NTS LogoSkeptical News for 25 January 2002

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings

Friday, January 25, 2002


From: Alan Cox

See URL for more links & graphs!!


An electric motor working with 110% efficiency!! Could it really exist? This question will be answered in the following pages.

Joseph W. Newman from Lucedale (Mississippi) claims that he has achieved this incredible result with a machine he constructed. Within the magnetic field of a huge solenoid coil, a strong heavy permanent magnet was rotating. The direction of the field was changed twice during each revolution with the help of a commutator system.

Mr. Newman applied for a patent, and claimed that the output power of his machine was greater than the electric input. The U.S. patent office rejected his application on the grounds that it violates the first law of thermodynamics (often called the Law of Energy Conservation).

Disappointed, Newman finally published a book "The Energy Machine of Joseph Newman".

I found his book fascinating to read even if I did not agree with several of Mr. Newman's ideas. I was especially intrigued by the performance analysis of this device (Page 24 of the book), made by Dr. Roger Hastings (principal physicist of Sperry Univac Corporation and former professor of Physics at the North Dakota State University). He seems to be a very competent and open-minded scientist, who tries to predict the motor's performance with the help of conventional mathematical formulae (formulae based strictly on the Law of Energy Conservation). He concludes as follows. "The predicted input power is in agreement with the measured input. The output power (in excess of input) is a non-conventional result. Introduction of a new theory will be required to mathematically describe the result".

I completely share Dr. Hastings's opinion. It is obvious that, for a second time in history, the Law of Energy Conservation is challenged. (The first challenge was the discovery of Radium.)

With a very simple experiment, we can demonstrate that the Law of Energy Conservation can easily be challenged. A strong permanent magnet bar is held in a vertical position, as shown in Figure 07-01, above a little piece of magnet (or a piece of iron). If we start to decrease the gap , then we reach a point at which the little magnet instantaneously jumps in the vertical direction and sticks to the larger magnet. We have here a machine which, for a fraction of a second, works with an infinitely high efficiency. For example, if the mass of the little magnet is 0.001 kilogramme and it suddenly rises 0.01 metre, then a work (or energy) of about 0.000098 joule is created without any input. Furthermore, there is no change in the molecular structure of the magnet (no chemical reaction) and no destruction or change in the atomic structure (no fission or fusion). It is absolutely obvious that the Law of Energy Conservation does not apply if we try to explain this experiment.

Newman's device allows those magnetic forces to work as much as possible. Of course, he encounters some difficulties. However, to categorically refute the value of this machine on the sole grounds that it violates the Law of Energy Conservation is wrong and unfair. In my opinion, the most urgent challenge for science is to introduce the new theories which will adequately explain the non-conventional and surprising observations.


The Magnetic Flux Lines

First of all, I will attempt to introduce the notion of the magnetic flux lines with the help of my Living Atom Theory. The strange output energy of our previous experiment can be explained only with the help of this theory.

The magnetic flux line (sometimes called magnetic induction line) is still a mysterious and controversial entity in the electromagnetic chapter of modern Physics. Some textbooks introduce it as an imaginary line (like the line of force) which helps us to understand some phenomena.

Several physicists still prefer to deal with magnetic poles, although it is becoming increasingly evident that magnetic poles do not exist. The flux lines which I will describe are slightly different.

They are physically real existing structures, sometimes acting like stretched elastic strings. Because of their tendency to shorten, they are able to create forces between different bodies. In certain conditions, those forces are doing work. In other words, they are creating energy!

The flux lines are composed of invisible subatomic units, which have living characteristics. This means that they are able to individually create movements and accelerations (which automatically means forces). Furthermore, they are clever enough to choose the most favourable position in order to assure their best vital equilibrium. Those subatomic entities have not yet been introduced by modern Physics. This task will remain for future scientists.

In Figure 07-02, I try to represent the approximate flux line picture of our previous example. With the short arrow system (), we can represent the characteristics of those subatomic units. They are tiny little living gyroscopes, and they can individually control the direction of their rotating axes. (For more complete details, see "Les Atomes Vivants" by Szekely, Etienne.)

If the position of the arrows is or , then the pattern is stable. This explains why the flux lines are forming closed circuits. On the other hand, the position or is unstable, and the living gyroscopes start their efforts to find more stable positions. The direction of the arrows determines the polarity of the magnet. (Poles do not exist.)

In the gap between the two magnets of Figure 07-02, we find the unstable pattern . If the gap is short enough, then the whole picture of the flux lines changes, as shown in Figure 07-03.

Then, we have stretched elastic strings which tend to shorten, and force acts on the bodies of the magnets. Of course, this force, which is supported by the structure of the flux lines, acts according to Newton's third law of motion (action and reaction). If the force is stronger than the weight of the little magnet, then a work is done (energy is created), and the input energy is furnished by the work done by the subatomic living gyroscopes.

It is interesting to note that this example does not violate the Law of Energy Conservation, but supports and quasi introduces the Living Atom Theory.

Our experiment also teaches us that, while doing work, the magnetic flux lines continuously change their patterns. The velocity at which the gyroscope axes change their positions is phenomenal.

The subatomic units of the flux lines are equally present inside the material or in the air or even in vacuum. Empty space or vacuum is not nothing, but it is completely filled with different kinds of living atoms and subatomic units. The Living Atom Theory clearly and logically explains this fact.

If a flux line traverses the structure of a ferromagnetic material, then a strange and exceptional phenomenon occurs. The flux line can act like a catalyser, and a huge quantity of additional flux lines are created. If the inductor (catalyser) stops to act, then some of those additional flux lines disappear and some remain, depending on the softness or hardness of the ferromagnetic material.

Although the phenomenon of ferromagnetism was studied and exploited in a vast number of experiments and measurements, the modern theory is still uncertain. Only the Living Atom Theory can clearly explain this phenomenon.

With the help of the living magnetic flux lines, we can write the correct formula which calculates the efficiency of an electric motor. Efficiency () = ((Work of the flux lines - Losses) / (Input power's work) x 100) %

In conventional electric motors, the value of is always less than 100%. This is because the work of the flux lines is very limited, and not because they have to obey the Law of Energy Conservation.

In the armature and the air gap of a conventional electric motor, the variation of the flux is very moderate. By contrast, the flux in Newman's machine varies considerably during each revolution and, as I stated before, it is this variation which indicates the value of the work done by the magnetic flux lines.

Figure 07-04 illustrates the pattern of the flux lines in three different positions. (The permanent magnet rotates clockwise.)

In Position b, the magnetic field of the solenoid collapses and changes its direction with the help of the commutator . Position c shows the flux line pattern after its direction is changed.

For the Newman's machine, the efficiency formula should slightly be modified to Efficiency () = ((Work of the flux lines + Surplus energy created by the collapse - Losses) / (Input power's work) x 100) %

This energy can approximately be evaluated by the formula a x ( x ( / ))2 (for each revolution) where a is the capacity value of the system, is the number of turns of the coil, and ( / ) is the instantaneous change in flux value. One part of this energy should be returned to the system by the battery, but this is done in Position c, where the flux value is the least, while the collapse is done when the flux is at its maximum value. The increase of the flux value is realised by the work of the flux lines, and not by the input current. With a huge volume of copper wire solenoid, the capacity value and the collapsing power is considerable. (It seems that Mr. Newman used it to light up a fluorescent tube.)

The continuously changing flux and the collapse transform the solenoid current into an intricate electromagnetic vibration. It is difficult to correctly measure the input power. Sometimes, an oscilloscope type wattmeter was used in order to record the instantaneous tension and intensity values. (Tektronix Oscilloscope model 2215, Page 43 of Newman's book.)

The scientific questions arising from Newman's experiments are very significant. With the Living Atom Theory and the concept of living flux lines, it is conceivable that a 110% efficient electromagnetic device could be achieved.


My Own Experiments and Measurements

My curiosity prompted me to make my own experiments and measurements in order to verify the claims made by Mr. Newman. To cut down on expenses, I made several modifications to the original device.

Unable to find a huge and strong permanent magnet, I chose to replace it with a solenoid-governed electromagnet. This creates the same kind of flux line pattern as a permanent magnet. (Of course, I could disregard the current used by the solenoid when calculating the energy balance.)

I also used a soft ferromagnetic core to increase the number of flux lines without the need of a huge coil. In this manner, I was able to rotate the magnetic rotor using a standard 12 volt automobile battery, as shown in Figure 07-05.

The rotor () of the device was about 0.7 metre long, its weight about 50 kilogramme. The solenoid () was made of 8000 turns of 18 gauge wire, and the steel core was made of 26 gauge transformer steel sheets, with a total cross section of about 0.1 x 0.1 metre2. The commutator inverses the direction of the solenoid current in the position as shown.

I am convinced that the soft ferromagnetic core reinforces the work of the flux lines. It is interesting to consider the magnetising curve of a good quality transformer steel, as shown in Figure 07-06. It is important to keep the magnetic intensity value ( x ) / in the shaded area, where we have a high permeability value and very low hysteresis losses. By braking the rotating shaft, we go from Position a to Position b. The solenoid current will slightly increase, but this is compensated by a stronger magnetic field. We can state that only the special characteristics of ferromagnetic materials (soft and hard) allow us to suggest that a 110% efficient electromagnetic device is possible.

When the magnet-rotor rotated, we found some amazing results. The battery seems to be rather charged than discharged!! The needle of a two-way ammeter oscillated around the neutral position, and when we measured the average current, we found it to have a negative value.

This amazing observation was similarly made by Mr. Newman, as well as the two scientists who evaluated the performance of his device (Dr. Roger Hastings and Michael Meatyard). They used a dual-trace oscilloscope to record the negative input power.

With the help of the Living Atom Theory and the notion of working magnetic flux lines, it is very simple to explain this unusual (non-conventional) behaviour. We just have to follow one end of the rotating magnet during its revolution, as shown in Figure 07-07. In Position 0, the static magnetic field collapses. The rotating magnet induces a flux line pattern in the stator, which is in the opposite direction, and which also induces a current in the solenoid charging the battery. This effect is even reinforced by the induced tension due to the collapsing field.

It is evident that in the period between Position 0 and Position 1, the rotating shaft is braked, but fortunately this energy is not completely lost. It charges the battery. Of course, we have a loss of some energy with the sparks on the commutator, but this loss can be reduced by using capacitors.

In Position 1, a new pattern of flux lines is established, as shown in Figure 07-08. Then, the flux lines start to do their useful work, for a relatively long period, until Position 2 is reached. After Position 2, we have an identical half-revolution.

The working flux lines provide us with three different things.

The necessary torque for the rotation.

The value of the flux is constantly increasing between Position 1 and Position 2. This means that the collapse occurs at the maximum flux value. The solenoid current works like an electromagnetic seesaw which gets a useful impulse during each "swinging" period (half-rotation).

The increasing flux induces a countertension in the solenoid which, between Position 1 and Position 2, keeps the solenoid current at a very low value. At the starting of the rotation, the current is about 0.2 ampere (due to the ohmic resistance of the coil). If the magnet rotates at about 100 rotations/minute, then the current (between Position 1 and Position 2) is about 0.02 ampere. We should notice that even with this little current, the magnetic intensity of the coil works in a favourable condition, as shown in Figure 07-06.

Thus, the main role of the battery is only to change the flux line pattern as fast as possible between Position 0 and Position 1.

The rotation is assured only if the work of the flux lines overcomes the braking effect between Position 0 and Position 1, plus the friction losses in the bearings. We can see how important it is to reach Position 1 as fast as possible.

Meanwhile, we can state that if a permanent magnet of such a dimension rotates in a solenoid-governed magnetic field, then such a device can easily reach the 100% efficiency. This rotation was observed by Mr. Newman and verified in my experiments.

The torque of the rotating shaft can be considered as a net surplus power. I tried to measure its exact value with the help of a Prony brake, and I found some interesting and surprising results. In spite of all kinds of adjustments and modifications, I never could obtain a surplus power value exceeding 0.2 Watt. With stronger braking, the rotation stopped.

However, I assume that this very low value could perhaps be slightly increased by using a better-quality transformer steel, and by improving the commutator system, which is the most delicate component of the device. This commutator system should be easily and precisely adjustable, just like the ignition system in an internal combustion engine.

At this point, I stopped all my experiments for the following reasons.

My interest is purely scientific, and my only goal was to get a better understanding of how the living flux lines work.

I do not seek to obtain huge energy sources for humankind. On the contrary, I am happy to know that Nature does not readily offer "free meals" for our energy-hungry technology. A huge source of free power would likely be used for destruction by human societies, as history proved it.

Meanwhile, it is possible that some researchers will in the future try to improve Newman's device. One interesting possibility would be make the stator of the machine a strong permanent magnet, and to change regularly the polarity of a solenoid-governed rotor. Such a scheme might become attractive with improved ferromagnetic materials, and if room-temperature superconductors were to become a reality. At this point, it is possible that Newman's machine will represent a very clean, safe, but still very moderate energy source.



Newman's machine has an enormous scientific value. It forces modern science to recognise that atoms and subatomic units are capable of doing work. However, the purpose of this work is not to furnish vast amount of power for humankind, but rather it is an effort to find new situations which better assure their vital equilibrium. This seems to be the most logical explanation of the Law of Energy Conservation.

The little exception provided by the ferromagnetic materials and copper coils does not violate the general law. It only obliges us to accept the Living Atom Theory.

I consider Mr. Newman, Dr. Hastings, Dr. Meatyard and all those who endorsed this device (Page 40 of the book) as pioneers of a radical scientific revolution, which will ultimately lead humankind to a better understanding of how Nature works.

[Mail any comments or suggestions to]
Living Atom Theory Mailing List LivingAtom@HyperInfo.CA
HyperInfo Canada Inc. Comments@HyperInfo.CA



ZetaTalk: Newman's Machine

This is not what it seems, but is a measure of some other reactions which are being interpreted as free energy. Man does not understand the atom, or atomic interactions, well enough to interpret correctly. If one did not understand fruit, that fruits contain juice, but that this juice is finite, then a juicer would seem like a magical generation of fruit juice! Put in this round ball, press the lever, and out it comes! This may seem overly simplistic, but a quick glance back into man's past will show that concepts that are taught, today, to children in grade school were not known to adults just a few hundred years or so ago. How disease caused by germs is spread, so that epidemics could be prevented rather than suffered or considered a curse. That the Earth revolves around the Sun, not that the Sun is moving about the Earth. That the Earth is not flat, but round, and could be sailed around. How recessive genes can express, so that the occasional blue eyed child from brown eyed family lines was not magic at all. All these were concepts unknown to man in the past.

So Newman, in the construction of his machine, is pulling electricity from the surrounding area, but this would occur on a depreciating manner, less and less over time as the surroundings are being depleted. Thus, this is no more than a curiosity, not a solution to energy needs.

Police: "Your YMCA Promotes Witchcraft"

Associated Press, 1/24/2002 07:28 PENRYN, Pa. (AP)

The police department here has refused to direct traffic at a YMCA triathlon because it says the club promotes witchcraft by reading Harry Potter books to children. Penryn Fire Police Capt. Robert Fichthorn said the eight-member force voted unanimously to boycott the 20th running of the triathlon, scheduled for Sept. 7.


Creationists Target Ohio (and articles of note)

From: Barry Karr SkeptInq@aol.com

From Genie Scott (National Center for Science Education)


Eric Eckman

Mr. Karr, I want to bring to your attention the situation here in Ohio. Our state Board of Education is trying to hijack the process of approving new science standards. Obviously, it is a long story, but the end result is that the same people responsible for what happened in Kansas a few years ago are trying to get Intelligent Design into the curriculum and undermine evolution.I am part of a group made up of scientists, clergy, parents, and students who have organized the Ohio Citizens for Science. Our web site is www.ohioscience.org. Would it be possible to send out an invitation to join us to your email distribution list?Thanks in advance for your help.

Eric Eckman (eeckman@etccomputers.net)


If you have the ability to send an email to your members in OH, we could use the help. There is a group formed, Ohio Citizens for Science (like KS Citizens for Science, of course) to counter efforts to "supplement" the OH science standards with ID and other "alternatives to evolution". There is a listserve, a brand new web page, and a group that is willing to put up a fight. I fear that OH will be the next Kansas -- and Phil J has already told a group to whom he was speaking last week that "we're better organized in OH than in Kansas."

If you could tell your OH members something along the lines of:

-The Ohio Science Education Standards are under attack by "intelligent design" proponents and other creationists who wish to have their nonscientific views included in the standards. A creationist group, "Science Excellence for all Ohioans" (http://www.sciohio.org/) has been organized to promote creationism and especially ID creationism. Legislation has been introduced that would require the teaching of "alternate views" (code phrase for creationism). Any Ohian wishing to support evolution in the science education standards should contact Ohio Citizens for Science for information. Their web site is www.ohioscience.com , or Ohians can contact Patricia Princehouse, Department of Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, 216-368-2810, pmp7@cwru.edu.

A listserve has been organized.

Genie Scott

Articles of Note


'Mothman' movie resurrects mysterious legend

January 24, 2002 LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- No one is quite sure what came to the river town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, in the 1960s. Was it an alien? An angel? The devil? Or merely an instance of group hysteria? Whatever the answer, it was called Mothman. And now that Hollywood has produced a movie about "The Mothman Prophecies," mystery investigator John A. Keel expects skepticism about the bizarre phenomena he chronicled in his 1975 book.



Police department in Pennsylvania town accuses YMCA of promoting witchcraft

By Associated Press, 1/24/2002 07:28 PENRYN, Pa. (AP) The police department has refused to direct traffic at a YMCA triathlon because it says the club promotes witchcraft by reading Harry Potter books to children. Penryn Fire Police Capt. Robert Fichthorn said the eight-member force voted unanimously to boycott the 20th running of the triathlon, scheduled for Sept. 7.


Judge: Couple must hand over newborn


A state Appeals Court judge has ruled that an Attleboro couple must turn over their newborn baby, if one exists, to child welfare officials or face jail time. Justice Janis Berry yesterday upheld the decision of a Bristol Juvenile Court judge and gave Rebecca and David Corneau until noon tomorrow to appeal. State Department of Social Services officials have said they fear for the newborn's safety; the Corneaus are members of a small Christian sect that rejects modern medicine. ''We have no assurance this infant is not suffering because of a lack of medical care or because of a choice within this group to expose this baby to horrific treatment,'' said DSS spokeswoman Carol Yelverton. The Corneaus' lawyer had argued that there is no proof the child exists, but that the requirement to hand over their baby violates their constitutional right against self-incrimination.

More from the Associated Press:

The judge, Janis M. Berry of Massachusetts Appeals Court, said the couple, David and Rebecca Corneau, would remain free until at least Friday while they appealed the ruling.

Two newborns belonging to members of the sect have died, including one of the Corneaus' children. No one has been charged in the death of the Corneau infant, but three sect members have been charged with starving the other baby to death.

In home of 'Scopes Monkey Trial,' suit targets Bible classes


Judge is asked to stop biweekly 'ministry' in public schools


Associated Press

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – An east Tennessee family suing to stop Bible classes in the public elementary schools of Dayton, the town made famous by the "Scopes Monkey Trial," asked a federal judge Tuesday to make a ruling without a trial.

U.S. District Judge R. Allen Edgar said after a one-hour hearing that he would decide on the request for summary judgment before a scheduled Feb. 19 trial.

snopes: the TV series?


20 January 2002: We're excited to report that filming began today on the pilot episode of a television program provisionally titled 'snopes,' based on the legends, stories, and rumors chronicled here at Urban Legends Reference Pages. We're hoping that, once completed, 'snopes' will land a spot on a network schedule, and that within the year you'll be able to watch your favorite stories from snopes.com play out as part of a weekly TV series.

We've still got a ways to go, though. For now, we'll keep you updated as shooting progresses.

Health study into 'old wives' tales'

From Ananova at


A study into old wives' tales is being backed by the Japanese government.

Officials want to test other ways of reducing absent mindedness among the elderly.

Around 10,000 old people are expected to help find out whether manual work or eating fish slows dementia.

Japan's Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry will set the volunteers manual work of a precise nature or ask them to eat bluefish.

The Daily Yomiuri reports that local folklore says the dish is good for the mind.

Other volunteers will be asked to change their daily eating, sleeping, exercise and leisure routines to include activities believed to cure absentmindedness.

Eight universities and research centres will monitor the experiment over several years.

Did preacher sway Texas mom?


Wednesday, January 23, 2002

By Tanda Gmiter and Ken Kolker
The Grand Rapids Press

A former Grand Rapids street preacher, whose fire-and-brimstone style led to him being exiled from his hometown, is embroiled in the case of a Texas mother accused of drowning her five young children.

Letters written by West Catholic High School graduate Michael Peter Woroniecki and his wife to Andrea Yates may have contributed to Yates' downward mental spiral, according to "Breaking Point," a book by a Texas author who researched the case.

Jury selection continues this week in the trial of Yates, 37, of Clear Lake, Texas. She is charged with capital murder after confessing to drowning her children in the family's bathtub June 20.

Her husband, Russell "Rusty" Yates, said his wife suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of their fourth of five children.

Andrea Yates has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. If convicted, she faces the death penalty.

Watching the trial closely is Suzy Spencer of Austin, Texas, who interviewed Rusty Yates shortly after his wife was charged with murder. Her book details the Yates' family life and Andrea Yates' alleged slide into mental illness and suicide attempts.

It documents the Yateses' lengthy relationship with Woroniecki and his wife, Rachel. It describes how Rusty Yates first met Woroniecki in the 1980s while he was a student at Auburn University and Woroniecki was preaching on campus.

Unlike his reputation here, Woroniecki, 47, was described by Rusty Yates as a "quiet and simple preacher" who asked "fat cat preachers" the kinds of questions he, too, wanted answered, Spencer said.

In the years that followed, the Woronieckis served as spiritual advisers to the Yateses, while Rusty Yates and his wife sent the Woronieckis money to support their ministry, she said.

"They communicated via letters once or twice a year," Spencer said. "And there were references in the letters to phone calls and tapes and to Andrea sending them 'goodies.' "

Some of the letters written by the Woronieckis to Andrea Yates contained negative, troubling messages, Spencer said. "The letters say all women are descendants of Eve, and Eve was a witch," she said. "And women, particularly women who worked outside the home, are wicked."

One of those letters was written to Yates in spring 1999, a few months before her first suicide attempt, Spencer said.

"The Woronieckis' letters are hammering her about her salvation," Spencer said.

Gerald Woroniecki, of St. Cloud, Fla., said he recently spoke to his brother about the relationship with the Yates family.

"He has been ministering to them," he said. "He (Yates) wanted to learn more about God's word and the Bible. That's how the relationship got started. Where it went, you'd have to find out from Michael."

Gerald Woroniecki said his brother and family visited him in Florida for Christmas and then headed to the Tampa, Fla., area in a Greyhound bus they had converted to a travel trailer. He doesn't know where his brother is.

Michael Woroniecki, whose mailing address is in Eugene, Ore., calls in for messages to a phone-messaging service, his brother said.

A woman who works for the service said she received messages from several newspaper and TV reporters, but Michael Woroniecki wasn't returning those calls.

Woroniecki's relationship with the Yateses has stirred up nationwide interest. In addition to Spencer's book, ABC's World News Tonight on Monday aired a video clip of Woroniecki preaching to students at the University of Kansas about the evils of Satan. An article about the Yates trial in this week's editions of Newsweek magazine refers to Woroniecki as a "free-lance evangelist."

While Woroniecki's roots are in Grand Rapids, his life has been on the road -- a traveling preacher who frequents college campuses, sporting events and any occasion that might garner national media attention. The father of six has set up his microphone and spouted his version of Christianity at Mardi Gras, the Rose Bowl and at least two Olympic games in the last decade.

Woroniecki got his master of divinity degree in June 1980 from the interdenominational Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Calif., one of the largest seminaries in the country, school officials said.

Gerald Woroniecki said his brother's family spends most summers preaching in Mexico and hope to take their message to Central America. In the fall, they return to the United States, where he preaches at university campuses around the country.

"Some treat them well, but other places, they just mock him," Gerald Woroniecki said. "There are a lot of people who may have not heard the true Gospel."

He said his brother rarely returns to Michigan.

Woroniecki's early fame came on the gridiron, first playing for West Catholic High School, then as a fullback for Central Michigan University.

Raised a Catholic, Woroniecki became a born-again Christian in college. His mother gave him a Bible to read while he was hospitalized with a football injury. Once back on the field, Woroniecki wore a gold cross on his maroon CMU helmet.

By 1980, Woroniecki had morphed into one of Grand Rapids' most notorious street preachers. The former Southeast Side resident was in his mid-20s when he began using a bullhorn to deliver his scathing pronouncements of sinners. He frequently tried to shame people on downtown sidewalks, and outside public events, concerts and churches on Sunday mornings. He often walked through crowds wearing a homemade wooden cross attached to his belt.

While his belligerent evangelical style had some supporters, others complained it was ear-splitting and obnoxious.

While living in Grand Rapids, Woroniecki was arrested at least five times and charged with a variety of offenses, mostly disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. He was convicted twice and acquitted once. Another trial ended in a hung jury.

The last arrest came in October 1981, when Woroniecki was accused of accosting a woman who had gone to the Grand Center to buy tickets for the Shrine Circus. He allegedly told the woman she was a sinner who was going to hell, berating her until she was in tears.

Faced with jail time if convicted, Woroniecki agreed to an offer by the city attorney's office: stop preaching and leave town in exchange for the charges being dropped. The deal ousting Woroniecki from Grand Rapids made national news.

Since leaving here, Woroniecki has claimed he has taken his biblical message across the United States and into Europe.

In a 1996 interview with The Press, Woroniecki said he initially moved to Florida, then began touring the country with his wife and their six children in a 17-foot travel trailer. He said he preached at Mardi Gras, the Rose Bowl and rock concerts.

In the early 1990s Woroniecki said they preached in several countries, including Russia, Greece and Belgium, and received a kinder reception than they had here.

In 1992, Woroniecki preached outside the Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain.

The only wrinkle in the overseas trip occurred in Morocco in 1995. Woroniecki said a group of Muslims who disagreed with his Christian message set off a small riot. The windows in his family's van were broken and the Woronieckis were jailed and questioned, he said.

The family returned to the United States in 1996 in time for the Olympic Games in Atlanta, where he used an electronic keyboard, speakers and a microphone to preach to tourists. His wife and children handed out pamphlets.

In October 2000, Woroniecki was in Michigan. He and his daughter sprinted across the field in Spartan Stadium during a Saturday football game in East Lansing. Both were carrying pro-Christianity banners.

K-T extinction...dust didn't do it?

Geological Society of America
Boulder, Colorado

Contact information:
Kevin O. Pope
Geo Eco Arc Research
16305 St. Mary's Church Road
Aquasco, MD 20608
Phone: 301-888-1048
E-mail: kpope@starband.net
(NB: Dr. Pope will be out of town from January 27 to February 9, 2002.)

Ann Cairns
Director  Communications and Marketing
acairns@geosociety.org, 303-357-1056


GSA Release No. 02-04

The K-T Impact Extinctions: Dust Didn't Do It By Kara LeBeau, GSA Staff Writer

Scientists basically agree that an asteroid struck the Earth some 65 million years ago and its impact created the Chicxulub crater in Yucatan, Mexico. More controversial is the link between this impact and a major mass extinction of species that happened at the geological (K-T) boundary marked by the impact.

But what mechanism did the impact trigger to cause mass extinction? The conventional theory is that impact dust obscured the sun, shutting down photosynthesis and snuffing out life. Kevin Pope from Geo Eco Arc Research shows in the February issue of GEOLOGY that the assumptions behind this theory are amiss, and therefore damage estimates from future asteroid impacts are also amiss.

This latter point became a recent issue when a large asteroid passed near the Earth on January 7 and news reports exaggerated its potential impact effects.

"Based on the old, inaccurate dust numbers, which erroneously suggested that a medium-sized asteroid (1-2 km in diameter) could cause global climate change and famine, scientists calculated that one's chance of getting killed by an asteroid impact were about the same as dying in a plane crash," Pope said. "My new impact dust estimates indicate that death by an asteroid is far less likely and that such medium-sized asteroid impacts would not have catastrophic global effects. But of course the regional effects would still be devastating."

To truly understand the influence of impact dust, scientists need to find a way to directly measure the amount of small dust particles in such places as the K-T boundary. In the meantime, Pope studied patterns of coarse dust particles to create a model that showed how the small dust particles were dispersed. Incorporating these geological observations with new theoretical work, Pope asserts that very few of the particles are of the size that it would take to shut down photosynthesis for any significant length of time and therefore the original K-T impact extinction hypothesis is not valid. He believes it may have been sulfate aerosols produced from impacted rocks and soot from global fires that could have shut down photosynthesis and caused global cooling.

"The original studies of the clay layer found at the K-T boundary assumed much or all of this layer was derived from fine impact dust," he said. "More recent studies of this layer have shown this not to be the case. Furthermore, earlier estimates were based on extrapolations of data from surface atomic bomb blasts, which had about 100 million times less energy than the Chicxulub impact. Extrapolation over eight orders of magnitude is risky business."

Pope was involved in the "discovery" of the Chicxulub crater in 1989- 1990 when he worked at the NASA Ames Research Center. (Oil geologists had discovered the crater and reported the finding in 1981, but it was basically ignored.) He was using satellite images to map water resources in the Yucatan with Adriana Ocampo and Charles Duller when they found the semi-circular ring of sink holes. They thought the crater might be the K-T impact site and published their hypothesis in the May 1991 issue of NATURE.

Andrew Yee

Europa's oceans 10 times deeper than Earth's?

University of Washington
Seattle, Washington

FROM: Sandra Hines, 206-543-2580, shines@u.washington.edu


Scientists apply Earth's hydrothermal plume dynamics to Europa

The size of ice domes and movement of ice rafts on the surface of Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, are consistent with what one could expect of melting caused by a hydrothermal vent plume, or plumes, in an ocean beneath the ice, say oceanographers John Delaney of the University of Washington and Richard Thomson of Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Scientists know that Europa has a layer of water on its surface that is perhaps 100 kilometers (60 miles) deep, making it nearly 10 times deeper than any of Earth's oceans. The thickness of the frozen surface continues to be debated.

If hydrothermal vent plumes are contributing heat to Europa's ocean, Delaney and Thomson estimate that the frozen surface of the ocean actually may be 3 to 5 kilometers (2 to 3 miles) thick on average -- instead of the 20 kilometers (12 miles) some have estimated. And it makes it all the more possible that researchers may find microorganisms living in vent fluids on Europa, as they do here on Earth.

Delaney and Thomson's model, the first to take what's known about plume dynamics on Earth and apply them to Europa, was the subject of a paper last year in the Journal of Geophysical Research and a presentation at December's American Geophysical Union meeting.

The possibility of life on Europa will be part of Delaney's presentation, "Volcanoes, Oceans and Life in the Solar System," a lecture that is free and open to the public Jan. 23, 7 p.m., Room 210, Kane Hall. His talk is the second in the "Oceans to Stars Lecture Series" offered by the UW's College of Ocean and Fishery Sciences and School of Oceanography.

Among scientists interested in Europa, a number think tidal forces generated by the gravitational tug-of-war between Jupiter, Europa and neighboring moons Io and Ganymede cause tidal flexing of Europa's icy crust, friction and then melting. Delaney, Thomson and others hypothesize that tidal flexing is at work on Europa's rocky core generating heat and magma.

Delaney and Thomson's model is the first:

* To estimate Europa's global heat flux through calculations that compare it with the flux from another of Jupiter's moons, Io, where measurements are far more accurate because there is no shroud of ice. They estimate Europa's heat flux is about a third of that from the Earth's seafloor.

* To describe how Europa's rotation and weak stratification of its ocean might keep a hydrothermal vent plume from dispersing. The scientists describe a plume continuously rising like a cyclone through 100 kilometers of ocean to reach the base of the ice.

* To determine that a plume, or plumes, only needed to focus 1 percent of Europa's estimated global heat flux for about 1,000 years to melt through 5 kilometers of ice and cause the ice rafts in the Conamara Chaos region on Europa. There are numerous possible examples on Earth of such steady-state hydrothermal venting, Thomson and Delaney say. The main vent site at the Endeavour segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge off the west coast of Canada and the United States, for instance, may have persisted for thousands of years based on the composition and diversity of the biological community found there.

If the melting at the surface of Europa is caused in part by plumes from magma-heated regions of the seafloor, it is feasible that some of the dark materials observed on the surface of Europa, thought to be salts and hydrated sulfuric acid, are remnants of particle-laden plumes originating from the seafloor.

Delaney says a better understanding of the links between plate-tectonic processes on our own planet and the microbial life that flourishes near faults, fissures, vent structures and beneath the Earth's crust will help us seek life on other planets and moons.

He and Thomson are part of a consortium of researchers from Canada and the United States interested in using 2,000 miles of electro-optical cable -- cable that can carry power, instructions to remote instruments and data sent back from those instruments -- to wire the whole Juan de Fuca Plate off our coast. The Juan de Fuca is one of a dozen or so major tectonic plates that make up the surface of the Earth. Thousands of instruments, including tiny subs and probes that could be maneuvered by scientists back on land, would be stationed at 30 experimental sites along the cable network as part of Project Neptune.


For more information: Thomson, senior research scientist, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, British Columbia, thomsonr@pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca, (250) 363-6555; and Delaney, professor, U. of Washington, (206) 543-4830, jdelaney@u.washington.edu

Abstract of Jan. 23 lecture at

Andrew Yee

Good news, Skeptics

People who drink alcohol two or three times a day can cut the chances of getting dementia by up to 70%.

Researchers in Holland say it can reduce all types of the illness by 42% and those caused by restricted blood vessels by twice as much.

The type of alcohol used did not seem to matter, according to doctors.

Full story: http://www.ananova.com/yournews/story/sm_504068.html

Thursday, January 24, 2002

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 - January 24, 2002

from The Chicago Tribune

As part of the escalating effort to crack the mysteries of anthrax by analyzing its every gene and molecule, University of Chicago researchers announced Wednesday that they have produced a three-dimensional molecular map of a crucial protein that makes anthrax deadly.

The study, which completes scientists' picture of the three lethal proteins in anthrax toxin, could fuel the search for drugs to block the effects of the anthrax bacteria. It is part of a larger enterprise enlisting cutting-edge science in the dual hunts for a treatment and for the criminals who mailed anthrax-laced letters that killed five people last year.

Scientists at the Rockville, Md.-based Institute for Genomic Research disclosed earlier this week that they had found subtle genetic markers in anthrax samples taken from one of the letters, using an unprecedented comparison of individual bacterial genomes.

Anthrax experts have been closing in on the bacteria's toxic machinery since 1997, when researchers mapped the first of the three pivotal proteins that work in concert to kill immune cells and produce deadly septic shock. The new U. of C. study comes on the heels of a paper from last November that mapped the second protein.


from The Miami Herald

WASHINGTON -- Wary of another bioterrorist attack, federal health officials are proposing a budget plan aimed at building new laboratories, improving hospital readiness and figuring out how to vaccinate the entire population of cities in the middle of a crisis.

Leading the effort is a hero of public health: D.A. Henderson, who directed the campaign to eradicate smallpox from the globe and has returned to government service at age 73.

Henderson, who began working for the Department of Health and Human Services in the days after Sept. 11, expects another bioterrorism attack sooner rather than later.

He is focusing on preparation that went lacking for years, when the possibility of a bioterrorist attack seemed more remote.

"We cannot, in the period of one year with just a dollop of money, suddenly have a good public health system," he said in an interview. "It isn't a matter of just buying an extra aircraft carrier. You've got to develop this over time."


from The Boston Globe

Striking new research at the University of Minnesota suggests that adults carry a reservoir of "master cells" inside their bone marrow capable of rebuilding almost any damaged tissue, findings likely to shake up the national debate over stem cell research.

Until now, researchers have believed that only stem cells taken from human embryos were able to transform themselves into any tissue in the body, potentially allowing a wide range of organ and tissue transplants. Stem cells taken from adults were seen as potentially valuable, but much less flexible.

However, embryonic stem cells remain controversial because the only way to obtain them is by destroying early-stage embryos, something many consider unethical.

Now Catherine Verfaillie and colleagues at the Stem Cell Institute at the University of Minnesota may have found a way to coax adult stem cells to be just as versatile - and far less controversial. The findings have yet to be published, and researchers say it's too soon to draw firm conclusions, but the work is already creating a stir in the field.

"The work is very exciting," said stem cell biologist Ihor Lemischka of Princeton University. "[Verfaillie] can show that they can differentiate into pretty much everything that an embryonic stem cell can differentiate into. It's very neat."


from The Miami Herald

WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Dennis Hastert next week will propose a much broader prescription-drug plan than he has backed in the past, a move that could revive congressional efforts to subsidize prescription drug costs for the elderly.

Hastert, R-Ill., will propose to spend $300 billion through Medicare over 10 years to subsidize drug expenses, his spokesman said Wednesday. In the past, House Republicans have supported spending only about half that much.

Public opinion polls consistently show that strong majorities of Americans want help with prescription drug costs, and with partisan control of both houses of Congress at stake in November's elections, both parties are eager to give them something.

Any bill that would become law is sure to contain at least some basic elements, including low deductibles and lower premiums for prescription drug-insurance plans than senior citizens currently can get on the private market. It also would extend prescription drug coverage for the first time to the 40 million people covered by Medicare, the federal health care program for the elderly and people with disabilities.

The House passed a bill in 2000, for example, that would have given Medicare beneficiaries subsidies including monthly premiums of between $35 and $40 and an annual deductible of $250. It would have capped out-of-pocket costs at $6,000, so that no beneficiary would have to pay more than that for medication in any single year.


The Associated Press

NOXON, Mont. -- Mary Mitchell was hiking in the rugged Cabinet Mountains in 1995 when she came upon the last thing she expected to see in one of the nation's oldest protected wilderness areas.

It was a small metal plate attached to a rock, indicating the location of an underground mining claim. Like many people, Mitchell believed wilderness areas are off-limits to development. But she soon learned that a mining company intends to bore two three-mile tunnels underneath the Cabinets to reach a giant vein of silver and copper.

Alarmed, Mitchell joined the Rock Creek Alliance and has spent the past six years trying to stop the proposed Rock Creek Mine near the Montana-Idaho state line. The fight is not going well for mine opponents, among them singers Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne, who have given concerts to raise money to stop the project.

The day after Christmas, the U.S. Forest Service and the state of Montana issued permits allowing Sterling Mining Co. of Spokane, Wash., to begin exploratory work.

That decision, 14 years after the project was first proposed, alarmed environmental and business interests who fear the mine will pollute the water, imperil grizzly bears and other wildlife, and drive off tourists who enjoy the region's spectacularly beautiful lakes and trout streams.


New York Times Service

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The company that makes the AbioCor self-contained artificial heart said Wednesday that the device has provided remarkable rehabilitation of extremely sick patients but would be modified because it might have led to strokes in two of them.

At a news conference here to review the progress of AbioCor's trial, the company, Abiomed Inc. of nearby Danvers, Mass., acknowledged that the strokes could have been caused by blood clots' forming in the device. Officials added that there was no direct evidence of any such connection.

Robert Tools, who became the first recipient of an AbioCor heart on July 2 at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Ky., suffered a debilitating stroke on Nov. 11 and died three weeks later.

James Quinn, the fifth AbioCor recipient, suffered a stroke on Dec. 31 at MCP Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia, a development that his doctors and family did not disclose until Tuesday.

Quinn, who walked unassisted a month after receiving the AbioCor heart on Nov. 5, now has difficulty with balance, a result of a weakened left side. He also slurs his speech, and his vision is impaired.


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

Sigma Xi Homepage

Media Resource Service

American Scientist magazine

For feedback on In the News,

New entry for SKEPTIC Bibliography (Redfield, Murphy, Timbers)

From: Taner Edis

God And The Evolving Universe: The Next Step in Personal Evolution
James Redfield, Michael Murphy, and Sylvia Timbers

2002, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam; 321p.
newage:defense, psi:defense, religion:defense, survival:defense

A sort of popular New Age theology, showcasing a religious vision driven not by a personal God's commandments but by an optimistic ideal of "human potential" and extraordinary capabilities. They set this vision against a background of cosmic progressive evolution, but their emphasis is on our developing superpowers, which have been cultivated by all religious traditions over time, but are now about to become available to a vastly larger number as our species rise to a new evolutionary level. The book typically starts with some perhaps plausible claims about high levels of functioning with normal capabilities among athletes and so on, but soon drowns the reader in anecdotes of miracles performed by saints and gurus. The authors do not present much evidence for these, but in fairness, arguing that case is not what the book is about. Its theme is the *significance* of these miracles in an overall New Age (including liberal theistic) spiritual vision, and it ends up as a decent, very readable introduction to this perspective.

Visit the full bibliography at http://www.csicop.org/bibliography/

Please consider submitting an entry yourself.

Taner Edis, SKEPTIC bibliographer

Roswell II: Mothman

From: Dave Palmer

At the time of the Roswell incident in the late 40's, nobody paid much attention. The real story was fairly trivial, and soon forgotten. Then, in the late 80's, the story was resurrected and given a fresh coat of paint, along with a saucer-full of "newly remembered details" that nobody had thought to mention forty years earlier. Today, the Roswell story is a centerpiece of UFO-nut canon, and the town of Roswell does a tidy little business in catering to their fantasies.

Looks like the Mothman story may be heading for the same fate, now that there's a Richard Gere film allegedly based on it. The residents of Mount Pleasant are just starting to wake up to the fact that a fool and his money are....er, I mean, that a lot of people are fascinated by the mystery...


Based on a True-Life Story, but Was That Story for Real? [Mothman tag]

From: Loren Coleman


Los Angeles Times
Wednesday, January 23, 2002
Based on a True-Life Story, but Was That Story for Real?
A West Virginia town's encounter with the unexplained inspires "The Mothman Prophecies."
By LORENZA MUÑOZ, Times Staff Writer

Richard Gere plays a journalist obsessed with the creature.

MELISSA MOSELEY The local headlines screamed: "Couples See Man-Sized Bird ... Creature ... Something!" "Monster No Joke for Those Who Saw It," "Gigantic, Fuzzy Bird Chases Auto in Storm."

No, this was not a Samuel Arkoff B-horror production. This was real‹or possibly real anyway.

The time was 1966 in Point Pleasant, W.Va., and something very strange was happening. More than 100 people reported seeing a 9-foot-tall, black, winged creature with glowing red eyes. Some said it spoke to them and forewarned of an impending disaster in their town, a small farming community at the intersection of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers. One year later, their worst fears were realized when the bridge over the Ohio River, connecting Point Pleasant to Ohio, collapsed and 47 people died.

"Mothman"‹as the beast was known by locals‹was never seen or heard from again.

"There are a lot of people who just don't want to talk about it anymore, either because they are traumatized or they don't want the press attention," said Jeff Wamsley, a Point Pleasant native and author of "Mothman: The Facts Behind the Legend." "People were pretty much scared out of their wits."

In mid-November 1966, Mothman burst into the region's consciousness in a prominently placed story.

Courtesy Linda Scarberry, in "Mothman: The Facts Behind the Legend" The story of this strange season in Point Pleasant was chronicled by journalist John A. Keel in his 1975 book "The Mothman Prophecies."

The book is now a movie.

"The Mothman Prophecies," a $42-million Sony Screen Gems release that opens Friday, stars Richard Gere as a crusading Washington Post journalist named John Klein who, through a personal tragedy, finds himself in Point Pleasant. He gradually becomes embroiled in the town's strange sightings until he reaches a point of obsession and near lunacy. Although the real story occurred in the 1960s, the movie is set in contemporary times. The film also stars Laura Linney (who was paired with Gere in the 1996 thriller "Primal Fear") and "Will & Grace's" Debra Messing.

Screenwriter Richard Hatem ("Under Siege 2: Dark Territory") had been fascinated by science fiction and the paranormal since childhood. But it was not until one night in the spring of 1997 that he was pulled into the Mothman world.

During a bout with insomnia, he found himself in a Pasadena bookstore. He saw "The Mothman Prophecies" on the shelf, picked it up and soon enough was sitting cross-legged on the floor reading the book. He read through the night. By the next day, he was on the phone with author Keel and began writing the screenplay.

Hatem based two characters on Keel. Gere plays the younger, cockier journalist, while Alan Bates plays an older, wiser and spooked professor who at one time also witnessed a paranormal event.

By 1998, Lakeshore Entertainment (producers of "The Gift," "Runaway Bride") bought the rights to the script and began a two-year development process. But Hatem's vision for the film remained intact.

"Most Hollywood movie ghosts make their presence known to help us get back together with our girlfriends," said Hatem. "I wanted to write a story that said you can ask questions about why things happen, but they are the sort of things that we are never going to get an answer to. This was a movie about dealing with something that human beings will never be equipped to understand."

Director Mark Pellington ("Arlington Road") was not interested in making a "monster movie." Rather, he wanted a film about the psychology of belief.

"Could this be a man? A voice? A light or a monster?" Pellington said.

"Many of these things we don't answer. That was the appeal to me, the ambiguity and the unanswered questions. We wanted to play it straight and strip out any melodrama or kookiness."

A sketch of Mothman, made by an eyewitness in rural West Virginia. In all, more than 100 people reported seeing the creature.

Courtesy Linda Scarberry, in "Mothman: The Facts Behind the Legend" Keel, who has seen the movie, said he thought "Richard Gere does a great job of gradually going nuts." Now 72 and still writing books and articles from his home in New York City, he says: "I didn't go nuts, but I was very upset. When the bridge collapsed, it was pretty distressing.... I was determined I was going to find the answers to this. As it progressed, I became more and more baffled. It took a long time for me to realize that I was dealing with something that the human mind could not understand. There are many things that we will never know."

Indeed, nobody knows what those people saw on those dark West Virginia nights. But for the folks who say they saw the strange, malevolent creature‹whatever it was‹their lives were never the same.

It began in mid-November 1966, when two couples, parked at an old World War II munitions dump site that the locals called TNT, say they were chased by a large creature. They reported the incident to the police, and the sightings continued from there. Some said the creature chased them to the ground. Others suffered from bleeding eyes after reportedly seeing it. Many never slept well again. It did not help to calm fears when the town's investigative reporter Mary Hyre, who had devoted much ink to the Mothman, died suddenly.

One theory is that people saw a huge sandhill crane that veered off course. Another is that it was a giant, mutated owl. And others say the people in Point Pleasant succumbed to mass hysteria.

"I believe that some people saw something. It was probably a bird," said Hilda Austin, 58, who lived through the Mothman sightings and is currently the head of the Point Pleasant Chamber of Commerce. "Some of it was just hoax. It could have been something spawned by the toxic ground from the TNT area. Some of the eyewitnesses were on drugs. I thought it was a hoot [when this happened]; everyone just sort of laughed at this. They just thought it was preposterous."

But others, like cryptozoologist and author Loren Coleman, said there is a history of this kind of lore in the Ohio River Valley. The Native American tribes of the area had a long history of chronicling stories about Thunderbirds‹large "bird-man" figures that were always harbingers of woe.

"A lot of people want to make fun of Mothman because it's poor, white Appalachia people [talking about it], but I try to put it into context," said Coleman, who wrote the book "Mothman and Other Curious Encounters." "The Iroquois and the Tuscarora and the Wyandot tribes called them flying heads and big heads. They were exactly like the Mothman‹headless creatures with big red eyes."

David Grabias, who was hired by the studio to make a Mothman documentary that will air on the FX channel today, said he was convinced the locals saw something frightful. "When I first heard about it, I thought, 'Oh, it's West Virginia and these are a bunch of hicks drinking too much hooch in the mountains,'" said Grabias, who produced the Emmy-nominated documentary "Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry."

"But the more people we talked to, the more we felt a sense that there was a feeling of something strange and to let sleeping dogs lie. The people were very believable."

Pellington says that Mothman follows a pattern of the unexplained, which makes rational, modern society ill at ease. "I believe in things greater than us that are unexplained," he said. "The mysteries of life are so profound; that is why this legend and other kinds of mythology exist. I feel it keeps us human."

Many locals were upset that the movie was not filmed in Point Pleasant itself. It was shot in Kittanning, Penn., because it was a large enough town to accommodate cast and crew. In addition, Pellington needed to shut down the local bridge for two months during filming‹something the economy in Point Pleasant could not sustain.

Instead of running from the Mothman legacy, Point Pleasant locals are embracing it. A thriving port city at the turn of the century, Point Pleasant has been suffering from a slow economy for many years. Without jobs, most of the young people leave to find a better way of life.

Mothman, they are hoping, will bring them better fortunes.

The Chamber of Commerce sold Mothman Christmas ornaments this year. Another local created Mothman beanbag toys, which sold like hotcakes, according to Austin.

They don't seem to fear being placed in the pantheon of strange places like Roswell, N.M., or Loch Ness, Scotland.

"We are hoping that it will do something that will help our economy," said Austin.

"We don't understand what the fascination is. This new popularity of the Mothman started before the movie.... We don't care, we just hope it will help us out."

Copyright 2002 Los Angeles Times
Visit Mothman Central:

Jesus Question [Apollonius of Tyana]

From: Terry W. Colvin

Let me tell you why I posed this question. There are two marble busts of Apollonius known to still exist. There are no known busts of "Jesus" in existence, or else the Catholic Church would have shown them to us years, if not centuries, ago. There would be no need to "hide" them because there is a complete lack of "historical" information about "Jesus" to begin with.

These two busts (which can be seen at my website) show Apollonius at two different periods of his life, as a younger man perhaps 30 and as an older man perhaps 60, something like that. On the younger bust there is a distinct scar above his left eyebrow. On the other bust this scar is not so evident, but if you look closely, you can see it.

Now, also on the Shroud of Turin there is a scar shown above the left eyebrow. Did both "Jesus" and Apollonius have identical scars above their left eyebrows? I don't think so, and therefore it can be concluded (at least tentatively) that the image on the Shroud of Turin is Apollonius of Tyana, not "Jesus". For more information, see:


The Catholic Church has never "officially" approved the Shroud of Turin as a "sacred icon", but only as an "important religious relic" in Church history. They have never admitted that they are 100% certain that this is an "image" of Jesus. But everybody knows by now that this "miraculous" image was not the result of any forger's dye or paint.

My assistant Nicolas and I are delving into this mystery. So, I wanted to see some pictures of "Jesus" from the very early time, to determine if there is a scar above his left eyebrow in any of these early likenesses. But thus far, I have found none. If by chance you ever run across something like this, please let me know -- and thanks a million in advance!

Secretum Secretorum! Rob

News Media Scammed by 'Free Energy' Hoax

Posted by michael on Wednesday January 23, @06:57PM


Dozens of submitters, some of them quite credulous, have written in pointing to this Reuters story about an anonymous inventor who claims to have solved the universe's energy woes. It's amazing that Reuters ran this story. It's even more amazing that news media across the country are running it too. Check your local newspaper, see if they were taken in.

The General Electric corporate empire was scammed - they modified the story with a skeptical headline but otherwise left it alone. The AOL/TimeWarner corporate empire didn't have any problem with the story. The Environmental News Network, which probably should know better, didn't.

Now I know that wire stories are often run with minimal verification - each paper or website assumes that Reuters, or UPI, or AP has checked the story for veracity before it went out. And I know that reporters and editors can't be experts on every field of endeavor that they report on.

But this is Basic Science. The Three Laws (everyone loves the Second Law[1]) are not a new thing, and they're not going away any time soon. This should have been taught in junior high. There's a simple, well-known test that Reuters could have applied to this story: "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof". This claim is the most extraordinary of all - free energy, perpetual motion, whatever you want to call it, and it demands proof beyond question. Reuters is running this story based on an anonymous inventor. Is that extraordinary proof?

But wait, I said perpetual motion. The phrase "perpetual motion" is one which sets off alarm bells in people's heads, so the anonymous inventor was quick to head off that thought process:

"But he is keen to head off the notion that he has tapped into the age-old myth of perpetual motion. ``Perpetual motion is impossible. This is a self-sustaining unit which at the same time provides surplus electrical energy,'' he said." This quote is simply embarassing. It parses to "Perpetual motion is impossible. This is a perpetual motion unit." The inventor must be snickering in his Guinness right now to have snuck that one past.

The story gets better when you read it several times. Three 100 Watt light bulbs created a drain of 4500 Watts, according to the nameless inventor. That would be an impressive feat all by itself, except that it's total nonsense.

The piece would have made a good humor article. A properly skeptical and properly educated Reuters reporter could have examined these claims, poked holes in them, and published a story that simultaneously reported on the claims and educated the public about why they are a load of hogwash. Too bad that's not what happened.

Maybe you'd like to take a crack at evaluating their claims? You think you can examine their device a little more critically than Reuters? Give them a call.

And I have a second task as well. Slashdot is occasionally criticized for getting a story wrong, even though we diligently correct ourselves when necessary. My theory is that the difference between Slashdot and other media is that they never correct themselves, no matter how inaccurate, so readers are left with a false picture of accuracy. To test this claim, I'll send a Thinkgeek t-shirt to the first person who finds a retraction of this 'free energy' story published by Reuters or any of the newspapers/media outlets that ran the original story. *Any* of them. I don't expect to pay out.

[1] This is a fine world that we live in, where I can find a website devoted to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Mendocino, CA: Microwave Hot Seat

By Julia Scheeres

2:00 a.m. Jan. 22, 2002 PST

Arthur Firstenberg moved from New York City to Mendocino, a quaint Victorian village on California's rugged Northern Coast, to escape the radio frequencies he believes were making him sick.

The 51-year-old says he is "electrically sensitive," meaning he believes he can detect, and is harmed by, the electromagnetic fields emitted by everything from hair dryers to power lines.

Firstenberg is one of a growing number of people around the globe who claim they suffer from the same condition. And since wireless technology burst onto the scene in the mid '90s, they say, there are fewer and fewer places to hide from radio frequency pollution. http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,49841,00.html

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

New entry for SKEPTIC Bibliography (Philiosophy)

From: Taner Edis


Pathways To Philosophy

Geoffrey Klempner
anti-science:philosophy, critical-thinking,
pseudoscience:philosophy, religion:philosophy,
science:philosophy, skepticism:philosophy

Skeptics often get involved in philosophical debates, and do not always do very well. This, along with its sister site, The Philosophos Knowledge Base (http://www.philosophos.com/), will help. They contain open learning resources, advice for philosophy students and amateurs, feature articles, searchable archives of questions and answers, specialist search engines, study guides, and links. Pathways to Philosophy is connected to the Philosophical Society of England.

Visit the full bibliography at http://www.csicop.org/bibliography/

Please consider submitting an entry yourself.

Taner Edis, SKEPTIC bibliographer

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 - January 23, 2002

from The Associated Press

CHICAGO -- The race to find new uses for genetic discoveries is hindering the usual exchange of information among university researchers, according to a study.

A majority of geneticists say they increasingly are being denied access to colleagues' data, a practice many say may be slowing progress in genetics research.

The reasons given for withholding information included the cost and effort of sharing and a desire to protect a researcher's or student's ability to publish his or her findings, according to the study in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Some scientists also do not share because they are trying to protect their ability to market their research commercially, said lead author Eric Campbell, who teaches health-care policy at Harvard Medical School and the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital.


more details on Venter's decision to step down from The Washington Post

J. Craig Venter, the blunt-spoken scientist who made history when he and a competitor stood at the White House 18 months ago to announce the first maps of the human genome, resigned yesterday as president and chief scientific officer of the company he helped start to pursue that dream.

In a statement, Celera Genomics Corp. said Venter would remain as a scientific adviser but would give up his role of running the Rockville company. Tony L. White, chief executive of Celera's parent company, Applera Corp. of Norwalk, Conn., will take over temporarily while Celera searches for a permanent executive.

The change is likely to be a huge transition for Celera, a company imbued with Venter's personality. It is also a notable development for the Washington region and its fast-growing biotechnology industry, which Venter's efforts helped propel to international prominence.


from The Associated Press

LONDON - The World Organization for Animal Health has declared Britain free of foot-and-mouth disease, paving the way for the full resumption of meat exports months after an epidemic devastated the nation's livestock trade.

A panel of experts at a meeting of the Paris-based body agreed to restore Britain's "foot-and-mouth free status without vaccination" for the purpose of international trade.

The ruling means British meat, meat products and dairy products could soon be back on the tables of many foreign countries. Some European Union restrictions on British meat imports will remain.


from Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Social standing -- being dominant or subordinate -- plays a vital role in determining susceptibility to drug use, scientists said on Tuesday in a study using monkeys that may shed light on human addictions.

Researchers at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, found that macaque monkeys deemed to be subordinate in small groups of the animals were much more likely to give themselves doses of cocaine in a laboratory setting than dominant monkeys.

Brain chemistry linked to social rank explains the phenomenon, the scientists said in a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.


from The Associated Press

Biotechnology continues to flourish in California even as overall economic woes mount, according to an industry-supported report released Wednesday.

"This is the biggest growth story now," said David Gollaher, chief executive of the California Healthcare Institute and co-author of "Biomedicine: The Next Wave for California's Economy."

The report concludes that biotechnology in California is poised to hire more workers, spend more money and increase sales during the next two years.

But the rosy outlook comes as the biotechnology sector has suffered several high-profile setbacks. Most notably, in December the Food and Drug Administration refused to consider an application filed by New York-based Imclone Systems Inc. to market its highly anticipated cancer drug Erbitux. A congressional committee announced last week it would investigate allegations the company misled investors about its research.


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

Sigma Xi Homepage

Media Resource Service

American Scientist magazine

For feedback on In the News,

Using evolution against itself

By Chet Raymo, Globe Staff, 1/22/2002

It is a widely held misapprehension that evolution is ''just a theory.''

But, if three simple conditions apply to any self-reproducing organism - variability, inheritability, and selection - then evolution is not just a possibility, it is a logical necessity.

Chet Raymo is a professor of physics at Stonehill College and the author of several books on science.

This story ran on page C2 of the Boston Globe on 1/22/2002. © Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


Free Energy??

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 13:41:05 -0600
From: The Webfairy <webfairy@e...>
Subject: Re: [CIA-DRUGS] Integral Fast Breeder Scenario -- Are IFBs really a total solution?

"If you recognize that all these benefits are real science, and not some guy working out of his garage,......"

We have reached a point on this planet where "real science" means working out of a garage. How many Fast Breeder scientists have turned up dead lately? That is a proof whether the technology is really being suppressed or not. Free Energy is REALLY being suppressed.

The Motionless Electromagnetic Generator, Extracting Energy from a Permanent Magnet with Energy-Replenishing from the Active Vacuum

The "Active Vaccuum" is what I refer to as "The Great Neutral Force," the Aether, which is not supposed to exist, but continues manifesting effects for those willing to look.

Michael has been spearheading some amazing technology which opens up an entire new area for energy resources, as well as communication technology which will propel the computer industry far beyond where it is now. The preceding article offers a glimpse into a fascinating new area of research.

My work succeeded in clarifying the physics of the observed heat transfer effects demonstrated by the use of electrostatic cooling. The discoveries that I made have been classified and improperly expropriated by agencies of the US government.

In a world where there is such a thing as "dissident physics"
and much more money has been spent debunking Cold Fusion than has been spent studying it,
I tend to look at nuclear solutions with a jaundiced eye.

If Michael Riconosciuto was free, and had a lab instead of a cell, we would have a revolutionary pollutionless power source in less than a generation.

If free-energy scientists had labs instead of garages, and didn't turn up dead so often, we would have non-polluting infinite-energy sources already.

Patriotism means you care enough about your country to fight for justice.

-- Jared Israel
------- End of forwarded message -------

"In little more than a year we have gone from enjoying peace and the most prosperous economy in our history, to a nation plunged into war, recession and fear. This is a nation being transformed before our very eyes."


Date: Tue Jan 22, 2002 4:59 pm
Subject: Re: [Elfrad-Group] Irish inventor, free energy, Reuters report


Inventor Claims Discovery of Free Energy

By Kevin Smith

DUBLIN (Jan. 22) - It has been a pipe-dream of inventors since Leonardo da Vinci, but has the secret of free energy now been found in Ireland?

A cold stone house on a wind-swept Irish hillside may seem an unlikely setting for the birthplace of such an epoch-making discovery, but it is here that an Irish inventor says he has developed a machine that will do no less than change the world.

The 58-year-old electrical engineer, who lives in the Irish republic and intends -- for ''security and publicity-avoidance reasons'' -- to keep his identity a secret, has spent 23 years perfecting the Jasker Power System.

It is an electromechanical device he says is capable of nothing less than replenishing its own energy source.

The Irishman is not alone in making such assertions. The Internet is awash with speculation about free or ''zero point'' energy, with many claiming to have cracked the problem using magnets, coils, and even crystals.

''These claims come along every 10 years or so and nothing ever comes of them. They're all cases of 'voodoo science','' said Robert Park, professor of physics at the University of Maryland.

The makers of the Jasker -- a name derived from family abbreviations - - say it can be built to scale using off-the-shelf components and can power anything that requires a motor.

''The Jasker produces emission-free energy at no cost apart from the installation. It is quite possibly the most significant invention since the wheel,'' Tom Hedrick, the only person involved with the machine willing to give his name, told Reuters.

Hedrick, chief executive of a company set up with a view to licensing the device in the United States, said the technology shattered preconceived laws of science.

''It's a giant leap forward. The uses of this are almost beyond imagination.'' RED HOT WITH CONTROVERSY

Not surprisingly, this topic is red hot with controversy -- sharply dividing a world scientific community still on its guard after the ''Cold Fusion'' fiasco of 1989 when a group of Utah researchers scandalized the scientific world with claims -- quickly found to be unsupported -- that the long-sought answer to the problem of Cold Fusion had been discovered. Experts contacted by Reuters were wary, citing the first law of thermodynamics which, in layman's terms, states that you can't get more energy out than you put in.

''I don't believe this. It goes against fundamentals which have not yet been disproved,'' said William Beattie, senior lecturer in electrical engineering at Queen's University in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

''These people (Jasker) are either Nobel prize-winners or they don't know what they're dealing with. The energy has to come from somewhere.''

Undaunted, the inventor says that once powered-up, his device can run indefinitely -- or at least until the parts wear out, adding that he has supplied all his own domestic power needs free for 17 months.

But he is keen to head off the notion that he has tapped into the age- old myth of perpetual motion. ''Perpetual motion is impossible. This is a self-sustaining unit which at the same time provides surplus electrical energy,'' he said.


In a demonstration for Reuters, a prototype -- roughly the size of a dishwasher -- was run for around 10 minutes using four 12-volt car batteries as an initial power source.

Emitting a steady motorized hum, the machine powered three 100-watt light bulbs for the duration.

A multimeter reading of the batteries' voltage before the device started up showed a total of 48.9 volts. When it was switched off, a second reading showed 51.2 volts, indicating that, somehow, they had been reimbursed.

The machine went on to run for around two hours while photographs were taken, with no diminution in the brightness of the light bulbs, which remained lit during a short power cut.

''The draw on the batteries was estimated at more than 4.5 kilowatts. With any existing technology the batteries would have been drained flat in one and a half minutes,'' the inventor said.

Modern theories of zero point energy have their roots in quantum physics and encompass the fraught areas of ''anti-gravity machines'' and ''advanced propulsion'' research.

Contributors to the debate range from serious exponents of quantum science to those who insist free energy secrets have been imparted to them by aliens. Still others seem convinced the U.S. government is conspiring to suppress such discoveries.

Nick Cook, aerospace consultant to Janes Defense Weekly and author of ''The Hunt for Zero Point'' is not as quick as some to dismiss the possibilities.

''Zero point energy has been proven to exist,'' he told Reuters. ''The question is whether it can be tapped to provide usable energy. And to that end, I think it's possible, yes. There are a lot of eminent scientists now involved in this field and they wouldn't be if there wasn't anything to it.''

''In my experience opinion in this field is extremely polarized ... people either go with this area of investigation in their minds or they don't, and if they don't they tend to pooh-pooh it vehemently. It's very difficult to get an objective assessment,'' he said.

''Basically, no one wants to be the first to stick his head above the parapet.''

Impervious to scepticism, Jasker's makers see the first practical application of their technology as a stand-alone generator for home use, although the automotive industry could also be a near-term target given the huge investment in developing substitutes for gasoline-fueled engines.

With world oil reserves running down, there is mounting urgency in the quest for alternatives.

If the Jasker men really are onto something, it could be the most important Irish invention since Guinness.

REUTERS 10:22 01-22-02

From: "bobshannon.org" <earth@t...>
Date: Tue Jan 22, 2002 5:28 pm
Subject: Re: [Elfrad-Group] Irish inventor, free energy, Reuters report

"Undaunted, the inventor says that once powered-up, his device can run indefinitely -- or at least until the parts wear out, adding that he has supplied all his own domestic power needs free for 17 months."

"Parts wear out" is a form of energy use and has to be considered in the overall equation....replacing parts is energy expending...mining or buying parts also expends energy...In the long run it will not violatethe First Law of TD.
From: Bert Hickman <bert.hickman@a...>
Date: Tue Jan 22, 2002 8:45 pm
Subject: Re: [Elfrad-Group] Irish inventor, free energy, Reuters report

Hmm... the unit powered three 100 watt lightbulbs but consumed 4.5 kW from the batteries?? What's wrong with this picture? Sounds like a problem with measurements, perhaps between "power" versus "power factor"? Shades of a Newman Machine?

Scientists have rediscovered the details of what may be the world's first ecological experiment.

The research influenced Charles Darwin while he was putting together his theories of natural selection.

In the Origin of Species he briefly referred to an experiment on the growth of grasses, and its details have now been rediscovered.

Full story: http://www.ananova.com/yournews/story/sm_501458.html

Romanian claims he's immune to electric shocks

From Ananova at


A Romanian claims he's immune to electric shocks and is 2,000-times more resistant to electricity than normal.

The man from Buzau says he can touch wires charged with 380 volts and feel just a slight itch.

Journalists from a Romanian daily paper say they've seen his trick, but independent experts haven't yet confirmed his claims.

Constantin Craiu says he discovered his gift while he was fixing an electric device.

"It was an accident. I was working with a colleague of mine on an electric board and at a certain point I told him to restart the electricity. He told me he had never stopped it," said Mr Craiu.

Contacting the North Texas Skeptics
The North Texas Skeptics
P. O. Box 111794
Carrollton, TX 75011-1794
214-335-9248 Skeptics Hotline (current information)

Current News  News Back Issues

What's New | Search | Newsletter | Fact Sheets
NTS Home Page
Copyright (C) 1987 - 2008 by the North Texas Skeptics.