NTS LogoSkeptical News for 13 June 2004

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings

Sunday, June 13, 2004

What's the matter with this book?


Kansas native's observations give way to mere screed
By SHASHANK BENGALI Special to The Star

The 1890s saw the apex of populism in the American West, and nowhere did it gain a greater following than in Kansas.

Farmers marched through towns across the state demanding public farm programs, a progressive income tax and an end to the “money power” of big business. The state earned a reputation for fanaticism, prompting a famous 1896 essay by William Allen White, a conservative Emporia newspaper editor, titled “What's the Matter With Kansas?”

In his new book of the same name, author and Johnson County native Thomas Frank finds Kansas' populist legacy is little more than a tumbleweed on the prairie of history. Family farms and working-class communities are hanging on by a thread, he says, while politicians lustily pursue big business with promises of tax breaks and public kickbacks.

Wal-Mart is sucking the life from small-town economies. And the politicians responsible for it all are ultraconservative Republicans who have a death grip on state government and on the minds of Kansans, who want creationism taught in schools but hold out against fluoridation. The radical spirit has turned reactionary.

This, at least, is the Sunflower State that Frank wants readers to see, because although What's the Matter With Kansas? offers an engaging recent history of state politics and some astute social criticism, ultimately it is little more than an anti-conservative tirade. Much of the reporting is sound, but tinted by his ideology, it veers off into a screeching indictment that we've heard before — in John W. Dean's Worse Than Watergate, Joe Conason's Big Lies and Al Franken's Lies (And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them) and other leftist screeds. The only thing different here is geography, with Kansas in the somewhat unfamiliar position of eye of the storm.

Frank, who attended Shawnee Mission East and the University of Kansas, starts by asking why the working-class folks of the nation's middle so consistently vote for Republicans, also known as the party of big business, and support policies that tend to help the wealthy at the further expense of the poor.

He blames “The Great Backlash,” a movement by conservatives to drum up anger at the perceived liberal establishment, and using politically divisive issues (abortion, gun control, homosexuality) to rally their base under the banner of victimhood.

The goal, Frank says, is clear: by creating the impression of a culture war in which the nation's morality is at stake, conservative foot soldiers will fall in line, forgetting that their wages are declining and government help is shrinking and their elected officials aren't doing anything about it.

To see this, he says, look to Kansas: It is “a civilization in the early stages of irreversible decay.” The bitter fight over abortion in the early 1990s badly split conservative and moderate Republicans, and that's when the backlash took hold, he writes. Frank points to the decline of Wichita, the utter blandness of Olathe, the empty storefronts and depressed hopes of Dodge City.

These are places where the conservative wing of the state's Republican Party is strongest, the places that produce figures such as U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt, a fiery evangelical who occasionally scolds the nation for "losing its soul" from the floor of Congress, and State Sen. Kay O'Connor, who gained national notoriety in 2001 for crediting women's suffrage with the erosion of family values.

(With his novelist's gift for characterization, Frank writes that O'Connor “gives the impression of intelligence, choosing and enunciating each word carefully, but she also seems oddly naive, like a person who has sat down and worked out the world's problems all on her own.")

This is where Frank begins to rant. "Kansas has trawled its churches for the most aggressively pious individuals it could find," he writes, "and has proceeded to elevate them to the most prominent positions of public responsibility available." These and other Republicans, he writes, are some of the best friends that business interests could have in politics.

Frank's portrait of Kansas is devastating, and much of it will be difficult for Kansas Citians to swallow. He invokes the metropolitan area's image as a suburban "Cupcake Land," and reserves his harshest invective for Johnson County and its social stratification.

In his depiction, the moderate Republicans of the tonier suburbs — Overland Park, Mission Hills, Prairie Village — live off the suffering of their poorer, more conservative brethren in Olathe and Shawnee. His portrayal of that "second" Johnson County is decidedly gross: "a place of peeling paint and cheap plywood construction and knee-high crabgrass and shrubbery dying in the intense heat and expired cars rotting by the curb."

In somewhat the same way, there are really two different books here. One is a thoughtful analysis of Kansas by a native son, peppered with personal remembrances and an acerbic wit. The other is a liberal outburst, with arguments punctuated not by reflection but repetition. We already have had quite enough of that second kind of book.

Shashank Bengali, a former staff writer for The Star, is a graduate student in public policy at Harvard University.

© 2004 Kansas City Star and wire service sources.

Revealed: Blair's link to schools that take the Creation literally


IoS investigation: Critics voice serious doubts over Christian academies run by millionaire car dealer and backed by PM

By Nicholas Pyke

13 June 2004

A controversial chain of schools teaching Biblical "creationism" has been given Tony Blair's personal support despite serious doubts raised by parents and teachers, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Mr Blair, said to be the most religious Prime Minister since Gladstone, has backed the millionaire car dealer Sir Peter Vardy in his attempt to take over seven comprehensives and turn them into Christian Academies promoting Old Testament views of the world's creation. This includes the claim that it was made in six days, 10,000 years ago. Two of Sir Peter's schools are open already, in Gateshead and Middlesbrough, and a third is under construction in Doncaster.

Last week, parents launched a campaign of opposition to his attempt to control a fourth school through his Christian Vardy Foundation. The protesters are supported by the scientist and author Professor Richard Dawkins, who has described creationism as "educational debauchery".

Mr Blair, a committed Christian, has presided over an extraordinary growth in the number of faith schools, with 80 new Church of England secondaries now running or in the pipeline.

He personally opened King's Academy in Middlesbrough, run by Sir Peter, an Evangelical Christian. When Emmanuel College in Gateshead, the first Vardy school, came under attack for teaching creationism, Mr Blair sent Andrew Adonis, one of his most senior policy advisers, to smooth the issue over.

In 2001, Mr Blair's government approved a knighthood for Sir Peter, head of the Reg Vardy car firm, for services to business and education.

The IoS can disclose that the links between the two men go back even further. They attended the same primary, the Chorister School, Durham, and Mr Blair was a classmate of Mr Vardy's younger brother, John. Mr Blair's constituency is, coincidentally, in Sedgefield, while Sir Peter is based in nearby Sunderland.

Academies are a category of "independent" school devised by the Downing Street Policy Unit in the late 1990s to help revive inner-city education. They are built and funded by the Government, but controlled by businessmen, church officials and other "sponsors", who make a 10 per cent contribution - about £2m.

According to John Rentoul, his biographer and an IoS columnist, Mr Blair is "the first Prime Minister since Gladstone to read the Bible habitually", a man who describes prayer as a source of solace. Although not a Roman Catholic - or, for that matter, a creationist - he attends Mass with his Catholic wife, Cherie, and their children.

Mr Blair has said the criticism of the Vardy schools is "overblown" and is more impressed that Emmanuel College has outstanding results at GCSE and glowing reports from Ofsted inspectors.

This is not a view shared in South Yorkshire. Next Saturday, parents and teachers at Northcliffe School in Conisbrough, near Doncaster, will demonstrate to block Sir Peter's plans to redevelop the local comprehensive.

One of the organisers, parent and youth worker Tracy Morton, said: "Our main concern is that a private organisation is going to have control over our school for an input of only £2m, and that it will have the opportunity to influence young minds. They have spoken about ... bringing a 'Biblical perspective to the teaching of science'."

A spokeswoman for the Vardy Foundation, Sarah French, said the schools teach creationism as part of a range of views. "The schools have a Christian ethos ... All faiths are taught in the school and children are encouraged to make up their own minds," she said. The national curriculum ensures that all children cover evolution, but it does not ban teaching creationism.

Critics, though, suggest that the Christian influence runs deep. The principals of King's and Emmanuel are both committed Christians, while the head of science at Emmanuel has, in the past, urged colleagues to show the "superiority" of creationist beliefs.

Nigel McQuoid, principal at King's Academy and director of schools at the newly created Emmanuel Schools Foundation (covering all the Vardy colleges), has said: "Clearly, schools are required to teach evolutionary theory ... Clearly, also, schools should teach the creation theory as literally depicted in Genesis. Ultimately, both creation and evolution are faith positions."

The spread of the Vardy Foundation schools has prompted criticism from a group of senior churchmen led by the Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries. They spoke of their "growing anxiety" and urged close monitoring to ensure that the disciplines of science and religion are both respected. They do not accept the Vardy Foundation's position that evolution can be regarded as a "faith position".

Martin Rogers from the Education Network, an education think-tank, said there wasnothing wrong with the principle of academies, and that large investment in struggling schools should be applauded. But the lack of accountability was a big concern. "For a very small sum of money ... you can peddle the most appalling garbage," he said.

13 June 2004 15:41

© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

NEW ORLEANS -- Researchers say they have identified the spirits many say haunt a French Quarter hotel.


Investigators with the International Society of Paranormal Research unveiled their findings Friday at a news conference at the allegedly haunted 118-year-old Hotel Monteleone on Royal street. Dr. Larry Montz and psychic medium Daena Smoller said much of their research was caught on film.

"We have identified the ghosts and the tragic circumstances that brought their spirits to roam the hotel," according to a hotel news release. "Some of them are past employees who continue to make their rounds, others are former guests who have extended their stays into the afterlife, and others were in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Copyright 2004 by TheNewOrleansChannel.com

Three Articles about Psuedoscience in Psychology


Transpersonal Psychology
by Patrick O'Reilly, Ph.D.

Reprinted from the Mar, 2004 BASIS

For several years now, I have been curious about Transpersonal Psychology as it has emerged as a legitimate form of psychotherapeutic practice. I have been curious about it because transpersonal psychology appears to devalue scientific inquiry in place of intuition, spirituality, and unproven psychotherapeutic principles. On the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology Studies web page, transpersonal psychology is defined as "The extension of psychological studies into consciousness studies, spiritual inquiry, body-mind relationships and transformation." (www.itp.edu/about/tphtml) The Association for Transpersonal Psychology, on its web page, states that Transpersonal Psychology "combines insights from modern psychology with those drawn from traditional spiritual practices, both Eastern and Western" and that its mission is "to provide a forum for scholars and practitioners investigating spiritual development, ecological awareness, and sustainable commerce in order to promote eco-spiritual transformation through transpersonal inquiry and action." (www.atp.web.org)

After spending a good part of the last year reading about transpersonal psychology, I am not at all certain that I can adequately define it but I'll try. This article is not an attempt to refute Transpersonal Psychology. By its very nature, it is a faith-based belief system. However, it is a faith-based belief system which has acquired professional and academic stature. In the San Francisco Bay Area, transpersonal psychology is taught as a legitimate academic discipline at John F. Kennedy University and Rosebridge Graduate School of Integrative Psychology. It is certainly and absolutely feasible for a student to get a graduate degree in Transpersonal Psychology at either of these schools and be eligible to sit for clinical licensure in California. Once licensed, the clinician can then bill insurance companies, Medi-Cal and MediCare for transpersonal psychotherapy.

Transpersonal psychology advocates acknowledge the discipline's connection, however tenuous, to mainstream psychotherapy but make clear that it is something else, that it actually is more encompassing of the human condition. John Firman and James Vargiu, in their essay Personal and Transpersonal Growth state:

The Western view values most highly the person, who is a strong individual, who can fully invest himself in his activities, function effectively, accomplish tasks, and demonstrate skills and success in handling the practical realities of life however, the Eastern view values most highly the individual who cultivates the inner, spiritual life despite the age-old tendency of people and even whole cultures to emphasize one dimension to the exclusion of the other, the possibility of unifying both has been splendidly realized by certain individuals throughout history. (Firman and Vargiu, 1980)

In his introduction to the book Transpersonal Psychotherapy, Seymour Boorstein, M.D. wrote "Without the transpersonal perspective, traditional psychotherapy gives an implicit message of pessimism, which might be stated without too much exaggeration as 'Know thyself and adjust to the absurd!'" (Boorstein, 1980) My working definition of transpersonal is that it is the term used to describe human experiences that purport to transcend the individual. These experiences can include "spiritual emergency revealed in a crisis, illness and breaking down to breakthrough; in near-death experiences and states of mind beyond 'normal' perception, as in the experience of aesthetic rapture, bliss, awe, ecstasy, wonder and reverence; in altered states of consciousness, such as pre-cognition, depth intuition and transcendence; various states of consciousness generated by drugs, movement and breathing {and} states of enlightenment generated by these, experiences of emptiness, of being at one with the universe." (Wellings and McCormick, 2000)

The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology began publication in 1969. "Each issue contains this definition of the field: Meta-needs, transpersonal processes, values and states, unitive consciousness, peak experiences, ecstasy, mystical experience, being, essence, bliss, awe, wonder, transcendence of self, spirit, sacralization of everyday life, oneness, cosmic awareness, cosmic play, individual and species-wide synergy, the theories and practices of meditation, spiritual paths, compassion, transpersonal realization and actualization; and related concepts, experiences and activities." (Boorstein, 1980)

The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, on its web page (www.itp.edu), states that "far from just transcending our humanity, it {transpersonal psychology} is a process of working through our humanity, in an inclusive way, to reach the recognition of the divine within the simplest definition is that transpersonal psychology is spiritual psychology. It recognizes that humanity has both drives towards sex and aggression and drives toward wholeness, toward connecting with and experiencing the divine."

Some transpersonal psychology theorists see transpersonal psychology as the "fourth force of Western psychology," a concept derived from Abraham Maslow's work. As the fourth force, transpersonal psychology follows psychoanalysis, behaviorism and humanism. Using this model, the four transpersonal dimensions are consciousness, conditioning, personality and identification, with the greatest emphasis placed on consciousness, which is considered the essence of being human. Adherents believe that a vast assortment of different altered states is possible. Furthermore, they believe that traditional psychology is limited because it views altered states as getting in the way of being "normal."

Walsh and Vaughan maintain that conventional psychotherapy is a "one way street" where the client improves while the therapist "grows rich (sometimes)." (Walsh and Vaughan, 2000) Transpersonal practitioners, however, say that they do much more than that. The goal of transpersonal psychotherapy is to integrate Western and Eastern philosophies. Three levels of consciousness are identified as legitimate in transpersonal psychotherapy: the ego, the existential, and level of mind. The ego is our conscious, analytic self, the existential is our meaning of ourselves and our place in the world, and the level of the mind is the key to meaningful transpersonal work. At this stage of consciousness, "the individual experiences the self as pure consciousness, having let go all identification and transcended the 'me-not me' dichotomy, resulting in a sense of unity with the cosmos." (Walsh and Vaughn, 1980)

Although advocates of transpersonal psychology insist that their discipline is not religion or spiritual practice, its own literature often makes this claim doubtful. A leading transpersonal psychologist wrote "transpersonal psychology stands at the interface of psychology and spirituality the core concept in Transpersonal Psychology is nonduality, the recognition that each part (e.g. each person) is fundamentally and ultimately a part of the whole (the cosmos) Other practices that are associated with transpersonal psychology include shamanism, lucid dreaming, and psychedelic drugs." (Davis, 2000) " the term, transpersonal, refers to this field's recognition of a psychological reality that extends beyond identification with the individual personality. Transpersonal psychology stands for the study and cultivation of spiritual experiences in a psychological context and for the inclusion of spirituality and spiritual experiences in psychology." (www.naropa.edu) Furthermore, it draws heavily from religious systems, particularly Buddhism "Mindful meditation, like any other approach, is most powerful when employed as part of an overall program of psychotherapy This approach to psychotherapy derives directly from Buddhist teaching." (Deatherage, 1980) Still another advocate wrote "Thus spiritual healing results when the healer enters an expanded state of consciousness in which there is only the Self." (Wittine, B, 1989)

In addition to spiritual sources, other influences of transpersonal psychology are varied. William James, an early American psychology theorist, is often cited. In The Varieties of Religious Experience, James validated mystical experiences by saying that they were the nucleus of all religion. Many transpersonal psychology advocates insist that James' promising work was not followed up on and that the school of behavior psychology shifted the scientific focus from mystical experience to behavior. Although this contention is often cited, no supporting documentation is given for this alleged shift in scientific interest.

Developmental Spectrum is a term that is frequently found in transpersonal psychology. This means that there is more than one "reality" and that it is limiting for the psychotherapist to focus only on the here and now. In addition to the material reality, there is a progression from psychological to spiritual, and that as the person moves from one reality to the next, he or she incorporates the learning from the previous explored realities.

The terminology of Transpersonal Psychology is derived from several sources, including Freudian psychotherapy, and the work of Stanislav Grof and Abraham Maslow. The overwhelming influence, however, is unquestionably Carl Jung. Jungian principles are an integral part of the discipline and it would be very difficult to imagine transpersonal psychology without Jung.

Synchronicity, a key Jungian concept, is given absolute credence by transpersonal practitioners. Where a science-based psychotherapist acknowledges that a client will occasionally experience and observe coincidence, a Jungian therapist interprets this coincidence as synchronicity, which Jung called an 'acausal connecting principle' to differentiate it from the causality of science. According to Jungian and transpersonal thought, synchronicity is what occurs when "the individual psyche at a single moment, the universe of conscious experience and potential (unconscious) experience is arranged with all of its parts manifesting a potentially meaningful interconnection. In other words, each part or aspect is in a synchronous relation with each other and every other part, as if each were an aspect of one unitary reality

that acknowledgement and utitilization of synchronistic phenomenon are parts of the formal informal tradition of human thought, but this connection has been overlooked in recent history due to what Jung believed was an overemphasis on the rational aspect of consciousness and on a narrow definition of 'science' in terms of materiality and causality .the synchronistic phenomenon implies a bimodal or paradoxical definition of psyche: psyche is deeply personal and individual, and at the same time a 'transcendent' concept that includes the universe of physical and psychological phenomena." (Brooks, 1980)

Jung was aware of the parapsychological experiments of J.B. Rhine. Based at least in part on Rhine's experiments "which alleged that people could discern the contents of various random containers (e.g., a deck of cards), Jung determined that a tense emotional state leads to the activation of a preexisting, correct, but unconscious image that enables the conscious mind to get more than the chance level of hits Jung saw Rhine's results as irrefutable. (McGowan, 1994). Furthermore, Jung used the principle of synchronicity to bring meaning to psi and other phenomena For him, synchronistic phenomena are manifestations of the self-archetype, in turn bringing with them the possibility of a state of consciousness of a larger order The acknowledgement and utilization of synchronistic phenomena are parts of the formal and informal tradition of human thought, but this connection has been overlooked in recent history due to what Jung believed was overemphasis on the rational aspect of consciousness." (Brookes, 1980)

Jung affirmed that the personality was divided into three components: the conscious ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious. "The collective unconscious was the deeper level of experience which was inherited and detached from anything personal, and so common to all men. In the depths of the collective unconscious dwelled the primordial images and ideas common to all members of the race from the beginning of life." (Fogiel, 1989) These images are called archetypes.

Archetypes, in Jungian and transpersonal psychology, occur because "over many millions of years of universal experiences such as birth, pairing, and mating, survival and death have in turn become an integral part of human nature. The archetype acts as a framework for the individual's interactions with the world. Archetypes are the result of humanity's continually repeating experiences to the point where they have become wired into the nervous system. Concisely, archetypes are the residue of our ancestors' emotional life. Archetypes, although presented as fact by thousands of Jungian and Transpersonal psychotherapists as fact, are faith-based. "Though we cannot see an archetype, because it is not a 'thing' but a function, we can know of its existence by deduction as it is evident through its manifestation." (Wellings and McCormick, 2000) There is also a transpersonal psychological belief that archetypes, although purportedly derived from nature, have the ability to lead the person (or client) to higher spiritual consciousness.

We may think of the archetypes not just as a common soil from which we all grow in individual ways but also as common seeds that may be cultivated into something divine. As such archetypes are not just prepersonal, blueprints of universal activities, but also transpersonal essential symbolic potencies that trans-egoic states of consciousness give access to and which, metaphorically, call from our deepest selves. (Wellings and McCormick, 2002)

There are conceivably a limitless number of archetypes but the four most frequently cited in transpersonal psychology literature are the shadow, the anima, the animus and the personal. The definition of the shadow, like so much in this field, is amorphous. The shadow represents the repressed, unconscious desires of the collective unconscious. The shadow can be defined as the feelings one has when one is fearful or frustrated but must, for one reason or another, keep these feelings from being expressed. Hence, they are hidden or are 'the shadow.' Mythologically, the shadow is represented by demons, devils or evil spirits. In Jungian therapy, our experiencing intense discomfort in the presence of someone may be an indication that that person is projecting his or her shadow on to us, not realizing that this person is a mirror of our own weakness.

The anima archetype is the projected image of the female. The anima is a combination of the person's actual experiences with women (mother or sister, for instance) and the collective experience through history. The anima dictates a man's relationship with women throughout his life and helps him compensate for his otherwise one-sided view of others. Women have an equivalent archetype: the animus. The animus usually has the images of many masculine figures, which Jung believed represented the rational element for women. In differentiating the two archetypes, Jung said that the anima produces moods in the male and the animus produces opinions in the female. (Fogiel, 1989) The persona is the front archetype we present to other people. It is a 'mask' that the person shows to others so that they will believe that he or she is a genuine individual, when in fact the person is acting a role through which the collective unconscious speaks.

Abraham Maslow is another major influence on transpersonal psychology, which has very much taken Maslow's concept of "peak experiences" as its own. Peak experiences are defined by transpersonal practitioners as the most important and significant experiences in a person's life and transpersonal advocates see these experiences as being analogous to mystical and spiritual experiences. Maslow wrote that "self-actualizing people, those who have come to a high level of maturation, health and self-fulfillment, have so much to teach us that sometimes they seem almost like a different breed of human being." (Maslow, 1968) In The Psychology of Science, Maslow further wrote: "The ultimate limit, the completion toward which this kind of interpersonal knowledge moves is through intimacy to the mystical fusion which the two people become one in a phenomenological way that has been best described by mystics, Zen Buddhists, peak experiencer " (Maslow,1966)

Still another influence who is often cited is Stanislaus Grof. Grof maintained that transpersonal experiences are those involving an expansion of consciousness beyond the ordinary confines of time and space. (Walsh and Vaughan). He coined the term "holotropic states," which he said are characterized by "a specialized transformation of consciousness associated with perceptual changes in all sensory areas, intense and often unusual emotions, and profound alterations in the thought process .Consciousness is changed qualitatively in a very profound way. ..In holotropic states, we experience intrusion of other dimensions of existence. (Grof, 1998) "Grof is well known for his use of hallucinogens with psychotherapy clients. He also developed a form of meditation called "holotropic breathwork," which is advertised as having integrated "insights from modern consciousness research, anthropology, various depth psychologies, transpersonal psychology, Eastern spiritual practices, and mystical traditions from around the world Additional elements of the process include focused energy release work and mandala drawing." (www.holotropic.com) Grof has started his own school (the Grof Transpersonal Training) that includes classes on Shamanism, The Books of the Dead, and Astrology (www.holotropic.com). In summary, spirituality is a key component of transpersonal psychology. Although practitioners often take great pains in insisting that transpersonal psychology is not spiritual in principle, it is spiritual in practice. Transpersonal practitioners are afforded an amazing amount of flexibility in determining the source of the client's dysfunction and developing psychotherapeutic interventions for the client, and scientific evaluation and proven techniques of psychotherapy are not an insisted upon part of the criteria. "Transpersonal psychology cannot preserve the objectivity of scientific inquiry and still hope to learn what great teachers have to offer the research method of transpersonal psychology is thus far from the scientific ideal of detached and interchangeable observers." (Mann, R. 1984) "In transpersonal therapy, consciousness is both the instrument and the object of change In addition to modeling authenticity as any good therapist may be expected to do, the transpersonal therapist must be willing to attend to his or her own inner work and spiritual practice. (Walsh, R and Vaughn, F. 1993) Although transpersonal psychology has not been afforded the legitimacy of being an official discipline by the American Psychological Association, it has nonetheless made genuine inroads into the psychology profession. Certainly, many APA approved graduate schools include transpersonal psychology as part of their curriculum and as I mentioned earlier, it is entirely possible for someone to earn a degree in transpersonal psychology and sit for clinical licensure in the state of California.


www.atp.web.org web site for Association for Transpersonal Psychology. Boorstein, Seymour, editor. (1980). Transpersonal Psychotherapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books. 2-4.

Brooks, Crittenden. A Jungian view of transpersonal even in psychotherapy. Transpersonal Psychotherapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books. 57-78.

Davis, John. We keep asking ourselves, what is transpersonal psychology. Guidance and Counseling. Spring, 2000.

Deatherage, Olaf G. (1980). Mindfulness meditation as psychotherapy. Transpersonal Psychology. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books. 174- 175.

Firman, John and Vargiu (1984). Personal and transpersonal growth. (1980). Transpersonal Psychotherapy. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books. 92-115.

Fogiel, M. (1989).The Psychology Problem Solver. Piscataway, NJ" Research and Education. 484-486.

Grof, Stansilav. (1998). The Cosmic Egg. State. Albany, NY: University of New York Press. 5-6.

www.itp.edu web site for The Institute for Transpersonal Psychology www.holotropic.com web site for Grof Transpersonal Training

Mann, Richard (editor).The Light of Consciousness. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. 1984.

Maslow, Abraham. (1966). The Psychology of Science. New York, NY: Harper and Row, Publishers. 103.

Maslow, Abraham. (1968). Toward a Psychology of Being. New York, NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold. 71.

McGowan, Don. (1989). What Is Wrong With Jung. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Press. 136-137.

www.naropa.edu web site for Naropa Institute.

Walsh, Roger N. and Vaughan, Francis E. (1980). Comparative models: of the person and psychotherapy. Transpersonal Psychotherapy. Edited by Boorstein, Seymour. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Books. 14-23.

Walsh, Roger and Vaughan, Francis. (1993). Paths Beyond Ego: The Transpersonal Vision. New York, NY: Tarcher/Putnam. 161-164.

Wellings, Nigel and McCormick, Elizabeth Wilde, editors. (2000).Transpersonal Psychology. New York, NY: Continuum. 2000. 8-19. 99.

Wittine, Bryan. (1989). Basic postulates for a transpersonal psychotherapy. Existential Phenomenological Perspectives in Psychology edited by Valle, R and Hallings, S. New York, NY: Plenum Press.273-277.

Zusne, Leonard and Jones, Warren. (1989). Anomalistic Psychology: A Study of Magical Thinking. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

The Etiology of a Social Epidemic
by Pat Crossman, LCSW

Reprinted from the Mar, 2004 BASIS

The last decade has seen a sharp rise in the number of cases of gross child abuse, some resulting in death, by or under the direction of "psychotherapists" - many unlicensed or delicensed, who practice a form of pseudotherapy called Attachment Therapy (AT).

AT is a growing, multi-faceted and as yet underground movement for the treatment of children who pose disciplinary problems to their parents or caregivers, in many cases adoptees or foster children. These children are diagnosed as suffering from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), a failure to attach with the current caregiver due to early trauma.

The only cure (according to AT) is to "reparent" the child, thereby supposedly obtaining the desired attachment and total obedience of the child. Reparenting methods include eye contact on command, physical restraint, the infliction of pain and terror, and the induction of regression.

AT burst on the public scene in 2000 with the news of the death of a ten-year-old girl, Candace Newmaker. Candace was suffocated during a brutal, 70-minute video-taped rebirthing psychodrama in Colorado that was conducted to make the girl more satisfactory to her adoptive mother.

Candace was born Candace Tiara Elmore in North Carolina. She had been removed from her disorganized and poor, but by no means unaffectionate birth family, together with two younger siblings by social services. Eventually she was given in adoption to a wealthy unmarried woman, Jeane Newmaker, a pediatric nurse. Although described by teachers and classmates as a loving, sensitive and serious child, she could or would not attach to her adoptive mother. Candace had a mind and history of her own. At no time during the years Jeane sought help for Candace did anyone suggest that perhaps it was the adoptive mother who should seek counseling for her own unrealistic expectations. Jeane claimed that Candace became a serious behavior problem at home - though she was well behaved at school.

After taking the child to a round of doctors for four years, Jeane heard about the RAD diagnosis from a placement social worker. She suggested that Jeane attend an AT workshop. There Jeane learned more about AT and was directed to the Internet site of ATTACh(Association for Treatment and Training of Attachment with Children) the major organization serving the AT community. She then attended an ATTACh conference in Virginia where she met Bill Goble, a prominent name in the world of AT.

Convinced that Goble's description of AD kids fit Candace, Jeane approached him for help. He gave her a copy of a RAD checklist, a 30-item questionnaire prepared by a staff member of the Attachment Center in Evergreen (ACE) in Colorado. Jeane later filled out the checklist and faxed it to Goble. From the questionnaire, Goble "diagnosed" Candace, sight unseen, with a severe case of RAD. He referred Candace to the most well-known AT therapist - Connell Watkins - for intensive AT. The price - seven thousand dollars. The time - two weeks. The place - Evergreen, CO. The cost - a child's life.

After arriving in Evergreen from North Carolina for Watkins' "two-week intensive," Candace was housed in a "therapeutic foster home" run by Brita St. Clair, and her boyfriend Jack McDaniel who assisted in the "intensive."

The intensive consisted of daily holding therapy (rage-reduction), "strong sitting" (long periods of sitting motionless), obedience training, and more. At one time Jeane, a large and heavy woman, lay on top of Candace for an hour and forty-five minutes, licking her face and grabbing and shaking her head and threatening her with abandonment. In another session, Candace's long hair was hacked short, and she was threatened with a shave and a tattoo if she did not shape up.

The intensive took place in Connell Watkins' home. The entire process was videotaped, which is how we know that, on the morning of the rebirthing psychodrama, Candace complained that she had not slept well that night and had had a dream of being murdered. She was assured that this would not happen. Also, she wondered, would she have enough air to breath? She was assured, "Yes." She was laid in a fetal position, wrapped tightly in a flannel sheet that was secured above the head in a loose knot, to represent a womb. Four large sofa cushions and nine pillows were placed around her while two "therapists" and two assistants lay across her, aa combined weight of 670 pounds on the body of a 68-pound child. Candace was expected to make her way out of the sheet head first. This she could not do, although a sizable tear in the sheet near her feet showed how frantically she struggled. Her requests for information, pleas for help, and complaints that she could not breathe, were met with jeers and insults. "But you promised to give me oxygen," she said. She was told to "go ahead and die." And when the child asked, "Die, like go to heaven die?" The response was "Yes." Candace cried out in fear. The pressure on her body was then increased. Candace then tried to bargain her way out. When the child said that she was going to poop and throw up, she was told to "lie there in your poop and vomit."

Meanwhile, Jeane Newmaker had been squatting a few feet away from Candace's head, occasionally speaking of Candace as her newborn. However, after about 40 minutes, Jeane grew weary and asked Candace, "Honey, do you want to be reborn?" to which Candace replied faintly, but firmly, "No." This was her last word.

Candace died soon after, suffocating and choking on her own vomit. Jeane, sensing the child's last response as a rejection of her, left the room weeping, while the two lead therapists lay across the body of the dying child, laughing and joking about Candace, and chit-chatting about real estate.

The participants were all so entrapped in their collective psychodrama that they could not recognize obvious signs of distress. And Jeane was an experienced pediatric nurse!

At the trial that followed a year later the two lead therapists, Connell Watkins and Julie Ponder, were each sentenced to the minimum of sixteen years in prison for reckless child abuse resulting in death. Neither showed any remorse during the trial. Nor did the assistants, who claimed they were just following orders.

Nor did the mother. When Candace's catechism teacher asked for Jeane's support for a bill outlawing rebirthing, to be named "Candace's Law" in memory of Candace, she is said to have responded, "No. That would make her too important."

Against this background of inhumanity Candace herself stands out for her honesty, courage and personal integrity. During the intensive, she did everything she was told, though she did not give up control or abreact as her tormentors wanted. When asked by Watkins at one point why she had been brought to Evergreen, she replied simply, "To be tortured." When asked why, she replied, "Because you like to torture people." The catechism teacher regarded her as an angel with a mind of her own. He had taught her to be true to herself. Maybe this enabled her to endure her ordeal without giving in, and perhaps this is what got her killed.

Connell Watkins began to work in Evergreen in the late 1970s under the supervision of Foster Cline, MD. She was an unlicensed therapist with a master's degree in social work. Current Colorado law permits unlicensed therapists to work independently provided that they register with the state each year and pay a small fee. Cline was a Colorado physician who had started the AT movement and what would become the Attachment Center at Evergreen (ACE) in the mid-1970s, and Cline is referred to as the father of Attachment Therapy. Among the "therapists" at ACE, Connell Watkins - who rose to become Clinical Director - was universally admired for her rough, tough manner.

The Evergreen community grew and prospered due to the influx of orphan adoptees from Russia and Rumania during the eighties and nineties. The movement got a big boost by the inclusion in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV), of a new childhood disorder - Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). While Evergreen remained the center of the growing AT world, other AT centers were set up across the country, sometimes providing temporary havens for delicensed practitioners.

However, in 1996 there was a bump in the road, and Watkins was in trouble. Cline had been charged with breach of professional conduct related to his supervision of Watkins and a colleague who had been performing a rage reduction method called "The Z-Process" on a boy of eleven. The badly bruised boy had run away and called the police. The session had been videotaped, and it was on this evidence that the Colorado State Board of Medical Examiners decided to pursue sanctions. Cline gave up his license and left the state rather than agree never to treat or supervise anyone using aversive physical stimulation or verbal abuse.

Watkins moved next door and set up Connell Watkins and Associates, in her own home, where she continued to use the Z-Process (or rage reduction). The Z-Process had been devised by Robert Zaslow, a psychologist from San Jose State College, who had visited Cline in 1972, and was the "godfather" of Attachment Therapy. One of Watkins's "associates" was Neil Feinberg, LCSW, who remained on the staff of ACE. She used his license number when billing insurance companies.

In 1999, Connell was joined by Julie Ponder, a newly licensed marriage and family counselor from California. Ponder claimed to be an art therapist and, except for teen wilderness therapy, had very little therapeutic experience. But she had, or so she said at trial, been rebirthed four times - and it was wonderful! She must have shared these experiences with Watkins, now her colleague and friend.

Then, for two weeks in the fall of 1999, Watkins shared AT techniques with rebirther Douglas Gosney, another licensed MFT from California, indeed, the past president of the Los Angeles Chapter of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. He was a highly esteemed board member of the American Association of Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health (AAPPPH). Gosney had adapted rebirthing techniques to AT. His techniques were synthesized from his work with Arthur Janov, the inventor of Primal Scream Therapy, and he had also spent five years working with William Emerson, a psychologist from Northern California, and a fellow board member of AAPPPH.

Emerson was recognized by the AAPPPH as a pioneer in the field of "birth trauma" , having done "repatterning" of birth trauma for over ten years. His popularity didn't suffer when he was forced in 1994 to surrender his psychology license in California . In 1997 Gosney and Emerson had presented a paper at the 8th Congress of AAPPPH: "Birth, Love and Relationship". In addition Gosney claimed to have done over 300 rebirthings, and to have undergone a number of regressions himself at Lali Mitchell's Sky Mountain Institute for Expressive Arts Therapy. Gosney taught his rebirthing techniques to Watkins and Ponder, who ran four to five "successful" rebirthings before Candace . Videos of these other rebirthings showed the children emerging shaken but docile after only a few minutes.

So why did Watkins decide to use rebirthing the day Candace died? After all, her specialty had been "rage reduction." Candace was not defiant; she followed orders obediently. When told to shout she shouted. The day before her death, following the one hour and forty-five minutes of compression therapy under her large mother, she had permitted Jeane to take her on her lap and passively accepting bits of sweet roll that Jeane put in her mouth. After the compression therapy Watkins had noticed that Candace's face looked blank, "like nobody was home," what psychologists would perhaps call dissociation.

Watkins decided to forego the usual rage reduction for an "easy day" of rebirthing for both Jeane and Candace. But there was no rebirth - only death. Candace was not the only one to die.

In 1996, David Polreis, a Russian adoptee also being treated for RAD by attachment therapists in Colorado, was beaten to death by his mother with a wooden spoon. Originally she said she beat the two-year-old in self-defense, but later she claimed that the "terrible bruising found on his buttocks, genitals, and belly" were self-inflicted.

A year before that, three-year-old Krystal Tibbits was killed by her adoptive father, a nurse. Krystal was undergoing Attachment Therapy which had been stipulated as a condition of her adoption by a Utah court. The AT therapist had instructed her father how to do AT at home - lying on top of the child, pressing his fist into the stomach and putting pressure on the chest to induce belly breathing all measures expected to release her repressed rage. Instead the child stopped breathing, her ribs crushed.

Two years after Candace died, four-year-old Cassandra Killpack, also undergoing attachment therapy for RAD, died from water intoxication after she had stolen a soda from her sister. Her adoptive parents tied her hands and poured half a gallon of water down her throat as a "paradoxical intervention" . taught to them by the same Utah therapists who treated Krystal Tibbets. And there were others!

As an authentic diagnosis found in the DSM-IV, RAD is useful for insurance billing. But AT means something different by the term than does the DSM. The DSM's RAD diagnosis actually refers to a very small specific population of children. It is a name given to a syndrome first observed in the 1980s among some Romanian orphans who had been adopted in the West and who had experienced severe emotional deprivation. These children have difficulty or are unable to form attachments in early life. The disorder manifests itself through indiscriminate attachment, overfriendliness or withdrawal from others. In other words, they have no working model of stable attachment. However, RAD, as described by AT therapists, has many characteristics that DMS-IV omits and is made to cover a broad range of childhood disorders, such as attention deficit disorder, autism, conduct disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and others.

Under standard AT Therapy (also called Holding Therapy), the child is coerced into making a therapeutic agreement (or "alliance"), promising to endure whatever the therapist does to her. Then the child is restrained, sometimes by a number of adults, and tortured with painful poking and tickling, screamed at, threatened and goaded until the child explodes in rage or more likely fear. This is followed by a tearful collapse and submission into infantile behavior. The child is sometimes given a bottle, addressed in baby talk and finger fed sweet food for "bonding." She must engage in prolonged "loving" eye contact with the caregiver. If the child doesn't give in, the holding can last for hours and hours. Total compliance is demanded. And these methods are taught to parents to practice at home.

Between holding sessions the child may be required to live in a therapeutic foster home, such as the one run by Brita St. Clair . Foster homes function like boot camps. Frequently, children do not go to public school. The child has no privacy and is under constant supervision. Affection cannot be shown by the therapeutic foster parent on the assumption that this would disrupt the bond with the mother. However, if the therapeutic foster mother feels it necessary, there may be "cuddle time," when the child is held like a baby and once she stops struggling, she is given sweets. Punishments can include strenuous physical activity and the withholding of food. "Paradoxical interventions" are also used, whereby the child is forced to repeat a disobedient act over and over again. Parents are especially advised not to "feel sorry" for the child. Such advice has the potential for encouraging and validating parental rage against the child, rage that may previously have been tempered and put in check by compassion.

The chief factor contributing to the AT epidemic is the existence of a target population of adoptive parents. This population includes frightened parents, who want to hear that the problems they have with their adopted children lie totally with the child and not with them, and that there is a miracle cure to make their financial and emotional investment pay off. If they have access to the Internet there are multitudes of AT web sites, including ATTACh, the Association for the Treatment and Training of Attachment in Children. ATTACh publishes articles and letters and provides general information. There are many support groups in the AT community, in fact, a growing "RADneck" community, and since thechildren are referred to as "RADishes." When a casualty occurs during therapy, the parents will rally round the adoptive parents.

There are at least five hundred AT practitioners nationwide. A significant number have lost professional licenses, have no advanced degrees from recognized universities, and some have bought their degrees. Others do door-to-door therapy without any professional oversight. There are many videos for sale depicting AT at work. Nancy Thomas, a prominent AT "co-therapists" and self-proclaimed "therapeutic parenting specialist." was recently featured by Focus on the Family one of its radio talk shows.

A second major factor adding to the AT problem is the fact that social workers and adoption agency personnel are poorly trained and overworked. Many have already been influenced by AT propaganda.

There is a big push to go mainstream, where AT will achieve credibility. AT practitioners have appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show. AT books have been published by recognized publishing houses.

What is most disturbing is that AT Practitioners have been receiving money, directly and indirectly, from the Federal Government The money comes through Title IV-E, the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980. The AACWA amended the Social Security Act to provide federal subsidies to states giving financial assistance for "special needs" adoptions. The North American Council on Adoptable Children has several AT activists on board, and endorses and sells at least one book promoting AT. The Council has received an Adoption Opportunities grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services to train local social workers to "educate" parents with respect to Title IV-E.

In several cases, AT advocates have presented workshops that were approved for continuing education credit, which is required for licensed social workers and psychologists ito renew their licenses. AT workshops have been sponsored by groups such as the National Association of Social Workers, the American Psychological Association, and Northern California Association for Play Therapy. State licensing organizations do not monitor the quality of continuing education, delegating responsibility to approved providers. , This process does not necessarily mean approval or awareness of the content.

In 2000, as a direct result of the death of Candace, the American Psychiatric Association issued a policy statement rejecting treatments that involve coercive restraint of children. In 2002 the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children condemned Attachment Therapy as an abusive practice without sound theoretical basis, and especially having no connection with the highly regarded Attachment Theory of John Bowlby.

In 2001 Candace's Law, was passed in Colorado. It prohibits the use of rebirthing as a therapeutic treatment. A similar law, spearheaded by Candace's grandparents, passed recently in North Carolina. They are only a beginning. The AT practitioner can always say, "But we don't do rebirthing anymore, "while still advocating Holding Therapy, which has also resulted in deaths. And the issue of coercive restraint in therapy has not yet been consistently addressed by lawmakers and professionals at the state level.

This is but a brief introduction to AT. For further information, I highly recommend a book covering these issues in depth, published last year by Praeger Press. It is called Attachment Therapy on Trial: the Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker, by Jean Mercer, Larry Sarner and Linda Rosa. Jean Mercer is Professor of Developmental Psychology at Richard Stockton College and one of the first critics of Attachment Therapy. Larry Sarner is administrative director for Advocates for Children in Therapy (ACT), , and Linda Rosa is a national board member of the National Council Against Health Fraud, and also executive director of ACT.

These authors have set up a web site, www.childrenintherapy.org, where up-to-date information is posted concerning current and proposed legislation, a sadly growing list of victims and much more about AT.

Patricia Crossman is a Social Worker in Berkeley, California. meantime my references are: Carla Crowder and Peggy Lowe "Her name was Candace" Denver Rocky Mountain News, October 29, 2000

Christopher Caldwell, "Death by Therapy: The new Age Counselors Who Killed A Little Girl and the Child Wefare Regime That Enabled Them," Weekly Standard, May 28,2001

Science and Psuedoscience in Clinical Psychology
Edited By: Scott O. Lilienfeld, Steven Jay Lynn and Jeffrey M. Lohr
The Guilford Press
Reviewed by: Bernie J. Kellman MA

Reprinted from the Mar, 2004 BASIS

The danger that knives honed to slaughter or even sculpture sacred cows can easily be turned on some of the authors and editors of this remarkable compendium of essays would seem moderate if not high. This is not the case. The fourteen articles, as well as the fore- and afterwords by the editors, are united by their hypotheses and methodology as proven by the consistency of tone and objectivity throughout the book. It is safe to assume, by the structure and content of the very impressive end product, that the editorial meetings for this collection were no anarchist conventions spraying skeptical gunshot in all directions. The various voices of the authors stay within a respectable range whether the theory or technique being dissected is as ludicrous as therapists milking clients of life savings to address triple figure multiple personalities or as dry and statistical as the prevalence of the MFTI personality tests still being used in diagnostic settings. Points are scored without slam dunk shrillness or self righteous chest thumping. The editors accurately depict how vulnerable theorists and clinicians can be to emotional attachments to their favorite school of thought, therapeutic recipe or unsubstantiated psychological adage.

The preface of this collection promises to anger the reader. The one word that appears in all six section headings is 'controversy'. More than anger, however, I found the disparate feelings of sadness and amusement to be my responses to the facts and fallacies discussed by the authors. It is entertaining, in a scandal- mongering way, to read about some of that theories and techniques that pass for clinical psychology. Let's face it, clinical work-ups of cases involving repressed memories of baby-eating and 130 different personalities including a duck (!) make for pretty good reading. But the giggling turns to sadness when one realizes we are sending our professional licensing fees to boards that sanction Satanic Ritual Abuse Therapy without, it seems, batting an overseeing eyebrow. The inconsistency in the scrutiny directed at various methods, medications and modalities is striking as is the near lack of studies designed to scientifically evaluate the combination of many of these approaches. What does pass for research, in many cases, is psuedoscience at best and blatant, shamanistic quackery at its worst. By the end of the book the reader is painfully aware of how much room there is for fringe, psuedoscientific and poorly researched and reported treatment modalities under the astrodome sized umbrella of modern psychotherapy. This humbling reminder is harsh but mandatory medicine for the clinician who may forget the choices and dangers facing the first time client who has decided to respond to increasing psychological malaise by 'getting help'.

Psychology is a young science. Vulnerability to psuedoscience, sketchy research, strong personalities with good salesmanship skills and scared cows comes with the territory. Public opinion plays a role as well. How prevalent is the belief that 12 step programs are successful and unassailable as the apex of substance abuse treatment? How often do anti-depressant manufacturers invent diagnosis for magazine ads? How easy is it for pre-school teachers to routinely sort out 5 kids and doom them to treatment for hyperactivity when the real problem is that classrooms designed for 25 students are assigned 30 normal kids.

The articles in this book make a lucid argument for some improved, standardized approach to the warnings, caveats and promises made by clinicians as well as some 'equal time' mechanism that will prevent research and results from being mere hostages to advertising dollars and talk show host favoritism.

Clinicians, theoreticians, students and clients will all benefit from reading this extremely well written and well edited collection. Anyone working in this field or hoping to improve their lives with the fruits of current psychological thinking should be required to give some thought to the chance that most, if not all, of our current theories and interventions will soon fall into the ever-present dustbin of real science: 'this is what we used to think' or more succinctly,: 'can you believe this is what we used to think?' Sorting the science from the psuedoscience and the legitimate research from the manipulative marketing, as proscribed by the editors of this book, may help maximize the benefits of current psychotherapy while pointing the way to the next wave of advances and at the same time minimizing the number of clients who become victims of clinicians wedded to under-researched or obsolete treatment modalities.


The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News
Number 688 June 11, 2004 by Phillip F. Schewe, Ben Stein

A NEW CHEMOTAXIS ASSAY reveals nerve cells' surprising sensitivity. A new method for studying the guidance (change in direction) of neurons amid a sea of protein molecules shows how sensitive this process is to the surrounding protein gradient. Chemotaxis is the process by which living cells sniff out their local environment and act accordingly, which usually means moving or growing toward higher concentrations of beneficial molecules. In the case of neurons removed from their natural setting and put down on a bed of collagen gel in a dish, growth will follow the increasing gradient of proteins in their vicinity, such as the nerve growth factor (NGF) protein. Neuronal growth, the way in which the long axon bodies of a nerve cells wire themselves into a network, is of great interest since this aids in knowing how brains form. Now a team of scientists at Georgetown University has developed a new method for measuring the gradient of local proteins (which have been fluorescently tagged) and the axon's response. In this case the neural cells come originally from a rat's brain. The Georgetown team of neuroscientists and physicists find that axon growth is sensitive to gradients so small (0.1%) that they correspond to about one additional molecule across the spatial extent of the axon's "growth cone," the sensing device at the tip of the growing axon. This is a remarkable feat considering that, at any one instant, there are large statistical fluctuations in the 1000 or so NGF molecules in the vicinity of the growth cone. The researchers suggest that axons may thus be "nature's most-sensitive gradient detectors." (Rosoff et al., Nature Neuroscicence, June 2004; contact Jeffrey Urbach, urbach@physics.georgetown.edu, 202-687-6594; or Geoffrey Goodhill, geoff@georgetown.edu)

PERFORMING BOOLEAN SURGERY TO UNLOCK BIOSONAR'S SECRETS. Over the last approximately 60 million years of evolutionary history, bats have developed highly optimized biosonar systems in which they broadcast ultrasound at various frequencies and then detect the echoes to sense their surroundings. At last month's meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in New York, researchers (Rolf Mueller, University of Southern Denmark, +45-6550-3655, rolfm@mip.sdu.dk) presented the first high-resolution, three-dimensional maps to depict spatial regions in which the ears are sensitive to low- mid-, and high-frequency ultrasound. These biologically based ultrasound-sensitivity maps vary considerably over the studied sample of bat species and are likely to vary even more over the approximately 1000 species which exist in total. They may help inspire much better designs for artificial antennas of any type, from the acoustic ones in ship sonar systems and medical devices to the electromagnetic antennas in cell phones. In their approach the researchers perform CT scans of bat ears to obtain highly detailed images and 3D shapes which are then rendered on a computer. Next they model the interaction between each ear shape and ultrasound waves from the bat's surroundings. The researchers can understand how the anatomical features of an ear shape bring about the spatial sensitivity patterns by performing painless "Boolean surgery," in which they can modify an ear's shape on a computer (often by removing some features and--as part of their future plans--mixing features from different species) and see how the modifications change the ear's detection of ultrasound. (Paper 4aAB6 at meeting; lay-language paper at http://www.acoustics.org/press/147th/Mueller.html)

MICROWAVE TISSUE WELDING. A conventional microwave oven uses an antenna to squirt microwaves into a reflective box where they preferentially excite and heat anything rich in water molecules. A new experiment performed in the group of Michael Golosovsky and Dan Davidov at the Racah Institute of Physics, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem reduces the antenna size and dispenses with the resonant box and, by getting really close to the sample of soft matter, can heat a tiny spot, one half by one quarter of a millimeter in size, up to temperatures of 120 C (or 250 F). One possible application would be "tissue welding," the process of binding together edges of cut tissue using "biological solder" such as albumin. Infrared lasers can do such welding, but Golosovsky (golos@vms.huji.ac.il, 972-2658-6551) says that the microwave approach uses much lower power, can do the job faster, can deposit radiation at deeper levels in the wound, and bandages are transparent to the microwaves. Also collateral tissue damage would be better controlled. (Copty et al., Applied Physics Letters, 14 June 2004)

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.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Anna Nicole Smith says a ghost once raised her spirits

June 11, 2004, 10:03AM

Houston Chronicle News Services

Slimmed-down Anna Nicole Smith has men panting again. But even before she dropped 70 pounds, she says, she could raise men from the dead.

Interviewed in the July's FHM magazine (where she shows off her figure in an 11-page spread), Smith is asked what her kinkiest sexcapade was.

"A ghost would crawl up my leg and have sex with me at an apartment a long time ago in Texas," she says.

"I used to think it was my boyfriend, and one day I woke up and it wasn't. I was freaked out about it, but then I was, like, 'Well, you know what? He's never hurt me and he just gave me some amazing sex, so I have no problem.' "


Tom Cruise's mission to detox 9/11 rescuers!


Washington | June 12, 2004 2:35:00 PM IST

Hollywood star Tom Cruise has helped to open a second Scientology-based detoxification program in Long Island.

According to The National Enquirer, the program is meant for rescuing workers exposed to toxic materials during and after the September 11 attacks.

Cruise co-founded the New York Rescue Workers Detoxification Project that opened its first centre two years ago in Manhattan. (ANI)

California debate on textbook costs draws U.S. interest

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/8905785.htmBy Jessica Portner

Posted on Fri, Jun. 11, 2004

Mercury News

Cost-conscious school districts around the country are watching closely as the California Senate prepares to debate a bill this month that would compel the state's board of education to weigh price for the first time when adopting new textbooks.

With 6 million public school students, California is the second-largest market in the $4 billion national textbook-publishing industry. A discount secured in California would have a ripple effect on some smaller states that routinely purchase books tailored for California because they lack the financial size and clout to commission texts specifically for them.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Canciamella, D-Martinez, is set for a hearing in the Senate Education Committee on June 23. It was prompted by a 2002 Mercury News investigation that revealed the cost of state-adopted textbooks nearly tripled in the previous decade -- largely because the state board failed to negotiate for the best price.

The bill already has passed the Assembly on a 50-10 vote.

``If California can negotiate so the price goes down, everyone will benefit,'' said Jody Gehrig of the Denver public schools, which had to seek a bond to pay for schoolbooks this year.

For years, state board members have determined what academic standards and content -- from Shakespearean sonnets to robotics -- belong in textbooks. School districts must abide by those choices if they use state money to buy the texts. The bill being debated would explicitly add cost to the decision-making equation -- meaning the state, for the first time, might choose a cheaper book that is almost as good as a more expensive one.

Publishers, who are lobbying hard in Sacramento against the measure, said the bill could force some booksellers to abandon the California market.

``This would trigger a national reaction that could cost us millions,'' said Stephen Driesler, the executive director of the Association of American Publishers. A multi-state compact called ``Most Favored Nation'' prohibits booksellers from charging a different price for the same book sold in other member states. The legislation is ``an idea with many downsides.''

The bill, AB 2455, also mandates that publishers offer a 30 percent discount on second sets -- allowing schools to give students books to take home and keep a spare set for use in the classroom each day -- and asks them to submit new English and math titles to the board every eight years instead of six. This new schedule would delay by two years the ability publishers have to raise prices when new books are adopted.

Don Iglesias, the superintendent-elect of the San Jose Unified School District, said savings are critical at a time when the state budget deficit has prompted schools to choose among scrapping art classes, sacking librarians or waiting another year or two to buy new textbooks.

``We aren't asking for anything outrageous,'' said Iglesias, ``just a quality product at a reasonable price.''

The 2002 Mercury News analysis of state records showed that sixth-grade English/language arts textbooks cost $20 in California a decade before. By 2002, the price had jumped to $57, outpacing the rate of inflation and the spike in Bay Area home prices in the 1990s.

Driesler said textbooks are expensive in California because they must be fashioned for the state's rigorous academic standards.

``It not like buying some suit off the rack,'' he said. ``Customized textbooks mean additional costs. That's the trade-off.''

If the bill passes, California wouldn't be the first state whose textbook decisions dictate what districts pay or students read in schools hundreds of miles away. Other large states that adopt texts on a statewide level -- notably Texas -- have a huge influence.

Sometimes, Texas' books have been criticized for what's between the covers. This year, the Texas board of education decided to include the discussion of creationism alongside evolution in its science books, which prompted some other consumers of Texas-approved books to bristle.

But as major player in the textbook market, Texas also sets a maximum price for the books it buys, which is good news to schools and districts that buy books created originally for Texas.

``We have been dogmatic in holding the price down,'' said Alma Allen, a Texas state school board member. ``I would be glad to see California do that. Hopefully, lots of other states will follow.''

Bud Williams, a deputy superintendent of Montana's education department, said cost savings decided in Sacramento could mean more materials for that state's 150,000 students.

``Our budgets have gotten tighter and tighter,'' said Williams, whose districts choose their titles from publisher's catalogs that market some California-tailored books to other states. ``If textbook companies have to be mindful about cost, prices across the country will change.''

Several members of the Senate Education Committee who are poised to consider the bill are initially supportive.

``We have a limited budget,'' said Sen. Dede Alpert, D-San Diego. ``And if we aren't able to stretch those dollars, that would be a bad mistake.''

Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn, D-Campbell, noted that throughout debate in the Assembly there was strong backing of the bill.

``Publishers are taking advantage because no one is paying attention,'' she said. ``We have to be more responsible. Taxpayers are demanding it.''

Contact Jessica Portner at jportner@mercurynews.com or (650) 688-7505.

An Icy Riddle as Big as Greenland


June 8, 2004


WISS CAMP, Greenland Ice Cap - This vaulting heap of ice and the swirling seas nearby have emerged as vital pieces of an urgent puzzle posed by global warming. Can the continuing slow increase in worldwide temperatures touch off abrupt climate upheavals?

Each piece of the puzzle is a dynamic and complicated body of water. One, the North Atlantic, is some two miles deep and liquid. The other, this ice cap, is two miles high and solid. For scale, think of it as a freshwater Gulf of Mexico that has been frozen, inverted and plunked atop the world's largest island.

Experts have reported a series of observations in recent months that show that the ice and the waters here are in a state of profound flux. If the trends persist, they could mean higher sea levels and widespread coastal flooding. There is also a small chance that the changes could lead to a sharp cooling in parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

Although nobody expects shifts as rapid or cataclysmic as portrayed in the new movie "The Day After Tomorrow," the cooling could disrupt the relatively stable climatic conditions in which modern human societies have evolved.

In the last few years, Greenland's melt zone, where summer warmth turns snow on the edge of the ice cap into slush and ponds of water, has expanded inland, reaching elevations more than a mile high in some places, said Dr. Konrad Steffen, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado.

Recent measurements by NASA scientists show that such melting can have outsize effects on the ice sheet. Meltwater formed on the surface each summer percolates thousands of feet down through fissures, allowing the ice to slide more easily over the bedrock below and accelerating its slow march to the sea.

Some jutting tongues of floating ice, where riverlike glaciers protrude into the sea, are rapidly thinning. Measurements this year by Dr. Steffen and others on the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland show that more than 150 feet of thickness melted away under that tongue in the last year. Such melting can speed the seaward movement of ice in the same way that removing a doorstop lets a door swing freely.

As Dr. Steffen settled in with three colleagues for weeks of grueling research at this half-buried wind-tattered camp 4,000 feet up the flanks of the ice cap, he described how other Greenland glaciers were speeding their discharge of icebergs into the sea.

"If other ice streams start to react in a similar way," he said, "then we will actually produce much more fresh water."

This influx of fresh water could block North Atlantic currents that help moderate the weather of the Northern Hemisphere. "If that feedback kicks in," he said, "then the average person will worry."

Some oceanographers say global warming may already be pushing the North Atlantic toward instability. In less than 50 years, waters deep in the North Atlantic and Arctic have become significantly fresher, matched by growing saltiness in the tropical Atlantic. Worldwide, seas have absorbed enormous amounts of heat from the warming atmosphere. A big outflow of water from Greenland could take the system to a tipping point, some say.

In past millenniums when such oceanic breakdowns occurred, the climate across much of the Northern Hemisphere jumped to a starkly different state, with deep chills and abrupt shifts in patterns of precipitation and drought from Europe to Venezuela. Some changes persisted for centuries.

But whether something similar is likely to result from the new melting in Greenland is far from clear. The forces that caused abrupt climate change in the past, like monumental floods released from collapsing ice-age glaciers, are different from the much slower ones being measured today.

Gaps in understanding are enormous. Scientists have been unable to devise computer simulations that consistently replicate past jolts to the climate, leaving intellectual heartburn about the future.

"The models are not nearly as sensitive as the real world," Dr. Richard B. Alley, an expert at Penn State on Greenland's climate history, said. "That's the kind of thing that makes you nervous."

To solve the riddles, Greenland is being measured and monitored as never before, by satellites, by aircraft and by dozens of down-swaddled scientists who are braving 30-below-zero temperatures and deadly snow-cloaked crevasses that corrugate the slumping edges of the ice cap. The oceans around the ice sheet, which is four times the size of California, are peppered with instrument-laden buoys and plumbed with deep-diving robotic gliders.

The records obtained so far are so limited that no one can yet say whether the observed changes are a dangerous trend or a result of fluctuations in the naturally turbulent seas and atmosphere. Still, many experts who work on abrupt climate changes display a common concern about the relentless buildup of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. While the human contribution to change here remains unknown, many scientists say the potential risks are all too evident.

"It's as if we're running a gigantic uncontrolled experiment on the climate system and we know we have the capability of making large impacts," said Robert Hawley, a glaciologist from the University of Washington stationed at the Summit Camp, a permanent dome-topped installation at the highest point of the ice sheet. "Should we continue just to experiment or should we try to figure this out first?"

The greatest concern is that the changes are part of an Arctic-wide pattern that includes a pronounced thawing of the Alaskan tundra and a retreat of the sea ice around the North Pole, at least in summer. Greenland's temperatures had for years bucked the Arctic warming trend. But they now seem to be increasing, according to new satellite data analyzed by Dr. Josefino C. Comiso at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The intimate relationship between Greenland and its surrounding seas was evident to 19 scientists, aides and other passengers on a recent flight from upstate New York aboard an Air National Guard LC-130 cargo plane. As the plane droned across the Labrador Sea separating North America from the white-topped island, the water below was laced with cordons of icebergs heading south from the ever-eroding edge of the ice cap, following the course taken in 1912 by the berg that sank the Titanic.

Just as Greenland contributes meltwater and melting icebergs to the sea, the northward-flowing surface currents of the Atlantic transport heat from the tropics to the Arctic and adjacent regions. As this heat is shed to the air, it renders Greenland's coasts relatively mild and helps make northern Europe warm enough that roses can be grown at latitudes that elsewhere support polar bears. As the water chills, it grows denser and sinks. The downward flow is the engine that powers a world-spanning oceanic "conveyor belt" through which seawater is eventually mixed and recycled.

Several times in the past, even early in the current 12,000-year warm spell in which modern civilizations arose, that conveyor belt has shut down. When it stopped, it stopped quickly, as if a circuit breaker had been tripped. In each case, according to recent research on layers of sea-bottom fossils and sediments, the trigger was a big inflow of fresh water into those vital spots where the surface water sinks.

Waters in the region are not only freshening, but a buildup of fresher water is diminishing the bank of saltier, denser water that sustains the deep southward-flowing circulation in the Atlantic, said Dr. Ruth Curry, an oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution at Cape Cod, Mass.

In December, Dr. Curry, with British and Canadian researchers, reported the 40-year trend toward a freshening of the North Atlantic and growing saltiness in the tropics. She said that the Atlantic was being pushed toward "a precipice" that could be reached in three or four decades and that a Greenland meltdown could push it over the edge.

Many scientists disagree, saying even a significant melting is not likely to produce big shifts, at least in this century.

Dr. Peter Wadhams, an ocean physicist at Cambridge University, said a host of different mechanisms would keep the conveyor moving, even if the freshening persists. One is the formation of sea ice, which releases the salt in seawater as it forms, making underlying waters saltier and, thus, denser. Plumes of this briny water "sink like syrup falling off a spoon," Dr. Wadhams said.

One possibility, some scientists say, is that the system could be self-regulating, with the shutdown of warm currents, in turn, cooling Greenland and stopping the melting. Another wild card, some computer models show, is that further warming will increase snowfall and add as much frozen water to Greenland as is lost through melting or the splitting off of icebergs. Other models suggest that the ice shield could shrivel entirely in 1,000 years, a phenomenon that scientists theorize has not occurred for 440,000 years.

On Greenland, efforts are under way to resolve the big uncertainties. Dr. Joseph R. McConnell, a snow hydrologist from the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev., is examining whether forces other than global warming could be responsible for changes here. Under a NASA grant, he recently completed a three-week 250-mile snowmobile crossing of the ice sheet, extracting four shaftlike ice cores en route. The cores have hundreds of layers, like tree rings, made by each year's snowfall. They will be analyzed for shifts in dust types or subtle chemical markers that could show whether winds were blowing from Europe or North America in particular years. The study may show if recent changes in snowfall and melting match natural cycles in North Atlantic weather.

After flying down from the summit to a coastal airfield following his snowmobile trek in May, Dr. McConnell took a break and hiked over undulating tundra to the clifflike edge of the ice. The spring warmth was eating away at the vaulting blue-white ramparts streaked with gray layers deposited by volcanoes and dust storms eons ago. A torrent of silty meltwater poured along the bluff of ice, heading toward the Labrador Sea, 115 miles west.

He marveled at how much ancient water was stored in front of him.

"If Greenland melted," he said, "it'd raise sea levels by 20 feet. There goes Florida. There goes most of the Mississippi embayment. There go the islands in the South Pacific. Bangladesh is obliterated. Manhattan would have to put up dikes."

Although much work is needed to solve the puzzle, he added, the hints of big changes are building. "There's definitely a lot of melting going on," Dr. McConnell said, flinching as a crack echoed from the warming white cliff and a giant ice slab shifted ever so slightly.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Newdow wins $1 million libel award


This story is taken from Courts/legal at sacbee.com.

But the man who brought the pledge dispute to the Supreme Court may have a hard time collecting.

By Claire Cooper -- Bee Legal Affairs Writer - (Published June 11, 2004)

Michael Newdow, the Sacramento atheist at the center of the Pledge of Allegiance case, won a $1 million judgment Thursday in a libel suit against a minister.

After a brief hearing, Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Steven K. Austin entered a default judgment of $1,000,645.96 against Chaplain Austin Miles.

The Antioch minister never responded to Newdow's lawsuit and did not appear in court to defend himself.

Last fall, however, he acknowledged in a petition to disbar Newdow that was posted on the Internet that he was aware of the lawsuit. Newdow passed the State Bar, but is not a practicing attorney.

The suit's basis was an article by Miles, widely quoted in the press, accusing Newdow of perjury, a crime.

Miles contended that Newdow falsely testified under oath in court that his daughter had suffered "emotional damage, stress, anxiety and a sense of being left out" because she was forced to recite the pledge with the phrase "under God." The Supreme Court is likely to decide Newdow's constitutional challenge to the pledge this month.

In the course of the suit, Newdow has said many things, but he insists he never made the statement that Miles attributed to him. By claiming he did, and that it was perjury, Miles damaged his reputation and caused him other forms of harm, including "hurt feelings," the libel suit said.

"The man fabricated a quote and accused me of perjury, based on his fabrication," Newdow said after the judgment Thursday.

Newdow said he sought $1 million in damages on the basis of recent libel awards in California.

He expects to have trouble collecting, however.

An Internet search for Miles turned up articles and listings on evangelical sites, identifying himself as "former law student," "interdenominational chaplain" and former "circus ringmaster."

The Bee's efforts to contact him were unsuccessful.

About the Writer

The Bee's Claire Cooper can be reached at (415) 551-7701 or ccooper@sacbee.com.

This article is protected by copyright and should not be printed or distributed for anything except personal use.
The Sacramento Bee, 2100 Q St., P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852
Phone: (916) 321-1000

Copyright © The Sacramento Bee

Prayer is Americans' favored 'alternative' medicine


Thursday, June 10, 2004

By Daniel Burke

Religion News Service

WASHINGTON - Even with all the new alternative medicines that have burst upon the scene under vivid banners of hype and promotion, for most Americans the oldest (and cheapest) "alternative medicine" is still their favorite - prayer.

According to a nationwide survey recently conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 36 percent of Americans over 18 use some form of "complementary alternative medicine," or CAM. When praying for health reasons was included in the definition of a CAM, that number jumped to 62 percent.

Of those who have used CAMs, 43 percent said they pray for their own health. Twenty-four percent said they have asked others to pray for them and 10 percent said they have participated in prayer groups where their health was the main topic of supplication.

"Over the years we've concentrated on traditional medical treatment, but this new collection of CAM data taps into another dimension entirely," said Edward J. Sondik, director of the National Center for Health Statistics. "What we see is that a sizable percentage of the public puts their personal health into their own hands."

Following prayer on the list of most popular CAMs were natural products, such as herbs and enzymes, at 19 percent; deep breathing exercises at 12 percent; and chiropractic care at 8 percent.

The survey, which NIH officials have touted as the most comprehensive and reliable data ever obtained on CAMs in the United States, was administered to more than 31,000 Americans. It was conducted as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Interview Survey.

Copyright (c) Biblical Recorder Inc.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Yukon Men Convinced They Saw Sasquatch


Jun 10, 8:57 PM (ET)

WHITEHORSE, Yukon (AP) - Conservation officer Dave Bakica is convinced that whatever two men saw early last Sunday morning, it shook them up. Marion Sheldon and Gus Jules were traveling out of town along the Alaska Highway on an all-terrain vehicle between 1 and 2 a.m. when they passed what resembled a person standing on the side of the highway.

Thinking it was a person from their small community who might be in need of a ride, they turned around.

As the two lifelong Teslin residents and members of the Teslin Tlingit Council approached to within 20 feet, they noticed the figure was covered in hair, but standing upright the entire time.

Though natural light was dusky, Jules saw what he believed to be flesh tones hidden beneath the mat of hair, he told Bakica.

Sasquatch? Big Foot?

"I have no doubt they saw something, and are convinced it was not a bear or anything in the ordinary," Bakica said. "They are convinced this was something out of the ordinary ... And they are pretty shook up over it."

Jules is an experienced hunter. Jules described the figure as standing about 7 feet tall, but hunched over. They could see it was not a person.

As the two parties went their separate ways, the dark-haired figure crossed the highway in two or three steps.

Bakica said ground conditions mixed with rainfall made it impossible to pick up definitive tracks and there was no hair on branches or other vegetation. Also, by the time he went to the scene Monday morning, half the town had been out to the site, he said.

Jules has launched a search for evidence that could document his experience.

"I have no doubt in my mind that they believe what they saw was a Sasquatch," said Bakica. "Whether it was or not, I do not know.

"Just because you can't prove something was there, does not mean it was not there."

Sheldon and Jules could not be reached for comment by the Whitehorse Star.

Teslin is about 90 miles southeast of Whitehorse.

It would not be the first suspected Yukon sighting of the folklore beast.

In April 1991, three Pelly Crossing residents reported seeing a Sasquatch while driving between Pelly and Stewart Crossing.

The creature fled back into the woods as the vehicle passed. The residents took a photo of what they claim were footprints measuring 15 inches long in the melting snow.

Narconon put on notice by schools
Scientology-linked program ordered to fix inaccuracies

- Nanette Asimov, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, June 10, 2004

A popular anti-drug program with ties to the Church of Scientology will be ousted after 13 years in the San Francisco schools unless it agrees to stop teaching what the district calls inaccurate and misleading information, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman said Wednesday.

The district's ultimatum means that Narconon Drug Prevention & Education has until June 24 to revise parts of its curriculum, said Ackerman, whose health education staff no longer wants the program to make sweeping generalizations about all drugs or claim that drugs are stored in fat for years.

"The fact that (Narconon) is addressing drugs is a positive," Ackerman said. "But some of the facts that they were teaching the kids support a philosophical or religious belief, as opposed to science, so we had to say 'no.' "

Narconon must make the requested changes or be "removed from the list of Community Based Organizations" given to San Francisco schools, according to a letter faxed Wednesday by the district to Narconon's education director, Tony Bylsma.

Bylsma, who works out of Narconon's headquarters in Hollywood, said he had not decided whether to comply with the district's demand.

"We don't want to desert the kids," he said. "I'm going to decide how we're going to respond."

It is unclear whether being removed from the district's list of approved organizations would prevent individual schools from hosting Narconon anyway, said Board of Education President Dan Kelly.

"This may require an action of the board," Kelly said. "We're not going to have cults and religions preaching their line in our schools."

The district sent the letter the same day that The Chronicle published stories about Narconon. The stories raised questions about the science being taught and reported that religious concepts embraced by the Church of Scientology have found their way into classroom lectures to students.

Narconon was created by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, who founded the Church of Scientology. Narconon officials say they have reached 30,000 San Francisco students since 1991, when they began providing free lectures in the city's schools. The program is also in Los Angeles and Orange County schools and in other states. Officials say they have reached 1.7 million students nationwide in the past decade.

Scientology correspondence reveals that Narconon instructors are taught to purge church language from their classroom instruction while including "all the Scientology and Dianetics Handbook basics." Narconon's anti-drug instruction also rests on key church concepts that the body stores all kinds of toxins indefinitely in fat, where they cause repeated flashbacks and drug cravings until "sweated out."

Five addiction experts, including Dr. Peter Banys of the San Francisco Veterans Administration Hospital and Dr. Neal Benowitz of UCSF, said they know of no scientific evidence to support these claims.

Yet the ideas have relevance in the Church of Scientology, which promotes a sauna program called Purification to "cleanse" the body of toxins believed to prevent church members from reaching a spiritually pure state, according to Hubbard's Scientology text "Clear Body, Clear Mind."

Ackerman said she took an interest in Narconon's curriculum after being contacted by The Chronicle months ago with questions about the program. She then asked her staff to see whether Narconon was "aligned with what we want our students to know and be able to do."

On Feb. 20, the district faxed a letter to Bylsma complaining that basic information about addiction was missing from its written curriculum and identifying one inaccurate statement, two misleading statements, and pointing to a Narconon newsletter containing information "not substantiated by any reputable authority." The newsletter was poised to go out to students and teachers.

The letter from Kim Coates, a district health administrator, asked Bylsma to clarify these statements in Narconon's curriculum:

-- "All drugs are basically poisons. The amount which you take is what determines the effect. A small amount acts as a stimulant (speeds you up). A larger amount acts as a sedative (puts you to sleep). An even larger amount acts as a poison and can kill you. This is true of any drug."

Coates said that statement was wrong.

-- "Most drugs or their byproducts get stored in fat within the body and can stay there for years. Even occasional use has long-term effects. This is a problem because later, when the person is working or exercising or has stress, the fat burns up and a tiny amount of the drug seeps back into the blood. This triggers cravings so the person may still want drugs even years after he's stopped taking them."

Coates called the statement misleading. Other medical experts, quoted in Wednesday's stories, said there is no evidence to support Narconon's claim that drugs stay in fat for years or that cravings are caused by drug residue in fat.

-- "Like any other drug it is poisonous to your body. ... Alcohol is made of dead rotted food."

Coates said both statements were misleading and asked that they be removed from the curriculum.

Three months later, on May 24, Bylsma sent the district a nine-page defense of Narconon's curriculum.

"There is sound science behind the basic truths we present to children," Bylsma wrote. He said that all of the statements in dispute were accurate and that to make the information more complex would bore the students.

"Let's be frank," he wrote. "Do you seriously think we will do better (with students) if we just parrot what others are saying and do not offer a fresh point of view?"

On Wednesday, Coates replied that unless Narconon made the requested changes to its curriculum, "the organization will be removed" from the district's list.

Page A - 1
URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/a/2004/06/10/NARCONON.TMP

©2004 San Francisco Chronicle

Skylarks helped by 'crop circles'

Crop circles could finally have found their niche with news that leaving fallow patches in cereal fields could help reverse a decline in UK birdlife. Skylark breeding rose nearly 50% when small patches of cereal fields were left unsown, a two-year study found.

Now farmers are to be offered government subsidies to clear the areas as part of a conservation push.

And the trials showed that despite a rise in weeds on the unsown patches, farmers did not lose any yield.

Experts say leaving two small patches bare per hectare could reverse a 52% drop in skylark numbers since 1970.

Other species

"Crop circles once fascinated the nation; undrilled patches could be the new phenomenon, and one with a worthwhile legacy," said Dr David Gibbons, head of conservation science at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

Farmers joining a new scheme in which they are paid £30 per hectare of land are likely to be asked to take part.

Environment Minister Elliot Morley said: "I hope farmers across the country will make the most of these patches so skylarks will once again become a common sight on British farmland."

Scientists are also looking at other aspects of nature conservation on farmland, such as grass margins and weeds as a food source. These are expected to help other bird species which have been in decline, such as the yellowhammer and grey partridge.

The £3.6m Sustainable Arable Farming For an Improved Environment (Saffie) project received £1.5m from the government as well as cash from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), the Crop Protection Association and Home Grown Cereals Authority.

Last year a rare bumblebee species was found on a Saffie site.

Jonathan Tipples, chairman of Saffie and a farmer in Kent, said: "I am delighted that Saffie is demonstrating that farmers can improve the environment on their farms at no cost to themselves."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/06/07 23:28:25 GMT



The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News
Number 686 May 28, 2004 by Phillip F. Schewe and Ben Stein

TO STOP TUMORS, KNOW HOW THEY GROW. Stimulating the immune system in a certain way can cause immune-system cells to surround tumors and stop them from growing, researchers have found (Antonio Brú Espino, Environmental Sciences Research Center, Spanish Research Council, antonio.bru@ccma.csic.es,). Demonstrated in mice, the finding is a direct result of applying a new universal model of tumor growth developed over the last ten years in a collaboration between scientists at the Spanish Research Council and medical research centers in Spain. The researchers have evidence to show that all tumors grow in the same way, irrespective of the tissue or species in which they develop (Brú et al., Biophysical Journal, November 2003). In a previous paper, these researchers reported that tumor growth, rather than being exponential as commonly believed, is a much slower "linear" process similar to the growth of certain crystals and other natural phenomena (Brú et al., Phys. Rev. Lett, 2 November 1998). Tumor cells, they have found, grow through the diffusion or migration of cancer cells at the tumor's outer edges. Only the cells close to the edge of the tumor proliferate--those inside the tumor do not, contrary to previous assumptions. According to the researchers' observations, cells formed at the edge of the tumor diffuse at the border of the tumor mass until they settle in curved depressions where the competition for space is lowest and where they are best protected from the immune system. In their new paper, Brú and co-workers show that the mechanical pressure exerted by immune-system cells known as "neutrophils" around mouse tumors can prevent the diffusion of these cells and thus prevent tumor growth. In 16 mice with a tumor mass in the muscle, the researchers induced neutrophil production by administering an immune system booster known as GM-CSF over two months. In a short time, they observed that GM-CSF altered the growth dynamics of the cells. The tumors of two mice regressed completely and 80-90% tumor-cell death was seen in the rest. If the growth dynamics of tumors are universal, there is every reason to be hopeful the same result could be obtained in humans. Knowing how tumors grow, by cell diffusion at the surface, opens up the possibility of developing new and far more efficient ways of preventing their enlargement and spread. (Bru et al., Physical Review Letters, upcoming)

MAGNETIZATION INCREASES WITH TEMPERATURE for antiferromagnetic nanoparticles. This odd experimental finding, made a few years ago, is now explained, for the first time, by physicists at the Technical University of Denmark. The experimental behavior is odd for two reasons: first because antiferromagnets, whose tiny neighboring magnetic moments generally line up in an alternating down and up pattern, are supposed to sustain no significant net magnetization of their own in an applied field; and second because magnetism itself, which arises at the microscopic level from the aligned magnetic moments of many atoms (the atoms act as tiny bar magnets), should tend to decline as the disruptive action of higher temperatures takes effect. The Danish physicists explain why "thermoinduced magnetization" is missing in bulk antiferromagnetic samples (which accounts for their being nonmagnetic), but become more noticeable in dots with size below 10 nm. Steen Morup (morup@fysik.dtu.dk) and Cathrine Frandsen (fraca@fysik.dtu.dk) argue that antiferromagnetic nanoparticles might be engineered into a new class of material, one in which magnetization can be switched quickly and without energy loss, making it valuable for use in high-frequency electronic devices. (Morup and Frandsen, Physical Review Letters, 28 May 2004)

STRONTIUM-76 IS ONE OF THE MOST DEFORMED NUCLEI in its ground state and is the most deformed of all nuclei in which the number of protons (Z) equals the number of neutrons (N). This finding comes out of a new experiment in Switzerland. The lighter N=Z nuclei, such as He-4, C-12, O-16, and Ca-40 are quite stable and among the most important nuclear species on earth, especially where life is concerned. But as the number of proton and neutron inhabitants of the nuclear abode increases distortion begins; the electric charges on the protons leads to mutual repulsion, and this leads to disintegration of the nucleus. Nuclei struck by another nucleus can be sent into a rapidly spinning superdeformed state, but what about the quiescent shape of nuclei that haven't been hit? Earlier evidence suggested that Sr-76 should be about as deformed a nucleus as one can have in its ground state. In a new study carried out at the CERN-ISOLDE facility in Geneva, a new method for measuring this deformation has been put into practice. First, the rare Sr-76 nuclei were made by smashing a proton beam into a target of niobium. The newly made Sr nuclei then diffused out of the target, ionized, and were swept away and sent to the heart of a spectrometer called "Lucrecia."(http://isolde.web.cern.ch/ISOLDE/). There the fragile nuclei are directed up a slender hole in the world's largest crystal of pure sodium-iodide. It is in that sanctum that gamma rays from the fragmentation of the Sr-76 nuclei are observed. Not only the lifetime---7.89 seconds---can be deduced, but even the approximate shape of the nuclei can be worked out from the pattern of emergent gammas. Sr-76 was not only shown to be highly deformed, as expected, but its shape is now determined to be highly prolate (its equatorial axis being some 40% less than its longer axis) rather than oblate. (Nacher et al., Physical Review Letters, upcoming article)

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.

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