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NHNE News Brief 48
Friday, February 14, 1997
"A thought-provoking exploration
of the extraordinary times in which we live."
1,050 days until January 1, 2000
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The Triumph of Evil
Mayan Calendar Misconception
Animal Transplants Banned in England
Internet Defies Controls
WebTV in Hotels Next Month
Flickering Light Affects Brain
GOOD NEWS WATCH:
Gospel of the Hammer
NEWS BRIEF SPONSOR:
Options for Growth
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
PSI Research Clarification
ANCIENT CIVILIZATION WATCH:
Developments on the Giza Plateau
No Hits & Misses This Year
The Big Hit
Phobos & Hale-Bopp
Mars Fans Pressure NASA
Life-on-Mars Debate Heats Up
Coming to a Planet Near You
On-Line Video a Reality
NewsTracker Clipping Service
ABOUT NHNE & HOW TO JOIN US
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
MAYAN CALENDAR MISCONCEPTION
(Source: NEWSWEEK, 2/10/97)
Some New Age Millennialists are claiming that the world will end in 2012 because they are under the impression that the ancient Mayan Calendar signals the end to the fourth creation of the cosmos at that time. What they don't realize is that archeologists have now deciphered Mayan texts showing that on the crucial date, the universal order will be reinforced, not destroyed. According to Linda Schele, a Mayan expert at the UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS at Austin, the Mayan calendar actually extends well into the 50th Century. (JG)
(Source: USA TODAY, 2/5/97)
Did you know that in instances such as the President's State of the Union address last week, when the entire U.S. leadership is gathered at one location, a "designated survivor" has to remove him or herself to a distant location? This is a contingency in the unlikely event that some sort of catastrophe were to wipe out the entire top echelon of the governing body of the country. The selection is made by lot. Last year HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES Secretary Donna Shalala was chosen. She and her staff spent the evening eating pizza in the Roosevelt Room of the White House and watching the event on TV. This year the designated survivor was Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman, who is eighth in line in presidential succession. The report in USA TODAY did not indicate where he and his staff stayed or what they ate. (JG)
ANIMAL TRANSPLANTS BANNED IN ENGLAND
(Source: ASSOCIATED PRESS, 1/16/97 via Joya Pope)
Following a report that animal viruses could introduce new diseases into humans, Britain has banned the transplant of animal organs to humans until the risks are better understood. Advocates of the procedure had hoped that the transplant of animal organs could be used in cases where human organs for transplant were scarce. Genetically-modified pigs are the most likely source of replacements for human organs. The pigs are bred with human genes that cause their organs to be coated with human molecules to prevent rejection in a human patient. However, pigs are known to harbor several retroviruses (the family of virus that includes HIV). A decision to allow animal-to-human transplants will only be taken once scientists agree that the risk is acceptable. In the United States, to ensure that cross-species transplants are safe, the FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION issued guidelines in September covering everything from the breeding of animals for transplants to the makeup of transplant teams. Even if clinical trials were to begin, routine transplants from animals to humans would not take place until the next century. (JG)
INTERNET DEFIES CONTROLS
(Source: REUTERS, 1/20/97)
The growth in personal computer use and the Internet has been stupendous. Research company IDG says that by the year 2000, more than ONE BILLION people around the world will be users of personal computers, up from 450 million in 1996. This world-wide network of computers linked by telephone lines is allowing ordinary citizens to communicate freely across international borders, often for the first time. This has prompted oppressive governments to try to restrain the freedom of speech, but according to Dr. Bob Glass of SUN MICROSYSTEMS, any attempt by governments to curtail this would be a waste of time. He explains, "Singapore has tried curbs. When you dial in, you can only get the headlines on Web sites. The same in China. All Internet traffic is routed through BEIJING UNIVERSITY which only allows the content the government permits. But people just call outside the country to another Internet server." Other countries have more direct methods of imposing their will. In November, Burma announced a law penalizing the unauthorized use of modems with up to 15 years in jail. Glass figures technical developments will thwart any attempts at government control. "They can try to control the telephone system with supercomputers, but when low-orbit satellites can give you direct phone service, no computer is going to trace that." In a move to accept the inevitable, China has recently loosened its controls on Internet users accessing foreign news sources but continues to watch for politically-suspect content on the network.
WEBTV IN HOTELS NEXT MONTH
(Sources: Donna Rosato, USA TODAY, 2/5/97; Katie Hafner, NEWSWEEK, 2/17/97)
ON COMMAND, America's biggest provider of guest-room TV entertainment, is teaming up with WEBTV NETWORKS to bring the Internet to hotel rooms, starting with a three-month trial in the San Francisco Bay area next month. As with pay-per-view movies, guests will pay a fee to surf the Net, retrieve email and enter chat rooms. Guests will be able to print information right off the screen such as local maps and restaurant listings. Fees haven't been set yet -- two alternatives being looked at are a flat rate per day or charges based on the number of hours of use. Hotel WebTVs will be much faster than the domestic variety because the rooms will be wired with high-speed phone lines. After the trial, ON COMMAND plans to roll out WebTV in all major hotels that already receive their On Command and SpectraVision services -- 914,000 hotel rooms, 25 percent of the nations's total number. Combine this with CENTURY PLAZA'S Cyber Suite in Los Angeles. While CENTURY PLAZA promises "the perfect synthesis of innovation and luxury," in actual fact there are still some bugs to be worked out as NEWSWEEK writer Katie Hafner found out when she stayed there recently. For example, the "Butler in a Box," Alexander, a voice-activated command center, was a little too eager to please, sometimes misinterpreting an offhand remark as a command to prepare the suite for "Party Time." Once started, there was no stopping him as he closed the drapes, lowered the lights and turned up the stereo. The master bathroom was prone to flooding when guests requested that Alexander fill the tub. While the fax machine and cellular phone worked fine, the 37-inch NetTV unit was complicated and balky. The future isn't quite here... yet. (JG)
FLICKERING LIGHT AFFECTS BRAIN
(Source: REUTERS, 2/5/97)
A relatively common complaint in some Scandinavian countries is "electrical hypersensitivity" -- a cluster of symptoms that include headache, itchy skin, blurred vision, fatigue and dizziness. While electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have been postulated to cause these symptoms, no link has been ever been proved. Now a Swedish study suggests that the symptoms may actually be due to an exaggerated brain response to flickering light, such as that from computers or fluorescent bulbs, according to the report in the JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE. This study indicates that patients with perceived electrical hypersensitivity are hyperreactive in their nervous system. "Flickering light might be considered as a trigger for further neurochemical disturbances, leading to typical symptoms of hypersensitivity," the authors of the report concluded. "Such a mechanism is only presumed now, and special experimental proofs are needed to confirm it." (JG)
GOOD NEWS WATCH:
GOSPEL OF THE HAMMER
(Source: Paul Karr, THE AMERICAN NEWS SERVICE, 2/6/97)
In a lonely clearing just west of the Savannah River Valley, the Hill Baptist Church burned to the ground on a spring night last year. The church was one of 138 African-American churches that have burned under suspicious circumstances since the beginning of 1995, according to the NATIONAL CHURCH ARSON TASK FORCE established by President Clinton. The charred remains have long since been cleared away, replaced with a freshly-poured concrete foundation -- and, maybe, a new understanding of what one observer calls "the gospel according to the hammer." In December, members of Jewish, Methodist and Baptist faiths -- people of all colors and backgrounds -- held hands, hugged and sang at the groundbreaking for the new church. "It's remarkable that the intent of these hate crimes was to drive people apart, but that instead it has had very much the opposite effect," said Joe Hamilton, a spokesman for the Atlanta-based UNITED METHODIST VOLUNTEERS IN MISSION. In this reconstruction, he and others believe they are also laying the foundation for better racial understanding and cooperation. "Maybe (the arsonists) thought that only African Americans would care. They were wrong," added AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE Executive Director David Harris. "If their target was an African-American church, then we're all African Americans." (JG)
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
"I got your video in the mail today and just finished watching it. I liked it very much, especially the objectivity. That was some mountain climb! I love spirituality and things of the Spirit. I am sure that the beauty of where you are is very close to heart of God. A place like that makes you forget yourself, or find yourself in the truth. The end of your video was totally delightful. What fun! It made me laugh because I had perception shift of what's going on there. It was really great to be able to put faces with your names and all the beautiful things you write."
---Marie Frances Rhodes
[You can find out more about our video by visiting the NHNE Web site <http://nen.sedona.net/nhne/mailorder.html>]
PSI RESEARCH CLARIFICATION
"I happened to run across your article in News Brief 29 that mentioned the CONSCIOUSNESS RESEARCH LAB at UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA at LAS VEGAS and my work exploring the mysterious connection between mind and matter. Thanks. In your article you also mention that 'DUKE UNIVERSITY continues its exploration of anomalies like deja vu and ESP.' For your information, J.B. Rhine's research is now conducted by the RHINE RESEARCH CENTER, which is located near Duke, but is not affiliated with the university."
---Dean Radin Ph.D., Las Vegas, Nevada
"Thank you for your outstanding report on colloidal silver in News Brief 46. I am glad to see so many people finally catching on to what I thought was obvious."
---Brenda Johnson, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
ANCIENT CIVILIZATION WATCH:
DEVELOPMENTS ON THE PLATEAU OF GIZA
(Source: ATLANTIS RISING, Number 10)
After several unexplained postponements, Dr. Joseph Schor and colleagues, accompanied by representatives from the EGYPTIAN DEPARTMENT OF ANTIQUITIES, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY, and FOX TELEVISION plan to be on Plateau of Giza in late February in an attempt to learn more about the nature of possible chambers beneath the Sphinx. Little is being said about what investigative strategy might be employed. Officials with the Schor team deny that permission has been granted to drill into a suspected chamber and insert a TV camera into the hole, since the license granted to the Schor group by the EGYPTIAN DEPARTMENT OF ANTIQUITIES is for survey purposes only. Any penetration into underground sites requires another license, and the Egyptian authorities seem to be in no hurry to proceed. While the presence of FOX TV indicates the possibility of a live broadcast of some kind of significant event, FOX has made it clear that it is only interested in such a broadcast if it can be assured in advance of what discovery awaits its cameras.
Reports of an "uneasy truce" between Schor's group (including Antiquities officials like Zahi Hawass) and the faction led by Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval and John Anthony West appear to have been premature. The feud, in fact, seems to be escalating and tempers are flaring with charges and countercharges over cover ups, as well as outright name calling. ATLANTIS RISING is of the opinion that "anything less than complete public disclosure of any discoveries made, will be subject to a firestorm of criticism beyond anything in the volatile history of Egyptian archeology."
John Van Auken of the ASSOCIATION OF RESEARCH & ENLIGHTENMENT reports that a group of French archeologists is making plans to send another robot camera up the narrow passageway from the Queen's chamber to Gantenbrink's Door, named after the scientist who designed the robot which first discovered the small stone structure with two metal handles inset. This time, the probe will attempt to insert a medical-style camera beneath the door where one corner has broken off. (JG)
By David Sunfellow
NO HITS & MISSES THIS YEAR:
For years now, Gordon-Michael Scallion has published a list of predictions for the coming year in the January issue of his EARTH CHANGES REPORT (ECR) newsletter. Scallion's February issue has traditionally been a follow-up of hits and misses from the previous year. But this year, while Scallion published his predictions for 1997 in the January issue of ECR, his February issue not only doesn't review hits and misses from the previous year, but not a word is said about why the hits and misses feature has been omitted. There is, in fact, no mention of his misses for 1996 at all. Mention is made, however, of one supposed 1996 hit.
THE BIG HIT:
Quoting a prediction that appeared in the January 1996 issue of ECR, "earth changes increase globally," a news article in the current issue of ECR boldly declares, "Rarely has GMS been more accurate than in the above prediction concerning the year 1996." The article that supports Scallion's accurate prediction for earth changes itemizes the losses suffered by insurance companies due to weather-related disasters. If the news story had elaborated on the specific earth changes Scallion actually predicted for 1996, his readers would have seen a glaring discrepancy between what Scallion actually said and what the article claimed. The ECR article, for instance, didn't mention that most of the global earth changes Scallion predicted were for earthquakes, not weather changes. Nor did it mention that most of the weather-related changes Scallion did make, failed to happen. Instead, the broadest part of Scallion's prediction was quoted without the specifics that would have called it into question. This, of course, is something Scallion has done on many other occasions.
Here is a list of the actual earth changes predictions that Scallion made for 1996:
1. Earth changes increase globally. The number of quakes greater than 7.0 breaks the record for the year. Many reach magnitude 9.0.
2. The year 1996 is to go down as one of the coldest years on record.
3. Tsunamis hit the Pacific Coast from Vancouver, B.C. to Oregon as a result of an offshore quake between 45 and 60 degrees latitude.
4. Fires sweep across the Pacific Northwest, California, Georgia, Kentucky.
5. Droughts begin in the food belt of U.S. Imperial Valley. Crops are hard hit in California and the Plains states.
6. Water levels in the oceans rise because of a melt-off above 60 degrees latitude.
7. Quakes in Palm Springs, California.
8. Quakes in the New Madrid Fault.
9. Crustal slips in Ring of Fire because of super-mega quake.
10. New England experiences three seasons instead of four.
11. Volcanic ash fallout to encompass the whole planet in '96-'97.
Obviously, most of these predictions didn't happen. I will be taking a closer look at Scallion's hits and misses for 1996 in an upcoming Special Report.
SCALLION'S NEW MAP:
Elsewhere in the current issue of ECR we read that Scallion's "Future Map of North America" has finally been released and that it contains new changes that Scallion has seen occurring between 2001 and 2012 for all of North America, including Canada, Mexico and Central America. While there are minor modifications in the geological changes Scallion is predicting, the biggest change is the extra decade that Scallion has quietly added to his time table. Scallion's earlier visions -- and map -- indicated that the entire world would be remade by 2002:
" A vision I've seen for the year 2002 is of a new Earth -- reborn -- with its people living in harmony with each other. Lush tropical settings cover many parts of the United States. Communities seem to be located more in rural areas than in cities. The air is clean, and there no longer is an ozone hole..."
Now, however, we've got ten extra years of earth changes ahead of us. According to Scallion, we can expect the U.S. eastern seaboard to be inundated "numerous times" because of "tsunamis originating in Europe and the North Atlantic, and later from a meltoff at the Arctic because of the magnetic pole shifts." Scallion also envisions rises in land elevation "from Chesapeake Bay, Virginia south to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and from Jacksonville, Florida to Cape Canaveral, Florida." Scallion is also predicting that TWO islands (his former map contained one) will rise out of the Atlantic ocean. The larger island "which will be larger than the state of Texas" will rise parallel to the eastern seaboard from Washington to Florida, while the smaller island will be located near the Bahamas. And, of course, Scallion is continuing to predict that ancient Atlantian ruins dating to over 16,000 years will be discovered on these new land masses.
PHOBOS & HALE-BOPP:
In the June 1996 issue of ECR, Scallion described a dramatic vision in which the Martian moon Phobos is pulled from its orbit around Mars and sent ricocheting off our planet's atmosphere. As a result of this incredible event, major earth changes are unleashed all across our planet, including catastrophic winds and massive earthquake and volcano activity that, in some places, leave "crazing animals that look like herds of cattle, frozen in their paths." In the June issue of ECR Scallion said that he thought a comet would be responsible for pushing Phobos out of its orbit. Updating this previous prediction, Scallion has this to say:
"As stated, I believe Phobos will be pulled from its orbit and ricochet off the Earth's atmosphere. Since publishing this I have had an additional insight on the cause. Comet Hale-Bopp will affect magnetic conditions on the Sun as it passes through the heavens. These changes will be subtle at first, but will increase daily, until a magnetic shift, or polarity change occurs on the sun. As the solar shift occurs, it will induce a magnetic pole shift on Mars, causing Phobos to leave it orbit."
If Scallion's Phobos-Hale-Bopp prediction is anything like the prediction he made concerning the Shoemaker-Levy Comet that struck Jupiter in 1994, then we have nothing to worry about. Just before that spectacular event, which was watched on televisions around the world, Scallion declared in the February 1994 issue of ECR:
"I sense the earth changes will occur as a result of the collision of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy with Jupiter. Watch the Pacific and Atlantic oceans for violent reactions within 24 hours of the collision."
If you've been carefully reading the articles and Special Reports we've done on Gordon-Michael Scallion, you know that his prophetic track record is embarrassingly poor. Not only has Scallion been wrong about every major planetary-wide geological disturbance he has predicted, but almost every major event Scallion has predicted also flies in the face of current geological, seismic and astronomy research.
While we don't believe most of Scallion's earth change predictions are worth worrying about, we are concerned about another area of Scallion's work. Scallion recently launched a new program that will make dream work a major focus of his efforts. Called "Dream Voyager," Scallion's new focus includes a Web site and an regular series of radio shows. A front page story in the current issue of ECR launches the new program. In that article, Scallion details another one of his remarkable visions (a lucid dream in this case) which, true to form, he interprets literally.
After all the failed predictions Scallion has made, you might think that he would be rethinking his entire approach to inner guidance. You might also think that the last thing Scallion would want to do is teach others to use a process that hasn't worked for him. You may even wonder, as this reporter does, if Scallion is making up, or at least seriously embellishing, the inner experiences he claims to have.
Whatever you think, one thing is certain: Gordon-Michael Scallion is planning to teach many others to work with dreams, inner guidance and the inner realms like he has. And this may be a far scarier thought than any of his earth changes predictions.
You can find out more about Scallion's new focus by visiting the Dream Voyager Web site at:
You can find out more about the pitfalls associated with working with dreams and inner guidance as literal versus symbolic events by checking out Gillian Holloway's article on "Understanding Dreams of End Days":
An outline of "Common Dream Pitfalls & How To Avoid Them" is also available at:
MARS FANS PRESSURE NASA
(Source: ATLANTIS RISING, Number 10)
When the Mars Global Surveyor begins to transmit its high-resolution pictures of the surface of the Red Planet later this year, the camera's designer and controller Michael Malin has given assurances that whenever the orbiter passes over the "Face on Mars" of Cydonia, the camera will be turned on and the pictures posted on the Internet. Now comes NASA's announcement that pictures of the "Face on Mars" will be taken and posted, "only if no higher-priority science preempts the project." Richard Hoagland is furious with the news, reading this as NASA "doing everything they can to leave themselves a legal loophole" to withhold the images if they show any signs of alien handiwork.
Hoagland is not the only one who is steamed. On November 6, simultaneous demonstrations took place at the KENNEDY SPACE CENTER in Florida and the JET PROPULSION LAB in California on the day of the proposed launch of the Global Surveyor, as a clear message from Mars devotees that they are holding NASA to their initial promise to produce the photographic evidence to resolve questions about the "Face." In Florida, the official response was tolerant; in California, NASA expressed its displeasure by having sheriff's deputies invoke a seldom-used parking regulation to ticket demonstrators' cars. (JG)
LIFE-ON-MARS DEBATE HEATS UP
(Source: Sharon Begley and Adam Rogers, NEWSWEEK, 2/10/97)
For those who felt that the announcement of the discovery of life on Mars by NASA last August was the definitive statement on the subject, be informed that the debate is just heating up. Based upon an analysis of Martian meteorites found in the Antarctic, NASA scientists offered what they felt were four lines of evidence for ancient life on the Red Planet. However skeptics are now arguing that each of the four has a non-biological explanation. Here are the four lines of evidence and the rebuttals:
-- Carbonates form in the presence of warm water, a prerequisite for life, and contain chemical byproducts of living things. However, they also form at very high temperatures, such as those produced by the cosmic impact that blew the rock off Mars.
-- Tubular shapes of what look like tiny terrestrial bacteria show up in electron-microscope images. However, the structures are too small to microbial fossils, and they may, in fact, be artifacts of the electron microscope itself.
-- Magnetite crystals are produced on Earth by some living bacteria as a sort of internal compass. However, researchers led by John Bradley, an expert microscopist at MVA INC. in Georgia, counter that the structure of the crystals is identical to those formed in volcanic vents at temperatures to hot to support life.
-- Organic molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) form during the decomposition of living things. However, they also form during nonbiological reactions according to Chemist Edward Anders, one of the deans of meteorite science, citing a scientific paper written in 1862. They are also common in the Antarctic ice claim Jeff Bada and Luann Becker of UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA at San Diego, so they may have come from Earth.
As compelling as NASA's evidence for life on Mars, to date, no one has yet come up with the definitive experiment that would prove that something in the Martian meteorites has a biological origin. The debate continues. (JG)
(Source: Russel Sipe, Hale-Bopp Web Site, 2/12/97)
Comet Hale-Bopp is brightening rapidly and is now easily visible to the naked eye from even moderately light-polluted skies. During the first week of February, the comet brightened from 2.5 magnitude to 1.3. To put the brightness of Comet Hale-Bopp into perspective, the comet is still two months from its brightest, and when the great Comet Hyakutake (1996) was two months out, was not yet visible with the naked eye. Even being that much dimmer than Comet Hale-Bopp, Hyakutake became one of the great comets of this century. So, what about Hale-Bopp? It's looking VERY good!
At the moment, there is a short, bright dust tail "above" the comet (actually to the northwest of the nucleus), and a longer, dimmer, bluish ion gas tail stretching away to the north of the comet. On February 9, the tail of the comet measured about three degrees to the naked eye, and about six degrees in binoculars. The comet moves about one degree in each 24-hour period.
Look for the comet in the southeast about 20 degrees above the horizon about one hour before sunrise. For those of you who know your constellations, the comet is entering the constellation of Cygnus.
Note, despite claims to the contrary, there is no visible evidence at this time of a companion accompanying the comet. Go and see for yourself. For more information, visit the Hale-Bopp Web Site: <http://www.halebopp.com/>.
(Source Paul Hoversten, USA TODAY, 2/10/97)
When it was first launched in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was crippled with a number of serious problems that were only discovered after it was deployed 350 miles above the surface of the Earth: its primary viewing mirror had a flaw in it that blurred its vision and the solar arrays that provided the power wobbled, shaking the telescope. Outraged members of Congress branded it a "techno-turkey" and NASA vowed never again to have a project that rhymed with "trouble."
In December 1993, the shuttle Endeavor rendezvoused with the stricken telescope and a crew of technicians was able rectify all its shortcomings. Since that time, the turkey has been transformed into an eagle -- Hubble has made more than 110,000 astronomical observations and NASA has been flooded with five times as many proposals as can be accommodated. The entire world has been dazzled by its breathtaking images of space.
Now a second maintenance crew is paying the orbiting telescope a visit to make it work even better. The plan is to install an instrument called the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph which will improve Hubble's ability to analyze the color and composition of celestial objects. It will also widen Hubble's field of view, allowing astronomers to simultaneously see many regions of a galaxy rather than be limited to one location at a time. The second instrument, the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer, improves the quality of the heat detector of the telescope and allows the telescope to see through cosmic dust in order to better watch stars and planets in the process of formation. The spacewalkers will also upgrade other components such tape recorders, cables and sensors. Ed Weller, Hubble's Chief Scientist explains that the changes will result in "a dramatic increase in science. We're replacing '70s technology with '90s technology."
But it is not going to be easy. The astronauts will be working in bulky spacesuits and gloves, in zero gravity and a total vacuum. Some of the instruments they will be maneuvering in that environment are the size of telephone booths, with clearances of less than an inch. Complicating their task are the fragile solar arrays which will not be rolled up this time like they were in 1993 because they are judged to be too fragile. Any bump to Hubble could possibly twist the arrays out of alignment. The shuttle carries no spares. Fortunately, two of the crew on this mission are veterans of the successful 1993 mission, and the seven-man crew has logged a total of 15 previous shuttle flights.
The $4 billion Hubble Space Telescope was designed to explore deep space until the year 2005. Regular maintenance visits every three or four years are part of the plan to make this superb instrument of exploration even better. With the success of the previous mission as a benchmark, the last advice the crew of Discovery received before blastoff on February 11 was, "Don't break anything!" (JG)
COMING TO A PLANET NEAR YOU
(Sources: NEWSWEEK, 2/10/97 via Charlotte King)
Here are some astronomical events to watch out for in the near future, according to astronomer Brian Marsden of the SMITHSONIAN ASTROPHYSICAL OBSERVATORY in Cambridge, Massachusetts:
-- In August 2000, the first of a number of near misses by heavenly bodies will occur as Asteroid Mithra passes within 5 million miles of the planet Earth, and in September 2004, Asteroid Toutatis will come within 1 million miles. In 2006, Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 sweeps within 8 million miles of Earth and in 2011 Comet Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova will come within 6 million miles. As a matter of comparison, Comet Hyakutake came within 9.5 million miles of Earth in 1996, and the Hale-Bopp Comet will miss the Earth by more than 120 million miles later this spring.
-- In June 2004, the transit of Venus will be visible from Earth, as the planet crosses in front of the Sun. This is a relatively rare event -- the last time it took place was in 1882. The planet's passage can be seen with the naked eye (with proper protection) as it covers almost 4 percent of the Sun's disc for six hours.
-- In 1982, the much ballyhooed planetary alignment failed to result in the predicted "Jupiter Effect," so take with a grain of salt dire predictions being made over the "Millennium Alignment" of May 5, 2000. At that time the Earth, Sun, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will all be arrayed within a slice of sky 30 degrees wide (about one twelfth of the total sky). Unfortunately, we will be unable to see this cosmic wonder, because the Earth will be on the far side of the Sun from all the other planets. As to claims of abnormal gravitational tugs creating massive earthquakes and tidal waves, rest easy -- the extra pull of the aligned planets will be no more than .01 percent of normal tidal forces.
-- And it may come as a relief to know that the orbit of Pluto, that odd planet at the fringe of our Solar System, will return to a normal in 1999, just in time for the Millennium. Due to its eccentric orbit, the "outermost" planet has recently been spending time inside the orbit of Neptune. (JG)
ON-LINE VIDEO A REALITY
By James Gregory
Video over the Internet got a big boost recently with PROGRESSIVE NETWORKS' release of RealVideo giving Pentium PC users with 28.8K baud modems both RealAudio and "streaming" video which can be viewed as it loads without any waiting. While others have put video on the Internet, PROGRESSIVE NETWORKS is in a position to push the technology into the mainstream: RealAudio already has 8 million users who need only upgrade to RealVideo. The company is planning to put a test version on their Web site: <http://www.prognet.com>.
At this state of the art, RealVideo is not TV quality -- it broadcasts at only 5 to 15 frames per second compared to TV's 30, however quality will improve dramatically when 56K baud modems appear on the market this spring. The technology has the potential to make on-screen video interactive, combining the best of TV and the Net, says Jae Kim, an analyst with research firm PAUL KAGAN & ASSOCIATES. "This is not meant to compete with cable TV -- it's an extension," explains PROGRESSIVE NETWORKS' Barkley Kern. "We'll be using RealVideo to get our programs out into classrooms, offices and computers all over the world."
NHNE is monitoring the technical developments of streaming video very closely. As you may know, we recently released our first full-length video about the company NewHeavenNewEarth, the town of Sedona, a Special Report on Gordon-Michael Scallion and a sacred hike in red rock country. Other videos are already in the planning stages, including a video solely devoted to sacred hikes in the Sedona area, and a video about the town and people of Sedona, Arizona. It is NHNE's intention, that as soon as this technology is bug free and available to Apple and PC users, we will start offering our videos online.
In a related story, INTEL has just rolled out another chip -- a Pentium processor souped up to run multimedia applications more smoothly and boost overall performance by 10 to 20 percent. The MMX chip (the letters don't stand for anything) contains 57 new "instructions" that allow it to clear the road for operations most frequently performed by multimedia operations. MMX machines are already on the shelves and cost only $50 to $100 more than their slower counterparts. INTEL thinks so highly of the its new product that it will no longer be making any more non-MMX chips. According to INTEL spokesman Howard High, the computer-entertainment boom is what has driven the company to design the new chip: "It's a Darwinian device," he explains. "It continually evolves based on what the consumer wants it to be." (Sources: Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 2/10/97; Jennifer Tanaka, NEWSWEEK, 2/17/97) (JG)
NEWSTRACKER CLIPPING SERVICE
EXCITE INC., which runs Internet search and navigation services, has launched what it calls "the first free news clipping service available over the World Wide Web." EXCITE's NewsTracker makes twice-daily searches of more than 300 Web publications. You can also explore EXCITE's pre-selected categories like "Mutual Funds" and "Health," or search by keyword. If you register, the service will keep track of your personal searches and refresh them automatically. The service is supported by advertising. (JG)
David Sunfellow (DS)
James Gregory (JG)
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Lea Harwood (LH)
Joya Pope (JP)
Palden Jenkins (PJ)
Sandy Ezrine (SE)
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Karol Ann Barnett (KAB)
Mary Koch (MK)
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