NTS LogoSkeptical News for 13 September 2001

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings


Thursday, September 13, 2001

The Danger of Knowing for Sure
A special joint edition of The Millenium Project and Quintessence of the Loon
September 12, 2001
http://www.ratbags.com/skepticism/skepticism.htm




Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Ghoulish Prediction No 1

From: Shaun Cronin

I'm afraid that looney fringe is starting to get wound up over the tragedy.

I knew Sollog would not be quiet.

http://www.sollog.com/wtc.shtml

Shaun


Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Re: Group insists pro-conservation science books be thrown out

From: Daniel Rutter

At 08:34 PM 10/09/2001 -0700, Jack Kolb forwarded:

The criticisms focused on the proposed textbooks' discussions of global warming, acid rain and rain forest destruction. Many of the speakers were affiliated with Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, an advocacy and education organization dedicated to economic freedom.
Heh. On a hunch, I just did a search for '"Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy" astroturf', and behold:

http://www.motherjones.com/news_wire/gwrightwing.html

Whadda huge surprise.

--
Daniel Rutter

MORE

Coral reefs endangered

Barry James: International Herald Tribune
Tuesday, September 11, 2001

PARIS The most complete study ever carried out on the world's coral reefs warns that many of these "critical, valuable and beautiful ecosystems" face extinction because of rising temperatures and human pressures.

The "World Atlas of Coral Reefs," to be published Tuesday by the United Nations Environmental Program, for the first time describes and maps every known reef and gives detailed evidence of the things that ail them.

Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the program, estimated in an interview here that the reefs supported between 60 and 70 percent of the world's fish stocks, yet were under assault from a deadly mix of human and environmental pressures.

"They are rapidly being degraded by human activities. They are over-fished, bombed and poisoned," he said, referring to the practice widespread in Southeast Asia of using explosives and cyanide to stun fish.

"They are smothered by sediment and choked by algae growing on nutrient-rich sewage and fertilizer run-off. They are damaged by irresponsible tourism and are being severely stressed by the warming of the world's oceans. Each of these pressures is bad enough in itself, but together, the cocktail is proving lethal."

The study shows that the coral reefs occupy a much smaller area of the planet than previously thought - about 284,000 square kilometers (110,000 square miles), or half the size of France, although they are distributed in more than 100 countries and territories.

Nevertheless, they support a disproportionate number of natural species and provide vital storm protection for many mainland areas.

The reefs often are compared with the equally endangered rain forests as a source of biodiversity, the extent and value of which remain to be discovered.

The pharmaceutical industry would be among the first to suffer from any loss of this diversity. The drug AZT, used to treat people with HIV and AIDS, is based on chemicals extracted from a reef sponge in the Caribbean, and more than half of all new cancer drug research focuses on marine organisms, according to the Environmental Program.

Mark Spalding, lead writer of the report, which called on most of the world's marine observation resources, said the reefs were degrading faster than the data about them could be collected.

"We have no idea how much has already gone," he said.

Indonesia has more reefs than any other country and treats them worse than any other. The report estimated that more than 80 percent of Indonesian reefs are endangered by fishing with explosives and other human pressures. The shock waves from the explosions cause severe damage to the fragile structure of the reefs.

Australia and the Philippines are the second and third reef nations. France, Britain, the United States and other developed nations control about one quarter of the reefs.

In Australia this week, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority warned that sediments and fertilizers borne into the reef area by 26 river systems threatened major damage to the 2,000-kilometer barrier, which comprises 2,600 individual reefs and about 300 islands.

The authority blamed farming for the fertilizer run-off, and land clearance for the sediments threatening to choke the reef. Cutting trees allows soil to run off into the rivers.

Phosphate levels have risen by as much as 1,500 percent, the authority said, which encourages the growth of algae - another deadly enemy for the reefs.

"Coral reefs are not only a source of wonder and fascination," the authors of the atlas say. "They also represent a critical resource for millions of people. For millennia coastal peoples have relied on coral reefs as a source of food."

Yet in many cases, they add, some of the best information available until recently about the location and dimensions of coral reefs was gathered by Captain James Cook and others in the 18th century. Knowledge about the species inhabiting the reefs is fragmentary and incomplete.

"As many as 100,000 species may have been named and described from coral reefs, but the total number inhabiting the world's reefs may be anything between half and 2 million, perhaps more," the authors say.

The growth of scuba diving and satellite observation have made it possible in the last 50 years to have a more accurate picture of reefs, many of which are remote and far from regular shipping traffic.

Yet even the most remote reefs are not safe. They have been used for nuclear experiments and for dumping waste. Some are still used for gunnery practice.

The atlas is an attempt to fill the gaps in knowledge, and to help in coordinating a response to the dangers. It is based to a great extent on global mapping begun in 1994 by the Environment Program's World Conservation Monitoring Center in Cambridge, England.

The study warns that coral reefs are among the most vulnerable of all ecosystems to rising sea-surface temperatures. The predicted rise in temperatures over the next century, it says, "may well cause the total demise of at least some of these critical, valuable and beautiful ecosystems." Rising temperature causes the whitening of the reefs, which is called coral bleaching.

The action of man can destroy in a year or two what nature has taken centuries or thousands of years to develop. The reefs are the communal skeleton of large numbers of individual corals. Corals are a simple organism confined to warm and shallow waters. Part fossil, and part living organism, the reefs provide the habitat in which most marine life breeds and develops.

The UN Environment Program hopes that increased knowledge of the reefs will lead to greater recognition of their economic value, and therefore a more determined effort to protect them.

The report says that tourism and diving can add value to the reefs for local people and promote conservation. For example, Australia earns more from tourism in the Great Barrier Reef than the income from all its fishing industries combined. "Protecting and managing reefs is not just for the good of the fishes," said Mr. Spalding, on behalf of the writers of the report. "In every case it also leads to economic and social benefits for local communities."

Wormwood (Rev 8:11)

From: Dean A. Batha

http://pw1.netcom.com/~speaker6/doomsday.html

Welcome to the
Asteroid Doomsday Countdown Clock!
There are only . . .
####
days left until impact!

On Tuesday, March 10, 1998, Brian Marsden, Director of the International Astronomical Union's central telegram bureau in Cambridge, Mass., announced that celestial object 1997XF, a 1 to 2 mile wide asteroid, could pass within 30,000 miles of Earth in October of the year 2028. One day later, scientists from NASA's Jet propulsion Laboratory announced that the asteroid would instead miss Earth by 500,000 to 600,000 miles.

JPL's Paul Chodas said that the chance of it impacting the Earth was "...so unlikely as not to worry about." Essentially, zero.

Not that I doubt the scientists and their calculations, but we're talking about knowing exactly where something's going to be 1415 weeks from now! How confident are you about predicting the exact location of a speeding space object 325 months away? Think about it.

Nevertheless, it is coming.

There may be questions as to where, exactly.

But at least now you know when.


Monday, September 10, 2001

Free Energy

Discover the Solutions to America's Most Pressing Energy, Economic & Environmental Problems and Find Out Why You May Never Have To Pay Another Energy Bill Again!

This was an ad that appeared in Newsweek.

Belief Therapy

From: Dean A. Batha

Dear Skeptics:

Have you seen this? According to these quacks, who are apparently sanctioned by my home state of Texas, anybody who isn't a Christian has an emotional disorder:

http://www.therapon.org/

You'll especially want to check out "Belief Therapy As A Modality":

www.belieftherapy.org/modality.html

Enjoy. And please pass on the word.

-Jeff Dee

From the web site above:

Treatment Process: Beliefs drive anger or pain. The Belief Therapist's role is to help a client identify lies he/she is believing, process those lies, and replace them with the truth. Unless there is the presence of an organic disorder, a person with a life-controlling or emotional problem may believe their present situation is the cause of their pain. This is seldom the cause. The Belief Therapist may help the client identify a lie that relates to the present circumstance, place it into perspective, and replace the lie with the truth. Sometimes there is the presence of cognitive dissonance, the anxiety caused by holding opposite beliefs at the same time. Very often there is the problems of Positional Identity Disorder (PID): Trying to become who you already are "in Christ." If a client is not a Christian, he/she has the most serious form of PID.

This is, apparently, one of those "faith based social services" that Dubya keeps pushing for. It started in Texas while Dubya was the governor there.

Don't forget to read the 11 axioms of belief therapy:

http://www.belieftherapy.org/axioms.html

1. AXIOM: Man was created to see things from God's perspective. God-like thinking was necessary for the dominion management Creator God gave to man. (Gen. 2:15))

2. AXIOM: People do what they do because they believe what they believe. In Belief Therapy we call the process The Source of Destructive Consequent Behavior. The Bible says, "As a man thinks in his heart so is he." (Prov. 23:7; Mark 7:6-23) You feel the way you think; you think the way you believe. Beliefs are the primary source of our attitudes, reactions, feelings, and behavior or actions.

3. AXIOM: Jesus established the Belief Therapy process in the book of Matthew, chapters five through seven. He said, "You have heard it said by them of old times" (exposing the lie), "but I say unto you" (replacing the lie with the truth).

4. AXIOM: A lie is a s strong as the truth if you believe it. Children have learned enough lies by the time they are six years old to cause them problems for the rest of their lives. People are made free from the bondage when the lies are identified and replaced with the truth. (John 8:31-36)

5. AXIOM: Man is a sinner by nature, by choice, and by practice. Eve chose to believe Satan's lie over God's truth. (Gen. 3:1-13)

6. AXIOM: God is always right and man is always wrong. The Bible is Belief Therapy's body of truth. When what man thinks conflicts with what God's word says, God is always right. (Isa. 55:7-9; 2 Peter 1:3)

7. AXIOM: Belief is the most powerful healing value known to man. Jesus said, "The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 19:27)

8. AXIOM: The mind is the battlefield. The apostle Paul teaches us in Romans 12:2 to "be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."

9. AXIOM: Positional truth is the fundamental principle essential to a constructive, healthy, and godly personal identity. Colossians 2:9-10 says, "For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily; And you are complete in Him, Who is the head of all principalities and powers." (cf/Col. 3:1-4) Christians often suffer from Positional Identity Disorder (PID).

10. AXIOM: All addiction is identified in the Bible as "bondage." (Rom. 1:21-32; Rom 6) Belief Therapy identifies the addictive process as The Course of Condition Dynamics.

11. AXIOM: Life-controlling problems have a spiritual root irregardless of a possible organic disorder. (John 9:1-7) Psychiatric and emotional problems are always spiritual problems and sometimes physical problems.

Whew! What a relief!

http://english.hk.dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/asia/afp/article.html?s=hke/headlines/010910/asia/afp/Mother_Teresa_was_not_possessed_by_the_devil__exorcist_confirms.html

Mother Teresa was not possessed by the devil, exorcist confirms

CALCUTTA, India, Sept 9 (AFP) - Father Rosario Stroccio, the priest who conducted an exorcism on Mother Teresa in a south Calcutta nursing home one year before her death, said Sunday that the nun was "not at all possessed by devils."

"Mother Teresa was in dazed state when sisters of the Missionaries of Charity took me to her bedside in the hospital. She could not recognize me nor the sisters attending her. I found no symptoms of restlessness in her," Stroccio, the priest of a Catholic church in Calcutta, capital of India's eastern West Bengal state, told AFP.

"But Mother Teresa was not at all possessed by devils," the priest asserted.

Mother Teresa was admitted to the nursing home for a heart problem towards the end of 1996. She died on September 5, 1997.

Earlier this month, Archbishop of Calcutta Henry Sebastian D'Souza revealed that an exorcism was performed on Mother Teresa towards the end of her life because she felt the "tag of the devil."

"She and I were in the same hospital when I noticed she got very agitated at night, although she was very peaceful during the day. When there was no medical explanation for it I concluded it could be the tag of the devil," D'Souza told AFP on Thursday.

"I then asked a priest to perform an exorcism prayer on her. It lasted for half-an-hour," the archbishop told AFP. "I am glad I did ... it helped her sleep peacefully during the night."

Under instructions from the archbishop, Stroccio performed the exorcism.

Stroccio said Mother Teresa was suffering from a string of ailments and had to undergo by-pass surgery.

"The problem could have arisen from her failing health, or it could have been psychological... ," the priest said.

The 70-year-old priest added he did not consider himself capable of performing the special prayers "but, I performed it on Mother Teresa as I was asked to and it was my first and hopefully, the last assignment of such an act."

Stroccio said he met Mother Teresa after she returned to Mother House. "But she never mentioned it, nor did I," he added.

Mother Teresa was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910 in Skopje, now in Macedonia, of Albanian parents and died on September 5, 1997 at the Mother House in Calcutta.

She set up the Missionaries of Charity order in Calcutta in 1950 and lived a life that has been held up as a model of Christian service.

Her work among the poor and dying in Calcutta and around the world won her a Nobel prize and millions of admirers.

A two-year-long diocesan inquiry into the life of Mother Teresa, the first step towards her beatification and canonization, was completed last month.

Catholic priest puts curse on stripshow

From Ananova at:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_393493.html?menu=

A Catholic priest has put a curse on a striptease show planned for a local disco in Colombia.

Father Marco Lopez says the show promotes adultery, infidelity and other dirty things.

Fr. Lopez, parish priest of Santo Thomas, denounced the show from the pulpit and cast a curse, condemning the strippers and the audience to damnation.

He told his congregation the show was an attack on the town's morality.

"The curse applies to those twisted-minded performers and to the audience," he pronounced.

But Edgar Martinez, one of the strip show's organisers, said his discotheque had the legal right to stage the show.

The priest's words have had an effect though with the local authorities, reports Sky News.

Town ombudsman Emilia Barandica has now ordered the police to close the show down if it goes ahead, as planned

New Discovery of Bigfoot Evidence From the 1930s

For immediate release:

7 September 2001

A startling new discovery has been made concerning Bigfoot, dating back 25 years before the first well-publicized encounters in California in 1958. Loren Coleman, a Portland, Maine author, professor, and cryptozoologist (one doing research and chronicling the search for unknown animals) will reveal a remarkable historical image of Bigfoot during two September lectures he will be presenting in Texas next week.

From August through October, 1958, large footprints were found by construction workers building a road at Bluff Creek, California, thus opening today's vast Bigfoot studies. Church-going bulldozer operator Jerry Crew made a plaster cast of one footprint and took it to the local newspaper. The explosion of modern interest in Bigfoot can be dated to that single series of 1958 events.

But, Coleman, one of the world's leading Bigfoot researchers and the author of Mysterious America (Paraview, 2001) and The Field Guide to Bigfoot, Yeti, and Other Mystery Primates Worldwide (HarperCollins, 1999), will discuss a 1930's image he has discovered which demonstrates that there was common knowledge among Californians about the local hairy giants. Researchers have been befuddled by a gap in Bigfoot accounts that exists between 1900 and 1958. Before 1899, there are native traditions of Bigfoot-like creatures, and a few 19th century news accounts of "wildmen" match Bigfoot. But until Coleman's discovery, the half-century time gap of ³missing² Bigfoot evidence in California, seemed almost as much a mystery as Bigfoot.

Loren Coleman will be speaking at The 1st Annual Texas Bigfoot Conference in Jefferson, Texas on Saturday September 15, 2001. For more information:
www.texasbigfoot.com/events.html

Coleman will also be discussing this image during his speech at a conference being held at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Texas on Sunday, September 16, 2001. For more information:
http://www.nufoc.net/coleman.htm

Coleman¹s full report on the discovery will be the cover story of the next issue of The Anomalist, to be published at the end of year. For information about The Anomalist: http://www.anomalist.com

For more information about Loren Coleman:
http://www.lorencoleman.com and
http://www.paraview.com/coleman/

Coleman can be contacted in Portland, Maine, at 207-772-0245.


Sunday, September 09, 2001

Article about Oklahoma's "evolution disclaimer" fiasco of 1999

From: The Textbook League ttl@textbookleague.org

Around the end of 1999, several subscribers to the SKEPTICS list expressed concern about -- and posted newspaper articles about -- an attempt to require an "evolution disclaimer" in all the biology textbooks that would be used in the public schools of Oklahoma. I have written an article about that affair, telling how it all came out, and the article has now been posted on The Textbook League's Web site, at http://www.textbookleague.org/106okla.htm

Bill Bennetta

Erich von Däniken and monoliths!

From: Terry W. Colvin fortean1@mindspring.com

Erich von Däniken and monoliths! Need we say more...

Terry

-----
Please send this around. Let's try to find out what th' heck is going on--Kent

MONOLITHS GALORE!
9/7/01 This is monolith morning.

http://www.cyberspaceorbit.com/egymonolith.html

Subj: 2001-Monolith in Abusir, Egypt
Date: 9/7/01 4:38:40 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: H.Isenberg@ping.de (Holger Isenberg)
To: bardsquill@aol.com (Kent Steadman)

Hallo Kent!

[you can publish this email on your site. And you can also use a (scaled) picture if you refer to the photographer, Tatjana Ingold and her homepage with hundreds of picture from Egypt on http://tatjana.ingold.ch]

Yesterday, I saw this picture taken in Abusir, Egypt:

http://tatjana.ingold.ch/heitml/photos/index.hei?gruppe=141&id=839

larger view:

http://mars.gh.wh.uni-dortmund.de/egypt/abusir-monolith2.jpg

The monolith sounds like metal if you knock it and it has approximately the length relations 1:4:9, like the monolith in "2001: A Space Odyssey".

We know need confirmation, that this artifact is not deliberately placed there by hoaxers. Also an exact measurement is required. Anybody who has information on this artifact, please write me or Kent.

PS: More pictures from journeys with Erich von Däniken on Tatjana Ingold's homepage: http://tatjana.ingold.ch

Holger Isenberg
H.Isenberg@ping.de
http://mars-news.de

MONOLITH seen near sun after recent torpedo event
http://www.cyberspaceorbit.com/20010905_1506_c2.jpg
Event:
http://www.cyberspaceorbit.com/nasashenanigan.html
NASA NOTE:
Date: 6/1/00 5:24:02 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: gurman@gsfc.nasa.gov (Joseph B. Gurman)
To: bardsquill@aol.com

Hi - You certainly have an interesting collection of non-solar, non-cosmic ray features observed by the SOHO LASCO coronagraphs on your: http://www.cyberspaceorbit.com/rogues.html page.

I believe the LASCO team all agree that they are foreground features (i.e., not solar in origin), though I don't recall hearing much serious speculation on their origin. The length of the various tracks is a reflection of the objects' apparent motion during the LASCO exposure times (typically 12 - 25 seconds). Some of those that appear clearly to be out of focus have been estimated to be only a few meters in front of the SOHO spacecraft, and are therefore probably debris from the spacecraft itself. The sharper-appearing features could, however, be much farther away.

ARCHIVES:
Phobos:
http://members.aol.com/phikent/phobos.htm
SAGAN monolith retrieval
http://www.cyberspaceorbit.com/saganmon.htm
Moon:
http://members.aol.com/phikent/orbit/orbit_page3.html
Lunar Signals:
http://members.aol.com/phikent/orbit/orbitback17.html
http://members.aol.com/phikent/orbit/orbitback16.html

Kent Steadman
ORBIT
http://www.cyberspaceorbit.com/

Jack Shulman and the transistors from Mars

From: Peter Bowditch

Jack Shulman suspects that the real inventors of the transistor are not who we think they are. Roswell has been mentioned.

A lawyer (or a facsimile thereof) acting for Jack Shulman has placed demands on the overworked staff of the RatbagsDotCom Empire and, yet again, our terrorist activities are coming under the microscope.

All the horrible details are at
http://www.ratbags.com/loon/mailbox/transistor.htm


Saturday, September 08, 2001

Deutsch's MANY WORLDS, etc..

From: Joe Needham

DISCOVER Vol. 22 No. 9 (September 2001)

Quantum Shmantum
If quantum theory weren't valid, no one would be walking around with cell phones or Palm Pilots. So physicist David Deutsch wonders this: Why do many smart scientists ignore the larger implications of quantum mechanics?

By Tim Folger www.discover.com

"At three o'clock on a warm summer afternoon, I arrive as scheduled at David Deutsch's home in Oxford, England. Deutsch, one of the world's leading theoretical physicists, a distinguished fellow of the British Computer Society and champion of what must certainly be the strangest scientific worldview ever created, is something of a recluse. He likes to sleep late and warned me not to come too early. Although I'm on time, my knocks on his door go unanswered. The house is dark and quiet. The doorbell doesn't seem to be working. After about 10 minutes a light goes on in an upstairs window, followed by the sound of running water. I knock harder, which at last triggers activity on the other side of the door. I hear feet pounding down stairs; the door opens, and Deutsch asks me to come in."

http://www.qubit.org/people/david/David.html

RELATED WEB SITES:

An interactive explanation of Young's double slit experiment is available at

http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/schroedinger.

For additional details on how the experiment works, see

http://zebu.uoregon.edu/~js/21st_century_science/lectures/lec12.html.

For more about David Deutsch and the quest for a quantum computer, see: http://www.qubit.org/ and. http://www.qubit.org/people/david/David.html and. "The Best Computer in All Possible Worlds," Tim Folger, Discover, October 1995; available at www.discover.com.

[A personal Web site at
http://home.earthlink.net/~johnfblanton/physics/physics.htm
Ed.]

The Museum of Hoaxes

The Textbook League ttl@textbookleague.org

I'm sure that there have been earlier messages about this, but I want to make sure that all of our newcomers are aware of the Museum of Hoaxes: http://www.museumofhoaxes.com

Bill Bennetta

Antigravity research

From Dean A. Batha

http://www.msnbc.com/news/625489.asp

Defense journalist contends Pentagon funded 'black' research since WW II; skepticism abounds, but some groups look into gravity modification claims

Sept. 7 — A British defense journalist contends that the U.S. military has conducted research into electric-powered methods to counter gravity, building upon studies conducted by the Nazis. The claims, contained in a book titled "The Hunt for Zero Point," have generated a megawatt of skepticism. Nevertheless, a type of antigravity research is continuing today.

AFTER A DECADE'S worth of research, author Nick Cook has come to believe that by the 1950s the U.S. military was seriously working on an "electrogravitics" technology that would lift and propel vehicles without wings or thrust.

"I feel intuitively that some vehicle has been developed, particularly given that there is this wealth of scientific data out there, and the Americans have never been slow to pick up on this sort of science," Cook, the aerospace consultant for Jane's Defense Weekly, told Reuters in an interview.

Cook told Reuters that he uncovered reports and sightings of a Nazi research device that had been hidden in a remote part of Poland, where it had apparently been supplied with great quantities of electricity. He contends that the power was needed for an electrogravitic experiment.

Barely a hint of such Nazi research appeared after the war, suggesting that whoever captured it — probably the United States — immediately stamped it "secret," he said.

Cook admitted that he couldn't produce a conclusive case, but said military research into electrogravitics would follow the pattern set by other "black projects" such as stealth technology.

In 1947, amid the early craze of UFO reports, an air force general reported on the possibility of the United States building disk-shaped objects with extreme rates of climb and maneuverability but without noise or evident propulsion.

In the mid-1950s electrogravitics was the subject of a few press reports, including one that described work by most of the United States' major defense contractors, Cook reported.

And then it all went quiet — just as stealth technology suddenly disappeared from view in the mid-1970s, only to re-emerge as operational aircraft in the late 1980s.

'HOCUS-POCUS'?

Cook noted that, as a respected expert, he is risking his reputation by writing seriously about a technology associated with UFOs, which most scientists dismiss as science fiction embraced by "hocus-pocus" believers.

One of the most outspoken skeptics, Robert Park of the American Physical Society, chuckled when he heard about the book, which was published earlier this year in Britain but is not yet available in the United States. "I would say he's not only risked (his reputation), he's lost it," Park told MSNBC.com.

Park couldn't comment on the book itself, but said that there could be lots of alternate explanations for the high-energy Nazi experiments. For example, he said, the Germans might have been trying to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons, "which takes a lot of electricity."

Antigravity research has long been championed by a "tiny little fringe element," said Park, who addresses the topic in his own book, titled "Voodoo Science."

"People have gotten to the point where they expect miracles from science, so it doesn't bother them at all when they come up with these preposterous claims," he said.

ENTERING THE MAINSTREAM

Most people in the scientific mainstream would agree that the prospect of turning gravity on and off with a switch appears to be a fantasy that goes against the Einsteinian understanding of how our space-time continuum works. However, research that falls under the term "gravity modification" is starting to make its way into the mainstream, despite strong protests from skeptics like Park.

Most notably, groups at NASA and elsewhere are trying to reproduce a potentially anomalous gravitational effect reported in the 1990s by Russian émigré researcher Eugene Podkletnov.

In a Finnish laboratory, Podkletnov set up a complex apparatus involving powerful magnets and a spinning disk of superconducting material — and found that objects placed above the disk seemed to lose as much as 2 percent of their weight.

Efforts to reproduce and analyze the "Podkletnov Effect" have been spotty at best. But NASA is continuing research into the phenomenon and commissioned Ohio-based Superconductive Components to build an experimental apparatus modeled on Podkletnov's original. The company's vice president, J.R. Gaines Jr., said the "very complex" device should be delivered to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center within the next couple of months.

The apparatus should be "capable of doing all the things Podkletnov described in that original experiment," Gaines told MSNBC.com.

Britain's BAE Systems also has funded study of gravity modification as part of a small-scale effort called Project Greenglow. However, recent reports from the University of Glasgow indicate that the project is being broadened to take in other breakthrough propulsion techniques such as space tethers and beamed power. BAE and Rolls-Royce are reportedly funding the reworked Greenglow effort.

Psychic former cop helps solve mystery of missing boy in US

From Ananova at:

http://www.ananova.com/entertainment/story/sm_393033.html

A former detective with the Metropolitan Police has used his psychic powers to help find out what happened to a missing boy in America.

Keith Charles went to Buffalo, in New York state, to try to solve a two-year-old murder case as part of a documentary for LWT.

The 50-year-old worked with the force for 30 years before retiring to become a full-time medium.

On his trip to the US he met Nancy Mixon who believes her son, TJ, was killed.

Mr Charles says he managed to locate the murder weapon at a warehouse owned by one of the suspects' relatives by working on a photo of TJ.

The Evening Argus says the new information may be used as evidence in the case.

Mr Charles said: "I actually think I've been more use to the police since I left. Initially there was a lot of distrust but no people will come to me for advice."

The documentary, The Psychic Detective, will be shown on ITV on September 12.

Romanians panic as medium predicts quake on TV

From Ananova at:

http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_392872.html?menu=

Romanians flocked to church among widespread panic after a medium predicted a huge earthquake was about to strike.

Self-proclaimed clairvoyant Ion Istrate predicted a tremor of Biblical proportions killing 500,000 people on TV.

The TV channel Antena 1 put him on apparently because it was a slack news day and they were short of items.

The channel bosses have been roundly criticised.

Istrate gave an apocalyptic vision of wailing refugees and three million homeless among the carnage.

Many Romanians still remember a devastating earthquake that struck in 1977.

Telephone lines to many emergency services were also blocked for several hours on Thursday by people wanting to learn more information about the impending disaster.

Sociologist Mircea Comsa condemned the TV station, saying: "The reporters can not find scoops everyday and therefore they are creating the sensation themselves.

"These news items are meant to increase the audience - they contain no truth."

Professor doctor Gheorghe Marmureanu from the Seismology Institute in Bucharest says they do not expect an Earthquake greater then 6,7 on Richter scale until 2006

Scandalous Mood: Self-esteem comes at high government cost

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/1039225

Houston Chronicle Editorial

Governments often lack many things. One thing they seldom lack, however, is outrageous ideas for wasting taxpayers' money.

One of the most recent, and most galling, examples of that truism is the federal Creative Wellness Program (a name that drips with potential for abuse) uncovered in the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Creative and government are not words that match up well, and to prove it the scheme, funded through a federal anti-drug and -crime program that started in 1998, has wasted $1.1 million on telling public housing tenants which gemstones, types of incense and clothing colors would best improve their self-esteem.

"This represents an excessive and ineffective use of public housing drug elimination funds with no measurable benefits," said an internal audit report that uncovered the feel-good scam.

The printing of that accurate report was an efficient use of government ink.

The inspector general also said that HUD employee Gloria Cousar, then deputy assistant secretary for public and assisted housing delivery, likely misused her position by awarding the contract for the program to Michelle Lusson, with whom she had a long-standing relationship through their joint leadership of the Virginia-based Community Center for Holistic Healing and in other capacities.

The program was taught in public housing projects in nine cities through two grants. Through New Age-style techniques, wellness trainers poked participants in the glands to determine a person's personality type, named after 14 Greek and Roman gods and goddesses. Then, participants were counseled on the kind of diet, exercise, colors, gemstones and incenses they should surround themselves with to reduce stress and boost self-esteem, says an Associated Press report.

"The bottom line is, gemstones and mood rings don't mean much to a family going without a roof over their heads," said one HUD official.

What's your sign? The dollar sign, apparently.


Friday, September 07, 2001

An email to Sylvia Browne

From: Wally Anglesea

Well, I just decided enopugh was enough, and I wanted to make a statement.

...

I would suggest that you might want to actually check the facts, and a bit of history before you try to maker out all sorts of allegations to be true. Of course, if you were *really* psychic, maybe you would know the history of the allegations. However, the history of your predictions seems to cast a great deal of doubt as to your talents.

http://www.sylvia.org/home/2000pred.cfm really needs to be updated, because you don't have a spectacular success rate, apart from the obvious ones that everyone knew do you?

Don't worry, it's been saved for posterity by many people.

Cheers,
Wally Anglesea

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 - September 7, 2001

ADMINISTRATION ADMITS IGNORANCE ON STEM CELLS WHEN FUNDING DECISION WAS MADE
from The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said Thursday that President Bush did not know how many of the 64 existing stem cell lines were developed fully enough for research when he chose to limit federal funds to just these lines.

Thompson said the president's decision was made on moral grounds and would not have changed had Bush known that fewer than half of these cell colonies are fully developed today.

Thompson's comments come a day after he met critics on Capitol Hill who argue that research may be hampered if there are not enough stem cells that qualify for the funds. Thompson acknowledged for the first time that just 24 or 25 of the 64 lines are fully developed, although the others still qualify for federal funds if an applicant seeks them.

He said more lines will be developed by the time federal grants are issued next year. Even if not, there are enough lines now, Thompson said.

http://www.nando.net/healthscience/story/74429p-1048393c.html

STUDY EXAMINES HOW HUMANS SPUR EVOLUTION
from The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Humans are no longer just the product of evolution - we have become one of the planet's major forces driving evolution.

The impact of technology has increased so much in recent years that "humans may be world's dominant evolutionary force," Harvard biologist Stephen R. Palumbi said.

He writes in Friday's issue of the journal Science that the cost to society of drug-resistant bacteria, pests that can survive DDT and other poisons and superweeds could be more than $50 billion a year in the United States alone.

Many of the ideas in Palumbi's paper have been discussed previously, but he brings them all together in this report, commented Michael Bell, who teaches ecology and evolution at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

http://www.nando.net/healthscience/story/74538p-1049367c.html

UNRAVELING MYSTERIES OF FLU'S DANGERS from Newsday

Scientists have discovered that a minuscule mutation in one gene makes the influenza virus far more dangerous and pathogenic.

Using a revolutionary technique, University of Wisconsin researchers also have managed to build and manipulate their own flu viruses.

And another research team from Australian National University in Canberra says it has figured out what made the 1918 influenza the deadliest ever seen - a virus that killed at least 20 million people.

These reports appear in today's issue of the journal Science, along with a call for a $45-million investment in creation of a flu surveillance system that could use such genetic discoveries to identify deadly strains worldwide and prepare vaccines with greater precision.

http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ny-hsflu072353955sep07.story?coll=ny%2Dhealth%2Dheadlines

GENETIC STUDY LINKS 1918, '97 FLU OUTBREAKS
from The San Francisco Chronicle

Using the latest tools of genetic engineering, researchers have discovered tantalizing clues to explain two outbreaks of influenza nearly 80 years apart.

The first epidemic was the Spanish flu of 1918, which killed at least 20 million people, and the second, just four years ago in Hong Kong, might have been just as deadly -- but was stopped by the slaughter of a million chickens that may have harbored the virus.

In each case, changes in the genetic makeup of an influenza virus apparently allowed the disease to jump from animals to people, exposing them to a microbe that the human immune system had not encountered before.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/09/07/MN207333.DTL

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,
inthenews@sigmaxi.org

RUSH TRANSCRIPT-LARRY KING-psychic Sylvia Browne-James Randi

http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/03/lkl.00.html

CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Are Psychics Real?
Aired September 3, 2001 - 21:00 ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, the psychic and the skeptic square off with a million dollars at stake. In L.A., best-selling author Sylvia Browne says she can communicate with the dead.

In Miami, professional debunker James Randi says, "Prove it." And he's offering a six-figure prize if she passes his foundation's paranormal challenge. They are next with your calls on LARRY KING LIVE!

...

A free issue of "The Philosophe"

smikro@earthlink.net
Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2001 12:48 AM
Subject: A free issue of "The Philosophe"

I have temporarily opened the "subscribers" section of my website to everyone (no password is required), so you or your friends can read the first issue of "The Philosophe" at no charge. You can go there directly by clicking:

http://www.thephilosophe.com/subscribers/

This first issue, which features a superb commentary by Jeff Riggenbach on Ayn Rand's *The Art of Nonfiction* (as well as a secondary article by me on Samuel Johnson), focuses on the "hack" writer.

The next issue, which will be posted around Sept. 15, will feature the first part of my article on the history of independent, or market, intellectuals. The second article, by the novelist Erika Holzer, is titled, "Good Future: How Ayn Rand Contributed To Mine" This will be the first contribution to our recurring "On Writing" series. Later installments will include articles by other professional writers, such as Barbara Branden and J. Neil Schulman.

If you enjoy the first issue, please consider subscribing to "The Philosophe." If you are already a subscriber, please tell your friends about us, perhaps by forwarding this email. The subscribers section will be open to everyone until around Sept. 15.

Thanks,
George H. Smith
Website:
http://thephilosophe.com

SLACKER PSYCHIC

http://www.pagesix.com/nealtravis/1710.htm

Neil Travis column
NY Post

DON'T know about you, but if the personal psychic my spouse and I had used for years didn't know we were going to break up, I'd ditch her. Not so designer Tommy Hilfiger and ex-wife Susie, who are throwing a book launch party at the Hudson Hotel Oct. 9 for Judy Turner and her latest work, "The Hidden World of Relationships." Judy is promising to give psychic guidance to all the guests, despite the fact that her hosts are just completing a painful, expensive divorce.

UFO flap in Turkey

We have issued a press release on the situation in Turkey. Collegues confirm a kind of UFO flap at the moment. The international media has shown interest in the events. A summary of all availabe sources is available at:

Military pilots encounter UFO in prohibited turkish airspace

http://www.mufon-ces.org/text/english/pr/2001-09-06.htm

[new information and pic of T-37 "Tweet"]

As ever, this material is free for any kind of publication in your magazine, newsletter or homepage.

Best regards
Hannes la Rue
News and Webmaster
Society for the Scientific Investigation of Anomalous
Atmospherical and Radar Phenomena - MUFON-CES, Inc.

http://www.mufon-ces.org

Science and politics

http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/metropolitan/1038271

Group insists science books be thrown out

Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN -- Newly drafted middle-school science textbooks contain errors and exhibit a pro-environment bias, more than two dozen speakers told the State Board of Education on Thursday.

[Heard much the same thing Tuesday night at the MIOS (Metroplex Institute of Origin Science) meeting. Ed.]

U.S. Coast Guard's Official Position On Bermuda Triangle

http://www.100megsfree4.com/farshores/puscgtri.htm

FarShores ParaNews

Posted Aug 28.01

U.S. Coast Guard's Official Position On Bermuda Triangle [Original headline: Triangle - The Coast Guard position]

Dear Sir or Madam:

The "Bermuda Triangle," or "Devils Triangle," is a mythical geographic area located off the southeastern coast of the United States that is noted for an apparent high incidence of unexplained losses of ships, small boats and aircraft. The apexes of the Triangle are generally accepted to be Bermuda, Miami, Florida and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In the past, extensive but futile Coast Guard searches, prompted by search and rescue cases such as the disappearance of an entire squadron of TBM Avengers shortly after take-off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida (1945), or the sinking of the Marine Sulphur Queen in the Florida Straits (1963) have lent credence to popular belief in the mysterious and supernatural qualities of the "Bermuda Triangle."

Countless theories attempting to explain the many disappearances have been offered throughout the history of the area. The most reasonable seem to be citing human errors and environmental factor.

The majority of disappearances can be attributed to the area's unique features. The Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current flowing from the Gulf of Mexico around the Florida Straits northeastward toward Europe, is extremely swift and turbulent. It can quickly erase any evidence of a disaster. The unpredictable Caribbean-Atlantic storms that give birth to waves of great size as well as waterspouts often spell disaster for pilots and mariners. The topography of the ocean floor varies from extensive shoals to some of the deepest marine trenches in the world. With the interaction of strong currents over reefs, the topography is in a constant state of flux and breeds development of new navigational hazards.

Not to be underestimated is the human factor. A large number of pleasure boats travel the water between Florida's Gold Coast (the most densely populated area in the world) and the Bahamas. All to often, crossings are attempted with too small a boat, insufficient knowledge of the area's hazards and lack of good seamanship.

Many explanations have cited unusual magnetic properties within the boundaries of the Triangle. Although the world's magnetic fields are in constant flux, the "Bermuda, Triangle" has remained relatively undisturbed. It is true that some exceptional magnetic values have been reported within the Triangle, but none to make the Triangle more unusual than any other place on earth.

Overall, the U.S. Coast Guard is not impressed with supernatural explanations of disasters at sea. It has been our experience that the combined forces of nature and the predictability of mankind outdo science fiction stories many times each year.

Sincerely,
R. A. LaBrec, Lieutenant
Public Affairs Officer
By direction of the District Commander

Story originally published by:
Daily Citizen via KeyNews.com / FL - Aug 28.01

All Copyrights are acknowledged.
Material reproduced here is for
educational and research purposes only.

Bible Belt

http://www.abcnews.go.com/sections/us/DailyNews/bible_shooting010903.html

Book Absorbs Shotgun Blast, Saving Teen From Mom's Shooting, Cops Say

Sept. 3 — A Bible saved the life of a 16-year-old boy whose mother allegedly shot and killed his younger brother before seeking out the teen-ager at a church and shooting him, police in North Fort Myers, Fla., said.


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