the state's "no-call" list. St. Louis Circuit Judge Julian Bush issued the temporary restraining order at the urging of the attorney general's office.

The state is suing the hot line, alleging that it was calling Missouri residents who had put themselves on the no-call list. Those on the list are not to get calls from telemarketers.

Nixon's suit is against Access Resource Services Inc., which operates the "Miss Cleo" service. The suit alleges 94 violations by the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company of the no-call law.

On Monday in a related case, the attorney general's office got a restraining order from a Jackson County Circuit Court judge. That suit, in Kansas City, claims that Access Resource Services billed customers for advertised free services, including tarot and psychic readings.


Wednesday, July 25, 2001

Missouri sues Miss Cleo

From: Adam Levenstein cleon42@yahoo.com

Gee...You'd think she'd see it coming.

http://www.cnn.com/2001/LAW/07/25/psychic.lawsuit/index.html

Here's to hoping someone finally has the cojones to sue van Praagh or John Edwards.

Maybe we can hire Geller's lawyers?

Adam

Engineer who finds missing pipes through divine intervention to retire

From Ananova at:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_359827.html

A mystical water engineer who has found thousands of long-forgotten pipes by using his divining rods is hanging them up for the last time.

Dougie Scriven prefers the ancient technique to anything modern science can come up with.

Before he retires the Yorkshire Water employee has agreed to pass on his divining skills to a new generation of engineers.

Mr Scriven, who lives and works in Settle, Yorkshire, said: "Call me old fashioned, but I rely on my rods.

"I have used them for 24 years now and often or not they have come up trumps when everything else has failed."

He is confident that his students will pick the ancient skills which have worked so well for him.

He said: "Like me, these trainees have the use of a full range of new equipment, but I'm teaching them the old way."

Story filed: 19:27 Wednesday 25th July 2001

Professor invites e-mails from outer space

From Ananova at:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_359615.html

A Canadian professor is extending mankind's search for alien life by asking extraterrestrials to e-mail him.

Allen Tough, emeritus professor of adult education at the University of Toronto, has set up a webpage inviting aliens to make contact.

Professor Tough has pre-empted criticism that his project may be over-optimistic by citing a list of high-profile supporters.

Eighty scientists, including colleagues from the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) research group, have signed their names at the bottom of the invitation.

"It's a long shot," one backer, Australian astrophysicist Ray Norris, told New Scientist. "It's a search you can do with almost no cost, so you might as well do it."

The site - which supplies his e-mail address and fax number - includes a brief run down of why humans are worth contacting.

Rip-off psychic pensioner is jailed

From Ananova at:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_359965.html

A Minnesota pensioner who promised to use psychic powers to improve people's love lives and reveal winning lottery numbers has been jailed for money laundering.

Merna J Sunde, 67, from Albert Lea, Minnesota was given four years and three months after pleading guilty to the charge.

Prosecutors say over 100 people paid Sunde around a total of £230,000 for psychic services.

US District Judge Paul Magnuson in the St Paul court said the scheme was a rip-off.

Her co-defendant, Scott B Taylor, 37, was sentenced to two years and three months in prison. Taylor was convicted in November of five counts of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to launder money.

Their adverts in tabloid papers also offered to improve people's career prospects and remove spells for a fee.

When the promises weren't realised, victims who asked about their service were threatened.

They were told tragic events would happen in their lives or the lives of their families and friends, the Star Tribune reports.

Missouri's Attorney General Accuses Company That Promotes TV Psychic of Consumer Fraud

http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGAEI2Z1LPC.html

By Paul Sloca Associated Press Writer
Published: Jul 25, 2001

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's attorney general has filed lawsuits against a television psychic hot line for allegedly violating the state's no-call law and consumer fraud. "Miss Cleo should have seen this coming," Attorney General Jay Nixon said. "It doesn't take a crystal ball to realize that ripping off consumers isn't without consequences."

Nixon filed two suits Tuesday against Access Resources Services Inc., a Florida company best-known for promoting Miss Cleo's tarot psychic reading.

Speaking with a Caribbean accent, Miss Cleo appears in national television commercials promising insights into love, money and other personal matters.

The lawsuits filed in St. Louis Circuit Court allege 94 violations of the state's no-call list. The company faces fines of up to $5,000 per violation if found liable for calling people who requested privacy.

Sean Moynihan, a New York City-based attorney representing Access, said the state has no basis for suing the company.

"We strongly disagree with the contentions that are raised in the lawsuits," Moynihan said. "We are very anxious to work with the attorney general to demonstrate that the business practices of Access are proper and do adhere to the law."

Nixon said Missourians were billed for free services and that the company misrepresented reduced rates and waiver fees. For example, customers spent three minutes on the phone providing information including a name, address and phone number then were charged for time spent on hold waiting to speak with a psychic.

Missouri residents who never requested the service, including deceased people, have received bills for Miss Cleo's services, Nixon said. Moynihan said telephone companies are responsible for billing, not the company.

The company also charged consumers for calls made by minors who did not receive parental consent, Nixon said. Moynihan said the company has safeguards to prevent minors from calling, and only those who lie about their age can get through to the psychic.

Mark Pryor, Arkansas' attorney general, sued Access last year for alleged fraud, saying the company had "used just about every trick in the book to mislead and overbill consumers."

--- On the Net:

Missouri Attorney General: http://www.ago.state.mo.us

Miss Cleo: http://web8.mindandspirit.com/perl/nav.pl

'Exorcists' arrested for scamming women after abortions

http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/news/20010725p2a00m0fp009001c.html

NAGANO - A man and woman who duped dozens of women into handing over millions of yen to be exorcised from the "spirits of their aborted babies" were arrested Wednesday, police said.

Naoki Kato, 39, and Rie Kinoshita, 36, the self-professed "exorcists" were arrested for fraud after they allegedly received about 100 million yen from over 20 women they had convinced were inhabited by evil spirits.

Kato and Kinoshita, both of Takagi, Nagano Prefecture, deny the allegations.

Police said the specific case for which the pair were arrested involved a 25-year-old woman they deal with during September and October 1998. The woman came to the pair seeking help. They told her they she was possessed by the spirit of an aborted baby. They told the woman that she would be freed if she agreed to be exorcised. The woman agreed, paying the pair 1.2 million yen. (Mainichi Shimbun, July 25, 2001)

Astrology school sets off controversy

http://seattlep-i.nwsource.com/local/32348_astrology23.shtml

Monday, July 23, 2001

By ROBERT McCLURE
SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER

LYNNWOOD -- College degrees in astrology?

It's an idea whose time has come, say the founders of Kepler College of Astrological Arts and Sciences.

To hear the Kepler folks tell it, students who will launch into course work this week are part of an historic accomplishment at the dawn of a new millennium.

"The founding of Kepler College is the most important event in astrology's history in several centuries," wrote Joanne Wickenburg, chairwoman of the college's board of trustees, in introducing the school. "We at Kepler believe that bringing astrology back into a college setting is long overdue."To some others in academia, the notion of bachelor's and even master's degrees in astrology is a little hard to take.

"Ludicrous," grumbles Alvin Kwiram, vice provost for research at the University of Washington, who is particularly incensed that Kepler won the authorization of the state Higher Education Coordinating Board. "If I set up a college of tae kwon do, would they approve it? ... What if we had a college of quack medicine?"

From an office park just off Interstate 5 not far from the Alderwood Mall, the college offers degrees mostly by computer but requires students to attend a one-week intensive seminar each term to study astrology -- defined by Webster's as a "pseudo-science claiming to foretell the future by studying the supposed influence of the relative positions of the moon, sun, and stars on human affairs." The next term begins Wednesday.

Kepler is named after Johannes Kepler, the noted German mathematician and astronomer who also practiced astrology.

"The promoters of Kepler College have honored Kepler not for his strength but for his weakness, as if a society advocating drunkenness named a school for Ernest Hemingway," wrote John Silber, chancellor of Boston University, in a scathing May opinion piece published in the Boston Herald.

But founders of the college say they merely seek to restore legitimacy to a practice that people embraced for thousands of years.

Astrology lost public acceptance in the 1500s and 1600s at the same time that scientists were proving that the Earth revolves around the sun, instead of the other way around. Astrology had been based on the earlier view that the earth was the center of the universe. One who helped substantiate the latter world view was Kepler, who died in 1630. By the 1700s, astrology and anything that had to do with spirituality were being removed from university curriculums. (Editor's Note: This story has been amended since its original publication to clarify the kinds of studies that were removed from curriculum in the 1600s.)

"Anything that had to do with spirits started getting eliminated," said Enid Newberg, president of Kepler College. "Things that could not be scientifically measured were dropped."

That did not completely obliterate the practice, though, and in the 1800s interest was rekindled. In the last century, those who employed astrologers included President Reagan's wife, Nancy, and German dictator Adolf Hitler.

Nine years in planning, Kepler kicked off its inaugural class last July. Fifteen to 18 students from the first year will be joined this week by about a dozen new students, Newberg said.

Kepler's faculty includes educators who have earned master's and doctoral degrees in subjects such as humanistic psychology, mythology and history.

Tuition is $5,000 a year. The course of study includes the history of astrology in the first year, a second year that includes examining "how modern thinking and modern myths shape society's current beliefs about astrology," and third and fourth years that include "astrology, psychology and the counseling arts."

What will students do with a degree in astrology? It's hard to say, Newberg conceded.

People with English degrees don't always teach language, she said, and not every Kepler graduate will be a professional astrologer.

She can imagine, for instance, someone with a Kepler degree becoming a human-relations manager. Others may move into counseling. Some might help clients make investment decisions. Plus, she points out, astrology "is a very big industry."

The Higher Education Coordinating Board did give the college authorization to open, but not accreditation, HEC Board spokeswoman Barbara Dunn said.

Accrediting institutions look at the content of a college's curriculum, while the state HEC board simply checks to make sure "the school has all the structures together, from a business standpoint, to operate here in the state of Washington," Dunn said. State law says the purpose of the HEC Board's authorization power is to ensure "fair business practices and adequate quality among degree-granting institutions operating in the state of Washington and to protect citizens against substandard, fraudulent, and deceptive practices."

At Kepler, "The students are going to be challenged," vows Newberg, the president.

Newberg said she hopes to get the college's first accreditation from the Distance Education Training Council. At a minimum, Kepler will have to stay open another year before applying, and Newberg hopes to gain accreditation by the end of 2002, she said. However, she said she has not yet checked into the process details.

So, how long will it be before Kepler can say it is fully accredited?

That, Newberg said, is hard to predict.

Fox Airs Bogus Murder Allegation

http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=95000866

Maybe those astrology graduates can go to work for Roger Ailes's Fox News Channel. Last night, after we criticized Fox for giving free airtime to "psychics," we tuned in to "The Edge With Paula Zahn." A transcript of the show isn't available on Fox's Web site, but we found it through Dow Jones Interactive. Zahn recycled some old clips of Fox interviews with "psychics," including "spiritual medium" James Van Praagh's explanation of what he thinks happened to Chandra Levy:

"She's dead. And she was strangled. Four of us ["psychics"] came up with that, as well, that she was strangled. The night that she disappeared was the night that this happened. And I think that she was called up by someone she knew in the office or the staff and came out to a car. And then I think that she believed she was going to Condit's--his office. And I don't think that she made it there."

Van Praagh is accusing Gary Condit of, at the very least, being an accessory to murder. His only basis for making this charge is the "information" he supposedly is able to divine by using his "psychic powers." We're hard-pressed to think of a more outrageous example of journalistic irresponsibility than Fox's airing this junk.

Aliens 'may be sending light signals to earth'

From Ananova at:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_359010.html

Alien civilisations may be flashing at us to attract our attention, claim scientists.

A team of extraterrestrial hunters in the US is looking for signals from laser beacons among the stars.

The scientists are using a sophisticated new light detection system fitted to the 40in Nickel Telescope at Mount Hamilton, California.

Unlike other SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) projects this one is trying to find flashing light signals rather than radio messages.

Co-investigator Frank Drake, chairman of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, who conducted the first radio search for extraterrestrials in 1960, said: "This is different. We are looking for very brief but powerful pulses of laser light from other planetary systems, rather than the steady whine of a radio transmitter."

To find such a signal, the aliens would have to be deliberately firing laser pulses at the Earth in order to be noticed.

But experts believe the technology is one that is likely to be exploited by advanced civilisations wanting to communicate.

So far the search by University of California scientists has covered about 300 individual star systems, as well as a few star clusters.

The team intends to continue looking on at least a weekly basis over the coming year.

Factual Clarifications about Psi

From: Jerry Goodenough

More responses from Charles Tart on psi research.

-----Original Message-----
From: cttart@ucdavis.edu [mailto:cttart@ucdavis.edu]
Sent: 20 July 2001 07:56

Factual Clarifications about Psi:

As I am apparently one of the few (the only?) persons on the jcs-online list who has actually done extensive research on psi, I want to clear up several factual errors in recent postings. Then I will be away for a couple of weeks.

PSI DECLINE AND SENSORY LEAKAGE:

Stan Klein writes (6 July):

Thanks Charles for this honest comment on how psi effects often disappear upon continued testing (especially when controls for sensory leakage are implemented).
It's always nice to be thanked, but that's not what I said and is contrary to fact.

Speaking of the boredom of repeating experiments over and over, I said " Gradual decay of effect with the same experimenters replicating is a likely outcome." There have been ups and down in results for many series of psi experiments, but you can't make the error (termed "optional stopping" in psi research) of reaching a conclusion at some arbitrary point in an experimental series when the results meet your expectations (whether for or against), you have to carry out more objective analyses of entire databases. By which psi is still there in the latest analyses.

But much more importantly, in meta-analyses you can rate individual studies on possibilities for sensory leakage. (Note this is almost always purely hypothetical sensory leakage, not something actually demonstrated and shown to be sufficient to account for results.) When this is done, the data is that, contrary to Stan's statement, psi results do NOT seem better when there is more possibility of leakage, so such hypothesized leakage is not a useful explanatory mechanism.

PSI AND PARADIGM SHIFT - WHY NOT YET?

Tom Clark (10 July) agrees with me that data comes first in science, not current theory, but...:

I've got no argument with this, it's only that psi has been around a long time, and the paradigm shift hasn't come. I'm not holding my breath....
I wouldn't advise holding your breath either, Tom, because while a fuller understanding of psi data might require a paradigm shift, the reality is that there is so little money and personpower doing psi research that I can predict (ordinary logic here, no precognition involved) that it's quite likely that psi will remain on the fringes for a lifetime, too real to go away, too poorly understood and researched to force science to create a paradigm big enough to encompass it.

I am an optimist and would like, of course, to see a lot of bright people start doing psi research instead of the meager handful who do it part-time, but I'm a realist too. ;-(

STATISTICS AND PSI:

Ruth Chandler (10 July) questions the statistics involved in psi research:

i also have a big difficulty with the definition of chance at work in the stats which determine whether one has a meaningful result.
The statistics question strikes me as proof that there really are "vampires:" it has had a stake driven through its heart over and over and over, yet continues to rise! ;-)

Back in the 1930s, when J. B. Rhine's statistical results showing psi were first published, the cry was raised, "There must be something wrong with the statistics!" (since it leads to a result contrary to what we want to believe....). The statistics were examined by the then President of the American Association of Statisticians (I'm going from memory here and may not have the organization name quite right) and he stated that the statistics used were quite conventional and properly used, that if one wanted to question the psi results one should do it on other than statistical grounds. This story has been repeated in various forms over and over for more than 60 years.

Bottom line: IF there is something wrong with the statistics generally used in psi research, then all sorts of ordinary science fields (psychology, to name just one) are in bad trouble and will lose most of their body of apparent data, because they use basically the same statistics.

THE FILE DRAWER PROBLEM:

Ruth comments:

-It is well known that experiments that demonstrate that something happened are much more likely to be published than experiments that failed to show something happened (we see this repeatedly in epidemiology);
True, in all fields of science, but all this can be estimated in meta-analyses. If only the chance successful studies get published, e.g., then we have about 19 failed studies for every pseudo-successful one published at the .05 level of significance.

Various meta-analyses estimate enormous numbers of unpublished, unsuccessful psi studies if this is true, but it's patently ridiculous, their have never been enough parapsychologists around to do even a fraction of such studies. I alone, e.g., must have done several thousand unsuccessful, unpublished studies that I am completely amnesic for! My memory is not the best, but it's not that bad.........Or if it's true, I'd like to discover what my secret for stretching available time is, I could use it! ;-)

WE ALL LOVE PSI?

Ruth further states:

-Everyone would LOVE it to be true that it was possible to read minds, foretell the future, etc.
It's much more complex than that. Recall it's only a few hundred years in our culture that we stopped burning people at the stake who we thought could do that.

We psychologically managed our fears of psi powers by officially declaring they weren't there and if someone thought they had them, they were, by definition, insane. I understand the psychological benefits (and costs) of suppressing fear, but there's still fear of psi underneath. I've written several articles on this (see www.paradigm-sys.com/cttart/ ), but even most parapsychologists (who tend to be terribly nice people) don't want to think about the dark side.

Do you want someone else to REALLY know what's on your mind? We're all pretty good at controlling the impressions others have of us through known sensory means, but how do you control psi? Think about that.....

PARADIGM VIOLATIONS:

-The amount of science that would have to be violated to explain all the psi phenomena is quite large, and tends to be in a different field for each category of psi (physical forces, information theory, neurology, biological systems, time-space fields, etc). There is no single extension that would explain psi, short of invoking a new cosmology.
Many people assume that, and I'm not knowledgeable enough in the many fields of science to really assess this idea, but I've seen writings by many experts in other fields who say the major part of most fields would remain as it is, perhaps as a special case rather than an absolute case. As to a new cosmology - sounds interesting! And I personally find the new cosmologies my quantum physicist friends toss out right and left a lot weirder than psi....

Enough. Folks can speculate and philosophize all they want about psi - indeed some good new ideas may come from it in such a bright bunch of people here - but if you claim to be being scientific, to be dealing with the actual data, please familiarize yourself with it.

Charley Tart

--
Charles T. Tart, Ph.D.
Professor, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto CA
ITP Web site: http://www.itp.edu Fax: (630) 604-3279
Professor Emeritus, Psychology, University of California, Davis
e-mail: cttart@ucdavis.edu
Home page & archives: http://www.paradigm-sys.com/cttart/
Editor, The Archives of Scientists' Transcendent Experiences
http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/tart/taste/

Center for Inquiry Conference: Science and Religion

From: Barry Karr SkeptInq@aol.com

Be Part of the First Center for Inquiry International Conference: Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?

Many religionists believe they are; skeptics and secular humanists often deny this claim. These issues will be debated pro and con.You're invited to what may just be the most provocative conference you will ever attend.

This revolutionary conference will be the first to call on the resources of both the Council for Secular Humanism and the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. The theme-"Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?"-has allowed us to bring together some of the most distinguished, most fascinating speakers in the world.

For only $149 (we're holding the line on costs), you can come to Atlanta and hear thought-provoking talks on hotly debated topics including: Evolutionary Biology and Religious Belief, Near-Death Experiences, The Medical Effects of Prayer at a Distance, Intelligent Design, New Cosmologies and Religion, Spiritualism and Science, Existence of Souls, African Americans: Religion and Science, Islam and Science.

Also featured: meetings on local groups and grassroots activism-plus an entertaining and astonishing presentation by nationally known physicist and showman David G. Willey.

Schedule of Events:

Thursday, 8 November 7:00 p.m.Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal Fellows Dinner-by invitation only-Barry Karr, Chair.

Friday, 9 November 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 Opening Forum: "Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?: Setting the Stage." Chair: Paul Kurtz. Panelists: Michael J. Behe, Vern Bullough, and Massimo Pigliucci.

10:30 to Noon: Do Souls Exist? Patricia Smith Churchland and Jerome W. Elbert. Kendrick Frazier, chair.

Noon to 2:00 p.m.Lunch Paul Kurtz, Kendrick Frazier, Tom Flynn, Arthur Urrows, and James Kimberly: The Campaign for Reason, $25.

2:00 to 3:25 Evolutionary Biology and Religious Belief Susan J. Blackmore and Steven Pinker. Eugenie C. Scott, chair.

3:35 to 5:00 Prayer at a Distance: Medically Effective?Gary P. Posner and Hector Avalos. Ray Hyman, chair.

Friday Evening Dinner on your own.

7:00Humanist Academy Dinner in honor of Laureates of the International Academy of Humanism-by invitation only.

Saturday, 10th November 9:00 a.m. to Noon Intelligent Design Michael J. Behe, Eugenie C. Scott, Massimo Pigliucci, and Matthew Young. Quentin Smith, chair.

Noon to 2 p.m.Lunch Banquet: Address by Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. Jan Loeb Eisler, chair. $25

Concurrent Sessions:

2:00 to 5:00 Near Death Experiences: Antony Flew, James E. Alcock, Raymond Moody, and Karl Jansen.

2:00 to 5:00 Spiritualism and Science Joe Nickell, Gary E. Schwartz, and Ray Hyman. Susan Blackmore, chair.

6:00 to 7:00Reception/cocktails

7:00 to 9:00 Saturday Banquet David G. Willey and International Awards

Sunday, 11 November 9:00 a.m. to Noon New Cosmologies and Religion Owen Gingerich, Victor J. Stenger, Adolf GrĊ¸nbaum, and Quentin Smith. Austin Dacey, chair.

Noon to 1:30 p.m. Lunch on your own.

Concurrent Sessions1:30 to 2:55 African Americans, Religion, and Science Norm Allen, Jr. and Wole Soyinka. Vern Bullough, chair.

1:30 to 5:00 Local Skeptics/CSICOP Group Leaders meeting Bela Scheiber, Barry Karr, and Amanda Chesworth.

Concurrent Sessions 3:05 to 5:00 Science and the Islamic World Tariq Ismail, Pervez Hoodbhoy, and Taner Edis. Roy W. Brown, chair.

3:05 to 5:00 Local Council for Secular Humanism and Campus Freethought Alliance Group Leaders meeting; Edward M. Buckner, chair; also D J Grothe, Austin Dacey, Katherine Bourdonnay.

James E. Alcock is professor of psychology at York University, Toronto; Fellow, CSICOP

Norm Allen, Jr. is executive director, African Americans for Humanism; editor, AAH Examiner

Hector Avalos is professor of religious studies, Iowa State; Executive Director, Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion

Michael J. Behe is associate professor of biology at Lehigh University; author of Darwin's Black Box

Susan J. Blackmore is reader in psychology, University of the West of England; author, The Meme Machine, Dying to Live, and other books

Katherine Bourdonnay is communications director, Council for Secular Humanism

Roy W. Brown is a member of the Executive Council, International Humanist and Ethical Union

Edward M. Buckner is executive director, Council for Secular Humanism

Vern Bullough is distinguished professor at the University of California at Northridge; author, Sexual Attitudes: Myths and Realities and other books.

Amanda Chesworth is director, Young Skeptics Program, CSICOP; executive director, Darwin Day

Patricia Smith Churchland is professor of philosophy, University of California-San Diego; author, The Mind-Brain Continuum and Neurophilosophy and The Computational Brain; Humanist Laureate

Austin Dacey is executive editor, Philo; Coordinator, Campus Freethought Alliance

Taner Edis is physics professor, Truman State University

Jan Loeb Eisler is a board member, Council for Secular Humanism; vice president, the International Humanist and Ethical Union

Jerome W. Elbert is former research professor of physics, University of Utah; author of Are Souls Real?

Antony Flew is professor emeritus of philosophy, Reading University, Humanist Laureate; author, Merely Mortal

Tom Flynn is editor of Free Inquiry; author, Galactic Rapture

Kendrick Frazier is editor,Skeptical Inquirer; editor, Encounter with the Paranormal and other books.

Owen Gingerich is senior astronomer, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory; professor of astronomy and of the history of science, Harvard University

D J Grothe is field director, Council for Secular Humanism

Adolf Grunbaum is Andrew Mellon Professor of Philosophy of Science, Univ of Pittsburgh

Pervez Hoodbhoy is professor of physics, Quaid-e-Azam Univ., Islamabad, Pakistan

Ray Hyman is professor of psychology emeritus, University of Oregon; Fellow, CSICOP

Tariq Ismail is a noted Islamic scholar

Karl L. R. Jansen is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists; an expert on ketamine

Barry Karr is executive director of the Center for Inquiry and CSICOP

James Kimberly is chief development officer, Center for Inquiry-West

Paul Kurtz is professor emeritus of Philosophy, State University of New York at Buffalo; Chairman, Center for Inquiry; author, Skepticism and Humanism: The New Paradigm and other books.

Raymond Moody is Bigelow Chair of Consciousness Studies, University of Nevada at Las Vegas; author, Life After Life

Joe Nickell is senior research fellow for CSICOP; author, Looking for a Miracle and other books

Massimo Pigliucci is associate professor of ecology and Evolution, University of Tennessee; author, Tales of the Rational and of Phenotypic Evolution

Steven Pinker is director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, MIT; author, The Language Instinct and How the Mind Works

Gary P. Posner is a medical doctor; founder, Tampa Bay Skeptics

Bela Scheiber is head of the Rocky Mountain Skeptics; co-editor, Therapeutic Touch

Gary E. Schwartz is professor of psychology, Arizona State University

Eugenie C. Scott is executive director, National Center for Science Education

Quentin Smith is editor, Philo; professor of philosophy, Univ. of Western Michigan

Wole Soyinka is the winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature and Laureate; Humanist Laureate

Victor J. Stenger is professor emeritus of physics and astronomy, University of Hawaii; author, Timeless Reality: Symmetry, Simplicity and Multiple Universes

Arthur Urrows is director of development, Center for Inquiry

David G. Willey is a physicist, a nationally known entertainer, and "resident mad scientist" on The Tonight Show

Matthew Young is a retired physicist and adjunct professor, Colorado School of Mines; author, No Sense of Obligation: Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe

*The registration fee will be only $79 for students who are currently enrolled in classes (copy of current student identification required).

Make plans now to be in Atlanta, at the Atlanta Airport Marriott (just $89 a room per night, single or double, with free airport shuttle service, free parking, and first class service), on Friday through Sunday, November 9-11.

To register, complete the form below and send with your payment to The Center for Inquiry, ATTN: November Conference, P.O. Box 741, Amherst NY 14226-0741, or call credit card charges (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express) to 1-800-458-1366.

Please note: You must reserve your sleeping room(s) directly with the hotel. Call 404-766-7900 and ask for the Center for Inquiry conference rate. Note: room rate is only guaranteed until October 8, 2001.

REGISTRATION FORM Register ________ person(s) for the Center for Inquiry Conference, "Science and Religion: Are They Compatible?"

NAME_____________________________________________

DAY-TIME PHONE__________________________

E-Mail Address_______________________________

ADDRESS______________________________________

CITY___________________________ STATE ______________________

POSTAL CODE ______________________

COUNTRY________________________

Adult Conference Registration (per person-does not include meals) $149 Student Conference Registration (per person-does not include meals) $79 enclose photocopy of current student ID for each student registration requested Friday Luncheon with Paul Kurtz and others $25 Saturday Luncheon with Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka $25 Saturday Banquet with David G.Willey "mad scientist" extravaganza and international Awards Ceremony $35

TOTAL: $__________________PAYMENT: I enclose l check/M.O. payable to Center for Inquiry or Charge to my l MasterCard l Visa l AMEXCard Number:
________________________________________________________

Expiration: __________________________________

Signature:_____________________________________(required for charges)

Monks to Lift Century-Old Curse

http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010723/od/curse_dc_1.html

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek monks have agreed to lift a century-old curse on an island village to ``never sleep again'' for bringing the wrath of the Ottoman empire on their monastery, the village's mayor said on Monday.

``This will be a relief for many people here, who did not want the curse still hanging over their heads,'' Kostas Adamidis, mayor of the Moudros village on the Aegean island of Limnos, told Reuters.

Monks in the Mount Athos monastic community have been chanting the curse on August 23 every year since Ottoman forces killed almost all their brothers on the island, blaming them for attacks actually launched by the villagers.

While most of Greece revolted against the Ottomans in the 1820s, Limnos remained a part of the empire for about another century.

``Villagers had killed some Turks and threw them down a well on the property belonging to the Mount Athos monastery. The Turks, believing it was the monks who did it, took revenge by slaughtering them and torching all buildings,'' Adamidis said.

Two monks managed to escape and return to the Koutloumousi monastery, where they imposed a curse on the villagers to ''never sleep again.''

A delegation of villagers now living in Athens recently visited the monastery and asked its leaders to lift the curse.

``On August 23, a delegation from the monastery will come to the village of Moudros to lift the curse,'' the mayor said. ''Villagers here as well as those living away from Moudros will be happy when this happens.''

Science and Psychic Abilities

by Karen Lundegaard, Ph.D.

Psi and Electromagnetic Energy: Introductory Comments

http://www.karenlundegaard.com/Questions/Psi&EH/EM-Index.html

Strong Medicine TV Series Takes Strong Stance Against Diet Quackery

From: gj bart bronco@olagrande.net

See, it's not always an idiot box. My respect for Whoopi Goldberg just grew a whole bunch.

gj

---------- Forwarded message ----------

--- Monica Pignotti pignotti@worldnet.att.net wrote:

I thought you all would be interested that the Lifetime Cable TV Series, Strong Medicine, in their latest episode took a very strong stance against diet quackery. This show is produced by Whoopi Goldberg and is about two female MDs who run a women's clinic in Philadelphia. Each week the show takes a very hard-hitting approach (some critics have said to the point of being preachy) on several women's health issues.

The episode started out showing a support group of obese women and one of the doctor characters, Lu Delgado, discussing quack diet treatments with this group, conveying the message that they don't work and that there are no short cuts. The episode had many intertwined story lines, but one of them was that one of Dr. Delgado's obese patients ended up in the emergency room with a stroke. Dr. Delgado is puzzled by this because her previous examination did not indicate a big risk for stroke and investigates further. She finds a bottle of herbal diet pills in the patient's possession that contained ephedra and Ma Huang. She then goes to the diet clinic and confronts the quack "nutritionist" who perscribed them, telling her off loudly in front of all of her clients -- a very dramatic scene. The quack defiantly says that there is nothing in FDA regulations against what she does and there's nothing Dr. Delgado can do to stop her.

Then, Dr. Delgado goes to a lawyer (played by Star Jones) and they go back to the clinic together, finding that the person got frightened off and closed down. The lawyer tells her not to get too excited about this because these quacks are like cockroaches, and as soon as you get one, there are plenty of others to take their place. I've never seen a show take such a strong stance against quackery before.

Their website is:

http://www.lifetimetv.com/shows/strongmedicine/index.html

and for more about this episode:

http://www.lifetimetv.com/shows/strongmedicine/patientfiles/index.html

The show is going to re-air tonight at 1AM, Eastern time (early Tues AM actually) or you can check local listings because usually the same episode gets aired several times a week, so people can probably still catch it.

Monica Pignotti

Spooky! We're still haunted by ghosts

From: Raymond Nelke

Thanks To:
http://www.anomalist.com/
For The Source Of This Story
-----------------------------------------------

http://www.smh.com.au/news/0107/23/entertainment/entertain2.html

COPIED FROM: The Sydney Morning Herald - Monday, July 23, 2001

- ENTERTAINMENT

Spooky! We're still haunted by ghosts

Spirits have long been movie stars, but now they're becoming a serious presence in more thoughtful circles, writes Catherine Keenan.

In 1862 John Pepper first awed crowds by showing a man simultaneously sitting down and standing a couple of metres to his side. The spectacular illusion was called Pepper's Ghost but its popularity waned when audiences realised it wasn't a product of the supernatural, but of a strategically placed pane of glass. Where once they used to gasp in amazement, they began booing and throwing rubbish at the screen.

Yet ghosts are still alive and well. The Catholic Church is preparing to exorcise one from Handel's old house in London. Films and books about ghosts remain popular (The Gift, Sleepy Hollow and The Sixth Sense, for instance) and there are more than 650,000 Web sites devoted to the subject. Partly because of a desire to explain this popularity, ghosts are now also being discussed in academia. Following a trend to uncover occluded aspects of the past, historians are also writing about various forms of supernatural belief, and ghosts have become an increasingly popular metaphor for things beyond rational explanation, such as memory - the ghostly return of the past - and love.

All these aspects of ghosts were discussed last week when nearly 100 students, artists and lecturers attended Technologies of Magic: Ghosts and their Machines, a one-day conference at the MCA. But it was to the spookier forms that participants continually returned.

"There are a lot of people out there for whom the idea of the ghost in the very traditional sense - the boo, scary thing - the uncanny creature over which we have built all of our ideas and rational projects, is still very much alive and participates in the world around us," said Edward Scheer, a lecturer at the University of NSW.

John Potts, a lecturer at Macquarie University who organised the conference with Scheer, showed how a quick trawl of the Internet reveals that while the explanations for ghosts might have been updated - there are lots of references to electromagnetism and "orbs" - the ghosts themselves remain decidedly old-fashioned.

They often appear as a white haze in a photograph, sometimes conveniently similar in appearance to Casper, the Friendly Ghost. Almost every culture in the world has its ghost stories and they show no signs of going away, despite the increasing importance of science.

Psychologist Nicholas Humphrey argued in Soul Searching that this is because science can never explain and reassure as completely as can belief in the supernatural, or divine. The more science demystifies the world, the more people reinject mystery through belief in the non-rational, an argument that may explain why in the US - one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world - 30 per cent of the people still believe in ghosts, according to a recent Gallup Poll.

Australia also has its ghost stories, most famously that of Fisher's Ghost. Following a familiar pattern, it is believed Fred Fisher returned from the dead to lead the living to his body so they could charge the right man with his murder. This done, Fisher's Ghost disappeared forever, and Potts suggested that such stories persist because they are morally reassuring. "These ghosts draw on the popular belief that justice is often imperfectly done," he said, and the stories imaginatively rectify this.

Ghosts reportedly live as close by as the Hyde Park Barracks, and video artist Ross Harley says that translating these into film was like a form of exorcism. He mixed re-creations of what the convicts endured with old, damaged archival film, and projected both onto gauzy screens at the barracks, so visitors walked through projections of the past. "Since then, there have been no more ghost sightings at the barracks. Make of that what you will."

Since René Descartes, in the 17th century, came up with the idea that consciousness was the ghost in the machine of the human body, ghosts and technology have enjoyed an ambiguous relationship.

When Thomas Edison first developed the cylinder recorder, he didn't intend it to be used for music. He imagined it would be used to preserve the voice and thoughts of relatives after they had died - it would be a way of, literally, communicating with the dead.

When photography and cinema were developed, they were quickly deployed by spiritualists, eager to finally prove the existence of ghosts by capturing on film the "ectoplasm" they were apparently made of. Today, the International Ghost Hunters Society (IGHS) administers the Floating Orb Award for the best of the many "remarkable photographs obtained during investigations that show some kind of paranormal activity that the IGHS believes represents the spirits of the dead in action".

Simon During, professor of English and cultural studies at the University of Melbourne, is doing research on magicians and psychics in the mid- to late-19th century, who were often the first to deploy new forms of technology.

Some magicians considered themselves spiritualists, while others were strongly secular, but both regularly played to large audiences, making coats and other belongings fly around the room with no apparent support. "Spectators wondered if they were awake or dreaming," During said.

Walter Bishop was in the 1880s the biggest magic star in the world. Yet During says Bishop was, in many ways, the essence of a modern man. He was an anti-spiritualist who enjoyed debunking the spiritualists' tricks, and he was also a nervous man, a cocaine addict and a womaniser. There is some suggestion that Conan Doyle partly modelled Sherlock Holmes on him.

One of Bishop's most famous tricks was to ask someone to hide a pin anywhere within walking distance of his theatre. Blindfolded, he would then lead a person directly to it, supposedly relying only on his mind-reading powers.

The word telepathy had not been coined yet, but no other explanation for how Bishop successfully performed this feat survives.

From: Barry Williams skeptics@mail.kasm.com.au

These all arrived today. The first three all claim to have the same job and two of them seem to have the same phone. They are each offering a share in $14 mil. The latter is offering a share of $65 mil. Can't imagine why west Africa is regarded as "Third World" with all that loose cash floating around.
I am DR KAKU KOFFI, the director in charge of auditing and accounting section of international bank of Africa Lome-Togo in west Africa You can call me on my mobile line 228- 05-51-52. for more clarification.

I am Rev Francis Erico, the director in charge of auditing and accounting section of international bank of Africa Lome-Togo in west Africa NB / You can call me on my mobile line 228 02 08 61 for more clarification.

I am Mr Kwami Kojo, the director in charge of auditing and accounting section of international bank of Africa Lome-Togo in west Africa You can call me on my mobile line 228 05 51 52 for more clarification.

I am Dr. (Mrs.) Maryam Abacha, wife to the late Nigeria Head of State - General Sani Abacha.

Barry Williams
the Skeptic of Oz

Very Good UFO Coverage by ABCNEWS.COM on "Internet Expose"

From: Terry W. Colvin

ABC News gave some unusuall good, even-handed coverage to UFOs on its website: could this be part of the "Public Acclimation" program? Is ABC "testing the waters" via the Internet?

ABC's Chris Wallace does an excellent interview with Nick Pope, Investigator for the British Ministry of Defence. Three segments.

GO TO:

http://abcnews.go.com/onair/correspondents/wallace/internetexpose/ufo2000/wallace_ufo_basictiny.html

Then, Click on NICK POPE

In addition to listening to Nick Pope's three interviews, you may wish to hear the other two featured speakers, physicist Dr. Michio Kaku and skeptic Michael Shermer.

ALSO, Check Out the "EXTRAS" link for UFO video footage, photos, etc.

The "EXTRA" button and sub-buttons don't seem to work very well, so if you have any trouble, go directly to:

Photograph web page:

http://abcnews.go.com/onair/popoff/ufo2000/wallace_ufo_photos.html

UFO Documents (this link's real good!)

http://abcnews.go.com/onair/correspondents/wallace/internetexpose/ufo2000/html/wallace_ufo_documents.html

UFO Video (WOW!)

http://abcnews.go.com/onair/correspondents/wallace/internetexpose/ufo2000/html/wallace_ufo_video.html

UFO in 3D (MOVie file)

http://abcnews.go.com/onair/correspondents/wallace/internetexpose/ufo2000/qtvr/ufo_3d.mov

Released NSA Documents (You will need a .PDF Reader)

http://www.nsa.gov/docs/efoia/released/ufo.html

'Curanderas' spreading old, healing ways

From Terry Colvin

TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGY

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/breaking/0722cure22.html

Curanderismo remains very much alive in the Valley - in the shadow of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic. Curanderas offer personal healing without cultural or language barriers. Curanderismo remains embedded in a rich oral tradition - a cultural transmission of knowledge from generation to generation.

Science's Mything Links

Thanks To:
http://www.anomalist.com/
For The Source Of This Story
-------------------------
http://washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/politics/fedpage/A35319-2001Jul22.html

Science's Mything Links
As the Boundaries of Reality Expand, Our Thinking Seems to Be Going Over the Edge
By Joel Garreau
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 23, 2001;

Re: Lunar Life Forms

From: Daniel Rutter

Oh, MAN.

I just dried my mouth out for a little while, doing gape-jawed research on Dr Norman Bergrun's claims.

I think

http://groups.google.com/groups?rnum=1&selm=325B8758.2ED3%40worldnet.att.net

just about sums it up.

Not entirely surprisingly, there's an "Anomalog" page for him, too:

http://www.anomalog.com/RoSP23870.html

Mystery of the Eltanin Antenna

http://www.unknowncountry.com/news/?id=648

Mystery of the Eltanin Antenna

21-Jul-2001

Between 1962 and 1979 the NSF Polar Research Vessel Eltanin surveyed Antarctic waters, studying the ocean and ocean bottom. In 1964, the ship photographed an unusual object at a depth of 13,500 feet. At the time, there was no submarine that could have carried a piece of technology to this depth.

The object appears to be a pole rising from the ocean floor with twelve spokes radiating from it, each ending in a sphere. The spokes are at fifteen degree angles to each other. It is located approximately 1,000 miles south of Cape Horn, beneath some of the most inhospitable seas in the world.

Marine biologists have speculated that it might be some sort of an organism, largely because it is otherwise so difficult to explain. However, there is no known form of marine life that looks remotely like this object.

There exists the possibility that it is an antenna or other scientific instrument that was lost by an early research vessel, but once again, this would appear to be a very forced explanation. It seems unlikely that an object could drop through three miles of ocean, and anchor itself on the bottom.

In addition, the position of the antenna is so exact, and so strangely significant, that it would seem almost certain that it was intentionally put there. Who did it, with what technology and why remains unknown. However, it's clear that there could be an enormous secret connected with the Eltanin antenna, and one that might not be entirely unknown to certain members of the scientific community, as will be seen.

Researcher Bruce Cathie

http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/Parliament/3460/bruce.html,

a New Zealander who, among other things, had a famous series of UFO sightings, has developed a theory about the antenna based on its position on the planet

http://www.ascension2000.com/Convergence/9915.html.

Cathie's theories suggest that the antenna may be part of an ancient planetary grid that is of fundamental importance to an understanding of our planet and the great 25,000 year cycle known as the precession of the equinox.

Could it be possible that the Eltanin Antenna is a piece of ancient technology, or even technology that comes from another world? Cathie certainly thinks so. Other researchers are now suggesting that modern science might be well aware of the purpose of the object, and might be actively monitoring it or using it in some way.

Mr. Cathie considers 144, the harmonic recriprocal of the speed of light, to be an important measure of the earth's grid because it divides into the planet's 21,600 minutes of arc exactly 150 times. An individual interested in Cathie's ideas began measuring outward in steps from the antenna, and to his surprise found that the Prospect Point Antarctic Base is precisely eight of these measures away. Add another unit of 144 and you find two more antarctic bases, Hemus and St. Kilmet.

Remarkably, a whole array of bases and earthquake stations surround the Eltanin Antenna. What this may mean is unknown, but it is certainly suggestive that the Eltanin antenna is no strange marine creature, but rather an object of great importance, that somebody understands very well.

To read more about these theories

http://mission-ignition.tripod.com/egh/egh-eltanin.htm.

Science In the News

The following roundup of science stories appearing each day in the general media is compiled by the Media Resource Service, Sigma Xi's referral service for journalists in need of sources of scientific expertise.

For accurate instructions on how to subscribe or unsubscribe to the listserv, follow this link:

http://www.mediaresource.org/instruct.htm

If you experience any problems with the URLs (page not found, page expired, etc.), we suggest you proceed to the home page of "Science In the News"

http://www.mediaresource.org/news.htm

which mirrors the daily e-mail update.

IN THE NEWS

Today's Headlines - July 24, 2001

HUMAN GENOME PROJECT FACES SUSPICIONS OF MINORITIES
from The Chicago Tribune

ATLANTA -- Dr. Francis Collins, one of the world's most renowned geneticists, paced before a group of African-Americans, explaining the intricacies of the latest research into the human genome. But his larger mission was to convince them that taking note of genetic differences between people--a long-standing fear within the black community--can be beneficial to them.

Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, is overseeing a project that hopes to identify genes that predispose people to certain illnesses.

Though the research could help attack diseases such as hypertension, heart disease and sickle cell anemia, which particularly affect certain ethnic groups, the possible racial and ethnic implications raise skepticism and fear among many minorities, especially African-Americans.

They remember the syphilis study in Tuskegee, Ala., that lasted from 1932 until the early 1970s, in which 399 black men were observed as they sickened and died from the disease even though a cure was available. They also worry that the findings could open the doors to new workplace and insurance discrimination, possibly by denying employment to people whose genetic profiles show that they may be likely to contract a disease.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0107240183jul24.story?coll=chi%2Dnews%2Dhed

A REVERSAL ON HORMONE THERAPY
from Newsday

In a major reversal of what had been standard practice, the American Heart Association is recommending that hormone replacement therapy not be prescribed as a means of preventing heart attacks or strokes in postmenopausal women.

The new guidelines also say doctors should not start such therapy - consisting of estrogen alone or in combination with progesterone - in women who have had a heart attack or stroke. However, they stop short of recommending that women with heart disease who are already on HRT stop. That decision should be based on "established noncoronary benefits and risks, as well as patient preference." For decades, hormones were believed to play a role in reducing the risk of heart disease. But recent studies have found that HRT is not protective in women who already have heart disease, and the data are unclear about whether it will prevent heart disease in otherwise healthy women.

With results from two major ongoing studies, the government's Women's Health Initiative and the European WISDOM study, not expected for another five to eight years, the guidelines recommend the decision on HRT use should be based on other potential benefits.

http://www.newsday.com/coverage/current/health/tuesday/nd2807.htm

EXPERTS UNEARTH OUR STORMY PAST
from The New York Times

It was an unlikely setting for a hurricane hunt.

The sun blazed. A gentle breeze tickled Jamaica Bay, which lies between Kennedy International Airport and the ocean beaches of the Rockaways on western Long Island.

Instead of looking skyward, three scientists buzzed across the sheltered waters in rented skiffs, stopping occasionally to sink a slender metal probe into jigsaw islets of green salt marsh.

Sometimes, they themselves sank into the fudge-dark peat as well, up to the thighs. When they finished, a bay farther east and a sunny day later, they were muddy but exuberant.

They appeared to have found their quarry: several layers of white sediment buried in the ancient muck under the thatch of cord grass. The deepest layers were probably vestiges of powerful storms from the unrecorded past.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/24/science/earth/24HURR.html

SCIENTISTS ARE STARTING TO ADD LETTERS TO LIFE'S ALPHABET
from The New York Times

SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Scientists are taking the first steps toward creating alternative life forms - organisms that use a genetic code different from the one used by all other creatures on earth.

Such organisms, bacteria to start with, would have novel chemical units in their DNA and synthetic building blocks in their proteins. Scientists hope that such organisms can be used to study biochemical processes in new ways and to produce new medical or electronic materials that cannot now be made by living things.

The research goes well beyond current genetic engineering, which involves reshuffling the ordinary components of DNA or proteins into new combinations or moving DNA from one organism to another. Adding completely new elements to DNA and proteins is essentially rewriting the genetic code, the fundamental language of life. As such, it is likely to raise new ethical and safety issues, though there has been no controversy yet because the work is still 5 to 10 years from any practical use.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/24/health/genetics/24DNA.html

TO BE YOUNG AND IN SEARCH OF THE HIGGS BOSON
from The New York Times

SNOWMASS VILLAGE, Colo. - Real estate in this resort town, which cascades down a mountainside a few miles northwest of Aspen, can run over $1,000 a square foot. Compare that with the roughly $6 billion, without furnishings, that senior physicists at a meeting here this month said they needed for a new machine to track down exotic particles weighing about the same as a single silver atom left in the ground from the region's hardscrabble mining past.

But in physics as in real estate, rising prices can be most painful for the young community members. Although young physicists would not have to pay for the project themselves, their careers could depend on whether world governments decide to heed the elder experts' advice and cooperate in building the machine.

With the demise of the cold war arguments for spending on the physical sciences, those soaring costs are creating a new class of highly educated workers now at the mercy of international currents.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm a character in an independent film," said Dr. Kenneth Bloom, a 30-year-old postdoctoral researcher at the University of Michigan, "where there's some large conspiracy and I'm just some minor pawn in what's going on." Now, he is one of hundreds of physicists collaborating on a particle physics experiment at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/24/science/physical/24PHYS.html

Please follow these links for more information about Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society:

Sigma Xi Homepage

http://www.sigmaxi.org

Media Resource Service
http://www.mediaresource.org

American Scientist magazine
http://www.americanscientist.org

For feedback on In the News,
mailto:inthenews@sigmaxi.org

Alien civilisations may be flashing at us to attract our attention, claim scientists.

A team of extraterrestrial hunters in the US is looking for signals from laser beacons among the stars.

The scientists are using a sophisticated new light detection system fitted to the 40in Nickel Telescope at Mount Hamilton, California.

Unlike other SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) projects this one is trying to find flashing light signals rather than radio messages.

Co-investigator Frank Drake, chairman of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, who conducted the first radio search for extraterrestrials in 1960, said: "This is different. We are looking for very brief but powerful pulses of laser light from other planetary systems, rather than the steady whine of a radio transmitter."

To find such a signal, the aliens would have to be deliberately firing laser pulses at the Earth in order to be noticed.

But experts believe the technology is one that is likely to be exploited by advanced civilisations wanting to communicate.

So far the search by University of California scientists has covered about 300 individual star systems, as well as a few star clusters.

The team intends to continue looking on at least a weekly basis over the coming year.

See this story on the web at

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_359010.html

FENG SHUI OF MOUNTAIN BIKING

"You could be forgiven for thinking that 'Feng Shui' is Mandarin Chinese for 'load of old bollocks' or 'pretentious interior decorating wiffle', but in fact it's the all-encompassing ancient Chinese philosophy of life. It influences everything from the calendar to where you should put your sofa. And, more importantly, if you set your bike up according to the principles of Feng Shui, you'll have a more harmonious ride." These words of wisdom come to us from Mike Davis who might as well tell us everything we need to know. He's got the answers to questions such as why that new nine-speed bike won't work properly, and so much more. Read on and be enlightened.

http://www.bikereader.com/BikeReader/contributors/Davis/feng.html

More on Sai Baba

http://www.salon.com/people/feature/2001/07/25/baba/index.html


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