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Smorgasbord 10
Thursday, April 30, 1998
© Copyright 1998 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


Total NHNE Mailing List:
Last Mailing: 1040
This Mailing: 1048


"Life is a great big canvass,
and you should throw all the paint on it you can."

---Danny Kaye



Mass Extinction Underway
1 In 8 Plants Threatened
Invasive Weeds Threaten Eco System
Koko's "Interspecies Chat"
Stonehenge of the Sahara
Stone Circle Building Camp
Drought Behind "Lost Colony"
Ottoman Empire Archives on Net
Supercomputer Simulates Birth of Universe
Leonid Meteor Shower
US Military to Exploit Space
Predicting Earthquakes from Space
A Vaccine Against Tooth Decay
Medicine Fourth Largest Killer
Bad Hearts Healed with Genetics
UFOs: Just the Facts
Groom Lake Gathering
Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism
The Positive Bible
Shamans Asked Fight Fires
And Then the Rains Came

Scorecard Community Center
NASA Search Engine
Real-time Satellite Weather Images
Top 100 Websites
Another Millennium Events Calendar

Shroud of Turin Displayed

About the Power of Gratitude
On Our "Hit List"
A Different Twist

Instant Enlightenment is Wishful Thinking

Crimes of the Soul

"It's Tough Leading a Spiritual Life"
Astrological Light Bulbs



This issue of Smorgasbord is sponsored by:


The Dolphin Circle is committed to enhancing awareness of the cetacean world on all levels. We offer individuals the opportunity to meet dolphins in their natural environment to experience first-hand the playful, compassionate, and healing nature of these magnificent beings.

WWW: http://www.premier1.net/~iamdavid/
eMail: iamdavid@premier1.net



In the tradition of flower essences, these natural remedies support and nurture you with the wisdom and power of wild animals. These 16 essences are similar to Bach flower remedies but contain the energy of a particular species of animal (Dolphin, Bear, Wolf, etc). These animal essences are powerful, transformative, shamanic tools -- visit the website to learn about these remarkable remedies and to read testimonials from around the world about their effectiveness.

WWW: http://www.animalessence.com/
eMail: daniel@esinet.net


Would you like to sponsor an NHNE publication? Send an email message to "nhne@nhne.com" and write "Send Sponsor Info" in the SUBJECT field of your letter.



(Source: WASHINGTON POST, Joby Warrick, 4/21/98, Thanks to NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherri Anderson for tracking down this article)

A majority of the nation's biologists are convinced that a "mass extinction" of plants and animals is underway that poses a major threat to humans in the next century, yet most Americans are only dimly aware of the problem, a poll says.

The rapid disappearance of species was ranked as one of the planet's gravest environmental worries, surpassing pollution, global warming and the thinning of the ozone layer, according to the survey of 400 scientists commissioned by New York's AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY. The poll's release comes on the heels of a groundbreaking study of plant diversity that concluded at least one in eight known plant species is threatened with extinction. Although scientists are divided over the specific numbers, many believe that the rate of loss is greater now than at any time in history -- including extinctions related to meteor collisions.

Nearly seven out of 10 of the biologists polled said they believed a "mass extinction" was underway, and an equal number predicted that up to one-fifth of all living species could disappear within 30 years. Nearly all attributed the losses to human activity, especially the destruction of plant and animal habitats.

Among the dissenters, some argue that there is not yet enough data to support the view that a mass extinction is occurring. Many of the estimates of species loss are extrapolations based on the global destruction of rain forests and other rich habitats. Among non-scientists, meanwhile, the subject appears to have made relatively little impression. Sixty percent of the laymen polled professed little or no familiarity with the concept of biological diversity, and barely half ranked species loss as a "major threat."

The scientists interviewed in the Louis Harris poll were members of the Washington-based AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, a professional society of more than 5,000 scientists.



(Source: REUTERS, 4/8/98)

At least one out of every eight plant species worldwide is threatened with extinction, scientists say, urging action to protect "the building blocks" of our food and medicine. THE WORLD CONSERVATION UNION'S Red List of Threatened Plants listed 33,798 species, or 12.5 percent of the 270,000 known species of vascular plants, as threatened. The list was the result of 20 years of work by botanists and conservationists worldwide. "The message... should be distressing to all," said Robert Fri, Director of the SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION'S NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY.



(Source: EUREKALERT, 4/28/98)

Accidentally and on purpose, America is sowing seeds -- literal seeds -- of destruction. These are the conclusions of a soon-to-be-published book examining weeds in the United States. "The invasion of noxious weeds has created a level of destruction to America's environment and economy that is matched only by the damage caused by floods, earthquakes, wildfire, hurricanes and mudslides," U.S. Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt said. "This is truly an explosion in slow motion by opportunistic alien species with few if any natural enemies."

A multi-agency committee on invasive weeds found that the march of non-native plants across the American landscape is so pervasive that the unique differences of regional plant communities are blurring. Their report, "Invasive Plants: Changing the Landscape of America," is a systematic attempt, involving 17 partner agencies, to define the seriousness of the problem. The report will be available for public distribution this summer. Invasive non-native plants, the book says, are now considered by some experts to be the second-most important threat to native species, behind habitat destruction.

Over the past decade, the report says, devastating impacts from invasive species have been reported on every continent except Antarctica. In the United States, introduced invasive plants comprise from 8 to 47 percent of the total flora of most states, a figure especially alarming considering a recent report from the INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR THE CONSERVATION OF NATURE documenting that 1 in 8 plant species is globally threatened with extinction.

Invasive plants are those that have been introduced into an environment in which they did not evolve. Consequently, the invaders usually have no natural enemies to limit their reproduction, and thus easily spread, often unchecked. In addition, aggressive non-native species often deal a harsh blow to rare species -- about two-thirds of all endangered species are threatened by non-native species, the report said. As the native plant species decline, the animals that depend on them for food and habitat may also be jeopardized.

The report's authors blame the increase and spread of invasive plants on an increasing human population that has led to greater disturbance of the land, increased demand for food and fiber, overuse of public land for recreation and commercial purposes, increased international travel and globalization of world trade. The problem is compounded, the report adds, because "many introduced plants appear innocuous when first introduced; these plants then adapt, and, in the absence of their co-evolved predators, explode in their new environment."



(Source: CNN ONLINE, 4/28/98)

As many as 20,000 people logged in to chat with Koko the gorilla who answered questions in what was called the first ever "interspecies chat" on the Internet. Dr. Francine Patterson, Koko's tutor and translator, signed questions to the 26-year-old gorilla who has studied American Sign Language for 25 years and is said to understand some 2,000 words of spoken English and 1,000 signs. When asked if she had a kitten or a dog, Koko signed dog. Human chatters had questions ranging from the meaning of life to her views of the new version of King Kong. The 300-pound Koko seemed unimpressed by the event and ended the online chat with the simple command, "Lights off. Good."



(Source: ABC NEWS, Kenneth Chang, 4/1/98)

At first glance, the stones look just like stones sticking out of the sand. A more careful look at how and when those rocks were laid down in this now-arid corner of the Sahara Desert shows they are much more than that. Possibly 7,000-years-old, this site called Nabta in southern Egypt might have been the world's first astronomy monument, predating England's Stonehenge by two millennia. The coordinated work required to build such structures hints the nomadic cattle herders of the Sahara had evolved an advanced social structure. It also suggests that perhaps this desert society spurred the simple farmers of the Nile Valley to the heights of the pharaohs and early Egyptian civilization.

Not much is known about who lived around Nabta. Archaeologists aren't even sure where they came from or where they went. But they left their tracesbones of hares and gazelle they hunted, the cattle they herded, ruins of homes and wells. About 200 miles to the west, archaeologists have found stone fragments the nomads used to harvest grass seeds. The Egyptian stone complex is spread over a kidney-shape area 1.8 miles by three-quarters of a mile. It includes 10 monolith slabs, some 9 feet high, 30 rock-lined ovals, and a "calendar circle" of stones. Other features of the site are even more intriguing. The archaeologists found nine circular mounds, each under a pile of 40 to 50 rocks weighing up to 200 to 300 pounds apiece. They thought these might be the tombs of kings or other important personages.



May 22-31, 1998

A group of stone circle builders are planning to build a full-sized Stone Circle at a beautiful site in Surrey, England. Their intent is to build a new, fully aligned and working stone circle on the land, using as tools only that equipment available to the Ancients (wood, rope and stone), and the power of focused minds. The stones will weigh on average 5 to 6 tons each and their tops will stand about 6 to 7 feet above ground level. While living simply outdoors under the heavens and the shadow of a grove of giant redwood trees, the group will be erecting the stones using a variety of "alternative" methods, hinted at in the legends about Merlin, Stonehenge, the Tibetans, and in so many other cultures around the world.

For further details please contact:

Ivan or Julie
5, Cleeve Park Road
Downend, Bristol BS16 6DW, UK
Phone: 0117 985 1488 (+44-117-985-1488)
Mobile: 0385 518949
eMail: 113475.2664@compuserve.com


(Source: EUREKALERT, 4/23/98)

The worst droughts of the past 800 years likely played a major role in the mysterious disappearance of Roanoke Island's "Lost Colony" and in the "starving time" endured by colonists at Jamestown, researchers from THE COLLEGE OF WILLIAM & MARY and THE UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS have concluded after studying growth rings of ancient trees in the Tidewater area. The findings were just published in the current issue of SCIENCE journal.

The Roanoke Island settlement was established in 1587 but settlers soon mysteriously disappeared, leaving only the enigmatic word "Croatoan" carved on a tree. More is known about the hardships at Jamestown, which was founded in 1607 but nearly failed during the period from 1609 to 1610 -- historically known as "the starving time". The Jamestown drought decimated corn crops on which the colonists depended and aggravated tense relations with the native Powhatan Indians. Researchers speculate that when the Indians could not supply food to the colonists as promised, hard feelings followed and conflict erupted. The dates of at least two Anglo-Indian wars correlate perfectly with the droughts.

Drought also affected the quality of the colony's critical water supply. "Poor water quality is another factor implicated in the ill health suffered at Jamestown, and water quality at Jamestown is poorest during drought," said the Science article. During the drought, many people starved, and some of the Jamestown colonists eventually resorted to cannibalism. Citing a staggering death toll that nearly forced abandonment of the colony, the SCIENCE article notes that "only 38 of the 104 original settlers were still alive after the first year at Jamestown, and 4,800 out of the 6,000 settlers sent to Jamestown between 1607 and 1625 died during this extraordinary period."

"Only multidisciplinary research could lead to such exciting discoveries as these," researchers added. "History, archaeology or climatology alone could not have reached these conclusions, but a combination of the disciplines enabled us to discover these significant patterns."



(Source: REUTERS, 3/12/98)

Plans are afoot for 600 years of previously hard-to-reach Ottoman history to become available on the Internet, Turkish officials said. "A computer automation project to scan all the archives and translate them into a digital environment is being finalized," Necati Aktas, deputy head of state archives, told REUTERS. Over 1,000 researchers from around the world apply for permission each year to use the archived material, much of which is poorly stored in mice-infested warehouses. The archives hold over 150 million documents belonging to the Ottoman era, ranging from military reports to economic and political correspondence. The earliest date back to 1300. At its height in the 17th Century, the Ottoman Empire commanded much of the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa, venturing as far into Europe as the walls of Vienna. The empire collapsed at the end of World War One after a lengthy decline. Turkey is now a republic. Asked if certain areas of the archives, such as those covering controversial Armenian relations, would be classified, Aktas said: "The Ottoman state has gone down in history, it can have no secrets." Christian Armenia says over 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by Turks in 1915 by order of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey says the figure is grossly exaggerated.



(Source: EUREKALERT, 4/21/98)

Physicists at COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY have constructed one of the world's fastest supercomputers, one that can perform 400 billion calculations per second to simulate the three-trillion-degree conditions that existed at the birth of the universe. The supercomputer, dubbed QCDSP, is the latest in a series of relatively inexpensive parallel supercomputers now in use at universities around the world that have been built at Columbia. The Columbia machine's vast computing power, which with others of its generation offers a 30-fold improvement over the previous generation of supercomputers, is needed to simulate the interactions between quarks and gluons... which scientists believe existed at the time of the Big Bang, perhaps 10 billion years ago.



(Source: CNN ONLINE, 4/28/98)

The Leonid meteor should provide a spectacular celestial light show this year, but the debris could damage or destroy the satellites that help provide Earth's worldwide communications, navigation and weather forecasting. The meteor shower occurs yearly in November, but this year astronomers say the storm will be the strongest since 1966. At that time, only about 100 satellites were orbiting the Earth. Now there are nearly 500. None of the tiny particles of Leonid is expected to strike the Earth's surface.



(Source: AIR FORCE NEWS SERVICE, 3/18/98)

Gen. Howell M. Estes III, Commander-in-Chief of U.S. SPACE COMMAND, urged Congress to continue funding space programs critical to fulfilling "the promise of space." He also urged Congress to promote public awareness of space's vital importance to Americans' security, economic prosperity and quality of life. The general, also commander of AIR FORCE SPACE COMMAND, said his top priorities are improving space support to U.S. fighting forces today, and protecting the nation's interests and investments in space tomorrow. A comprehensive long-range plan scheduled to be completed in early April will provide a gameplan for meeting key space needs by 2020 by: Fully integrating space forces with land, sea and air forces; Assuring U.S. and allied access to, and freedom to operate in, space -- and denying the same to an adversary when required; Applying precision force from, and through, space; Leveraging civil, commercial, and international space systems to cost-effectively augment military systems.



(Source: LOS ANGELES TIMES, 4/9/98, Thanks to Einiyah ben-Elyon for forwarding this story to NHNE)

A Russian scientist says he has come up with a way to predict earthquakes from outer space that could provide a warning as much as three hours in advance of major quakes. The method of forecasting proposed by physics professor Arkady Galper is based on the discovery that electromagnetic waves emanating from Earth just before a big temblor appear to change the behavior of particles in the radiation belt that rings the planet.

Galper, Director of the Institute of Space Physics at the MOSCOW ENGINEERING & PHYSICS INSTITUTE, said three groups of Russian scientists have corroborated his results. But no major scientific papers have been published on his earthquake forecasting idea and it has not been subjected to the scrutiny of peer review that is standard in the United States. Indeed, several U.S. earthquake experts queried about Galper's work were deeply skeptical, saying that there was little evidence to support it or any other prediction theory.

Although many researchers over the years have proposed various techniques to predict earthquakes, none have worked in practice. In 1988, U.S. experts predicted a major quake in Parkfield on the San Andreas fault, based on the best available geophysical and seismic data. Seismologists recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of that prediction, with still no sign of the temblor they had forecast. "Most scientists would say that earthquake prediction is a very long way off, if not impossible," said Thomas Henyey, Director of the SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EARTHQUAKE CENTER. Henyey called the Russian prediction theory "implausible." Galper acknowledged that, so far, his method of prediction is largely theoretical and would require the launch of at least three satellites and the creation of a ground-based network that could rapidly process data from space. To establish an earthquake warning system for the entire planet would require a large network of satellites. But Galper said it would be possible to cover the region where 90% of quakes occur -- and where most of the world's population lives -- with three satellites. When a satellite detected a bulge in the belt, the information would immediately be routed to a geostationary communications satellite that would feed the information to stations on the ground. There, the data would be rapidly processed to estimate the location of the epicenter within an area of 60 square miles. The affected region would be notified and the public would have as much as three hours to prepare for the quake.

Galper is not the only scientist intrigued by the earthquake prediction possibilities posed by low-frequency electrical signals that may precede a temblor. Solid-state physicist Panayiotis Varotsos at the UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS in Greece has been trying for a decade to predict quakes by detecting small electrical signals from stressed rocks. In California, geophysicist Stephen K. Park at UC RIVERSIDE also has been monitoring what may prove to be electrical precursors to earthquakes. Neither scientist so far has been able to persuade other researchers that the technique can predict earthquakes. Galper said his idea of a space-based earthquake prediction center has not gone anywhere in part because Russia has no money for such projects. Building and launching three satellites could easily eat up much of Russia's paltry budget for its space program. But findings such as Galper's conceivably could help boost support in the United States for the huge investment required to launch and operate space stations. Galper's team is designing a more sophisticated magnetic spectrometer that he hopes will be placed aboard the 15-nation International Space Station that will be launched in segments beginning this year.



(Source: REUTERS, 4/28/98)

British scientists say they had developed a safe, effective and painless vaccine to prevent tooth decay. It is a plant-based vaccine that is painted on teeth and produces antibodies that prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to teeth and causing cavities. Dr. Julian Ma and Professor Tom Lehner led the team of researchers at GUYS HOSPITAL dental school in London that produced the vaccine by genetically modifying tobacco plants to carry antibodies to Streptococcus mutans, which causes 95 percent of tooth decay. The tasteless, colorless vaccine was successfully tested on people during a four-month trial. "This is the first plant-derived vaccine from genetically modified plants to ever go into human clinical trials," said Ma. PLANET BIOTECHNOLOGY, a California-based company that is developing the technology with GUY'S HOSPITAL, are planning larger clinical trials this summer.



(Source: REUTERS, 4/15/98)

A new medical study is warning that a major cause of death of patients in U.S. hospitals is adverse reaction to medicines. Researchers at the UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO estimate that between 76,000 and 137,000 such deaths take place annually. That means that adverse drug reactions could be the fourth leading cause of death of Americans behind heart disease, cancer and stroke. The study says the deaths were not due to improperly administered drugs. The study included patients admitted to hospitals with drug reactions and those whose reactions occurred after they were admitted. It is published in THE JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION.



(Source: CNN ONLINE, 3/17/98)

In an animal experiment using pigs and mice, a group of researchers have found that genetically engineered cells can be injected into cardiac muscle to replace tissue killed by a heart attack. The project, in which mouse heart cells were placed into the damaged heart of a pig, gives hope that the procedure may be used to grow and replace heart muscle in humans, says Dr. William C. Claycomb of the LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER. He emphasizes, however, that the work is "in a very early experimental stage."



(Source: Chuck Lakin, 4/10/98)

Created by SKY CREATIVE MEDIA GROUP of Phoenix, Arizona, a new CD presents thousands of pages of documents, dozens of articles, hundreds of photographs, maneuverable QuickTime VRs, as well as other video and audio evidence from which users can judge for themselves whether or not UFOs actually exist. "UFOs: Just the Facts" was designed to meet the information needs of libraries, schools, individuals, as well as UFO "buffs," who want a realistic, up-to-date, and balanced presentation of the available evidence and differing viewpoints on the existence of UFOs. The interactive CD has an on-disc bibliography of nearly 500 sources, an archive of more than 1,500 pages of documentation, and access to a secured area of the website www. ufofacts.com. UFOs: Just the Facts runs on computers with MAC, Windows 95, and Windows 3.1 operating systems. The CD-ROM (ISBN 1-890298-46-8) is available for $39.95 ($3.50 S&H) which includes website access and free technical support via a toll-free number. The CD can be found at Media Center stores or ordered directly from the publisher:

2432 W. Peoria Ave., Suite 1262
Phoenix, AZ 85029

Phone: 1 (888) UFO-FILE (888-836-3453)
WWW: http://www.ufofacts.com


(Source: EXOSCIENCE, David Watanabe, 3/28/98)

The People's Rally at AREA 51 will take place on Saturday, June 6, 1998, right at the restricted boundary line on Groom Lake Road (in Lincoln County, Nevada). Crowds of anywhere from 400 to 800 people at the site are expected for the event. This will be the first time that a large number of citizens will assemble right next to AREA 51, the base that officially "doesn't exist".

This will be a legal, public assembly and will take place on legal, public land. The event is intended to be a spontaneous, peaceful gathering of concerned citizens. There will be speakers at the Rally to address several key issues. One of the purposes of the gathering will be to bring to the attention of the news media once again the continuing plight of former Groom Lake workers who are still suffering from illnesses caused by long-term exposure to highly toxic chemicals without their knowledge while working at AREA 51, the base that officially "doesn't exist". The former workers and their families' plea is not so much to seek for monetary compensation as to seek for cures to the diseases.

According to Norio Hayakawa, founder of a group called the CIVILIAN INTELLIGENCE NETWORK (which he describes as a citizens' watchdog group on government oversight), the government has in the past several years concocted, disseminated and manipulated popular theories linking AREA 51 with "extraterrestrial" UFOs and "alien" technology in order to discredit any serious scrutiny of this multi-billion dollar facility and its programs, some of which may be in gross violation of environmental statutes. Hayakawa also speculates that some of the weapons systems research and development at the site not only far exceeds the bounds of national defense interests but also may serve to promote and accelerate certain "globalist elitist" agendas.

There will be a special news conference in Rachel, Nevada (approximately 21 miles north of the "secret base"), the day before the event. The news conference will take place at 12 noon. The main event on Saturday, June 6, 1998 will take place, beginning at 6 a.m., right at the restricted boundary line.

For maps and directions:

For information on what may be taking place at AREA 51:

For general information:

Norio Hayakawa
P.O. BOX 599
GARDENA , CA 90248

Phone: (310) 784-7705
eMail: GroomWatch@aol.com
WWW: http://www.eagle-net.org/groomwatch/


(Source: AP, EARTH-CHANGES WEEKLY, 4/19/98, Thanks to NHNE SwiftWing Reporter Sherri Anderson for tracking down the host website)

An international team of religious scholars has assembled to provide a history & analysis of end times in the Encyclopedia of Apocalypticism. The three volumes will include more than 40 lengthy essays discussing thousands of years of biblical & secular perspectives. The 1500-page encyclopedia, to be published this summer, will include topics such as Jesus & Mohammad as apocalyptic prophets, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish mysticism, notions of the Antichrist and images of the apocalypse in modern popular culture, from rock music & films to politics and the environment. Scholars from the U.S., Italy, France, Spain, Israel, and other nations contributed essays. The three books are in chronological overview: the first looks at the origins of apocalypticism in Judaism & Christianity; the second, in Western history & culture; the final one deals with the modern period.



(Source: Kenneth Winston Caine, 2/16/98)

Tired of all the back-stabbing, name-calling, treacherous, vengeful, violent, selfish, mean-spirited, un-godly activity that fills the pages of one of planet Earth's most holy books, The Holy Bible? Then you might want to try to the latest, perhaps most radical revision of the Good Book ever attempted. Called, "The Positive Bible," all the negative stuff has been chopped out. "The Positive Bible," says Kenneth Winston Caine, the new and improved Good Book's editor, "is simply every uplifting, encouraging, empowering, inspiring, helpful verse, from Genesis to Revelation. Just the good stuff, and nothing else." "This," he says, "is an inspirational Bible, an introductory Bible, a twenty-first century Bible, a sound-bite Bible. It's a Bible for the bible-phobic. It's a Bible for the New Age." Whereas the original version of The Holy Bible spans approximately 1,600 pages, The Positive Bible is a mere 300 pages long -- including a 50-page self-help index and guide to the scriptures for 250 everyday life challenges. The book presents the Bible verses as easy-to-read, plain-English poetry, using the most popular modern translations such as the "New International Version," "New King James Version," "Revised Standard Version" and "The Living Bible."

For more information:

P.O. Box 752
Emmaus, PA 18049-0752

Phone: (610) 967-8310
eMail: Ken@PositiveBible.com
WWW: http://www.PositiveBible.com


(Source: REUTERS, 3/29/98)

Brazil called in two shamans today to help fight the fires that have raged through the Amazon rainforest for two months. An official at the government's INDIAN FOUNDATION said the shamans would conduct a ritual to repel the smoke and if possible, bring on rain. Firefighters say only heavy rains can douse the fires which have burned out of control in northern Roraima state and destroyed a vast area of highland savannah and virgin rainforest. The state government declared an emergency in January but its appeals for help from the federal government went largely ignored until this month, when the press and environmental pressure groups drew attention to the scope of the disaster.



(Source: REUTERS, 4/1//98, Thanks to Patrick Miller for forwarding NHNE this followup article)

Rain has put out virtually all the fires raging in the savannah and jungles of Brazil's northern Amazon, the BRAZILIAN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH COMPANY (Embrapa) said. "We're out of the crisis phase," said Evaristo de Miranda, an environmental researcher at Embrapa. "It's a divine coincidence. Most of the rain fell on the areas with most fires."

Fires set by subsistence farmers and fueled by a drought linked to the El Nino weather phenomenon have raged for more than two months in Roraima, ravaging an area the size of Lebanon, according to an official estimate. While much of the area affected is savannah, where the vegetation recovers quickly after fire, flames have also advanced into the more fragile rainforest, including the huge reservation of the primitive Yanomami Indians.

In Boa Vista, people celebrated as the smoke which has hung over the region for weeks was washed away. Television newscasts showed firemen dancing in puddles while two Indian shamans, who Monday night performed a traditional rain-conjuring ritual, smiled for the cameras in the downpour. Many residents have attributed the rain to the medicine men.

"All the planes in the world would not have been able to match what the heavens dumped on Roraima over the last two days," de Miranda said. But de Miranda said there was also a scientific explanation. Rains often follow the passage of the sun directly over the equator and that phenomenon, marking the start of sub-equatorial spring, occurred on March 20, he said.




The ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND has created the website from hell for companies that are quietly polluting the United States. Simply visit their "Scorecard Community Center" Website, type in your area code, and find out:

-- What manufacturing plants are polluting your community

-- How close those polluters are located to your home, school, and workplace

-- Which toxic chemicals are being released in the largest amounts in your community's air and water

-- How your community compares to other community's in the United States

And if all of that isn't enough to cause polluting companies to break out in a cold sweat, the Scorecard Community Center also helps you send faxes to polluters, email to government representatives and get in touch with others in your area who share similar concerns.



This new NASA search engine allows you to easily search through hundreds of thousands of documents published on NASA websites.


(Source: NASA/MARSHALL SCIENCE, 3/26/98)

Weather around the globe and around your block is on call, around the clock, via the Internet from a NASA-university research center. The site includes an interactive viewer that lets you zoom in on the region of your choice (http://www.ghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/GOES/). Major land features are visible when the atmosphere is clear. When it's cloudy, you can see major weather formations from above the cloud tops.The site also allows you to animate satellite views at low-resolution as well as provide image sequences on-demand at your point of interest.




Ever wondered what the most heavily-trafficked websites on the Internet are? Wonder no more. 100hot.com tracks not only the top 100 websites on the Internet, but also the most heavily trafficked websites in assorted categories.




The Year 2000 and Millennium Events Section of the MILLENNIUM INSTITUTE Website is chock-full of descriptions and links to plans being made around the world in anticipation of the new millennium. At last count nearly 40 countries have one or more points of contact for plans.





[The following excerpts come from "A Report on the Opening of the 1998 Shroud Exhibition" by Emanuela & Maurizio Marinelli that is presently posted on The Shroud of Turin Website <www.shroud.com>]

On Wednesday, April 15, at 5.29 a.m., the Shroud of Turin was secretly transferred to the temporary sacristy of the Turin Cathedral, from a secret place, in the presence of Cardinal Giovanni Saldarini, Archbishop of Turin. There, the textile expert Mrs. Mechtild Flury-Lemberg and Sister Maria Clara worked for about three days to stitch the Shroud on a white cloth and a thick flannel after having removed the old blue satin border.

On the evening of Friday, April 17, the Shroud was inserted in its new case... The cost of 800 millions liras to produce the case was sponsored by "Italgas." The case weighs three tons and is formed of two 5 mm bulletproof steel plates separated by a thin inner tube, while the inside part is of stainless steel. The Shroud is covered by a special glass, 7 cm thick, bulletproof and UV protected. Inside the case there is a mixture of inert gas (argon) and steam; the quantity of oxygen is continuously controlled since it mustn't exceed 0.010.1%. The temperature is controlled at around 18C.

On Saturday morning, April 18, the first visitors were allowed: Cardinal Saldarini, Princess Maria Gabriella of Savoy and her daughter Elisabetta, who was viewing the Shroud for the first time. At 9:00 a.m., more than 800 qualified journalists from all over the world were allowed to see the Shroud. At 11 a.m., a press conference was called for the opening of the exhibition. Because of the great number of journalists, it was organized outside, in the courtyard of the seminary on XX Settembre street... At 4 p.m. the solemn Mass for the opening of the exhibition was celebrated by Cardinal Saldarini with many Piedmontese Bishops.

[Editor's Note: Those who've registered to see the Shroud of Turin in person, begin their approach to one of Christianity's most sacred artifacts by winding their way through gardens, tents, walkways, bookstores, and various kinds of Shroud-related photographs and displays. The Shroud of Turin Website contains a series of maps and photographs that detail this mini-pilgrimage.]

Finally one arrives at the left door of the Cathedral. At this point one can choose among three different platforms at various levels that allow viewing the Shroud from different heights. Flash photography is not allowed, however the lighting is perfect. The dominant violet color of the vestments gives something of a funeral or Lent sensation. The painting showing the Guarini Chapel as it looked before the 1997 fire, placed over the steel shield that separates the Cathedral from the rest of the Chapel, produces a beautiful scene behind the Shroud case. Viewers are permitted to stand before the Shroud for about 2 or 3 minutes, not more, then go out through the right door. No more than 4,000 persons per hour will be admitted.





I had a bit of a judgmental reaction to your recent article about SARAH BAN BREATHNACH. Over several decades there have been a series of books that say if you follow your bliss, think positive, visualize abundance, feel loving, practice forgiveness -- etc. -- things will go rather well for you in the regular world.

This is the latest pop installment of a religious theme that goes back centuries: A person's outward success is a reflection of their inner spiritual condition. When wealth was inherited the theme took the form of the Divine Right of Kings: You should accept the King because someone could only be King because God intended him to be. Similar ideas are applied to the Pope and the Dali Lama.

With the industrial revolution in England and the new possibility of wealth being earned, rather than inherited, we got the Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism (Max Weber's book): God rewards good works, rather an bestows divine grace. Therefore the wealthy and successful have good religious character, and the poor and economically unsuccessful are disreputable, lazy, spiritually inferior people. A version of this theme is part of the current scapegoating of America's needy and poor.

With the coming of psychotherapy among the relatively well-off economically, we got maximums equating success in relationships, happiness, right livelihood with good spiritual character.

Given the mandate of NINE -- searching for the truth objectively -- I think you should question this general theme. Surely the evidence is at best uneven in its favor. I very much like the unconventional saying of Hazrat Inyat Khan in this regard: He said something like, "Some souls can succeed in life by acting morally; some souls can not."

My personal suspicion is that there is no simple direct relationship between success in worldly life, and the degree to which one is aligned with one's inner spiritual purpose. This is one of the painful imponderables that tests our faith and turns us towards intuition.

---Howard Schwartz



What struck me most about the article was one woman's attempt to follow spirit and the various trials she passed through on her way to success. Encouraging all of us to be more grateful probably doesn't hurt, but I certainly agree with you that simplistic formulas for success aren't what they are cracked up to be. The topic you outlined it is definitely on our "hit list" of things to seriously explore.

---David Sunfellow



My husband and I have given [making a list of what you are grateful for] a different twist. Both of us are bad about journaling... so here's what we now do. Every evening at dinner, we give thanks for our food and say 5 things each that we are grateful for that happened that day. It works!

---Sherri Anderson, Russiaville, Indiana




[The following excerpts come from Solstice Shift, by David Spangler, portions of which appear in the current issue of VENTURE INWARD (May/June 1998), a magazine published by the ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH & ENLIGHTENMENT. Spangler is a philosopher, writer, educator, and well-known figure in the planetary transformation movement. His newest books include, Everyday Miracles and A Pilgrim in Aquarius.]

"I have found a tendency in New Age thinking to imagine that some great shift or transformation is going to happen, and that because of it we will all wake up one morning to discover that we have a new consciousness and are living in a new world.

"This is a tempting image. It is like getting something for nothing -- like winning the lottery, for example -- and we all can appreciate the attractiveness of such an occurrence. Yet, in this process, something is lost. There are connections that are not made... consciousness is impoverished through lack of participation. If humanity is entering a new world and a new consciousness, if a transformative shift is truly going on, then... we must be awake to it and be part of it; we cannot just wake up one morning with a new face and a new identity. We would not know how we got there, and it would be just a surface event; an outer change but not necessarily an inner one. We might be in a new world but we wouldn't know how to inhabit it.

"My own inner contacts have stressed over the years that humanity is going through a time of transition, but that the nature of this transition is different from others which it has experienced in the past... Put simply, the fundamental nature of the transition is not the emergence of a new world but the emergence of a new spiritual and incarnational maturity. It is the emergence, not of new powers of awareness necessarily, but of new depths of responsibility, integrity, accountability, and connectedness."

"The thrust of the 'new' energies active within the Earth at the present time is toward enhancing the experience of personal freedom on the one and the experience of being part of a larger wholeness and having a responsibility to that larger wholeness on the other... by its very nature, we cannot embody or understand [this new energy] except by consciously working through the tension between self and the other and learning to participate in cocreative relationships."

"For this reason, the new world is not something that can just happen for (or to) us. We cannot be magically transported from where we are to a better place. We must forge the path ourselves, for in knowing how we arrived in that better place and what we had to go through to get there, we will have developed the knowledge, the wisdom, and the maturity to know how to sustain it.

"It is not uncommon for individuals to have experiences of sudden, spontaneous enlightenment; it is much more rare, however, for that experience to last. Nearly everyone I have talked to who has had an experience of suddenly entering a higher consciousness has told me how it faded after a few days, leaving him or her with a feeling of emptiness and longing. This is because something in that person's life was attuned enough or strong enough to empower a breakthrough but not integrated, attuned, or strong enough to sustain the new level of complexity and energy once it had been touched. To make such a new level permanent, one needs to live out its elements in everyday life, to anchor its qualities within oneself through choices, actions, and attentiveness. This can take time and work.

"Within this context, I believe we need to be careful when we talk about 'shifts' in the earth's vibrations or new 'energies' coming into the world. It is very easy for this kind of language to become quite abstract and meaningless while still engendering a feeling that something is going to happen that will bring the New Age about without our needing to do anything. I have had people in New Age gatherings come up to me and say with much excitement, 'A shift in the planet's energies is going to happen this coming solstice!' or some equivalent statement with the same happy anticipation as if they had said, 'Christ is appearing next month and all the world will be transformed.'

"The problem with such an attitude is twofold: it can be disempowering because it leads us to look outside ourselves for something or someone else to do our work for us, and it is not a precise enough statement to mean anything. After all, what does a 'shift' mean? What is shifting? How is it shifting? How will that affect us? What are the new 'energies' that a 'shift' might bring? How are they propagated throughout the world? How do they work? What impact will they have? These are all important questions to at least consider if we are to use such language with precision and with the hope that it actually will have concrete meaning that will be useful to us in making choices and taking actions."




[The following quotes come from "Crimes of the Soul," an article by Jill Neimark that appears in the April, 1998 issue of PSYCHOLOGY TODAY. Along with discussing the psychology of guru/devotee relationships, the article also takes a look at some of today's most well-known religious leaders and gurus: Andrew Cohen, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, L. Ron Hubbard, G.I. Gurdjieff, Sai Baba, Swami Muktananda, Amrit Desai, David Koresh, Jim Jones, the Dalai Lama, to name a few.]

"The cost of adoration is, oddly enough, isolation. Kramer and Alstad [authors of The Guru Papers] note that Gurus are deprived of real relational intimacy, and thus try to fill the need for genuine closeness with more and more followers: 'The role of guru is a gradual entrapment. Power is seductive, and they don't realize what they're giving up -- humanity, a normal life of horizontal rather than vertical relationship. When people succumb to the temptation to be a guru, they are often destroyed as human beings."

"One of the deeper ironies of a life committed to a spiritual teacher is that, though you may flee ten thousand attachments, you end up surrendering your entire existence to a single man or woman."

"The guru-disciple relationship is by nature unhealthy, believes psychologist Rachel Brier, who has worked with over a dozen former devotees of Kripaklu's Desai. 'When a relationship is based on the idealization of one and the submission of another, the system invites abuse. Disciples believe that the guru is godlike, and the disciple is lost without the wisdom, knowledge, and love of the guru. It is an emotionally fused relationship in which each needs the other to exist. There are no healthy boundaries, no checks and balances, no real other.'"

"In their native cultures, shamans are looked upon as ordinary people who happen to heal others. They milk cows, plant corn, and also perform healings. But when a shaman comes to America... he's often idolized as a saint and guru. 'To come from a culture where they are respected but net revered,' says John Perkins, the Founder of the DREAM CHANGE COALITION, 'and to be suddenly idolized is difficult for them. A lot of women throw themselves at these men sexually. And because shamans tend to consider sex as an ecstatic experience that opens the door to other realities, it's a very confusing issue.'"

"Something happens to that venerable, ancient tradition of teacher and seeker when it hits our shores. It mutates. There's simply too intoxicating a liquor of freedom and power here to keep it intact."


(Thanks to Susan Dubin for forwarding this New Age journal entry to NHNE)

I was having an out of body experience one day so I grounded myself and got centered with the help of my spirit guides and almost astral traveled anyway, but the phone rang. I sensed the negative vibrations so I threw the I-Ching and checked my numerology chart and nearly had a primal, but my energy was too blocked, so I did some bioenergetics and self parenting, took some flower essence and ate an organic oat bran ginseng muffin, but my inner child wasn't feeling nurtured yet so I had a Rice Dream Frozen Pie too, but that made me hyper so I did the relaxation response while listening to my subliminal tapes, but I was feeling depersonalized so I did some polarity work, foot reflexology and past life regression, then rebirthed myself and called Moon Beam, the bodyworker, to make an appointment for a Shiatsu, Reike, Rolfing, Feldenkreis, Swedish, Japanese deep tissue massage, but she flaked out and never returned my call, so I decided to energize my crystals and do some positive imagery because all my visualization techniques and affirmations made my space feel invaded, so to get empowered, I got a psychic reading from Mother HeartLove around the issue of my assertiveness so I could feel my radiance and have some energy for my psycho-calisthenics and inversion swing before my harmonic brain-wave synergy session, which made me more focused for my actualization seminar, holistic healing class and dreamworkshop, so I'd be more clear for my Gestalt behavioral cognitive transpersonal Rechian Jungian Freudian Ericksonian session at the hot springs but my aura was weak for my trance-channeling group so I fasted until noon to recharge my chakras and I sensed my intuition was high and my cycle was focused, so I turned on my ion generator to open up for my neural-linguistic programming session, but I needed to have my pyramid recharged before my guided synchronicity meditation, so I got some cranio-sacral therapy, which aligned me for the fire walk, which was between my tarot card reading and my sensory deprivation tank appointment, but after all that I felt what I truly needed was a meaningful relationship to mirror myself so I went to my personal shaman, and then to my guru, but they were no help, so instead I went to the Intensive Whole Life Earth Rebirth Cosmic Expo Symposium Workshop to find someone who really knew what was going on, but that didn't work either, so I locked myself in a calcium-coated Orgone Box and went to sleep so I could "get it" in the dream state.

---Author Unknown


(Thanks to Sue Potter for forwarding this to NHNE)

How many members of your sign does it take to change a light bulb?

ARIES: Just one. You want to make something of it?

TAURUS: One, but just *try* to convince them that the burned-out bulb is useless and should be thrown away.

GEMINI: Two, but the job never gets done -- they just keep arguing about who is supposed to do it and how it's supposed to be done!

CANCER: Just one. But it takes a therapist three years to help them through the grief process.

LEO: Leos don't change light bulbs, although sometimes their agent will get a Virgo in to do the job for them while they're out.

VIRGO: Approximately 1.00000000 with an error of +/- 1 millionth.

LIBRA: Er, two. Or maybe one. No, on second thought, make that two. Is that OK with you?

SCORPIO: That information is strictly secret and shared only with the Enlightened Ones in the Star Chamber of the Ancient Hierarchical Order.

SAGITTARIUS: The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a stupid burnt-out light bulb?

CAPRICORN: I don't waste my time with these childish jokes.

AQUARIUS: Well, you have to remember that everything is energy, so...

PISCES: Light bulb? What light bulb?

---Author Unknown



The mission of NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE) is to answer humankind's oldest, most perplexing questions: Who are we? Where are we from? What is the origin and purpose of life? Instead of relying on ancient or contemporary wisdom, or the knowledge of isolated experts, we are building a global network of seekers from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, lay people and professionals alike, that can pool talents, experience, and resources to unravel life's great mysteries.

We also believe that our planet is passing through a time of profound change and are seeking to create a global community of like-minded people that can safely pass through whatever changes may come our way and help give birth to a new way of life on our planet.

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