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NHNE News Brief 31
Friday, October 11, 1996

"A thought-provoking exploration
of the extraordinary times in which we live."


Five Rooms of Furniture

More Proof for Meteorite-Caused Extinction
Hale-Bopp Dress Rehearsal
Earth's Mantle may be Partially Molten
Slow Quakes
Volcano Erupts Under Glacier
The Proof is in the Air
Staying Warm in Surgery

Dewey Research Center

Lateral Thinking
Searching for Innovative Solutions

Scallion & NHNE on TV
New Focus & Format

Global Geological Changes Unlikely

Charlotte King: Hits & Misses

Robotic Airplanes vs. Satellites

Space Invaders Popular Again




"There once was a lady up in years working so hard and always complaining. I finally said to her, 'Why in the world do you need to work so hard when you have only yourself to support?' And she said, 'I have to pay the rent on a five-room house.' 'But you are alone in the world. Couldn't you live happily in one room?' 'Oh yes,' she said sadly, 'but I have furniture for a five-room house.'"

---Peace Pilgrim, "Her Life and Work in Her Own Words"


(SOURCE: USA TODAY, 9/12/96)

While conducting a study of the geochemical properties of iridium in seawater, Ariel Anbar of the UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER has shed new light on the cause of history's largest mass extinction. An unusually rich iridium deposit lies in a layer of sediments that marks the chronological (K-T) boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary eras, and a massive die off of dinosaurs. For over 15 years, scientists have regarded this inch-thick layer of iridium-rich sediments in the earth's crust as the key to understanding mysterious mass extinction 65 million years ago, but they have disagreed over whether the unusual deposit is caused by meteorites or volcanoes. Anbar's discovery that it can take many thousands of years for the iridium from a large meteorite to fall out of seawater robs proponents of the volcano theory of one of their key arguments: that the iridium-rich layer, which was laid down over a period of 100,000 years, is too thick to be the result of a geologically brief meteorite impact. Shocked quartz, which is generally thought to be indicative of a forceful impact, has also been found at the K-T boundary, and a 125- mile-wide impact crater found in Mexico that dates to about the same time, provide further compelling support. (JG)


(Source: Bob Berman, DISCOVER, 11/96)

For a comet to be labelled "great," it must be dramatic to the public at large and be immediately obvious to anyone glancing into the sky. Great comets arrive on average once every fifteen years. Before this year, the last great comet was Comet West in 1976. Then this spring, Comet Hyakutake burst on the scene with a huge head and a tail spanning half the distance from horizon to zenith. But before Comet Hyakutake put in it's appearance, astronomers were already gearing up for another great comet contender -- Comet Hale-Bopp. The comet became visible to the naked eye early this summer (as reported in NHNE News Brief 14, May 31, 1996) and continues to brighten as it falls towards us. Late next March it will pass within 100 million miles of Earth. It should be magnificent with a dazzling white tail of dust. You can check out the spectacle in a dress rehearsal in the first half of November. As soon as it gets dark, look for Jupiter, the brightest "star" in the southwest. Hale-Bopp will be a handsbreadth to the right. (JG)


(Source: SCIENCE, 9/13/96)

By studying the behavior of seismic waves, researchers at the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA have discovered that the lower mantle, long thought to be solid, appears to be molten. If true, this conclusion violates the geophysical canon which holds that the earth consists of four distinct layers: crust, solid rocky mantle, outer core of liquid iron, and inner core of solid iron. It is well-known that the upper mantle melts in regions where hot material rises to the planet's surface, but no one suspected the lower mantle might behave in the same way. "This layer could fundamentally change our understanding of the mechanics of the core-mantle boundary," says Quentin Williams, lead author of the study. Williams believes the layer probably encircles the globe, but it may be as thin as a few kilometers in most areas. That's a tiny fraction of the 2,900-kilometer-thick mantle, but because the suspected layer touches the dynamic outer core, the consequences would be dramatic. For instance, the layer may help heat flow from the core into the mantle, a process that ultimately drives the movement of the crustal plates. Further, a partially molten layer would conduct electricity more readily than solid rock. That would influence the Earth's magnetic field, the workings of which are still a mystery. (JG)


(Source: TIME, 9/16/96)

In 1992, a quake measuring a window-rattling 4.8 on the Richter Scale hit central California, yet no one noticed it. The reason is that it happened over the period of a week. Slow sliding all but eliminates the destructive force of a quake. Scientists are only now learning the factors that determine the speed of a quake -- where quicker means more destructive. For example, porous rock containing water slides more smoothly than other rock, and the higher the stress the plates are under, the more likely the fault will suddenly fail. (JG)


(Source: REUTER, 10/5/96)

A violent volcanic eruption has occurred beneath Iceland's Vatnajokull glacier. Most of the volcanic activity was hidden by a 1,600 to 2,300 foot thick cap of ice, but a dense black column of ash towers 1,000 feet above the vast fissure opened up by the eruption. Scientists are predicting flooding from the glacier as the intense heat deep within the glacier melts the ice. The flooding could cause widespread damage to roads, bridges and power lines in the area, and local power stations are also at risk. Scientists said one positive aspect of the eruption was that cod stocks off the south coast would benefit from the huge influx of fresh water into the sea as flooded rivers from the glacier reach the ocean. On October 7, the NORDIC VOLCANOLOGICAL INSTITUTE in Reykjavik reported that the eruption cloud rose to an altitude of 13,000 feet and there was still no sign of a glacier burst. (JG)


(Source: Ann Kellan, CNN ONLINE, 10/1/96)

A mini-ecosystem comprised of plants, small fish, insects and water is reducing indoor pollution in a Toronto office. The so-called "breathing wall" is a joint research project involving the Canadian government, private industry and the UNIVERSITY OF GUELPH. The plants, fish and insects live amid running water along two walls of the board room at CANADA LIFE, a Toronto-based insurance company. The plants exhale needed oxygen into the room while inhaling carbon dioxide, the biggest problem gas in sealed office buildings. Water plays a key role, too, acting as a magnet to "pull everything out of the air," according to Wolfgang Amelung, an ecological engineer who designed the system. The experimenters hope to improve on typical office ventilation systems, where 85 percent of the air is continuously recirculated and only 15 percent is replaced with outside air. Tests show the air in the board room is clean or cleaner than air in well-ventilated offices. Researchers hope one day office air will be filtered through greenhouses on the rooftops of office buildings. (JG)


(Source: DISCOVER, 11/96)

Bright lights and heavy gowns and masks make surgery hot work, so it has been traditional to keep operating rooms quite cold. This made for a cold patient, but it has been long thought that mild hypothermia retarded the growth of bacteria. Now it appears that the cold temperatures of operating rooms actually raise the risk of infection. A study by Dr. Daniel Sessler of the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA has determined that wound infection is caused by the patient's decreased resistance to bacteria, and that a patient is three times more likely to become infected due to a cold operating room. Patients in cold operating rooms could easily be kept warm with forced-air blankets (quilts with warm air blown through them), at a cost of about $30 per blanket. (JG)


This issue is sponsored by:


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"Love your News Brief. It's the only one we get here at the AUSTRALIAN LATERAL THINKING headquarters that actually gets printed out and circulated to the staff."

---Jim Francis, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia



[This letter is long, but we feel the subject material is so important we include it in its entirety.]

"I thought NHNE News Brief 30 was the best newsletter yet. I particularly liked the free energy summaries. I was already familiar with BETTER WORLD TECHNOLOGY and Joseph Newman, who incidently lives very near my hometown. As an amusing side note, I'm a reactor operator at a nuclear power plant. While at work, I did a search on the Net for BETTER WORLD TECHNOLOGY, but it was filtered out by the company's 'corporate censor' on the grounds of 'pornography.' Could it be that public utilities don't want this information available to their engineers or the public?

"Incidently, here is a quote from the manager of New Business and Product Development for the utility company I work for: 'Our primary focus will be energy related and what we're good at -- energy solutions.' Does this not sound to you like an organization that might logically be interested in investigating whether or not a new energy technology works? Both Dennis Lee and Joseph Newman have designed devices that could be built in somebody's garage, if a person was technically inclined.

"EVERY electric utility has fully-equipped machine shops and employs hundreds of electrical and mechanical engineers. For less than a couple of thousand dollars, we could build prototypes and confirm these technologies, one way or the other. I am told that it costs approximately one million dollars PER DAY to run my nuclear power plant alone, so the required investment is trivial. I personally do not believe that these technologies will see broad acceptance until hundreds of do-it-yourself mechanics just start literally building the darn things in their garages and backyards.

"In all fairness, the SECURITIES EXCHANGE COMMISSION is the body that governs whether or not we can do something; they give the permission. I concede that the lack of support to these 'free energy' inventors cannot be laid solely at the feet of the public utilities. But if a utility did initiate such a project, how would the federal bureaucracy react?

"The overt suppression experienced by both Joseph Newman and Dennis Lee are well documented and makes very interesting reading. Their material, available on the Net, is not excessively technical. Both of these gentlemen, in fact, are extremely motivated to SERVE all humanity, not just to achieve (well deserved) money, fame, or technical recognition.

"As a side note, electric utilities are going through the same thing that happened to BELL TELEPHONE -- that is, they are being 'deregulated.' This means that each household will be able to buy electricity from whatever producer they choose, and each region's utility will no longer enjoy a monopoly. I find it somewhat amusing that the telecommunications companies (EXCEL for example) are already planning to 'market' electricity; electric utilities, on the other hand, are planning to market telecommunications services. I'm not sure just what the implications are for the average working person, but I'm not optimistic.

"I can remember, some ten or fifteen years ago, literally praying that a small unit would be developed (I envisioned something about the size of a refrigerator) suitable for 'powering up' a typical household. At the time, this was completely preposterous -- yet, today, it doesn't seem so far removed from reality. Is it possible that what we visualize and conceive, defines our future reality? In that respect, each one of us would have incredible POWER. What if millions of people were 'directed' by some higher power to visualize the same thing at the appointed time? Maybe this is the way that things work? Wouldn't it be something if we discovered that at any time in the last several thousand years, we could have ended the suffering of billions of people -- by simply having enough people share the same vision of change?

"I think that we 'common folks' must eventually BYPASS the government and other manifestations of the 'status quo' control structure in order to achieve constructive change. Buckminster Fuller, in his book 'Critical Path,' describes the situation where, when the time is right, things just 'happen' naturally and CANNOT be stopped. 'Free energy' is a sector of consciousness that is surging forward like the tide, and some organizations who are just standing there, are noticing that their feet are getting wet."

---Name & Hometown Withheld by Request


By James Gregory

Wednesday, October 2nd was a red letter day for NewHeavenNewEarth. On that day, a TV crew came to Sedona from Austin, Texas for the sole purpose of interviewing NHNE Founder and Publisher, David Sunfellow. Sunfellow was interviewed as part of a special report on Gordon-Michael Scallion for KHOU-TV in Houston, Texas, a subsidiary of BELO CORPORATION, a CBS affiliate.

The reporter was Jim Moore, a Bureau Chief with the station. He had been given the assignment to put together the first ever investigative report on Scallion. Scallion has been featured by the media many times before, but up to now the attention has been more entertainment than investigative journalism, using such effects as eerie lighting to make Scallion out to be some sort of prophet of doom.

The first part of the TV report will deal with Scallion -- the man and his predictions. The second will focus on Scallion's "Future Map of the World" with special emphasis on California. Sunfellow was approached because NHNE is the only organization Moore knew of that has been seriously tracking Scallion's predictions. Since November 1994, NHNE has published three of Sunfellow's Special Reports on Scallion, including a stinging assessment in February 1996 of Scallion's "hits & misses" for 1995. The NHNE News Brief has also carried regular updates on Scallion's work and prophecies.

While Sunfellow stressed that he is sympathetic with Scallion's overall theme of planetary transformation, he also insisted that Scallion's predictions require critical examination. According to Sunfellow, "If we ever hope to understand the true nature of the dramatic changes presently unfolding in our world, then we need to seriously track predictions like those being made by Scallion. And if we discover that the Emperor has no clothes -- or only a few clothes -- we've got to say so. Our time is too precious to waste believing things that aren't true."

Some of the points Sunfellow made in the hour-long interview include:

-- A host of other psychics, chief among them, Edgar Cayce, were making cataclysmic predictions similar to Scallion's long before Scallion was. Geologically, these predictions often include: massive chunks of the western part of America being dumped into the ocean; the Great Lakes draining into the Gulf of Mexico and the central part of America becoming a huge waterway; New York City being destroyed and much of the Eastern seaboard submerged; new land rising in various parts of the world, especially off the east coast of America; Europe being instantaneously buried under a thick layer of polar ice and/or suffering wide-spread geological upheavals; Japan vanishing completely beneath the ocean; and, finally, a pole shift that would send mountains of water rampaging across the planet.

-- While both Scallion, and other psychics, have accurately predicted minor geological disturbances, the vast majority of their geological predictions -- both large and small -- haven't happened.

-- Scallion's time lines for global disaster have been repeatedly re-drawn, as were many of the time lines of the psychics before him.

-- The geological disasters predicted by Cayce, Scallion, and many other cataclysmic-psychics all converge on or near the year 2000. Most of these sources indicate that major earthquakes would be dramatically increasing worldwide as the planet raced toward its climactic death/rebirth. Instead, major earthquakes around the world are BELOW normal annual averages -- and have been for many years.

-- Assuming Scallion and others are truly seeing visions and accurately reporting them, then their visions of worldwide cataclysmic events are probably dealing with upheavals that are not primarily geological. However, a tidal wave of extraordinary events bare witness to the fact that something remarkable is, indeed, happening on our planet. These events include: planetary-wide pollution, holes in the ozone layer, widespread deforestation, the ongoing extinction of species around the world, increasingly erratic weather patterns, global warming, melting polar ice caps, the threat of nuclear war and/or nuclear reactor accidents, planetary-wide social and political unrest, the rise of a global communications network, stunning scientific breakthroughs, increasing numbers of paranormal events such as crop circles, Marian sightings, near-death experiences, abductions, and UFO sightings, and last, but not least, the growing preoccupation of the mass media with all of these events.

-- While the world, as a whole, is unlikely to experience the kind of planetary-wide geological disasters Scallion and others have predicted, the various geological hot spots Scallion and others have pinpointed (such as California and Japan) could end up experiencing major disasters, especially since scientists have also predicted many of these areas are due for major upheavals. Calamities in these sensitive areas could potentially lead to a collapse of current economic, political and social systems.

Sunfellow plans to write a more in-depth report for NHNE subscribers on what he said during his interview with Moore. A complete copy of Sunfellow's review of Scallion's predictions for 1995 is available in the database section of the NHNE Web site at:

Moore's report will also include a profile on Antonio Carducci, a 78-year-old man who moved from his luxury condo in Miami to the hill country of Texas in order to prepare for the earth changes predicted by Scallion. He invested his life savings in building a survival compound equipped with geodesic domes, electric generators, fuel caches, and 30 tons of canned food.

To round out the report, Moore travelled to Mammoth Mountain, California. In the 1980s, Scallion had predicted the mountain near the California/Nevada border would be the scene of "unprecedented" volcanic activity. It may be no coincidence that Mammoth Mountain has recently been behaving peculiarly with incessant low-level seismic activity and a peculiar release of cold C0/2 gas from the ground that has killed acres of vegetation, a phenomenon that seismologists on the scene are calling "unprecedented."

Although first and foremost a political reporter, this is not the first time that Moore has been called on to investigate the paranormal. In 1993, he was given the assignment to produce a five-part series on UFOs as the companion piece for the two-part "Intruders" special. During his six months of researching the subject, he travelled 30,000 miles interviewing such experts as Ed Walters (Gulf Breeze Conference), Dr. John Mack (abduction authority), David Jacobs (UFO abduction specialist and author of "A Secret Life"), and Budd Hopkins (professionally acclaimed sculptor, best-selling author, and UFO abduction researcher).

Why is Moore given these difficult and sensitive assignments? Because, as he explains, "I am the biggest skeptic at the station." He goes on, "My fascination is with how things will wash out after the new millennium begins. If none of the things many people expect come to pass, I wonder what attitudes will be like? Even though I am skeptical, when I am working on a story, I avoid drawing any general conclusions. My role is to report, not to judge."

Moore's special report will be in two parts, each about five minutes long. It will first air on KHOU-TV in Houston in late October or early November, then be passed on to the other BELO subsidiaries and finally to CBS. We will forward details concerning the air date and time as soon as they are available.


By David Sunfellow

According to the October 1996 issue of Gordon-Michael Scallion's EARTH CHANGES REPORT (ECR), Scallion is officially moving away from making geological predictions the primary focus of his work. According to Scallion's front page commentary, "This issue begins our sixth year of publishing ECR. During that time we have been focusing mostly on a narrow aspect of Earth changes -- geophysical. With the completion of 'The Future Map of the World', which summarizes all my geophysical predictions for '98 through 2012... ECR will now broaden its content to also include my predictions on the environment, society and technology." To help inaugurate Scallion's new focus, both his newsletter and Web site ( have been completely redesigned.

If the new ECR format is any indication of what we can expect in future issues, Scallion will be making shorter, less-detailed geological predictions. Here is the only geological prediction that appears in Scallion's current issue:

"I believe global geophysical Earth changes will now accelerate after a prolonged quiescent time period. I continue to perceive December as a beginning window for significant global earthquakes and vulcanism that will build in strength throughout 1997. As previously stated in ECR, watch the Western and Eastern U.S."

Significantly, while Scallion's "Future Map of the United States: 1998 - 2001" indicated that all of Scallion's cataclysmic global changes will be complete by 2002, his new "Future Map of the World" has quietly pushed the date for the complete geological transformation of the world back another decade, to 2012.

Revising timetables and dates is, of course, something Scallion has done for years. He has also been making fewer elaborate geological predictions in recent issues of ECR. That said, changing the overall content of ECR is a new development. Whereas past issues were often dominated by Scallion's suspiciously literal, detailed and incredibly prolific visions, which often mixed dire earth change predictions with dramatic revelations about Atlantis, the Hall of Records, ancient high tech gadgets, time portals, discarnates, channeled extraterrestrials and angelic comets that defied all known laws of nature, the current issue of ECR gave more space to real world news stories and current events.

Finally, Scallion is preparing to establish a stronger presence on the Internet. The current issue of ECR contains several addresses to World Wide Web sites and also mentions that it is looking for someone "with online conference and forum hosting experience" to help ECR host online conferences in 1997. In addition, ECR plans to make prerecorded copies of its new radio program available via its Web site beginning January 1, 1997.


By David Sunfellow

The clock is beginning to tick rather loud for those of us who thought the world was going to geologically self-destruct by the year 2000. With 1997 almost upon us, the geological changes invisioned by Edgar Cayce, Gordon-Michael Scallion and a host of others, were supposed to be well underway by now; major earthquakes (8.0 and larger) and massive volcanic eruptions were supposed to be marching planet earth towards a climatic pole shift which, in turn, would finish the job by sending mountains of water roaring across the Earth's continents.

What happened?

To be fair, the year 2000 isn't upon us yet and some of the disasters predicted by Cayce and others may still visit us. That said, the possibility that our planet is going to undergo a global geological catastrophe is becoming increasingly remote. Unless we get smacked by a comet (as some psychics have predicted), bounced into by the Martian moon, "Phobos" (as Scallion has predicted), or assaulted by some other presently unforeseen force that is powerful enough to unleash global calamities, the chance of our world being ripped a part at the seams by geological disturbances is almost nil. Here's the earthquake and volcano evidence that should send most (if not all) cataclysmic-minded psychics back to the drawing board:


Q. Will California eventually fall into the ocean?
A. No. The motion of plates will not make California sink -- California is moving horizontally along the San Andreas fault and up around the Transverse Ranges.

Q. Are earthquakes on the increase?
A. We continue to hear from people throughout the world that earthquakes are on the increase, and it may seem that we are having more earthquakes. However, earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant throughout this century and according to records have actually seemed to decrease in recent years.

Q. How many earthquakes does THE NATIONAL EARTHQUAKE INFORMATION CENTER report yearly?
A. The NEIC now locates about 12,000 to 14,000 earthquakes yearly, or approximately 35 a day.


Frequency of Occurrence of Earthquakes

Title = Magnitude = Annual Average

Great = 8 and higher = 1
Major = 7 to 7.9 = 18
Strong = 6 to 6.9 = 120
Moderate = 5 to 5.9 = 800
Light = 4 to 4.9 = 6,200 (estimated)
Minor = 3 to 3.9 = 49,000 (estimated)


Yearly Number of Earthquakes Worldwide, 7.0 & Greater

1980 = 18
1981 = 14
1982 = 10
1983 = 15
1984 = 8
1985 = 15
1986 = 6
1987 = 11
1988 = 8
1989 = 7
1990 = 12
1991 = 11
1992 = 23
1993 = 16
1994 = 15

The most 7.0 and larger earthquakes tracked since 1900 occurred in 1943. There were 41 that year. Significantly, the years from 1934 to 1951 all exceeded the average annual rate of 18 earthquakes per year. While the yearly number of earthquakes worldwide 5.0 and smaller has increased, the USGS says this is because earthquake tracking equipment has improved and earthquake tracking stations are located in more places around the world (in 1931 there were 350 tracking stations, while today there are over 4,000).

What is true of earthquakes is also true of volcanoes. According to a spokesperson for the SMITHSONIAN VOLCANISM NETWORK, "Our analysis DOES NOT support [the idea that volcanism is increasing] in any way, although with the encouragement of the SMITHSONIAN (and many other factors), reporting of small eruptions has increased in this century."


By James Gregory

In NHNE News Brief 27 on September 6, 1996, we introduced Charlotte King, a remarkable woman who seemed to be able to sense earthquakes and volcanic eruptions BEFORE they happened by the aches and pains in various parts of her body. She claimed her accuracy was 85-90 percent with quakes over 6.0 magnitude, and near 100 percent for volcanic eruptions. Since then, she has made a number of predictions - let's see how she did:

-- (9/9/96) Magnitude 6.0 quake or greater for either Japan (Honshu, Hokkaido, or Kuril Islands) or Indonesia. Results: a 6.6 quake hit offshore from Honshu, Japan on 9/11/96; TWO PREDICTIONS WITH ONE HIT.

-- (9/14/96) Activity in southern California and Washington. Results: TWO PREDICTIONS WITH NO HITS.

-- (9/17/96) Activity in southern California, Chile is building, the Oregon/Washington corridor, Easter Island, Japan. Result: On 9/19/96 a quake of magnitude 5.5 struck south of the island of Honshu, Japan; FIVE PREDICTIONS WITH ONE HIT.

-- (9/20/96) Renewed volcanic activity in Philippines. Results: The Philippines were jolted by five earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 5.5 to 6.4 on 9/20/96; ONE PREDICTION WITH PARTIAL HIT.

-- (9/23/96) Activity in Indonesia, the Kuril Islands of Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Results: FOUR PREDICTIONS WITH ONE HITS.

-- (9/24/26) Quake and volcanic activity in southern California, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Indonesia, Alaska, the Philippines, Italy. Quake activity in Utah and Missouri, and eastern U.S. east like Pennsylvania, or New Jersey. Something will happen within 24 hours of the lunar eclipse (9/26/96). Results: During this time frame there was a general increase in low-level seismic activity for Mt. St. Helens (Oregon) and southern California; 12 PREDICTIONS WITH PARTIAL HIT.

-- (9/25/96) Seismic activity in southern California. Volcanic activity in Washington/Oregon corridor within 24 hours. Results: TWO PREDICTIONS WITH NO HITS.

-- (9/30/96) Seismic and volcanic activity for southern California, Japan (Honshu, Hokkaido, or Kuril Islands), Indonesia, Aleutians, Mexico and Chile. Results: 5.9 quake hit Kuril Islands, Japan on 10/2/96; SIX PREDICTIONS WITH ONE HIT.

-- 10/1/96) Seismic activity in southern California, and Utah. Volcanic activity in Washington/Oregon corridor. Results: THREE PREDICTIONS WITH NO HITS.

-- (10/6/96) Activity in southern California and off coast of Oregon. Also north areas: Oregon, Washington, Canada, Alaska, Japan. Results: 6.3 quake off coast of British Columbia, Canada; SEVEN PREDICTIONS WITH ONE HIT.

-- (10/7/96) Activity in southern California and Mexico. Results: TWO PREDICTIONS WITH NO HITS.

Accuracy can be measured in two ways. How many of King's predictions actually came true? And how many events that actually happened did King predict in advance? Based upon the above list of King's predictions, counting each location as a separate prediction each time it is mentioned, and tracking earthquakes only 5.0 and greater, we count 48 predictions resulting in five hits and two partial hits, for an accuracy rate of about 12 percent.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), from September 25 to October 7 there were sixteen moderate quakes worldwide (5.0 to 5.9) and one strong quake (6.0 to 6.9). Of these 17 quakes, King predicted only 2 of them, resulting, coincidently, in an accuracy rate of about 12 percent. Curiously, the earthquake model based upon a statistical analysis of worldwide quakes over the last 50 years would lead us to expect 28 moderate quakes and four strong quakes during that time frame; in other words, the period around the lunar eclipse was actually QUIETER than normal.

When queried about this discrepancy, King pointed out that since she moved back to Oregon (1994) she has had a heightened sensitivity to quakes, so that even quakes of magnitude 3.0 cause her extreme pain. A lot of her warnings are now for quakes in the 2.0 to 3.9 range.

It is our opinion that although King has a fascinating story and some definite skills, her predictions are too general and not accurate enough to be a useful predictor of major earthquake and volcanic activity at this time.


(Source: Kathy A. Svitil, DISCOVER, 11/96)

Satellites cost millions of dollars to launch, and the cost to maintain or repair them is astronomical. Now an innovative and low-cost alternative to satellites has been developed by the engineers at ROCKWELL CORP., NASA and UCLA. The plan involves a squadron of solar-powered pilotless planes flying in a V formation at 65,000 feet for months on end.

Engineers spent this past summer testing the prototype of their "unmanned air vehicle" (UAV). The craft has a 43-foot wingspan, but due to its lightweight aluminum and graphite frame weighs only 100 pounds. The top of the wings is one giant solar panel which should be able to provide enough power for the plane to fly day and night.

Squadrons of five planes will fly in a V formation and maintain their position with infrared signals and Global Positioning System satellites. The planes fly in the V formation because this is the configuration that provides the most lift for the least amount of effort -- something Canada geese have known for years. The end result of flying in formation is a composite plane with a 200-foot wingspan, and if one component develops problems, it can be replaced without disrupting the entire mission.

Instead of hundreds of miles in space, the planes will fly 12 miles above the ground in the calm and cloudless air high above commercial air traffic and the jet stream. Within five years the first squadron of five robotic planes will be monitoring storms, clouds and floods and serving as a microwave relay station and a low-cost hub for cellular phone networks -- at about one tenth the cost of a satellite. (JG)


(Sources: Susan Wloszcyna, USA TODAY, 9/27/96; REUTERS via CNN ONLINE, 10/8/96)

It seems that the blockbuster film "Independence Day," which is expected to hit $300 million at the box office, was not a flash in the pan. Science fiction movies are back in vogue... again. In the next couple of years, at least ten major studio efforts will include aliens, including five from WARNER BROTHERS alone. Here are some to look for: on Nov. 15, we'll see the premier of a combined live action/animation sci-fi flick featuring Michael Jordon and Bugs Bunny; the eighth "Star Trek" movie comes to theaters Nov. 22; "Mars Attacks" with Jack Nicholson and Glen Close appears Dec. 13; the first of a new "Star Wars" trilogy screens in February, 1997; "Men in Black" with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, "Contact," based on the Carl Sagan best seller, "Starship Troopers" and the third "Alien" sequel will all be here next summer, as will movie versions of the popular TV shows "Lost in Space" and "My Favorite Martian."

Can all the interest in aliens and science fiction be traced back to NASA's recent announcements of life on Mars? Susan Wloszcyna of USA TODAY has some theories:

-- The Earth needs villains. In these hypersensitive times, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find an enemy who does not offend. "Aliens are safe outlets for a lot of fear and anger," points out Jodi Dean, a political science professor at HOBART & WILLIAM SMITH COLLEGES.

-- The end is near. The close of the millennium has created a sense of apocalypse.

-- Aliens are a metaphor. "The nastier we get, the nastier the aliens are," says Marilyn Mumford, English professor at BUCKNELL UNIVERSITY.

With all this hoopla, it is curious to note that only next summer's "Contact" starring Jodie Foster features a benign race of aliens in the style of Spielberg's "Close Encounters."

In a related story, some Earthlings are concerned about the tarnished reputation of humans among our galaxy's extraterrestrial species. "Humans have an image in the galaxy. It's not the best right now but it will be worse if we turn our backs on our neighbors in need," says Courtney Brown, Associate Professor of Political Science at EMORY UNIVERSITY. Even politicians are not immune. Lynne Plaskett, a Florida politician, recently risked political suicide with her announcement that space aliens cured her of cancer in 1975. Such tales are nothing new, according to Robert Baker, a retired Professor Emeritus at the UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY. "It is modern folklore. In the Middle Ages we had serpents in the skies and demons and witches. Nowadays we have our flying saucers." (JG)


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