NTS LogoSkeptical News for 9 August 2001

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings

Thursday, August 09, 2001

Truth or conspiracy: Lunar landing


Aug. 7 -- It was perhaps NASA's crowning achievement in 1969 when Neil Armstrong said "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind," while bouncing to the surface of the moon. But a recent Zogby International poll says that some Americans believe Apollo 11 never made it off the ground -- staged in order to beat the Russians in the space race. "Today" host Katie Couric reports on the lunar landing: Truth or conspiracy?

Rush Limbaugh takes aim at UFO politics

From: Terry W. Colvin fortean1@mindspring.com

Aug. 8, 2001
Rush takes aim at UFO politics
By Billy Cox

Judging from the brevity of the exchange, which was recorded by CNN on July 28, 2000, you can almost hear George W. Bush's eyeballs clicking against the socket ceilings. Addressing the media horde as the Republican Convention in Philadelphia winds down, this one guy, Charles Huffer, manages to squeeze a response from the Texas governor. What the guv doesn't know is, Huffer's a state regional director for the Mutual UFO Network in Arkansas.

Huffer: "Half the public believes that (unidentified flying objects) are real. Would you finally tell us what the hell is going on (if elected president)?"

W.: "Sure I will."

Huffer (gesturing to running mate Dick Cheney): "This man knows. He was secretary of defense."

W.: "And a good one."

A few minutes later, off camera, Huffer catches one more Bush blurb on his audiocassette: "It'll be the first thing he (Cheney) will do. He'll get right on it."

Yeah, sure, whatever. The only reason for presenting this otherwise inconsequential snippet from the margins is that recently, $120 million gasbag Rush Limbaugh decided that no attack on the Bush clan - not even those related to UFOs - should get a free pass. Limbaugh drew a bead on Daniel Sheehan, chief counsel for the Disclosure Project, a group of former government, military and corporate types who gathered in Washington, D.C., on May 9 to lobby Congress for open hearings on the UFO phenomenon.

Sheehan and Disclosure Project director Steven Greer argued that the recovery and exploitation of crashed UFOs has led to the development of technologies that can harness free energy, enough to end petroleum's hammerlock on the world economy.

But they also contended the innovations were buried deep inside black budget operations to keep from destabilizing financial institutions.

Media coverage of the witness testimony was scant and yawning. Three months after the press conference, letter-writing campaigns haven't generated many blips on political radar screens. Senate heavies like Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) brush off constituents with form-letter replies referring all queries to the long-dead Project Blue Book archives. Lesser-known rubber stamps like Sen. James Imhofe (R-Okla.), who support pouring billions of dollars into National Missile Defense, write that "it would be irresponsible to spend taxpayer money on hearings and legislation related to such phenomena."

So, obviously, if you're just another brick in the wall, the smart thing to do is let this Disclosure Project thing die a slow, natural death. But then, along comes Limbaugh - you know, the guy with talent on loan from God? With half his brain tied behind his back? On the cutting edge of societal revolution? Limbaugh makes an issue of Sheehan's charge that President-elect Carter's attempts to honor a campaign pledge to declassify UFOs were stymied by then-CIA director George Bush in 1976.

"So let me get this straight," Limbaugh says. "The Bushes are at the heart of the vast right-wing conspiracy to keep the oil companies rich by hiding extraterrestrial solar panels or super-warm sweaters or whatever it is they showed Jimmy Carter."

Limbaugh's bottom line: UFOs are just another "liberals from Planet X" Bush-bashing platform. "You may be surprised to hear me say that Mr. Sheehan is half right," Limbaugh says. "There is alien life - but we are not hiding it. We see Dick Gephart plain as day!"

That's a real seam-splitter, dude.

Too bad the godfather of Republican conservatism, Barry Goldwater - Mr. Extremism In Defense of Liberty Is No Vice - isn't around to untie the other half of Limbaugh's brain. Goldwater aired his frustrations to no less than Larry King regarding his inability to access top-secret UFO data when he was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"This thing has gotten so highly classified . . . that it is just impossible to get anything on it," Goldwater wrote to one constituent. To another, he added: "I have no idea of who controls the flow of 'need to know,' because frankly, I was told in such an emphatic way that it was none of my business that I've never tried to make it my business since."

Glib campaign sound bites to the contrary, the status quo is safely entrenched. Limbaugh attacking UFO declassification as a "liberal agenda" is like a hippo break-dancing in Spandex. He draws major-league attention to what his fellow ideologues would just as soon leave under a rock, and the guy winds up looking like a dork.

Billy Cox's column runs every Wednesday. He can be reached at 242-3774, or Florida Today, P.O. Box 419000, Melbourne, FL 32941-9000.
EcoNews Service: Always online for Ecology, Consciousness, and Universal Exopolitics
EcoNews: http://www.ecologynews.com
Email: econews@ecologynews.com
Vancouver, BC V6M1V8

(ABCNEWS.com) Turkish Pilots Encounter UFOs Over Aegean

Terry W. Colvin fortean1@mindspring.com



"The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet quoted their call: "Object approaching the wings. Now it's behind the plane ... now it's in front of us." They told their controller and the regional war alert center of the Turkish army that the apparent Unidentified Flying Object had an unusual shape that looked like a cross between a cone and a disc. "

Wednesday, August 08, 2001

Articles of Note

From: Barry Karr SkeptInq@aol.com

Levy Everywhere, According to Wild Tips
By Petula Dvorak
Washington Post


Police have said the case might never be solved, and new leads are scarce, so investigators continue to take nothing for granted. The most prolific tips originate from psychics. Gainer said some describe country roads, bodies of water and then, in the middle of their vision, they stop to ask "what is the missing girl's name again?"

"The psychic ones, frankly, I don't think we give much credence to," Gainer said. "I don't mean to start a war with all the psychics, but they haven't proven very useful, and many of the tips that we got have advanced theories of the case that were incompatible with the information we have on the case."

Is India's "Boy Wonder" Tathagat Avtar Tulsi a fake?
Press Trust of India


"The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has admitted that it made a blunder sending Tathagat Avtar Tulsi to Germany last June for an "interaction" with physics Nobel laureates without verifying the credentials of the "child prodigy"."

Searching for Alien Heartbeats
New York Times


"FOR so tribal and xenophobic a species, Homo sapiens devotes a surprising amount of energy to hunting down extraterrestrials. Whether scanning the skies for the semaphores of distant civilizations, or scrutinizing asteroids for fainter signatures left by alien microbes, humans are forever seeking companions that share a sense of rhythm, the universal sign of life."

Race to send in the clones for the desperate
The Australian


"THE future of human reproduction may soon reach its final frontier. A colourful Italian embryologist, who has helped thousands of childless couples to conceive, claims he has the science, funding and volunteers to undertake the creation of the world's first human clone before the end of the year."

Hate groups down but still alive
by Ron Dzwonkowski
Detroit Free-Press


"The compound of the bankrupt Aryan Nations hate group in Hayden Lake, Idaho, is disappearing. In a beautiful turn of events, it will be replaced by a center for conferences on the promotion of human rights."

Derek Freeman, Who Challenged Margaret Mead on Samoa, Dies at 84
New York Times


"Prof. Derek Freeman, who challenged Margaret Mead's famous account of adolescent sexuality in Samoa, provoking a fierce anthropological controversy, died July 6 in Canberra, Australia. He was 84."

Researchers Debate Cloning
Associated Press


"Congregating in an atmosphere of controversy, researchers argued publicly Tuesday over whether cloning is a sound science or an error-prone process that could produce abnormal embryos."

I crave your distinguished indulgence (and all your cash)
By Douglas Cruickshank


"Born in Africa over a decade ago, a renaissance in short fiction writing is spreading across the globe via the Internet, breathing new life into the always troubled romance between art and crime. Like the incessant e-mail come-ons for breast and penis enlargement, "advance fee" or "419" fraud scheme messages, which have been coming out of West Africa in one form or another since the 1980s, show up daily in in boxes around the world."

Fox Does It Again
Opinion Journal


"Does Roger Ailes watch his own network? Maybe it's time he started, because the folks at the Fox News Channel desperately need some adult supervision."

Junk Journalism
The Nation


"Although it happened in early July after ethically challenged Congressman Gary Condit finally admitted to police that he'd had an adulterous affair with 24-year-old Chandra Levy, it's hard to say precisely when the media's obsession with the missing person case slipped into predictable absurdity."

A New Institute Seeks to Reestablish the Lost Connections Between Medicine and Belief
By Louise Levathes
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, August 7, 2001


Librarian Rhonda Oziel died June 11 after a seven-year battle with advanced ovarian cancer. She was 52. But by all accounts, as she was dying she lived a rich life.

From Skeptic Mike Brass:

Can I suggest a url for the next Skeptics newsletter? "In the Hall of Ma'at: Weighing up the evidence for alternative history"


There are a number of articles there disproving Hancock and Bauval, by myself and others (including an Assistant-Professor from Pennsylvannia State University). There's also a very active message board. It is aimed at being the voice of sanity in the sea of pseudoscience. The site has been up just over two weeks and the hit rate has been phenomenal - e.g. the message board hits outclass those of Graham Hancock's (http://www.grahamhancock.com), which says a lot given his popularity.

From John Buescher,

I've just put up a new website for the academic study of the history of 19th century American spiritualism. I thought you might be interested in it as a resource. There are plenty of directories, listings, collections, etc. of 19th century spiritualists, along with a search engine to help find individuals.


Best regards,
John Buescher

UFO agency to help in cattle mutilation investigations

From Ananova at


Police in Montana investigating the mutilation of cattle have reportedly asked an agency that studies UFOs for help.

Ranchers in Dupuyer and Fort Shaw have reported four cattle deaths. The animals had parts of their faces peeled off and their eyeballs and genitals were removed.

Police say whoever is responsible for the attacks, which stretch back to mid-June, left few clues behind.

The killings are similar to several cattle deaths in the 1970s in the same general area of north central Montana, which also remain unsolved.

Colm Kelleher, of the National Institute For Discovery Science in Las Vegas, said the sheriff's office had contacted them over the latest killings. The group says it researches "UFOs and related anomalous phenomena".

It helped investigations into the 1970s cattle mutilations and found a link between the killings and UFO sightings around Malmstrom Air Force Base.

But Mr Kelleher says while there is a link, they don't know who or what is behind the attacks.

Dan Campbell, of Pondera County Sheriff's Department, said: "I don't believe in little green men. I think 500 people have asked me, 'Well, what's doing it?' If I knew, I would get it in the paper."

Miss Cleo Hot Line to Pay $75,000

By Paul Sloca
Associated Press Writer
Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2001; 1:46 p.m. EDT


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. : A television psychic hot line has been ordered to pay a $75,000 fine for violating Missouri's no-call law, the state attorney general said Wednesday.

The St. Louis City Circuit Court ordered the payment against Access Resources Services Inc., a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company best-known for promoting Miss Cleo's tarot psychic reading.

"This order makes it clear that you can't violate the no-call law without repercussions," Attorney General Jay Nixon said. "Thanks to the Missouri consumers who are part of the no-call team and are letting us know when they're called by telemarketers, we're sending a strong message that violators will be pursued."

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

The order came in a lawsuit against Access Resources that alleged 94 violations of the state's no-call law, which allows Missouri residents to sign up on a list that bars telemarketers from calling them. The company faced fines of up to $5,000 per violation if found liable for calling people who requested privacy.

Under the order, the company will obtain a copy of the state's no-call list and direct employees not to call those numbers. More than 800,000 phone numbers are on the list.

Joel Dichter, the attorney representing Access on the no-call lawsuit, said the settlement was a practical decision.

"It was a business matter, to get this behind us and get this resolved, even though it is our position there was no violation of the law," Dichter said.

A separate lawsuit filed in Jackson County alleging that the company committed fraud by billing Missourians for supposedly free services is pending. The company insists it did nothing wrong.

Stop alien abductions

From: Beth Wolszon

Please let this be a joke.



Read the testimonials and case histories.

I'd rather have this be the product of one sick puppy than to believe there are this many severely disturbed people subjecting themselves and their children to delusions of alien abduction.

Beth Wolszon

And if a ship meets your car
You know you can't go real far
Well they could treat you real nice
Or put a tracking device
Way down inside

I'm checking out inventions
at the UFO convention tonight
Planes above the Hilton make it sunny
Brought my money tonight
Blue blond ladies of abduction
strumming guitars of instruction tonight
A lot of wannabe truckers
Making eyes with starfuckers tonight
-- Frank Black (Parry the wind high, low)


Personal Accounts by the World's Leading
Paranormal Inquirers
Edited by Paul Kurtz

Issued on the 25th anniversary of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), this book brings together personal statements by the leading skeptics of the world. CSICOP, the first major organization of skeptics on the contemporary scene, is worldwide in scope and is dedicated to the skeptical evaluation of both paranormal and religious claims in the light of scientific inquiry. All of the articles are original and written especially for this collection. Many pieces are autobiographical; others reflect on the current state of research into paranormal claims.

The contributors focus on ESP and parapsychology, astrology, UFOlogy, the difference between science and pseudoscience, alternative medicine, magic, near-death experiences, spiritual energy, Bible codes, and religious claims that purport to have empirical foundations.

Among the thirty distinguished contributors are Martin Gardner (former columnist for Scientific American), Leon Jaroff (former science editor of Time), Philip J. Klass (the leading UFO skeptic), Antony Flew (noted British philosopher), Kendrick Frazier (editor of the Skeptical Inquirer), the late Steve Allen (noted author and raconteur), Jean-Claude Pecker (one of France's leading astronomers), Joe Nickell (paranormal investigator), Susan J. Blackmore (parapsychologist), Eugenie Scott (critic of "creationism"), among others. Contributors come from the USA, Canada, Britain, France, India, the Netherlands, Spain, Mexico, and Russia. A knock-out and unique compendium!

Paul Kurtz (Amherst, NY), founder of CSICOP and professor emeritus of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, is the author of 35 books, including The New Skepticism: Inquiry and Reliable Knowledge (Prometheus Books), The Transcendental Temptation: A Critique of Religion and the Paranormal (Prometheus Books), and Skepticism and Humanism: The New Paradigm (Transaction).

350 pp. / ISBN 1-57392-884-4 / Cloth: $27 (6 x 9) / Publication: August 1, 2001

Marcia Rogers
Prometheus Books
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, NY 14228
Ph: (800) 421-0351, ext. 214
Fx: (716) 691-0137
E-Mail: mrogers@prometheusmail.com
Website: http://www.prometheusbooks.com

Nigerian scam; acupuncture study; chiropractic

From: Beth Wolszon

Salon has a very amusing article exploring the literary merits of the myriad versions of the Nigerian money-laundering scam letters.


From Medscape
(registration is required to access the articles)


Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain:
Diagnosis and Treatment Patterns Among
Acupuncturists Evaluating the Same Patient

Donna Kalauokalani, MD, MPH, St. Louis, Mo; Karen J. Sherman, PhD,
Daniel C. Cherkin, PhD, Seattle, Wash

...Seven office-based acupuncturists practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine evaluated the same patient with chronic low back pain and provided data regarding principal assessment techniques, diagnoses, and therapeutic recommendations.

Results. A high diagnostic agreement existed among 5 of 7 acupuncturists. However, recommended treatments included varying numbers and locations of acupuncture points. Recommendations varied between 5 and 14 points requiring 7 to 26 needles, since many points were intended for bilateral application. Of 28 acupuncture points selected, only 4 (14%) were prescribed by two or more acupuncturists. Most recommended various forms of adjuvant heat.

[South Med J 94(5):486-492, 2001. 2001 Southern Medical Association]


Letter of Response
Is the Chiropractic Subluxation Theory a Threat to Public Health?
Samuel Homola, DC

(The author replies to a letter which, in defense of chiropractic treatment, notes it has been found effective in treating certain musculokeletal disorders and suggests that future studies might show it to be a helpful treatment for certain visceral diseases such as asthma. On the contrary, this author notes the results of studies already conducted on chiropractic's efficacy in treating childhood asthma (no benefit) and infantile colic (no benefit). The author further rebuts the suggestion that subluxation theory is considered an outdated theory in the chiropractic community - at least in the US.)

Tuesday, August 07, 2001

An update on Podkletnov's anti-grav

From: Terry W. Colvin fortean1@mindspring.com


From: Giovanni Modanese giovanni.modanese@unibz.it
Date: Fri, 3 Aug 2001 16:13:38 GMT (147kb)

Impulse Gravity Generator Based on Charged YBa_2Cu_3O_{7-y} Superconductor with Composite Crystal Structure

Authors: Evgeny Podkletnov, Giovanni Modanese
Comments: LaTeX, 32 pages, 7 figures in separated GIF and JPG files
Subj-class: General Physics

The detection of apparent anomalous forces in the vicinity of high-Tc superconductors under non equilibrium conditions has stimulated an experimental research in which the operating parameters of the experiment have been pushed to values higher than those employed in previous attempts. The results confirm the existence of an unexpected physical interaction. An apparatus has been constructed and tested in which the superconductor is subjected to peak currents in excess of 10^4 A, surface potentials in excess of 1 MV, trapped magnetic field up to 1 T, and temperature down to 40 K. In order to produce the required currents a high voltage discharge technique has been employed. Discharges originating from a superconducting ceramic electrode are accompanied by the emission of radiation which propagates in a focused beam without noticeable attenuation through different materials and exerts a short repulsive force on small movable objects along the propagation axis. Within the measurement error (5 to 7 %) the impulse is proportional to the mass of the objects and independent on their composition. It therefore resembles a gravitational impulse. The observed phenomenon appears to be absolutely new and unprecedented in the literature. It cannot be understood in the framework of general relativity. A theory is proposed which combines a quantum gravity approach with anomalous vacuum fluctuations.

Fox Does It Again


Does Roger Ailes watch his own network? Maybe it's time he started, because the folks at the Fox News Channel desperately need some adult supervision.

This weekend's "Judith Regan Tonight" posed the following question: "Did we go too far in giving airtime to psychics to discuss the Chandra Levy case?" The answer, as we've said, is emphatically yes. It's a no-brainer. But Regan acted as if it's a matter of dispute whether the proclamations of the charlatans who call themselves "psychics" are legitimate news. She began her show by reading four letters from readers cheering Fox on for putting "psychics" on the air, and two letters from critics.

Ailes's motto is "We report, you decide." Regan's, apparently, is "You decide what we report." For it turned out the whole "dispute" was a pretense to give "psychics" yet more airtime. Regan reaired "spiritual medium" James van Praagh's unsubstantiated murder allegation against Gary Condit--the initial airing of which, as we've noted, was the most outrageous example of journalistic irresponsibility we've seen in a long time. Then she interviewed yet another "psychic," one John Monti, who offered his own crackpot theories about what happened to Chandra.

Monti was paired in a "debate" format with the excellent James Randi, debunker of "the paranormal, pseudoscientific and the supernatural." During a discussion of police supposedly using "psychics," Randi observed: "There's such a thing as real police work, and that takes dedication and skill and professionalism." The same is true of journalism.

Which leads us to the question we've asked before: Does Roger Ailes care if people take the Fox News Channel seriously as a news organization? And if he does, why is he airing stuff that belongs on Comedy Central, the Sci-Fi Channel or the Cartoon Network?

Forget about FOX. Where can I get the Nude News?

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.


Today's Headlines - August 6, 2001

from The New York Times

Wen Ho Lee, the former Los Alamos scientist who was charged with security violations and jailed for nine months, may be on a collision course with the government over whether he has violated security rules in the handling of his forthcoming autobiography.

The bubbling dispute puts the federal government in an awkward position. Critics said that the government imprisoned Dr. Lee because of his ethnic background, and federal officials are wary of new accusations of racism. But other would-be authors who fall under the same security rules as Dr. Lee, as well as some federal officials, say fairness demands that the government deal with Dr. Lee no differently than anyone else if he has broken the rules.

Individuals like Dr. Lee who receive security clearances, especially high-level ones that give access to nuclear secrets, pledge to submit any manuscripts to federal censors before letting other people see them. The aim is to prevent the inadvertent release of government secrets.

from The Washington Post

White House Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. said yesterday the administration would likely present fresh proposals for revising a global warming treaty when the United States meets again with other environmental ministers in Morocco this fall, in the wake of growing congressional criticism of President Bush's handling of the issue.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 19 to 0 last week to urge Bush to return to the bargaining table with specific proposals for a new binding international global warming treaty. The United States refused to join 178 other countries on July 23 in adopting rules for implementing the Kyoto climate change treaty, which sets mandatory targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Card said yesterday on NBC's "Meet the Press," "I'm optimistic that we'll have initiatives that we can go to Marrakesh and talk about with the world leaders that will show that we're serious about solving the problem, that the Kyoto solution is really not a solution at all."

compiled by The Washington Post


The population of the world may peak at about 9 billion as early as 2070, and then begin to slowly decline, according to a new analysis.

There is an 85 percent chance that the world's population, which is currently 6.1 billion, will stop growing before the end of the century, and a 60 percent probability that the population will not exceed 10 billion before 2100 and is likely to drop to 8.4 billion.

The changes will vary considerably in different parts of the world, with the population continuing to rise in Africa despite the AIDS epidemic, the researchers said.

from The Los Angeles Times

A team of scientists who unexpectedly discovered the world's tallest hydrothermal vents on the ocean bottom late last year now say the dramatic towers may turn out to be a common feature of the sea floor--and may also represent what the young Earth was like when life first evolved.

The remarkable features--dubbed the Lost City by the researchers--are on the flanks of the Atlantis Massif, a 5,000-foot mountain in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean at about the latitude of Santa Barbara. One chimney structure is as tall as an 18-story building.

In December, oceanographers diving in the Alvin, a submersible research vehicle, were flabbergasted when they found the towers--some wide-mouthed, some needle thin and many capped with fringy deposits of minerals wafting in the warm vent water. The team from the University of Washington, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Duke University dropped plans to study other areas in order to concentrate on the huge field of vents, which existed in a place where vents were not thought to form. "Just by looking at the vents, we knew they were different," said Deborah Kelley, a marine geologist at the University of Washington who is one of only three people who have seen the vent field firsthand.

from The Christian Science Monitor

From the Grand Canyon to granite-hewn Acadia, America's National Parks have always had to balance two sometimes-conflicting goals: to provide amenities visitors want and to preserve the priceless natural wonders they come to see.

In the early days, park engineers planted hotels, overlooks, and markets amid scenic areas.

Today, some of those structures are treasured as landmarks in their own right. But in other cases, strained ecosystems and public outcries are prompting parks to remove buildings, unpave parking lots, and make the nation's natural paradises just a little more natural.

Sequoia National Park has taken the largest steps yet to undo over a century of planning that finally threatened the ancient trees that are one of the world's most spectacular natural wonders.

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

Monday, August 06, 2001

Shaman meditation could help traffic wardens find peace

From Ananova at


Traffic wardens in Edinburgh may be taught meditation to deal with angry drivers.

The company in charge of the wardens is considering hiring tribal shamans to help employees draw peace from the spirit world.

Officials believe the meditation sessions will reduce the number of wardens who resign because of stress.

Last month, operating company APCOA ordered its 80 traffic wardens off Edinburgh's streets after a hoax death threat was broadcast over personal radios.

Hector Saunders, APCOA contract manager, told the Edinburgh Evening News the company is in negotiations with a firm offering stress management sessions.

The package could include shamanic meditation classes which use rhythmic drumming to send participants into a trance as well as counselling and hypnosis.

Mr Saunders said: "The job is quite stressful and staff have been asking for this service for quite some time.

"If it promotes well-being among employees and reduces staff turnover then the benefits will far outweigh the costs."

Creationism loses out in Honolulu

From: Brian Nestel blast@aloha.net

Subject: Re: Creationism fight looms in Honolulu

It didn't loom very long, the original proponents did a 180 under fire claiming that creationism was not their original aim(BS) ;)

Details at:

Some local color is available at:
Aloha 159 30 W, 21 55 N
Brian Middle of the Pacific,

|         NESCOMP         |          K.E.A.S.A.         |
|    Computer Services    |Kauai Educational Association|
| Box 73, Lawai, HI 96765 |  for Science and Astronomy  |
| Voice/Fax 808-332-7709  |  Box 161, Waimea, HI 96796  |
|     blast@aloha.net     |                             |

Saturday, August 04, 2001

Remote Viewer on Chandra Levy

The remote viewing guy, Ed Dames [http://www.trvinstitute.com/] was on Art Bell last night and said that Chandra Levy is, in fact, dead and was strangled by someone with whom she was sleeping. He said that her body is in the Potomoc River and around a certain bridge which I can't recall at the moment. He also said that the body may come up soon. Ed Dames was one of the original RV people hired by the CIA years ago, apparently.

If you want to listen, the interview is at;


To get to the actual interview, move the sliding button about a 1/5th of the full broadcast time. It will be interesting to compare what he says to the findings of the investigation when and if she is ever found.


Scientific Studies "Confirm Crop Circles Are Made By Balls of Light"

From: Terry W. Colvin fortean1@mindspring.com


[Pictures at above URL]


DR ELTJO HASELHOFF is one of the few people on planet Earth to have had a paper published on crop circles in a peer-reviewed scientific journal (`Physiologa Plantarum'). His paper asserts that the long-recognised connection of crop circles to balls of light may be even stronger than many think. Here, in layman's terms, Dr Haselhoff outlines the important findings of his paper... Over the years, numerous people have claimed that they have seen how a crop circle was created by one or more "balls of light". Recent scientific studies have confirmed these statements: Circumstantial evidence has shown that crop circles may very well be made by `balls of light' indeed! This article explains the essential elements of these studies in simple terms.


The stems of corn-type plants are characterised by little `knuckles', at several positions along the stems (see Figure 1). These nodes act as a kind of ligament. They allow the plants to bend towards the light, even after they have grown to their full length. In the early 1990s, the American biophysicist William Levengood discovered that plants inside crop circles often had much longer nodes than those in the undisturbed, surrounding crop. This effect is illustrated in Figure 2.

Although there are known biological effects that can create node lengthening, these could be easily ruled out. It was clear that something else had happened. The effect could be simulated by placing normal, healthy stems inside a microwave oven. The heat induced by the microwaves made the liquids inside the nodes expand, just like the mercury inside a thermometer. This caused the nodes to increase in length, while the amount of lengthening increased proportionally to the amount of microwave energy that was generated.

This finding led to the conclusion that the node lengthening effect may be caused by the involvement of heat, possibly caused by microwave radiation. In fact, traces of heat have been found innumerable times in crop circles all over the world, such as dehydrated plants, burn marks, and molten snow.


The number of `balls of light' that have been seen by eyewitnesses has increased considerably over the last couple of years. Sized somewhere between an egg and a football, these bright, fluorescent, flying light objects seem to be somehow related to the crop circle phenomenon. They often appear in the fields during the night a crop circle forms, and have been seen (and filmed!) many times in and around crop circles. Several persons have even claimed that they witnessed how these balls of light actually created a crop circle.


In the year 1999, William Levengood and Nancy Talbott published a scientific paper [1] that contained a study to the node lengthening effect in three different crop circles, two in England and one in the USA. The authors presented a `quantitative analysis'; in other words, the article tried to explain the AMOUNT of node lengthening throughout the crop circle, by means of physical models. The authors concluded that the heat (that had made the nodes swell) was electromagnetic in origin.

One year later, I contributed a paper reacting to the one by Levengood and Talbott. This article appeared early 2001 [2]. The paper reinterpreted the data published by Levengood and Talbott and showed that the node lengthening as measured in all three crop circles could be perfectly explained by assuming that a `ball of light' had caused the node swelling effect. An identical analysis performed on a famous man-made formation (Dreischor, Holland, 1997) did not show these characteristics at all.

My statements can be interpreted as follows: Imagine a dark room with one single light bulb hanging on the ceiling. If you switch on the light, you will notice that right below the light bulb the light intensity on the floor will be brightest. Towards the edges of the room, the floor will gradually become darker. This light distribution on the floor is well understood, and can be described with high accuracy.

The exact light distribution on the floor depends on the HEIGHT of the light bulb. When the light bulb is hanging very low, almost touching the floor, the floor underneath the light bulb will be very bright, but the intensity will rapidly become less as you move away from it (see Figure 3, left). When the light is hanging high on the ceiling, however, the light intensity underneath the light will be much less and be more evenly distributed over the floor (see Figure 3, right). Because this mechanism is so well known, one can actually derive the height of the light bulb after measuring the light distribution on the floor.

This is what I suggested. As explained above, the swollen nodes inside the crop circles may be thought of as many little thermometers, expanding their length with increasing heat. If one assumes that the heat was induced by a small spherical shape emitting electromagnetic radiation, the theoretical heat distribution on the floor can be accurately determined (similarly to the case of the light bulb, as discussed above). I demonstrated that the measured node lengths in all of the three crop circles studies by Levengood and Talbott perfectly matched the temperature distribution that would be caused by a small ball of light, hanging in the air above the centre of the circles, emitting intense heat.

An identical analysis was repeated on a formation in Holland [3]. An eye witness claimed that this crop circle was created in a matter of seconds, while a "ball of light" was floating in the air, right above the centre of the circle [4]. Figure 4 shows the results. The yellow bars indicate the average node length measured at seven different locations across the crop circle, from one edge (position b1), through the centre (a4), to the opposite edge (b7). Note the perfect symmetry, which is remarkable! Similar graphs were obtained from two different cross sections through the circle, revealing a perfect circular symmetry: long nodes towards the centre of the circle, shorter nodes towards the edges. The thick, continuous, blueish line represents the theoretical value of the node length across the circle, if it were caused by a ball of light at a height of 4 meters and 10 centimetres. (This height corresponded to the estimate of the eyewitness). Just like the three crop circles analysed by Levengood and Talbott, the theoretical values for the node length (blue line) correspond perfectly to the measurements (yellow bars).

Consequently, the circumstantial evidence left in the fields was in perfect agreement with the words of the eyewitness: the crop circle was indeed created with the involvement of a "ball of light".


My paper shows that the node lengthening in several crop circles corresponds perfectly to the effect that would be created by a ball of light, heating up the crop during the creation of the crop circle. This is not the case for a man-made formation. The amount of node lengthening, and in particular its symmetry over the crop circles, lack any trivial explanation. Consequently, the study confirms the words of eyewitnesses, stating that they saw how crop circles were created by "balls of light." My paper does not attempt to explain where the balls of light come from, nor does it explain how the crop is flattened. It does, however, give a strong argument to take the "ball of light" phenomenon, as well as the words of eyewitnesses, very seriously, and I hope will stimulate further study.

Finally, it should be mentioned that all these findings and conclusions have been published in `peer-reviewed' scientific journals. In order to guarantee a high level of reliability, such journals employ so-called `referees' (objective, anonymous experts), who accurately check each contributed paper for errors and inconsistencies before it is published. Consequently, conclusions published in peer-reviewed scientific journals can not be simply dismissed as wild fantasy or pseudo-science. Therefore, it is fair to say that recent scientific findings have established considerable progress in understanding the crop circle phenomenon, although many questions still remain unanswered.


[1] W C Levengood, N P Talbott, `Dispersion of energies in worldwide crop formations', Physiol. Plant. 105: 615-624 (1999).

[2] E H Haselhoff, `Comment to Physiol. Plant. 105: 615-624", Physiol. Plant. 111: 123-125 (2001).

[3] E H Haselhoff, http://www.dcccs.org/id48.htm

[4] See, for example, N P Talbott,



FWD (IUFO) star wars??

From: Terry W. Colvin

To: Mr. Sam Husseini, of the so-called "Institute for Public Accuracy"

From: Russell D. Hoffman, Concerned Citizen, Carlsbad, CA

Re: Your phone call to me and subsequent failure to use any information I provided Date: July 30th, 2001

Dear Mr. Husseini,

Late last night (Sunday evening) you called me at the suggestion of Preston Truman regarding Star Wars, and we talked for a rather long time -- 45 minutes to an hour. I described to you how my many years of experience programming lasers and interactive computer user interfaces, as well as my decades of distributing tens of thousands of programs all around the world to schools, hospitals, government and industry, gave me a unique perspective on the Star Wars debate because much of it centers around software issues. I also described that I had worked intensely on activist issues of power supplies for Star Wars (nuclear reactors are undoubtedly what they plan to use, because of the power requirements for the lasers, and because solar panels are large "targets). I also mentioned several other things which you could have used to decide whether I'm an "expert" as you call it, whatever that means.

I described that I had been fighting nukes in space through my STOP CASSINI newsletter, 253 issues in about four years. Each one had at least one article by me, nearly always about nuclear power issues in space or on Earth. I explained that I have been fighting these issues for 30+ years, although my "activism" really started in 1997 when, as I think I mentioned, Karl Grossman contacted me and suggested I get much more heavily involved in the space nuclear issue. I had casually mentioned in a transcript of a radio show which I had done, and posted on the Internet, that some "mad scientists" still wanted to rocket nuclear waste to the sun in order to get rid if it here on Earth, and had said that that was an unworkable solution because of the problem of space debris.

Lastly, I described to you as well, briefly, some of the reasons that I am convinced, from years of working in related activist areas, that Bruce K. Gagnon is an agent-provocateur whose job has been to fool other the activists into following him, such as Karl Grossman. In fact I believe the entire reason Gagnon has been placed in our community is to keep Mr. Grossman "at bay". Grossman sees Gagnon beck and call for him and thinks he's got himself a helper. Grossman recently said to me that Gagnon's dislike of me (which Gagnon exhibited very early on after Grossman invited me to join the anti-Cassini effort in 1996) is the only thing he has seen Gagnon do that he (Grossman) does not like. In fact, Grossman missed a long list of offenses against other activists as well, as documented in the newsletters listed below. Grossman should actually simply feel honored that the military cares enough about the message he's trying to get out that they would have a Bruce K. Gagnon just to screw up Mr. Grossman. And Gagnon also acts as a PR guy for the military, telling us, for example, that their latest test was a success (it was fixed, as described by Preston Truman in your press release) and so we should drop that line of attack against Star Wars -- the line that it simply won't work.

I described some of the reasons the military's latest "test" proves nothing. For one, my understanding is that it the target missile had a homing beacon. For another, it was not jinking (changing direction slightly) in any way -- it was simply a ballistic target as far as I know. For another, I doubt it had any chaff or decoys to fool the shoot-down missile. For another, as I understand it, they didn't get a really good confirmation that the target had been destroyed anyway.

Oh, and did I mention that you can still always just carry a nuclear device in on a plane, boat, train, bus or truck and avoid the expense of a missile completely? Some of these vehicles get through with all kinds of contraband on a regular basis (at least planes, boats and trucks do; busses and trains are used less frequently.) So how much good can Star Wars really do us? It's just a welfare program for the "defense" industry.

As I mentioned, Star Wars is a great offensive weapon. It's billed as a defensive weapon, but it's anything but that. It's a first-strike weapon which can be used against non-nuclear states from an arm-chair. You can wipe a city off the face of the Earth in air-conditioned comfort.

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't really care if you think I'm an "expert" or not on "News of Star Wars Deception". We're each entitled to our opinion.

But I would like to know on what grounds you didn't include me after our conversation, and on what grounds you did include Bruce K. Gagnon.

Below is a list, from one of my last Stop Cassini newsletters, of newsletter issues where I discuss Gagnon. I hope you'll check some of these out and decide for yourself.

Sure, Karl Grossman, and no doubt many others, will vouch for Gagnon. But if you wish to keep your title of "Institute for Public Accuracy" you ought to consider digging a little deeper. The truth has already been uncovered. You (and Grossman) just need to open your eyes.


Russell D. Hoffman Concerned Citizen Carlsbad, CA

P.S. One can find the name Alice Slater, another of your "experts" in my newsletters as well, in issues #207, 215, 217, 136 and others. She participated in some of the Y2K forums I was on, then dropped off them precipitously.


(4) Bruce Gagnon: A history of disinformation:

This newsletter was originally founded in part because the author learned "the hard way" that the environmental organization which was handling space issues was utterly corrupted at the top, and it was impossible to join them and speak out effectively. So I went out on my own with this newsletter. The name of the most utterly corrupt environmentalist/activist?

Bruce Gagnon.

And now, nearly three years and over 250 issues later, we see that corrupted power still rules the movement against nukes in space (but it really is no surprise; corruption rules in Government and just about everywhere else).

We expect a lot of our readers have no idea what happened between Gagnon and this editor, having not had a chance to read all the issues of this newsletter which discuss it. Even a brief summary would be difficult, but readers can see the following newsletters (and others) for details:

Bruce cuts links to our STOP CASSINI web site:


#35: Shrimp boat protest (guess who wouldn't want to get involved?):


#38: DC Press Conference (guess who wasn't invited!):


#58: Gagnon's utterly absurd defense of his actions:


#87, #88, #90, #92, #93: Back-and-forth regarding Gagnon's activities:


#102: "The Spook who acts like a kook":


#103: Ross McCluney responds to #102:


#133: Cassini protest schedule with incorrect/missing information:


#147: Real activists aren't satisfied by simply raising the flyby height:


#173: "The black hole of anti-Cassini information":


#190: Gagnon's most ridiculous protest ever?:


#221: Stupidity wins out in the United Nations:


-- rdh


At 09:41 PM 7/30/01 , the Institute for Public Accuracy wrote:

Institute for Public Accuracy
915 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045 (202) 347-0020 *
http://www.accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org

Monday, July 30, 2001

Interviews Available: News of Star Wars Deception
* Fudged Test for "Missile Defense"
* Offensive "Space Bomber"

PRESTON J. TRUMAN, hermit@downwinders.org, http://www.downwinders.org
Director of the Downwinders organization, Truman said today: "This past weekend seemed almost deja vu. We found out that the much-touted July 14 test was rigged, with the target basically having a beacon on it saying 'hit me.' Tests involving the X-ray laser during the 1980s were similarly dubious. It's also reminiscent of the public relations extravaganza of the Patriot missile during the Gulf War.... The Pentagon is conducting a witch hunt against an MIT scientist, Theodore Postol, who has been critical of the Star Wars program. Many of the critics during the 1980s were harassed for speaking out, accused of security violations and so on.... To fully test the 'Space Bomber,' and other weaponry, the Pentagon will have to make sure that each and every component will survive nuclear conditions -- that means nuclear tests in Nevada, which explains why the administration wants to break the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty." Truman has worked with thousands of Americans who, like himself, have dealt with the aftermath of fallout from nuclear explosions in Nevada.

ALICE SLATER, aslater@gracelinks.org, http://www.gracelinks.org President of the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment, Slater said today: "The Los Angeles Times report on the 'Space Bomber' provides further evidence that the U.S. seeks to dominate and control space by military means. This is also confirmed in the Rumsfeld Space Commission report of January 2001, which urges 'the option to deploy weapons in space to ensure that the U.S. remains the leading space-faring nation.' It's a total misnomer to talk about missile 'defense' -- this technology is the platform for the offensive weaponization of space. The U.S. Space Command 'Vision 2020' report outlines the weaponization of space, envisioning that 'space forces will emerge to protect military and commercial national interests and investment.' This is an extension of 500 years of colonial domination of the world's resources. Just as navies have controlled the seas, we're building this huge military to back up corporate interests for access to the world's resources instead of creating sustainable systems at home."

BRUCE GAGNON, globalnet@mindspring.com, http://www.space4peace.org
International coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, Gagnon said today: "Reports on the Pentagon's plans to build a 'Space Bomber,' which would be able to destroy targets on the other side of the world in half an hour, indicate the beginning of the weaponization of space. This whole missile defense program is ultimately a Trojan horse. Pentagon officials understand that they can't come before the American people and say, 'Give us hundreds of billions of dollars so that we can have offensive weapons in space.' So they dress it up in sheep's clothing and pretend that it's defensive. In 'Vision for 2020' and other military documents, the Pentagon outlines that it wants to 'control and dominate' space and 'deny other countries access to space.'

We are poised to create a new arms race in space that will make the aerospace corporations richer than one could imagine and will violate the ABM Treaty and Outer Space Treaty."

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from

Can you *really* believe that secret forces control the world?

From: Terry W. Colvin fortean1@mindspring.com

Can you *really* believe that secret forces control the world? If there are they are not doing a very good job for all their power, riches and centuries of practice. And what are they supposed to be doing with this control? Murder, greed, conquest, spite, revenge, ruination, blasphemy, degradation, black magic, sexual and other gratifications etc etc ... ??? What I find puzzling about these rants blaming all modern woes on conspiracies by Jews, the ultra rich and old Royal houses is that they look exotic but are really quite banal. If these people ever had real power, it passed from their hands in the wars and revolutions that racked and ruined the previous Millennium. Who now can *make* us as communities, nations or peoples, or cultures *do* anything in the sense that we are supposed to be being manipulated? The deadly enemy of this kind of machination is personal freedom. The very fact that we are free to fight for encroachments on personal freedom surely means these alleged conspiracies have lost their grip (if ever they truly had one). We have such a culture of whistleblowing, and such a distrust of even legitimate official intrusuion and control which, when coupled with the fundamental human inability to keep secrets, makes it hard for me to credit any substance to modern conspiracy theories.

Nah! Modern conspiracy-mongering seems to me to be the modern equivalent of the ancient Greeks whinging about the cruelty, capriciousness and lustful ways of the gods.

Best wishes from Bob Rickard - Editor, Fortean Times (est.1973)
"The forceps of our minds are clumsy forceps
and crush the truth a little in taking hold of it."
HG Wells.

The Klass Files

From: Barry Karr SkeptInq@aol.com


August 2, 2001: Take a good look at our totally revamped Klass Files, complete with feature stories from the Archives of Skeptical Inquirer. I think you will all be very happy to know that we've uploaded major redesigns and a series of additions to the Klass Files.

About The Klass Files
The Klass Files is an online archive of Philip J. Klass' Skeptics UFO Newletter (SUN), maintained by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal. You can research the current library by browsing through the links in the sidebar to the left, or by doing a word search in the search engine above. The engine will take you back to CSICOP's home page. The links it generates will in turn lead you back to relevant issue(s) of SUN. Below you'll find UFO-related articles written by Philip Klass and other skeptics from the archives of Skeptical Inquirer and other skeptical publications.

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.


Today's Headlines - August 3, 2001

from The New York Times

In their long efforts to breathe life into dinosaurs, so famously extinct in all but human fancy, scientists may have been wrong about the position of the nostrils through which these huge reptiles breathed, smelled, regulated body temperature and generally nosed around the Mesozoic landscape.

An anatomist and paleontologist at Ohio University, in Athens, comparing dinosaur skull fossils and the physiology of their closest living relatives, has concluded that the fleshy nostrils were near the tip of the dinosaur's long snout, not higher up and closer to the eyes, as had been widely thought for more than a century.

The new conclusions about the position of the nostrils could be important in understanding how dinosaurs found food and detected menacing predators or desirable mates and how they attained such enormous sizes. The position of the nostrils has a bearing on the organization of the entire respiratory system. And, of course, it alters ideas about how dinosaurs looked.

The scientist, Dr. Lawrence M. Witmer, is reporting the findings in today's issue of the journal Science. Other dinosaur specialists endorsed the research, financed by the National Science Foundation. They said the revised placement of the nostrils made so much sense that they were surprised no one had recognized it sooner.


from Newsday

A low total cholesterol level, a major objective in preventing cardiovascular disease, may be associated with higher death rates in people over 70, researchers report in a study that flies in the face of prevailing medical wisdom.

Reporting tomorrow in the British medical journal The Lancet, scientists at the University of Hawaii say not only that older people with low cholesterol die sooner than their counterparts with higher values, but also that their study underscores some of the unknowns about human metabolism and aging.

"We had seen these higher mortality rates in older people with low cholesterol levels in several smaller studies," said Dr. Irwin Schatz, who led the Hawaiian investigation. "We decided to look at this in a big way." Dr. Stanley Katz, chief of cardiology at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, said that despite the study's findings, the results do not serve as a call to the elderly to toss out their cholesterol drugs or add more fats to their diet. Cholesterol-lowering medications, especially those known as the statin drugs, are widely prescribed to the elderly with cardiovascular conditions and can help prevent heart attacks.


from The Boston Globe

In 1998, cardiologists at Boston Children's Hospital were trying to keep alive a very sick baby girl whose lungs and heart were failing. But every time they tried to wean her from her ventilator and its accompanying medication, she relapsed. So they searched for another treatment and came up with one: Viagra, just on the market.

Since then, doctors at the hospital have given Viagra to 14 extremely ill children with a rare, potentially fatal lung disorder called pulmonary hypertension. They believe the drug may relax and expand blood vessels in the lungs much the same way it works in the penis for men suffering from impotence.

Bouyed by Viagra's potential in treating this serious illness, 10 pediatricians from the United States and Europe met with Pfizer officials for two days in London this week to request the company's support in both manufacturing a pediatric intravenous formulation of its blockbuster impotence drug and in paying for extensive clinical trials to determine its effectiveness.


from The Associated Press

A Senate committee approved legislation Thursday to devote $4.8 billion over 10 years to research technologies to fight global warming and create new climate change offices.

The Governmental Affairs Committee's voice vote followed by a day the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's approval of a resolution urging President Bush to reconsider the 1997 Kyoto, Japan, global warming treaty he walked away from in March.

With these actions, senators representing a range of political ideologies hope to nudge Bush into crafting a climate change policy that deals with the nation's energy strategy and international controls on heat-trapping gases released into the atmosphere.

"Further delay can only mean that a more difficult problem awaits us in the future," said Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., co-author with Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, of the research funding bill.


from The Christian Science Monitor

The sky appeared deceptively clear one winter day in December 1992, when a DC-8 cargo plane flying over the Rocky Mountains hit a wildly bumpy patch of air. The plane lost an engine and six meters of wing before the pilot wrestled it to a safe landing.

The culprit: severe clear-air turbulence - the devastating, unstable waves that often occur in cloud-free conditions, terrifying airline passengers and crew alike.

Clear-air turbulence remains largely a mystery, but scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research are building computer simulation models with sophisticated computers and software to visualize the normally unseeable turbulence and, potentially, to understand more about the phenomenon.


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

Sigma Xi Homepage

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American Scientist magazine

For feedback on In the News,


Huge floods changed the face of Mars - Ananova Alerting

Scientists have found what may be the solar system's largest flood channels on Mars. Some valleys in the planet's Tharsis region are more than 120 miles across. They were formed by floods more than 50,000 times as powerful as the flow of the Amazon, Earth's largest river. Scientists say they could happen again.

Mars is believed to have flooded when water, until then frozen deep underground, erupted on to the surface.

That could only have happened if Mars suddenly became geologically active and underground magma melted the ice, forcing water upwards under pressure.

Dr James Dohm, of the University of Arizona, and colleagues believe enough water was released to form temporary oceans.

At peak flow they say the largest of these, about a third of the volume of the Indian Ocean, filled within about eight weeks.

Geologists say such events may have happened repeatedly in geologically active periods and could happen again next time Mars 'wakes up'.

Dr Dohm said: "The implications of uncovering such a significant flood record of the ancient Martian past is of great significance. It's taken years of work to piece this story together."

Until now the valleys have been partially hidden beneath lava flows but were revealed by equipment on board the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft.

See this story on the web at


Hubble spots evidence of 'dented' galaxy - Ananova Alerting

The Hubble telescope has taken a picture of a wonky galaxy which was 'dented' in a crash.

Its warped outer disc, seen in profile, is shaped like wobbly wheel and is higher on one side than it is on the other.

Astronomers say the unusual shape is the result of the galaxy colliding with another group of stars some time in its past.

The glow of stars in the centre of its mass silhouettes the outer disc and reveals its warped shape.

Astronomers used the space telescope to get their best pictures yet of ESO 510-G13 which lies in the southern constellation Hydra, around 150 million light years away.

It is thought the galaxy is in the process of swallowing the smaller one it collided with but gravitational forces have distorted the structures of both systems

Stars, gas and dust are merging together in a process that will take millions of years. Eventually ESO 510-G13 will become a normal-shaped single galaxy.

See this story on the web at


Friday, August 03, 2001

John Edward Is the Oprah of the Other Side



What comes after life? It is a question that has flustered philosophers, birthed religions and stumped history's greatest minds. Now an answer comes not from a theologian or a scholar but from a baby-faced former ballroom-dance instructor from Long Island, a man who grew up wanting to own his own deli but instead is the host of a cable television show on which he claims to talk to the dead. John Edward, the 31-year-old star of ''Crossing Over With John Edward,'' the hit Sci Fi Channel show that goes into national daytime syndication Aug. 27 (at 3 p.m. on CBS in New York), has been called everything from a charlatan to a messenger from heaven. In the process, he has also managed to unite an unlikely coalition against him, become something of a pop icon and create a whole new genre of television: the psychic talk show.

Oprah and cults


Psychics foresee $1m win

From Ananova at:


An Australian water diviner and a psychic healer are among the latest people to try to win a $1 million bet by the famous US sceptic James Randi.

Mr Randi has offered the prize, equivalent to around 700,000, to anyone who can scientifically prove they have psychic powers.

He will travel to Australia to view demonstrations by a number of hopefuls later this month.

The challenge will include David Miers, a volunteer pet carer and part-time healer, and Luke Shoesmith, a baker, both from Queensland.

Mr Shoesmith, a diviner, says he has found water, gold and precious stones and has been able to tell the sex of unborn children by using his powers.

He told News.com: "I do it all with a piece of string and a weight on the bottom."

Mr Randi said: "I do not claim supernatural powers are non-existent, but I am willing to risk my $1 million that they are quite imaginary."

Creationism fight looms in Honolulu

From drlucy Via Garry Margolis

The Board of Education has to decide whether to teach the biblical version in science classes

Honolulu Star-Bulletin
Wednesday, August 1, 2001
By Treena Shapiro

Board of Education members are expecting a hot debate at their meeting tomorrow over what should be taught in the schools about the origin of the human race.

The issue at hand is whether to admit alternatives to Darwin's theory of evolution into the science curriculum in the public schools.

The Regular Education committee on Thursday approved opening up the science curriculum to other theories, prompting heated discussion over whether public school science teachers will have to teach the biblical theory of creationism as part of the state science performance standards.

Kauai board member Sherwood Hara said he has been informed by board secretaries that many people have signed up to testify at the meeting. One secretary suggested, "Why don't you bring your sleeping bags?" he said. [sic]

Most members contacted yesterday supported teaching various religious versions of origin, but not as part of the science curriculum.

Member Denise Matsumoto said yesterday that she also opposes mixing religion and science, but she wants to introduce other theories so that students will know that evolution was just one of multiple theories, not a fact.

"The way (evolution) was presented (in the standards), it was just so matter-of-fact," she said.

Faith-based beliefs have a better place in social studies, drama and the arts, Matsumoto said.

In the science classes, she suggested teaching theories about the development of fossils, as well as the old earth theory and the new earth theory, both of which are creationist models of evolution.

Board member Karen Knudsen, a member of the committee who approved the change to the performance standards, said the "healthy discussion" that followed has led her to reconsider her position.

"I think that there is clearly room for discussion of origin, but in another subject area," she said.

To open the door to multiple theories would not mean just adding creationism, but various other religious theories of origin as well, thereby taking class time away from "hard science."

Board members Michael Nakamura and Lex Brodie both said they were opposed to introducing religion into the state school system.

Marilyn Harris, who was not present at the committee meeting, said she believes the original wording of the performance standards should be maintained. "To me this is not a religious question. To me this is a question of scientific proof. Science is something you can prove or disprove, but (creationism) is not something you can prove or disprove, so this is not science.

"If somebody wants to put it into another curriculum, that's another story altogether," she said. "It could be philosophy, it could be comparative religions, it could be history. There's all kinds of areas you could put them into, but science isn't one of them."

Schools Superintendent Paul LeMahieu said students should be taught to recognize and respect multiple beliefs and explanations regarding the formation of the universe and life on Earth.

"I would expect them to be taken up in their appropriate place," he said.

He said it is unfortunate that so many people think the goal for some of these theories is scientific validation. "What's most valuable about faith-based explanations is that they explain things in a way that science cannot possibly. The real strength is that it's not science."

Evolution is taught in science classes because it is the singular, presupposing scientific theory of our time, but it is not taught as fact, LeMahieu added.

Board Chairman Herbert Watanabe said he has received at least 30 e-mails opposing the introduction of creationism into the science curriculum. "It will be a very hot discussion. Whether or not it will go through will be another matter," he said.

The board will meet at 3:30 p.m. in the Queen Liliuokalani Building boardroom. It will vote on recommendations for board actions, including performance standards, at 7 p.m.

Articles of Note and Still No Aliens at Roswell

From: Barry Karr SkeptInq@aol.com

Thanks to Joe Littrell and Dave Thomas

Overdue book's return priceless
By Ellen Barry
Boston Globe


"Scot Cornwall was in his office at the Boston Public Library last Wednesday when a young woman appeared in his doorway and handed him a book swathed in tissue and bubble wrap."

RCMP busts the Nigerian letter scam but countless others still out there
Canadian Press


"While the RCMP and American authorities managed recently to shut down a huge direct-mail and e-mail scam, unlimited numbers of con artists still operate, fooling people everyday despite their too-good-to-be-true promises."

Cattle mutilations leave ranchers guessing
Houston Chronicle


"The prize bulls of Burleson County are dying."

Child kidnap hoax by e-mail shocks prominent supermarket
By Ben Smalley
Gulf News


"A leading supermarket chain says it is appalled by a hoax e-mail being circulated in the UAE which describes an attempted child abduction at one of its branches."

Modest hero facing another viciou attack


"Vance Flosenzier of Mobile, Ala., performed two amazing feats this summer. You probably have heard about the first one. On July 6, Flosenzier was on the beach in Pensacola, Fla., when he heard his 8-year-old nephew, Jessie Arbogast, screaming that a shark was biting him. The strapping Flosenzier, a veteran triathlete, raced out to the boy and managed to pry the shark away as it clamped down on Jessie's arm, tearing it off. He then grabbed the 7-foot, 200-pound bull shark by its tail and wrestled it to shore."

Tax-rebate con artists are at work
San Jose Mercury News


"Impatience can be costly. That's one lesson that some will learn the hard way as they await their tax rebates this summer."

Rev. Bessie's hotline to heaven is newest in a long line of scams
By Betty DeRamus
Detroit News


"The psychic steered me into a room crammed with candles and statues of the Virgin Mary -- the kind of room where people cried on pumpkin-colored couches and prayed on blue rugs. But her smile was a little too wide, and her eyes too hungry. Business must be slow, I thought."

From Albuquerque Skeptic and CSICOP Fellow Dave Thomas - a Roswell UFO crash Update (my guess would be "Still No Saucer - No Film at Eleven!"

Tuesday, July 31, 2001
Bringing 'Roswell Incident' Back to Earth

By John Fleck
Journal Staff Writer

PLACITAS: No one wanted to believe more than Karl Pflock that it was an alien spacecraft that crashed near Roswell in 1947....Nine years of investigation led Pflock to a different conclusion. It really was a research balloon, not a spacecraft, that crashed near Roswell 54 years ago, Pflock argues in his newly published [Prometheus] book "Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe."

It is a point skeptics have been trying to make since the early '90s. But Pflock's book is different, coming from a UFO believer, said Dave Thomas, a Peralta physicist who has worked for years to try to convince the public there was no Roswell spacecraft.

There's also a mini-debate on Roswell in the Valencia County News-Bulletin.


After reading Dave Thomas' article in which he makes a game effort to debunk my series of articles concerning the Roswell Incident, I feel obligated to reply to several issues which he has addressed.....


And this just in from Karl Pflock, our speaker next Wednesday, August 8th (details at http://www.nmsr.org/meetings.htm)

Barring a coup or hell freezing over or..., I will appear (live remote from "Saucer Smear" Headquarters in Key West) on the Today Show, Monday, August 6, during the 8-9 a.m. hour as part of "Conspiracy Week," subject Roswell, of course. Kevin Randle will be the other guest, live but just how remote, I don't know. :-) -- Cheers, KARL

Dave Thomas

SHC on Discovery

From: Terry W. Colvin fortean1@mindspring.com

Larry is"The Expert" on SHC in America,and has spent at least twenty years of investigating Spontaneous Human Combustion. He's also a leading Fortean at INFO and a frequent moderator at 'Fest events.

Sunday, August 5, 9:00PM EDT on The Discovery Channel: "Burning Bodies: Spontaneous Human Combustion"

Rebroadcasts Monday, August 6, 1:00AM, and again probably the following Saturday or Sunday afternoon. (As always, check your local listings or go to http://www.discovery.com.)

This may well be the best hour-long coverage of spon-com yet, we are pleased to say. We worked closely with producer Ruth Gordon throughout this show's development, and she deserves a lot of credit for a job well-done.

Segments include
1) never-before-seen footage of our interview with Don and Katherine Carroll, as they recall the extraordinary episode of 'fire' emanating from the mouth of Jean Saffin in 1982, and
2) the first-time-ever recounting by yet another survivor of partial spon-com, Tanis Helliwell, who offers both an explanation for her second-degree burns and (shall we say) a provocative theory to prevent their reoccurrence.

Of course, the debunkers have their say too ... and you can decide whether dropped cigarettes, arson-murders, and human wicks can resolve the above incidents, plus others that we chronicle.

This program is worthy of archiving for your fortean videotape library!

If you wish not to receive such notices in the future, please reply with an "unsubscribe" in the subject line. Otherwise, we trust you will tune in. Let us know what you think, eh?

Want to know more about spon-com? Order ABLAZE! directly from us or through Amazon.com. And for updates on reruns of other SHC programs -- like "Strange Science" which TLC retelecast on August 1 -- visit this site:


Larry E Arnold, Director
ParaScience International

More Free Electricity

From: Paul Oldenburg

If you have not seen this one, you better take a look.

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