Sunday, October 30, 2005
Print Story: Alien abductees prone to false memories? on Yahoo! News: "Alien abductees prone to false memories?
Wed Oct 26,12:36 PM ET
Do you have memories of being abducted by aliens and whisked away in a spaceship?
You wouldn't be alone.
Several thousand people worldwide claim to have had such close encounters, researchers say. But in a new study, a psychology expert at London's Goldsmiths College says these experiences are proof of the frailty of the human memory, rather than evidence of life in other galaxies.
'Maybe what we're dealing with here is false memories, and not that people are actually being abducted and taken aboard spaceships,' says Professor Chris French, who surveyed 19 self-proclaimed alien abductees.
Several of the abductees reported being snatched from their beds or cars by alien creatures around four feet high, with spindly arms and legs and oversized heads, French said.
Some men said they were subjected to painful medical examinations by the aliens, during which their sperm was extracted.
Many of the alien experiences could be explained by sleep paralysis, a condition in which a person is awake and aware of the surroundings but is unable to move.
Sleep paralysis often leads to hallucinations and 40 percent of people experience the state at least once in their lives, French said.
A rich imagination was also at play. Several of the alien abductees were already prone to fanaticizing and also claimed to have seen ghosts and have psychic or healing abilities.
'People have very rich fantasy lives,' said French, who is due to present his findings at a public seminar at London's Science Museum Wednesday.
'So much so that they often mix up what's happening in their heads with what is going on in the real world.'"
Monday, October 24, 2005
Azcona, who was president of the Central American nation from 1986 to 1990, died at home of heart problems at age 78, family members said.
His term was marked by controversy over the presence of armed Nicaraguan Contra rebels on Honduran soil. The rebels received U.S. training and aid for their fight against the Sandinista government reviled by Washington.
The United States sent its own troops to Honduras, at Azcona's request, when the Sandinista army crossed the border to pursue the Contras.
Azcona's government agreed to oust the Contras if Nicaragua would hold free elections. In 1990 the Sandinistas lost power to U.S.-supported candidate Violeta Chamorro at the polls.
Azcona is remembered by some Hondurans as one of few clean politicians in a country where public life is often characterized by corruption, and credited with helping to negotiate peace accords in a region torn by civil war."
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Sleuths Crack Tracking Code Discovered in Color Printers: "By Mike Musgrove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 19, 2005; D01
It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it isn't. The pages coming out of your color printer may contain hidden information that could be used to track you down if you ever cross the U.S. government.
Last year, an article in PC World magazine pointed out that printouts from many color laser printers contained yellow dots scattered across the page, viewable only with a special kind of flashlight. The article quoted a senior researcher at Xerox Corp. as saying the dots contain information useful to law-enforcement authorities, a secret digital 'license tag' for tracking down criminals.
The content of the coded information was supposed to be a secret, available only to agencies looking for counterfeiters who use color printers.
Now, the secret is out."
Astrologer wrong on the big prediction - Yahoo! News: "BHOPAL, India (Reuters) - Hundreds of people flocked to a village in central India Thursday to see if an astrologer who forecast his own death would indeed die as predicted.
But the 75-year-old man survived the day."
Sunday, October 16, 2005
God Is in the Rules - New York Times: "October 16, 2005
God Is in the Rules
By GEOFF D. PORTER
Fatwas, the legal opinions proclaimed by Islamic scholars, have proliferated in the Muslim world since the 1980's, driven by rising literacy rates and the Internet. The growth in fatwas - some of them contradictory - has led to a debate over who can legitimately issue them and has alarmed governments in the Middle East, since the decrees sometimes challenge state-sanctioned interpretations of Islam.
Yet criticizing fatwas about divisive issues like the propriety of killing civilians and Shiites can be dangerous for officials. So the Saudi government is trying a different tactic, zeroing in on what it considers frivolous fatwas in order to rally support for tougher measures on who can and who cannot issue opinions. Recently, Al Watan, a semiofficial Saudi daily newspaper, reported that a young athlete had joined the jihad in Iraq under the influence of a fatwa forbidding playing soccer by regular rules. The newspaper also republished the fatwa, said to have originally appeared on an Islamic Web site. Portions of the fatwa, which I translated from the Arabic, follow.
- GEOFF D. PORTER
IN the name of God the merciful and benevolent:
1. Play soccer without four lines because this is a fabrication of the heretics' international rules that stipulate using them and delineating them before playing.
2. International terminology that heretics and polytheists use, like 'foul,' 'penalty,' 'corner,' 'goal,' 'out' and others, should be abandoned and not said. Whoever says them should be punished, reprimanded and ejected from the game. He should be publicly told, 'You have imitated the heretics and polytheists and this is forbidden.'
3. Do not call 'foul' and stop the game if someone falls and sprains a hand or foot or the ball touches his hand, and do not give a yellow or red card to whoever was responsible for the injury or tackle. Instead, it should be adjudicated according to Sharia rulings concerning broken bones and injuries. The injured player should exercise his Sharia rights according to the Koran and you must bear witness with him that so-and-so hurt him on purpose.
4. Do not follow the heretics, the Jews, the Christians and especially evil America regarding the number of players. Do not play with 11 people. Instead, add to this number or decrease it.
5. Play in your regular clothes or your pajamas or something like that, but not colored shorts and numbered T-shirts, because shorts and T-shirts are not Muslim clothing. Rather they are heretical and Western clothing, so beware of imitating their fashion.
6. If you have fulfilled these conditions and intend to play soccer, play to strengthen the body in order to better struggle in the way of God on high and to prepare the body for when it is called to jihad. Soccer is not for passing time or the thrill of so-called victory.
7. Do not set the time of play at 45 minutes, which is the official time of the Jews, Christians and all the heretical and atheist countries. This is the time used by teams that have strayed from the righteous path. You are obliged to distinguish yourself from the heretics and the corrupted and must not resemble them in anything.
6. Do not play in two halves. Rather play in one half or three halves in order to completely differentiate yourselves from the heretics, the polytheists, the corrupted and the disobedient.
9. If neither of you beats the other, or 'wins' as it is called, and neither puts the leather between the posts, do not add extra time or penalties until someone wins. No, instead leave the field, because winning with overtime and penalty kicks is the pinnacle of imitating heretics and international rules.
10. If you play soccer, do not appoint someone to follow you called a 'referee,' since there is no need for him after doing away with international rules like 'foul,' 'penalty,' 'corner' and others. His presence would be in imitation of the heretics, Jews and Christians and would follow international rules."
Saturday, October 15, 2005
HAIPHONG, Vietnam (Reuters) - The next human pandemic is 'inevitable' and the world must prepare now against bird flu and other potentially deadly viruses, a top U.S. government scientist said on Saturday.
'It's been over 30 years since we've had a pandemic, so inevitably we are going to have a pandemic within a reasonable period of time,' said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
'It's not a matter of when or if,' he told reporters in Vietnam, where 41 people have died from the H5N1 virus that has now spread to Europe."
By MARLISE SIMONS
Published: October 14, 2005
PARIS, Oct. 14 -The new International Criminal Court in The Hague took a big step on Friday toward becoming a global human rights tribunal when it confirmed it had issued its first arrest warrants.
The court, which has been working in The Hague since 2002 despite resistance and a continuing boycott by the United States, said it was seeking the arrest of the leader and four commanders of the Lord's Resistance Army, a two-decade-old rebel movement in Uganda.
The charges include brutalizing civilians, including killing, raping and robbing them, and systematically kidnapping children, forcing them to fight and using them as slaves."
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
U.N. Is Gradually Becoming More Hospitable to Israel
By WARREN HOGE
UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 10 - Israel recently proposed a United Nations resolution, it submitted its candidacy for a two-year seat on the Security Council, and its prime minister has been warmly received speaking to the General Assembly.
For any of the 190 other nations in the world organization, those would be routine events.
But in Israel's case, the resolution is the first the country has ever proposed, and the request for a Security Council seat presumes an end to the disdain with which the country has historically been treated at the United Nations.
The address by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, on Sept. 15, was his first at the United Nations. It was delivered to a hall that has rung with denunciations of his country, where a tide of condemnatory resolutions has passed by lopsided votes and which Arab delegates regularly vacated whenever an Israeli rose to speak.
'These are steps that could not have happened even two years ago,' said Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador, referring to the new efforts to gain acceptance. 'It would have been unthinkable, suicidal, for us even to try them.'"
On one side are those like Dr. Grompe who say human life is a continuum that begins with a fertilized egg. A human embryo, however early, is human life, he says, and he finds it unacceptable to destroy human embryos to extract their stem cells. The end cannot justify the means.
In the middle are those like Dr. Daley. He says human embryos have 'a unique moral status' that should be respected. 'There's a significant weight to the decision to use human embryos,' he says. But, he adds, using human embryo stem cells to find ways to relieve human suffering 'pays respect to their unique moral status.' And, he says, 'I fully accept the ethical tradeoff.'
Yet another group, which includes Dr. Jaenisch, says that for them there is no means-end calculus. Early embryos, they say, are simply microscopic balls of cells with no particular moral status. They have no body parts, they look nothing like a fetus, and most die anyway when they are implanted in women. For them, embryonic stem cell research poses no ethical issue.
And that impasse has led to a search for other ways of getting these precious cells."
The White House has dismissed as 'absurd' allegations made in a BBC TV series that President Bush claimed God told him to invade Iraq.
'He's never made such comments,' White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.
The comments were attributed to Mr Bush by the Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath in the upcoming TV series Elusive Peace: Israel and the Arabs.
Mr Shaath said that in a 2003 meeting with Mr Bush, the US president said he was 'driven with a mission from God'.
'President Bush said to all of us: 'I'm driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, George, go and fight those terrorists in Afghanistan. And I did, and then God would tell me, George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq... And I did.
''And now, again, I feel God's words coming to me, Go get the Palestinians their state and get the Israelis their security, and get peace in the Middle East. And by God I'm gonna do it.''"
Sunday, October 09, 2005
By Barnaby Phillips
BBC News, Johannesburg
Botswana has strongly denied reports that some of the last bushmen living in the Kalahari desert have been forcibly removed from their ancestral land.
The British-based group, Survival International, has accused Botswana's government of ethnic cleansing.
The Botswanan government says bushmen have been leaving the Kalahari, but at their own request.
The bushmen, or San, were hunter gatherers who lived in the desert of southern Africa for thousands of years.
Their traditional way of life has all but disappeared in recent years, and the Botswanan government wants the few hundred still living in the vast central Kalahari game reserve to move to nearby towns."
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Monday, 3 October 2005
Dolphins are the only mammals other than humans to recognise rhythms and reproduce them vocally (Image: iStockphoto)
Scientists have taught dolphins to combine both rhythm and vocalisations to produce music, resulting in an extremely high-pitched, short version of the Batman theme song.
The findings, outlined in two studies, are the first time that nonhuman mammals have demonstrated they can recognise rhythms and reproduce them vocally.
THE hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has published a teaching document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true.
The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of scripture, that they should not expect “total accuracy” from the Bible.
“We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision,” they say in The Gift of Scripture.
The document is timely, coming as it does amid the rise of the religious Right, in particular in the US.
Some Christians want a literal interpretation of the story of creation, as told in Genesis, taught alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution in schools, believing “intelligent design” to be an equally plausible theory of how the world began.
But the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at times conflicting stories of creation are told, are among those that this country’s Catholic bishops insist cannot be “historical”. At most, they say, they may contain “historical traces”.
The document shows how far the Catholic Church has come since the 17th century, when Galileo was condemned as a heretic for flouting a near-universal belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible by advocating the Copernican view of the solar system. Only a century ago, Pope Pius X condemned Modernist Catholic scholars who adapted historical-critical methods of analysing ancient literature to the Bible.
In the document, the bishops acknowledge their debt to biblical scholars. They say the Bible must be approached in the knowledge that it is “God’s word expressed in human language” and that proper acknowledgement should be given both to the word of God and its human dimensions.
They say the Church must offer the gospel in ways “appropriate to changing times, intelligible and attractive to our contemporaries”.
The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say, but continue: “We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters.”
They go on to condemn fundamentalism for its “intransigent intolerance” and to warn of “significant dangers” involved in a fundamentalist approach.
“Such an approach is dangerous, for example, when people of one nation or group see in the Bible a mandate for their own superiority, and even consider themselves permitted by the Bible to use violence against others.”
Of the notorious anti-Jewish curse in Matthew 27:25, “His blood be on us and on our children”, a passage used to justify centuries of anti-Semitism, the bishops say these and other words must never be used again as a pretext to treat Jewish people with contempt. Describing this passage as an example of dramatic exaggeration, the bishops say they have had “tragic consequences” in encouraging hatred and persecution. “The attitudes and language of first-century quarrels between Jews and Jewish Christians should never again be emulated in relations between Jews and Christians.”
As examples of passages not to be taken literally, the bishops cite the early chapters of Genesis, comparing them with early creation legends from other cultures, especially from the ancient East. The bishops say it is clear that the primary purpose of these chapters was to provide religious teaching and that they could not be described as historical writing.
Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb.
The bishops say: “Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved and about when the end will come.”
In their foreword to the teaching document, the two most senior Catholics of the land, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, and Cardinal Keith O’Brien, Archbishop of St Andrew’s and Edinburgh, explain its context.
They say people today are searching for what is worthwhile, what has real value, what can be trusted and what is really true.
The new teaching has been issued as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of Dei Verbum, the Second Vatican Council document explaining the place of Scripture in revelation. In the past 40 years, Catholics have learnt more than ever before to cherish the Bible. “We have rediscovered the Bible as a precious treasure, both ancient and ever new.”
A Christian charity is sending a film about the Christmas story to every primary school in Britain after hearing of a young boy who asked his teacher why Mary and Joseph had named their baby after a swear word. The Breakout Trust raised £200,000 to make the 30-minute animated film, It’s a Boy. Steve Legg, head of the charity, said: “There are over 12 million children in the UK and only 756,000 of them go to church regularly.
That leaves a staggering number who are probably not receiving basic Christian teaching.”
BELIEVE IT OR NOT
Genesis ii, 21-22
So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man
Genesis iii, 16
God said to the woman [after she was beguiled by the serpent]: “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
Matthew xxvii, 25
The words of the crowd: “His blood be on us and on our children.”
And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone.”
Exodus iii, 14
God reveals himself to Moses as: “I am who I am.”
“I will be your God, and you shall be my people.”
The Ten Commandments
The Sermon on the Mount
Peter declares Jesus to be the Christ
The Virgin Birth
Proof of bodily resurrection
JOIN THE DEBATE
The EIU ranked 127 cities in terms of personal risk, infrastructure and the availability of goods and services.
All the cities that fell into the top "liveability" bracket were based in Canada, Australia and Western Europe.
The worst places were Algiers in Algeria, and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea because "many aspects of daily life present challenges", the EIU said.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Lawsuit challenges teaching alternative to evolution
Robert T. Pennock, a professor of science and philosophy at Michigan State University, testified on behalf of families who sued the Dover Area School District. He said supporters of intelligent design don't offer evidence to support their idea.
"As scientists go about their business, they follow a method," Pennock said. "Intelligent design wants to reject that and so it doesn't really fall within the purview of science."
Pennock said intelligent design does not belong in a science class, but added that it could possibly be addressed in other types of courses.
But what about those who say that it is just a theory? Well, so is the theory of gravity, but you do not see anyone disputing that in the classroom or anywhere else.