NTS LogoSkeptical News for 2 February 2003

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Time to Stand Up


by Richard Dawkins

Written for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Madison, Wisconsin, September 2001.

Distinguished British scientist, author and atheist Richard Dawkins, who was scheduled to accept an "Emperor Has No Clothes Award" on Sept. 22 at the Freedom From Religion Foundation convention, cancelled his appearance in light of travel difficulties after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States.

He supplied an exclusive article, reprinted below, which was read at the Foundation convention in his stead by James Coors, a professor of Agronomy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The essay is a follow-up to Dawkins' powerful article, "Religion's Misguided Missiles," appearing in The Guardian on September 15, 2001.

Stop respecting religion and start submitting it to the same scutiny as any other idea or argument, says Richard Dawkins. And September 11th 2001 makes this scrutiny more urgent than ever...

"To blame Islam for what happened in New York is like blaming Christianity for the troubles in Northern Ireland!" Yes. Precisely. It is time to stop pussyfooting around. Time to get angry. And not only with Islam.

Those of us who have renounced one or other of the three 'great' monotheistic religions have, until now, moderated our language for reasons of politeness. Christians, Jews and Muslims are sincere in their beliefs and in what they find holy. We have respected that, even as we have disagreed with it. The late Douglas Adams put it with his customary good humour, in an impromptu speech in 1998 (slightly abridged):

Now, the invention of the scientific method is, I'm sure we'll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked. If it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn't withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn't seem to work like that. It has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, "Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? — because you're not!" If somebody votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says "I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday," you say, "I respect that."

The odd thing is, even as I am saying that I am thinking "Is there an Orthodox Jew here who is going to be offended by the fact that I just said that?" But I wouldn't have thought, "Maybe there's somebody from the left wing or somebody from the right wing or somebody who subscribes to this view or the other in economics," when I was making the other points. I just think, "Fine, we have different opinions." But, the moment I say something that has something to do with somebody's (I'm going to stick my neck out here and say irrational) beliefs, then we all become terribly protective and terribly defensive and say "No, we don't attack that; that's an irrational belief but no, we respect it."

Why should it be that it's perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows — but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe... no, that's holy? What does that mean? Why do we ring-fence that for any other reason other than that we've just got used to doing so? There's no other reason at all, it's just one of those things that crept into being, and once that loop gets going it's very, very powerful. So, we are used to not challenging religious ideas but it's very interesting how much of a furore Richard creates when he does it! Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be. (http://www.biota.org/people/douglasadams/index.html)

Douglas is dead, but his words are an inspiration to us now to stand up and break this absurd taboo. My last vestige of 'hands off religion' respect disappeared as I watched the "Day of Prayer" in Washington Cathedral. Then there was the even more nauseating prayer-meeting in the New York stadium, where prelates and pastors did their tremulous Martin Luther King impersonation and urged people of mutually incompatible faiths to hold hands in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place. It is time for people of intellect, as opposed to people of faith, to stand up and say, "Enough!" Let our tribute to the September dead be a new resolve: to respect people for what they individually think, rather than respect groups for what they were collectively brought up to believe.

Notwithstanding bitter sectarian hatreds over the centuries (all too obviously still going strong), Judaism, Islam and Christianity have much in common. Despite New Testament watering down and other reformist tendencies, all three pay historic allegiance to the same violent and vindictive God of Battles, memorably summed up by Gore Vidal in 1998:

The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved —Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal — God is the Omnipotent Father — hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. The sky-god is a jealous god, of course. He requires total obedience from everyone on earth, as he is not just in place for one tribe, but for all creation. Those who would reject him must be converted or killed for their own good.

In the Guardian of September 15th (http://www. guardian.co.uk/ Archive/0,423,4257777,00.html), I named belief in an afterlife as the key weapon that made the New York atrocity possible. Of prior significance is religion's deep responsibility for the underlying hatreds that motivated people to use that weapon in the first place. To breathe such a suggestion, even with the most gentlemanly restraint, is to invite an onslaught of patronising abuse, as Douglas Adams noted. But the insane cruelty of the suicide attacks, and the equally vicious though numerically less catastrophic 'revenge' attacks on hapless Muslims living in America and Britain, push me beyond ordinary caution.

How can I say that religion is to blame? Do I really imagine that, when a terrorist kills, he is motivated by a theological disagreement with his victim? Do I really think the Northern Ireland pub bomber says to himself, "Take that, Tridentine Transubstantiationist bastards!" Of course I don't think anything of the kind. Theology is the last thing on the minds of such people. They are not killing because of religion itself, but because of political grievances, often justified. They are killing because the other lot killed their fathers. Or because the other lot drove their great- grandfathers off their land. Or because the other lot oppressed our lot economically for centuries.

My point is not that religion itself is the motivation for wars, murders and terrorist attacks, but that religion is the principal label, and the most dangerous one, by which a 'they' as opposed to a 'we' can be identified at all. I am not even claiming that religion is the only label by which we identify the victims of our prejudice. There's also skin colour, language, and social class. But often, as in Northern Ireland, these don't apply and religion is the only divisive label around. Even when it is not alone, religion is nearly always an incendiary ingredient in the mix as well. And please don't trot out Hitler as a counter-example. Hitler's sub-Wagnerian ravings constituted a religion of his own foundation, and his anti-Semitism owed a lot to his never-renounced Roman Catholicism (see http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/murphy_19 _2.html).

It is not an exaggeration to say that religion is the most inflammatory enemy-labelling device in history. Who killed your father? Not the individuals you are about to kill in 'revenge'. The culprits themselves have vanished over the border. The people who stole your great-grandfather's land have died of old age. You aim your vendetta at those who belong to the same religion as the original perpetrators. It wasn't Seamus who killed your brother, but it was Catholics, so Seamus deserves to die 'in return'. Next, it was Protestants who killed Seamus so let's go out and kill some Protestants 'in revenge'. It was Muslims who destroyed the World Trade Center so let's set upon the turbaned driver of a London taxi and leave him paralysed from the neck down.

The bitter hatreds that now poison Middle Eastern politics are rooted in the real or perceived wrong of the setting up of a Jewish State in an Islamic region. In view of all that the Jews had been through, it must have seemed a fair and humane solution. Probably deep familiarity with the Old Testament had given the European and American decision-makers some sort of idea that this really was the "historic homeland" of the Jews (though the horrific stories of how Joshua and others conquered their Lebensraum might have made them wonder). Even if it wasn't justifiable at the time, no doubt a good case can be made that, since Israel exists now, to try to reverse the status quo would be a worse wrong.

I do not intend to get into that argument. But if it had not been for religion, the very concept of a Jewish State would have had no meaning in the first place. Nor would the very concept of Islamic lands, as something to be invaded and desecrated. In a world without religion, there would have been no Crusades; no Inquisition; no anti-Semitic pogroms (the people of the diaspora would long ago have intermarried and become indistinguishable from their host populations); no Northern Ireland Troubles (no label by which to distinguish the two 'communities', and no sectarian schools to teach the children historic hatreds — they would simply be one community.)

It is a spade we have here, let's call it a spade. The Emperor has no clothes. It is time to stop the mealy-mouthed euphemisms: 'Nationalists', 'Loyalists', 'Communities', 'Ethnic Groups', 'Cultures'. 'Civilisations'. Religions is the word you need. Religion is the word you are struggling hypocritically to avoid.

Parenthetically, religion is unusual among divisive labels in being spectacularly unnecessary. If religious beliefs had any evidence going for them, we might have to respect them in spite of their concomitant unpleasantness. But there is no such evidence. To label people as death-deserving enemies because of disagreements about real world politics is bad enough. To do the same for disagreements about a delusional world inhabited by archangels, demons and imaginary friends is ludicrously tragic.

The resilience of this form of hereditary delusion is as astonishing as its lack of realism. It seems that control of the plane which crashed near Pittsburgh was probably wrestled out of the hands of the terrorists by a group of brave passengers. The wife of one of these valiant and heroic men, after she took the telephone call in which he announced their intention, said that God had placed her husband on the plane as His instrument to prevent the plane crashing on the White House. I have the greatest sympathy for this poor woman in her tragic loss, but just think about it! As my (also understandably overwrought) American correspondent who sent me this piece of news said:

"Couldn't God have just given the hijackers a heart attack or something instead of killing all those nice people on the plane? I guess he didn't give a flying fuck about the Trade Center, didn't bother to come up with a plan for them" (I apologise for my friend's intemperate language but, in the circumstances, who can blame her?)

Is there no catastrophe terrible enough to shake the faith of people, on both sides, in God's goodness and power? No glimmering realisation that he might not be there at all: that we just might be on our own, needing to cope with the real world like grown-ups? Billy Graham, Mr Bush's spiritual advisor, said in Washington Cathedral:

But how do we understand something like this? Why does God allow evil like this to take place? Perhaps that is what you are asking now. You may even be angry at God. I want to assure you that God understands those feelings that you may have.

What an honour, to be licensed to speak for God! But even Billy Graham's patronising presumption now fails him:

I have been asked hundreds of times in my life why God allows tragedy and suffering. I have to confess that I really do not know the answer totally, even to my own satisfaction. I have to accept, by faith, that God is sovereign, and He is a God of love and mercy and compassion in the midst of suffering. The Bible says God is not the author of evil. It speaks of evil as a "mystery".

Less baffled by this deep theological mystery were two of America's best-known televangelists, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell. They knew exactly where to put the blame. Falwell said that God had protected America wonderfully for 225 years, but now, what with abortion and gays and lesbians and the ACLU, "all of them who have tried to secularise America... I point the finger in their face and say you helped this happen." "Well, I totally concur," responded Robertson. Bush, to his credit, swiftly disowned this revealing example of the religious mind at work.

The United States is the most religiose country in Christendom, and its born-again leader is eyeball to eyeball with the most religiose people on Earth (the Taliban's religion-inspired laws include draconian penalties for men whose beard is too short — Monty Python could not have dreamed it up.) Both sides believe that the Bronze-Age God of Battles is on their side. Both take risks with the world's future in unshakeable, fundamentalist faith that God will grant them the victory. J.C. Squire's famous verse on the First World War comes to mind:

God heard the nations sing and shout

"Gott strafe England" and "God save the King!"

God this, God that, and God the other thing —

"Good God!" said God, "I've got my work cut out!"

Incidentally, people speak of Islamic Fundamentalists, but the customary genteel distinction between fundamentalist and moderate Islam has been convincingly demolished by Ibn Warraq in his well-informed book, Why I am not a Muslim (see also his statement at the website for Secular Islam: http://www.secularislam.org/).

The human psyche has two great sicknesses: the urge to carry vendetta across generations, and the tendency to fasten group labels on people rather than see them as individuals. Religion fuels both. All violent enmities in the world today fuel their tanks at this holy gas-station. Those of us who have for years politely concealed our contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of religion need to stand up and speak out. Things are different after September 11th. Let's stop being so damned respectful!

A revised version of a paper written for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Madison, Wisconsin, reproduced by kind permission of Richard Dawkins.

Christine DeBlase-Ballstadt

Faith-based treatment for addicts draws fire


By Laura Meckler
Associated Press
Jan. 29, 2003

WASHINGTON - President Bush has long preached of the power of prayer to aid drug addicts. Now he's putting dollars behind the rhetoric, asking Congress for $600 million for a new, three-year drug treatment program that would welcome the participation of religious groups.

The proposal sparked conflict even before Bush touted it before Congress. Opponents fear government will pay for programs that replace professional counselors with prayer and Bible study.

"The president wants to fund untested, unproven programs that seek to pray away addiction," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. "People with addiction problems need medical help, not Sunday school."

Bush and his supporters argue that faith can accomplish what secular programs cannot.

"Let us bring to all Americans who struggle with drug addiction this message of hope: The miracle of recovery is possible, and it could be you," Bush said in his State of the Union address.

Many federally funded programs combine medical models with religious faith, sometimes employing the 12-step program made famous by Alcoholics Anonymous. But others are permeated with religion and eschew licensed counselors altogether.

Take Teen Challenge, which uses Christian teachings to tackle drug addiction and encourages participants to convert to Christianity.

"Christianity is a big part of our therapy," Executive Director John Castellani said in 2001 during the debate over government funding for religious groups.

Opponents say funding Teen Challenge would amount to unconstitutional, taxpayer-funded conversion. But supporters hold it out as a model, and the White House invited Henry Lozano of Teen Challenge in California to sit in the first lady's box during the State of the Union address.

The drug treatment proposal is the latest round in a two-year battle over the role of religion in delivering social services.

Bush first tried to pass sweeping legislation opening existing programs to churches, synagogues and other "faith-based organizations." When that failed, his administration began rewriting regulations to relax rules that have prevented government from funding religious groups.

Now, as he submits his budget plan for 2004, Bush is proposing a $200 million drug treatment program specifically designed so that religious programs can qualify. Over three years, Bush said, the program would cost $600 million.

The new program would give people vouchers to seek drug treatment at the center of their choice, including religious programs. About 25 states, territories or Indian tribes would get grants of $5 million to $10 million per year. Employing vouchers makes it easier to constitutionally justify paying for a program that is infused with religion.

Still, civil libertarians who oppose the overall "faith-b ased initiative" and people who work in traditional drug treatment programs worry about who might get money. They cite Victory Fellowship, a San Antonio-based program. Under then-Gov. George Bush, Victory Fellowship and other religious drug programs won permission to skirt all state health and safety laws, including rules requiring licensed counselors.

Fossil find stirs human debate


The fossil of an early human-like creature (hominid) from southern Africa is raising fresh questions about our origins. Remains from the Sterkfontein Caves near Johannesburg suggest our ancestors were less chimp-like than we thought.

The revelation follows the discovery of missing bones from a 3.5 million-year-old skeleton found in 1998.

" This Sterkfontein individual was a climber in the trees and bipedal on the ground" says Dr Ron Clarke

Fragments of pelvis, upper leg, ribs and backbone have recently been dug out of the rock, allowing scientists to piece together its gait.

The anatomy of the hominid, a member of the genus Australopithecus, raises some interesting questions.

Its bone structure shows it did not walk like modern chimps, using the knuckles of its hands.

It probably walked on two legs when it was on the ground but spent much of the time climbing trees, says Dr Ron Clarke, of the University of the Witwatersrand, who discovered the fossil.


Dr Clarke goes further. He argues that the fact the hominid was not a knuckle-walker suggests chimps and humans are not as closely related as we thought. Thus the find pushes the last common ancestor of chimps and humans much further back in history, he says.

Dr Clarke sets out his position in the South African Journal of Science, which publishes the latest data.

"My conclusion from the limb proportions and the morphology of the foot and of the hand is that this Sterkfontein individual was a climber in the trees (using its powerful thumb in a vice-like grip) and bipedal on the ground," he says.

"It would appear, therefore, that the strong opposable thumb evolved in the human ancestral stock for grasping branches. Then, in the mainly terrestrial subsequent descendants in the form of Homo, it was to prove useful for tool-making and manipulation.

"The suggestion in reconstructions and in the scientific literature that human ancestors were transformed into an upright position from a knuckle-walking ancestor is not supported by this new and important addition to the fossil record."

Fresh debate

Other experts in human evolution are more circumspect. Professor Chris Stringer of London's Natural History Museum says the idea that humans and chimps derive from a knuckle-walking common ancestor is "not a majority view".

The peculiar gait of chimps and gorillas could have developed after the three lines diverged, he says.

Dr Robin Crompton, of the University of Liverpool, agrees. He says there is "very strong" genetic evidence that we are closely related to chimps (and bonobos).

"It is likely that the common ancestor of the African apes, including ourselves, was arboreal," he told BBC News Online.

"In my view, knuckle-walking and vertical climbing - up and down tree trunks - are a specialisation of chimps and gorillas after humans split off from them."

Sterkfontein is probably the richest site on Earth for the fossils of early hominids, and the ancient cave system is now part of a World Heritage Site.

Some 600 hominid fossils from the Sterkfontein Caves have now been collected and classified.

The early humans they represent are thought to have fallen to their deaths in the caves when the limestone complex first broke the surface.

Saturday, February 01, 2003

ScienceMaster Newsletter

Learning Science Through Technology
Newsletter for February 2003
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Fast Food, Science and Being the Best
A fast food giant had a lawsuit thrown out recently. It was brought by an overweight teen who said that he couldn't stop eating it. Now I've read that researchers are looking into just how addictive food, especially fat, can be. This is reminiscent of the debate over tobacco, alcohol and a host of legal and illegal drugs. From my perspective, an ultimate answer on what is addictive and what isn't may never be found. So much of who we are and how we behave is due to a large part on what we think and how the neurons in our brain are wired. Who hasn't heard of athletes with the right mental attitude accomplishing much more than their abilities on paper would support? Scientific study is invaluable to our understanding of the world. However approaching research findings with a skeptical mind is more than prudent. And so is realizing that what is addictive to one person may be a choice to another.

Chandra X-ray Observatory Learning Galleries
Since its launch on July 23, 1999, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has been NASA's flagship mission for X-ray astronomy, taking its place in the fleet of "Great Observatories." This annotated gallery features some out of this world x-ray images of some distant, and not so distant objects. --> http://www.monkeytime.com/sciencemaster/galleries/galleries.php

Text credit Chandra X-ray Observatory Center

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Spacecraft to Catch Rays
A new NASA satellite is ready to leave the sandy coast of Florida and head to space to catch some rays. The Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) mission will study the sun's influence on our planet's climate by measuring how the star affects the Earth's ozone layer, atmospheric circulation, clouds, and oceans. The research data that will help us to better protect and understand our home planet. [ ftp://ftp.hq.nasa.gov/pub/pao/pressrel/2003/03-018.txt]

Text courtesy NASA

Wind Power
Flash animations are a great way to make the Internet come alive. We found this one at the Department of Energy's EREN website. Learn about wind power and why it is important to our efforts to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. J-Track 3D is one of the most popular Java applets on the NASA Liftoff web site. It shows 700 satellites, out of thousands, swarming about our earth. You can rotate the display and modify all kinds of settings. The display will also zoom in and out. [http://www.eren.doe.gov/power/consumer/flash/turbine.html]

Requires Macromedia Flash Player

Endangered Species Act
The Fish and Wildlife Service, in the Department of the Interior, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries, in the Department of Commerce, share responsibility for administration of the Endangered Species Act. Look below to learn more about what the Fish and Wildlife Service does to carry out this responsibility. --> http://endangered.fws.gov/whatwedo.html#General

Text Courtesy USFWS

Live 3D Java Tracking Display
The J-Track 3D is one of the most popular Java applets on the NASA Liftoff web site. It shows 700 satellites, out of thousands, swarming about our earth. You can rotate the display and modify all kinds of settings. The display will also zoom in and out. [http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/realtime/jtrack/3d/JTrack3D.html]

Text Courtesy NASA

Welcome to Invasivespecies.gov!
Invasivespecies.gov is the gateway to Federal efforts concerning invasive species. On this site you can learn about the impacts of invasive species and the Federal government's response, as well as read select species profiles and find links to agencies and organizations dealing with invasive species issues. Invasivespecies.gov is also the website for the National Invasive Species Council, which coordinates Federal responses to the problem.

What is an Invasive Species?

An "invasive species" is defined as a species that is 1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and 2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.

Invasive species can be plants, animals, and other organisms (e.g., microbes). Human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions.

This website is developed and maintained by the National Agricultural Library for the National Invasive Species Council
Text Courtesy NAL

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The Nanogirl News

February 1, 2003

London's little idea. Nanotechnology may be the science of the small, but it is surely destined for bigger things. The new London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN), due to open in 2004, is a joint venture between University College London and Imperial College, designed to put British science at the centre of this emerging field. Based in a new building with purpose-built clean rooms and laboratories, the centre is funded by a £13.65m higher education grant under the Science Research Infrastructure Fund. (BBC 1/27/03)

Jefferson Lab's Free-Electron Laser explores promise of carbon nanotubes. A research team led by Brian Holloway, an assistant professor at the College of William & Mary's Department of Applied Science, used Jefferson Lab's Free-Electron Laser to explore the fundamental science of how and why nanotubes form, paying close attention to the atomic and molecular details. Already, in experiments, the William & Mary/NASA Langley collaboration has produced tubes better than those at other laboratories or in industry. (EurekAlert 1/27/03)

Nanotech can be tragedy or triumph, says new group. A new non-profit organization has been formed to advance the safe use of molecular nanotechnology. The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology (CRN) was founded by Chris Phoenix and Mike Treder in December 2002. The vision of CRN is a world in which nanotechnology is widely used for productive and beneficial purposes, and where malicious uses are limited by effective administration of the technology.
(Center for Responsible Nanotechnology 1/17/03)

Very small solutions. One of the biggest names in the field of teensy science was a huge hit with students at Dutch Hill Elementary School Tuesday morning. Viola Vogel, director of the Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Washington, wowed a roomful of curious students with her expertise in the revolutionary field of nanotechnology. "We were so lucky she came," said sixth-grader Anna Boll. "She knows the most, and it's going to help us sound smarter in the competition." Boll and her classmates are working to qualify for a state problem-solving competition. This year's topic is nanotechnology. (Herald Net 1/29/03)

Watchdogs say stop nanotech, start worldwide dialogue. An advocacy group that helped quash efforts to introduce genetically modified products in Europe, Africa and elsewhere intensified the spotlight on nanotechnology Wednesday with a report recommending a halt to some nanotech activities. Nanotechnology officials and observers said the report raises important questions, but is flawed and its recommendations are misguided.-ETC Group- (Small Times 1/31/03)

Nanowires form nanoelectronic devices. Scientists from Lund University in Sweden have created one-dimensional heterostructure electronic devices based on nanowires. They made the resonant tunneling diodes by bottom-up assembly of different III/V semiconductor materials. (nanotechweb.org 1/21/03)

Nanotechnology, Coming Soon. There is currently a race in progress to commercialize nanotechnology disk drives. The companies involved are IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Philips, Seagate and Nanochip, and possibly others. Disk technology based on a moving head that hovers over a spinning disk is reaching its physical limits and if greater density of storage is to be achieved then a different mechanism is required. Research in nanotechnology has unearthed a mechanism that fits the bill. (IT-Director 1/27/03)

Devil in the details? The molecule-size machines long promised by nanotechnology now seem menacing to some. Nanotechnology, touted as promising supermaterials and molecule-size robots, is starting to know sin-or at least some bad PR. In his new techno-thriller, Prey, author Michael Crichton presents supersmall, supersmart nanobots as itsy-bitsy baddies. And in some corners of the real world, environmental groups and arms control advocates are raising questions about possible health effects of nanotech's tiny particles and the weapons potential of its tiny machines. Sean Howard, a British political scientist and editor of Disarmament Diplomacy, believes it threatens "some very dangerous developments, some globally shattering things" and favors an "inner space" version of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty banning weapons of mass destruction there. (U.S. News 1/27/03)

Bucky Diamonds In The Rough. Nanometer-size diamonds could have a buckyball-like shape, prompting researchers to coin a new term: "bucky diamonds." Both diamonds and the soccer ball-shaped cage molecules called buckyballs are made of pure carbon, and according to the 24 January print issue of PRL, nanoscale diamonds could surround themselves with buckyball shells. But several experts in the field are not convinced by the data. If the work is confirmed, this new family of carbon clusters may provide new insights for the development of optoelectronics--futuristic devices that process both light and electrical signals. (Physical Review Focus 1/30/03)

(Join the discussion at Geek.com) The nascent field of nanotechnology is attracting increasing attention from electrical engineers. The field of nanotechnology, which at this point is really only nanoscience, has only recently gained legitimacy. All signs indicate, however, that it is poised for robust growth during the coming decade. One of the problems with this subject, however, is that there is little agreement on what constitutes "nanotechnology." Some (including Intel) refer to nanotechnology as any technology that utilizes components smaller than 100 nanometers. Others have more radical visions of nanotechnology. These proponents foresee molecular assemblers building computers that are millions of times faster than current computers. User discussion: what jobs are there, Crichton's book Prey, and education. (Geek.com 1/28/03)

Ultra-High-Density Data Storage May Become Practical with Breakthrough in Nanoscale Magnetic Sensors. A simpler and more reliable manufacturing method has allowed two materials researchers to produce nanoscale magnetic sensors that could increase the storage capacity of hard disk drives by a factor of a thousand. Building on results reported last summer, the new sensors are up to 100 times more sensitive than any current alternative technology. Susan Hua and Harsh Deep Chopra, both professors at the State University of New York at Buffalo, report in the February issue of Physical Review B on their latest experiments with nanoscale sensors that produce, at room temperature, unusually large electrical resistance changes in the presence of small magnetic fields. (NSF 1/30/03)


Rice University Announces Nanotechnology Research Agreement with IBM. CBEN Supercomputer Helps Decipher Quantum Phenomena of Carbon Nanotubes. Rice University today announced a research agreement with IBM that will provide nanotechnology researchers at Rice's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) with a supercomputer powerful enough to decipher the quantum phenomena of carbon nanotubes and other nanomaterials. CBEN researchers plan to use the supercomputer to find new ways to use nanomaterials to treat and diagnose disease and to clean pollutants from the environment. (Rice University 1/29/03)

Disruptive technologies. Now is the time to prepare for two coming disruptors: open-source software and nanotechnology. Two potentially disruptive technologies watched closely by integrators today are open-source software and nanotechnology. Each holds the promise of radically changing the landscape of information technology. The concept of open-source software, for example, challenges many notions about how software should be created and sold. Linux, developed under the open-source license, is already provoking turmoil in the market for operating systems. "If you are an entrenched proprietary software vendor, this paradigm shift can be alarming," said John Weathersby, chairman of the Oxford, Miss.-based Open Source Software Institute. However, integrators and vendors that exploit the growing open-software movement in government can crack new markets, especially in the Department of Defense, where numerous offices are using open-source solutions as low-cost alternatives to commercial software. The same holds true for nanotechnology. Although still a few years out, nanotechnology can greatly expand the role of integrators as small, cheap computational devices are placed in everything from shoes to unmanned aerial vehicles. (Washington Technology 1/27/03)

(Event) Announcing the World Nanotechnology Summit 2003. Emerging Technologies Limited is proud to announce that it will hold the first World Nanotechnology Summit (WNS2003) in New York on April 7-10, 2003...bringing together leading executives, investors and advisors from around the world to discuss the next 3-5 years of opportunity. It is a major opportunity to hear about the latest developments worldwide and to make important new contacts.

Tiny particles, enormous future. Government, industry rally to turn Bay Area into nanotechnology center. The Bay Area staked its claim to the hot new high-tech arena of nanotechnology Thursday as two dozen movers and shakers in industry, government and finance converged for a combination networking session and pep rally in San Francisco. The same killer combination of research universities, early-stage investors and pioneer companies that put the Bay Area ahead of the pack in biotechnology and the computer revolution could also make it a nanotechnology front-runner, said Scott Mize, co-founder of San Francisco's AngstroVision Inc., which creates 3-D imaging devices in the nanometer range. (San Francisco Chronicle 1/31/03)

Fighting hazards from a computer. If we are attacked with nerve gas or anthrax, we'll need to know what's coming our way as quickly as possible. Nanotechnologists are working on new sensors that are both small and sensitive enough to work anywhere that we are threatened with biological or chemical weapons. At Purdue University, chemist Jillian Buriak has come up with a detection lab on a chip. She uses extremely tiny pieces of gold that can connect from a computer to natural sensors found in living cells to pick up traces of biochemical agents.
This article includes a video, to the right. (ScienCentral 1/29/03)

Also on the above website is an article and video from January 16, 2003. Nanodesigner video, Silicon chips have made everything electronic smaller, faster, and cheaper. As this ScienCentral News video reports, scientists are working hard to make circuits so small, we won't see them at all.
(ScienCentral 1/19/03)

Campus Research Review. The color of cancer: nanoparticles offer new detection method. Associate professor Shuming Nie is trying to dramatically improve clinical diagnostic tests for the detection of cancer through the use of quantum dots, a type of nanoparticle. Quantum dots glow and act as markers on cells and genes, thereby allowing scientists to rapidly analyze biopsy tissue from cancer patients. (Georgia Tech 1/31/03)

Scientists See Progress in Untangling Nanotubes. Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania claim they have made progress toward a solution for one of the biggest obstacles against implementing carbon nanotubes in electronics, materials and healthcare applications. Carbon nanotubes have frustrated researchers in every field with their stubborn and unhelpful tendency to clump together in solution. According to the Penn scientists, a readily available chemical, a surfactant called sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate (NaDDBS), disperses nanotubes in water with remarkable efficiency. The discovery is described in a paper published this month in the journal Nanoletters. "Scientists have suggested many possible applications for carbon nanotubes, but tube aggregation in solution has obstructed progress," said lead author Mohammad Islam, a postdoctoral researcher in Penn's Department of Physics and Astronomy. "This new approach improves our ability to manipulate single tubes. Single nanotubes can now participate in controlled self-assembly, form fibers and composites, and serve as microfluidic sensors in water." (Nanotech Planet 1/30/03)

Braille-like system shrinks storage. A team of European scientists is experimenting with a molecular-scale storage device that can be read like Braille and could lead to systems that hold nearly 100 gigabits of data per square inch. The researchers from the chemistry departments at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and the University of Bologna in Italy said they have discovered a class of materials that when gently nudged, form bumps in a predictable pattern that could be used to encode data. (MSNBC 1/23/03)

Nanoscale waveguides provide view of single molecules. A group of researchers at Cornell University here perforated the top layer of a chip with two million "holes" that serve as nanoscale waveguides for a 488-nanometer laser, allowing them to film individual molecules during chemical reactions. Professor Watt Webb's group put 40-nanometer holes in the aluminum top layer of a 25 millimeter square chip. "Conventional wisdom would tell you that this is not a single- or multimode waveguide, since its size is ten times smaller than the light going through it. Rather, we call it a zero-mode waveguide," said postdoctoral fellow Michael Levene. (EETimes 1/31/03)


Gina "Nanogirl" Miller
Nanotechnology Industries
Personal: http://www.nanogirl.com
Foresight Senior Associate http://www.foresight.org
Extropy member http://www.extropy.org
"Nanotechnology: Solutions for the future."

Friday, January 31, 2003

Science In the News

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

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Today's Headlines - January 31, 2003

from The Chicago Tribune

Garry Kasparov, the world's best chess player, may not realize it yet, but he's doomed.

It really doesn't matter whether he wins his current match with a supercomputer, according to experts in artificial intelligence, or AI. They agree that computer technology is advancing so fast that within a few years machines will be well beyond the chess skills of any human.

Already, Kasparov has experienced defeat at the hands of a computer: IBM's Deep Blue in 1997. And three months ago Russian grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik tied an eight-game match against Germany's Deep Fritz program.


from The New York Times

For the first time, researchers have found a way to treat two deadly heart ailments that are caused by a protein that folds into an abnormal shape.

Although the treatment is tailored to the two forms of heart disease, it is based on principles that may lead to similar therapies for other conditions caused by misfolded proteins, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, adult-onset diabetes and the human form of mad cow disease.

Encouraged by tests on animals and in healthy human volunteers, the researchers are about to begin clinical trials on patients with the two ailments, one that afflicts a million African-Americans and another that is found in up to 15 percent of all Americans older than 80. In both diseases, a normal protein that ferries nourishing factors to heart tissue assumes an abnormal shape. Over time, these misshapen or misfolded proteins accumulate into sticky clumps that fatally clog the heart.


from The New York Times

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 - The Israeli experiment aboard the space shuttle Columbia has accomplished its goals of studying the effects of dust storms on weather and recording electrical phenomena atop storm clouds, scientists said today.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University said their Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment had gathered solid information on the plumes of dust and other aerosol particles blown from deserts by storms before being carried worldwide by high winds. The particles affect rain production in clouds, deposit minerals in the ocean and scatter sunlight that affects global warming, the scientists said.

"The experiment has worked without a hitch," Dr. Joachim Joseph, a principal investigator, told a briefing at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. "We have very good data, very unique data."


from The Philadelphia Inquirer

WASHINGTON - Michael Lerner and Sharyle Patton avoid red meat, buy organic produce, and keep pesticides out of their northern California home. Yet analyses of their blood and urine found lots of chemicals - 105 different ones for her, 101 for him.

He has worrisome amounts of mercury, arsenic and lead. She is troubled by measurable levels of dozens of forms of two industrial chemicals linked to cancer, dioxins and PCBs.

Two studies, one released yesterday by a New York hospital and a Washington environmental group, the other coming today from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, look at the prevalence of low levels of industrial and agricultural chemicals in Americans' bodies. The chemicals' presence is not necessarily harmful, but it raises questions about how they got there and what effects they have.


from The Washington Post

Worried about a serious slowdown in the creation of novel drugs, the government is taking steps it hopes will speed medical innovation, largely by making clearer how companies can prove a new product works before they waste time researching the wrong thing.

Atop the Food and Drug Administration's priority list being announced today are guidelines to speed treatments for cancer, obesity and diabetes -- three of the country's leading ailments.

The main issue is not how quickly the FDA reviews applications, but the time it takes industry to research and develop new medications and medical devices, FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan said.


from The Los Angeles Times

Employees stole or lost at least $1.5 million in government property at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and lab supervisors later warned their staff to "resist the temptation to spill your guts" about the wrongdoing, according to an Energy Department investigation released Thursday.

The probe by the Energy Department's Office of Inspector General represents the first official confirmation of widespread financial fraud at the New Mexico nuclear weapons research lab and management's failure to address it. The facility is operated by the University of California under contract with the Energy Department.

The report corroborates the concerns about weak internal controls and property management issues first raised by two whistle-blowing investigators, Glenn Walp and Steven Doran, who were fired by the lab in November after reporting the thefts. The report terms their dismissals "incomprehensible."

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-me-alamos31jan31001451,0,5743077.story?coll=la%2Dhea dlines%2Dnation

from The Los Angeles Times

Life expectancy in elderly people is linked to the length of special structures in their DNA, according to a study published today in the British medical journal Lancet. The shorter these structures -- called telomeres -- the earlier a person died, the report found.

Dr. Richard Cawthon of the University of Utah and co-workers analyzed blood DNA samples from 143 men and women aged 60 years or older. The blood had been drawn for another purpose between 1982 to 1986. At the time of the study, 101 of the people had died.

For each sample, the scientists measured the lengths of the telomeres, which are special, protective "caps" that sit at the end of all chromosomes.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-aging31jan31,0,4263603.story?coll=la%2Dheadlines %2Dnation

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STS-112 Anomaly -- NOT Solved, Says Viewer

From: James Oberg

Jeff Challender is claiming that the shadow on the radiator can't be the solution of his 'moving V' UFO.


"The consensus of opinion on the most likely cause for this apparition seems to be that it must be a reflection of some part of the International Space Station from the surface of one of the two onboard radiators. The first question that comes to mind regarding this conclusion is: If this is ISSy being reflected from the concave surface of one of the radiators, which can be assumed is not moving relative to the payload bay camera, then what IS causing the motion. ... It was very near Sunset, but that shouldn't cause the image to move, since the assumed source, ISSy, was static. The radiator/reflection hypothesis does not explain the motion."

JimO: I believe the consensus is that this is a moving shadow on the radiator, not the reflection of some other piece of the ISS. Can anyone confirm or deny? I don't recall any serious suggestion that the image is a specular reflection off a shiny radiator, but that appears to be the explanation that Jeff is attempting to refute. The motion appears to be consistent with the motion of other shadows in the sped-up sequence (which actually took about 90 seconds, I think I recall).

JimO: Jeff's first picture has a camera view not from the aft bulkhead of the payload bay, as he first presented, but from the FORWARD bulkhead, and a photograph out one of the two windows. But it does support his point that the doors and radiator are not visible in these scenes.

But if you go to http://home.earthlink.net/~sigma05/sts112anomaly.html you will see images from an aft CCTV that clearly show the radiator. So one wonders why Jeff's images don't show the radiator.

A famous victory in Utah!

From: Linda Rosa

The anti-holding, anti-coercive restraint bill in Utah--HB5--passed overwhelmingly in the Utah House of Representatives, 68-2. It now goes on to the Senate for an especially tough fight, but with the "Big Mo" behind it.

The lopsided vote masks the tremendous effort that was needed to pass the bill over the determined opposition of the ATers in Utah and around the country. (One of them has even said, "as Utah goes, so goes the nation!"--we hope they're right in that.)

Kudos go out to Jan Ferre', Alan Misbach, and Randy Pennington--leaders of the forces "on the ground" in Utah. They got 14 Utah consumer-advocacy groups, mental-health professional organizations, and state agencies to line up behind the bill. They also bent the ear of nearly every Representative. Kudos also to all of you on this list who emailed your comments in support; they were a big factor as well. And not to forget Rep. Mike Thompson, who has endured incredible personal abuse with dignity and determination.

The killer substitute for the bill went down to defeat by almost as lopsided a margin, 8-55. One Representative, who had written some of you back saying he would vote for the substitute, ended up voting against it. When asked what changed his mind, he replied, "The evidence became overwhelming."

We'll be asking you soon to do more of the same with the Utah Senate Rules Committee. Keep it up! It's making a difference!

Sadly, and by the most incredible of coincidences, we have seen just tonight more evidence of the urgent need for HB5, and for legislation like it in other states. A "Frontline" documentary just aired on PBS about another attachment-therapy related death. (The publicly known body count is now, lamentably, nine.) This time it was a five-year-old killed in Maine by a foster-parent (a former DHS case worker, no less) who routinely treated "attachment disorder" rages by wrapping the girl in blankets. Exactly two years ago today, the child was screaming uncontrollably, so the foster duct-taped her into a high-chair, then put duct-tape over her mouth to shut her up and left the room. Returning an hour later, the child was dead from asphyxiation. The foster was convicted last summer and received 20 years for manslaughter.The program (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/fostercare/), the first of two parts, is billed as an expose' of the "broken caseworker system" which allowed this to happen, and only in passing mentions AT and restraint which were unquestionably the proximate causes of the little girl's death. The circumstances were eerily similar to those of Candace Newmaker in North Carolina. This victim's name was Logan Marr.

Such a waste. Such cruelty. Complete eradication of AT cannot come too soon.

Paranormal Weekly ready to broadcast TODAY!!! Amityville: Horror or Hoax?

BSPR(The Baltimore Society for Paranormal Research) is almost, finally ready to premier it's new streaming video show. The show, titled Paranormal Weekly, will eventually bring you news and events from the paranormal world. Eventually it will cover all aspects of everything paranormal. From crop circles to hauntings, to Bigfoot and everything in between.


On January 31st we will premier our 1st shows. Parts 1 and 2 of a seven part series on the Amityville Horror. The series, called Amityville: Horror or Hoax? will discuss the controversial story from beginning to end. The broadcast was researched and written by leading paranormal writer and ghost hunter Troy Taylor. Troy is best known on the web for his site GHOSTS OF THE PRAIRIE- AMERICAN HISTORY, MYSTERY & HAUNTINGS at


So, go to http://bsprnet.com/ now and sign-up for our news letter for updates. Don't forget to bookmark the site and come back on Friday, January 31st at 7PM EST.

We hope to be offering so much more than this initial offering very soon.

Thank you.

Vince Wilson
Co-founder of BSPR

Venus life, Mars life, Sirius terraforming Earth

From: Brad Guth

Even when there's an abundance of "truth" to clearly look at and to openly discuss, those NASA "spin" and "damage control" Borgs keep insisting their way or else. On the other hand, ESA is obviously not so involved with cloak and daggers to the point of actually sticking themselves in their butt every time they turn around.

Just to prove I'm not the anti-Mars guy that my opponents seem to think, here's a few interesting other web pages that Club NASA and their teams of Borgs would rather you and others didn't see or know anything whatsoever about.

Mars trees and/or petrified/frozen forest:
Mars glass tubes or seriously big and radiation proof worms:


If that's not sufficient for you, just goto my Mars-01 page: http://guthvenus.tripod.com/mars-01.htm

In case you need something more about the sort of skewed science and physics of NASA, goto: http://guthvenus.tripod.com/skewed-science.htm

On behalf of my beloved NASA Borgs (critics-R-us); I'm sure that if this "village idiot" can find the Mars goods, then with a good deal of help, you too can learn something before somebody flushes that toilet and we all have to scramble in order retrieve you from those sewer pipes again.

Another curious point worth aggravating those NASA Borgs with, this is having to do with those nifty UV spectrum imaging capabilities and, perhaps even of David Sereda's E=fh formula.

This next part is not an intended advertisement for David Sereda, as I'm certain the Lords of Club NASA are more than well aware of this mutually confirmed nut bag existence. I guess that's why I, as the village idiot, sort of understand his plight of "extraordinary avoidance" by those whom should have been doing their jobs, decades prior, as they've been on the taxpayer's payroll for decades and they have access to all the best there is. So, what's their excuse?

David Sereda: EVIDENCE the case for NASA UFOs

I do believe those BW (monochrome) UV spectrum capable cameras were working just fine and dandy. Excerpts form the many officially recorded missions included a great number of "not so small" and "not so slow" space debris as clearly depicted and, these images should be worth something to any true scientist. If space travel speed is an issue, whatever is out there has us seriously beat by at least 100:1 and, if size of craft is an issue, that also apears as a good 100:1 advantage, except to not realy be weighing all that much, like how about zilch. Until I see a valid counter argument (based upon known physics and even of speculated science to come), as far as I'm concerned, this David Sereda is worth the relatively poor audio and excited delivery of what his two semi-amateur video tapes have to offer. If you wanted my opinion, and I'm certain you don't, then I could provide some alternate ideas that perhaps were intentionally avoided by David.

BTW; really good UV spectrum cameras are dirt cheap, low power consumption and could easily be applied to any number of missions as well as all over the ISS. The 16 bit B/W imaging downloads could easily be accommodated at essentially zero cost and at zero impact to whatever other is going on. So, there's no reasonable excuse, other than what Club NASA wishes to continually keep from the public.

If any of my pages lock-up, that's only because of way too much downloading. A solution is to access my alternate URL: http://geocities.com/bradguth

Regards, Brad Guth / IEIS http://guthvenus.tripod.com

Anti-gravity and us


January 28 2003

Webdiarist Malcolm Street has a unique theory on why Britain and Australia are backing Bush on Iraq. Welcome to the anti-gravity arms race.

Australia, the UK, anti-gravity and the Iraq crisis

by Malcolm Street, Canberra

Are you sitting down? Good, because this is going to blow your mind.

This item is going to sound like a bad reject from conspiracy publications like Nexus or New Dawn, or an X-Files fanzine. It isn't. The indisputable fact is that both the US and the UK are putting serious money into anti-gravity research with military aerospace applications. The only question is how far it is from operational status. There is informed speculation that it is already used in the American B2 bomber.

I believe that access to this potentially revolutionary and obviously highly secret technology, perhaps via the JSF/F35 fighter program, could be behind the otherwise (in my view) inexplicable level of support given Bush over Iraq by Howard and Blair.

For the record I am a mechanical engineer who spent over two years at a British Aerospace guided missile R&D site in the early 1980s and have continued to take a strong interest in aerospace technology. I am a member of ASRI (Australian Space Research Institute). I am not a crank


There is such a technology on the horizon: anti-gravity. Yes you read that right! Both the US and UK are publicly running research programs investigating anti-gravity under such headings as "propellantless propulsion". The UK effort, run by BAe Systems, is called Project Greenglow (see bbc for an overview), while in the US Boeing is running an anti-gravity program in its Phantom Works (Boeing's equivalent of Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works) in Seattle (see janes). In addition, NASA is looking into overlapping areas under the "Breakthrough Propulsion Physics" project (home page nasa). (An interesting selection of links on anti-gravity links, albeit with the odd crank, can be found at eskimo).

How far away is anti-gravity technology? It may already be operating...

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Biology Professor Refuses to Recommend Students Who Don't Believe in Evolution


DALLAS - A biology professor who refuses to write letters of recommendation for his students if they don't believe in evolution is being accused of religious discrimination, and federal officials are investigating, the school said.

The legal complaint was filed against Texas Tech University and professor Michael Dini by a student and the Liberty Legal Institute, a religious freedom group that calls Dini's policy "open religious bigotry."

"Students are being denied recommendations not because of their competence in understanding evolution, but solely because of their personal religious beliefs," said Kelly Shackelford, chief counsel for the institute.

The Department of Justice asked Texas Tech in Jan. 21 letter to respond to the allegations, university officials said.

Texas Tech spokeswoman Cindy Rugeley said that the university stands by Dini, and that his policies do not conflict with those of Texas Tech.

"A letter of recommendation is a personal matter between a professor and student and is not subject to the university control or regulation," Texas Tech Chancellor David Smith wrote in October in response to an earlier letter of complaint.

Dini, an associate professor who has been at Texas Tech for 10 years, said Wednesday he didn't know about a federal inquiry. He referred questions about his policy to a Web page that outlines it.

The Web page advises students seeking a recommendation to be prepared to answer the question: "How do you think the human species originated?"

"If you cannot truthfully and forthrightly affirm a scientific answer to this question, then you should not seek my recommendation for admittance to further education in the biomedical sciences," Dini writes.

The legal complaint began with Texas Tech student Micah Spradling, who withdrew from Dini's class and the university in the fall and enrolled at Lubbock Christian University after learning about Dini's policy.

Spradling, 22, wants to become a physician and said he needed a letter of recommendation from a biology professor but, as a creationist, he said he couldn't "sit there and truthfully say I believe in human evolution."

"It's a theory. You read about it in textbooks. I could explain the process, maybe how some people say it happens, but I could not have said ... I believe in it," Spradling said Wednesday. "I really don't see how believing in the evolution of humanity has anything to do with patient care or studying science."

Spradling re-enrolled at Texas Tech this semester, after obtaining a recommendation letter at the other school.

Dini writes that he has the policy because he doesn't believe anyone should practice in a biology-related field without accepting "the most important theory in biology."

"Good scientists would never throw out data that do not conform to their expectations or beliefs," he writes.

Dini also says he refuses to write letters of recommendation for students he doesn't know fairly well and those who haven't earned an "A" in one of his classes.

Department spokesman Jorge Martinez refused to not confirm or deny an investigation, citing department policy.

Lawmaker 'Cleanses' Traficant From Office


Wed Jan 29, 7:45 PM ET

By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Former Ohio Rep. James Traficant is gone from Congress — banished last year after his conviction on bribery and racketeering charges.

Now the new tenant claims he has rid his Capitol Hill office of Traficant's taint.

Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer (news, bio, voting record) of Oregon, who moved into Traficant's old office last month, held a "cleansing ritual" Wednesday in an effort to erase any legacy left behind by the Ohio Democrat, who was notorious for his flamboyant speeches, 1970s-style suits and unkempt hair.

No one knew until he went to prison that it was really a toupee.

In Traficant-inspired clothes — a blue-denim leisure suit and a black Elvis wig — Blumenauer joined Rep. Peter DeFazio (news, bio, voting record), D-Ore., in burning dried herbs to "exorcise" Traficant's spirit.

"We're here to reclaim this sacred piece of ground in the name of the state of Oregon," DeFazio said. "These grounds were defiled."

DeFazio lit a smudge stick, a collection of dried herbs that is a tradition for many American Indian tribes. Smoke from the stick is said to attach itself to any negative energy present.

The burning herbs, primarily dried sage, had an odd smell that prompted some to joke it was marijuana, and as DeFazio waved the stick, he lightheartedly told the crowd of several dozen aides, staffers and others who had gathered, "Everybody inhale. We may all be arrested."

While the event was mostly in fun, it also had a serious purpose, said Blumenauer.

Traficant "brought disgrace to the House," Blumenauer said. "He's a convicted felon and he was voted out of here with one dissenting vote."

While some colleagues thought Traficant's antics were amusing, "I thought a lot of it was very disturbing," Blumenauer said. "He was reckless and abusive and we are a better place without him."

Traficant, who served nine terms in the House, was expelled from Congress in July after his conviction. He is serving an eight-year sentence in a minimum-security prison.

Not everyone was amused. Rep. Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, one of Traficant's closest friends in Congress, called the ceremony offensive.

"Mr. Traficant was convicted, he's serving eight years, and I don't really think that's a joke," LaTourette said.

The fathers, the sun and the holy post

By Kelly Burke, Religious Affairs Writer
January 31 2003


Hundreds of believers flocked to the Coogee Beach headland yesterday to witness what they say is an apparition of the Virgin Mary.

Scores more hiked up the cliff path to touch, kiss and pray to the post which over the past few days has been transformed into something of a shrine, with pictures of the virgin, rosary beads and flowers piled around the white-washed fence.

Some wept, others sang, most prayed. As the sunlight reflected off a crook in the fence throughout the afternoon, hundreds claimed they could discern the shape of a veiled figure, and most agreed it was "Our Lady".

Understandably, the Catholic Church appears less keen to make that conclusion.

Alleged apparitions come under the portfolio of the chancellor of the Sydney Archdiocese, Father John Doherty, but only if a report is presented to him for investigation. Father Doherty did not return the Herald's calls yesterday.

Monseigneur Tony Doherty, dean of St Mary's Cathedral, said it was probably up to the local pastor to request help from the archdiocese on such matters.

But as far as Father Denis Holm - who took over the Coogee parish of St Brigid's just two weeks ago - is concerned, the daily appearance of the Virgin Mary on the headland is nothing more than an optical illusion.

"I'm not putting a great amount of store on the significance of it," Fr Holm said yesterday. "However, if people are experiencing a sense of peace by being there, then I see it as a good thing."

Unfortunately, the sense of peace does not seem to extend to the locals of the beachside suburb as grid-locked traffic and choked carparks sorely tested their patience yesterday.

"I see a fence post," said local resident Henrietta Dean.

"And I have seen that same fence post for many years.

"If all these people want to come to Coogee then that's wonderful but the parking has become horrendous."

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 30, 2003

from The Washington Post

Tim Berners-Lee could well be the J.R.R. Tolkien of the computer world.

Tolkien, a philologist and author of "The Lord of the Rings," created a fantasy world in which characters used languages he invented. Berners-Lee is the inventor who gave us the World Wide Web, a system built on "languages" largely created by Berners-Lee. He's now working on a sequel, called the Semantic Web.

"It is a paradigm shift, like the original World Wide Web," Berners-Lee told scientists gathered at the National Science Foundation to hear his progress report Monday.

Recalling how hard it was for people to understand what the Web was when he crafted it in 1989, Berners-Lee said he's having difficulty again explaining the Semantic Web, for the same reason: "There's this mental leap involved."


from The New York Times

Employing a facet of quantum mechanics that Albert Einstein called "spooky action at a distance," scientists have taken particles of light, destroyed them and then resurrected copies more than a mile away.

Previous experiments in so-called quantum teleportation moved particles of light about a yard. The findings could aid the sending of unbreakable coded messages, which is limited to a few tens of miles.

The new experiment used longer wavelengths of light than earlier ones, letting the scientists copy the light through standard glass fiber found in fiber optic cables.


Senate Considers Ban Affecting Human Embryos
from The Washington Post

Battle lines were drawn anew yesterday in the contentious debate over human cloning as the newly Republican Senate began to consider legislation to ban the creation of cloned human embryos.

The legislative push, spearheaded by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), resurrects a debate that ended in a Senate stalemate last term, but that has taken on added immediacy with recent unconfirmed reports that the first human clones have been born.

On its face, the debate centers on the narrow question of whether to ban the creation of all cloned human embryos, as Brownback's bill proposes, or to prohibit only the creation of cloned babies while allowing research on cloned embryos to continue.


from The Los Angeles Times

A powerful earthquake splits the California desert floor, killing a toddler and crumbling homes. Years later and a dozen miles away, another huge tremor on a different fault rocks the area.

Scientists now believe the two events were related -- and they are beginning to understand how.

In a study published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, researchers say they have directly measured for the first time how strong seismic shaking can weaken an adjacent and unrelated geologic fault.


from The Chicago Tribune

President Bush's proposal for $1.2 billion in federal spending on hydrogen-powered fuel cells would be only the down payment for a massive undertaking to wean the U.S. from foreign oil.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday, Bush said his goal is to make fuel cell vehicles practical and affordable by 2020 and reduce the need for imported oil by making hydrogen fuel available at corner gas stations.

The cost of doing that will be "huge, adding up to many billions of dollars," said David Cole, director of the Center for Automotive Research, a think tank in Ann Arbor, Mich.


from The Washington Post

The Bush administration is hoping that its promise of a guaranteed buyer will entice pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to develop vaccines and treatments to counter bioterrorism threats, officials said yesterday.

The multibillion-dollar proposal announced in President Bush's State of the Union address represents an unprecedented effort to rapidly expand the nation's medical arsenal against deadly agents such as smallpox and anthrax. The proposal has been named "Project BioShield."

For years, American scientists have experimented with creative approaches for combating biological and chemical warfare. But the private sector, fearful there was little market for such seemingly esoteric products, has been reluctant to invest the money to develop them.


from The New York Times

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 - The Smithsonian Institution has named Cristian Samper, a 37-year-old biologist, as director of the National Museum of Natural History.

Mr. Samper, who was born in Costa Rica and is deputy director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, inherits a museum that has been in turmoil in recent years because of leadership turnover, insufficient money and an unclear mission.

The museum's last full-time director, Robert Fri, unexpectedly resigned in May 2001, expressing unhappiness with how the museum's science programs were being reorganized. The museum, on the Mall and housing 124 million biological, geological and other specimens, has had six directors since 1990.


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January 30, 2003 -- Soon after Goth-obsessed Long Island teens partied with skeletal remains snatched from a local cemetery, they returned to the scene of the grisly gala to communicate with the ghosts of those they had disrespected.

"I'm kind of spiritual," said Jessica Wess, the host of the ghoulish gathering.

She arranged the Ouija-board seance in the basement of her Patchogue home because she feared it was haunted by the ghosts of Elmer Grandin, Eva Adams Grandin and Jason Melvin Adams.

Elmer Grandin's ossified body - dressed in a Darth Vader mask - and the skulls of the other two were brought to her initial Thanksgiving weekend gathering by Michael Herz, 18; Michael Sossi, 17; and Patrick O'Rourke, 19, Suffolk cops say.

"Look what we got down the road," Herz allegedly told Wess and the rest of the group as he displayed the bodies at the first party.

"I was freaking out," Wess told The Post. "I said to him, 'How could you do that? What kind of person are you?' "

Herz's reply: "It's funny."

Besides the bodies, the party featured a big bottle of Jack Daniel's, Wess said.

Days later, worried about the bad karma of having had the corpses in her basement, Wess arranged the seance.

A friend communicated with the ghosts on Wess's behalf and "said that Elmer forgave her . . . and that Eva didn't answer. But Jason didn't forgive her," recalled a pal, Danielle Boughton.

Jessica Wess said she's a Christian and denied any interest in Satanism. Herz and Sossi are charged with cemetery desecration, opening graves and body stealing for taking the remains from 250-year-old Cedar Grove Cemetery in Patchogue. O'Rourke is charged with receiving a stolen body.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Scientists Question Whether Fast Food Is Addictive


LONDON (Reuters) - A steady diet of hamburgers, fries and foods high in fat and loaded with calories may not only pile on the pounds -- some scientists are questioning whether it could be addictive.

Researchers who have been testing the biological effects of fast foods are discovering that they can trigger hormonal changes in the body that could make it difficult to control eating.

"New and potentially explosive findings on the biological effects of fast food suggest that eating yourself into obesity isn't simply down to a lack of self-control," New Scientist magazine said Wednesday.

Fast food meals can deliver nearly the recommended daily calorie and fat intake in one meal. As people put on weight, they become more resistant to the hormone leptin, which is strongly linked to weight and appetite, and a brain peptide called galanin that stimulates eating.

Leptin releases signals to the part of the brain that co-ordinates eating behavior but as people gain weight they become more resistant to the effects of the hormone.

"Their brain loses its ability to respond to these hormones as body fat increases," Michael Schwatz, an endocrinologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, told the magazine.

Animal studies by Sarah Leibowitz, at Rockefeller University in New York, have also shown that young rats fed a high fat diet early in life grew up to be obese adults.

Researchers are also looking into whether bingeing on foods high in fat and sugar cause changes in the brain associated with addiction to drugs.

"Highly palatable foods and highly potent sexual stimuli are the only stimuli capable of activating the dopamine system with anywhere near the potency of addictive drugs," according to John Hoebel, a psychologist at Princeton University in New Jersey.

But the magazine said other scientists argue there is no conclusive evidence that foods high in fat and sugar are addictive.

"Considering the paucity of evidence that fast food is addictive, I think the burden is on advocates of the addiction argument to provide evidence of addictiveness," said Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Pubic Interest, a lobby group in Washington.

Science In the News

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

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Today's Headlines - January 29, 2003

from The Washington Post

On most days, Virginia Garner forgets she has cancer. "I feel great. I don't even remember I'm sick," said Garner, 57, a Claremont, Calif., high school English teacher who has been fighting leukemia for six years.

Garner's life was far different just a few years ago. She had lost all her hair, dropped more than 30 pounds, and was so weak she could barely make it across a parking lot. Sores in her mouth were so bad she could barely talk. Her husband had to liquefy her food in a blender so she could eat. "It was a miserable existence," she said.

Today, Garner's life has been returned to her. She is back in her classroom and spending time enjoying her husband and two dogs. The only reminder of her cancer is the six yellow capsules she swallows every morning with a bowl of cereal or a piece of toast -- the new drug, called Gleevec, that has kept her leukemia in check for more than three years.


from The New York Times

Eleven inches could be a matter of life and death.

So the designers of the new 7 World Trade Center, planned by Silverstein Properties, have called for fire stairs 66 inches wide, rather than the 55 inches specified by the New York code for such a building. They say that will allow room for two-way traffic: occupants going down and firefighters coming up.

As one of the first office towers designed from scratch since the attack on New York, 7 World Trade Center is a 52-story laboratory of ideas about how extra safety measures can be incorporated into the fiber of a building.


PIKE COULD DEVASTATE FISHERIES Scientists say predator could devastate Delta
from The San Francisco Chronicle

A predator fish that could endanger salmon and other fish populations throughout Northern California has survived efforts to poison it and has multiplied to alarming levels, according to the state Department of Fish and Game.

State biologists captured and killed 17,635 northern pike last year at Lake Davis near Portola (Plumas County), according to Fish and Game. That is up from 6,358 in 2001 and 600 in 2000.

Scientists fear that if this invasive, nonnative fish escapes downstream from Lake Davis, it could multiply further and take over the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in similar fashion, threatening fisheries and endangered species.


from The Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON -- To wake parents up to the importance of snoozing, sleep experts warned Tuesday that seemingly energetic children who dodge bedtime for other activities are more prone to injury, poor school performance and crankiness.

"A tired child is an accident waiting to happen," said Dr. Carl Hunt, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Institutes of Health.

Many children with chronic sleep deprivation may not seem tired and may even appear to be overactive.


from The New York Times

IRRADIATED beef may be coming soon to your local school cafeteria.

The farm bill that was passed last May directs the Agriculture Department to buy irradiated beef for the federal school lunch program. It will be up to local school districts to decide if they want it.

Americans have been reluctant to buy food that is irradiated, a process that uses electrons or gamma rays to kill harmful bacteria like salmonella and E. coli 0157:H7, which cause food poisoning. Some people fear, wrongly, that the food is radioactive. Others are concerned that the process hasn't been tested well. They may be correct.

Based on European studies showing the formation of cancer-causing properties in irradiated fat, the European Union, which allows irradiation only for certain spices and dried herbs, has voted not to permit any further food irradiation until more studies have been done.


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Some Nasty Performances in Oklahoma


During Oklahoma's adoption of science textbooks in 1999, the State Textbook Committee staged a dirty little sideshow -- and Pearson Education decided to display its contempt for students, for education, and for simple honesty.

William J. Bennetta

Oklahoma is an "adoption state." It is one of 22 states, most of them in the South or the West, in which state agencies control the evaluation, selection and adoption of the textbooks that will be used in public schools. In Oklahoma, the agency that performs the evaluating and selecting and adopting is the Oklahoma State Textbook Committee.

Oklahoma law says that the State Textbook Committee shall comprise thirteen persons, all appointed by the governor. Twelve members must be employees of public schools, and a majority of those twelve must be classroom teachers. The thirteenth member must be a layman "having at least one child in the public schools of Oklahoma." The declared function of the Committee is to "select textbooks or series of textbooks for each subject, which are in its judgment satisfactory." The Committee must carry out "careful consideration of all the books presented [by publishers]" and must select for adoption "those which, in the opinion of the Committee, are best suited for the public schools in this state." The Committee may engage consultants, but the consultants must be "regular classroom teachers."

These prescriptions constitute a recipe for farce. Though the Committee is supposed to judge books in history, mathematics, biology, chemistry and many other subjects, there is little chance that the Committee ever will have a member (or will be able to engage a consultant) who possesses professional knowledge of any of those subjects. Hence there is little chance that the Committee ever will have a member (or will be able to engage a consultant) who is qualified to evaluate the treatment that is accorded to any of those subjects in a schoolbook.

In practice, Oklahoma adoptions are indeed farcical. The State Textbook Committee's proceedings serve chiefly to celebrate the invention of the rubber stamp, and the Committee commonly approves textbooks that any competent agency would immediately consign to the trash heap.

In November 1999 the Committee finished one if its celebrations by approving hundreds of books and other instructional items that publishers had submitted, but this time the spectacle included a dirty little sideshow: The Committee decided to enlist the publishers of certain books in a scheme for promoting fundamentalist religion in Oklahoma's public schools -- and Pearson Education, one of the biggest schoolbook outfits in the United States, decided to cooperate with the Committee and to help the Committee distribute religious claptrap to Oklahoma students.

Although these things happened in 1999 during an adoption in Oklahoma, they sprang from an event that had taken place in 1995 in Alabama. Here is the story.

Predicting all good things for the ever-amazing Kreskin

From: Terry W. Colvin


Mentalist has been confounding minds for more than 40 years
Alan Kellogg
The Edmonton Journal

Saturday, January 25, 2003

CREDIT: Ian Scott, The Journal

Kreskin will be straining his brain tonight at 9:30 at Cowboys Country Saloon.

In a world of constant sorrow, where daily vississitudes bob us around the tidal flats of endeavour like so many empty Javex bottles, George Joseph Kresge Jr. has been a constant in my life.

For more than two decades, through failed marriages and career setbacks, parental disappointments and brief, flickering moments of triumph, I could always count on a yearly Christmas card postmarked West Caldwell, New Jersey. I took it as a bad omen when one didn't arrive last month, and wondered if that meant something untoward was about to happen to me, or had already befallen George, better known to the planet at large as The Amazing Kreskin, for 40 years the world's most famous mentalist. Imagine my relief when I later read the Man Himself was appearing back in Edmonton this very night, if at the somewhat unlikely venue of a west end nightclub called Cowboys.

Kreskin in spurs? Anyway, there was the familiar voice on the line from deepest Essex County, N.J. earlier this week, offering apologies.

Kreskin is a loyal soul, remembering every kind word dispensed by the media over the years, and I am certainly not alone in my unwavering admiration. On his agent's Website, you'll find testimonials for his act from the normally crusty likes of Mike Wallace, Bruce Willis and Phil Donahue -- not to mention a rave from the president of the Ohio Pharmacists Association. "I send out 2,000 cards every year (so much for that special feeling) and I go over each one personally. Others were missed this year and I'm so sorry.

It has been rough lately. My mother, who would have been 96 (and who has always lived with her son) passed last year. There have been lapses." Without pausing for air, Kreskin brightens. "Have you seen my commercial!"

We have, for AFLAC insurance, where the Amazing Mr. K shares the stage with the company mascot, a big white duck that quacks sardonically. It's a hot spot on American TV, and the big news this month at www.amazingkreskin.com.

"One thing I regret is that I'll never be able to eat one of my favourite meals, roast duck. After a recent show, one of my fans who knows I'm half Polish brought back some Polish food, perogies, all my favourities backstage. When I found out one of the dishes was made with duck's blood I almost threw up."

Other recent triumphs include his annual predictions, which have become a New Year's Day staple on CNN. Sometimes, as in last year, his surmises are big news. The revelation that Rudy Giuliani would succeed W. Bush as president in 2008 made the front page of the New York Times. Sometimes not.

Kreskin's recent prediction that Hawaiian music would make a huge comeback in 2003 hasn't caused much of a ripple outside of a few threadbare Tiki lounges in Waikiki. Video conferencing will be big this year, too, he says confidently, and mark his words, fellow Jerseyite Martha Stewart will "become a folk hero."

One year he nailed all 12 major Oscar winners, but offers no picks for next month. Too much work, he says, as it involves poring over hundreds of reviews. "I did predict the comeback of the musical, and look at the past two years, with Moulin Rouge and now Chicago." For 2003, he restricts his cinematic prognostications to a single area. "We are so overstimulated, so jaded, I predict the black and white movie will return -- possibly as a movie within a movie, but return just the same." Amazing, since Pedro Almodovar's recent Golden Globe winner Talk to Her contains a six-minute B&W silent movie segment. "I haven't heard of that one," says Kreskin, writing the name down. He worked 311 dates last year -- down from 342 in '01 -- and will soon mark 4.8 million kilometres in the air, "more than any commercial pilot flying." He warned of increased terrorism the year before 9/11 (see Web site) and is miffed at the current security mania. "If they don't check everyone, what's the point?" Iraq isn't the big problem, he says, but "China, the sleeping giant."

Mentalists have worries too. Kreskin, who just turned 68, laments our "socially dysfunctional society, where people sit behind computers for hours without real human contact."

He feels " the biggest tragedy, the greatest evil, is greed." While "not a supporter of organized crime," he says Vegas was better when the Mafia ran the show. "And we need them back, because the corporations that control things now have forgotten the human equation, and have to squeeze every penny out for shareholders. That's a sad commentary."

As to his legacy, Kreskin points to his de-bunking crusades. Not only does he reject any notion of supernatural powers -- consulting psychics to find the latest missing media poster girl Laci Peterson are "a waste of time" -- but he also says there is no such thing as "hypnosis." For Kreskin, it's all about the power of suggestion, and how that power is underrated.

All of which makes his act -- he'll find his hidden paycheque somewhere in the room tonight as usual -- all the more, well, amazing. In a world gone mad, there is something comforting about a man with big glasses who can guess the number you're thinking, year after year. Forever young, Kreskin -- long may you concentrate.


Kreskin predicts 2003 headlines

Tuesday, December 31, 2002 Posted: 2:11 PM EST (1911 GMT)

The Amazing Kreskin foretells that former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will win the White House in 2008.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- As 2002 drew to a close, the Amazing Kreskin spoke Tuesday to CNN Anchor Carol Lin about what the new year will bring.

KRESKIN: How are you, Carol?

LIN: I'm doing great. But you already knew that, didn't you?

KRESKIN: Yes, I should have known that. Do you realize this is a decade -- this is the 10th year that [we've been] doing this? You folks came to me 10 years ago with this crazy idea. I'm a thought reader, not a fortuneteller.

But we've gotten some extraordinary responses.

I have to quickly mention, because I still feel the same way about [former New York Mayor Rudolph] Giuliani, and I said last year, it will not be the next term but the following presidential election, I am convinced he will run, and I think he will win. And when I said this last year, Page One, front page of The New York Times had this as a story, and maybe even here we're making headlines.

LIN: What is amazing about your prediction -- I wouldn't be surprised if he ran for office again, but you said he's going to run on the Democratic ticket.

KRESKIN: Well, he will be offered -- he will be offered the Democratic vote, and there will be a tremendous attempt to tempt him. I don't think it's going to work because I think he's loyal to his party. But you want to know something? He is a person of all parties.

On the other side of the coin, I know this is going to surprise some folks, and while I've appeared on television, on ["The Late Show With] David Letterman," this is not why I'm saying this. I think Martha Stewart is going to within a year or year-and-a-half emerge, and hear me when I say this, as a folk hero. That seems strange. We're a forgiving country. We're not forgiving the Enron people. ...

LIN: A folk hero?

KRESKIN: Yes, and remember that I said this, because people -- now on the other side of the coin, I don't know who in the world his PR person is, I mean, we loved his music, but Michael Jackson is not going to fare as well.

Hear what I'm saying: He's going to emerge in some months in an attempt to do stage magic. Mind you, I mean the art of the professional stage magician. It's going to be so successful that everyone is going to hope he is going to disappear immediately on his first appearance, and then I suspect he might consider or be offered the job in a movie playing Frankenstein, end of social comment. We'll move on from there. I don't mean that cruelly.

LIN: You mean that literally.

KRESKIN: Well, we won't go on.

By the way, trends fascinate me, because in two months, the airline industry is going to announce that I will have flown 3 million miles. That's more than any commercial pilot in the United States, I understand. ... I think I sense trends as I travel.

This is going to surprise everyone: We will see a new interest, after 40 years, in Hawaiian music. Some can say that's a regression. I don't think so. It may be a repression change.

LIN: In what sort of moment did that come to you?

KRESKIN: Well, I've been around the world, and I hear music, and I have an extraordinary hearing problem. My hearing is a high threshold. Noise gets to me. The other thing, the biggest expanding industry, and I know you've mentioned it on CNN, on some of the financial programs, I don't think the public realizes: It is the gaming and gambling industry. The danger is -- when it hits, and it will hit our Internet and our computers, people are going to be able to gamble at home. That is going to present monumental problems because money will go out without [gamblers] thinking.

The other thing is [that] smaller casinos will survive because many casinos -- and hear this -- are thinking, believe it or not, of removing blackjack and all card games from their casino setting because slot machines play faster. ...

LIN: Let me ask you about gambling. Getting back to politics, we were talking about Rudy Giuliani. What about Hillary Clinton? What do your vibes tell you?

KRESKIN: First of all, I got annoyed when I was asked about her and Bill Clinton because they'll stay together, they'll stay together because people are in love not only [because of] what they do, but in spite of what they do. And I think she's going to continue successfully in the area of politics. I think she will become a statesman. There are not many statesmen today. ...

For the Yankees, and two years ago I said on this network, and ESPN mentioned it many times, that the Yankees would be in the World Series, but they would lose, and that season they were, and they lost. This year, it's a different loss. They will lose at the end of the year Joe Torre, their manager for about a decade. He is going to retire, and the man has certainly proved to be a legend.

LIN: Oh, God.

KRESKIN: As far as the war? ... Religious wars have taken a long time.

This could be from 10 to 16 years. But I will say this: With all of my traveling, the worst thing ... government has done to security is add this optional or arbitrary searching of every 10 or 15 individuals entering an airplane.

They are destroying the desire to fly because it's signaling people, "If we didn't find a terrorist in this one out of 10, what about the other nine people?" It's ridiculous. Search everybody or no one. ...

I have a lot to say because I've spent time flying all over the world. I suspect our time is running out. But can I tell you about a prediction in my life?

LIN: In one sentence?

KRESKIN: Very, very shortly, you're going to see me on commercial television with a duck. Figure that out: Of all the people to be involved in that duck, it's Yours Truly this year.

LIN: All right, well, I'll be glad you will be "feathering your nest" along with the rest of us.

KRESKIN: Happy New Year.

LIN: Happy New Year. The Amazing Kreskin, we'll keep track of your predictions.

STS-112 Anomaly


james at sigma04@earthlink.net

As seen at the Yorkshireufo website , it has been reported that the following image has a UFO in it (the center one, the other ones were taken pretty soon before and after the center image). If one were to try to determine if any ISS hardware could possibly be in the location as shown in the image, then one would fail. Unless, that is, they were to account for the STS radiator. (More images from the video segment can best be viewed at the Yorkshire site).

The Reality of Race



January 13, 2003

There's hardly any difference in the DNA of human races. That doesn't mean, argues sociologist Troy Duster, that genomics research can ignore the concept

By Sally Lehrman

Race doesn't exist, the mantra went. The DNA inside people with different complexions and hair textures is 99.9 percent alike, so the notion of race had no meaning in science. At a National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) meeting five years ago, geneticists were all nodding in agreement. Then sociologist Troy Duster pulled a forensics paper out of his briefcase. It claimed that criminologists could find out whether a suspect was Caucasian, Afro-Caribbean or Asian Indian merely by analyzing three sections of DNA.

"It was chilling," recalls Francis S. Collins, director of the institute. He had not been aware of DNA sequences that could identify race, and it shocked him that the information can be used to investigate crimes. "It stopped the conversation in its tracks."

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