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NHNE News Brief 79
Friday, September 26, 1997
"A thought-provoking exploration
of the extraordinary times in which we live."
827 days until January 1, 2000
This week: 858
Last week: 866
Danger Plus Opportunity
The Most Dangerous Place on Earth
Two Cases for Clean Living
Chopra on the Net
Universities Offer Job Guarantees
THE LIGHTER SIDE:
The Holographic Battleground
Virtual Dolphin Encounters
Nuclear Power Plant for Sale
Unusual Health Products
FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK:
A Time To Pause & Consider
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
In a Nutshell
DANNION BRINKLEY WATCH:
Brinkley Out of Immediate Danger
ANCIENT CIVILIZATION WATCH:
Room Discovered Beneath Sphinx?
CROP CIRCLE WATCH:
Review of 1997 Crop Circle Season
Crop Circles of the Sea?
Roswell Artifacts Analyzed
SETI@home: The Search for ET Gets Personal
Edgar Cayce's Story on TV
Shuttle-Mir: Scrap It or Save It?
ABOUT NHNE & HOW TO JOIN US
DANGER PLUS OPPORTUNITY
"The Chinese character for the word 'crisis' is a combination of two other characters: 'danger' plus 'opportunity.' Every crisis could hurt us, but could also empower us -- the outcome depends not on the events, but on what we do with the events. If you can find the blessing, you are on the way to freedom."
---Alan Cohen, THE ARIZONA LIGHT, 7/97
THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE ON EARTH
Source: CNN ONLINE, 8/28/97)
U.S. Energy Secretary Federico Pena made a visit to the Hanford nuclear facility near Richland, Washington recently to reassure workers worried about safety problems in what has been called "the most dangerous place on Earth." On May 18, a chemical tank containing nitric acid and a plutonium stripping solution called hydroxylamine nitrate exploded, blowing away part of the roof. Residual plutonium leaked from the building as waste water. A DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY (DOE) report said that the chemicals that exploded were stored improperly and discovered that workers were forced to walk through a plume of the toxic chemicals and drive themselves to the hospital. Plant officials are accused of failing to notify local emergency agencies about the blast until hours after the event. The incident is the latest in a string of accidents and mistakes that have plagued the Hanford facility since its de-activation began in the 1980s. Since World War II, all weapons-grade plutonium for the U.S. defense arsenal has been created at Hanford, but it has paid a price for the distinction. Visitors are told not to step off paved roads because the dirt is radioactive. Radioactive waste has also seeped into the ground water and is migrating toward the Columbia River, which flows nearby. Saying "the explosion was preventable" and that the response was "inadequate," Pena announced that new rules would be implemented to improve emergency response and the medical care of workers, not just at Hanford, but at all DOE sites. (JG)
TWO CASES FOR CLEAN LIVING
Sources: NEW SCIENTIST via NEXUS, Aug-Sept/97)
The government of Denmark has established a committee of scientists and farmers to decide by June 1998 whether all pesticides and herbicides should be completely banned from the country. Rising levels of toxins in the drinking water prompted the action. 150 products have already been banned. In a related story, Roger Masters of DARTMOUTH COLLEGE in Hanover, New Hampshire has discovered a link between criminal behavior and toxic chemicals in water supplies. What prompted the study was the fact that conventional theories could not explain why some counties in the U.S. have only 100 violent crimes each year per 100,000 people, while others have over 3,000. Masters analyzed a wide range of statistics and found that counties with the highest lead and manganese pollution typically have crime rates three times the national average. He suspects that when brain chemistry is altered by exposure to toxic metals, violent urges and criminal behavior become more difficult to restrain. (JG)
CHOPRA ON THE NET
(Sources: USA TODAY, 9/24/97; THE ARIZONA LIGHT, 8/97)
In commenting on his new book, "The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents," Deepak Chopra says "From the day your baby is born, you are the teacher of spirit. If you create an atmosphere of trust, openness, non-judgement, and acceptance, those qualities will be absorbed as the qualities of the spirit. In a perfect world, parenting would come down to one sentence: 'Show only love, be only love.'" In a groundbreaking move, Chopra will publish the entire text of "The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents" on AMERICA ONLINE. Starting October 1, it will be available for seven days at "The Book Report." (JG)
UNIVERSITIES OFFER JOB GUARANTEES
(Source: Mary Beth Marklein, USA TODAY, 9/17/97)
The UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI (UM) College of Engineering is offering a year of graduate school free to any graduating student who doesn't have a job within six months -- a value of $17,000. Considering the school's record, it's not much of a risk -- in the last two years all 400 engineering grads have found jobs. The incentive is not unprecedented. Last year, the UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ROLLA made a similar offer to students who couldn't find jobs or get into graduate or professional schools. Since 1994, ST. JOHN FISHER COLLEGE in Rochester has promised to pay graduates $417 a month if they haven't found a job within six months. FITCHBURG STATE COLLEGE in Massachusetts offers free courses to graduates if requested by employers. But as with any warranty, there's the fine print: students must generally graduate with at least a B average in order to qualify, and in the case of UM, also have a 3.2 grade point average in the engineering courses. (JG)
THE LIGHTER SIDE:
THE HOLOGRAPHIC BATTLEGROUND
(Sources: THE SUNDAY MORNING HERALD & THE SUNDAY MAIL (BRISBANE) via NEXUS, Aug-Sept/97)
The U.S. Congress has just approved funding for the Army to develop a laser that projects life-size hologram decoys of troops and tanks. It is predicted that within 10 years, many of the troops and ordinance seen by enemy units on the battlefield will be nothing more than 3D laser-generated images. According to U.S. defense consultant Brenda Mark, "Anyone looking at the target area will think the U.S. Army has a major presence there, when, in fact, there will be nothing but empty space." One bizarre application of what has been dubbed the "Ghost Gun," is that the hologram projector could also be used to generate images of individuals speaking and gesturing, like the President, the Pope, or the leader of a foreign power, which, when seen from a distance, would be indistinguishable from the real thing. U.S. Army scientist Dr. Gary Wood, who is leading the project at the ARMY RESEARCH LABORATORY in Adelphi, Maryland comments, "One of the scenarios is Saddam Hussein standing on his balcony telling troops to lay down their arms. We are well on the way to perfecting it." (JG)
VIRTUAL DOLPHIN ENCOUNTERS
(Source: Diane Allred, OPEN MIND, Sept-Oct/97)
When the child can't come to the dolphin, then there is THE VIRTUAL DOLPHIN to bring the dolphin to the child. The goal of this non-profit company is to create various dolphin and whale interactive programs which will give children a stimulating and educational experience that can promote healing. The California-based firm deals primarily with children struggling with terminal illnesses, abuse issues or who are physically challenged. Their current setup has the child entering a warm water-filled tank for the sensory environment, and achieving the "virtual experience" through dolphin and whale songs. Future plans include projecting holographs of dolphins and whales into the tank. For more information, visit their website: <http://virtualdolphin.org/>.
NUCLEAR POWER PLANT FOR SALE
(Source: THE NEW YORK TIMES via THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 3/16/97)
In 1983, in what was the biggest municipal-bond default in U.S. history, construction on the Satsop Nuclear Power Plant in Washington State ground to a halt due to cost overruns, high interest rates, and the fact that there was no market for the expensive electricity the $2.25 billion plant would have produced. Too expensive to tear down, too unwieldy to be bought, to costly to maintain, the twin cooling towers of the idle nuclear power plant still stand 496 feet above the Douglas firs on the Washington coast. The architectural firm of NBBJ in Seattle has been assigned the challenge to come up with a plan for possible uses for the white elephant. Proposals to turn it into everything from a nuclear weapons demolition plant to a theme park have come and gone. If you have any ideas with what to do with a 1,600-acre nuclear power plant complete with cooling towers, a structure built to accommodate a nuclear reactor with walls five-feet thick extending 60 feet into the ground, condensers, safety injection tank, powerful water system -- in fact, everything but the uranium core -- NBBJ would like to hear from you. (JG)
UNUSUAL HEALTH PRODUCTS
(Sources: REAL GOODS CATALOGUE, Fall/97; HOME HEALTH, Autumn/97)
Have you ever seen people cup their hands behind their ears to hear more clearly? What they are doing is creating a larger surface to collect sounds. HOME HEALTH MAGAZINE offers an ingenious invention called "EarGlasses" which they claim work even better. The clear plastic parabolic sound reflectors are worn behind the ears in a device similar to ear muffs and capture sound waves, making them seem louder and clearer. They cost $11.95, and if they were painted black, you could pass for Mickey Mouse.
HOME HEALTH also markets a product that has to be seen to be believed: called "Chin Gym," this patented isometric exerciser is a mini-weightlifting system that helps tone and tighten the muscle groups that run along the base of the jaw and eliminate double chins. The hinge of the contraption is gripped tightly between the teeth, and one end of what looks like a see-saw rests under the chin, while the other end sticks out in front and can be loaded up with as many as five-five ounce weights so "you can customize your workout for maximum benefit." HOME HEALTH claims that "a 15-minute workout twice a week is all you need to maintain a youthful outlook." The product sells for $39.95. For more information on HOME HEALTH products, call (800) 284-9123.
If you are trying to lose weight or stop smoking, REAL GOODS has the product for you -- inhalers which contain a blend of essential oils that help quell the munchies or the urge to light up a smoke. These natural remedies contain only pure botanicals, so they are safe to use as often as needed with no harmful side effects. The Suppress Appetite Inhaler goes for $12.95; the Smokeless Inhaler is $14.95. For more information, visit the REAL GOODS website: <www.realgoods.com>. (JG)
FROM THE EDITOR'S DESK:
A TIME TO PAUSE & CONSIDER
This will be the last issue of the News Brief that I'll edit from Sedona. I have just recently married a wonderful Canadian woman, and I am planning to move to Ottawa shortly to join her. This transition and interruption of the regular routine cause me to pause and consider. Editing the News Brief for the last year and a half has been a wonderful experience for me. I enjoyed gathering the news, editing it into a compact form that was brief but readable, working closely with David Sunfellow -- my business partner and my friend, and developing a team of SwiftWing reporters. 65 News Briefs -- it's been quite a run!
While I am in transition, we will be publishing two special issues following this one -- one will be a collection of the best articles from all the News Briefs (why not send us your suggestions?), the other will be a special report by David Sunfellow that details what he has learned about earth changes and millennial fever over the past 25 years of research and seeking.
With my relocation to Ottawa comes the reality of having to help provide a regular income for an instant family of three. My ideal is that the Excel Business Plan for funding NHNE will become wildly successful: In addition to providing an income for David, and some of the other principles involved in NHNE, it will also support me in my continued role as News Brief Editor, a role which I can perform quite easily from Ottawa, thanks to the miracle of electronic communications.
The future of the News Brief and NewHeavenNewEarth is literally in your hands. By simply working with us to change over your long-distance service to Excel, you could lower your long-distance rates and ensure the future of NHNE. And even better, if you choose to become an Excel rep, you could make a tidy income for NHNE and yourself. You can expect David's invitation to arrive in your email next week. If you haven't received David's invitation to switch your long-distance service to support NHNE by October 2, we encourage you to drop us a line at "firstname.lastname@example.org". We want to be sure that everyone who wants to help NHNE by switching their long-distance phone service and/or becoming an EXCEL rep can do so.
In closing, I would like to thank you, our readers: you who have written us wonderful and supportive letters; who have sent us financial donations and subscriptions; who have written us critical letters that made us think; who have sent us information and possible articles for our News Briefs; who have read our News Briefs faithfully each week and shared them with your friends. You make the work worthwhile. You are the NHNE global network. Let's keep it going!
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
"Thank you for another wonderful issue of your very informative newsletter. Unfortunately, when I tried to follow the URL for the article about Qi-Lel (News Brief 78), the address did not lead anywhere."
---Bert Beverly, Trevett, Maine
[Sorry for the inconvenience. The URL should have been: <http://www.chilel-qigong.com/>. JG]
IN A NUTSHELL
"I sincerely hope you'll be able to keep on sending out your News Briefs. They contain real fascinating stuff in a nutshell, and are therefore very time-saving.
"I wonder if you could help me out with the following: some friends and I are doing research on Robert Pavlita's radionic generators with a view of making them known to the greatest possible number of people, but with very little success so far. I have contacted both Pavlita foundations (one in the States, the other in Israel) but never got any reply from them. Would you happen to know whether there is any organization in the world dedicated to duplicating his devices or in any way connected to him?"
Donald Guenen, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
[We don't have that information, but perhaps some of our readers can help you out. JG]
DANNION BRINKLEY WATCH:
BRINKLEY OUT OF IMMEDIATE DANGER
(Sources: THE ART BELL WEBSITE, thanks to Renuka Sue and Kathy Renbarger)
After a setback earlier in the week when a new aneurysm started to bleed following last week's brain surgery to correct a blood clot, Dannion Brinkley's health has finally started to improve. The bleeding from the latest aneurysm seems to have stopped, the shunts used to drain the clot have been removed, and he has been moved out of intensive care and taken off the critical list. Brinkley is off all heavy painkillers, eating solid foods, and is alert and sitting up in bed. Understandably, he is anxious to get out of the hospital. The doctors are planning to restart administering the blood thinner Cumidin -- which is a very crucial phase of his recovery. While there are serious risks and concerns about the possibility of further aneurysms, the doctors feel that if he can get over this "hump," he'll really be on the road to recovery.
Curiously, by Brinkley's own projections in an interview on July 18, 1997, he saw himself around until April or May of the year 2004. Phone messages are being gathered at (404) 351-3079, and taken to his bedside to uplift him. In addition to Art Bell's website, there is a special bulletin board for current updates at: <http://www.nightlight.org/bbs/0034.shtml>.
ANCIENT CIVILIZATION WATCH:
ROOM DISCOVERED BENEATH SPHINX?
(Source: A. Robert Smith, VENTURE INWARD, Sept-Oct/97)
In a surprising revelation, Joseph Schor of the SCHOR GROUP, announced that his research team has found evidence of a huge room beneath the Sphinx, "that is about 25 by 40 feet... about 35 feet below the ground. The walls are parallel. We are 99 percent sure that there is a room there, but we have to open it to prove it. One way or the other, we will try to find out." The announcement came during an August lecture at an ASSOCIATION OF RESEARCH AND ENLIGHTENMENT (A.R.E.) conference in Virginia Beach.
The Schor expedition spent three weeks in April 1996 searching for the legendary Hall of Records predicted by psychic Edgar Cayce. The team used a sophisticated radar array, which Schor contends is superior to the resistivity and acoustical instruments used by the STANFORD RESEARCH INSTITUTE (SRI) 20 years ago. At that time, SRI detected anomalies beneath the Sphinx which, when holes were drilled into them, turned out to be nothing more than natural cavities in the rock .
Zahi Hawass, Director of Antiquities for the Giza Plateau, is skeptical about the news, saying that "the accuracy of radar in describing underground anomalies remains unproven," and demands an independent interpretation of the results. John Van Auken, Executive Director of the A.R.E., is working with Schor to satisfy Hawass' request, saying, "We will ask an authoritative institution for an interpretation of the data." According to Hawass, excavating or drilling on the site is out of the question at this time.
Schor thinks there might be another way. His radar also showed the existence of a tunnel leading up from the room to within six feet of the surface. He feels that the shaft could be readily opened and cleared without drilling, if Egyptian officials would issue a permit for the work. The Schor Group is also interested in surveying the entire Giza Plateau with their radar equipment, but that requires a separate permit.
In related news, Hawass has agreed to permit further exploration of an air shaft in the Great Pyramid that has been the subject of controversy, ever since a tiny robot discovered a door at the end of the shaft in 1993. Up to this point, Hawass had refused any further exploration, saying preservation of the monuments was his first priority. (JG)
CROP CIRCLE WATCH:
REVIEW OF 1997 CROP CIRCLE SEASON
By Freddy Silva
Once again, another crop circle season comes to a close in the Northern Hemisphere, making 1997 a year when the Circlemakers continued to surpass expectations and amaze daily. The focus was again on southern England, where some 90 percent of the world's formations occur. The season began early in April -- due to an unusually hot spring -- when a majestic, six-petalled flower was discovered at the foot of legendary Barbury Castle, a site of many famous formations over the years. Astronomer and mathematician Gerald Hawkins was quick to point out that this crop circle demonstrated Ptolemy's Theorem of Chords, the foundation of trigonometry. As if this achievement wasn't outstanding enough in itself, consider that the crop circle was found in oilseed rape. Rape (also known as canola) is a plant so brittle that it is capable of being damaged by a light wind -- yet in this case the plants were laid down gently and continued to bloom.
This year's crop circles certainly had researchers scrambling. Not only were the numbers up from last year, but the size and intricacy of designs surpassed anything seen in previous years. Among the many themes and designs were: eloquent Native American star symbols, an enormous Qabbalistic Tube Torus or life force symbol, and elements of ancient Freemasonic knowledge, as seen in an unusual grided square bordered by a circle -- the symbol of the pre-Sumerian Dyonisiac architects who gave us sacred knowledge pertaining to the creation of perfection on Earth. (The Dyonisiac architects were a sect that were directly connected to the Gods in assisting mankind to create the ethereal into the actual, such as the Pyramids, the Temple of Diana, and many other harmonious structures. They were the original Freemasons.) Other formations continued to demonstrate diatonic ratios of the musical scale and Pythagorean mathematics, forever increasing the intellectual profile of the Circlemakers in the face of skeptics.
But it was three new fractal designs that captured the imagination of many. One of these, a Pythagorean Star of Solomon, contained a record 204 circles around its perimeter. For humans to have created this wonder in the three hours of darkness available, would have required one circle to be made every 56 seconds, let alone the remainder of the formation. An almost identical shape materialized in broad daylight under the gaze of Silbury Hill in copycat conditions to last year's Stonehenge episode, when a Julia Set fractal materialized in the middle of the afternoon.
Many sensitive people reported experiencing physical discomfort around the main clusters of formations south of the Avebury complex. People crossing an axis between known formations felt chest pressure, difficulty in breathing and tensioning of neck muscles, only to find a major crop circle along that line days later, as if the energy was building towards physicalizing the crop circle. This experience is certainly concurrent with the belief that the energy required to generate these cyclopean patterns grows with their scale, and that the Earth's energy field itself is being revitalized as a result of the crop circles being placed on strategic, dowsable power points. One case in particular was the "Ant" formation in Hampshire that seemed to draw energy from nearby physical features and blast them in the direction of Stonehenge, some 40 miles away. Confirmed by the landowner that the crop circle was indeed lying perfectly along a ley line, dowsing reactions were violent, and Bovais levels that normally peak at 40,000, went off the scale at 100,000. (Bovais Levels relate to the radionics scale that detects vibrational energy in organisms. A healthy human being resonates at 6,500 units.)
But perhaps the most extraordinary event was that, for the first time since the phenomenon was witnessed in 1973, the complexity and number of crop circle designs made a serious presence throughout Europe. Holland and Germany saw their best years to date, possibly as a validation to the intelligent awareness and study of the phenomenon by many groups of people from those countries. Finland also reported a strong presence, as did the Czech Republic. The U.S., still ominously quiet given its vast landmass, reported only a handful more intricate designs than previous years, mainly in the Pacific Northwest. By comparison, reports have just recently started to come in from India of some 3,600 formations discovered since 1986, one apparently measuring over a mile wide.
With another year filled with overwhelming evidence in favor of a real phenomenon, it was interesting to see the media respond with wide-eyed fascination. Yet a week later, the TV cameras were out again with Doug Chorley, the surviving member of the infamous Doug and Dave scam duo, filming him making an embarrassing hoax while giving little time or attention to a formidable fractal pattern that lay harmoniously in a wheat field across the way. Which makes one wonder whether a nice two-mile wide crop formation around Buckingham Palace next year would finally give the real Circlemakers the worldwide credit they deserve.
[Freddy Silva is world-renowned crop circle researcher and Editor of THE CROP CIRCULAR <www.nh.ultranet.com/~lovely>.]
CROP CIRCLES OF THE SEA?
(Source: Chris Sherwood, NEXUS, April-May/97)
Reports of "marine lightwheels" -- gigantic, rotating wheels of light on or just under the surface of the ocean -- have been recorded by mariners for more than 100 years. They are almost exclusively seen in the waters of the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the South China Sea, but have also been reported in the Gulf of Mexico and off Western Australia.
Witnesses describe first seeing a distant pulsing light approach from the horizon. As it nears, radiating spokes of light become visible moving on the surface of the water around a central hub. The bands of light have been seen to curve concavely into the direction of their rotation, with each band passing the ship at roughly one-second intervals at the incredible speed of 60 to 200 miles per hour! At times, the sea has been seen to "boil" during the event, and ships' compasses have gone haywire in the centers of these wheels. However, a ship passing through or near a lightwheel seems to have no effect on it.
The lightwheels are made up of approximately 16 radial spokes, that vary in width from 20 to 70 feet. The diameter of the wheels has been estimated at 500 to 600 yards, although there are accounts of lightwheels being half-a-mile wide or more. The duration of these "lightshows" is about 15 to 30 minutes. Seventy percent of sightings occur between March and June.
There is no scientifically-accepted explanation for lightwheels; the source of light has been attributed to the bioluminescent marine plankton, Noctiluca miliaris, profusely present in these waters, but nothing can account for the vast and complex geometrical displays. The scientific community has generally ignored the phenomenon as "wild sailors' tales." There may be a connection between lightwheels and crop circles -- lightwheels tend to occur in enclosed bodies of water near land, something akin to the tendency of crop circles to form on leeward slopes. Plus, some of the same energies may be involved, such as: ley-line energies, Earth energy grid points based on tetrahedral geometry, and the Earth's magnetic field. Like crop circles, data is still being gathered on these puzzling glyphs before a definite determination can be made.
[I would be more skeptical about this report, if I had not encountered similar phenomena twice in my two years as a deep-sea sailor. In one instance, my ship passed through a slowly rotating lightwheel off the west coast of Mexico that I estimated to have been at least a mile wide. On another instance in the Gulf of Mexico, I saw a huge shaft of light sweep under the ship at hundreds of miles per hour. James Gregory]
ROSWELL ARTIFACTS ANALYZED
(Source: Linda Moulton Howe, NEXUS, Aug-Sept/97)
In the spring of 1993, Art Bell of the popular "Dreamland" radio show received a package of metal fragments in the mail from an anonymous person who claimed they were from the 1947 Roswell crash site. The mystery person said he got them from his grandfather, who was part of the cleanup crew. The metal pieces were of a variety of sizes from a ten-inch strip to square pieces less than half an inch wide. Tests of the pieces revealed that they were all made of pure aluminum -- a grade not typically used for normal industrial machining.
Then the anonymous donor sent some more samples which he claimed were from the exterior of the hull of the craft. They were quite different from the first batch -- brittle, dark on one side and light on the other. Tests revealed the following curious properties:
-- The pieces were made of layers of magnesium so pure that there was no trace of trace elements characteristic of Earth-manufactured magnesium, and a small amount of zinc separated by layers of bismuth.
-- The bismuth/magnesium layered material emitted 60 times more positive ions than the pure magnesium being used for control purposes.
-- Bismuth has the greatest Hall Effect (if a voltage is placed applied to bismuth while it is a magnetic field, a current flow is induced at 90 degrees to the voltage) and is the most diamagnetic of any metal (does not allow a magnetic field to penetrate it), so it was thought that the layered-metal material might be involved in resisting or detecting magnetic fields. When the layered material was exposed to a powerful electric current, it unexpectedly jumped around quite violently, while the control piece did not move.
-- A worldwide search of scientific literature failed to turn up any reference for the layering of magnesium and bismuth. It appears that magnesium/bismuth arrangement is unknown in the scientific and metallurgic body of knowledge.
Art Bell and Linda Moulton Howe are still looking for explanations and information. If you have something to add to this puzzle, contact Moulton Howe at: "LMH333@AOL.com".
"SETI@HOME": THE SEARCH FOR ET GETS PERSONAL
(Sources: SETI@HOME website, thanks to Kim Hjortholm; Stan Gunn, THE NETLY NEWS via CNN ONLINE, 9/24/97)
SETI@home is a two-year grand experiment to harness the spare power of hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected computers in the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). When the experiment officially launches in Spring of 1998, computer users from all over the world will be able to participate in a major scientific experiment, where each participant will have the slight but captivating possibility of being the first to detect the faint murmur of a civilization beyond Earth. David Gedye, Project Director for SETI@home, summed up the project this way: "Most people are interested in the Big Questions. There may never be a general consensus on whether there is a God, and what He or She is like, but nearly as mind-boggling as the religious questions are the ones like 'Are we alone?' With this project we have at least some chance of answering that one." SETI@home was conceived in 1995 as a collaborative effort of several astronomers and computer scientists. It is funded by donations and corporate sponsorships.
Current SETI research consists primarily of radio astronomers searching for narrow-bandwidth radio signals (narrow-bandwidth signals are not found in nature). Of the handful of such projects, the SETI INSTITUTE's Project Phoenix is the best known. All the SETI projects use special-purpose signal analysis hardware -- typically Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) machines with millions of frequency channels. This analysis, though impressive, barely skims the surface of what is possible. It is only through real-time searches that bandwidths, frequency drift rates and pulse periodicities can be minutely examined.
To the Internet user, SETI@home will behave as a screensaver. When active, the program will automatically download a small chunk of radio-telescope data, process it for a few hours or days, and return a result to the server. Participants will be able to choose between a range of visualizations to follow the progress of the experiment:
-- Science Mode in which the analysis taking place on the local machine is shown in real time.
-- Sky Progress Mode which shows how the entire experiment is covering the sky.
-- Earth Progress Mode will display all the people participating in the experiment.
SETI@home is real science. The data is from the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico (featured in the movie "Contact"), the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world. By the time 50,000 PCs are involved, the scope of the search will rival all current SETI projects, giving the SETI@home a good chance at detecting a signal that might otherwise be missed.
SETI@home is accompanied by a website <http://bigscience.com/setiathome.html> showing the current status of the project, and providing various educational material and links on SETI, astrobiology, and astronomy, If you would like to help test the first version of SETI@home (currently scheduled for late 1997), SETI@home would like to hear from you.
By the way, the SETI folks have a message for any aliens listening in: "You can save us a lot of trouble with one simple email!" (JG)
EDGAR CAYCE'S STORY ON TV
(Source: Jon Robertson, VENTURE INWARD, Sept-Oct/97)
In what is to be "the longest prime-time television program ever devoted to Edgar Cayce," a film crew under the direction of Kevin Knoblock spent two days in July filming ASSOCIATION OF RESEARCH AND ENLIGHTENMENT (A.R.E.) notables, including his son Edgar Evans and grandson Charles Thomas, plus various sites around the A.R.E. headquarters in Virginia Beach and Hopkinsville, Kentucky, Cayce's birthplace. The project is being produced by GREYSTONE COMMUNICATIONS INC. in Los Angeles, which is under contract with A&E NETWORK to produce several "Biography" programs each season -- one of the most popular series on the network. While there has been interest in telling the Edgar Cayce story ever since the publication of "There is a River" in 1943, and the fact that the A.R.E. has worked with several film producers in recent years, no project before this has ever gone beyond the script stage. The show is now in postproduction in Los Angeles, and should air later this year or early in 1998. Copies of the video will be available through the A.R.E. bookstore. (JG)
SHUTTLE-MIR: SCRAP IT OR SAVE IT?
(Sources: CNN ONLINE, 9/24/97; NASA Press Release, 9/17&25/97, thanks to Chris Czech)
With David Wolf replacing Michael Foale amid all the controversy over the safety record of the Mir Space Station and whether it has outlived its usefulness, the following points should be considered:
-- The next phase of Shuttle-Mir has more science experiments planned than any previous stay by a U.S. astronaut. "This is where theory meets reality," said Shuttle-Mir program manager Frank Culbertson. "The practical lessons we learn aboard the Mir are already paying large dividends as we prepare to start construction of the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION." Wolf's mission involves six research disciplines including advanced technology, Earth sciences, fundamental biology, human life sciences, microgravity research and a category called "risk mitigation" for learning the lessons necessary to successfully build the Space Station.
-- Studies aboard the Mir have allowed more precise characterization of human physiology and psychology in space, in particular, changes in bones and muscles, the neurovestibular system, the risk of developing kidney stones in space, and changes in the interactions among crew members and their ground support team over the course of the mission.
-- The long-duration nature of this program has allowed researchers to produce crystals that cannot be grown on the Shuttle or on Earth. Analysis of the higher-quality crystals grown on Mir permits better understanding of their molecular structure, leading to better understanding of viral interactions with antibodies, enzyme functions, and possibly new pharmaceutical products.
-- The promise of tissue culturing in space has been dramatically advanced by work aboard the Mir. NASA was able to extend the duration of space tissue growth from 10 days to four months, with the successful culturing of cartilage cells in an onboard bioreactor. Wolf was a member of the original research team that developed the bioreactor design at the JOHNSON SPACE CENTER in Houston, Texas.
-- Growing plants in space is of scientific interest for botanists and future space flight operations. A significant first in this area was recently achieved during when seeds generated by plants grown in space were planted and germinated to grow new plants -- the first so-called "seed-to-seed" experiment in space.
-- The astronauts on Mir have substantially added to the growing database of Earth observation photographs. During their months aboard the Mir, crew members have observed and recorded long-term and seasonal changes in various areas of interest, such as agricultural patterns, global deforestation and the drying up of lakes. In addition, astronauts have observed and photographed rapidly-occurring events such as volcanic eruptions and fires that otherwise might have gone unobserved.
An independent task force chaired by Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Stafford, a former Gemini and Apollo astronaut, concluded, "As we prepare for the June 1998 launch of the first element of the INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION, nothing can beat the hands-on, real-time training aboard Mir." NASA officials are confident that the supplies and spare parts delivered by the latest shuttle mission will allow Wolf to conduct experiments and live safely on the station for his full 4 1/2 month mission. (JG)
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