Friday, August 6, 1999
© Copyright 1999 by NewHeavenNewEarth
A buffet meal featuring a varied number of dishes.
Another NHNE publication --
albeit more loosely knit than most
To support NHNE:
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WOULD WE NOTICE?
"Past history provides many parallels to our current moment. In traditional
China it was assumed that dynasties fell because the abyss between the named
and the real became so large as to swallow up the governing system. The end of
Samurai power in Japan came more rapidly than anybody could have anticipated.
The pillars had been slowly eaten away and a final series of shocks could not
"Willis Harman, one of our great futurists, asked a haunting question before
his death. He pointed out that communism had collapsed far more rapidly than
anyone expected. He then inquired: 'If capitalism were in the process of dying,
would we notice?'"
--- Robert Theobald, from a recent letter entitled, "Turbulence"
eBuds, WebBuds & RoadBuds
"Brave New World" Series
Mini Circuits May Speed Computers
Gene Therapy for the Bald
Radical Evolutionary Change Could Happen Quickly
Old Macdonald's Motor Oil
Flying Car Set for Takeoff
TV Bad for Small Children
GM Watches You Drive
Uncle Sam Has All Our Numbers
Magic Cyber Camera
The Hunger Site
The "Joke" You Forwarded Hurts
New Study Supports Authenticity of Shroud
Red Cross Predicts Climatic Super Disasters
If Trends Continue, Two-thirds of All Plants & Animals Will Die
WHERE NO ONE HAS GONE BEFORE:
A Nanotechnology Primer
IN SEARCH OF THE PROMISED LAND:
August 11, 1999
THE LIGHTER SIDE:
eBUDS, WEBBUDS & ROADBUDS
OK, I was supposed to spend the last couple weeks focusing near exclusively
on catching up on bills and getting ready for my upcoming trip to Idaho.
But so many important pieces of information keep showing up that I had to
try to squeeze in one issue of Smorgasbord before taking off. I hope you
find the information in issue number 11 as interesting as I did.
On other fronts:
Those of you who are on our Friends of NHNE mailing list know that we've
been putting together a special store for the members of our network. Consisting
of "good stuff for bodies, minds and souls", we eventually plan
to have this website packed full of great items at bargain prices. And we
would like your help:
1. If you have any books, music, and videos that you think are
especially uplifting and don't see them already posted, please
send your suggestions
to me <firstname.lastname@example.org> and I will add them to our "Reader Favorites" section.
My personal favorites are already posted and James and Linda are working
2. Ditto for any product suggestions you might have. Send these
suggestions to both Linda Becker <email@example.com> and me <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
The entire website will be built around us recommending specific products
and then making deals with various suppliers to make these products available
at reduced prices.
You can take a sneak peak at the address listed below:
The next issue of WebBuds will be compiled and sent out towards the end of
August/first part of September. Before then, I will be asking for feedback
from our first group of advertisers and passing on their experiences and
suggestions: which ads produced results, which didn't, and what can future
advertisers do to be sure their particular products and services are successful?
In the meantime, a new section has been created on the NHNE Website to house
WebBuds and I encourage those of you who plan to advertise in the next issue
to begin thinking about it now:
While I am on the road with my three daughters, Sherry Stultz will be on
the road in England. I plan to share a little bit about my adventures when
I return and Sherry will be sharing hers, too, which will undoubtably be
more interesting than mine since Sherry is visiting a sacred site in the
middle of a rare total solar eclipse (see "August 11, 1999" in
this issue of Smorgasbord for more information).
And while Sherry and I are on the road, James will be posting a message to
the members of our Friends of NHNE list, updating them on his adventures
in Canada (I'll be sending out James' update before I leave).
And that's it for now. Until next time, I send you all my best...
With Love & Best Wishes,
P.S. This is probably the last piece of email the general mailing list will
receive from me until I return to Sedona. If you need to get a message to
me, now is the time to do so. I'll be unavailable from August 10th through
"BRAVE NEW WORLD" SERIES
(Source: ABCNEWS, 7/30/1999)
ABCNEWS is presently running an eight-part series called "Brave New
World." Anchored by Ted Koppel and reported by Robert Krulwich, this
fascinating series explores how our world is changing in remarkable ways,
at breakneck speeds. Two of the eight episodes have already aired and the
remaining six are scheduled to follow on six consecutive Thursdays, from
10-11 PM ET, on ABC. Synchronistically, many of the stories contained in
this issue of Smorgasbord deal with similar topics:
1. "Wired for Speed"
Thursday, July 29 (10-11 PM ET)
What is it about speed that is so attractive? This broadcast looks at how
machines are speeding up the pace of life. Can we, will we, could we ever
2. "Man and Machine"
Thursday, August 5 (10-11 PM ET)
We are putting more and more machines in our bodies, artificial knees, kidneys,
retinas... What happens when machines enter the brain? What happens when
people and their machines become one? Will be become a new species, part
human and part machine? Or will we give birth to an entirely new species
-- machines that become sentient and leave us behind on the evolutionary
ladder much like we left behind our ape-like ancestors?
3. "What is Family?"
Thursday, August 12 (10-11 PM ET)
There are so many ways now to create a family: what makes a family a family?
4. "Why Not Clone a Human?"
Thursday, August 19 (10-11 PM ET)
Robert Krulwich talks with Princeton University's Lee Silver about cloning
in a broadcast that features: Stephen Jay Gould of Harvard University discussing
Siamese twins; Jane Curtin and Buck Henry in the role of evil parents; Video
artists Josh and Adam explaining how to clone sheep DNA...
5. "The Sixth Extinction?"
Thursday, August 26 (10-11 PM ET)
Creatures, big and small, are disappearing at an alarming rate. Yes, that
has happened five times before, when the Earth was hit by an incoming rock
or a sudden climate change. But this time, since humans are doing the damage,
and humans "unlike meteors" can think, maybe this time humans can
live through a mass extinction, maybe even prosper?
6. "Looking for Life"
Thursday, September 2 (10-11 PM ET)
Suppose we do find life in our solar system? Most probably it won't be a
big, green, scary movie alien, but a little microbe in a rock. What's the
big deal? What kind of conversation can you have with a microbe? A very interesting
one, we think.
7. "Hope: A Case Study"
Thursday, September 9 (10-11 PM ET)
What happens when very smart, cutting-edge scientists face an ordinary, garden-variety
family tragedy? What's more important: A big brain or a big heart?
8. "Beyond Atoms"
THURSDAY, SEPT. 16 (10-11 PM ET)
Atoms are small, but quarks are smaller. And now, even smaller than quarks,
a new notion of what everything in the universe is made of: dancing, vibrating,
Information about the Brave New World series:
MINI CIRCUITS MAY SPEED COMPUTERS
(Source: WASHINGTON POST, AP, Anne M. Peterson, 7/16/1999, Thanks to Sherry
Researchers have created computer circuitry in a single molecule -- a breakthrough
that could open a brave new world of tiny computers billions of times more
powerful than current PCs and sensors that could be injected into the bloodstream
to diagnose disease.
In a paper published Friday in the journal SCIENCE, researchers at HEWLETT-PACKARD
and the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA at Los Angeles, reported early success in
combining computer technology with chemistry. They have found a way to make
part of a molecule operate like a switch that can be turned on or off --
the first step in basic computing. The next step is for scientists to put
the molecules between much smaller wires, and create a device that can perform
basic computer functions.
"What we are proposing is essentially building a computer in a test tube," said
Phil Kuekes, a computer architect for HEWLETT-PACKARD in Palo Alto. "Eventually
computers are going to be so small you won't be aware of them. The computer won't
just be in your wristwatch -- it will be in the fibers of your clothes [and bloodstream]."
GENE THERAPY FOR THE BALD
(Source: WIRED, REUTERS, 6/11/1999)
It might be possible to use gene therapy to treat baldness. A team at the
University of Pennsylvania said they had managed to cause growing human hairs
to take up genetic material -- and said it had been easier than they expected.
So far, they have only been able to turn hair blue. But they say the idea
could someday be applied to growing hair. "These early results in our
ongoing research suggest that certain types of hair loss might be suitable
for gene therapy," said Dr. George Cotsarelis, director of the Hair
and Scalp Clinic at the university, in a statement. The idea behind gene
therapy is to use genetic material to replace a faulty gene, or to boost
the efforts of genes. It is being tested in a range of conditions from cancer
to heart failure.
RADICAL EVOLUTIONARY CHANGE COULD HAPPEN QUICKLY
(Source: CNN ONLINE, 11/26/1998)
If the world suddenly gets hotter, you might survive better with a new skin
color, or you might sprout a tail to maneuver in the dense tropical forest
that spreads around the globe. And, if scientists are correct, you might
already be carrying the genes for these radical traits, and more.
Researchers at the UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO and the HOWARD HUGHES MEDICAL INSTITUTE
report in a recent issue of the journal NATURE that the fruit flies expressed
these prefabricated variations -- from weird limbs to different wings --
when scientists fooled the insects into thinking their climate was changing.
The physical changes erupted in the span of a few generations in the face
of supposedly new and dire living conditions. In doing so, they radically
changed the appearance and behavior of a creature that had looked and lived
the same for eons.
In the 19th century, Charles Darwin described evolution as a gradual, orderly
march by a species toward self-improvement. In the fossil record, most evolutionary
changes are seen to have unfolded over millions of years.
But not always.
The theory of punctuated equilibrium championed by paleontologist Stephen
Jay Gould and others suggests that evolution is a messy business driven by
random disasters that force survivors to adapt hurriedly to new environmental
conditions. For example, mammals and other life forms flourished after an
asteroid or comet hit Earth 65 million years ago, but dinosaurs perished.
OLD MACDONALD'S MOTOR OIL
(Source: WIRED, 6/21/1999)
The US POSTAL SERVICE is testing a new vegetable-based automotive lubricant
in a Michigan fleet. The engine oil is kind to the environment and could
be a boon for agricultural producers. The natural ingredients going into
the mix are designed to produce more benign emissions, improve gas mileage
and oil consumption, and reduce wear on internal combustion engine parts. "Unlike
the conventional lubricants of the prior art, the vegetable-based oil of
the present invention is derived from a renewable source, is biodegradable
by naturally occurring microbes in the environment, and is nontoxic to flora
and fauna," the patent reads.
FLYING CAR SET FOR TAKEOFF
(Source: WIRED, 6/4/1999)
MOLLER INTERNATIONAL, a US aviation company based in Davis, California, is
planning the first test of its Skycar in the company's backyard. Like the
British Harrier jump jet, the four-seat Skycar will take off and land vertically.
Powered by eight rotary engines, the flying car is designed to travel about
900 miles at more than 350 mph on a single tank of gas. About the size of
a full-sized SUV, the Skycar can be fueled with ordinary gasoline. "It'll
run on diesel, propane, even filtered McDonalds' french-fry oil," said
Jack Allison, Moller's vice president of administration. "Anything that
Allison said the Skycar will be legal on the street and capable of cruising
roadways at up to 30 mph using its electric engine. Currently, would-be pilots
will need a pilot's license to fly the Skycar. But under the Highway in the
Sky initiative launched by NASA in February, the Skycar and similar vehicles
may eventually be flown completely under computer control. Using a global
positioning system for guidance, it's hoped that the Highway in the Sky system
will allow unlicensed pilots to be flown anywhere by completely automated
flying machines. The Skycar will initially cost a cool US$995,000, though
Allison said the company hopes volume production will lower the price to
$100,000 within a decade.
TV BAD FOR SMALL CHILDREN
(Source: WIRED, 8/4/1999)
The AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICIANS believes that little kids shouldn't
be watching TV -- at all, and not just because prime-time programming is
so bad. Because babies need direct interaction to stimulate brain growth,
the doctors are concerned that children younger than two will have their
development stunted by television.
(Source: WIRED, Joanna Glasner, 6/21/1999)
Just when it seemed like the anything-for-a-buck business of e-commerce couldn't
get more absurd, a new website is offering a way for people to outsource
their religious devotion. "PrayerWheel", based in Yonkers, New
York, is charging US$19.97 a year to have its computers provide personalized
prayers in any of seven major religions. The computers don't actually pray
out loud, but they do route text messages containing prayers across the Internet
in a loop around the world.
The company's founder, Richard Cavitch, says people are signing on to read
the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Islamic prayers posted on the
website, rather than to subscribe to the automated service. Once they get
used to the concept, however, he thinks people won't see much difference
between signing up for PrayerWheel and enlisting another person to say prayers
in one's stead.
The concept of a prayer wheel comes from Tibetan Buddhists, who crafted hollow,
cylindrical objects and filled them with written prayers. Tibetan prayer
wheels were placed in streams or outside in the wind, where the forces of
nature caused them to turn and, in a mechanized fashion, to utter the prayer.
Routing a prayer across the Internet isn't entirely different from the Tibetan
Whatever the future holds, Cavitch already has his legal bases covered. The
PrayerWheel site contains a succinct disclaimer aimed at warding off potential
lawsuits. The provision also lets PrayerWheel evade the thorny issue of whether
the Supreme Being actually reads email:
"We make no warranties or guarantees or implied guarantees that the prayers
said will be heard or granted by God."
GM WATCHES YOU DRIVE
(Source: WIRED, 6/3/1999)
An in-car surveillance system presently running inside many GENERAL MOTORS
vehicles is a significant erosion of personal privacy, say critics and consumer
advocates. GM said its Sensing and Diagnostic Module (SDM) -- currently installed
in hundreds of thousands of cars -- is only used for aggregate crash research,
and poses no threat to consumer privacy. The unit records and processes the
last five seconds of vehicular data before a collision. The box determines
the force of a collision, the speed at which the car was traveling, whether
the brakes were applied, and how the airbag fared. The unit also tracks engine
speed, the angle of the steering wheel, whether or not the seatbelt was worn,
and the position of the accelerator pedal. Civil liberties experts are concerned
that the data will inevitably end up in the hands of police and that it could
end up being subpoenaed in a lawsuit. Crash-analysis experts also questioned
the box's reliability.
UNCLE SAM HAS ALL OUR NUMBERS
(Source: WASHINGTON POST, Robert O'Harrow Jr., 7/27/1999, Thanks to Sheri
As part of a new and aggressive effort to track down parents who owe child
support, the federal government has created a vast computerized data-monitoring
system that includes all individuals with new jobs and the names, addresses,
Social Security numbers and wages of nearly every working adult in the United
States. Government agencies have long gathered personal information for specific
reasons, such as collecting taxes. But never before have federal officials
had the legal authority and technological ability to locate so many Americans
found to be delinquent parents -- or such potential to keep tabs on Americans
accused of nothing.
The system was established under a little-known part of the law overhauling
welfare three years ago. It calls for all employers to quickly file reports
on every person they hire and, quarterly, the wages of every worker. States
regularly must report all people seeking unemployment benefits and all child-support
Starting in August, the system will reach further. Large banks and other
financial institutions will be obligated to search for data about delinquent
parents by name on behalf of the government, providing authorities with details
about bank accounts, money-market mutual funds and other holdings of those
parents. State officials, meanwhile, have sharply expanded the use of Social
Security numbers. Congress ordered the officials to obtain the nine-digit
numbers when issuing licenses -- such as drivers', doctors' and outdoorsmen's
-- in order to revoke the licenses of delinquents.
Enforcement officials say the coupling of computer technology with details
about individuals' employment and financial holdings will give them an unparalleled
ability to identify and locate parents who owe child support and, when necessary,
withhold money from their paychecks or freeze their financial assets. But
privacy experts and civil libertarians say the scope of the effort raises
new questions about the proper line between aggressive public policy and
intrusive government snooping. In pursuing an objective that is almost universally
applauded, the government has also created something that many Americans
have staunchly opposed: a vast pool of fresh personal information that could
be used in a variety of ways to monitor their lives.
MAGIC CYBER CAMERA
While we're on the subject of government surveillance and dubious technological
breakthroughs, a new camera has been developed that can actually use your
computer monitor to take a picture of you and your surroundings. Developed
by Misrocoft2000, this technology dot dithers your screen to act as a camera
receptacle. The beta website captures your image just as if you had the computer
connected to a video cam. Privacy rights activists are concerned that the
camera may have been installed on websites without our knowledge or permission.
If so than those websites are capturing images of you unawares as you view
One prototype can be found here:
THE HUNGER SITE
Could you please check this out? It's a website that enables everyone who
clicks on it to make a free donation of food from a corporate sponsor without
any cost to the individual that goes directly to an organization combatting
world hunger. Since there are so many members in NHNE, think of the potential
good that could be accomplished if even half of the members did this on a
daily basis. The website is:
--- Thanks, Jan Morrow
THE "JOKE" YOU FORWARDED HURTS
We were reading with deep interest and full agreement your collection of
comments regarding practice to go beyond the ego (NHNE Update 59: http://www.nhne.com/updates/0059.html),
for often we have discussed this problem and wondered if anyone else had
considered the immensity of it. Then I turned to your humor section and my
heart sank. Sadly, the "joke" you forwarded, "Psychiatric
Hotline", hurts, hurts so much. In hopes that you will share my message
with many others, I will tell you why it is painful, and in doing so I hope
those others will realize, probably to their surprise, an insight they did
not have before.
People who have biological brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bi-polar
disorder, schizoid affective disorder, and severe chronic depression suffer
dreadfully from the effects these diseases. Some are tortured by their symptoms
to the point of suicide. Their families watch as the life of their talented,
popular, intelligent son or daughter becomes twisted, nearly destroyed, destroyed.
And they pray. They pray for their loved one, that he or she might have the
strength to endure these afflictions. They pray for improved medications,
opportunities, support; and they give thanks for the devotion of professional
staff who give care and the research and discoveries of scientists. One of
their prayers is that the stigma of having a mental illness will be erased
forever -- along with jokes which make light of such suffering.
I am sure that the anonymous person who wrote this piece had no
intention of hurting anyone, indeed would be uncomfortable, if
not shocked, to think
that he/she had done so. It is a matter of education, I believe, and if we
all come to understand that a brain disorder could happen to anyone, anyone
at all, in any family, then the compassion we feel for someone who has epilepsy
or diabetes for instance, which after all are also biologically caused and
no one's "fault", that same compassion we will extend to those
who suffer from the biological brain disorders which are called mental illnesses.
--- Respectfully, and with best wishes, Carol Olson
NEW STUDY SUPPORTS AUTHENTICITY OF SHROUD
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS, Traci Angel, 8/3/1999)
The Shroud of Turin is much older than some scientists believe, according
to researchers who used pollen and plant images to conclude it dates from
Jerusalem before the eighth century. The study gives a boost to those who
believe the shroud is the burial cloth of Jesus and contradicts a 1988 examination
by scientists who said the shroud was made between 1260 and 1390. In June,
the researchers said the cloth originated in the Jerusalem area, also contradicting
the 1988 study which concluded it came from Europe.
The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth about 13 feet long and 3 feet wide that
has been kept in the city of Turin, Italy, since 1578. It bears the image
of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by Jesus. The shroud also
contains pollen grains and faint images of plants.
AP article: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/headlines/ap/ap_us/story.html?
Shroud of Turin Website:
Current Shroud of Turin news:
NHNE articles on the Shroud:
For a complete list of all NHNE stories on the Shroud, type "Shroud
of Turin" into NHNE's Search Engine:
For those of you interested in finding out more about the Shroud, Barrie
M. Schwortz, the creator of the Shroud of Turin Website, recommends Ian Wilson's
new book, "Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence That the World's Most
Sacred Relic Is Real". According to Barrie, this book includes "a
complete chronology of Shroud history that is excellent, as well as an overview
of the latest Shroud science as of last year."
RED CROSS PREDICTS CLIMATIC SUPER DISASTERS
(Source: YAHOO NEWS, 6/23/1999, INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND
RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES Website)
According to a report published by the INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION
OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES, the world is heading for
a spate of "super" disasters
sparked by a mix of climate change, environmental damage and population pressures.
According to "The World Disasters Report 1999", last year's season
of natural disasters was the worst on record, causing more damage than ever
before. Most of the destruction to lives and livelihoods occurred in poor
countries, just as international aid flows continue to plunge, the report
"Everyone is aware of the environmental problems of global warming and deforestation
on the one hand, and the social problems of increasing poverty and growing shanty
towns on the other," said federation president Astrid Heiberg. "But
when these two factors collide, you have a new scale of catastrophe," she
said, adding that the insidious combination was throwing millions more people
into the path of potential disaster.
In 1998, natural disasters created more "refugees" than
wars and conflict as declining soil fertility, drought, flooding
drove 25 million people from their land into packed city slums.
The report warned that emergency aid funding had dropped by 40 percent between
1994 and 1997 from a peak of 3.5 billion dollars to 2.1 billion as rich countries
tightened their purse strings.
Insurance cover for floods, deemed the most murderous catastrophe, is the
most scarce. Floods account for almost half of all economic losses but just
11 percent of insured losses worldwide. In many countries, flood insurance
is simply not available, the report pointed out.
The survey did highlight one bright spot: Data contained in the report showed
evidence that higher investment in disaster preparedness pays off. In China,
for instance, a recent analysis of disaster preparedness indicated that 3.5
billion dollars invested in flood control over the last 40 years had saved
the economy 12 billion dollars in potential losses.
Summary of the report's main findings:
-- More major natural disasters occurred in 1998 than in any other year on
-- The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed 1998 as by far the
warmest year since records began.
-- 40 of the 50 fastest-growing cities are in earthquake zones.
-- Environmental refugees account for some 58 per cent of all refugees worldwide.
-- Half the world's population lives in coastal zones. Ten million are at
constant risk of coastal flooding
-- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that 60 per
cent of the world's population will be living in potential malarial zones
by 2100. There could be an extra 50 to 80 million cases of malaria and 3.5
million cases of river blindness.
-- Three million people per year are made homeless by flooding.
-- The United Nations estimates that 80 per cent of the world will live in
developing countries by 2025, more than half of which will be "highly
vulnerable" to floods and storms.
-- Desertification is forecast to reduce yields of millet in the Sahel by
up to two-thirds and could sap up to 43 per cent of the flows of the Indus,
Niger and Nile rivers, raising the spectre of water wars.
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
World Disasters Report 1999:
Key facts from the report:
Receive news from the International Federation directly to your email address.
Automatic mailing lists will deliver news releases and Weekly News in the
language of your choice:
Original Yahoo article (link expired):
IF TRENDS CONTINUE, TWO-THIRDS OF ALL PLANTS & ANIMALS WILL DIE
(Source: WIRED, Kristen Philipkoski, 8/3/1999)
New data on biodiversity show that, if humans don't make some changes, two-thirds
of the world's species could face the fate of dinosaurs within 100 years.
Scientists at the INTERNATIONAL BOTANICAL CONGRESS (IBC) in St. Louis said
humans had abused the earth so effectively that extinction rates are close
to that of previous mass extinctions in geologic history. The IBC, which
convenes every six years, gathered together more than 4,000 experts in botany,
mycology, plant ecology, horticulture, and agriculture from around the world
to discuss the latest developments in the plant sciences.
With human population rates threatening to double to 12 billion in the next
40 years, research presented at the conference predicted that between one-third
and two-thirds of all plants and animals -- most of them in the tropics --
will die during the second half of the next century. If current trends continue,
only 5 percent of the earth's tropical forests will remain in 50 years, the
data showed. The loss would equal that of the last major extinction at the
end of the Cretaceous Period and the Mesozoic Era, when the last of the dinosaurs
Peter Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden, and a plant conservation
expert, had several suggestions in his speech to the conference, including
the establishment of a new United Nations agency that would monitor plants,
detect endangered species, and take steps to conserve them. He also recommended
greater financial support for ongoing research into plant population biology
Alan Thornhill, executive director of the Center for Conservation
Biology Network, an organization not affiliated with the IBC, agreed
suggestions, but added: "I would suggest that these are all appropriate
responses to the ailment, but what we need is to deal with the agent of the
disease: humans. This doesn't make me a very popular ecologist, but humans
are turning the biomass of the planet into human mass, and in so doing, depleting
the diversity of the planet."
(Source: WIRED, 6/4/1999)
Worried about global warming? Maybe you should be. According to the science
journal NATURE, we may actually be in the early stages of a new ice age.
Scientists in Antarctica, drilling more than two miles down through the ice,
say there's evidence that the Earth has endured four long ice ages -- each
lasting up to 100,000 years -- and that we appear to be about 18,000 years
into a fifth. This, despite the fact that the temperature has been rising
steadily now for 100 years. While industrial pollution is to blame for some
of the temperature increase, at least part of it is caused by natural greenhouse
gases which have always existed.
WHERE NO ONE HAS GONE BEFORE:
A NANOTECHNOLOGY PRIMER
By Phyl Holz
[Nanotechnology is the science of engineering and manufacturing machines,
computers, robots, and self-replicating objects and substances at the atomic
level. Originally posted by Phyl Holz in July of this year, I received a
copy of the following post when Tom Atlee sent it out to his mailing list.
Obviously, we are headed into extraordinary spaces. Discoveries/developments/breakthroughs
presently being made in the fields of molecular science, genetics, nanotechnology,
artificial intelligence, and related fields, seem poised to completely remake
the world you and I are presently familiar with. -- DS]
The following is a compilation of my notes from a lecture/discussion by a
professor at DARTMOUTH COLLEGE.
The discussion began with a brief history of relevant sciences
in order to contrast them with those of today. He started with
what he called the "Shake & Bake
Chemistry" that occurred between 1650 and 1890, which he described as
a process of hit-and-miss guesswork type science. This was followed by the
Nuclear Engineering age that started when Curie began working with isotopes
and for him ended in 1980. Following this phase was Microlevel Fabrication,
mainly photolithography, and Nano-Phase Material Filtration, which is mostly
used for water purification.
This brought us up to the Molecular Nanotechnology of today which
is the basis for all future "nanotechnologies" which
are being projected for the future. Nanotechnology generally refers
to science/technology that
contains two elements:
1) Giving atoms individual attention. This is made possible by using a high
level vacuum, so that molecules can be isolated, and magnification that can
achieve a scale that makes an animal cell (which is 1/10 the diameter of
a human hair) one kilometer long and each atom the size of a marble. This
allows every single atom and bond to be manipulated individually.
2) Geometric Self-replication. This means that, in order for these to be
economical, every product is capable of reproducing itself, thus the growth
in production will be geometric (2 to the nth power). For example, if they
could reproduce themselves every day you would have 2 on the second day,
4 on the third day, 8 on the fourth day and 1,073,741,824 by the 30th day.
The first application of this science/technology is developing
an Assembler because this will be used to manufacture the future
inventions. This device,
which will typically be the size of a shoe box, will be able to break down,
at the atomic/molecular level, any materials used as inputs and rearrange
these inputs in any form that is desired. For example, in the input side
it could take in atmospheric gas (in other words air), all forms of electromagnetic
radiation (in other words light and heat), and soil or any waste material
that is freely available. Then, using the process described above, produce
anything that it was programmed to create. This could include things such
as ozone and, since they are able to produce things that are larger than
themselves by "unfolding" them once they are ejected, a clone of
itself. The startling thing about this is that the professor predicts that
the first public prototype will be operational before 2001.
Another basis for this new industry is Quantum Computation. The
process used today in modeling and "reverse-engineering" is
a slow process were by data is entered into an equation, an answer
is found, and this answer
is then reentered into the equation, and the process continues until the
results are satisfactory. By contrast, these new computers will be able to
identify all possible outcomes initially and converge on the most likely
ones. This is opening up whole new possibilities for artificial Intelligence
where the computational ability comparable to the human brain will be able
to fit into the size of a sugar cube.
The most popular application of these two inventions is Utility
Fog. These are molecular-sized robots (roughly the size of a fog
droplet) that usually
have 12 arms and are able to store the amount of software equivalent to a
PC. What makes this so spectacular is that these robots will be able to collaborate
in order to form any consumer product, from a chair to a car, using the same
robots that together weigh only 5 kilograms. As for their application, he
essentially said that our imagination is the limit to what these can be used
for. The medical industry is looking at having a fleet of these designated
to an individual that would help neutralize free-radicals, help eliminate
toxins, fix proteins, etc., and at the end of the day give you readout of
what they had done during the day. On the other hand, the National Security
Agency (NSA) has already developed plans for not only surveillance "fogglets," but
fogglets that monitor those fogglets.
Space architecture is another application for nanotechnology. Since there
is the ability to create pure carbon structures, NASA is working on Carbon
Nanotubes that would essentially be very long elevators that reach into space,
where the packages sent downward would generate the energy necessary to project
Projected even farther into the future is Fermitechnology. This
represents the idea that eventually we will be able to control
every reaction that takes
place when two isotopes (heavy, radioactive atoms) are forced together. This
possesses interesting possibilities for nuclear waste disposal since it is
conceivable that with this technology (e.g. controlling alpha emissions)
we can convert plutonium to gold. It also opens new doors for space travel
if we can make "strange matter." This substance, which is formed
by combining 3 types of quarks (subatomic 'particles') together, is extremely
stable because the bonds it creates are 10 to the 30th power (10 with 30
zeros) times stronger than hydrogen bonds. Thus a ring can be made that is
strong enough to create the mouth of a worm hole, which means we can possibly
When asked about the concerns that people involved in this have,
two main topics stuck out to me. The first was industries' anticipation
of "rogue" scientists
reverse engineering the products and distributing them, possibly for free.
Second was the fear of having uncontrollable self-replicating sentient robots.
For the most up-to-date information on how these issues are being addressed
he recommended checking out the following sites:
Foresight Institute's goal is to guide emerging technologies to improve the
human condition. This site has membership info., a search engine and lists
and links about news and events.
Nanotechnology for the Twenty-First Century:
This site describes the national initiative, known as NTR (Nanotechnology
for the Twenty-First Century: Leading to a New Industrial Revolution), that
was introduced to congress by the IWGN (Interagency Working Group on Nanoscience,
Engineering, and Technology). There is also concise info about a definition,
the driving forces of, the potential impact of, investment opportunities
in, and the "high-level recognition of the potential" of nanoscience.
Produced by the INTERNATIONAL TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE, World Technology
Division, at LOYOLA COLLEGE in Maryland, and sponsored by the NATIONAL SCIENCE
FOUNDATION, this site is designed to present up-to-date sources of information
on nanotechnology in the following areas: major research centers, funding
agencies, major reports and books.
You are receiving this message because I am assuming that I am not the only
one that finds the idea of self-replicating surveillance fogglets, that are
not subject to anything faintly resembling democratic regulation, at the
least disconcerting. I give this information to you not just to tantalize
your curious mind, but hopefully to motivate you to doing something that
will shape the future of technics. This can start with as little as bringing
it up in conversations but really requires organizing direct action campaigns
that illustrate your larger desires for a directly democratic political sphere.
If you have any ideas, please let me know.
Phyl Holz, July 22, 1999
IN SEARCH OF THE PROMISED LAND:
AUGUST 11, 1999
By David Sunfellow
By now, all of you probably know that the last total solar eclipse of this
millennium will be visiting planet Earth on August 11th. A 50 mile wide path
of totality will extend from the western Atlantic ocean, through Europe and
Turkey, all the way across India into the Indian Ocean. Will there be global
earthquakes? Will the Earth's poles or magnetic center shift? Will people
be beamed up by UFO's or raptured away by angels?
I doubt it.
But just in case, NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherry Stultz, will be in England,
standing in the 50 mile lunar shadow as its crawls across the face of the
Earth. Will she go blind, or mad, or be magically transformed into a new
creature? And will her husband, Vince, and the millions of other folks that
are converging on England and elsewhere to catch the show, survive the rare
If Sherry makes it back to the states in one piece, she'll be telling us
all about it. If she doesn't, well, here's what she shared about her upcoming
adventure with the folks presently signed up on NHNE's Forum for a Common
Wednesday, July 28, 1999
"Next week I will be leaving for the UK for two weeks... I have yet to meet
my new mother and father-in-law [Sherry's husband is from England] and we are
also headed back to the UK to see the August 11th eclipse. I will be in Avebury
for the viewing, since Cornwall will be inundated with over 5 million people.
The Avebury Stone Circle is one of the largest stone circles in all of Europe,
and I have found it to be much more interesting than Stonehenge, which is about
20 miles to the south following the river Avon.
"I will be covering the eclipse as an NHNE exclusive and will eventually
have photographs of that day to post on the NHNE website... I am extremely excited
about this trip since there is so much focus on this eclipse as a harbinger of
a new age or a portends of doom to come. It all fascinates me, and who knows
what will come of it? In fact we are about to have a very interesting autumn
with the projected Y2K glitches coming to the forefront, including the 9999 date
in September, and the myriad of predictions surrounding the latter part of 1999,
everything from Nostradamus to Comet Lee to the GPS rollover date in August.
"We all have our prejudices regarding prophecies and predictions; I would
say that once upon a time I used to be a naive believer. I have been burned so
badly by accepting ideas that I felt I needed to bolster my sense of fatalism.
How I met David Sunfellow and James Gregory is part of this story.
"One day when I was working at the BOISE BASIN LIBRARY in Idaho City, Idaho,
a man came in who was packing up all his stuff and selling everything off because
Idaho was about to become an ocean. He told me about a guy named Gordon-Michael
Scallion and his earth changes map. He was trying to download it off the Internet
so he could make his plans. I gave him some help and downloaded some information
about Gordon-Michael Scallion from a search engine. I thought I had logged on
to Scallion's web page, but I didn't. Instead, I had bumped into one of the many
expose's written by David and James about this man. I was so relieved to find
out that someone was tracking all his predictions and that they were not reliable.
"But in the interim, I had seen some information about California sinking
into the ocean around a certain date, and I canceled my trip to the Redwoods
because I was afraid to go. That was the spring of 1996. I have never seen the
Redwoods. And as far as I know, they are still there along with the rest of California.
Just one example for all of you to think about. I am little embarrassed to delve
into the rest of my personal insanity from 91-96. Three months later one of my
best friends was tragically killed in a car accident. I went into flat spin and
was only really able to recover when I decided to accept that my sense of fatalism
was a product of many events in my life, which is why I felt attracted to these
kinds of fatalistic prophecies.
"So here I am a born again skeptic, about to enter the millennium with a
renewed sense of adventure. I think we will have a lot to talk about in the next
few months because there are so many potential events that may or may not mold
how we all view the passing of the millennium.
"I will say this: the millennium is a date that we recognize as significant,
particularly in the western world. But many other cultures view this date differently,
which makes me wonder if we are about to put on a great production created by
our own collective unconscious. And I also wonder about dogs, cats, turtles,
mice, mosquitoes, trees, fungi, bacteria, spiders, horses, dolphins and the rest
of the citizens of planet Earth. What does 2000 mean to them? What sense of significance
is this to the ocean? To the Grand Canyon? A vantage point seems to be the only
difference between what I see and what I will see in 5 years, 20 minutes or 12
Sherry, of course, is not the only one wondering about humanity's love affair
with apocalyptic predictions. Stuart O'Brien, a reporter for the BBCNEWS,
recently penned a story (July 29, 1999) that not only commented on today's
odd mixture of doomsday predictions, but also included a chronological list
of some of humanity's most well-known (and embarrassing) prophetic failures.
"The eclipse has become another date of doom for the prophets of Armageddon
and the world's obstinate refusal to end according to their predictions is doing
little to dent their ardour. Lumping together the ancient -- quotations from
the Bible, or Nostradamus -- with the new, such as astronomical star charts and
the 'Millennium Bug', the disaster-mongers appear desperate for something to
trigger the Apocalypse. The coincidental cosmic event on 11 August seems to fit
the bill nicely."
And what about past predictions? Here is O'Brien's list of some of humanity's
most celebrated failures:
"999 - Pope Sylvester announces the second coming of Christ. Christians
give their possessions to the Church, travel to holy places and burn people who
might be witches.
"1534 - Anabaptists in Minster, Germany declare the second coming is at
hand and barricade themselves in. They fall from Puritanism to sexual permissiveness
and are eventually starved out. Their leaders are killed.
"1736 - Followers of a man called Whiston rush to Hampstead to watch the
destruction of London as a curtain raiser before the world ends.
"1843 - American farmer William Miller predicts the end of the world will
fall on 21 March. So-called 'Millerites' gather on hilltops to greet Christ and
the angels. Needless to say, it does not happen. He checks his figures and announces
that it is still on, this time for 22 October 1844. This becomes known as "the
Great Disappointment" when the apocalypse fails to materialize.
"1914 - One of the years chosen for Armageddon by the Jehovah's Witnesses.
When that passed they tried 1918, 1925, 1975. Then they gave up the end-of-the-world
"1919 - Albert Porta, a weatherman in the US, predicts that the Sun will
explode and take the Earth with it.
"1955 - Prophet Marian Keetch warns of massive floods -- a revelation allowed
to her by her contact with aliens. When it does not happen she claims they were
averted by the power of prayer.
"1967 - The Six Day War in the Middle East is expected by some fundamentalist
Christians to trigger the "Rapture", when the just are supposed the
be raised to Heaven before the world ends.
"1969 - According to Charles Manson, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,
otherwise known as the Beatles, were supposed to bring about Armageddon with
their song "Helter Skelter".
"1987 - Dr Jose Arguelles predicts the end is nigh on August 16, due to
the alignment of the planets. This was supposed to cause a galactic beam to hit
the Earth, with the usual consequences.
"1988 - NASA scientist Edgar Whisenaut predicts the Rapture will take place
in 1988 and makes a lot of money selling books about it. Meanwhile, Charles Taylor,
a "prophecy teacher" in the US who also predicted the end for that
year, arranged tours of the Holy Land, including "return if necessary."
"1992 - Korea. Pastor Lee Jang Rim predicts the Rapture for October. When
it fails to take place, some of his followers kill themselves.
"1993 - Marie Devi Khristo of the White Brotherhood in the Ukraine predicts
the world will end at midday on the 14 November....then tries again nine days
"1995 - The Branch Davidian cult leader David Koresh predicted the end of
the world would happen in 1995. In the event, he and many other followers died
following the siege at Waco, Texas in 1993.
"1997 - Self-professed Son of God and TV sports presenter David Icke decides
the world will end in 1997, following the usual earthquakes and floods. This
was also the year that many members of the Heaven's Gate cult committed suicide.
They believed that the Hale-Bopp comet heralded the apocalypse and they thought
that this was the only way they could join an alien spacecraft which they thought
was travelling in the comet's wake. Magician Aleister Crowley also decided that "a
devastating world war" would finish us off that year.
"1999 - Nostradamus predicted the end for July. Maybe he meant September..."
OK, so the world isn't likely to end, or be radically altered,
on August 11th any more than it ended, or was radically altered
by all the other doomsday
dates that have been trumpeted over the ages. But can we expect anything
special to happen during "the last total solar eclipse of this millennium?"
Well, after admitting that a great deal is still unknown about the effect
eclipses have on ourselves and our planet, NASA provides the following helpful
information about what we do know:
"Biologists and zoologists sometimes use eclipses to study the circadian
rhythms of living creatures. Between 1954 and 1975, two Polish zoologists, R.
Wojtusiak and Z. Majlert, conducted a unique set of experiments in which they
observed the behavior of mammals, birds, and insects during seven eclipses with
varying degrees of coverage, including totality. They discovered that the daily
habits of mammals were little affected by the eclipse, but that birds and especially
insects were influenced. Under the Moon's shadow, many species of birds manifested
anxiety and roosting behavior, and nearly all birds stopped singing (which contributes
to the oft-noted quietude of totality). Insects are affected even more. During
eclipses studied by the Polish team, bees returned to their hives en mass, nocturnal
moths appeared, and butterflies settled in the grass as though it were night.
The most sensitive species, bees, have been observed to return to their hives
during partial eclipses covering only 19% of the Sun!"
"There are many other research applications of solar eclipses, including
global gravity measurements, investigations of ionization and radio propagation
in Earth's atmosphere and studies of asteroid dust and cometary debris in the
innermost solar system. The full range of research opportunities presented by
a solar eclipse is too broad to review here. Suffice it to say that solar eclipses
promise great value to scientific research for many, many years to come."
Enough said -- until Sherry returns and lets us know how the eclipse affected
her and our friends in England.
And oh yea, the maximum duration of the August 11 eclipse will
be 2 minutes 22 seconds for observers in south-central Romania
-- a mere baby compared
to the total eclipse that will be visiting us in 2009. According to NASA,
one of the longest eclipses on record will take place in 2009 when the "moment" of
totality will endure for over 6 minutes as seen from a spot in the Pacific
Ocean. Those of you who are looking for the next doomsday date can mark your
calendars, and book your flights, now...
"Armageddon....again," by Stuart O'Brien, BBCNEWS, 7/29/1999:
"There Goes the Sun," NASA, 8/5/1999:
THE LIGHTER SIDE:
(Thanks to Jeff Walke, Arthur Young, and Tom Atlee.)
A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer
to "Where do pets come from?"
Adam said, "Lord, when I was in the garden, you walked with
me every day. Now I do not see you anymore. I am lonesome here
and it is difficult
for me to remember how much you love me."
And God said, "No problem! I will create a companion for you
that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my
love for you, so that
you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or
childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you
are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourself."
And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam.
And it was a good animal. And God was pleased.
And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and he wagged his tail.
And Adam said, "Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom
and I cannot think of a name for this new animal."
And God said, "No problem. Because I have created this new
animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be
a reflection of my own
name, and you will call him DOG."
And Dog lived with Adam and was a companion to him and loved him.
And Adam was comforted. And God was pleased. And Dog was content and wagged
After a while, it came to pass that Adam's guardian angel came
to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam has become filled with pride.
He struts and preens like a peacock and he believes he is worthy
of adoration. Dog has indeed
taught him that he is loved, but perhaps too well."
And God said, "No problem! I will create for him a companion
who will be with him forever and who will see him as he is. The
companion will remind
him of his limitations, so he will know that he is not always worthy of adoration."
And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam.
And Cat would not obey Adam.
And when Adam gazed into Cat's eyes, he was reminded that he was not the
supreme being. And Adam learned humility.
And God was pleased.
And Adam was greatly improved.
And Dog was happy.
And the cat didn't give a sh** one way or the other.
--- Author Unknown
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