NTS LogoSkeptical News for 17 July 2003

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings


Thursday, July 17, 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.

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.shtml which mirrors the daily e-mail update.

IN THE NEWS

Today's Headlines ­ July 17, 2003

CDC: SMALLPOX MAY STILL BE A THREAT
from The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- A top federal health official worries that Americans have been "lulled into a false sense of security" about the threat of smallpox, because biological agents have not yet been found in Iraq.

The need to prepare for an attack is just as urgent, Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday. Federal officials must work hard to explain this to state and local health officials, who have been slow to get vaccinated against smallpox, partly because they do not believe the virus poses a real threat, she added.

"It concerns me very much that people have been lulled into a false sense of security about the smallpox threat," Gerberding said in an interview. "Nothing has changed our estimate about the threat of smallpox."
http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ats-ap_health10jul17,0,5016450.story

MOUNTAIN BLOSSOMS FOSTER WARNINGS ABOUT WARMING
from The Chicago Tribune

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. -- Each summer, thousands of people journey to this mountain town to view wildflowers carpeting green meadows with red, yellow, pink, purple and white blooms.

Here, nature displays extraordinary artistry, juxtaposing the rugged cliffs of the Rocky Mountains with the delicate beauty of wild roses, larkspur, violets, columbine and aster.

"There's a sense of discovery around every turn," says Norm Bleistein, a retired mathematics professor turned scenic photographer visiting this area- -Colorado's wildflower capital--for a fourth consecutive summer.

But something else is going on with nature here, according to a small band of scientists nearby at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, one of the few research outfits in the world devoted to the in-depth study of alpine environments.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-0307170362jul17,1,445628.story

SAME SUN. DIFFERENT VIEWS.
from The Christian Science Monitor

Tell a beach-loving tourist baking under a July sun that old Sol affects climate, and you'll probably elicit a hearty "no duh" and an invitation to describe your stunning discovery to someone else.

Yet the sun's influence on changes in climate - particularly over the past century - has been a topic of hot debate among physicists, astronomers, and more Earth-oriented climate researchers. It cuts to a key question in the policy battles over global warming: How much of the change is due to human influence and how much to natural variations in Earth's climate system?

Climate researchers have reached a consensus - based on measurements and modeling studies - that an increase in human- generated "greenhouse gas" in the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Age has contributed to the overall warming trend during the 20th century.

Several leading researchers reaffirmed that point in the July 8 issue of Eos, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0717/p12s02-stss.html

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Politicizing research or responsible oversight?

http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20030714/05

July 14, 2003

'Mischievous amendment' narrowly defeated in House vote on 2004 budget | By Ted Agres

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Professional scientific societies are dismayed that an amendment to rescind funding for five peer-reviewed National Institutes of Health (NIH) research grants was defeated on the House floor by only two votes last week. The proposed amendment, authored by Rep. Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.), was introduced July 10 during floor debate on the House fiscal year (FY) 2004 appropriations bill (HR 2660), which includes funding for NIH.

The amendment would have defunded research for four NIH grants studying human sexual behavior and one grant investigating human linkages with a panda reserve in China. The measure was defeated 210 to 212.

Howard J. Silver, executive director for the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), a Washington, D.C.–based advocacy group representing more than 100 professional organizations in the social sciences, was surprised and worried that the amendment had gathered so many affirmative votes.

"It's a little precarious," he said. "You've got a situation where you combine the questioning of peer review with grants on studies viewed by some as illegitimate for federal funding, such as research on sexuality. Peer review has been sacrosanct for the scientific community, but it has not been all that sacrosanct for members of Congress and politicians."

"It was absolutely surprising and shocking," added Howard Garrison, public affairs director for the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). "It came up so quickly that our leadership hadn't even had a chance to consider it."

Toomey's amendment would have instructed NIH to shut off and redirect funds for four sexual behavior studies: a study on San Francisco's Asian prostitutes and masseuses, a study of sexual habits of older men, a study on mood arousal and sexual risk taking, and a study on American Indian and Alaskan transgendered individuals. The four grants total around $1.5 million in FY 2004.

"Who thinks this stuff up?" Toomey asked his colleagues on the House floor last week. "And worse, who decides to actually fund these sorts of things? Well, unfortunately, the NIH has done so." The Pennsylvania republican was careful to call these particular grants exceptions to the generally meaningful biomedical research that NIH sponsors. "There are so many far more important, very real diseases that are affecting real people," he said. "And that is what this kind of money could be used for, would be used for."

His amendment sparked a heated debate over the value of scientific research and the merits of peer review. Rep. Chris Chocola (R-Ind.) and Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) concurred with Toomey's criticism.

"Although the peer review process is probably pretty good, there comes a time when you have to say no, when you have to say this money is not spent in the best interests of the American people," Chocola said. Flake added, "The question we need to have answered is not whether this is scientifically based or reviewed, but is it proper for the taxpayers to fund."

But Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.), said that he "reluctantly opposed" the amendment because second-guessing NIH research funding would set a bad precedent. "I personally believe that things and discoveries should be left up to NIH," he said. "In the past, many of the diseases were politicized and funding was totally taken away from others, and I want to stay away from that."

Members of the appropriations committee, which passed the FY 2004 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding measure, spoke against the amendment. Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, agreed "it would set a dangerous precedent and put a chill on medical research if we start to micromanage individual NIH grants."

Regula invited legislators to forward any concerns they might have about specific NIH issues to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which he said "has been doing an extensive review of NIH actions across a number of areas" in preparation for reauthorization hearings. Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, agreed and called Toomey's effort "a mischievous amendment" that should be defeated.

Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), ranking democrat on the appropriations committee, recalled how years ago his former democratic colleague, Sen. William Proxmire, created the "Golden Fleece Awards" to ridicule scientific research studies that appeared to be worthless wastes of government funding. "One year he made a whole lot of fun of a study on Polish pigs. They had a field day with it—funny name, strange-sounding grant. Well, guess what? That study led to the development of a new blood pressure medicine which millions of people use today," Obey said.

"The one thing I came to understand very quickly is that the day that we politicize NIH research… is the day we will ruin science research in this country. We have no business making political judgments about those kinds of issues," he said.

When the roll call vote was taken, however, 177 republicans and 33 democrats voted in favor of the amendment to shut down the sexual behavior research grants, while 165 democrats, 46 republicans, and 1 independent voted to defeat the measure.

Following action on this and other amendments, the House voted 215 to 208 to approve the overall Labor, Health and Human Services funding measure, which would give NIH $27.66 billion for the FY 2004 that begins October 1. The amount matches the White House's budget request and is a 2.5% increase over this year.

On June 25, the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee allocated $27.98 billion to NIH, a 3.7% increase of $1.0 billion over this year's appropriation and $318.6 million more than the White House requested. Senate floor action is hoped for before the August recess.

COSSA's Howard Silver likened Toomey's amendment to efforts by some in Congress to earmark federal grants to specific institutions or individuals. "The scientific community has done a good job of keeping the kind of earmarking you see in education and agriculture out of NIH and NSF," he said. "But it's always sort of like keeping your finger in the dike and water is rushing out at you."

But Toomey viewed his proposed amendment as an exercise in responsibility. "We have an affirmative obligation… to supervise and provide oversight. And when a bureaucracy is making mistakes, we have an obligation to come here and correct that. That is all we are saying." Links for this article

T. Agres, "Budget wrangling begins," The Scientist, June 27, 2003.
http://www.biomedcentral.com/news/20030627/03/

Consortium of Social Science Associations
http://www.cossa.org/

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
http://www.faseb.org/

R.W. Irion, "What Proxmire's golden fleece did for—and to—science…" The Scientist, 2:17, December 12, 1988.
http://www.the-scientist.com/yr1988/dec/prof_881212.html

Biblical verses removed from Grand Canyon

PHOENIX, Arizona (Reuters) --After more than three decades at the Grand Canyon, three bronze plaques inscribed with biblical passages have been removed by U.S. park officials over concern that the religious messages violate the U.S. Constitution, officials said Monday.

Officials said they had no choice but to remove the plaques from three popular spots at the majestic canyon's busy South Rim after an inquiry was made by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"They are religious plaques on federal buildings and that's not allowed based on the law," said Maureen Oltrogge, a Grand Canyon National Park spokeswoman.

The plaques are inscribed with passages from the Book of Psalms, specifically, by chapter and verse 68:4, 66:4 and 104.24. The last verse, in the King James Version of the Bible, reads: "O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches."

The plaques will be returned this week to their owners, the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Phoenix, Oltrogge said. The signs were taken out last week.

A statement from the religious group expressed sadness at the decision on the plaques, which they said were created to honor God for the crimson-hued showpiece in northern Arizona that attracts nearly 5 million visitors a year.

"We hope and pray that a suitable alternative location will be found for the plaques, so that they will continue to be an asset to the park and a blessing for future visitors," the statement said.

Oltrogge said the signs had drawn scattered comment over the years, but that officials decided to review the issue after a February letter from the ACLU. The U.S. Interior Department determined the plaques were inappropriate because of the First Amendment precepts on the separation of church and state.

The plaques were put into place by the parks concessionaire for the religious group 33 years ago, set into place at Hermit's Rest, Lookout Studio and Desert View Watchtower scenic overlooks. The group's founder came up with the idea.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Find this article at:
http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/07/14/life.grandcanyon.reut/index.html


Wednesday, July 16, 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.

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.shtml which mirrors the daily e-mail update.

In the News

Today's Headlines - July 16, 2003

WEST NILE SPREADING RAPIDLY
from The Washington Post

The West Nile virus is spreading much more quickly this year than last, raising fears the new infection may take an even bigger toll on people and wildlife, federal health officials said yesterday.

The virus has already been detected this summer in mosquitoes, birds, horses or other animals in at least 32 states, including Virginia, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta reported. At this time last year, about 20 states had detected the virus.

"What is a little concerning is that we have many more states that are reporting West Nile virus this year, compared to last year," said CDC Director Julie L. Gerberding. At least four human cases have been confirmed -- three in Texas and one in South Carolina. A suspected fifth human case is being investigated. No deaths have been reported this year.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61256-2003Jul15.html

TENTH OF H.I.V. CASES IN A STUDY IN EUROPE ARE RESISTANT TO DRUGS
from The New York Times

The biggest study, so far, of resistance to AIDS drugs, to be released today at an international AIDS conference in Paris, finds that about 10 percent of all newly infected patients in Europe are infected with drug-resistant strains.

The researcher who led the study called the level of resistance to some anti-AIDS drugs "surprisingly high." Other scientists at the conference agreed that the findings had worldwide public health implications and made the hunt for new classes of AIDS drugs even more critical.

They said the figure suggested that many AIDS patients who are in treatment go back to engaging in high-risk sex or needle-sharing. It also suggested that an "order of battle" approach to prescribing AIDS drugs, like that used for tuberculosis medicines, should be adopted in place of the current free-for-all.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/16/health/16DRUG.html

QUESTIONS ON MISSILE DEFENSE PLANS from The Washington Post

An extensive study by a national group of scientists raised serious doubts yesterday about the likely effectiveness of some weapons that President Bush is pursuing in his drive to develop a system for defending the United States against ballistic missile attack.

The study, by a 12-member group under the American Physical Society, the largest U.S. association of physicists, focused on a category of weapons intended to knock down enemy missiles soon after launch in their "boost phase."

It concluded that while the boost-phase approach might provide some defense against longer-burning liquid-fueled missiles, such a system would push the limits of what is technically possible. Even more critically, the study found, boost-phase weapons would likely prove entirely ineffective against faster, solid-fueled missiles that potential adversaries -- notably, North Korea and Iran -- are projected by U.S. intelligence analysts to possess within the next 10 to 15 years.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A61235-2003Jul15.html

3 MORE BIOTECH FIRMS FILE SUIT AGAINST COLUMBIA OVER PATENT
from The New York Times

Columbia University is coming under increasing legal attack from biotechnology companies, which accuse it of illegally trying to extend the life of a patent that has brought the institution hundreds of millions in revenue.

Three companies — Biogen, Genzyme and a subsidiary of Abbott Laboratories — joined to sue Columbia yesterday in United States District Court in Boston. The lawsuit follows one filed in Los Angeles last month by Amgen, the nation's largest biotechnology company, and another filed in San Francisco in April by Genentech, the second largest.

The suits say Columbia abused the patent system by obtaining a new patent covering the same invention that an expired patent had covered. The suits seek to invalidate the new patent and establish that the companies do not owe any more money to Columbia.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/16/science/16COLU.html

TWO STUDIES LINK CHILD CARE TO BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS
from The New York Times

With findings that are bound to rekindle the debate over its effects on children, two studies being published today build on evidence that those who spend long hours in child care may experience more stress and are at increased risk of becoming overly aggressive and developing other behavior problems.

One of the studies found that the more time children spent in child care, the more likely they were to be disobedient and have trouble getting along with others, though it suggested that factors like a mother's sensitivity to the child's needs could moderate that outcome.

This report is from the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development, the largest long-term study of child care in the United States, which was undertaken by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. The findings elaborate on preliminary research that created a storm of debate when presented by the study's investigators at a child development meeting two years ago.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/16/science/16CHIL.html

NOAA CENTER TO STUDY INVASIVE SPECIES
from The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- From snakehead fish in Maryland to zebra mussels in the Great Lakes, invasions by foreign species are a growing problem.

To better understand and control the invaders, the government is opening a new center to study these species, and U.S. and foreign researchers are working together to share data.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday it is establishing a new National Center for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"Each year, aquatic invasive species wreak billions of dollars in damages on the U.S. economy, much of which is passed on to the consumer," said NOAA Administrator Conrad C. Lautenbacher.
http://www.newsday.com/news/science/wire/sns-ap-invasive-species,0,4421273.story

EPA CRITICIZED ON CONTAMINANTS DECISION
from The Los Angeles Times

The Environmental Protection Agency has decided not to add any new contaminants to the list of substances regulated in drinking water, angering conservation groups who assert that the EPA's own scientific research shows that the rocket fuel ingredient perchlorate presents a public health threat.

Perchlorate, a type of salt used by the U.S. government to help power the space shuttle, missiles and munitions, has become a pressing concern in California amid evidence showing its widespread presence in the state's water supplies. The Colorado River, the main water source for millions of Californians and most of the nation's winter vegetable farms, is tainted with perchlorate that is seeping from a former rocket fuel factory.

State and federal environmental officials have determined that perchlorate may cause health problems, even in trace amounts. Because it is known to affect the production of thyroid hormones, which are critical to early brain development, government researchers believe perchlorate exposure may be especially dangerous for pregnant women and young children.
http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-na-epa16jul16,1,7184777.story?coll=la-news-science

Fossil of 'Nessie monster' trips up pensioner

By Tom Peterkin
(Filed: 16/07/2003)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/07/16/ness16.xml&sSheet=/news/2003/07/16/ixhome.html

The fossilised remains of a long-necked, carnivorous sea reptile, which existed 150 million years ago, have been found in Loch Ness.

The discovery of four perfectly preserved vertebrae of a plesiosaur - the prehistoric creature most commonly associated with modern "Nessie" sightings - has led to claims that the fossil represents the first evidence of an original Loch Ness Monster.

The fossil, which is set in grey limestone, complete with spinal chord and blood vessels, was found in shallow water by Gerald McSorley, 67, a retired scrap merchant from Stirling.

Mr McSorley said: "I literally tripped over the fossil in the water. When I put my hands down to steady myself I saw something unusual and picked it up.

"Once I had cleaned off about an inch of green algae, and I could see the texture of the bone, it became clear I had an important fossil."

Scientists at the National Museum in Scotland confirmed yesterday that the fossil - the first of its kind to be found at Loch Ness - proved that a 35ft "monster" once lived in the area.

Lyall Anderson, a curator at the National Museum of Scotland, said: "Professional palaeontologists go out looking for things like this and usually find nothing. Mr McSorley is to be congratulated on a very good find."

Many of the contemporary photographs, reconstructions and sightings of Nessie have been reminiscent of the long neck, broad body and giant paddles of the plesiosaur.

Dr Anderson said: "The plesiosaur is the image people have of the Loch Ness Monster."

The find has excited Nessie hunters, who believe that it supports their belief that a similar beast still lurks within the loch, even though the remains date from the Jurassic and Cretaceous period.

Why We Die, Why We Live: A New Theory on Aging

July 15, 2003 By NICHOLAS WADE

As you write yet another check to cover your children's ruinous college bills, there is definitely a bright side to consider: if you weren't doing this, you'd long since be dead.

This cheerful insight comes courtesy of the evolutionary theory of aging. The theory holds that animals generally die shortly after reproducing because extra life would not lead to more surviving offspring, the only criteria for success in evolution's playbook. Species that provide parental care, however, can escape the usual curtain call for a time because in them natural selection has a basis to favor genes that promote post-reproductive longevity - the so-called grandmother effect.

This theory, developed by William Hamilton and others, has become the classic explanation of the way evolution tunes the genes that shape the life cycle of each species. But there are various features of the human life cycle it does not explain well: why juvenile mortality is bunched into the first years of life and then declines, for one.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/15/science/15AGIN.html?ex=1059288174&ei=1&en=f23c81d8ad6adf3d

Tom Cruise's Relative Helped on Scientology Screenplay

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,91929,00.html

Yesterday I told you how People magazine had succumbed to promoting Scientology in exchange for an interview with poster boy Tom Cruise.

Now comes word from my sources that Cruise's former father-in-law helped screenwriters with a script about Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

According to my sources, Phil Rogers, the father of actress Mimi Rogers, was the advisor on a secret script written for HBO by John Stockwell and Nancy Stoddart. The screenplay, called Immortal Thetan, chronicled the life and death of Hubbard. It was commenced in 1997 and finished in 1999.

Rogers' participation is said to have caused a rift with his daughter. Phil Rogers left Scientology after Hubbard's death and the installation of a new regime. Mimi Rogers is said to be part of that new regime. She was raised in Scientology and is said to have become an "auditor" at age 14. She married Cruise in 1987 soon after he became a Scientologist.

What happened to Immortal Thetan was a confluence of changing execs at HBO and a fear of retaliation from the notoriously vindictive tax-exempted group.

Stockwell and Stoddart are said to have a polished and ready-to-go script, but no studio fearless enough to make the deal.

China's 'Loch Ness Monster' Resurfaces

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=573&ncid=757&e=5&u=/nm/20030715/od_nm/life_china_monster_dc

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's legendary "Lake Tianchi Monster" has surfaced anew, with local officials reporting sightings of as many as 20 of the mysterious and unidentified creatures in a lake near North Korea (news - web sites).

Sightings of the strange beast -- China's version of the "Loch Ness Monster" -- date back more than a century, but like Scotland's famed "Nessie" reports vary and remain unconfirmed.

On the morning of July 11, several local government cadres caught sight of a school of mysterious creatures swimming through the lake in the Changbai mountains, in northeastern Jilin province, the Beijing Youth Daily said on Tuesday.

"Within about 50 minutes, the monsters appeared five times," it quoted one of the officials, provincial forestry bureau vice-director Zhang Lufeng, as saying. "At times there was one, at times there were several. The last time, there was as many as about 20."

He said the creatures, two to three kilometers (1.25-2 miles) in the distance, appeared only as white or black spots. But from the ripples in the water, he and others determined the spots were "living beings."

Officials were not reachable for comment.

In 1903, according to local records, a creature resembling a huge buffalo with a deafening roar sprang out of the water and attempted to attack three people before one them shot it in the belly six times. The beast roared and disappeared back into the water.

A more recently documented sighting compared the head of the monster to that of a human -- except with big round eyes, a protruding mouth and a neck 1.2 to 1.5 meters long. It also had a white ring separating its neck and torso and smooth, gray skin.

Family Believes White Spot In Photos Is Boy's Guardian Angel

http://www.newsnet5.com/news/2331915/detail.html

CINCINNATI, Posted 6:33 p.m. EDT July 14, 2003 -- In the movie "The Sixth Sense," a young boy said he saw dead people. In Cincinnati, a boy said he could see angels.

NewsChannel5 reported that the boy, Ryan Reynolds, died in April from a brain tumor. Before he died, he told his mother he had a great time at a family picnic because he was surrounded by his guardian angels.

"My parents died way before he was ever born, and he said, 'Mommy, your mommy and daddy,'" said Shirley Reynolds, Ryan's mother. "I said, 'Yeah, what about them?' He said, 'Is that them in the picture on the wall?' And I said 'Yes.'And he said, 'Mom, I just wanted you to know, they're both OK.' He said, 'They're just as pretty as they are in that picture, except they have wings and they're waiting for me.'"

Three different cameras using three different kinds of film were developed at three different places and all had the same transparent white shapes.

Copyright 2003 by NewsNet5. All rights reserved.


Tuesday, July 15, 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.

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.shtml which mirrors the daily e-mail update.

IN THE NEWS

Today's Headlines – July 15, 2003

DRUG MAY HELP SHRINK TUMORS
from Newsday

Arthritis remedy Celebrex can boost the effectiveness of chemotherapy for lung cancer, shrinking tumors and cutting off their blood supply, Manhattan scientists report in a study published today.

The small research project, which involved patients with the most common form of the cancer, marks the first time the widely used arthritis medication has proved effective against active tumors. Previous studies suggested the drug is effective at inhibiting cancer development before it starts. In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration licensed Celebrex as a preventive for patients with a rare genetic condition in which pre- cancerous polyps develop into colorectal cancer.

The study is the second this year to validate the concept of blocking the growth of tumor blood vessels, known as anti-angiogenesis. In June, a drug targeting colorectal cancer, was shown effective in extending patient survival when used with standard treatment.

Dr. Nasser Altorki, a professor at Weill Cornell Medical College and the study's chief investigator, reports the lung cancer study in today's Journal of Clinical Oncology.
http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ny-hscanc153372167jul15,0,7713598.story

NASA LAB TESTS TELESCOPE MIRROR
from The Associated Press

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The mission: to build a telescope mirror capable of detecting the first light of the universe that burst forth about 11 billion years ago, but is invisible to human eyes.

And, while you're at it, make the mirror capable of soaring almost a million miles from the Earth, but sturdy enough that it bends less than the width of a human hair.

Sound like science fiction? In a tucked-away workspace at Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA technicians are testing two prototypes for a mirror designed to do just that.
http://www.latimes.com/news/science/wire/sns-ap-exp-space-telescope,1,3525545.story?coll=sns-ap-science-headlines

MEDICAL FRONTIERS
from The Hartford Courant

Peanut Allergy May Disappear Over the Years

Potentially deadly allergies to peanuts may not be a lifelong affliction, according to a new study...

Early End of Eggs

Researchers have found a mutation in mice that causes premature menopause, a condition that affects about one out of every 100 women in their 30s...

Tit for Tat, Explained

Children who smack another child and get a smack back in return inevitably say they were hit harder. And they may be right, according to a study published in the current issue of the journal Science...

http://www.ctnow.com/news/health/hc-frontiers0715.artjul15.story

EARLY VOICES: THE LEAP TO LANGUAGE
from The New York Times

Bower birds are artists, leaf-cutting ants practice agriculture, crows use tools, chimpanzees form coalitions against rivals. The only major talent unique to humans is language, the ability to transmit encoded thoughts from the mind of one individual to another.

Because of language's central role in human nature and sociality, its evolutionary origins have long been of interest to almost everyone, with the curious exception of linguists.

As far back as 1866, the Linguistic Society of Paris famously declared that it wanted no more speculative articles about the origin of language...

But new research is eroding the idea that the origins of language are hopelessly lost in the mists of time. New clues have started to emerge from archaeology, genetics and human behavioral ecology, and even linguists have grudgingly begun to join in the discussion before other specialists eat their lunch.
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/15/science/15LANG.html

LEARNING THE SCIENCE OF LEADING
A Conversation with Elias Zerhouni
from The New York Times

Last month, at the end of his first year as director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Elias A. Zerhouni asked the head of one institute to meet with other heads to solicit "unvarnished private advice" and write a report on his own job performance.

"I just got it on my desk," Dr. Zerhouni said, during a recent interview at his office in Bethesda, Md. "I'll tell you what they say. You don't want to hear the good stuff, do you?"

Why not?

Flipping through the sheaf of papers, Dr. Zerhouni read snippets of praise: "Seeks consensus of leadership, respected scientist, extremely bright as an individual, articulates very well the N.I.H. mission and goals, excellent recruiter."
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/15/health/15CONV.html

INSIDE THE PSYCOPATH
from The Boston Globe

Scientists may slowly be closing in on the psychopath.

New research tools, from brain scans to psychological tests, are yielding more sophisticated insights into what makes psychopaths such cold-blooded predators, raising the prospect of improved tests to identify them and possibly even treatment.

"We can treat most other emotional disorders pretty successfully, and we will be able to treat this one soon," said Dr. James Blair, a researcher at the National Institute of Mental Health.
http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/196/science/Inside_the_psychopath+.shtml

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Are White Spots In Photos Sick Boy's Guardian Angels?

http://www.channelcincinnati.com/news/2331936/detail.html

Several Cameras Take Pictures With Peculiar White Circles

Survey: Do You Believe White Spots In Pictures Are Angels?

CINCINNATI, Posted 6:33 p.m. EDT July 14, 2003 -- In the movie "The Sixth Sense," a young boy said he saw dead people. In Cincinnati, a boy said he could see angels.

The boy, Ryan Reynolds, died in April from a brain tumor. Before he died, he told his mother he had a great time at a family picnic because he was surrounded by his guardian angels.

Family photos from the picnic revealed peculiar white spots -- almost shaped like fish -- on the pictures.

"My parents died way before he was ever born, and he said, 'Mommy, your mommy and daddy,'" said Shirley Reynolds, Ryan's mother. "I said, 'Yeah, what about them?' He said, 'Is that them in the picture on the wall?' And I said 'Yes.'And he said, 'Mom, I just wanted you to know, they're both OK.' He said, 'They're just as pretty as they are in that picture, except they have wings and they're waiting for me.'"

Three different cameras using three different kinds of film were developed at three different places and all had the same transparent white shapes.

Copyright 2003 by ChannelCincinnati.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Board's Darwin defenders seek to revive evolution spat

http://www.dodgeglobe.com/stories/071403/sta_0714030011.shtml

Story last updated at 9:05 a.m. Monday, July 14, 2003

Analysis

By John Hanna
AP Political Writer

TOPEKA -- If evolution plays a major role in Kansas politics over the next 18 months, Darwin's defenders -- not Darwin's detractors -- will have revived the debate.

Reopening the evolution debate seems like an odd tactic for two Democrats and three Republicans on the State Board of Education, who are known as its moderate bloc and are sometimes pitted against a more conservative bloc of five Republicans.

Current science testing standards identify evolution as an important concept for students to learn. The board must decide whether to review those standards, and a review probably will bring a new attack on evolution.

But the moderate bloc's tactic makes more sense in the larger context of the ongoing fight for control of the board. The moderate bloc anticipates that defending Darwin helps it maintain parity with conservatives.

"The arena is the Republican primary," said board member Bill Wagnon, a Topeka Democrat.

Split 5-5, the board has not decided on a full review of the science standards. A discussion last week failed to bring resolution, and the board plans another debate in August.

The board revised the standards in 2001, in reaction to 1999 events that touched off a political furor.

Then, a debate over evolution brought international attention to what had been a sleepy backwater of Kansas politics. Before that debate, the board most often received criticism for its lack of visibility.

That low profile persisted even though the board sets testing standards, influences course content, establishes graduation requirements and certifies teachers. The Legislature controls the flow of dollars to public schools, but the board has enough power that some lawmakers have called it a fourth branch of government.

In 1999, the board was two years into an effort to rewrite science testing standards to make them clearer and more specific. A committee of educators wrote proposed standards listing evolution among the most important concept for students to learn.

But board member Steve Abrams, an Arkansas City Republican, offered a substitute drafted with help from the Creation Science Association of Mid-America in Cleveland, Mo. His proposed standards deleted all but one reference to evolution.

Three months later, a 6-4 board majority approved standards de-emphasizing evolution.

The decision did not banish evolution from Kansas classrooms or require teaching of alternatives grounded in religion, such as creationism or intelligent design. But some scientists worried the vote would start those trends, and many saw it as a huge symbolic victory for religious conservatives, including Biblical literalists.

Nor were critics restrained. Bill Nye, the Science Guy of children's television, called the board's action "harebrained" and "nutty." A year later, the American Association for the Advancement of Science released a study labeling Kansas' standards "disgraceful," grading them F-minus.

By the time the 2000 elections came, evolution became, for some Kansans, the standard for separating political Cro-Magnons from Neanderthals.

The board's majority and its backers grew weary of ridicule and being portrayed as rubes. It's no surprise that last week the conservative bloc resisted starting another review.

"Can you imagine all the falderal the media is going to put across this board and this state when it actually comes to fruition?" Abrams said last week.

Even without falderal, debate over evolution continues.

In May, a team from Wayne State University in Detroit suggested chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than to other primates such as gorillas. In June, the Independence, Mo., school district settled a lawsuit over allegations one teacher required students to take notes from a sermon promoting creationism.

In Kansas, five of the 10 State Board of Education seats will be filled next year. One belongs to Abrams and the other four, to members of the moderate bloc.

Abrams easily survived the 2000 elections when evolution was the key issue, so he'd stand a good chance of being re-elected.

Moderates only need to look to 2002 to see what can happen to their bloc when board races are relatively quiet.

Without prodding, their supporters tend to sleep through GOP primaries, something that helped conservatives capture seats from two supporters of 2001's evolution-friendly science standards.

In 2000 elections, the board's 6-4 majority in favor of standards that de-emphasized evolution became a 7-3 majority for evolution-friendly standards. Only two years later, the board emerged with a 5-5 split.

With quiet board campaigns in 2004, conservatives could take another seat or two from the moderate bloc and regain control of the board -- then tackle rewriting science standards if it wishes. With evolution as a big issue, moderates stand a good chance of generating enough hullabaloo to get their supporters to the polls.

That's why the moderate bloc wants to have the board debate Charles Darwin's theory again.

Editorial: Science isn't 'censorship'

http://www.wacotrib.com/news/newsfd/auto/feed/news/2003/07/13/1058073918.15255.0769.0505.html

Some members of the State Board of Education want to know why virtually none of the high school textbooks being proposed for adoption have references to biblical creation theory. That's easy to explain. It's not science.

Calling it "creation science" doesn't make it so. Neither does the sleek new vehicle for Darwinism's foes, "intelligent design."

But Texans can expect social conservatives on the board to try and influence the injection of such religion into the books in the guise of science.

Wednesday the board held its first hearing for public input on high school science textbooks. Fortunately, the testimony was a rout. A host of scientists appeared to implore the board to avoid interjecting religion into science books.

They did so to counter a report by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute advocating the inclusion of intelligent design theory in science books. Intelligent design, which doesn't necessarily track the literal version of the Biblical creation theory, seeks to introduce as science the odds that life could not be what it is without the hand of an purposeful creator.

Intelligent design was the center of a campus controversy at Baylor University when it introduced the Michael Polanyi Center three years ago under the aegis of the university's Institute of Faith and Learning. It quietly receded from view after science faculty denounced it.

Certain state school board members call it censorship to see no reference to creationism in science books. No, that's two things at work: (1) Confining science studies to science; (2) observing the separation between church and state.

What happens now? Though the state school board is prohibited by law from rejecting texts based on content, in the last go-around in dealing with biology textbooks it showed that conservative members could and would operate behind the scenes to influence publishers to do what they wish. That's illegal.

It is fortunate that so many scientists showed up at the hearing in Austin to counter those who wish to introduce religion to scientific studies.

This process is one more test of whether the law will be observed. Employ the facts based on academic consensus. Do not allow political forces to water down science with that which is not.


Monday, July 14, 2003

People Lets Tom Cruise Promote Scientology

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,91816,00.html

From Roger Friedman's column...

The new issue of People magazine is out and contains a five-page spread endorsing a program affiliated with the Church of Scientology.

The program is Hollywood Education Literacy Project, and in the feature story superstar actor Tom Cruise credits it with curing his illiteracy.

But what is barely mentioned is that HELP, as it is known, has been roundly criticized by mainstream educators as a propaganda tool of Scientology.

Also not mentioned is that the not-for-profit Hollywood division of HELP — which is based at Scientology's garish Celebrity Centre -- dispensed in 2001 a mere $100 in grants and contributions. HELP had total expenses, though, of $273,000 — more than half of which was for staff salaries. This is according to the group's 2001 tax filing.

Was People magazine so desperate to get a Cruise interview that they didn't mind shilling for a cult organization? The answer, it seems, is yes. Hidden in the story is the headline that Cruise was not able to read until age 22. The first reading material he had, he claims, was a Scientology picture book. That book led him to HELP and, consequently, Scientology. Talk about burying your lead. You'd think the news that Hollywood's highest-paid, biggest star made it through high school and college as an illiterate would be something even People would question. But they allow Cruise to make this statement without comment, as if it were normal.

People also gives little space to the many vociferous critics of Scientology and of HELP, mentioning only briefly that they exist. This came as a surprise to Carnegie Mellon University professor David S. Touretzky. The professor, who has written an exhaustive analysis of HELP, said, "Fannie Weinstein, the reporter, called me and talked to me a lot. She went out and got all the source materials and did a lot of research. But I was cut out of the story."

Touretzky, who appears on Scientology's many "hit lists" because he's criticized them so much, is the author of a well-known take out on HELP. His findings (available on www.storytech.org) are enough to make the hair of an average parent stand straight up, but People magazine didn't think they were worth including. Touretzky says that HELP is a rigid learning system full of Scientology jargon, lingo and philosophy, and is designed to lead participants straight into the science fiction-worshipping, pay-through-the-nose "religion."

He writes that Study Tech — the HELP manual — "is no more a secular learning methodology than wine and communion wafers are a Sunday morning snack. ... Indoctrinating students into Study Tech's unconventional language and world view, with its implied acceptance of L. Ron Hubbard as authority figure, would do much to soften them up for future recruitment into Scientology itself."

HELP, according to Touretzky, doesn't allow a student to question any of its practices or theories. Yawning or looking bored during a HELP session is considered a high crime. This would seem to be in line with Scientology's insistence that attention deficit disorder (ADD) does not exist and should not be treated with drugs like Ritalin. Instead, students who have trouble concentrating on HELP materials are commanded to keep going over it until it's been drilled into their heads.

The whole matter of People caving in to what is essentially Scientology advertorial should raise some questions this morning over at AOL Time Warner. After all, it was in 1991 that People's older-brother magazine, Time, ran a now famous cover story on the evils of L. Ron Hubbard's cult. The story became a cause célèbre as Scientology sued Time, Inc. and eventually lost. Ironically, none of HELP materials carry a byline, although all of them are copyrighted to Scientology and Hubbard. This, Touretzky points out, is even weirder considering Hubbard died in 1986. The HELP books are dated 1992

Science In the News

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IN THE NEWS

Today's Headlines – July 14, 2003

PHYSICS PROGRAM'S STAR DIMS AT BERKELEY
from The Los Angeles Times

BERKELEY — Here he was, a top physics researcher in a basement lab, where flooding, power failures and minute building vibrations were damaging his long-term experiments.

UC Berkeley's "facilities were inadequate, and they were getting worse," said J.C. Seamus Davis, a 42-year-old specialist in low-temperature physics.

Then Cornell came calling, offering him new quarters and equipment worth up to $4 million. So last year, Davis left Berkeley, where he had taught and completed all of his graduate studies — the place he had considered "one of the best physics institutions in the world."

Once the envy of academia, UC Berkeley's physics department is suffering from what an outside review panel recently called "genteel decline." Though still a powerhouse, the department over the last four years has lost six of about 50 tenured professors — all rising or established stars. They have headed mostly to top-notch private universities, including Harvard, Cornell and Caltech.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-physics14jul14,1,7329687.story?coll=la-home-headlines

MINING BACTERIA'S APPETITE FOR TOXIC WASTE
from The San Francisco Chronicle

Scientists are experimenting with some unusual species of bacteria that can thrive by cleaning up radioactive wastes left over from the Cold War when nuclear weapons plants across the country were running full blast.

The problem exists wherever uranium has been mined, processed and made into nuclear bombs. Almost 500 billion gallons of groundwater -- enough to supply 1. 5 million homes for a year -- remain contaminated with uranium and other toxic chemicals in 36 states, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates.

Another 800 million gallons of waste from uranium mines and weapons plants lie buried in landfills, trenches and unlined tanks. More than 2 billion cubic feet of contaminated sediments remain to be cleaned -- a mountain of radioactive and toxic dirt 2,000 times larger than Egypt's Great Pyramid at Giza.
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/07/14/MN103893.DTL

WORRY OVER A CARCINOGEN SPURS RESEARCH BLITZ
from The Washington Post

Seldom have scientists or consumers been so blindsided by a potentially troubling discovery as they were by last year's finding by Swedish researchers that fried and baked starchy foods contain significant amounts of acrylamide, a known cancer-causing chemical.

In a conscious effort not to be alarmist, the researchers, followed by public health officials, reassured the public that there was no reason to swear off their favorite foods, but they also called for an immediate international effort to learn more about the chemical's effects in food.

A year later, people are still eating French fries and bread and breakfast cereals, and researchers have initiated a broad investigation of how acrylamide is formed in foods and whether it is really dangerous to people.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A46165-2003Jul11.html

ILLINOIS RESEARCHERS TEST EFFECT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON CROPS
from The Associated Press

SAVOY, Ill. (AP) -- The gadgets that rise above a central Illinois soybean field are helping scientists predict what changes in Earth's atmosphere are likely to do to crop yields.

Rings of tubes emit ozone and carbon dioxide, both of which are expected to increase in the atmosphere in coming years. The gases hang over the crops before dissipating, allowing scientists to mimic predicted atmospheric changes.

"The crop is seeing the atmospheric condition we predict for 50 years from today," said Stephen P. Long, a University of Illinois professor of plant and biological sciences who heads the research known as soyFACE.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2003/07/14/national0324EDT0447.DTL

AS WINTER FREEZES, VOLCANOES ERUPT
from The Baltimore Sun

While lava flows aren't likely to replace snowdrifts as winter's signature, a team of English and American scientists says our wintertime is volcano time.

Analyzing 300 years of data, the researchers concluded that volcanic eruptions are most likely to occur during January, February and March. It's the piling up of snow and ice on the Northern Hemisphere's land masses, they say, that makes winter a molten wonderland.

"Statistically, there are about 20 percent more eruptions between January and March than there are between June and September," said volcanologist David Pyle, a member of the University of Cambridge team.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/bal-te.volcano14jul14,1,4058663.story

SUNSCREEN MAY LET IN DEADLY RAYS
from The Baltimore Sun

By slathering sunscreen on yourself and your children this summer, you are fending off sunburn and cutting the odds of at least one kind of skin cancer.

But does sunscreen help prevent melanoma, the deadliest of skin cancers? Remarkably, scientists still aren't sure.

About 54,000 cases of Americans with melanoma are diagnosed each year - triple the incidence of 30 years ago - and 7,600 die of it, according to the National Cancer Institute. And the numbers keep climbing despite decades of widespread sunscreen use.

Some researchers, concerned about this apparent paradox, wonder whether sun lotions may have contributed to the problem. Older sunscreens absorbed ultraviolet B radiation, which is most responsible for sunburn, but did not block deeply penetrating ultraviolet A rays.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/bal-te.sunscreen14jul14,1,7088359.story

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Defending the Teaching of Evolution in the Public Schools

http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/7306_pr87_11292001__doubting_dar_11_29_2001.asp

pr87 11/29/2001 - Doubting Darwinism through Creative License
by Skip Evans

In October and November 2001, the Discovery Institute (DI), a Seattle-based public policy institute, placed advertisements in at least three periodicals, including The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and The Weekly Standard. The advertisement in The New York Review of Books appeared under the headline "A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism" followed by this text:

Public TV programs, educational policy statements, and science textbooks have asserted that Darwin's theory of evolution fully explains the complexity of living things. The public has been assured, most recently by spokespersons for PBS's Evolution series, that "all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution" as does "virtually every reputable scientist in the world."

The following scientists dispute the first claim and stand as living testimony in contradiction to the second. There is scientific dissent to Darwinism. It deserves to be heard.

After this brief statement is a gray box taking up the majority of the page which contains in small print a list of names followed by the names of the institutions at which the signatories work, previously worked, or attained doctoral degrees. In a cleared space in the middle of this display is an area containing the statement to which the signatories attest:

We are skeptical of the claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.

Under close examination, the text of both the leading paragraphs and the statement attested to appear to be very artfully phrased. The first paragraph tells readers that spokespersons for the PBS series Evolution have assured the public that "all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution." But notice that "Darwinian" appears in brackets. That "all known scientific evidence supports evolution" is a different claim than "all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution." Exactly who is equating Darwinian evolution and evolution? In the same vein, the signatories to the second declaration are described as dissenting from "Darwinism" - but do they reject evolution as well? NCSE decided to go to the source to ask the questions.

The Quote
On October 31, 2001, Mark Edwards of the DI responded to an e-mail request for the source of the quote. He stated that he did not know offhand the source of the quotation in the first paragraph but would make an effort to track it down. As of this writing, he has not supplied that information.

Personnel from public television station WGBH, the coproducer of the PBS Evolution series, were unable to find the exact quotation in any of their published literature. An internal memorandum providing background information on the Evolution series to PBS stations nationwide contains an almost identical sentence: "All known scientific evidence supports evolution." - without the word "Darwinian".

Let us assume that this internal memorandum (described on the DI web page) is the source of the quote used in the advertisement. If the word "Darwinian" does not occur in the original quote, why was it added here? In the rest of the paragraph from which the quote was evidently taken there is a discussion of "new discoveries over the past 150 years", including much of the fossil record, DNA, and the process of genetic replication. The paragraph goes on to state that any of these discoveries could have potentially discredited evolution, but they did not. In fact, they have provided even more evidence for descent with modification and common ancestry. The paragraph concludes by acknowledging that there certainly are things about evolution we do not yet know, just as with "all comprehensive scientific theories, from the theory of gravity to quantum mechanics."

We believe that the Discovery Institute intentionally modified the sentence and thereby changed its meaning. The original PBS sentence focused on evolution - the thesis that living things have common ancestors. It would not be equivalent to say that "all known scientific evidence supports Darwinian evolution"; by adding "Darwinian", the meaning of the quotation is changed. Is there healthy scientific debate about the role natural selection plays in evolution? Absolutely, and this is widely recognized. The discoveries of genetics have led to a better understanding of the sources for variation, and the latter half of the 20th century has witnessed a vigorous debate about the roles of proposed additional mechanisms - including genetic drift, gene flow, and developmental processes. These are some of the most interesting topics in modern evolutionary science. But arguments within the scientific community about how evolution occurs should not be confused with arguments - conspicuously absent from the scientific community - about whether evolution occurred.

The Statement
The signatories appear to attest to a statement about the ability of natural selection to "account for the complexity of life" - in other words, a statement about how evolution takes place. Given the anti-evolutionary tone of the introductory paragraphs, a layperson reading the advertisement might well assume that the signatories objected to evolution itself, rather than to the universality of natural selection as its mechanism. But did the scientists themselves object to evolution? Any of them? All of them? Or were some of them only questioning the importance of natural selection? Many scientists - including many associated with NCSE - could in good conscience sign a statement attesting to natural selection's not fully explaining the complexity of life!

The Signatories
The list consists of 41 biologists (over half of whom are biochemists), 16 chemists, 4 engineers, 2 geologists/geophysicists, 8 mathematicians, 10 medical professionals, 4 social scientists, 15 from physics or astronomy, and 3 whose specialties we were unable to determine. Few were from biological subfields associated with organismic and population-level biology - the divisions of biology most closely associated with the study of evolution. None was recognizable as a prominent contributor to the scientific literature debating the role of natural selection in evolution. (The list published on the review evolution web site, which we analyzed, originally contained 103 names. The ads published in the print media contained 105 names, with the addition of the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture, the creationist arm of the DI, President Stephen Meyer and Fellow Paul Nelson, both of whom hold PhDs in philosophy.)

NCSE contacted a sample of the signatories and asked them specific questions about their attitudes concerning evolution, namely whether or not they accepted "evidence for common ancestry, meaning that different species today shared common ancestors in the past," and whether or not they were convinced "that humans and chimps both share a common ancestor."

We anticipated that signatories working for Christian anti-evolution ministries - especially those who are young-earth creationists, such as David A Dewitt, PhD, an adjunct faculty member at the Institute for Creation Research - would answer in the negative, but responses from some of the other signatories were quite revealing. One signatory responded to each of the two questions with "I don't have a problem with this," then went on to elaborate that his "dissent mainly concerns the origin of life." But, of course, evolution is not a theory of the origin of life, nor was "Darwinism" in any of its forms; evolution concerns what happens after life appears.

Although another signatory responded that "the definition of species is very troublesome," he added that "I certainly do accept that SOME (perhaps most) modern species shared at least a recent common ancestor." On the question of whether chimps and humans share a common ancestor, he said, "I believe the genetic evidence is overwhelming for the morphology." Another signatory has elsewhere written, "I am not a creationist and have no reason to doubt common descent."

Therefore, although the signatories represent a diverse range of opinions about the role of natural selection in evolution, the list is nothing more than careful word play - what is known as "spin." Should one draw the conclusion from the advertisement that there is a growing movement of scientists who doubt evolution? Hardly; many of the names on the list are not new to anti-evolutionary activity. Ironically, if one were to conduct a survey of scientists who accepted evolution, the size of that list would swamp by tens of thousands this list assembled by the Discovery Institute!

It is regrettable that the public is likely to be confused by these advertisements and be misled into thinking that all of these scientists reject evolution, or that there is a groundswell of scientists rejecting evolution. Neither is true.

The National Center for Science Education is a nonprofit organization, based in Oakland, California, dedicated to defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools. On the web at www.ncseweb.org.

For information contact Skip Evans, NCSE Network Project Administrator.

November 29, 2001


Sunday, July 13, 2003

PHYSICS NEWS UPDATE

The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News
Number 643 June 26, 2003 by Phillip F. Schewe, Ben Stein, and
James Riordon

THE MESON Ds(2317), discovered a couple of months ago in high energy electron-positron collisions at SLAC, possesses a mass of 2.317 GeV, some 170 MeV lighter than expected, at least according to prevalent theories of quark interactions. Hence physicists need a new explanation of how a charm quark attached to an antistrange quark should have this particular mass. In general, Ds and D mesons are a class of particles, each consisting of a charm quark attached to a light antiquark. (The subscript "s" pertains to all those D's containing a strange antiquark; "ordinary" D mesons consist of a charm quark and a down antiquark.) The Babar detection group at SLAC responsible for the experimental discovery (Aubert et al., Physical Review Letters, 20 June 2003, text at www.aip.org/physnews/select; also see press release at http://www.slac.stanford.edu/slac/media-info/20030428/index.html ) suggests that the Ds(2317) might be a novel particle made of 4 quarks. But a pair of physicists in Portugal claim that in their model, assuming that the meson is indeed a charm/antistrange combination, the mass comes out in the right range if the strong-nuclear-force interactions responsible for the creation and annihilation of extra quark-antiquark pairs are taken into account. Using this model, Eef van Beveren (University of Coimbra) and George Rupp (CFIF Lab, IST, Lisbon) have successfully predicted meson masses in the past (such as the kappa meson, discovered at Fermilab (E791) at a mass of 800 MeV), while in the case of Ds mesons they predict a mass very near the Ds(2317) found already, and another at about 2.9 GeV (yet to be found). As to D mesons, they predict the equivalent of the Ds(2317) at a mass range of 2.1-2.3 GeV (for which preliminary evidence exists), and a heavier one at about 2.8 GeV (still undetected). According to van Beveren and Rupp, both pairs of Ds and D mesons are, in some sense, different aspects of the same underlying quark-antiquark state. (Physical Review Letters, upcoming article, see website http://cft.fis.uc.pt/eef/default.htm or contact George Rupp at george@ist.utl.pt, +351-21-841-9103)

MOUNTAIN-CLIMBING ATOMS. Atoms that are deposited on crystal surfaces, through a method known as molecular beam epitaxy, often form surfaces covered with numerous small mounds rather than smooth layers, if the substrate temperature is sufficiently low. For higher temperatures, an atom near the top of a mound can often move about and diffuse down toward the crystal surface. Conventional wisdom holds that upward diffusion, on the other hand, is essentially negligible. Recently, however, a collaboration of researchers at the INFM-Università di Genova in Italy, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory has found that deposited atoms may sometimes diffuse upward spontaneously, forming faceted mountains that tower over the surrounding crystal plane. Although the formation of faceted nanocrystals has been observed before, these were generally thought to be due to a mismatch between a crystal substrate and the crystal structure of the deposited atoms (for example, when germanium atoms are deposited on silicon, differences in the spacing of the two types of crystals lead to a strain that encourages the growth of large, hut-shaped crystals). The new research, by contrast, reveals for the first time that the crystalline mountains (see image soon to be posted at www.aip.org/mgr/png ) can form even when the deposited atoms and the substrate crystal consist of the same element, and no strain energy is involved. Specifically, aluminum atoms deposited on an aluminum crystal substrate may diffuse upward into crystal structures that rise upward as much as ten times higher than the thickness of the surrounding planes.

Computer simulations seem to indicate that the growth may be caused by processes thought to be insignificant in previous deposition studies. In particular, an atom sitting at the inner corner near the base of a crystal protrusion may jump out of place and onto the crystal facet, or a pair of atoms can conspire to exchange positions as they leapfrog up a crystal slope. The counterintuitive formation of tall nanocrystals via upward diffusion of aluminum atoms only occurs within a temperature window of about 330 K to 500 K, when the total crystal surface coverage exceeds critical values of about 10 or more deposited layers, depending on the specific temperature. The researchers (Francesco Buatier de Mongeot, buatier@fisica.unige.it, +39-10-3536324, and Zhenyu Zhang, zhangz@ornl.gov) predict that the often neglected processes leading to upward atom diffusion are likely to be important for other crystals grown via molecular beam epitaxy, leading to much richer dynamics in the growth of thin films than previously suspected. (F. Buatier de Mongeot et al., Physical Review Letters, upcoming article, probably 4 July)

PHYSICS NEWS UPDATE is a digest of physics news items arising from physics meetings, physics journals, newspapers and magazines, and other news sources. It is provided free of charge as a way of broadly disseminating information about physics and physicists. For that reason, you are free to post it, if you like, where others can read it, providing only that you credit AIP. Physics News Update appears approximately once a week.

Farmer Not Amused by Costly Crop Circles

http://apnews.excite.com/article/20030702/D7S1FK080.html

Jul 2, 11:27 AM (ET)

ROCKVILLE, Calif. (AP) - Wheat farmer Larry Balestra might have trouble getting a great yield, with the crop circles all over his field.

Balestra, of Suisun City, says he found more than a dozen large flattened circles and shapes in his wheat field Saturday - one measuring more than 140 feet in diameter.

"What the heck?" Balestra muttered to himself upon walking into the field and making the discovery. He pulled out his cell phone and told his wife, "You won't believe what I'm looking at."

Balestra says the stalks were curiously bent flat to the ground and the crop circles stretched out longer than a football field, forming various shapes and symmetrical designs.

"The harvester can't pick this up," he told The Fairfield Daily Republic as he held up a broken stalk. "This is weird."

Crop circles first drew widespread attention in the 1980s, when they appeared in fields around the world. Their allegedly supernatural origins were quickly thrown into doubt, however, when people began admitting to creating them.

Balestra dismissed the notion that UFOs might be involved.

"I guess some people have too much time on their hands," he said.

Farm workers that live in a house near the field told Balestra they neither saw nor heard anything out of the ordinary on the night in question.

U.S. News Won't Retract Fiction Presented as Fact

FAIR-L
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

July 3, 2003

In a June 16 editorial, U.S. News & World Report editor Mort Zuckerman provided anecdotes to make the point that nowadays "anyone...can haul anybody into court for just about anything." But Zuckerman's facts turned out to be fiction-- and now U.S. News is refusing to issue a correction.

Zuckerman claimed: "A woman throws a soft drink at her boyfriend at a restaurant, then slips on the floor she wet and breaks her tailbone. She sues. Bingo--a jury says the restaurant owes her $100,000! A woman tries to sneak through a restroom window at a nightclub to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She falls, knocks out two front teeth, and sues. A jury awards her $12,000 for dental expenses."

Zuckerman offered these incidents as proof that society is "rewarding cynical opportunists" and "punishing innocent people, like the owners of the restaurant and the nightclub." But in fact, all they prove is that U.S. News needs to be more careful in checking its facts. As Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz pointed out in a June 23 column, the spilled drink lawsuit and the nightclub cheater lawsuit are long-discredited myths.

The myth-debunking website Snopes.com, which Kurtz cited, traces the bogus lawsuit anecdotes back to a piece of Internet spam from 2001, which listed six separate supposedly outrageous legal awards. "All of the entries in the list are fabrications-- a search for news stories about each of these cases failed to turn up anything, as did a search for each law case," the website reported last year (7/02). The original list, Snopes said, included a seventh example involving a microwaved poodle, which the site suggested had been dropped because "its inclusion would have immediately called into question the truthfulness of the other six cases for any number of folks familiar with urban legends."

Snopes.com also said that the bogus list of lawsuits (sans poodle) had been reprinted in June 2002 by the New York Daily News, which "presented it solely as an e-mail it had received, making no statements as to its likeliness to be real or detailing any attempts that publication might have made to verify any of the entries." (The Daily News is owned by Mort Zuckerman.)

It's customary for a news outlet to offer a correction when it has offered fictional material as fact. But that was not U.S. News & World Report's response to the discovery that its corporate chair and editor-in-chief had cited Internet hoaxes as key evidence in his editorial. Instead, the magazine ran a letter to the editor (7/30/03) from Mary Alexander, president of the Association of Trial Lawyers, calling the anecdotes "urban myths"-- leaving readers to decide whether to believe the magazine's editor or the head of an interested lobbying group about the stories' veracity.

A spokesperson for Zuckerman, Ken Frydman, gave the Washington Post two rationales for why the magazine would not run a retraction: First, "These cases were reported in a variety of other reputable publications, such as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the London Telegraph." And: "Few Americans would disagree with the proposition that there are far too many frivolous lawsuits filed."

So if a falsehood has been reported elsewhere, and you still believe your argument is true, then corrections aren't necessary? That's a novel interpretation of journalistic responsibility.

ACTION: Please ask U.S. News & World Report to issue a correction in line with normal journalistic standards, and to check facts more carefully in the future.

U.S. News & World Report
Phone: 202-955-2000
mailto:letters@usnews.com

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Texas Textbook Adoption Process Heats Up

On July 9, the Texas Board of Education held its first public hearing allowing the public to comment on biology textbooks proposed for adoption. Local papers reported attendance at over 200. Nearly all of the three dozen speakers defended the teaching of evolution against a report that disputed the accuracy of the treatment of evolution in the 11 biology texts being considered for adoption in Texas, according to the San Antonio Express-News. Included among the many teachers, scientists, parents, and citizens who testified on behalf of the textbooks were ten NCSE members.

The report was submitted by the Discovery Institute (DI), and based largely on Jonathan Wells's book Icons of Evolution. The document examined the textbooks' treatment of four of the "icons": the Miller-Urey experiment, the Cambrian explosion, vertebrate embryos and Haeckel's drawings, and Peppered moths. The books were given letter grades, with only one receiving a passing grade of C-.

NCSE has posted on its web site a collection of reviews of Icons of Evolution.

The DI was represented at the meeting by Francis Beckwith, Raymond Bohlin, and John West. West felt compelled to defend the DI after the Austin American-Statesman noted that one of its major donors is Howard F. Ahmanson, a wealthy Californian who served on the board of directors for the Chalcedon Foundation, a think tank for Christian Reconstruction, a movement that seeks to replace democracy in the United States with a Christian theocracy. "Everyone has motives for everything," West told the American-Statesman, "Science is about the evidence."

Bohlin, who also serves as the Executive Director of Probe Ministries, told CNN , "Every theory has its weaknesses, has its problems, and evolution seems to be the one theory in the textbooks that just isn't treated that way." Probe Ministries describes as part of its mission statement to "[train] people to love God by renewing their minds and equipping the Church to engage the world for Christ."

Many scientists spoke in defense of the textbooks. "I'm here to keep outside forces from removing science from science books," David Hillis, a biology professor at the University of Texas and a leading figure in the field of systematics, told the San Antonio Express-News. "The goal [of the Discovery Institute] is to insert a religious and political agenda into the science classroom."

Samantha Smoot, executive director of the public watchdog group Texas Freedom Network, told the Houston Chronicle, "There is a clear, well-coordinated effort to undermine the teaching of evolution in Texas classrooms." She said that religion should be taught in the home and places of worship, rather than in public schools. "Intelligent design is just creationism dressed up in a laboratory coat," she said.

Texas Citizens for Science, a recently formed pro-science education grassroots organization, held a press conference after the meeting. TCS President Steven Schafersman told Matt Frazier of Knight Ridder Newspapers, "It [intelligent design] sounds plausible to people who are not scientifically informed. But they are fraudulently trying to deceive board members. They might succeed, but it will be over the public protests of scientists."

Schafersman was joined at the press conference by NCSE Executive Director Eugenie C. Scott, who told Channel 8 News, "This year the approach of religious conservatives is to dumb down the coverage of evolution in the books by claiming they are full misinformation, errors and even fraudulent coverage of science."

Because Texas represents the second largest textbook market in the country, trailing only California, people in many other regions of the country are watching the process there closely. Compromises made by publishers to appease special interest groups in Texas are likely to show up in other states.

Another public hearing is scheduled for September; the final vote on the textbooks will be in November.

(For links to each of the articles and sources cited above, see the story on the front page of the NCSE web site at http://www.ncseweb.org.)

Skip Evans
Network Project Director
National Center for Science Education
420 40th St, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609
510-601-7203 Ext. 308
510-601-7204 (fax)
800-290-6006
evans@ncseweb.org
http://www.ncseweb.org

Who was Dr. Wilhelm Reich and why has history tried so hard to erase him?

http://www.proliberty.com/observer/20030310.htm

From the March 2003 Idaho Observer:

Before dismissing what you are about to read, consider that the FDA did everything in its power to eliminate the knowledge of orgone energy from the world because, it claimed, "it doesn't exist." If orgone energy does not exist, it is, therefore, not a threat, is it? Rather than ignore this thing that does not exist, the FDA effectively sentenced Dr. Wilhelm Reich to death and, for at least a decade, actively pursued a campaign to destroy all the books, notes and research papers it could find containing the word "orgone." Judging by the government's actions, orgone energy does, indeed, exist.

by Jerry Morton

Dr. Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) is still noted historically for his work in psychiatry and psychoanalysis. However, Dr. Reich's work in biophysics has been stricken from the historical record.

In the mid 1930s Dr. Reich began noticing an energetic connection that is shared by all living beings and had the clarity of mind to not dismiss the observation as unimportant. Dr. Reich called this energy "orgone" and worked for decades demonstrating its laws and studying its various manifestations. His work encompassed 40 years within six countries but in the end he suffered the indignity of seeing his life's work banned in America and tons of his books and journals burned by the U.S. food and Drug Administration per bureaucratic decree. It was a brazen act of censorship that is overlooked today within the texts of history.

Prior to his orgonomic research, Dr. Reich had earned an international reputation as a scientist of integrity. Once, after he had demonstrated orgone energy to Albert Einstein, the famous physicist exclaimed that, "this would be a bombshell to physics."

Dr. Reich spent his last days in prison falsely labeled a quack and a racketeer by the American government and the American medical system.

Wilhelm Reich was born in Austria in 1897 as the son of a rather wealthy farmer and, as was the common at that time, he was home schooled first by his mother and later by a number of tutors. He excelled in his studies because of his intelligence and also, in part, out of fear of his father's horrible temper that would erupt over something as trivial as an incorrect answer in his studies.

Reich's family was tragically dysfunctional and, at age 13, his mother poisoned herself to flee the abuse of Reich's violently-tempered father. Four years later, Reich's father died of pneumonia -- a financially destitute and lonely man. Reich, at 17, ran the farm himself for a short time after his father's death but the property was destroyed by WWI in 1915.

After serving in the Austrian army on the Italian front, Reich began attending classes at the University of Vienna and graduated in 1922 as a doctor of medicine.

While studying for his doctorate, Reich became a protégé of Dr. Sigmund Freud and soon after graduating became the clinical assistant at Freud's Psychoanalytical Clinic where he, himself, became a pioneer in psychoanalysis.

In his book, "Character Analysis" (1933), Dr. Reich detailed a biological basis for neurosis and provided a step toward the discovery of the cosmic orgone energy. During the years 1936-1939, Dr. Reich conducted experiments concerning the idea of airborne infection. He showed that microorganisms form themselves from inorganic material and disintegrating organic substances. He proved where airborne germs came from and demonstrated the absurdity of the commonly held "air germ" theory. It was during these experiments in 1939 that Dr. Reich accidentally discovered radiation particles which he later named orgone.

An assistant had mistakenly taken the wrong container from the sterilizer and heated the substance within it to incandescence. The substance was common ocean sand and, when cultured and inoculated on an egg and agar medium, yielded a yellow growth. When viewed under high magnification this growth was seen as vesicles (he called them SAPA bions) that glimmered an intense blue color that, in time, would grow and then move about.

As he continued to experiment with these "bions" he noticed that when he placed live cancer cells next to them the cells would die. It was during days of observing these phenomena that Dr. Reich came down with an extreme case of conjunctivitis and his eyes became very sensitive to light. He noticed that it affected his eyes the most when he was looking at these vesicles through his microscope.

During the course of this work in the winter of 1939, Dr. Reich also noticed that he had developed a suntan under his clothing and he knew he was being exposed to some type of radiation and it greatly worried him. He used a radium electroscope to test the culture tubes and it gave no reaction. It took a few weeks for him to realize that this newly noticed radiation (that he had named orgone) was present everywhere.

Taking his SAPA bions into the darkness of his basement and waiting for two hours he noticed his hair and clothing emitted a blue glimmer and that the room was filled with a hazy, slow-moving, gray-blue vapor.

Over time, Dr. Reich demonstrated that the orgone radiation was the same energy that the sun gave off and that the incandescing and swelling of the sand had released this energy once again from its material state. He was forced to this conclusion by the facts before him but he admitted having to overcome great emotional reluctance in doing so.

Further experiments showed that this ever-present orgone would be repelled by metal objects and absorbed by organic material. By making a box with alternate layers of organic (wool) material and metal, Reich found that he could accumulate a more concentrated field of orgone. He called these boxes "orgone accumulators" and they had a major role in his experimentation with orgone.

Nearly 15 years later, the American government made an attempt to wipe the very word "orgone" from the English vocabulary, by banning the accumulator and destroying Dr. Reich's books and journals.

Dr. Reich was able to watch orgone in the various forms it would take on within an accumulator. The forms were: A bluish-gray, fog-like formation; deeply blue-violet luminous dots or; whitish, rapid rays.

He was also able to demonstrate and measure orgone with a thermometer and an electroscope as well as with a Geiger counter.

What astounded Dr. Reich was the fact that for over two thousand years the presence of this orgone energy was overlooked or argued away whenever a scholar attempted to describe what he saw.

What Dr. Reich discovered is nothing short of the energy responsible for the biological, orgiastic pulsation of life on Earth (and possibly the universe). Rather than embracing Dr. Reich's discoveries, the collective (politically-motivated) scientific community responded with levels of anger and derision that bordered on hatred; rather than conducting investigations of their own and furthering the knowledge of orgone energy for the betterment of mankind, the (politically-motivated) scientific community led the charge to destroy any documents that even mention the word "orgone." And then the (politically-motivated) scientific community destroyed Dr. Reich.

Though a meticulous researcher and prolific scientist, Dr. Reich saw himself as only a pioneer in the field of orgonomy (the science of orgone) and likened himself to Christopher Columbus. In his book, "Ether, God and the Devil" (1950 and 1951), he said that, as Columbus did not discover New York City or the resources on the west coast of America, but rather a stretch of seashore that was up to that time unknown to Europeans, so he only discovered the orgone energy of orgiastic plasma pulsations. This phenomena, being the common etheric energetic thread coursing through all life forms, represents a universe of discovery of which Dr. Reich located only one small shoreline.

The object of the (politically-motivated) scientific community's opposition of Dr. Reich's work was his "orgone accumulator." The orgone accumulator, a "box" large enough for a person to sit in and constructed of alternating layers of organic and inorganic substances, was used to successfully treat his patients for various maladies. In his book "Cancer Biopathy" (1948), Dr. Reich recreates his carefully documented work regarding the treatment of several cancer patients deemed hopeless and terminal by orthodox medicine. Several of his cancer patients were "cured" but, being the careful man of science he was, Dr. Reich was careful not to declare orgone treatment as a cure for cancer.

After a lengthy harassment campaign by the FDA over the medical use of orgone that began in the mid 40s, Dr. Reich died in prison in 1957.

All of his books and papers were, by federal decree, burned up through 1962 and may have continued on a lesser scale until 1970. The government of the United States had declared that orgone did not exist and orgone was the only word that was necessary to appear in print to qualify the material as worthy of destruction.

During the course of his varied orgone experiments, Dr. Reich touched upon many aspects of science. Among these, the disciplines of medicine, physics, cosmology and meteorology. He discovered atmospheric orgone and noticed that, in the presence of pollutants of various kinds, including electromagnetic emissions, the orgone would become stagnant and cause illness and environmental damage.

Dr. Reich called this "stagnant" orgone, "dead" orgone or "DOR." The effects of DOR would often be that of drought and the formation of deserts.

To counter the effects of DOR, Dr. Reich added long pipes to an orgone accumulator box and pointed it skyward to help balance the atmospheric orgone and bring rain. He called this device a "cloud buster."

In one experiment starting in October, 1954, Dr. Reich was successful in bringing rain to the desert around Tucson, Arizona. Even before the rain fell the newly-balanced orgone had caused the grass to grow a foot tall in the desert. This green spectacle stretched some 40 to 80 miles to the east and north of that city. It took tremendous skill to use the cloud buster because it drew the dead orgone into the device and could pose serious health problems to both the operator and the atmosphere itself.

The ability to safely use the cloud buster died with Dr. Reich and remained buried for half a century. Science, good or bad, historically moves forward of its own inertia-a scientist dies, another scientist picks up his notes and continues where he left off. Not so with orgonomy. It wasn't until almost 50 years after the (politically-motivated) scientific community sentenced Dr. Reich to death and erased the memory of his work from history that a new and improved cloud buster would be developed.

Self-taught bioelectric innovator Don Croft of has recently developed a modern cloud buster he claims is safe for both the operator and the environment.

Dr. Reich touched upon many aspects of the cosmic orgone energy and knew that it would take many people to develop the many potentials of its nature. In 1948 a close friend of Dr. Reich by the name of A.S. Neill stopped by Reich's laboratory, called Orgonon, in the state of Maine. He saw a small motor turning over that was attached to an orgone accumulator. He said that Reich cried out with great joy, "the power of the future!"

When later asked if he had developed that power source any further Reich is reported to have said that his job was one of discovery and he was going to leave it to others to carry out the results.

***

Note: The IO understands the controversial nature of orgone energy. Though one cannot see or smell it, sensitive equipment can measure it. Therefore, it exists -- regardless that the FDA determined it did not exist in 1954.

Our contemporary controversy, therefore, has nothing to do with whether or not orgone energy exists because the federal government's non-scientific wishing it away doesn't make so. The controversy is the modern adaptations of orgonomy and claims by a growing circle of people who believe that Reich's work provided a foundation for positive changes in our embattled world.

One has to wonder if those who worship the "DOR" and revel in its ability to cause misery recognized Reich's discoveries as a direct threat to their globalist intentions. Is that recognition the power behind the campaign to ruin the man and erase the memory of his orgonomic research from history?

The answer becomes obvious when you place into perspective what the government did to Reich. It killed him at the age of 60 for continuing to research, without FDA approval, something it claims does not exist; when asked to prove orgone energy does not exist, it refused to provide the science that supports its claims or the identity of those who conducted the experiments and reached that conclusion.

Those who have ever taken a high school-level biology class understand the scientific method and can determine that Dr. Reich was sent to his death by a government that ignored science to make a political point for all those who may wish to explore orgone energy: Do not.

Most IO readers understand energy; that good energy that produces good things (like sunshine, positive thoughts, healthy food and healthy bodies) occupies higher vibrational frequency ranges and bad energy that produces bad things (rot, disease, unhealthy food and negative thoughts) occupy lower vibrational frequency ranges.

It follows, therefore, that a world saturated in low frequency vibrations will produce a world filled with anger, hostility, disease and death.

What kind of world do we live in now?

Ah, success. Because the U.S. government has managed to keep low, through a variety of socio/political maneuvers, the vibrational frequencies within which Americans operate, our people are sick, angry, frightened and living in chaos -- the environment most conducive to totalitarian control.

Dr. Reich's work evoked the wrath of the baby totalitarian state. It killed him to send a message to scientists that orgone energy is off limits for further study. In the absence of scientists developing beneficial applications for orgone energy, the totalitarian state has come of age.

Now it appears we have nothing left to lose -- the pretense of freedom is gone (all that remains is the illusion of freedom being kept alive in the minds of dwindling numbers of Americans).

As the totalitarian police state emerges, its emissions of dead, stagnant energy from exponentially-increasing sources (both organic and inorganic) is also increasing. Rising to the challenge are groups of people who have picked up Dr. Reich's work and are running with it.

Next month we will continue this story with the adventures of those who claim to be using orgone energy to replace bad energy with good.

A small candle, when lit, can, all by itself, overcome darkness where the same amount of darkness cannot similarly affect light. The same is true when it comes to good and bad energy. That's why bad energy must have outside help from government and its duplicitous minions to prevail.

Those who have chosen to expand upon Reich's work believe they can prove to a candid, if not doubting world, that the following ills can be corrected by the proper application of techniques that harness orgone energy. They believe in their ability to prove how properly directed orgone energy will neutralize bad energy emissions from cell towers, chemtrails and angry people. They also believe they can reproduce Dr. Reich's experiments and bring rain to drought-ridden areas.

Can they direct orgone energy to accomplish these things? My own personal skepticism has been extreme for many months. However, a few things have happened to cause my skepticism to waver and my hope begin to grow.

Besides, we haven't much else to lose. Wouldn't it be marvelous if something as simple as overcoming bad energy with good is the antidote for all the evil which has so saturated our modern world? Isn't it also just like God to set things up to be so simple even his human children can do it? (DWH)

***

Whatever happened to William Washington?

by Don Harkins

As Dr. Reich indicated, he only discovered the shoreline of what could lead to a universe of potential applications for orgone energy. Though we may never know which potential application caused the federal government to sentence Dr. Reich to death and zealously seek out and destroy all references to his work, a clue may be found in the mysterious fall, 1948 disappearance of William Washington.

Reich biographer Harvard graduate Myron Sharaf (Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich [1983]), also pictured in the white shirt in the center of the photo at left [in the IO newsprint edition], claims to have met "Bill" at the University of Chicago when they were both freshmen in 1944. Sharaf explains that Bill began working with Dr. Reich in the summer of 1947 to help him with the mathematics of developing an orgone energy motor. "When he left Orgonon in fall, 1948, he took the motor set-up with him in order to work on further refinements. He was supposed to return to Orgonon in early summer, 1949, but he did not appear, nor was there any word from him," wrote Sharaf.

Sharaf and Dr. Reich checked out some of the stories Bill had told them about his past and previous employment. "None of these stories proved true," Sharaf noted.

Dr. Reich was able to speak to Bill on the phone once in late summer, 1949. Reich, a lifelong student of the human mind, deduced that Bill was hesitant in his speech because he was being monitored by some outside force, probably the federal government, a conclusion not shared by Sharaf. "Washington was never heard from again," wrote Sharaf.

Ola Raknes, Ph.D., had observed the orgone-force motor in action and saw that the theory was valid. Unfortunately, no further research into this area was conducted after Bill left Orgonon. "This would be an extremely important area of orgone energy research," Raknes observed in 1970.

***

We should begin construction of the Museum of Federally-Buried Technologies so we can dream about what the world would be like if problem-solving intelligence was celebrated instead of persecuted.

Did the FDA ban evil's antidote in 1957?

Dr. Wilhelm Reich, MD, died at the age of 60 after serving eight months of a two year prison sentence. Since his death, tremendous energy has been expended to erase his memory from history. One must ask, "Why?"

The following paragraph, taken from the book, "Wilhelm Reich and Orgonomy -- The great psychologist and his controversial theory of life energy," by Ola Raknes, Ph.D, of Norway (1970), sets the stage for answering that question: "The existence of such energy is still contested -- or at least neglected -- by practically all scientists who have not themselves made the observations and experiments, and had the experiences, that form the basis of the discovery. An American Federal Court has even, in March, 1954, in a Decree of Injunction, declared Orgone Energy to be nonexistent, without, however, giving the facts on which the Injunction is said to be based. In a correspondence with the present writer [Raknes] the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on whose complaint the Injunction was decreed, said that experiments executed with the most modern equipment and methods by experienced scientists had proved the nonexistence of orgone energy. None of these experiments has ever been published, and in further correspondence, the FDA refused to divulge the names of those scientists or any of the experiments on which the complaint was said to be based. As Dr. Reich did not obey the injunction he was arraigned for contempt of court and sentenced to two years in the penitentiary. He died in prison after not quite eight months."

Dr. Reich, a world-renowned psychologist and protégé/contemporary of Sigmund Freud, was sent to prison at age 60 to die because he insisted upon continuing his research into orgone energy -- in defiance of a federal injunction that resulted from the FDA's apparently unscientific opinion that orgone energy did not exist. All Reich's books were banned and those that were found were burned by the FDA. Any printed matter that contained the word "orgone" was subject to the ban and burning by the FDA per the injunction. The injunction was still holding in 1970.

The question now becomes, "What is orgone energy?"

If it did not exist, why did the federal government behave so militantly in its attempts to remove all mention of it from the world of print and the minds of people? Why did the federal government give a death sentence to a well-respected old man for insisting upon continuing his studies of something that doesn't even exist?

The federal government has used its authority to ban many viable and useful technologies. Should we accept the FDA's position that orgone energy doesn't even exist or is it in our best interests to take another look at Dr. Reich's work and his controversial theory of life energy? More importantly, can orgone energy be used to help neutralize the negative energies that so permeate our modern world?

***

What is orgone energy?

Dr. Wilhelm Reich was first a protégé and then a contemporary of Sigmund Freud. Most people associate Freud with his belief that the manifestations of being human are directly related to sexual repression or expression.

As Dr. Reich's work began pulling away from that of Freud, he became intrigued with identifying the specific form of energy that made sexual expression possible. He discovered that the formula of function that led to an orgasm was the common formula of function for all biological processes in all living matter: tension ® charge ® discharge ® relaxation.

Dr. Reich isolated the particle responsible for this formula and named it "bion." He was also able to culture bions from inorganic matter and, quite accidentally, solved the riddle of biogenesis: He discovered the mechanism whereby lifeless substances transition to living matter.

He later named the energy that resulted from bionic activity "orgone." It's properties can be summarized as follows: 1. Organic substances attract and absorb orgone energy; 2. Metallic substances attract and repel or reflect orgone energy; 3. Stoppage of orgone energy by any metallic obstacle as well as by a sensitive living organism will result in a rise in temperature

[Ola Roakes, Ph.D, Wilhelm Reich and Orgonomy, 1970].

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An FDA agent who was at the Orgonon Observatory burning Dr. Reich's books and research papers commented in his report that Reich told the agent how his books had been burned in Germany after the nazis came into power, but he never expected it would happen again.

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