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A Metaphor for the Millennium
Public Doesn't Connect Year 2000 with Christ
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A METAPHOR FOR THE MILLENNIUM
The thought appeared that the asteroid scare (Asteroid 1997 XF11) is perhaps a metaphor for the Millennium and the swirling exchange of end-time discussion, earth changes, etc. Some of us will throw our hands up in the air in panic, some will hide, and others will say, "Oyvey" (as it were)!
I remember one time being in a combat situation when it looked as if death were an absolute certainty. I just said, "Here I am Lord" and basically stepped out into the massive gunfire. It was then that I noticed myself surrounded in a blue-tinged light that seemed to swirl around me as a soft cool breeze. I had essentially given into that light within and the surety that my soul was just fine. That day five friends died and 12 were injured. I had a slight burn from where a bullet passed too close, but that was it. The sensation has stayed with me ever since -- and comforted me. You see, worrying does little good in the end. I learned that in a true crisis to let my arms reach outward and to step into the wind -- and let the present take care of itself. May God grant us all the serenity to step out on faith in those times when all we can see are storm clouds.
ARE YOU SUFFERING FROM PMT?
The year was 995 AD... Western Europe... kingdoms and fifedoms struggling to emerge from the dark ages... anxiety was rampant... only five years to the end of the millennium. Most people believed the end of the world and the second coming of Christ was imminent. Wandering prophets were prolific, adding a touch of thrill to a very dull day-to-day existence.
Fast forward... The year is 1998. Two years away from the end of the second millennium. The prophets of doom still abound, having reincarnated as newspaper publishers and media moguls. Spiritual prophets are equally plentiful. But this is the age of equal access. We are offered not only the Christian option of rapture, but the equally exciting technological option of being beamed up by an ET mothership to escape the pending pole shifts, earth changes and world wars.
Since prophecy is "in," I'll add my two cents. A long time ago I received a secret and special revelation which I have kept to myself until now. It may surprise and perhaps even disturb you. It's not the conventional wisdom in new age circles. But this isn't the first time I've flirted with heresy.
There won't be a pole shift in the year 1999 or 2000. No major earth changes. No mothership on the White House lawn. No rapture. No Armageddon. The year 2001 will be business as usual. Surprised? Disappointed? Fearful of pending boredom? Sorry. That's the prophets job, to call 'em like you see 'em.
What you may be experiencing -- suffering from -- is the recently identified "PMT Syndrome:" Pre-Millennium Tension. It occurs at the end of each millennium in the western "Christian" world. People get a little tense, a little crazy; start saying and doing things that they often look back on in the year 1001 or 2001 and regret. Common sense takes a nap.
Having said that and, hopefully stirred up some "stuff", let me say this. We are in the midst of profound and accelerated planetary transformation -- socially, politically, technologically, spiritually and geologically. This change is accelerating. By all appearances we are moving rapidly toward the recognition of our galactic citizenship.
The keynote of galactic citizenship is r-e-s-p-o-n-s-i-b-i-l-t-y -- personal and collective. With PMT there is a real temptation to blindly follow political, social or spiritual movements or leaders which claim to have all the answers and which offer salvation in one form or another -- if only we play "follow the leader." From what I can see, this is about as old as old consciousness gets. It's also a dead end.
If Millennium Three is to truly be different than Millennium Two, we must move out of our personal and collective sense of victimhood, discover how we participate, consciously or unconsciously, in the creation of our individual and collective reality, and assume full responsibility as co-creators of our world. If a new era is to dawn, we must discover and learn to work with the Divine Presence, Wisdom and Power within ourselves, as ones created in the image of God, and to qualify all we do with Love, which is the Divine Will.
Political, social and religious movements can't and won't save us from ourselves. Too often they are as much a part of the problem as the solution. Playing "follow the leader" was a Piscean Age game that won't create the world we want in the Age of Aquarius. This is a do-it-yourself age that is dawning. But the "yourself" is that divine aspect of self that is eternal, ever present, ever wise and ever creative. It is love expressed as joy -- the kingdom within.
We are entering a new era -- the era of possibility & responsibility. What it becomes is what we choose to become, consciously or unconsciously, individually and collectively. Becoming fully conscious and in resonance with the Divine Presence within is the only cure for fear and it's offspring, PMT.
PUBLIC DOESN'T CONNECT YEAR 2000 WITH CHRIST
Fewer than one in six British residents recognizes that the millennium marks the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ, according to a Gallup Poll conducted for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH. When asked what the year 2000 commemorates, respondents answered: Did not know (37 percent); Coming of the new century (18 percent); Marked the year 2000 (17 percent); Anniversary of the birth of Christ (12 percent).
ESSEX UNIVERSITY Professor of Government Anthony King, who analyzes statistics for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, said he was amazed by the results of the survey. "According to Gallup, most people see the occasion as little more than an opportunity to dance, drink champagne, stay up late with friends or travel abroad." Once people were reminded of the Millennium's significance, more that two thirds agreed that its Christian derivation should properly be reflected in the celebrations.
PASSION PLAY HEART OF EUROPEAN TOUR
The British motor coach company, TRAFALGAR TOURS, has announced that it's giving early birds a $150 discount to travelers who book its Ultimate Europe Trip during the Year 2000. Promoting the vacation as a millennium "must-see," it includes air fare from Toronto, Canada, all land transportation, first-class accommodation and guided tours of France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. The trip also includes admission to a once-a-decade play, set in the Bavarian village of Oberammergau. The Oberammergau Passion Play enjoys an almost mythical status among the 5,000 residents of this Alpine hideaway. Locals say that villagers took an oath in 1633 while the Black Plague was sweeping through Europe. If they were spared they'd perform a play about the suffering of Jesus Christ every 10 years, forever. True to their word they've religiously performed this play for over 350 years. During the Year 2000, Oberammergau villagers are planning for an unusually long season staging the play 100 times, between May and October.
SPONTANEOUS TRAIT TRANSFERENCE
It appears to go against common sense -- not to mention classic psychological theory -- but researchers writing in the April edition of the AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION'S (APA) JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY say they have identified a common, but apparently mindless, psychological phenomenon that plays a previously unrecognized role in the way people form impressions of other people. Specifically, they've found that when someone attributes positive or negative traits to someone else, the listener will often attribute those same traits to the speaker. "In other words," the authors write, "politicians who allege corruption by their opponents may themselves be perceived as dishonest, critics who praise artists may themselves be perceived as talented, and gossips who describe others' infidelities may themselves be viewed as immoral... The gist of our research is that when you gossip, you become associated with the characteristics you describe, ultimately leading those characteristics to be 'transferred' to you."
AMERICANS NEED MORE SLEEP
Experts say Americans are "woefully ignorant" about how much sleep they really need. The NATIONAL SLEEP FOUNDATION says a nationwide survey showed that 64 percent of Americans sleep less than the recommended eight hours per night, and 32 percent sleep less than six hours. The result is that Americans are driving sleepy. The NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD (NTSB) estimates that 100,000 crashes, causing 1,500 deaths and 71,000 injuries, are caused by drowsy drivers every year.
Why are Americans so tired? "Fifty-one percent of men and 42 percent of women would go to sleep earlier if they didn't have a television or access to the Internet," the FOUNDATION says. People also attached a moral value to sleeping less. "We do tend to idolize people who have short sleep and I think that's an unfortunate situation," says Thomas Roth who heads sleep research at HENRY FORD HOSPITAL in Detroit and advises the FOUNDATION. "I think it's a prejudice in society -- people will say (British wartime leader Winston) Churchill slept five hours a night... no one says Albert Einstein slept 10 hours a night, and he did." Churchill also took frequent naps, Roth noted. Dr. William Dement, one of the first sleep researchers in the United States and a member of the FOUNDATION'S board adds that most primary care doctors do not ask people about sleep habits and fail to diagnose sleep problems.
ELECTROMAGNETISM LINKED TO BREAST CANCER
Researchers in Seattle say that electromagnetic fields can affect hormone levels in women and may be a link to breast cancer. Women, these researchers say, who are exposed to low-level electromagnetic fields had reduced levels of melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep. This may cause estrogen levels to drop. Lower estrogen levels have been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in animals. The researchers said the environment contributes to most, if not all cancers.
FDA APPROVES IMPOTENCE PILL
The first pill that men can take for impotence has won approval from the U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (FDA). Analysts say Viagra, made by New York drug giant PFIZER PHARMACEUTICALS, could become one of the top-selling drugs of all time. Viagra will cost $7 a pill wholesale. The FDA said a man must be sexually aroused before the drug will work. But unlike mechanical devices that engorge the penis, it mimics the natural effects of arousal. Tests on more than 3,000 men showed Viagra could help impotence associated with diabetes, spinal cord injuries, prostate surgery, and even impotence with mysterious causes.
DNA FROM MUMMIES
Researchers at MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY MUSEUM (MUM), in the north of England, have written to 8,000 universities and museums around the world seeking DNA samples from mummified remains in their collections. They plan to analyse the tissue, some of it 5,000 years old, for parasitical diseases such as Malaria. The hope is that by tracking a disease's progress and mutation over the centuries it will be possible to develop new treatments. The tissue bank will also be used to test current theories about population migration and the ethnic origin of people in different parts of the world. DNA expert Dr Adrian Lister of UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON, said: "We are interested in how particular groups of people came to live in the area they live in today. By tracing their genetic links to ancient populations, particularly around the Mediterranean area and in Africa -- where we think many modern European populations ultimately came from -- we can actually compare our genetics with those of these ancient people and figure out where we came from."
"MEAN GENE" FOUND
IN AFRICANIZED HONEY BEES
The gene for aggressive stinging behavior in Africanized honey bees or "killer bees" has been identified by a group of scientists at three institutions. Greg Hunt, a bee specialist at PURDUE UNIVERSITY, Department of Entomology, says the finding may help reduce the occurrence of Africanized bees and prevent the spread of the gene to other bee colonies.
USING MICROBES TO CLEAN ENVIRONMENT
A company in Atlanta has developed an algae-based system that uses microbes to remove toxic metals and organic chemicals from industrial waste water. MICROBIAL AQUATIC TREATMENT SYSTEMS, INC. has produced an experimental, three-tiered machine that will be used by a nuclear power plant to filter radioactive metals from water that would be released into a river. It's part of a growing trend to use microbes as effective environmental cleaners, and it's hoped this will turn out to be a more cost-effective, efficient way to deal with dangerous waste. Microbes are also used to clean auto parts in garages, auto parts stores and automobile factories across the nation.
ELECTRONIC NOSE TESTS SEAFOOD
To combat the rise in food-borne illnesses, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA scientists are the first in the nation to begin testing highly accurate electronic noses that sniff out fishy seafood before it gets to the consumer. "The electronic nose gives us nearly 100 percent accuracy and could be just what we need to help seafood inspectors handle their growing workload," said Murat Balaban, a food processing engineer with UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The noses, now widely used in Europe, are computerized tabletop units with sensors that detect odor molecules. They are also being used to find bacteria in wounds, inspect toxic waste sites and check the quality of wine and coffee.
WALKING, CLIMBING WHEELCHAIR
By studying how goats and spiders get around, a biomedical engineer at the UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA has designed and patented an all-terrain wheelchair that can climb up to 12- inch steps and amble over obstacles. The prototype vehicle has powered rear wheels and two robotic arms that anchor the chair like crutches or ski poles and pull it from the front or push it from behind. To climb a stair, the arms pull the wheelchair up and over the raised ledge then rotate behind the device to push the rear end up and onto the elevated step.
DOLPHINS UNLOCK POWER OF SPEECH
An eight-year-old British boy who suffered brain damage at birth has spoken for the first time after swimming with dolphins in Florida. The boy, Nikki Brice, had undergone traditional therapy without success, although doctors said he had the physical ability to speak. After just a few days at the HUMAN DOLPHIN THERAPY CENTRE in Miami, where children swim with the mammals, he uttered his first stumbling words. After being told to get out of the water at the end of a dolphin swimming session, the boy turned to his mother and said "in", indicating he wanted to return to the pool. Scientists are trying to discover why dolphins can have a therapeutic effect on depression sufferers and people with learning difficulties. It is thought the underwater sounds made by dolphins to communicate may play a part. Chris Connell, a spokeswoman for the therapy centre, which has a 97% success rate, said: "Swimming with dolphins is an essential part of treatment because this not only provides a therapeutic benefit but is also a motivational tool."
The Dolphin Circle:
WELL-PRESERVED DINOSAUR UNEARTHED IN ITALY
Italian paleontologists said Wednesday they had unearthed one of the best preserved dinosaurs found anywhere in the world, complete with internal organs and muscles. The young theropod, named Scipionyx Samniticus, is more than 110 million years old and is a distant cousin of Tyrannosaurus Rex, the king of all carnivores. "It is the first of its kind -- the first time soft parts (internal organs and muscles) are so represented in dinosaurs," Marco Signore of Britain's BRISTOL UNIVERSITY told REUTERS. "This is unique not only for soft tissues but this is the first time a dinosaur has been found in Italy. Until three years ago no geologist here even supposed that dinosaurs could be found here. It should mark a new point for Italian geology."
The Italian remains show the creature's windpipe, large intestine and bits of liver. In a report in the scientific journal NATURE, Signore said the tissues of the 13-inch-long specimen were better preserved than those in dinosaurs found in Brazil and China. The discovery will give scientists new insights into paleobiology how dinosaur hatchlings developed and how they were cared for.
LINK BETWEEN BIRDS & DINOSAURS
American scientists working at a quarry excavation on the island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean have discovered the remains of a bird-like creature which lived between 65 million and 70 million years ago. The fossil find in the north of the island provides further evidence that modern birds are descended from carnivorous flying dinosaurs. Called Rahona Ostromi, the raven-sized bird lived at the end of the dinosaur era. Like birds, Rahona had feathers and a reversed thumb allowing it to perch in trees. But it also shared features, such as a slashing claw, with velociraptors, the flying killers immortalised in Jurassic Park. The weaponry would have made it a fearsome predator to anything smaller than itself.
CO2 LURES PESTS TO THEIR DEATHS
A COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY scientist's discovery may lead to a safer and cheaper way to prevent termites from infesting homes, where they cause an estimated $750 million in damage in the United States annually. Entomologist Louis Bjostad found that termites' natural reliance on carbon dioxide to find food and shelter can also be used against the insects as a non-toxic alternative to current forms of pest control. Termites are naturally attracted to carbon dioxide for two reasons. Rotting wood -- the termites' main source of food -- releases CO2, a process that likely guides the insects to food. Now Bjostad and his colleagues are using the discovery to create a substance that slowly releases CO2 underground to lure termites away from houses and other structures where they cause damage. Because it occurs in abundance naturally, CO2 offers an inexpensive, non-toxic alternative to current methods of pest control, Bjostad said. Many soil-borne insects also rely on CO2 to locate food and shelter. If so, the gas could be used to steer other agricultural and household pests away from places they do harm.
HARMFUL BEETLES TRICKED BY SMELL
Dezene Huber, a Ph.D. student in SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY's Department of Biological Sciences, is part of a research team investigating the secret scent life of two of British Columbia's most destructive forest insect pests -- the Douglas fir beetle and the mountain pine beetle. These two species of bark beetle are tiny, about half a centimetre long, and attack their preferred host trees -- Douglas firs and lodgepole pines -- by tunnelling under the bark and laying eggs. They eventually girdle and kill the trees, destroying billions of dollars worth of commercial timber in B.C. every year. It's long been known that bark beetles use chemical signals, or pheromones, to attract others of their kind to a suitable host tree. It's also known that they can detect the scent of host trees. The bark beetle's superb sense of smell may soon be used against it. Researchers plan to use the non-host scents to disguise trees that the beetles would normally attack. The results are promising. This past summer, Huber found that single trees can be protected "quite well" using non-host volatiles, along with other compounds that the beetles avoid.
NATIONS AGREE TO CURB PESTICIDES
The United States and 94 other nations have agreed on a deal to monitor and curb the use of dangerous chemicals and pesticides -- setting binding legal restrictions on the $30 billion-a-year industry, the UNITED NATIONS announced today. Dangerous pesticides and chemicals kill large numbers of people each year and have a devastating effect on the environment, the UNITED NATIONS said. Under the deal, chemicals banned or restricted in any two nations cannot be exported without the explicit agreement of the importing nation. Exporters will have to fully inform importing nations of the nature of such products. Among the signatories are all 29 member nations of the ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT, the club of industrialized nations, including the major exporters of such chemicals.
YOUR HAIR (& DNA) INTO SPACE
Economy class space travelers have a chance to send a few hairs and a digital message into space for one hundreth the price of cremated ashes, which presently cost $5,000 a shot. The hairs contain DNA and so, the theory goes, an alien race might work out what you're made of, even recreate you, millions of years, billions of miles from the here and now. The launch is tentatively scheduled for September or October 2001 aboard the Ariane 5 space rocket, which takes off from Kourou in French Guinea. One of the payloads will be a 350-pound space vehicle carrying a few hairs from each of up to 4.5 million people paying $50 for the journey into the unknown. It will also carry high-density CDs with their messages or thoughts and a device to help potential aliens read them. "If an alien race is capable of finding the spacecraft, they should be able to access the data," said David Goldstein, vice president for space systems at Encounter 2001, the consortium building the spacecraft and organizing the project.
One of the partners is CELESTIS, which broke new frontiers in April 1997 when it sent a cargo of human ashes into space for the first time. The cremated pioneers included LSD guru Timothy Leary and Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry. Those ashes will orbit the earth for up to 10 years and then float back down into the atmosphere as dust.
The hair has a more ambitious mission -- to strike out beyond the solar system where human DNA has never gone before. Goldstein said Friday the spacecraft would have its bipropellant engine to take it out of Earth orbit, on to a trajectory for the planet Jupiter. "Then, using Jupiter's gravity, it will swing round to escape the solar system," he added. The organizers hope to aim it toward a part of the universe where NASA has found the potential for planets.
To pave the way, a radio message on New Year's Eve this year will announce to the universe that the hair is on its way. The message will contain the names of all 4.5 million subscribers, broadcast in digital form for about one full day. Goldstein said they would send between three and six hairs from each of the subscribers, cut to about one inch and including the bulb, which contains most DNA. All that hair will weigh about one pound, only a fraction of the total payload.
PROBE DISCOVERS "OCEAN"
The first results from the American space probe orbiting Mars reveal what may have been a massive ocean. The findings from the Global Surveyor, just published in the journal SCIENCE, show two very different landscapes. There are highland mountains and valleys in the southern hemisphere and very flat land in the north. Scientists believe that ancient ocean waters could possibly have shaped the northern part of the red planet's surface. According to geophysicist Maria Zuber of the MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), "We now understand that a lot of Mars is the smoothest place in the solar system for which we have measured topography. The only thing that comes close is the heavily sedimented floors of Earth's oceans, and it's actually flatter than that."
The probe has also found evidence that the red plant once had a very vigorous magnetic field. Over the next two years, Global Surveyor is expected to provide as much information about the planet as all previous missions combined. Unlike Mars Pathfinder, which landed a robotic rover on the planet, Surveyor did not touch down on Mars. Instead it is studying the planet from 235 miles above the surface. It carries a camera, a laser to measure the height of hills and valleys, and instruments to determine the composition of the planet surface and measure the planet's magnetic field. It will map the entire surface of Mars which will help scientists decide suitable areas for landing probes in the future.
VOLCANO COULD ERUPT IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Research led by RICE UNIVERSITY geologists estimates that within 400,000 years a new volcano could erupt in northern California, relatively soon in geologic terms. The findings suggest that magma located in chambers about 20 kilometers, or 12 miles, into the Earth's crust could rise to the surface in the Lake Pillsbury area, about 120 miles north of San Francisco. The research is published in the February issue of GEOLOGY.
SKEPTICAL INQUIRER SYNDICATED
THE INTERNATIONAL NEW YORK TIMES SYNDICATION SALES CORPORATION has finalized an agreement to syndicate SKEPTICAL INQUIRER articles for republication worldwide. The SKEPTICAL INQUIRER is published by the COMMITTEE FOR THE SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION OF CLAIMS OF THE PARANORMAL (CSICOP). The NEW YORK TIMES SYNDICATE represents many of the world's most prestigious publications, including THE NEW YORK TIMES, FINANCIAL TIMES, LE MONDE, DER SPIEGEL, THE ECONOMIST, NATURE and NEW SCIENTIST. NEW YORK TIMES SYNDICATE columnists include Bill Gates, Nicholas Negroponte and Mikhail Gorbachev. "The agreement makes it possible for millions of readers worldwide to have access to SI's message of skepticism, and boosts CSICOP's response to the international trend of paranormal infatuation," said CSICOP Executive Director Barry Karr. CSICOP is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to the critical examination and investigation of claims of the paranormal and fringe science.
US CHILDREN WATCH 8,000 MURDERS ON TV
Children growing up in the United States watch an average of 8,000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence each on television before leaving elementary school, Rep. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, told an international conference on children's television. Markey introduced the "V-chip" law that will allow parents to use a silicon chip to help control what their children watch on television. "Families are ready for this type of assistance," he told the conference, which has attracted more than 1,000 broadcasters from around the world. The 1996 U.S. Telecommunications Act requires all television sets to have a V-chip. Owners of sets equipped with V-chips will be able automatically to block out channels carrying a certain rating. Markey has also helped to pass bills that cut the advertising time on children's television programming and helped to limit so-called dial-a-porn services.
Markey would like to turn his legislative hand next to ensuring more privacy on the information superhighway -- especially for children. "Today's Big Brother is often totally anonymous and targets children by engaging them in online games that tease out their name, their age and other private information about their wants and wishes that is then digested by a digital demographer and used to sell new products." He has proposed the concept of a privacy bill of rights for cyberspace so that no information can be collated without the recipient knowing about it. Every user must have the right to say No, he said.
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OUTBREAK is an online information service that addresses emerging diseases. It provides in-depth information for interested laypersons as well as medical and health professionals. It also provides a worldwide collaborative database for the collection of information about possible disease outbreaks.
At ENDANGERED SPECIES you'll find a complete database of endangered and threatened animals, with lists of species by state, beautiful photographs, and fact sheets about animals from the Black-Footed Ferret to the West Indian Manatee.
According to a REUTERS story dated March 12, VOLKSWAGEN OF AMERICA will unveil a new ad campaign on March 23 for its completely retooled, '90s-style Beetle. Volkswagen will tout the new Beetle as "Reverse engineered from UFOs." In a nod to the popularity of its predecessor during the Sixties, the new Beetle will also be described as having "Less flower, more power." And recalling the original Beetle's quirky simplicity, another ad will proclaim: "Comes with wonderful new features, like heat." Your reverse engineered UFO will cost a bit more than the original VW, too -- a bit over $15,000. But maybe that's a small price to pay...
FUTURE HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS
Your home in 2008 will have fewer wires, cleaner air, and a gaggle of fun products to keep you healthy, informed and entertained, according to the latest forecast of BATTELLE, a technology organization. The company has identified what it expects will be the 10 most important technological breakthroughs in household products over the next decade:
1. Disappearing cords and cables. Wires will begin to disappear from view in homes as we move toward wireless communication, data transmission and energy distribution. That means more cordless telephones, wireless hook-ups to the Internet, and even electric lamps and small appliances that don't have to be plugged in. There may also be energy-saving products such as roofing shingles that serve as solar collectors, reducing the need for electricity transferred by wires to homes.
2. Products for a healthy home. These products could range from smart filters on furnaces and air vents to localized filtering appliances to new concepts, such as anti-allergen and anti-bacterial surfaces and self-vacuuming carpets that serve as filtering systems. The home and yard environment may also be improved with the development of genetically engineered lawns that require fewer or no chemical treatments.
3. Home health monitors. Inexpensive, reliable, and non-invasive home health monitors could track a wide range of physical functions and analyze nutrition and exercise programs.
4. Home waste management. BATTELLE predicts an in-home system that sorts, recycles and disposes of home waste -- eliminating the need for hand sorting. There may even be the development of systems for at-home water treatment and recycling.
5. Highly miniaturized communication and electronic products. In 10 years, we'll have developed wristwatch-size phones and highly specialized, handheld, wireless computers that'll help us perform a variety of day-to-day activities, from managing banking and investments to planning weekend entertainment. One device might provide a phone directory for the entire country in the palm of a hand. Another might provide a constantly updated calendar of weekend events and restaurant menus in a community. And another might manage banking, investing and bill playing.
6. Affordable, digital, high-definition television. Digital HDTV is here now, but the breakthrough will come in making it affordable to a mass market. BATTELLE researchers predict that future digital HDTV sets will incorporate home videoconferencing, computing, and networking. To hold down costs, many of these more advanced systems will be leased.
7. Virtual reality products. Virtual projections and sound environments will be used to enhance computer games, music systems, video entertainment systems and exercise equipment. We'll see a convergence of home entertainment, information and well care.
8. Electronic commerce. BATTELLE says we'll enjoy electronic shopping and banking, including financial transactions that are error-free, secure, easy to use, and low cost.
9. Voice-activated products. Products throughout the home, such as computers, TVs, lights, and other electronic appliances will be operated by voice commands.
1O. Personal security. New identification systems will take personal security to new levels, including protection of homes, automobiles, and other property; security over computer networks; and security for electronic commerce. BATTELLE says these systems may include DNA chips and bio-electronic security.
THREE LETTERS FROM TEDDY
Jean Thompson stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the very first day of school in the fall and told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same, that she would treat them all alike. And that was impossible because there in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a little boy named Teddy Stallard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were unkempt and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy was unpleasant. It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then marking the F at the top of the paper biggest of all. Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, no one else seemed to enjoy him, either.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's records and put Teddy's off until last. When she opened his file, she was in for a surprise. His first-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around."
His second-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."
His third-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy continues to work hard but his mother's death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken."
Teddy's fourth-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class. He is tardy and could become a problem."
By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem but Christmas was coming fast. It was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stallard.
Her children brought her presents, all in beautiful ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy's, which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of cologne. She stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume behind the other wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed behind just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my mom used to."
After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and speaking. Instead, she began to teach children. Jean Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called "Teddy." As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. On days there would be an important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne. By the end of the year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and...well, he had also become the "pet" of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of her children exactly the same.
A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of all the teachers he'd had in elementary school, she was his favorite.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his favorite teacher of all time.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson she was still his favorite teacher.
Then six more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still his favorite teacher but that now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stallard, M.D.
The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that Spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering...well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually reserved for the mother of the groom.
And guess what, she wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And I bet on that special day, Jean Thompson smelled just like... well, just like the way Teddy remembered his mother smelling on their last Christmas together.
You never can tell what type of impact you may make on another's life by your actions or lack of action. Consider this fact in your venture thru life.
2nd Helping of Chicken Soup for the Soul"
She smiled at a sorrowful stranger.
NHNE MISSION STATEMENT, CREDITS & CONTACT INFORMATION
The mission of NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE) is to answer humankind's oldest, most perplexing questions: Who are we? Where are we from? What is the origin and purpose of life? Instead of relying on ancient or contemporary wisdom, or the knowledge of isolated experts, we are building a global network of seekers from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, lay people and professionals alike, that can pool talents, experience, and resources to unravel life's great mysteries.
We also believe that our planet is passing through a time of profound change and are seeking to create a global community of like-minded people that can safely pass through whatever changes may come our way and help give birth to a new way of life on our planet.
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