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Smorgasbord 11
Friday, August 6, 1999
© Copyright 1999 by NewHeavenNewEarth

smorgasbord (smor-gos-bord) n.
A buffet meal featuring a varied number of dishes.

Another NHNE publication --
albeit more loosely knit than most

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To support NHNE:
http://www.nhne.com/main/donations.html

Total NHNE Mailing List:
Last Mailing: 2133
This Mailing: 2136

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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 be handled.

"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"

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CONTENTS:

INTRODUCTION:

eBuds, WebBuds & RoadBuds

NEWS WATCH:

"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
Spamming God
GM Watches You Drive
Uncle Sam Has All Our Numbers
Magic Cyber Camera

LETTERS:

The Hunger Site
The "Joke" You Forwarded Hurts

JESUS WATCH:

New Study Supports Authenticity of Shroud

EARTH WATCH:

Red Cross Predicts Climatic Super Disasters
If Trends Continue, Two-thirds of All Plants & Animals Will Die
Chilly Forecast

WHERE NO ONE HAS GONE BEFORE:

A Nanotechnology Primer

IN SEARCH OF THE PROMISED LAND:

August 11, 1999

THE LIGHTER SIDE:

Adam's Companion

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INTRODUCTION:

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:

eBUDS

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 <nhne@nhne.com> and I will add them to our "Reader Favorites" section. My personal favorites are already posted and James and Linda are working on their's.

2. Ditto for any product suggestions you might have. Send these suggestions to both Linda Becker <lindabecker@kachina.net> and me <nhne@nhne.com>. 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:

http://www.nhne.com/ebuds/

WEBBUDS

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:

http://www.nhne.com/webbuds/

ROADBUDS

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,
David Sunfellow

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 17th.

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NEWS WATCH:

"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 slow down?

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, pulsating "strings."

Information about the Brave New World series:
http://www.abcnews.go.com/onair/Nightline/nlpt990729_promo.html

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MINI CIRCUITS MAY SPEED COMPUTERS
(Source: WASHINGTON POST, AP, Anne M. Peterson, 7/16/1999, Thanks to Sherry Stultz)

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]."

Link expired:
http://search.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/WAPO/199907
16/V000712-071699-idx.html

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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.

http://www.wired.com/news/news/email/explode-infobeat
/technology/story/20142.html

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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.

http://cnn.com/TECH/science/9811/25/sudden.evolution.ap/

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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.

http://www.wired.com/news/news/email/explode-infobeat/technology/story/20316.html

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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 burns."

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.

http://www.wired.com/news/news/email/explode-infobeat/
technology/story/20017.html

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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.

http://www.wired.com/news/news/email/explode-infobeat/story/21088.html

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SPAMMING GOD
(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 practice.

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."

Wired article:
http://www.wired.com/news/news/email/explode-infobeat/
culture/story/20313.html

PrayerWheel Website:
http://www.prayerwheel.com/

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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.

http://www.wired.com/news/news/email/explode-infobeat
/technology/story/20010.html

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UNCLE SAM HAS ALL OUR NUMBERS
(Source: WASHINGTON POST, Robert O'Harrow Jr., 7/27/1999, Thanks to Sheri Nakken)

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 cases.

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.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/business/daily/june99/privacy27.htm

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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 your monitor.

One prototype can be found here:
http://sites.netscape.net/zumaltsp/camera1.html

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LETTERS:

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:

http://www.thehungersite.com

--- Thanks, Jan Morrow

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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

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JESUS WATCH:

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?
s=v/ap/19990803/us/shroud_of_turin_4.html

Shroud of Turin Website:
http://www.shroud.com/

Current Shroud of Turin news:
http://www.shroud.com/latebrak.htm

NHNE articles on the Shroud:
http://www.nhne.com/articles/sashroud.html

For a complete list of all NHNE stories on the Shroud, type "Shroud of Turin" into NHNE's Search Engine:
http://www.nhne.com/Search/query.htm

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."

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=0684855291/newheavenneweartA/

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EARTH WATCH:

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 said.

"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 and deforestation 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 record.

-- 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:
http://www.ifrc.org/pubs/wdr/

Key facts from the report:
http://www.ifrc.org/pubs/wdr/keyfacts.htm

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:
http://www.ifrc.org/news/liste.htm

Original Yahoo article (link expired):
http://asia.yahoo.com/headlines/230699/world/
930152100-90623153512.newsworld.html

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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 died off.

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 and reproduction.

Alan Thornhill, executive director of the Center for Conservation Biology Network, an organization not affiliated with the IBC, agreed with Raven's 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."

http://www.wired.com/news/news/email/explode-infobeat/
technology/story/21059.html

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CHILLY FORECAST
(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.

http://www.wired.com/news/news/email/explode-infobeat/story/20030.html

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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 packages upward.

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 fold space-time.

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:
http://www.foresight.org/homepage.html

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:
http://www.foresight.org/hotnews/NTRdraft.html

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.

Nanotechnology Database:
http://itri.loyola.edu/nanobase/

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
eMail: phylholz@hotmail.com

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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 event?

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 Understanding:

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 feet."

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. Wrote O'Brien:

"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 prediction business.

"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 later.

"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:
http://news2.thls.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid%5F401000/401904.stm

"There Goes the Sun," NASA, 8/5/1999:
http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/headlines/ast05aug99_1.htm

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THE LIGHTER SIDE:

ADAM'S COMPANIONS
(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 his tail.

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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GOT SOMETHING TO SAY?

If you've got something you would like to share with myself and other NHNE fans concerning anything shared here, I encourage you to join NHNE's Forum for a Common Understanding:

To sign up, send a message to "nhneffacu-on@mail-list.com".

To see what everyone has been talking about, you can visit the forum's
archive at this address:

http://fleet.mail-list.com/archives/nhneffacu

You are also welcome to post any thoughts you might have on the NHNE
Bulletin Board:

http://venus.beseen.com/boardroom/q/16321/

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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.

Founder & Publisher: David Sunfellow (DS)
Editor-in-Chief: James Gregory (JG)
Associate Editor & Director of Marketing: Linda Becker (LB)
Secretary/Treasurer: Diane (Di) Ayers
SwiftWing Reporter & FCU Facilitator: Sherry Stultz (SJS)

NHNE is a proud member of
the NewEarthNet Planetary Transformation Network:
http://nen.sedona.net/members.html

NHNE is also the force behind:

NHNE's Forum for a Common Understanding:
http://www.nhne.com/database/dbforum.html

wild2k (Y2K):
http://www.wild2k.com/

eBuds:
http://www.nhne.com/ebuds/

------------

NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE)
a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
P.O. Box 2242
Sedona, AZ USA 86339

eMail: nhne@nhne.com
NHNE Website: http://www.nhne.com/
Phone: (928) 282-6120
Fax: (815) 346-1492

 

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