NTS LogoSkeptical News for 25 August 2004

Archive of previous NTS Skeptical News listings

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Chondroitin supplements


Posted on Tue, Aug. 24, 2004


Q: Is chondroitin safe? I read that it is made from cow cartilage, and mad cow disease has been a problem.

Violet Vagramian,


A: As far as mad cow disease is concerned, chondroitin supplements should be safe, according to Dr. Bernd Wollschlaeger, a North Miami physician who uses alternative medicine in his practice.

Chondroitin is derived mostly from cow cartilage, he said.

Mad cow disease is transmitted through neural tissues (the brain, spinal column and the like). Prions, the protein that causes the disease, haven't been found in cartilage; it's highly unlikely the disease can be transmitted via cartilage.

Anyone concerned about mad cow should try to use supplements that are vegetable-based capsules.

Chondroitin, as a supplement, is used to help give cartilage elasticity. It's often used in conjunction with the amino-sugar, glucosamine, which helps to grow cartilage.

''There's currently a large clinical study using each (chondroitin and glucosamine) alone and together,'' Wollschlaeger said.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine website ( http://nccam.nih.gov) states that researchers believe glucosamine and chondroitin may help in the repair and maintenance of cartilage and that chondroitin provides cartilage with strength and resilience.

As with all supplements, you should make sure they are what they say they are. Consumerlab.com tests supplements to see if the key ingredients are there and to determine whether safe manufacturing standards have been met. The lab lists companies that pass and fail on its website, www.consumerlab.com.

Other websites to find information on supplements include the Office of Dietary Supplements, http://odsod.nih.gov and the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition's paper, Tips for the Savvy Supplement User at http:/www.fda.gov/fdacfeatures/2002/


Herald Staff

Yad L´Achim Warns Against Scientology in Jerusalem


12:02 Aug 25, '04 / 8 Elul 5764

Yad L'Achim, a Jerusalem-based anti-cult organization, announces that the dangerous Scientology cult is actively pursuing new members among religious and hareidi women.

Yad L'Achim, a Jerusalem-based anti-cult organization, announces that the dangerous Scientology cult is actively pursuing new members among religious and hareidi women. On Diskin St. 17, one of the tall buildings whose "shorter sides" face the hareidi neighborhood of Shaarei Hessed, dozens of women can be seen entering the offices of Machon Shachar. Among the courses given are reflexology, holistic healing - and Scientology. A religious-looking woman is the director; though she denies any connection to Scientology, the main office in Tel Aviv told Yad L'Achim that she is their representative in Jerusalem.

Yad L'Achim says that the cult has an interesting way of attracting the religious women. A college named Tif'eret advertises that it is looking to hire a secretary, and candidates who arrive for an interview are told at the end that if they want to be hired, they must take a course in "dianetics" - a method that is claimed to get rid of "the hidden part of your mind that stores all painful experiences and then uses them against you." Dianetics is a central method of Scientology, which has been described as the "world's most dangerous cult."

Justice Anderson of the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, wrote, "Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill... [It is] the world's largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy."

One-time British Health Minister Kenneth Robinson said, "The government is satisfied that Scientology is socially harmful. It alienates members of families from each other and attributes squalid and disgraceful motives to all who oppose it; its authoritarian principles and practice are a potential menace to the personality and well being of those so deluded as to become followers; above all, its methods can be a serious danger to the health of those who submit to them..."

Yad L'Achim plans to publicize the dangers of Scientology and the Jerusalem courses in the hareidi newspapers in the coming two weeks.

Yad L'Achim Chairman Rabbi Shalom Dov Lifschitz said, "We have here a cynical attempt to entrap innocent hareidi women who are not aware of the many dangers inherent in this destructive cult. These women want only to learn new psychological methods... This is a clever method of entrapment that should be thrown out of the Holy City."

Man on Quest for Knife-Proof Body Bleeds to Death


Aug 24, 8:08 AM (ET)

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - A Tanzanian who went to a witch doctor in search of the power to resist bullets and knife attacks died when ritual cuts made on his body proved fatal.

He was one of four suspected robbers from a village in Kasulu district in western Tanzania who visited the witch doctor on a quest for magic, the African newspaper reported Tuesday.

The ritual included cutting their skin and rubbing in potions and powders.

The witch doctor fled after the man died Monday from profuse bleeding, the newspaper said, adding that the three survivors were arrested when they went to a hospital.

Buckley: Marlborough man was a minister and evolutionist


By James J. Buckley / Local Columnist
Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Charles Francis Potter of Marlborough was a member of the defense team during the internationally famous Scopes Trial.

Born in 1880, this son of a Marlborough shoe factory worker manifested his ample intelligence at an early age. When he was three, Potter was able to recite entire passages from the Bible from memory. This skill in the field of religion continued to manifest itself throughout his childhood. As a result, he was ordained as a Baptist preacher at the very young age of 17.

In 1908, he married Clara Cook of Dorchester and soon thereafter became the minister of a Mattapan congregation. Shortly thereafter, he began to doubt his religion and soon began to investigate Unitarianism. Subsequently, he adopted that religion and became one of its ministers.

From 1916 to 1919, Potter was the minister of Unitarian churches in Marlborough and Wellesley Hills.

Soon thereafter, he began to garner nationwide attention, due to his many speeches in favor of the theory of evolution and his many articles and essays on that topic.

By 1925, he had become minister of the West Side Unitarian Church but he continued to spend time traveling throughout the United States raising funds for his favorite charities while still championing the cause of evolutionism.

That year, a Tennessee law was enacted which prohibited the teaching of the theory of evolution. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately announced its willingness to financially support anyone who defied this law and taught the forbidden topic. John T. Scopes, a 25-year-old Dayton, Tenn., high school biology teacher, accepted the ACLU's offer. Soon thereafter he began teaching the theory in his classes. His activities were reported to the police, who promptly arrested.

Immediately, this trial, which involved an unassuming young biology teacher, became a test case for those who favored creationism and those who promoted evolutionism.

As a result, Scopes was besieged with offers from pro-evolution attorneys to represent him. Scopes selected Clarence Darrow, an internationally famous trial lawyer, to defend him during the trial. Not to be outdone, the creationists selected William Jennings Bryan, three-time candidate for the presidency, former Secretary of State and, in 1925, the leader of a fundamentalist sect, to prosecute the case.

Darrow needed as much assistance as he could muster in order to win this case in a decidedly conservative venue. He also needed someone to curb his habit of leaving notes and important documents scattered everywhere. Hearing about Charles Potter and his ability to articulate the cause of evolution, Darrow contacted Potter and invited him to be his Biblical expert and to act as librarian during the trial. Potter readily accepted and relocated during that summer to Dayton.

Due to the fact that two legal giants were going to be involved in the case, it soon gained national attention. Reporters from throughout the nation and from many foreign newspapers flocked to Dayton. Nearly 1,000 spectators crowded the courtroom and the space outside the courtroom each day during the trial.

Because of the intensity of the public's interest in the case, the presiding judge, John T. Ralston, allowed the proceedings to be broadcast live on radio. Thus this trial became the first case ever broadcast to the nation.

It soon became clear that Judge Ralston had no intention of allowing Darrow to win the case. He refused to permit Darrow to introduce any testimony and information that Potter had mustered in favor of evolutionism. To emphasize his determination, the judge began each day's proceedings with a prayer.

Despite the prejudicial behavior of the judge, Darrow refused to admit defeat. Unable to present any defense of evolutionism, he decided to demonstrate the weaknesses in the theory of creationism. To accomplish this, Darrow called his opposing attorney, Bryan, to be his only witness.

Using the skills that had made him famous throughout the land, Darrow began questioning Bryan in such a way as to systematically ridicule creationism and humiliate Bryan. He quoted sections of the Bible which Potter felt were highly suspect and forced Bryan to declare them to be true and explain how they could have occurred. Despite the efforts of the judge to stop this process, Darrow thoroughly skewered Bryan and gave the press ample license to mock and deride Bryan's literal interpretation of the Bible.

At the conclusion of the trial, Darrow asked the jury to find his client guilty so that he could appeal the sentence to the Tennessee Supreme Court. The jury rendered a guilty verdict and Scopes was fined $100, which was promptly paid by the ACLU.

The elation which immediately ensued among creationists was dampened when they learned that Bryan, exhausted from having to spend day after day in an unventilated courtroom, and stunned by the abject humiliation he had suffered, had died just days after the trial ended.

A year later, the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed the verdict on a technicality, enabling both siders to claim a measure of victory.

Having stepped on the international stage, as it were, for an entire summer, Potter returned to his struggle to develop an optimal faith. To that end, in 1929, he organized the First Humanist Society of New York. He and his wife, Clara Cook Potter, wrote a book in 1930 which highlighted his new religious interests. His most popular book was his interpretation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, published in 1958, four years before his death.

( James J. Buckley may be reached at historybuckley@yahoo.com. )

© Copyright of CNC and Herald Interactive Advertising Systems, Inc.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Conservatives claim their views curbed on campuses


Norwich Bulletin

On the Web

For more information, go to the online version of this story at www.norwichbulletin.com for links to:

Center for the Study of Popular Culture.

Students for Academic Freedom.

American Association of University Professors.




WASHINGTON -- When Ruth Malhotra told her college professor she planned to miss a class to attend a conservative political conference, the professor wasn't happy.

"You're just going to fail my class," she said the instructor told her.

Malhotra, a student at Georgia Institute of Technology, ultimately filed a grievance with the school, saying the professor used her public policy class to push her outspokenly liberal viewpoints on students.

"We're there to learn the foundations of policy, not the professors' personal platforms," said Malhotra, 20, of Atlanta.

Georgia Tech spokesman Bob Harty said school policy barred him from disclosing how Malhotra's grievance was decided, but he said many of the facts in the case are open to interpretation.

Malhotra is one of a growing number of conservative college students who are complaining that liberal professors are promoting their viewpoints in the classroom and creating a hostile atmosphere for more conservative students.

The trend has spawned a group called Students for Academic Freedom, which claims 135 chapters in colleges and universities and hosts a Web site that collects liberal-bias complaints from conservative students across the country.

Those complaints have struck a sympathetic chord with some conservative lawmakers in Congress.

They have proposed a measure that would encourage colleges to present "dissenting sources and viewpoints" in the classroom and to "promote intellectual pluralism" in selecting outside speakers and financing student activities.

Republican Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon of California said the measure is designed to send a message to liberal academic officials: "You're using the school in many cases to brainwash and not to educate."

College administrators counter that the legislation marks an unprecedented and unjustified attempt by Congress to control college curricula.

Taken to a hypothetical extreme, the legislation could require biology classes to include the theory of creationism and history classes to include the theory that the Holocaust never happened, said Linda Crootof, a humanities professor at Three Rivers Community College in Norwich.

"It's such an insult to people who have already studied in the field, to assume that they cannot decide for themselves the most important things a student should learn." Crootof said.

The congressional language is based on an Academic Bill of Rights promoted by activist David Horowitz, a driving force behind the campus conservative movement. Horowitz has traveled the country for the past year asking Congress and state legislators to adopt his eight provisions, which he says are aimed at protecting political and intellectual diversity on campuses.

Horowitz said professors who use their position to promote liberal causes are shirking their duty to students.

"You have a responsibility to teach them and not to indoctrinate them," he said.

The language under consideration in Congress faces an uncertain future, but Horowitz's campaign is resonating among state legislators.

Language modeled on his proposals passed the Georgia state Senate earlier this year and has been introduced in California, Washington and Missouri. A state representative in Colorado withdrew similar legislation in March after the state's public colleges agreed to take steps to protect political diversity on their campuses.

A representative of the American Council on Education, which represents about half the nation's colleges and universities, acknowledged that liberal bias among faculty members is a real issue at many colleges but said those schools should address the problem "in a manner that is appropriate to each school."

"Legislation is hardly an appropriate mechanism for trying to redress this purported imbalance," said Sheldon Steinbach, the group's general counsel.

Horowitz said many of the liberal professors who inject their partisan views into classroom discussions came to academia during the Vietnam era with the attitude that universities are political institutions.

His group, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture in Los Angeles, promotes its agenda with the phrase, "You can't get a good education if they're only telling you half the story."

Students for Academic Freedom, a division of the center founded a year ago, has posted on its Web site 150 complaints from conservative students alleging unfair treatment at liberal colleges and universities.

One complaint alleges that a professor at the University of Alabama began each class day by reading examples of President Bush's rhetorical fumbles and "constantly bashes the Iraq War, Bush and the neocons."

Another says a class in Latin American civilization at the University of South Carolina portrayed the United States "as a greedy, racist, imperialist nation bent on exploiting and even killing Latin Americans."

Mark Smith, director of government relations for the 45,000-member American Association of University Professors, said he's disturbed by some discrimination allegations from conservative students. But he said other allegations show the students involved don't understand intellectual activity.

"There's a difference between being discriminated against and being disagreed with," Smith said.

Originally published Monday, August 23, 2004

Christians push godly morality because atheists push the opposite


Monday, August 23, 2004

The writer of "Vote to rebuild 'beautiful line' between church and state" (Aug. 13), after quoting from Jack Germond's book, "Fat Man Fed Up," writes that according to religious fundamentalists, "If you are liberal, pro-choice, a Democrat, feel prayer and the teaching of Creationism do not belong in schools, well, then, you are 'godless.' These kinds of attacks ... against 'nonbelievers' are nothing less than Christian Jihad."

Germond, a fairly good journalist (now retired) whom I respected, is an avowed atheist. His views on morality certainly do not relate to anything godly. If I wanted to make the case of what is godly morality, as the letter writer does, I would not use Germond as a resource. I do give Germond credit for being honest about his atheism, unlike many who hold the same views.

The letter argues that Christians try to push what we believe as godly morality onto others. To that charge, I plead guilty. I hope other Christians are doing the same.

Every day we are bombarded by those who push their godless morality onto us and this nation — those who believe we should kill our unborn babies, who support same-sex marriage, who want our children brought up in a totally secular atmosphere, who are not satisfied with only separation but push for a godless America, and all others who unrelentingly push forward their godless agendas.

In the minds of the writer, Germond and others of their ilk, they have every right to push forward these godless programs and to rebuff Christians' right to take a stand against their ever-increasing immorality that threatens the traditional moral and spiritual underpinnings upon which this country was founded and that served us so well for a couple of hundred years.

If we take a sheet from the writer's book, I guess we could call theirs an Atheistic Jihad.



Monday, August 23, 2004

God's Number Is Up


Among a heap of books claiming that science proves God's existence emerges one that computes a probability of 67 percent

By Michael Shermer

In his 1916 poem "A Coat," William Butler Yeats rhymed: "I made my song a coat/Covered with embroideries/Out of old mythologies/From heel to throat."

Read "religion" for "song," and "science" for "coat," and we have a close approximation of the deepest flaw in the science and religion movement, as revealed in Yeats's denouement: "But the fools caught it,/Wore it in the world's eyes/As though they'd wrought it./Song, let them take it/For there's more enterprise/In walking naked."

Naked faith is what religious enterprise was always about, until science became the preeminent system of natural verisimilitude, tempting the faithful to employ its wares in the practice of preternatural belief. Although most efforts in this genre offer little more than scientistic cant and religious blather, a few require a response from the magisterium of science, if for no other reason than to protect that of religion; if faith is tethered to science, what happens when the science changes? One of the most innovative works in this genre is The Probability of God (Crown Forum, 2003), by Stephen D. Unwin, a risk management consultant in Ohio, whose early physics work on quantum gravity showed him that the universe is probabilistic and whose later research in risk analysis led him to this ultimate computation.

If faith is tethered to science, what happens when the science changes?

Unwin rejects most scientific attempts to prove the divine--such as the anthropic principle and intelligent design--concluding that this "is not the sort of evidence that points in either direction, for or against." Instead he employs Bayesian probabilities, a statistical method devised by 18th-century Presbyterian minister and mathematician Reverend Thomas Bayes. Unwin begins with a 50 percent probability that God exists (because 50–50 represents "maximum ignorance"), then applies a modified Bayesian theorem:

The probability of God's existence after the evidence is considered is a function of the probability before times D ("Divine Indicator Scale"): 10 indicates the evidence is 10 times as likely to be produced if God exists, 2 is two times as likely if God exists, 1 is neutral, 0.5 is moderately more likely if God does not exist, and 0.1 is much more likely if God does not exist. Unwin offers the following figures for six lines of evidence: recognition of goodness (D = 10), existence of moral evil (D = 0.5), existence of natural evil (D = 0.1), intranatural miracles (prayers) (D = 2), extranatural miracles (resurrection) (D = 1), and religious experiences (D = 2). Plugging these figures into the above formula (in sequence, where the Pafter figure for the first computation is used for the Pbefore figure in the second computation, and so on for all six Ds), Unwin concludes: "The probability that God exists is 67%." Remarkably, he then confesses: "This number has a subjective element since it reflects my assessment of the evidence. It isn't as if we have calculated the value of pi for the first time."

Indeed, based on my own theory of the evolutionary origins of morality and the sociocultural foundation of religious beliefs and faith, I would begin (as Unwin does) with a 50 percent probability of God's existence and plug in these figures: recognition of goodness (D = 0.5), existence of moral evil (D = 0.1), existence of natural evil (D = 0.1), intranatural miracles (D = 1), extranatural miracles (D = 0.5), and religious experiences (D = 0.1). I estimate the probability that God exists is 0.02, or 2 percent.

Regardless, the subjective component in the formula relegates its use to an entertaining exercise in thinking--on par with mathematical puzzles--but little more. In my opinion, the question of God's existence is a scientifically insoluble one. Thus, all such scientistic theologies are compelling only to those who already believe. Religious faith depends on a host of social, psychological and emotional factors that have little or nothing to do with probabilities, evidence and logic. This is faith's inescapable weakness. It is also, undeniably, its greatest power.

Michael Shermer is publisher of Skeptic (www.skeptic.com) and author of The Science of Good and Evil.

Argentina Skeptics Report #1

Dear Friend of Argentina Skeptics, We are pleased to announce that the first issue of the Argentina Skeptics Report (Vol. 1, Nro. 1 - Junio 2004) is now online. It can be found at http://www.argentinaskeptics.com.ar/ASReport01.pdf.


Informe / Report"Los avatares del H2O o el retorno de una quimera", por Roberto J. Fernández Prini.Summary. The chemical and physical structure of water has been exhaustively studied. Nevertheless articles are published every now and then that attribute to water unknown and unexpected features and behavior. In this note some recent examples of these "findings" are described. Libros / BooksShelton, J. W. Homeopathy: How It Really Works. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2004. 319 p. Noticias / News5to. Congreso Mundial de Escépticos: «Misterios Develados» (The Fifth World Skeptics Congress: «Solving Mysteries») We encourage you to broadcast Argentina Skeptics Report to new potential readers. Best regards, [...from the very cold Buenos Aires, best wishes, Juan] Juan De Gennaro ARGENTINA SKEPTICS


Rumors Put Through Mill


August 22, 2004

Agoura Couple's Website Seeks to Separate Fact From Fiction

By Amanda Covarrubias, Times Staff Writer

There's the one about the teenage couple parked on lovers lane who hear a radio report that a killer with an arm hook has escaped from prison. Spooked, the girl insists on going home. After dropping her off and returning to his car, the boy finds a bloody hook hanging from the passenger door handle.

True story? Or timeless fodder for sleepovers and campfires?

How about the man who ate some bad sushi and ended up with maggots crawling around inside his head? A photo has circulated for years of a man with his scalp missing and his infested brain exposed. Is the photo real or manipulated?

For the answers to these and other urban legends, tens of thousands of people flock to snopes.com to help them separate fact from fiction. With categories as disparate as Disney, medicine and "Cokelore," snopes.com is a virtual marketplace of stories both real and fantastic that provide a window into the ever-expanding universe of pop culture.

The 9-year-old website is the brainchild of David and Barbara Mikkelson, who investigate and post from their mobile home in Agoura. They share their living and work space with assorted cats and cables running from living room to bedroom.

With about 150,000 visitors per day, scopes.com has for many Web surfers become an authority not only on urban legends and folklore but on more topical matters, including politics and current affairs. Even journalists have been known to quote the site.

Over the last few years, the Mikkelsons have parsed stories on John Kerry's Swift boat experiences during the Vietnam War, Hillary Clinton's alleged ties to the Black Panthers and President Bush's IQ.

"We weren't intending this to be a full-time job," said David Mikkelson, 44, taking a midmorning break last week from what has recently evolved into a full-time gig. "It started out as a hobby, writing about urban legends. But it's grown into something bigger."

Because of the site's increasing popularity — it experienced an inexplicable spike in visitors this last year — David recently quit his day job as a computer programmer to devote all of his time to it along with his wife, Barbara, 45.

Nervous about turning his hobby into a business, David acknowledged it costs $2,000 to $3,000 a month to keep snopes.com going, not counting his and Barbara's labor. He says there is rarely an hour in the day that they are not talking, thinking or writing articles for snopes.com aimed at either debunking a rumor or giving it the stamp of authenticity.

He figures they can make a go of it if they keep visitor numbers high and attract more advertisers, which now include a broadband phone service and a Las Vegas hotel chain. The Mikkelsons also plan to start selling website-related merchandise, such as T-shirts and bumper stickers, to supplement their income.

Snopes, named for a recurring family of characters in several William Faulkner novels, is not without its critics. Some say the Mikkelsons promote a liberal agenda and are slow to correct their mistakes, misleading millions of visitors on matters of national importance, especially in an election year.

"They'll phrase things in a certain way to make it sound like the story is false, when it has largely been confirmed," said John Berlau, a writer for Insightmag.com, a conservative online magazine affiliated with the Washington Times. "People should be skeptical about everything on the Web, including urban legends websites. They shouldn't be so quick to accept what's written there."

The Mikkelsons say they try to conduct thorough investigations, poring over computer databases, newspapers and magazines. They also watch videos, TV shows and movies and sometimes speak directly with sources before reaching their conclusions.

"It's not like we're a more viable source than anyone else," David said. "We look up what's been reported and connect the dots."

If all else fails, they will post a question or a questionable photograph on their website and solicit answers from visitors.

That is what they did with the photo of the man with maggots in his brain. A visitor involved in the case told them the picture was taken at Stanford University, where the elderly man had been treated for advanced cancer that ate away his scalp and infested his brain with parasites.

"He was not in a great deal of pain," Mikkelson said he was told by the visitor.

The Mikkelsons field hundreds of e-mails each week and say they answer each one, no matter how long it takes. But they carefully select those questions they will research and post on snopes.com, saying they don't have time to investigate every query. And sometimes they don't want to, like when someone sends in an entire editorial from the New York Times, asking if it's true or not.

"We tell them it's an opinion and leave it at that," David said.

Their posted answers, sometimes pages long with sources listed at the end, are accompanied by a green bullet for "true," a red bullet for "false" and a yellow bullet for "unknown or ambiguous." There is a white bullet for a legend "of indeterminate origin or unclassifiable veracity."

They recently added a half-green, half-red bullet for stories that are partly true.

Take the allegation raised by Michael Moore in "Fahrenheit 9/11" that the U.S. government allowed members of the Bin Laden family to fly out of the country when airspace was closed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Mikkelsons determined that Osama Bin Laden's relatives were allowed to fly within the United States while airspace was closed but flew out of the country after airspace had been reopened. It earned a red-green bullet.

"We started discussing politics and the war because that's what people were asking about," David said, adding that the majority of snopes.com visitors tend to be interested in legends and rumors.

Carin Rhoden, a 33-year-old facility coordinator for a biotech incubator in Cincinnati, is a regular visitor to the website. She said she often forwards stories to snopes.com to check their veracity.

"I use it a lot," Rhodes said. "Sometimes I just browse for entertainment, but I get a lot of e-mails, and I like to check their authenticity. There's a lot of stuff floating around out there that isn't true. I like Snopes because they usually list their sources."

The Mikkelsons met on the Internet 10 years ago, before the advent of browsers made the World Wide Web accessible to anyone with a computer. Fittingly, they found each other on a text-only newsgroup devoted to urban legends.

Barbara, who was living in Ottawa at the time, moved to Southern California to be with David. They started the website in 1995 under a different name and acquired the domain snopes.com in 1997.

David said the site will continue to thrive as long as the questions keep coming, like the one about the killer with an arm hook. It received a red bullet.

Hawaii's herbalists old cures going mainstream


By Clynton Namuo
Pacific Business News (Honolulu)
Updated: 8:00 p.m. ET Aug. 22, 2004

Although Jian Zhen Chen's office on King Street could be that of any doctor, with magazines covering the table and file cabinets lining the walls in her waiting room, it is immediately obvious there's something different.

A pungent, earthy smell fills the small room.

While most doctors stuff their filing cabinets with medical histories and insurance forms, Chen's are stocked with the root of the red-rooted salvia, which helps increase circulation, and the bulb of fritillary, which can shrink tumors, though many Western doctors would argue otherwise on both accounts.

Chen is one of a growing number of practitioners, many of them Chinese, who are treating illness with herbal medicine, a centuries-old system that focuses on naturally strengthening the body as a whole to fight disease.

In Hawaii, where herbalists ran prosperous practices a century before anyone had ever heard of managed care or preferred providers, nontraditional treatments were widely accepted, especially in Asian communities. Now, a growing number of people of all ethnicities are using herbal medicines, creating brisk business for Hawaii's herbalists and helping to dispel criticism that alternative medicine is offbeat and ineffective.

Jackie Young, a secretary at the University of Hawaii, was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome in 1995 and said she received little help from doctors. Eventually, the discomfort became so great that she looked to alternative medicine.

"I'm a pretty active person and I couldn't even go to work," she said. "It was a real pain to go to work."

After a recommendation from a neighbor, Young decided to try herbal medicine, beginning first with Japanese herbs before moving to Chinese herbs and later acupuncture.

"I believe that seeing the proper herbalist with the right skills played a major part in my cure," Young said.

Chen, who was trained as a physician in China but who is not licensed to practice in the United States, said a broader cross-section of patients visit her clinic because they are looking for results once traditional Western medicine fails them.

"I have lots of new patients always," said Chen, who operates Chinese Herb Remedies Center and serves more than 400 people a month.

Alternative medicines such as herbal remedies also are becoming increasingly common across the United States. In a 2002 survey of 31,000 people by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36 percent said they used some kind of alternative medicine.

Rosanne Harrigan, chairwoman of complementary and alternative medicine at the University of Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine, said approximately one in four Hawaii residents use herbal medicine and about 85 percent use some form of alternative treatment, among them chiropractic, massage and acupuncture.

Not only do herbal medicines have ties to Hawaii's Chinese roots, they also offer a quick and customized remedy that Western medicine cannot, Harrigan said.

"We live in kind of a fast-food mentality," she said. "We want to just grab it. All done. People are the same way about managing their health status."

Health-care professionals are reacting to the popularity of herbal alternatives in different ways. James McElhaney, a pharmacist and owner of The Pillbox Pharmacy in Kaimuki, said he now stocks about 80 to 90 different herbal products because of growing demand.

"The number of people who are using this type, the herbal products and also the nonherbal products of herbal origin, is terribly significant," he said. "It's looming larger on the horizon here in Honolulu every day."

Retailers like Longs, Safeway and GNC also are carrying a wider array of herbal medicines. But as the number of distributors has increased, some patients are questioning the quality and effectiveness of the new products flooding the market.

McElhaney said consumers should ask their pharmacist or herbalist about a product's quality and origin and check on possible drug interactions.

"If you're going to buy this stuff, you really ought to know something about who put it together," McElhaney said.

Many Western-trained health-care professionals remain wary of herbal treatments, especially when it comes to treating life-threatening illnesses.

North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea on the Big Island opened eight years ago and was built specifically to accommodate alternative medicines, including Chinese herbs, said Anne Warren, healing service leader for the hospital. Part of the integration of alternative medicine includes a computer program that tells physicians which herbs are safe to use with Western drugs.

Despite being equipped to prescribe the herbal remedies, Warren said, most doctors remain hesitant.

"The physicians are not real comfortable with the interactions between herbals and allopathics [Western medicines]," she said, adding that she has never seen herbs prescribed at the hospital.

Many herbal medicine users are more concerned about the negative effects of Western medicine than they are about herbal medicine.

Carol Masutani was plagued by what she described as the constant adverse effects of Western medicines, so she eventually decided to utilize Chinese herbal medicine.

She has since used the Chinese alternative to treat colds, the stomach flu and a variety of other conditions. Masutani said she goes to her Western doctor either to receive services her herbalist cannot provide, such as blood tests, or when her herbalist is unavailable.

The concern for Masutani is not possible drug interactions with herbs, but the cost. Most insurance providers do not cover herbal remedies, though some do provide coverage, such as HMAA.

It can cost about $7 a day to treat a cold with herbs for three days. Some herbalists charge a one-time $20 assessment fee to new clients, and acupuncture can cost $25 to $50 per treatment, sometimes more.

In spite of the cost, Masutani said she fully believes in the power of herbal medicine to heal.

"I would recommend it for anybody because it's treating the problem and helping your body fight it," she said. "I wish Western [medicine] would get into this kind of stuff because ... it's really much better for you."

This holistic healing method is key to the success of Chinese herbal medicine, according to Chen. While Western medicine often treats the symptoms of a disease, herbal medicine instead treats the cause. For example, while a Western medicine may unclog a person's arteries, Chinese herbs work at cleaning the blood supply to ensure blockage will not reoccur as well as clearing the existing congestion.

Even though they are two separate systems of healing, Western and Chinese medicine can work well together, said Maureen Mclaughlin of the Traditional Chinese Medical College of Hawaii.

"We take note of what the Western doctor has diagnosed. That's important to us," she said.

The college, which is in Kamuela, provides a four-year program with training in the principles and philosophies of Chinese medicine and prepares students for certification in certain areas.

Mclaughlin, who is clinic director at the college, said she doesn't know of any states that require certification for herbal practitioners, though many, including Hawaii, require certification for acupuncture.

With the increasing acceptance and growth of Chinese medicine, Mclaughlin said it is important to remember that the treatment isn't just about medicine, but about diagnosis and treatment.

"It's a system of medicine and it's a paradigm that's different from Western medicine," she said. "People can get a very total picture of their health ... because they have access to different view points, very different viewpoints."

Sunday, August 22, 2004

A Scientific Battering-Ram That Can
Help Greatly In Bringing Down Copernicanism And
The False Science Of Evolutionism That Is Built On It


Physicist Dr. Neville T. Jones of Scotland, and his son, Steven, have produced a CD which depicts a "small" Earth-centered Universe which no Truth-lover--Christian or otherwise--should fail to see and hear!

This Model has beautiful graphics and clear explanations which demonstrate a Biblical Model of a non-moving Earth around which the sun and all of the stars go every night (in motion on CD...still photos from my page HERE).

The importance of this clear demonstration of a geocentric universe with the sun in motion by this professional scientist and mathematician cannot be stressed too strongly! Indeed, this CD will confirm to many who view it that God's Word is in the process of stepping to the center of the world stage as challenges to Copernicanism escalate in number and persuasiveness.

As a Ph. D. Physicist who also has a Master's Degree in that discipline, a Master's Degree in Computer Science, and other Academic Degrees, Dr. Jones and his son have produced a visually accurate model of the known cosmos. This model will help one and all to understand that overturning the Copernican Deception (and all that is dependent on it!) and restoring the Biblical Model of the universe is a counter-revolution-in-the-making that will not be denied. As steadily increasing numbers of people all around the world are expressing interest in discovering the root of the factless evolutionism that has become the pseudo-scientific basis for virtually all of man's "knowledge" (HERE), this CD could not have come on the scene at a more timely moment!

To order the "Geocentric Universe 2.1" CD with its color-coded graphics, its audio introduction in six languages, and Dr. Jones' "Guided Tour" (under the headings of: "Introduction", "History", "Scriptures", "Science", "Inherent Features", and "Proof of a Small, Geocentric Cosmos", follow this pattern: Those with access to U.S. currency should simply send a $10 bill along with a return address to: Dr. Neville T. Jones - Old Bruan Schoolhouse - Mid Clyth - Nr. Lybster - Caithness - Scotland. This will cover all costs: CD, shipping, handling, and insurance. Those with other currencies can send the equivalent amount...or email Dr. Jones as to how to proceed. ntj005@yahoo.co.uk

Along with others already involved, newcomers to this knowledge-shaping subject should certainly get the CD. It will provide a quantum leap in understanding how an Earth-centered small universe meets all known scientific criteria. Furthermore, it will expose the folly of resisting unbendable Scriptural dogma which declares that it is the sun that moves and not the Earth. (More on those Scriptures can be seen HERE - HERE - HERE - HERE - HERE.)

No matter what your present beliefs may be, if you consider yourself to be a lover of Truth, get the CD. You will be glad you did....

New Note (7/27/04): Dr. Jones and Son now have a dynamic webpage :

It is: www.midclyth.supanet.com

The Flat-out Truth: Earth Orbits? Moon Landings? A Fraud! Says This Prophet


The idea of a spinning globe is only a conspiracy of error that Moses, Columbus, and FDR all fought...

Copyright 1980 Robert J. Schadewald
Reprinted from Science Digest, July 1980

"The facts are simple," says Charles K. Johnson, president of the International Flat Earth Research Society. "The earth is flat."

As you stand in his front yard, it is hard to argue the point. From among the Joshua trees, creosote bushes, and tumbleweeds surrounding his southern California hillside home, you have a spectacular view of the Mojave Desert. It looks as flat as a pool table. Nearly 20 miles to the west lies the small city of Lancaster; you can see right over it. Beyond Lancaster, 20 more miles as the cueball rolls, the Tehachepi Mountains rise up from the desert floor. Los Angeles is not far to the south.

Near Lancaster, you see the Rockwell International plant where the Space Shuttle was built. To the north, beyond the next hill, lies Edwards Air Force Base, where the Shuttle was tested. There, also, the Shuttle will land when it returns from orbiting the earth. (At least, that's NASA's story.)

"You can't orbit a flat earth," says Mr. Johnson. "The Space Shuttle is a joke--and a very ludicrous joke."

His soft voice carries conviction, for Charles Johnson is on the level. He believes that the main purpose of the space program is to prop up a dying myth--the myth that the earth is a globe.

"Nobody knows anything about the true shape of the world," he contends. "The known, inhabited world is flat. Just as a guess, I'd say that the dome of heaven is about 4,000 miles away, and the stars are about as far as San Francisco is from Boston."

As shown in a map published by Johnson, the known world is as circular and as flat as a phonograph record. The North Pole is at the center. At the outer edge lies the southern ice, reputed to be a wall 150 feet high; no one has ever crossed it, and therefore what lies beyond is unknown.

The sun and moon, in the Johnson version, are only about 32 miles in diameter. They circle above the earth in the vicinity of the equator, and their apparent rising and setting are tricks of perspective, like railroad tracks that appear to meet in the distance. The moon shines by its own light and is not eclipsed by the earth. Rather, lunar eclipses are caused by an unseen dark body occasionally passing in front of the moon.

Johnson's beliefs are firmly grounded in the Bible. Many verses of the Old Testament imply that the earth is flat, but there's more to it than that. According to the New Testament, Jesus ascended up into heaven.

"The whole point of the Copernican theory is to get rid of Jesus by saying there is no up and no down," declares Johnson. "The spinning ball thing just makes the whole Bible a big joke."

Not the Bible but Johnson's own common sense allowed him to see through the globe myth while he was still in grade school. He contends that sensible people all over the world, not just Bible believers, realize that the earth really is flat.

"Wherever you find people with a great reservoir of common sense," he says, "they don't believe idiotic things such as the earth spinning around the sun. Reasonable, intelligent people have always recognized that the earth is flat."

He pauses for a sip of coffee, his eyes sparkling with animation. At 56, Charles Johnson is a bearded, distinguished-looking man who drinks coffee seemingly by the gallon. He chain-smokes, hand-rolling cigarettes so skillfully that they seem factory made. Unlike the stereotypical prophet, he has a wry sense of humor and a booming laugh. Fond of plays on words, he consistently pronounces Nicolaus Koppernigk's Latinized surname as "co-pernicious."

The Flat Earth Society's presidency descended upon Charles Johnson in accord with the last wishes of its founder, Samuel Shenton, an Englishman who died in 1971. The society, which will round out a quarter-century next year, is a spiritual inheritor of the Universal Zetetic Society, which flourished in England in the last century.

The cosmos of the Zetetics. Picture © 1992 by Robert Schadewald.

Under Johnson's full-time presidency, the society's paid-up membership has grown from a few persons to a few hundred. Membership is open to anyone who is regarded as sincerely seeking the truth; prospective members must sign a statement agreeing never to defame the society. Part of the $10 annual dues pays for a subscription to the Flat Earth News, a marvelously outspoken four-page tabloid quarterly with an editorial style reminiscent of 19th-century rural journalism.

Johnson's office is barely controlled chaos. Books, papers, and files are everywhere; his desk is covered with correspondence. The flow of letters, still increasing, now runs around 2,000 a year, or a half-dozen every day. Some are properly addressed (Box 2533, Lancaster, CA 93534), but he receives any mail that reaches Lancaster with "flat-earth" on it. And such letters sometimes come from the far edges of the world (an expression which Johnson and his membership accept quite literally). Rummaging in a box on the floor, Johnson produces inquiries from Saudi Arabia, Iran, India.

"Everybody who writes gets an answer," he reports. "An application or whatever is called for. We serve our purpose in keeping it alive. Whosoever asks, receives." The "we" includes his wife, Marjory, who is a native of Australia. The Johnsons met by chance in 1959, when they both went into a San Francisco store to buy the same record, Acker Bilk's haunting "Stranger on the Shore." They discovered that they had more in common than their tastes in music. They're both vegetarians, for one thing, but the overriding interest is geography

"Marjory has always known that the earth is flat, too," says Charles Johnson. "As far as she knew, everybody in Australia knew it. She was rather shocked when she arrived here and found people speaking of Australia as being 'down under.' It really offended her. She would get in quite heated arguments with people who seemed to accuse her of coming from down under the world." Ultimately, Marjory Johnson swore in an affidavit that she had never hung by her feet in Australia.

As secretary of the Flat Earth Society, she assists in running it, and writes a regular column in the News. She has also helped her husband perform experiments to determine the earth's shape. If it is a sphere, the surface of a large body of water must be curved. The Johnsons have checked the surfaces of Lake Tahoe and the Salton Sea (a shallow salt lake in southern California near the Mexican border) without detecting any curvature.

Their home is a half-mile from the nearest neighbor. Friends drop by now and then, but their primary companions are a half-dozen dogs, several cats, a flock of chickens, and a myriad of sparrows roosting in a Joshua tree just outside the door. No electric-power line runs to the house, for which water must be carried up the hill. The physical isolation is the ultimate in privacy--but another kind of isolation proves to be less desirable.

"We're two witnesses against the whole world," observes Charles Johnson. "We've chosen that path, but it isolates us from everyone. We're not complaining; it has to be. But it does kind of get to you sometimes."

In spite of the loneliness and the frustrations, they press on. Charles Johnson claims that most of the people who shaped our modern world were flat-earthers, and some of them didn't have it easy, either.

You weren't aware that flat-earthers have played an important part in history? Well, conventional histories don't make that clear. But inasmuch as revisionist history is in vogue, Charles Johnson should be recognized as one of the leading practitioners.

"Moses was a flat-earther," he reveals. "The Flat Earth Society was founded in 1492 B.C., when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and gave them the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai."

Conventional biblical chronology dates the Ten Commandments to 1491 B.C., but it may be imprecise. Perhaps Johnson prefers 1492 for the symmetry. It was, after all, in 1492 A.D. that another famous flat-earther made history.

Have you heard the story about Columbus's problems with his crew? As some tell it, the crew nearly mutinied because they regarded the earth as flat, and feared they might sail off its edge.

"It was exactly the reverse," explains Johnson. "There was a dispute out on the ship, but it was because Columbus was a flat-earther. The others believed the earth to be a ball, and they just knew that they were falling over the edge and couldn't get back. Columbus had to put them in irons and beat them until he convinced them they weren't going over any curve, and they could return. He finally calmed them down."

Johnson believes that the ball business--though it goes back to the Greek philosophers--really got rolling after the Protestant Reformation.

"It's the Church of England that's taught that the world is a ball," he argues. "George Washington, on the other hand, was a flat-earther. He broke with England to get away from those superstitions." If Johnson is right, the American Revolution failed. No prominent American politician is known to have publicly endorsed the flat-earth theory in the past two centuries. Nevertheless, Johnson contends that this nearly happened right after World War II, not for the U.S. alone, but for the entire world. Consider the United Nations:

"Uncle Joe (Stalin), Churchill, and Roosevelt laid the master plan to bring in the New Age under the United Nations," Johnson discloses with confidence. "The world ruling power was to be right here in this country. After the war, the world would be declared flat and Roosevelt would be elected first president of the world. When the UN Charter was drafted in San Francisco, they took the flat-earth map as their symbol."

Why declare the world flat? Johnson responds that a prophesied condition for world government (Isaiah 60:20) is that the "sun shall no more go down." This could be fulfilled by admitting that sunrise and sunset are optical illusions. The UN did adopt for its official seal a world map identical with the one on Johnson's office wall. But Franklin Roosevelt died coincident with the UN's birth, and the other imminent events described by Johnson never came about.

What did happen, according to conventional historians, was that Russia and the U.S. began space programs. After the Russians sent up Sputnik in 1957, the space race was on in earnest. The high point came in 1969, when the U.S. landed men on the moon.

That, according to Johnson, is nonsense, because the moon landings were faked by Hollywood studios. He even names the man who wrote the scripts: the science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke. But he acknowledges that the moon landings were at least partly successful.

"Until then," he says, "almost no one seriously considered the world a ball. The landings converted a few of them, but many are coming back now and getting off of it."

Perhaps the Space Shuttle is intended to bolster the beliefs of these backsliders. Whatever its purpose, Johnson is convinced that it is not intended to actually fly. Because it was built and tested almost in his back yard, he knows many people who worked on it. What they've told him about some aspects of its construction only reinforces his convictions.

"They moved it across the field," he sneers, "and it almost fell apart. All those little side pieces are on with epoxy, and half fell off!"

The Shuttle had other problems besides heat resistant tiles that wouldn't stick. For instance, when the testers tried to mount it on a 747 for its first piggy-back test flight, it wouldn't fit.

"Can you imagine that?" chortles Johnson. "Millions of dollars they spent, and it wouldn't fit! They had to call in a handyman to drill some new holes to make the thing fit. Then they took it up in the air--and some more of it fell to pieces."

If the Shuttle ever does orbit on its own, it's supposed to return to Edwards Air Force Base. To Johnson, that's appropriate enough.

"Do you know what they're doing at Edwards right now?" he asks. "'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century' is made right where they claim they're going to land the Shuttle. Edwards is strictly a science-fiction base now.

"Buck is a much better science program, considerably more authentic. In fact, I recommend that the government get out of the space business and turn the whole thing over to ABC, CBS, and NBC. The tv networks do a far superior job. They could actually pay the government for rights, and it wouldn't cost the taxpayers a penny."

Flat Earth Society members are working actively to bring the Shuttle charade to an end. They hope to force the government to let the public in on what the power elite has known all along: the plane truth.

"When the United States declares the earth is flat," says Charles Johnson, "and we hope to be instrumental in making it do so, it will be the first nation in all recorded history to be known as a flat-earth nation.

"In the old days, people believed the earth was flat, because it's logical, but they didn't have a picture of the way it was, as we have today. Our concept of the world is new.

"Marjory and I are the avant garde. We're way ahead of the pack."

-- The end --

Postscript: Much has changed since I wrote this article, both in the world at large and in Charles Johnson's life. In late September 1995, the Johnsons' venerable high-desert home caught fire. Charles managed to pull Marjory, by then a semi-invalid on supplemental oxygen, to safety, but everything else in the house was destroyed--their personal possessions, the Flat Earth Society library and archives, the membership list, everything. Having no fire insurance, the Johnsons were unable to rebuild. A dilapidated old house trailer, bought as a storage shed, survived the fire, and they took refuge there. A few months later, Marjory fell and broke a hip. She survived hip replacement surgery but never recovered her strength. On May 16, 1996, she died.

The Flat Earth Society lives on, still doing business at Box 2533, Lancaster, CA 93534. Charles Johnson has immersed himself in rebuilding the membership roster. Publication of the Flat Earth News, in hiatus since 1994, will resume with the December 1996 issue.

R.J.S. (10/6/96)

Postscript: Robert Schadewald, author of this essay, died March 12, 2000. Charles Johnson died March 19, 2001. He was 76. For nearly 30 years Charles fought the lonely and futile battle to "restore the world to sanity."

Doctors might soon ask, "What's your sign?"


Saturday, August 21, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

By Erika Niedowski
The Baltimore Sun

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20): Governed by Neptune and symbolized by the fish. Compassionate, introspective, artistic. Often dreamy and impractical. May be prone to schizophrenia, epilepsy or bipolar disorder.

It may sound like some kind of new, madcap astrology, but several scientists are becoming convinced that our birth month may predispose us to particular diseases.

Studies have shown that schizophrenia is more common among those born in late winter or early spring. Multiple sclerosis is associated with births in April, May and June. And epilepsy occurs more frequently in those with birthdays from December to March.

The findings may seem whimsical or — depending on which month you eat cake and unwrap presents — alarming. But researchers hope the emerging patterns will offer clues into the origins of a variety of illnesses that, despite advances in treatment, have no known cause.

"It makes you think differently about disease," said Dr. Emmanuel Mignot, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, who has studied the association between birth month and narcolepsy.

"Most people tend to think that disease is really something that is determined by your genes or what happens just before the disease occurs," he said. "Maybe there are a number of things that can happen well before."

In the latest study, published in the current edition of the journal Neurology, scientists at the National Cancer Institute found that adults born in January and February had the highest risk of brain cancer. Those with birthdays in July and August had the lowest risk.

The paper's lead author, NCI epidemiologist Alina Brenner, is the first to offer a caveat: The findings could be the result of chance.

But separate studies in Britain and Norway have identified a similar correlation between birth season and risk of brain tumors in children, with a statistical "excess" of births in winter and a "deficit" in summer.

If the association turns out to be real, Brenner said, it suggests that exposures early in a child's development — at any point from conception to the first few months after birth — could have a hand in the genesis of the disease. Although it's not clear what those exposures are, they could include viruses, environmental toxins or even something as seemingly benign as the weather.

Seasonal birth patterns have been most firmly established in schizophrenia patients. Danish researchers reported several years ago that the risk of developing the disorder was highest among those born in February and March and lowest among those with birthdays in August and September.

For his part, Dr. E. Fuller Torrey, research psychiatrist at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., has ruled out the possibility that chance alone explains the findings.

"It could be chance if it were one study of 250 people, or a few dozen people here or a few dozen people there," he said. "When you're dealing with a couple hundred thousand people and 200 studies, the chances of it being chance are zero-point-zero. It's remarkably consistent."

The leading explanation implicates a seasonal infection that could be disturbing the child's normal brain development, which may help explain why other central-nervous-system disorders also are more common in those with winter births.

"We know that infectious agents have a seasonality — influenza being the most striking," Torrey said. "Therefore, you certainly have to think of infectious agents infecting the mother late in pregnancy or infecting the newborn in the first few months of life."

Stanford's Mignot and a group of colleagues from France published a paper in the journal Sleep last year linking birth month with another disorder: narcolepsy. Patients with that condition are regularly seized with sleep during waking hours.

Researchers compared the birth dates of 886 narcoleptics being treated at sleep clinics in Montpellier, France; Montreal, and California to those of more than 35 million people in the general population.

The distribution of births was strikingly uneven, with the number of narcoleptics born in March (11.9 percent) significantly exceeding the number expected in the general population (8.5 percent).

Conversely, researchers found a significant drop in the number of narcoleptics born in September (5.6 percent) compared with the number normally expected (8.7 percent).

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

Saturday, August 21, 2004



Claims to have sea monster on tape
Kjetil Mæland og Carin Pettersson 18.08.04 10:00, ny 19.08.04 11:19

For the first time, the adventurer Jan-Ove Sundberg has managed to take pictures of what he claims to be the Seljord monster. View the pictures here.

Sundberg explained that the pictures of the monster also pictured a mirage of the animal (top), with a heat vibration in between. «That's the reason why it most of all resembles a cake or an ice hockey puck,» Sandberg stated. Foto: Jan-Ove Sundberg/Global Underwater Search Team (Foto: Jan-Ove Sundberg) Foto: Jan-Ove Sundberg/Global Underwater Search Team (Foto: Jan-Ove Sundberg) Is there a sea monster in this lake? (Foto: Jan-Ove Sundberg)Loch Ness has its «Nessie». Its Norwegian cousin may live in the lake Seljordsvannet about 80 miles west of Oslo in the county of Telemark.

Sundberg and his team, the Global Underwater Search Team (GUST), have been looking for the Seljord monster in the deep Norwegian lake for several years.

Last week TV 2 Nettavisen reported that Sundberg had filmed something that may be the Seljord monster. Here are the first pictures of what Sundberg claims is a small Seljord monster. The pictures are from a video which allegedly pictures the monster swimming in the water before disappearing into the water.

"It is rather speculative to call it a baby sea monster because the animal is only one and a half meter long," Sundberg said to the Norwegian radio channel Kanal 24. "We have filmed an animal that moves itself up and down in the water."


Sundberg said to TV 2 Nettavisen that it is a mirage of the sea monster that is captured on film, and that it therefore can be difficult to interpret the pictures.

«We didn't know what this was in the beginning, but we have now gotten it explained that the monster mirrors in the air,» Sundberg said. «Between the air mirage and the monster, you can see heat vibrations. These are in other words unique pictures. We have taken pictures of the sea monster at the same time as these are pictures of an atmospheric phenomenon.»

Another issue is that Sundberg never managed to focus the picture before the object disappeared underneath the water surface.


When asked if this is a breakthrough in the hunt to find evidence of the existence of the Seljord monster, Sundberg answered yes.

«It's not every day you get to film the monster,» Sundberg said. «This was just accidental. First I thought it was a buoy, but it was a mirage which tricked me. Now when we have analysed it home, we realize that it is a small monster in the water.»

Like a lion's roar

When TV 2 Nettavisen talked to Sundberg Tuesday, he was working as on sounds he recorded at Seljordvannet this year. Sounds have been recorded earlier this year too. Researchers at the Institute for Marine Research in Bergen and University of Copenhagen have heard the recordings and concluded that that they were made by a large mammal.

Sundberg got new sound bites from the animal this year, but he does not wish to go public with the sounds just yet.

«We had just lowered the equipment into the water by Tjuvholmen when we heard a very loud sound directly underneath the boat,» Sundberg said. «It was like a lion that roared in the jungle, and it was directly underneath the boat. We jumped. We heard only one roar, and then we heard a smaller sound before it disappeared.»

Continues next year

GUST is back at Seljordsvannet next year. Then they are going to bring along divers, who among other things, are going to investigate strange tracks found on the floor of Seljordsvannet.

Fossil found in Canada likely to be Earth's oldest animal


Fernlike clan ruled for 15 million years

David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor

Friday, August 20, 2004

They look for all the world like feathery plants anchored to the bed of an ancient, long-vanished sea, but to fossil hunters they are the oldest evidence of complex life forms that ever emerged on Earth.

And -- most probably -- they represent the world's first true animals, according to Guy M. Narbonne, a paleontologist at Queen's University in Ontario who discovered the latest examples of the strange and controversial creatures.

Known as rangeomorphs, they were a worldwide clan that lived and evolved nearly 600 million years ago, thrived briefly, and then faded to extinction long before a time -- millions of years later -- when animal forms in all their variety exploded into existence and began the long eons of evolution.

Narbonne reports that he has found "an exquisitely preserved fossil assemblage" of the creatures in a rock formation along the fogbound shore of northeastern Newfoundland. When alive, they must indeed have been animals, he concludes in a report being published today in the journal Science.

James W. Valentine, a noted UC Berkeley expert on the evolution of long- extinct organisms, agrees that the fossils were once truly living animals -- feeding and reproducing but not necessarily moving from place to place. They are perhaps descended from even more ancient sponges, he said.

The rangeomorphs lived from 560 to 575 million years ago, in a geologic period known as the Ediacaran. As Narbonne said in an interview Thursday, "They ruled the earth for 15 million years before they vanished inexplicably."

The succeeding period, the Cambrian, took center stage from about 460 to 543 million years ago. That was a time, known as the "Cambrian explosion," when virtually every variety of ancestral animals -- hard-shelled, leggy or soft-bodied -- emerged in what to geologists and paleontologists is a brief time span indeed.

The origins and evolution of complex organisms have long been a subject of great controversy among scientists who seek the enigmatic fossil evidence for early life. But in a commentary on Narbonne's report, also published today in Science, two Oxford University paleontologists say his discovery suggests that "the study of the life history and growth plan of these fossil animals could provide a Rosetta stone for decoding (ancient) animal evolution."

Oxford's Martin Brasier and Jonathan Antcliffe declare Narbonne's strange plantlike creatures "were not ancestral to Cambrian life at all," but "were uniquely fashioned beasts that met their doom at the end of the Precambrian" - - a broad span of time from the Earth's formation to the beginning of the Cambrian period.

Narbonne has been hunting his Ediacaran fossils along the rocky shores of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula for more than 15 years, and found his most recent specimens on a lonely cliff near the town of Spaniard's Bay. The site is not far from an earlier find on another wave-swept crag called Mistaken Point -- so named for the deadly errors seamen of an earlier generation made in navigating the treacherous waters surrounding the point. More than 50 ships have been wrecked there.

According to Narbonne, the fossils he has discovered once lived beneath the sea, some lying flat on the sloping bottom and others attached to the seabed by slender stalks. Volcanic eruptions eventually buried them under a layer of ash, and later sheets of clay covered them even more deeply until tectonic forces thrust them upward into the cliffs where they now lie exposed.

Other, more recent Ediacaran fossils have been found around the world -- in Australia, in Russia and in Africa -- but Narbonne's fossil creatures are the oldest, and the most perfectly preserved of all.

They reveal, he said, the very earliest stages of animal evolution, even though there is no sign that they bear any relation to the animals that emerged during the Cambrian explosion.

"Their structure is unique," he said, "and there is nothing at all like them during any other period of the Earth's history."

Some of the creatures resemble fern leaves, some look more like feathery flowers, and others are like the wrapped leaf layers of garden leeks, he said. The bodies of many appear thickly quilted. None seem to have been able to move at all -- "except that they may have been able to wriggle their fronds a bit, " Narbonne said. They vary widely in size from fractions of an inch to more than six feet in length.

"They seem to have been the very first of nature's experiments in evolving large-scale, complex animal life," Narbonne said, and they fed by filtering tiny organisms from the seawater, much as corals and barnacles do today, he said.

Valentine, at UC Berkeley's Museum of Paleontology, agreed.

"For years, no one has known what to do with the damn things, and people have tried every possible way to explain them," he said. "But it seems clear that they were in fact animals, and that sounds perfectly logical to me."

E-mail David Perlman at dperlman@sfchronicle.com.

Evolution education update: More reading!

More reading to occupy those hot summer days and beguile those warm summer nights:


Project Steve -- NCSE's exercise in poking fun at the lists of "scientists who doubt evolution" promulgated by antievolutionist groups -- is not a mere publicity stunt any longer. With the publication of "The Morphology of Steve" in the prestigious journal Annals of Improbable Research, it is now a genuine contribution to scientific knowledge. Revealed for the first time in this paper is the existence of such phenomena as:

* the mid-continental Steve deficit
* the Steve counterexample to Bergman's Rule
* island dwarfism in Steves

For details, see the paper (PDF) on-line at AIR's web site:

If you're not familiar with Project Steve already, or if you want to relive the memories, visit the Project Steve section of NCSE's web site:

And to celebrate the publication of "The Morphology of Steve," we are making available version 3.0 of our pioneering experimental Steveometry apparatus -- T-shirts, to you non-Steveometricians -- in the on-line NCSE store:


In "IDing ID," his latest "Doubt and About" column for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, Chris Mooney argues that "even though ID may not be young earth creationism, and may not be 'creation science,' it nevertheless seems doomed to recapitulate that prior movement's errors and failures. That doesn't necessarily prove that ID is like traditional creationism in any detailed way. Rather, it simply just goes to show that both are forms of religiously inspired anti-evolutionism, and will automatically have a near-impossible row to hoe thanks to the firm place of evolutionary theory in modern biology."

Read the whole article at:


Thanks to the hard work of our summer worker Carrie Sager, we have recently caught up with posting selected articles from past issues of our critically acclaimed bimonthly journal, Reports of the National Center for Science Education, on our web site.

To read such great articles as "Flood Geology in the Grand Canyon," "Evolution: Still Deep in the Heart of Textbooks," and "The Astrobiological Perspective on Life's Origin," visit:

And if you like what you see, consider subscribing to Reports! For just $30, you'll get six issues of Reports mailed to your door. Upcoming articles include "'Intelligent Design' in the Bitterroot Valley," "The Antiquity of Man: Reviewing Hindu Creationism," and "The Coso Artifact: Mystery from the Depths of Time?" Subscribe on-line at:

As always, be sure to consult NCSE's web site: http://www.ncseweb.org where you can always find the latest news on evolution education and threats to it.


Glenn Branch
Deputy Director
National Center for Science Education, Inc.
420 40th Street, Suite 2
Oakland, CA 94609-2509
510-601-7203 x305
fax: 510-601-7204

Eugenie C. Scott's Evolution vs. Creationism is now available.



In 2001, the Discovery Institute published ads listing names of 100 "scientists" who doubted Darwinism. The National Center for Science Education parodied the ads by collecting signatures just of scientists named "Steve" on a statement endorsing evolution. "Steve" was chosen to honor the late Stephen J. Gould, a renowned evolutionary biologist. The 440 "Steves" are co-authors of a paper in the Annals of Improbable Research, and can note on their resumes that they co-authored a paper with Stephen Hawking and Nobel laureates Steve Weinberg and Steve Chu.

Independent scientologists stake their claim


News Released: August 20, 2004

(PRLEAP.COM) Independent scientologists have received an unexpected bonus with the launch of the International Freezone Association (IFA) recently. The IFA is an association of individuals, auditors and groups who believe they have the right to freely practice the original philosophy of Lafayette Ron Hubbard.

Michael, the founder of the IFA stated, "We believe that, since the death of the founder of the movement, the Church of Scientology™ has strayed from the original philosophy and purpose which Hubbard intended. Our group is a sort of renaissance you might say back to the original workable philosophy.\".

As the members of the IFA do not wish to participate in the practice of an altered philosophy they have elected to practice their chosen philosophy independently of the \'official\' organisation or church."

Michael continued, "Ron Hubbard once said, '…I know no man who has any monopoly upon the wisdom of this universe. It belongs to those who can use it to help themselves and others.'"

And the IFA is truly demonstrating this. They are enlisting new members at a rapid pace world wide, including long time experienced practitioners disenchanted with the church, to ensure that the original technology is preserved in the face of what they claim is radical changes in the philosophy and its application since the founders death. The IFA believes that the Church is now only interested in money and has lost the original purpose for which Hubbard set up the church.

The IFA is determined that the original philosophy is not lost but preserved and made available not just for the rich and wealthy but also for ordinary people without exorbident prices putting it out of reach.

The IFA can be seen at http://internationalfreezone.net and offer, among other services and facilities, a free booklet for download that gives a solid understanding of the scientology freezone, the independent arena outside the 'official' church.

Contact Information

International FReezone Associat
Email International FReezone Associat

2003 Condesa, Inc.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Tribes denied role in Kennewick Man study


A federal judge limits examination of the bones to government agencies and eight anthropologists
Thursday, August 19, 2004

A federal judge in Portland has denied a request by four Northwest tribes that they be allowed a role in discussions about a study of the 9,300-year-old Kennewick Man skeleton.

U.S. Magistrate John Jelderks decided Tuesday that the case should be limited to the eight anthropologists who won a lawsuit seeking to study the remains and government agencies overseeing the skeleton.

His ruling rejected arguments filed earlier this month by the Umatilla, Yakama, Nez Perce and Colville tribes that the 8-year-old legal fight "conclusively establishes the tribes' spiritual, cultural and property interests in the remains."

Rob Roy Smith, a Seattle attorney representing the tribes, said he was disappointed in the ruling "but the court hasn't heard the last from us." He said the tribes would decide in the next few days about their next legal step.

Alan L. Schneider, a Portland attorney for the scientists, said he hoped negotiations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies about the extent of a scientific study "now will progress a little smoother."

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently backed a decision by Jelderks to allow the scientists to study the bones, which are being stored at the Burke Museum in Seattle. The tribes, who want to bury the skeleton, chose not to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

-- Richard L. Hill

© 2004 The Oregonian

Mars rovers find more evidence of water _ and some oddities


ROBERT JABLON, Associated Press Writer

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

(08-18) 15:57 PDT LOS ANGELES (AP) --

The twin Mars rovers, one suffering from a balky wheel, have found a wonderland of weird rocks and enticing dunes along with more evidence that the Red Planet once had water, NASA scientists said Wednesday.

The robotic vehicles landed in January and first found signs in March that Mars had water eons ago.

The Spirit rover has now rolled nearly two miles across the plains of its Gusev Crater landing site and into an area dubbed the Columbia Hills.

Perched about 30 feet above a plain, it recently found indications that water had altered an outcropping of bedrock dubbed Clovis, scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena said.

Sulfur, chlorine and bromine found inside the rock were in much greater concentrations than in rocks on the plain. Those elements are commonly emitted from volcanoes and could have combined with liquid water or water vapor, said Doug Ming, a science team member.

"Here, we have a more thorough, deeper alteration, suggesting much more water," said Steve Squyres, principal investigator for science instruments aboard the rovers.

Spirit had a tough climb into the Columbia Hills. At its steepest point, the rover had a 34-degree tilt and once slid backward, Squyres said.

"We're doing some serious rock-climbing with this vehicle," he said.

Meanwhile, halfway around the planet, the Opportunity rover has rolled about 32 feet into Endurance Crater, a stadium-sized depression. At the bottom, it found rippled dunes and a bizarre rock with a lumpy, rounded appearance.

Scientists weren't sure how the rock was formed.

"I don't have an explanation for this one," Squires said. "It doesn't look like anything we've seen anywhere."

The team hopes the vehicle can examine the edge of the dunes, although it won't go out in them for fear of bogging down.

"We built a wonderful rover, but we didn't build a dune buggy," Squyres said.

Opportunity found profound differences in rocks that it bored into at different levels of a layered slope. Tiny ripples in a rock dubbed Millstone are clear signs that it had contact with flowing water, Squyres said.

The $280 million mission was designed to seek geological clues about whether ancient Mars had water.

In March, NASA announced that Opportunity found ripples in sedimentary rock that indicated a pool of saltwater -- an environment that could have supported life -- once existed at the landing site in the vast Meridiani Planum.

The next month, NASA said Spirit had found evidence that limited amounts of water had deposited minerals in a volcanic rock.

Overall, scientists said, the rovers are aging gracefully despite far exceeding their planned mission times of about 90 days.

There are a few "aches and pains," said Chris Salvo, mission manager.

Spirit previously was diagnosed with a balky right front wheel. Controllers have mostly been driving it on five wheels, saving the sixth for the steepest climbs and precision maneuvers.

On Sunday, Opportunity's drill stopped working. Controllers think a pebble has jammed the cutting head. Salvo said a fix was being considered, perhaps simply turning the grinding heads in reverse.

It's not considered a major problem, he said.

On the Net:

JPL Rover Home Page: http:/marsrovers.jpl.nasa.gov

©2004 Associated Press

Scientists plan 'full-body scan' of Earth



August 18, 2004

WASHINGTON - Scientists are planning to take the pulse of the planet - and more - in an effort to improve weather forecasts, predict energy needs months in advance, anticipate disease outbreaks and even tell fishermen where the catch will be abundant.

Forty-nine countries have agreed to participate in a 10- year project to collect and share thousands of measurements of the Earth, ranging from weather to streamflow to ground tremors to air pollution, Conrad C. Lautenbacher, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said yesterday.

"The Earth needs a full-body scan, and that is what we're talking about," Lautenbacher said at a briefing on the project.

Michael Leavitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said the "benefits of this are limited only by our own imaginations."

Being able to anticipate soil moisture conditions and rainfall in advance would help farmers to know what crops to plant and where, Lautenbacher said.

The new system could help managers pinpoint coastal areas affected by erosion, report changes in ocean currents that affect the movement of fish, provide updates on the potential loss in earthquake zones, monitor pollution threats to local water resources and track the change from vegetation to developed land to study the impact of urban growth.

Much of the data to be shared is already collected and the new effort will be to combine the collection systems so that the information can be easily shared among the participants and used to understand current conditions and forecast the future.

"We have been able to make computers work together. The challenge of the 21st century is to get people to work together," Leavitt said of the effort. "It will not be the technology that limits it, it will be the sociology," Leavitt added, noting the problem will be overcoming bureaucracy and politics.

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.


The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Physics News
Number 697 August 19, 2004 by Phillip F. Schewe, Ben Stein

NEWLY CREATED ANTIHYDROGEN ATOMS have been caught speeding for the first time. Owing to the vast preponderance of ordinary matter over antimatter in the visible universe, and the propensity of any antimatter around to annihilate hastily with any conventional particulate matter in the vicinity, the only place anti-atoms exist on Earth for more than a microsecond is in a chambered vault at the CERN Antiproton Decelerator (AD) lab in Geneva. There, antiprotons created artificially in high-energy proton collisions and anti-electrons (positrons) from a radioactive source are cooled and brought together in a bratwurst-sized vessel filled with electrodes at various voltages. By careful husbandry (first of all, the antiprotons have to be slowed by a factor of 10 billion, from an energy of 5 MeV to .3 meV) anti-hydrogen (or H-bar) atoms are made from antiprotons and positrons. Although the anti-h's haven't yet been definitely fixed in space or produced in their lowest quantum state (which is what you need to do laser spectroscopy), there are still other studies that can be made on these very rare atoms as they mill about. (For some previous CERN anti-H results see www.aip.org/pnu/2002/split/605-1.html and www.aip.org/pnu/2002/split/611-1.html.) One thing that can be done is to measure the speeds of the anti-atoms by seeing how many of them emerge from a region of oscillating electric fields without being ionized. The ATRAP collaboration, one of the CERN H-bar groups, has done exactly this. They have determined that the anti-atoms are moving with an average energy of 200 meV, which corresponds to a velocity only about 20 times that of the thermal speed of an equivalent sample of atoms kept at a temperature of 4.2 K. This is still too warm for the purpose of holding the anti-atoms in a trap, but the researchers suspect that their current crop of anti-atoms contains some with much lower velocities and that there will be a way to cull an ever colder allotment in the future now that there is a speedometer for antihydrogen atoms. (Gabrielse et al., Physical Review Letters, 13 August; gabrielse@physics.harvard.edu, 33-450-28-38-95) WHY ARE SEACOASTS FRACTAL? In a famous paper written decades ago, Benoit Mandelbrot asked how long the coastline of Britain really was. The answer depends on what kind of meter stick you use. The closer one looks at any scale of a rocky coast map, from well above the 100 kilometer level to the kilometer level, and so on to the meter level, the more indented and lengthy the "coastline" becomes. Not only that, but the coast's underlying geometry seems be fractal, meaning that it is extremely fractured and also self-similar: the shape looks, in a statistical sense, the same at all levels of magnification. Now, scientists in France have inquired into the physical processes that actually could carve out a fractal coast. Their simulation of a rocky coast evolution depends on an iteration of erosion action. First, waves are allowed to erode the weak points in a smooth shoreline. This makes the shore irregularly indented and longer. This erosion exposes new weak points, but at the same time mitigates the force of the sea by increasing the wave damping. These steps are then repeated over and over. The resultant coast is fractal, with an effective dimension of 4/3. According to Bernard Sapoval and A. Baldassarri of the Ecole Polytechnique (Palaiseau, France) and their colleague A. Gabrielli of the "Enrico Fermi" Center (Rome), this new study provides the first suggestion of how a fractal shoreline comes about. (Sapoval et al., Physical Review Letters, 27 August 2004 bernard.sapoval@polytechnique.fr, 33-169334172)

NANOTUBE DYNAMOS. Two scientists in India have produced a tiny voltage in a small electrical circuit by blowing gas across a mat of carbon nanotubes and doped semiconductors. This result arises from two physical effects. First, in the Bernoulli effect, gas rushing past a surface produces pressure differences along streamlines, which in turn can produce a temperature gradient along a material sample. Second, in the Seebeck effect, a temperature gradient (the far ends of the material being at different temperatures) can generate a voltage difference across the sample. In the experiment of Professor Ajay.K. Sood and his graduate student Shankar Ghosh at the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore) gas is blown over a mat of carbon nanotubes as well as doped silicon and germanium. With a small sliver of germanium as a sample, a voltage difference of 650 micro-volts was generated. The power flow amounted to 43 nano-watts. This doesn't sound like much power, and the researchers have not yet determined whether the effect could be scaled up (a no-moving-parts carbon nanotube/doped-semiconductor generator of electricity), but one definite near-term application would be in a new type of gas flow velocity sensor for research in problems of turbulence or aerodynamics. Compressed air was used to produce the tiny amount of electricity, but even human breath blown at the inclined sample produced a measurable result of several micro-volts. (Physical Review Letters, 20 August 2004; asood@physics.iisc.ernet.in, shankar@physics.iisc.ernet.in)

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. MORE READER VIEWS: ANTIEVOLUTION VIEWS AREN'T SCIENTIFIC http://www.kansas.com/mld/eagle/news/editorial/9435100.htm

Posted on Thu, Aug. 19, 2004

What a curiously self-contradictory breed we Kansans can be! This year, the Legislature and governor's office have inaugurated a massive, multimillion-dollar initiative to attract eminent life scientists to the state and to encourage recruitment and development of firms devoted to 21st century work in biotechnology. Competition between states for such resources is intense, and our success will certainly require offering the intellectually rich ambience such highly accomplished personnel and industries require.

Yet voters picked antievolutionist Steve Abrams, together with other like-minded persons, to serve on the State Board of Education, thereby raising the disquieting specter of the board, once again, undertaking a de-emphasis of macroevolution and introduction of creationism into science curricula for K-12.

Public arguments advanced by supporters of such moves reveal what seems to be a thoroughgoing ignorance of scientific processes and the complex mechanisms underlying evolution. They are flatly antithetical to the positions of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the full panoply of national and international organizations representing specific scientific disciplines.

Kansas has already experienced the ignominy of national and international ridicule for the actions of the state board that preceded the current one. If the new board does, in fact, choose to return to science curricula that fail to completely separate the metaphysical world of creationist musings from the totally unrelated physical world of biological, geological and cosmological evolutions, then the race for the generation of a quality, rewarding, 21st-century scientific enterprise in Kansas will be needlessly inhibited, if not lost at the outset.


Once more, the State Board of Education is poised to make a laughingstock of Kansas, and soon we'll start hearing the same old pseudoscientific double-talk being used to try to discredit evolutionary theory and validate the concept of creationism. As the Darwin fish was thinking in the Aug. 8 Crowson's View, "Here we go again... ."

I've seen the bumper stickers that Mr. Crowson was obviously lampooning, with a Darwin fish about to be eaten by another fish labeled either "truth" (which represents a radical redefinition of "truth") or "Jesus" (I think that casting the Prince of Peace in the role of a predator says a lot about the mind-set of the religious right).

I think it may be time to take the "fish wars" to the next level. I'm thinking of a picture that shows the Darwin fish being attacked by two fish at once, one labeled "scientific ignorance" and the other "blind religious dogma." Granted, they'd have to be big fish.


Thursday, August 19, 2004

Five new moons for planet Neptune

Five new satellites - and one candidate moon - have been discovered orbiting the giant planet Neptune, bringing its tally of moons to 13. Two orbit in the same direction as the planet rotates, while the orbits of the others are opposite to Neptune's spin.

The tiny outer satellites are probably captured asteroids, astronomers say.

Cataclysmic events connected to the capture of Neptune's moon Triton were thought to have destroyed any outer sattelites the planet once had.

The new moons, named S/2002 N1 to N4 and S/2003 N1, are in eccentric, tilted orbits. They are all between 30km and 50km in diameter.

An international team of astronomers searched for the satellites between 2001 and 2003 using the 4m Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, the 3.6m Canada-France-Hawaii telescope and the 4m Victor Blanco telescope.

Elusive sixth

The researchers used a technique to look for the new moons that was originally developed to detect very faint objects in the outer Kuiper Belt.

They also observed a sixth candidate moon, which they have named c02N4. This was discovered on 14 August 2002 and seen again at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) on 3 September 2002. But further attempts to spot this object failed.

The researchers say this could be Centaur - an object that has migrated from the outer Kuiper Belt. But its lack of movement relative to Neptune is more consistent with it being a satellite.

The satellites are unlikely to have condensed from material around Neptune.

Instead, these so-called irregular moons may be the product of a parent body that collided with Neptune's moon Nereid and were then disturbed in their orbits by the capture of Triton from the Kuiper Belt.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/08/18 22:41:16 GMT

Flying saucers in New Mexico? Governor rekindles Roswell

- Keay Davidson, Chronicle Science Writer
Monday, August 16, 2004

Ten years after the U.S. Air Force closed its books on the claim that a UFO crashed in Roswell, N.M., in 1947, a top Democratic Party figure wants to reopen the investigation into the cosmic legend.

Despite denials by federal officials, many UFO buffs cherish the notion that in early summer of 1947, a flying saucer crashed in rural Roswell, scattering alien bodies and saucer debris across the terrain.

Now Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, who chaired the recent Democratic convention in Boston, says in his foreword to a new book that "the mystery surrounding this crash has never been adequately explained -- not by independent investigators, and not by the U.S. government. ... There are as many theories as there are official explanations.

"Clearly, it would help everyone if the U.S. government disclosed everything it knows," says Richardson, who served as Energy secretary under President Bill Clinton. "The American people can handle the truth -- no matter how bizarre or mundane. ... With full disclosure and our best scientific investigation, we should be able to find out what happened on that fateful day in July 1947."

The passage appears in a paperback titled "The Roswell Dig Diaries," published in collaboration with TV's SciFi Channel by Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. The "dig" of the title refers to an archaeological dig at the supposed crash site.

A Richardson aide, Billy Sparks, confirmed the governor's remarks. Richardson "is interested in either debunking the story or (encouraging) full disclosure" of any unreleased records on the case, Sparks said.

To the Air Force, though, there is no mystery -- and there hasn't been for a long time. In 1994, the Air Force published "Roswell Report: Case Closed, " which asserted that so-called saucer debris was, in fact, the ruins of an unusual type of military research balloon, which contained hypersensitive acoustic sensors designed to detect the rumble of any Soviet A-bomb tests. A subsequent investigation by the U.S. General Accounting Office was unable to locate any unreleased records on the case.

Hence, Richardson's foreword drew scorn from veteran UFO investigators and science popularizers.

"We're kind of disappointed in Richardson for perpetuating the mythology of that thing," said Dave Thomas, president of New Mexicans for Science and Reason, a skeptics group in Albuquerque.

The grand old man of skeptical UFO investigators, Philip J. Klass, who has written for Aviation Week & Space Technology since 1952, said: "Gov. Richardson -- whom I previously admired -- is wrong about Roswell and too trusting of TV network promoters. After more than a third of a century of research, I have found no credible evidence of extraterrestrial visitors."

Andrew Fraknoi, a noted astronomy popularizer and critic of pseudoscience who teaches at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, called Richardson's foreword unbelievable.

"This continues to confirm that election or appointment to high office does not guarantee wisdom in all areas of human thought," he said.

But in a show of extraterrestrial bipartisanship, the executive director of the New Mexico Republican Party is taking Richardson's side. Greg Graves, a native of Roswell who suspects the crashed object was "something more than a weather balloon," wants to know what really happened in the Southwestern desert two years before his birth.

Still, Graves hopes the truth isn't disillusioning. That's because the saucer legend is so good for the local economy: "Thousands of people come to Roswell every year to visit the site and go to the museum. It's an incredible boon to the Roswell economy. Just think about 'X Files' and TV shows about Roswell.

"When I go around the country and tell people I was born in Roswell," he adds, "people ask: 'Do I think something crashed there?' "

E-mail Keay Davidson at kdavidson@sfchronicle.com.

Page A - 2 URL:

Norway's Loch Ness monster caught on film?


A Swedish monster hunter believes he may have caught Norway's equivalent of the Loch Ness monster on film. Jan-Ove Sundberg says he may have filmed the serpent - Selma - in Lake Seljord.

Aftenposten quotes the Varden newspaper as saying he's studying a 20-second clip before releasing it publicly.

The expedition leader said he saw something 30-40 centimetres long, black with a possible tinge of red and white.

Sundberg made a similar sighting four years ago and chose not to publish the film due to poor quality.

The footage taken then and now will be compared. The Swede got the latest footage on the final day of this year's expedition to the lake in Telemark. At first, Sundberg thought he saw a buoy in the water but was surprised when he focused more closely on the object.

"I have either filmed a gnarled head or the upper part of a hump complete with serrations," Sundberg said.

"The others didn't get a chance to see what I saw because suddenly it was gone. So it couldn't have been a buoy.

"Ducks can dive but they come back up. This didn't, so I don't understand what it could have been except for the sea serpent," he added.

CULTURE DIGEST: Americans favor Christian symbols, Barna says


Aug 18, 2004
By Erin Curry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--An overwhelming majority of Americans favor allowing traditional Christian values and symbols in the nation's culture, according to a study by the Barna Group. Barna even concludes that tens of millions of Americans would support a constitutional amendment to declare Christianity the official faith of the United States.

The study, released July 26, found that 79 percent of adults rejected any policy toward "removing signs that list the Ten Commandments from government buildings," including 60 percent who were "strongly opposed." Less than one out of every five adults supports such a policy.

Other findings include:

-- Only 13 percent of those questioned favored eliminating the phrase "In God We Trust" from the nation's currency, while 84 percent oppose the idea. Nearly three-quarters of the population was "strongly opposed" to the change.

-- Just 15 percent of adults were in favor of removing the phrase "one nation, under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance while 84 percent were opposed.

-- About 60 percent of Americans favor teaching creationism in public schools while less than 40 percent do not.

-- Eighty-three percent of those surveyed said allowing the use of a word for male-female relations on broadcast television is inappropriate. Just 15 percent thought it was acceptable, Barna found.

-- By a two-to-one margin, Americans are opposed to a constitutional amendment to establish Christianity as the official religion of the United States, but Barna said the number of people who favor the change -- 32 percent -- is surprising.

"Almost 70 million adults favor such an amendment," Barna said, based on his calculations. "That is a huge vote of confidence in the Christian faith and a tacit statement about people's concerns regarding the direction and lukewarm spirituality of the nation. If nothing else, this certainly indicates that given effective leadership, American Christianity could play a larger role in shaping the norms of our culture in the future."

Barna's nationwide survey among 1,618 randomly selected adults was conducted during the last week of May.

Nation's Naturopathic Physicians to Gather in Seattle


Source: American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP)

Released: Wed 18-Aug-2004, 16:00 ET

Contact Information
Available for logged-in reporters only
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians 19th Annual Convention & Exposition will be held September 8-11, 2004. The theme of this year’s gathering is "Naturopathic Medicine: Honoring the Science of Natural Healing."

Naturopathic medicine is based upon a holistic philosophy, an approach to medical care that emphasizes the study of all aspects of a person's health, with an emphasis on finding the underlying cause of the patient’s condition rather than focusing solely on symptomatic treatment. This delivery of healthcare encompasses safe and effective traditional therapies with the most current advances in modern medicine. Naturopathic medicine is appropriate for the management of a broad range of health conditions affecting all people of all ages.

Naturopathic physicians (NDs) are the highest trained practitioners in the broadest scope of naturopathic medical therapies. In addition to the basic medical sciences and conventional diagnostics, the ND is trained in therapeutic nutrition, botanical medicine, homeopathy, natural childbirth, classical Chinese medicine, hydrotherapy, naturopathic manipulative therapy, pharmacology, and minor surgery.

What: The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) 19th Annual Convention & Exposition will be held September 8-11, 2004, at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, Seattle, WA. The theme of this year’s gathering is "Naturopathic Medicine: Honoring the Science of Natural Healing."

Who: Many of the nation's top naturopathic medical practitioners are convening in Seattle to discuss the latest developments in this form of alternative medicine as well hear new findings in research addressing naturopathic medicine and the treatment of common medical disorders.

When: Research presentations will be offered daily at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, beginning at 9:00 AM on Wednesday, September 9, 2004 and continue until 4:00 PM on Saturday, September 11, 2004.

Why: Practitioners of naturopathic medicine are increasingly being called upon by patients to treat a wide range of medical disorders. The NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is currently sponsoring three clinical trials in this form of alternative medicine. These trained physicians have conducted new research addressing the safety and effectiveness of naturopathic treatments for cancer (including breast cancer), obesity, diabetes, weight control, and temporomandibular disorders. The findings will have a dramatic impact on the treatment of major diseases and other medical disorders.

FOR THE MEDIA: Members of the media are invited to attend. The findings from select presentations will be provided in separate news releases and provided to the press on an embargoed basis. Select releases will also be available on the AANP homepage
http://www.naturopathic.org/ on September 7.

© 2004 Newswise.

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