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NHNE News Brief 38
Friday, November 29, 1996

Monthly "Lighter Side" Edition

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

Millennium Countdown:
1,128 days until January 1, 2000

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CONTENTS:
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QUOTABLES:
Growing Corn

NEWS WATCH:
Something to Remember Me By
"Dr. Moose"
Mark of the Beast?
Cosmic Bowling
Reverse Speech Update
The Dobkin Technique
Smokers' Face
The Good Side of Nicotine
Good to the Last Drip

GOOD NEWS WATCH:
Wind-Up Radio
Rails to Trails

NEWS BRIEF SPONSOR:
Spirit of Sedona: Experience of a Liftetime

NHNE FINANCIAL REPORT:
Online 1, Offline 0, Total List 756

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Don't Whine, Do Something
Little Proof for Dickinson Claims
No Limit to Their Stupidity
Making It Easier
Back-Pedaling Psychics
New Frog Theory
Dealing with Immediate Concerns
Tipping the First Domino

SPIRIT OF SEDONA:
A Mystical Experience

COMMENTS FROM THE TWILIGHT ZONE:
This is the Galactic Confederation
Jesus is a Mythological Construct
Jesus Loves You
Nothing in Common

SPACE WATCH:
Mars on the Auction Block
Geminid Meteor Shower

TECH WATCH:
Net Open for Business

NHNE STAFF
ABOUT NHNE & HOW TO JOIN US

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QUOTABLES:
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GROWING CORN

"If it doesn't grow corn, I don't want to hear about it."

---Sun Bear

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NEWS WATCH:
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SOMETHING TO REMEMBER ME BY
(Source: REUTERS via CNN ONLINE, 10/22/96)

Forget about the urn on the mantle, now you can carry a loved one's ashes around your neck in a gold pendant. "The Heirloom Pendant Collection" made its debut at this year's National Funeral Directors Convention held in October. The necklaces come in three designs: "Teardrop," "Infinity" and "Love." A small amount of ashes or a lock of hair from the departed can be permanently sealed inside. Creator Terry Dieterle said he noticed a need "in the cremation market for a very personalized keepsake, one that offers greater value, both in sentiment and design. The trend in personalizing the death experience is something we've seen grow over the last 10 years." The jewelry is available only through funeral directors and cost from $1,900 to $10,000 each. (JG)

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"DR. MOOSE"
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS via CNN ONLINE, 10/21/96)

Dr. John Sutton, surgeon and Chief of Trauma at DARTMOUTH-HITCHCOCK MEDICAL CENTER has created a niche for himself by analyzing the injuries people receive when their vehicles collide with a moose. Sutton's colleagues call him "Dr. Moose," but it's no laughing matter for victims of moose collisions. Moose grow nearly six feet high and weigh more than 1,200 pounds. Sutton said most moose-vehicle accidents demolish the car and kill the moose. Among other things, Sutton found that cars often hit the moose under the belly, lifting it off its feet and onto the passenger cab, which is crushed by the impact. In New Hampshire, where "Brake for Moose" signs dot the highways, Sutton estimated that 200 to 250 moose-vehicle collisions occur every year. He put the number at 650 or more in Maine. By the way, Dr. Moose drives a Volvo and his wife has a Saab, two automobiles he lauds for their moose-resistant construction. (JG)

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MARK OF THE BEAST?
(Source: Correspondence from Michael Rader in VENTURE INWARD, Nov-Dec/96)

Here is something to think about:"WWW" is the acronym for the World Wide Web and "w" in binary notation is 01110111, which totals 6. Could the World Wide Web be the "Beast" as foretold in the Book of Revelations, with its distinctive feature -- the "Mark of the Beast" -- being the number 666? Not likely, according to Michael Rader in correspondence to VENTURE INWARD. He points out that in the AMERICAN STANDARD CODE FOR INFORMATION INTERCHANGE (ASCII), the world-wide accepted standard for computer notation, the letter "W" is 87 in decimal notation, 127 in octal notation, and 57 in hexadecimal notation; "w" is 119 in decimal, 167 in octal, and 77 in hexadecimal notation. In his opinion, "the Web is a tool, nothing more, nothing less," although he does admit that, as with any tool, there is the potential for abuse. He reminds us of the comment by Edgar Cayce, "There is no evil, only good misused." (JG)

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COSMIC BOWLING
(Source: Cathy Hainer, USA TODAY, 11/12/96)

The "sport" of bowling is retooling for the 21st Century by adding fog machines, laser light shows, dance music, and the most radical change in the sport since automatic pin setting machines -- bowling in the dark. The magic begins late in the evening when the regular bowling leagues wind up. The regular lights are extinguished and the ultraviolet lights are fired up. The lanes, pins, balls, and even bowling shoes, are treated with an ultraviolet additive so they glow in the dark, lending an eerie, otherworldly ambiance to otherwise mundane setting. Cosmic bowling seems to appeal to the 18 to 34-year-old crowd, a demographic not normally found in bowling centers. "Some people get so into it they forget about their score," comments Bart Burger of BRUNSWICK, a supplier of bowling supplies. (JG)

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REVERSE SPEECH UPDATE
(Source: Press release from REVERSE SPEECH ENTERPRISES, 11/11/96 via Gillian Holloway)

According to a press release from David Oates, President of REVERSE SPEECH ENTERPRISES, Reverse Speech has just been approved by the DEPARTMENT OF LABOR as a legitimate occupation, and has been added to the occupational list of titles with its own code number. According to Oates, "This gives us amazing credibility and immediately pushes Reverse Speech into the occupational category mainstream. Reverse Speech is the career of the 21st century." Reverse Speech has also been added to the course curriculum of PAN PACIFIC UNIVERSITY in Hawaii. Next year, anyone in California taking training from PAN PACIFIC will be able to earn credits towards a bachelors degree. For more information on Reverse Speech, see NHNE NEWS BRIEF 33. (JG)

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THE DOBKIN TECHNIQUE
(Source: Jeffrey W. Dobkin, NEXUS, Oct-Nov/96)

It has long been known that all mammals share the "mammalian diving reflex" -- a protective, oxygen-preserving mechanism that takes effect during cold-water submersion. For humans, the reflex is triggered by water with a temperature of 58 degrees (14 C) or less. Muscle-blood flow decreases, the heart slows down, and oxygen is shunted from the extremities to essential organs -- the brain, heart and lungs. It is because of this reflex that drowning victims are often resuscitated after being immersed for as long as one hour in cold water. Now a method has been developed to prevent brain damage in victims suffering heart or respiratory failure while waiting for medical help to arrive. It relies on the fact that "the diving reflex" can be triggered by applying cold water to the head. Named the "Dobbin Technique" after its originator, the method is quite simple: applying cold, wet towels or ice packs to the victim's head triggers the reflex in as little as four seconds and can postpone the onset of brain damage or death for up to an hour. The diving reflex is most pronounced in children. (JG)

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SMOKERS' FACE
(Source: NEW YORK TIMES via SPECTRUM, Nov-Dec/96)

Have you ever thought you could pick out the heavy smokers in a crowd just by looking at their faces? Smoking fragments and thickens the skin's fibers which makes a person's face prematurely wrinkled. It also reduces blood circulation to the skin, so the face looks pasty. Smoking slows the production of collagen, the skin's main structural component, so the skin gets dry and sunken. In women, smoking may diminish estrogen levels, further degrading the skin's health and appearance. Smokers have a higher risk of skin diseases such as cancer of the mouth and lips, and also diseases with unsightly skin manifestations such as psoriasis, Buerger's disease, Crohn's disease, and lupus. And smoking delays the healing of wounds, so that when smokers injure their faces or have facial surgery, they have more pronounced facial scarring. Doctors hope that making smokers aware of the facial damage caused by their habit will provide the motivation to quit for those not scared off by the less superficial threats of lung cancer and emphysema. (JG)

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THE GOOD SIDE OF NICOTINE
(Source: Sharon Begley, NEWSWEEK, 11/4/96)

It has long been known that smoking as little as one cigarette improved memory, but scientists at BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE have only recently found out why. It seems that nicotine strengthens the communications between neurons in the hippocampus, a structure in the brain involved with learning and memory. In related news, a recent study by neurologists at CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY found that the risk of Alzheimers disease is lower in smokers. Nicotine inhibits the formation of plaque that gums up the brain. The problem with using nicotine as a memory aid and insurance against Alzheimers is that "the delivery system contains 440 known carcinogens," comments biologist Daniel McGehee of the UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO. A nicotine patch seems to be a safer and more effectivesource of nicotine. And you would think that this good news about nicotine would make cigarette companies happy, but it doesn't -- it strengthens the case that nicotine is a drug and thus requires tighter government regulation. (JG)

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GOOD TO THE LAST DRIP
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS via CNN ONLINE, 10/23/96)

Intravenous caffeine -- a coffee lover's fantasy -- has arrived! According to a report presented to the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS by MAYO CLINIC anesthesiologist Dr. Joseph Weber, people addicted to a daily dose of caffeine had a 25 percent chance of experiencing post-surgery headaches. He also found that coffee drinkers who received a caffeine drip were less likely to wake up from anesthesia with a headache than those who didn't. It seems the IV caffeine helps coffee and soda drinkers avoid caffeine withdrawal and the associated suffering. (JG)

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GOOD NEWS WATCH:
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WIND-UP RADIO
(Source: NEW AGE JOURNAL, Nov-Dec/96)

The Freeplay radio runs like a clock because you wind it up to provide the power. Turning the handle for 40 seconds provide 45 minutes of battery-free music -- great for picnics, power failures and emergencies. You can order your Freeplay radio for $99.95 from: Real Goods, 555 Leslie St. Ukiah, CA, 95482-5507. The wind-up radio was invented for people in developing countries where batteries are expensive or just not available, but it may be awhile before the price comes down to a level that they can afford. (JG)

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RAILS TO TRAILS
(Source: TECHNOLOGY REVIEW via SPECTRUM, Nov-Dec/96)

Despite skyrocketing real estate values, U.S. cities have added more park land in the past decade than in the previous 100 years. For the most part, they've managed to accomplish this remarkable feat by converting abandoned railway lines to recreational trials. In 1985, the RAILS-TO-TRAILS CONSERVANCY encouraged towns and cities to take advantage of this growing resource as more and more train lines fell into disuse. Now almost 8,000 miles of railway right-of-ways have been converted, with 23,000 more miles of trails in development. According to the NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, 75 million hikers, bikers, cross country skiers, and joggers are enjoying the rail-trails which often have the benefit of passing through scenic areas yet being close to home. (JG)

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NEWS BRIEF SPONSOR:
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NHNE is sponsoring a 7-day, all-expense-pad trip to Sedona, Arizona, USA, for two people from anywhere in North America. Activities include sacred hikes, tours, vision quests, body and healing work, massages, hot air balloon rides, and a special banquet with some of Sedona's movers and shakers (including David Sunfellow, the founder and publisher of NHNE, and James Gregory the Editor-in-Chief of the NHNE News Brief). All you have to do is write an essay about why you want to come to Sedona and include a donation ($50.00 is suggested). The contest ends March 1, 1997. Winners will be announced March 15, 1997. Seven runners up will also receive prizes.

Via regular mail, send your essays and donations to:

NewHeavenNewEarth
P.O. Box 2242
Sedona, AZ 86339

Via email, send your essays and a credit card number indicating what size of donation you would like to make to NHNE to:

angels@sedona.net

For more information, including a growing list of participating individuals and business, visit our Web site:

http://nen.sedona.net//nhne/spiritofsedona/

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NHNE FINANCIAL REPORT:
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ONLINE 1, OFFLINE 0, TOTAL LIST 756

Here is our financial report for the week of November 29:

New Online Subscribers this week: 1
New Offline Subscribers this week: 0
Total Paid Online Subscriptions: 50
Total Paid Offline Subscriptions: 9
Total Online Mailing List: 756

Subscriptions: $26.00
NHNE Video 1: $0.00
Total Video Orders: 2
Sponsors & Donations: $0.00
Total Income: $26.00

This Week's Expenses: $510.37
This Week's Deficit: $484.37

"Spirit of Sedona" entries: 2
Amount of Money Raised from Contest: $80.00

Money Needed To Upgrade Computer System: $2500.00
Money Received To Upgrade Computer System: $100.00

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
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DON'T WHINE, DO SOMETHING!

"It takes time and effort for you to put the NHNE News Brief together, so you should at least be breaking even! Are you afraid people will think you're not caring if you take a hard line? How could it be "not caring" for you to take a hard line, but acceptable for non-payers to take advantage of your generosity? DON'T WHINE, DO SOMETHING! I have two suggestions that may help:

1) I think it's good to have reminders in the News Brief about your financial solvency, but how about also including a description of the information you need for someone who wants to subscribe, where they should send their money, and the toll-free number for calling in credit card orders?

2) I also suggest a three-to-six month free trial online subscription. If a person hasn't sent you any money after they have had that long to check out the News Brief, they should be dropped from the mailing list. Anyone with email should be able to afford $50 per year for your weekly newsletters and all the other things you send out."

---Dan O., Port Washington, NY

[Thanks for your suggestions and concern. We have already made the changes in our online News Brief suggested in your first point. We are still mulling over your second suggestion.]

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LITTLE PROOF FOR DICKINSON CLAIMS

"Rod Dickinson's claims in NHNE NEWS BRIEF 37 seem to be part of the reflection process that follows the end of the crop circle season. There is little proof of anything that Dickinson claims. Although his report was detailed, we are still kept in the dark as to the original intentions for the phenomenon. You have to ask the question, "Why come forward and make these revelations in the first place?" In a way, Dickinson is betraying the human circle makers' anonymity -- he's just one step away from actually naming them. This doesn't seem to make sense, considering the fact that their activities (if they are telling the truth) are criminal, to say the least. Of course, proof is needed to convict. For the moment all, we can do is take it all on board until we have concrete proof. Somehow, I doubt this will ever happen."

---Stuart Dike and Mark Fussell, THE CROP CIRCLE CONNECTOR

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NO LIMIT TO THEIR STUPIDITY

"In the NHNE NEWS BRIEF 37 article on Rod Dickinson and his friends, who claim to have made several of the "Julia Set" crop circles in England this summer, the reporter asserts that there is "no limit to their ingenuity." I would add that there is "no limit to their stupidity" if the circle makers continually forget to take along video and infrared camera equipment, as well as objective witnesses, so when they craft their circles they can actually prove their claims. I am also surprised that they apparently have not thought to duplicate their amazing night-time feats in broad daylight. And why are their claims always retrospective? Maybe they've done a few, but give us a break and save the airwaves and print space for more useful material. One thing that seems certain is that the human circle hoaxers crave publicity and take some kind of perverse delight in attempting to interfere with the intended purpose of these marvelous circles. It is very likely that by their opposition they are actually supporting the aim of the real circle makers, whatever that aim might be. Why not be open to what is happening and encourage others to do the same!

---David Dohrmann, Ashland, Oregon

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MAKING IT EASIER

"Thank you for the time and effort you place in each article. It is sometimes very hard to tell the other slant to things since many 'new age' articles try to sell a thought without showing the weakness of the argument. I prefer to be well informed instead of being sold. You have made that easier for us."

---Jim & Jeannine Guerci, Tarrytown, New York

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BACK-PEDALING PSYCHICS

"I thought David Sunfellow's essay on geo-changes and those who make them that appeared in the Global Upheaval Special Report was super. It would be nice if more people who receive interdimensional communication would take a little more responbility for what comes out of their mouths or keyboards. There seems to be an epidemic of back-pedaling after they have already given some pronoucemnet that did not pan out, but sure as heck sold a few books. Precognition is prone to error far more than most people will admit to. One personal example: I had a dream where my wife came to me crying and said she was pregnant. In real life, I went to great efforts to make her feel important and how special woman are, the service they are linked to, etc. It turned out my wife was not pregnant, but I do not believe my efforts were wasted. Two months later, my wife came to me crying under the same recognizable circumstances that were in the dream and said, "The rabbit died!" In this case, though, she was not talking about a pregnancy rabbit (at one time rabbits were used to test for pregnancy), but a real rescued rabbit we had been caring for. This is a perfect example of a primary processing error in the interpretation of a precognitive event."

---Kenneth P. Stoller, MD FAAP

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NEW FROG THEORY

"Concerning your article about deformed frogs in NHNE NEWS BRIEF 32, I think that it is possible that radiation from satellites is effecting the genetic structure of frogs in their early development. Satellites operate at a frequency of 2 to 5 GHz; this is approaching the frequency of light. All electromagnetic radiation, whether X-rays, visible light, or radio waves, has an effect on plants and animals. It seems that the frog problem started shortly after the launch of the first satellites and got worse as the satellite population increased. At the same time the power of the satellites increased from less than 5 watts to over 250 watts."

---Andy Cant, Hot Springs, Arkansas

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DEALING WITH IMMEDIATE CONCERNS

"Congratulations on your excellent articles, wonderful bulletins, and special reports, especially the guidelines for the discernment process -- very insightful. As an astrologer, I am becoming increasingly concerned at the number of 'psychic' astrologers who seem unwilling -- or unable -- to deal with immediate and future concerns of clients and instead focus on past-life events. It's like telling a person who is lost and seeking road directions: 'I don't know where you currently are on this map, or where you might be heading, or how to get there, but I can definitely tell you that you lived near Phoenix in a past life and died in the desert of dehydration. That explains why you sunburn easily, collect cacti and have a great fear of scorpions. That will be $75.'"

---Maggie Anderson, Mount Vernon, Iowa

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TIPPING THE FIRST DOMINO

"For a number of years I have been following the predictions of various psychics concerning coming events around the turn of the century. Two sets of prophesies to which I have paid the closest attention suggest a severe economic downturn that precedes major earth changes. Dannion Brinkley's predictions detailed in "Saved by the Light" posit two massive earthquakes in the U.S. that break the back of an already weakened U.S. economy. I tend to give a lot of credence to Brinkley's predictions because so many of them have already come true. In addition, his predictions first started to come to him involuntarily after he was struck by lightning, an event which triggered in him an extraordinary state of consciousness. Such a special state may not be subject to the distortions that seem to be present in the dreams, meditative states and gut feelings of conventional psychics and sensitives. The predictions of No Eyes, as described in "Phoenix Rising" by Mary Summer Rain, suggest a major U.S. economic downturn before the severe earthquakes and volcanic eruptions of the emerging Phoenix. Her predictions are harder to evaluate than Brinkley's, because Mary Summer Rain has chosen to omit the timing of the predictions and No Eyes is vague about the sequence of the predicted events. However, it seems that several of the economic and social trends No Eyes predicted in 1982 are coming to pass, such as: the moving of factory jobs out of the U.S., increasing mistreatment of workers by management, growing mistrust of government. If we believe these predictions are accurate, then we should be paying close attention to the economic and social changes that are sweeping the globe as possible markers for later earth changes. I suggest that many of the economic and social trends that Brinkley and No Eyes predicted are coming to pass, which, like tipping the first of a line of dominos, could lead to a major economic disruption in the not too distant future."

---Clifford Kennedy-Cameron, Middlebury, Vermont

[Here's a comment from Anirvan Banerji, Senior Economist, ECONOMIC CYCLE RESEARCH INSTITUTE that seems to support your views: "We view [the first half of 1997] as a window of vulnerability. Any external shock... could easily tip us over into a recession." (Source: USA TODAY, 11/22/96)]

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SPIRIT OF SEDONA:
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What can you expect if you win NHNE's "Spirit of Sedona" contest? From time to time we will be featuring true stories from people who have visited our legendary home town.

A MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE
By Mike Oberg

"My wife's family and I had a vacation in Sedona this past summer. It was quite an experience. Some of us met with a local healer to discuss general energy-healing modalities. The next day we went on a hike up Doe Mountain (a mesa near Boynton Canyon) and I fell on an agave (a cactus-like plant with stiff leaves ending in very sharp points) which stabbed me nearly right through my palm. My hand immediately swelled from the broken blood vessels and I was close to passing out. We were a long way from help, so my wife and brother-in-law decided to try some of the ideas that we had learned the previous day. I sat on the ground while they stood over me channeling healing energy into my body. Meanwhile, I relaxed and in my mind I saw the cactus I fell on and I asked for forgiveness for my poor balance. I actually felt no pain from the wound. Within a week, the hand was very nearly healed. My wife who is a nurse was amazed! I have since heard and read of many others visiting Sedona who have had similar experiences. The beauty of the red rocks and canyons is only a backdrop for the mystical experiences that happen there. It is truly a unique area!"

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COMMENTS FROM THE TWILIGHT ZONE:
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We receive information from all kinds of folks, dealing with all kinds of topics. Some of the news and comments we receive are supportive and inspiring, some are abrasive and irritating, and some are, well, from somewhere else...

THIS IS THE GALACTIC CONFEDERATION
(Excerpts from a New Age Newsletter)

This is the Galactic Confederation. We are here to announce the opening of a new dimensional portal which will take place on November eleventh this year (1996). Planet Earth is approaching initial phase of its mutation into a body of light. In winter 1995/96 it began to change its position from the old into the new ley line grid system. As a result of this planetary activation, the following things will be achieved: Galactic light code 11:11:83 will be anchored. This light code will align etheric planetary axis and grid system with the Galactic central sun. Thus planet Earth will begin its Ascension into fifth dimensional Oneness. New planetary grid system will be sealed. Thus its vibration will be high enough to accept the heightened energies of the Photon Belt, which will arrive immediately after this planetary activation and will begin to mutate planet Earth into its light body.

............

Mass landings are now set to occur during a 38-day window that will last from November 10, till December 17, 1996. The order to start the landings will come from the Archangel in charge, Lord Zandriel. After the initial calming music is played, there will be a display of crossed shooting stars in the heavens and one's guardian angels will appear in your minds to reassure you of what is about to happen. The landings will happen very quickly. 15.5 million ships descending and landing will be a spectacular sight, especially when it occurs in about four hours. Everyone is assigned a counselor, and everyone will be told to prepare for shift to full-consciousness. Many people could still fall into denial and become hysterical, but for the most part, people will know that a profound event is unfolding and will just wait and see what develops.

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The Hale-Bopp Comet will be arriving in the Earth's atmosphere in April 1997 and its gases will produce toxic air pollution that will effect many people. It has been on this route for many eons of light years. It is very powerful. Its intelligence comes from its energy source. You can liken it to an energy that has gone wild in the cosmos that will cause some to perish, if there is a direct hit on Earth. Its function is not intended to hurt Earth, but Earth is in its path. We on this side are working to deter it from this path. Its course will be known more directly within a few months of your Earth time.

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The U.S. government will agree to allow spaceships and beings to land here on Earth for all to see openly within six months. All events are part of the Universal Master Plan. Many lightworkers are needed to keep the focus on Love and Divine Light for this master plan to work for the good of the Universal Consciousness.

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JESUS IS A MYTHOLOGICAL CONSTRUCT
(From Our eMail)

"Jesus Christ is demonstrably a mythological construct based on many older so-called pagan sun gods and heroes. When one studies this issue in depth, instead of simply taking it on face value, one will discover the clear and readily-discernible argument that Jesus Christ was never a historical character. As an archaeologist, mythologist, historian and linguist educated at some of the best schools in the world, I find the kind of propagandistic and unschooled information that you are publishing regarding this sun god mythos, Jesus Christ, to be very disturbing. I'm sorry if I burst your bubble, but the creator of this vast cosmos, did NOT come down to Earth as a Jewish guy 2,000 years ago. Please be part of the revelation of truth rather than the perpetuation of falsehood and delusion."

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JESUS LOVES YOU
(From Our Web Site Guest Book)

"At first I thought you guys were a little crazy, but then I realized that Jesus Christ died for you also. I just want to ask, 'How can you believe that when you die you come back as another being?' I pray to GOD, in the name of Jesus, that he would open your eyes to the truth! Those so-called spirit guides are nothing but demons sent to trick and deceive you. Please take the time to check into the truth about God and Jesus. If you want to know what love is, check out what Jesus did for you when he gave his life on the cross. I just had to let you know that Jesus loves you even though you don't believe in him. He is the only way to get to heaven. Put your faith in him and our Father will forgive you and take you in as his own. God, Jesus and I love you!"

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NOTHING IN COMMON
(From Our eMail)

"Please remove the link to the '---' INSTITUTE found on the NHNE Web site page:

<http://nen.sedona.net/nhne/like-minded.html>

"'---' INSTITUTE is a scientific research institute and has nothing in common with the other sites on this page."

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SPACE WATCH:
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MARS ON THE AUCTION BLOCK
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS, 11/10/96; ASSOCIATED PRESS via CNN ONLINE, 11/21/96)

Before three small Martian meteorites went on the auction block on November 20, the anonymous owner boasted that, "These will probably go down in history as the three most precious pieces of stone sold by man." He expected to sell all three pieces in one lot for $1.5 million or more. There are only 12 such meteorites known to exist in the world, and most pieces of them are held by museums, governments and research institutions.

Scientists believe the rocks are from Mars because their chemistry is different from that of most Earth rocks. The meteorites contain a ratio of iron to magnesium that is thought to be representative of Mars, and some of the 12 known Martian meteorites have tiny gas bubbles inside them that are chemically similar to what NASA's Viking missions measured when they landed on the planet in the 1970s. The market for meteorites was already picking up this summer when NASA scientists announced they'd found signs of life in a chunk of Martian rock discovered in Antarctica 12 years ago. Since then, prices have gone sky-high. It seems that every millionaire on Earth now wants a little piece of the red planet.

The mysterious owner claimed his three Martian rocks represented the only private collection containing the three major types of Martian meteorites, a statement disputed by other private collectors. The largest of the three specimens, the shergottite, is a one-pound piece of a 44-pound meteorite that fell on Zagami, Nigeria, in 1962. The nakhlite is a piece of a meteorite that broke up over Alexandria, Egypt, in 1911, raining down on the city in fragments weighing up to four pounds. One of the pieces killed a dog -- the only recorded case of death by meteorite impact. The smallest specimen, the chassignite, fell on a French village in 1815 and broke into about 40 pieces -- many of them unaccounted for -- before hitting the ground. The fragment up for auction is about the size of an adult's thumb. The Nigerian and Egyptian meteorites could contain the same chemical signatures that NASA scientists interpret as possible signs of life, but as of yet, none of the three has been subjected to the necessary tests.

Most of the people who attended the auction were simply curious -- only three parties actually placed bids -- and much to the disappointment of the meteorites' owner, the bidding stalled at $1.1 million, too low for a sale. The owner may now try to sell the meteorites privately to one of several institutions that were interested in the rocks, but had trouble raising money in time for the auction. (JG)

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GEMINID METEOR SHOWER
(Source: Bob Berman, DISCOVER, Dec/96)

If you enjoyed the Perseid Meteor Shower in August, you'll love the Geminid Meteor Shower on December 13. Geminids are at least as lavish as the Perseids (60 per hour), and because of their exceptionally slow speed (17 miles per second -- half that of the Perseids) they appear as discrete falling objects instead of blurry streaks. Conditions should be excellent with no moon to speak of, and the Geminid Shower reaches its greatest intensity before midnight, so you won't lose any sleep over this one. DISCOVER predicts this will be the "Shower of the Year." The reason most people are unfamiliar with the Geminids is probably because it means a chilly evening outdoors. So on the night of December 13, pack a thermos, bundle up and watch the light show courtesy of Mother Nature. (JG)

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TECH WATCH:
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NET OPEN FOR BUSINESS
(Source: Jane Bryant Quinn, NEWSWEEK, 10/14/96)

In 1995, the Internet supported $200 million in commerce. This total is expected to skyrocket in the next few years. Already there is a cyberbank to handle the demand. SECURITY FIRST NETWORK BANK (SFNB) exists only online at: http://www.sfnb.com.

Up to now, two things have held Net commerce back: access and security. The World Wide Web has sorted out the access issue by organizing vendors into storefronts and addresses and Web browsers make it easy to find the product or service you are seeking. There is even an electronic counterpart to the Yellow Pages, for example searching the word BOOKSTORES generates the addresses of 500 different sites around the world.

As for security, Jane Bryant Quinn of NEWSWEEK figures you are at greater risk when you hand your credit card to a waiter than when you use it to shop by computer. That being so, there are still some things you can do to make your transactions more secure.

Some browsers like NETSCAPE NAVIGATOR and INTERNET EXPLORER display an on-screen code indicating whether the line you are using is secure. If you choose to use an encrypted line, you can rest assured that they are almost impossible to crack. To add another level of confidence, some vendors are buying certification insurance that they are who they say they are. Look for the special icon designating certification.

There are additional security provisions coming soon: In six months a new system called SET will allow you to charge things to a credit card without showing anyone the number. SET also prevents the vendor from changing the purchase price. By the end of this year S/MIME will allow customers to send encrypted email that will not require any specialized equipment.

In the meantime, there are a number of common sense things you can do right now to be more secure on the Net:

-- The newer versions of browsers are more secure. Make sure you are always using the most recent version.

-- Don't post your credit card number anywhere.

-- Check your credit card statements as soon as they arrive in the mail.

And rest easy at night; if your credit card is used fraudulently, you are only responsible for the first $50 in unauthorized charges. (Note, your liability could go up to $500 if you wait too long to report the fraud,)

[At NHNE we accept credit card payments for subscriptions and donations in a variety of ways: if you are not comfortable with sending your credit card info by email, we offer a toll-free telephone line, (888) 293-1833, for your convenience; and of course, there is always the slow but dependable postal system.] (JG)

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NHNE STAFF:
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Copyright 1996 by NewHeavenNewEarth

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