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1/26/07  #401
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The darkness, like living flesh corrupted, envelops us with its icy embrace. Thoughts that once burned fire-like in their complexities, now smoulders in the stygian emptiness. Invisible terrors, once consigned to the back roads of consciousness, now eagerly seek prey to feed an eternal hunger.  Horrors of the night now reach out across the threshold into the once safe light.

But there is one light that pierces the darkness, one shining example of freedom of information. One weekly, e-mail newsletter that is not afraid to publish that which everyone else fears to even think. That's right! Conspiracy Journal is here once again to split the darkness of ignorance and fill your world with the pure, white light of truth.

This week Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such astounding tales as:

- Report: Global Warming's Smoking Gun is on the Table -
- Dark Visitors: Puerto Rico’s Moca Vampire -
- Perplexing Accounts of Mysterious Disappearances -
AND:  How the Moon Rules Your Life

All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~




SHOT WITHIN THE WALLS OF THE HOLY CITY WITH HIDDEN CAMERAS The Vatican has been shrouded in mystery and intrigue for centuries. Except for the highest Cardinals and Bishops, the public and even members of the priesthood are not privy to the inner workings of the Church. It is rumored that there are in the secret archives centuries-old artifacts that, if exposed, could embarrass the standard-bearers of the faith. Searching for truth has always been the Conspiracy Journal's main goal. With this in mind, we recently "invaded" the walls of the Vatican with our hidden cameras on a fact finding mission. On our return, we followed up our investigation by interviewing such astute researchers as: Jordan Maxwell - Brad Steiger - Patricia Ress - Penny Melis - and Diane Tessman.

* Does the Vatican conceal knowledge that the crucifixion was a fraud?
* Is there a secret cabal of Satanists within the Vatican to further the evil conspiracy of the New World Order?
* Learn about the UFO sighting that occurred over the Vatican the morning of the funeral of Pope John Paul.
* Can exorcism be a futile effort that often results in the death of the possessed?
* What secrets is the Vatican keeping about the perilous future of our world?
* Is the Vatican link to the Hubble Telescope evidence that they are aware that Planet X is headed toward Earth?

SPECIAL BONUS OFFER - If you act right now, you will also get the FREE unedited audio interviews with Brad Steiger, Jordan Maxwell, Patricia Ress, and noted psychic Penny Melis. These interviews were conducted by Sean Casteel for use in the documentary. However, as with every documentary, only a small portion of each interview ever makes it to the screen. Now you can hear the complete, unedited interviews as each researcher reveals what they know concerning the secrets of the Vatican.

This controversial documentary is now available
for the incredible price of only $15.00 plus $5.00 shipping

Along with the DVD you can also get for A LIMITED TIME only, Arthur Crockett's sensational book - SECRETS OF THE POPES - Both the DVD and the book for only $27.00 plus $5.00 shipping.

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Timothy Green Beckley (Mr. UFO) on Out There TV

Watch our good friend Timothy Green Beckley on Out There TV where he talks about the
mysteries and possibilities of the hollow Earth and other strange and weird mysteries.
This is a show not to be missed!  You can now see it online at:


Report: Global Warming's Smoking Gun is on the Table

Human-caused global warming is here, visible in the air, water and melting ice, and is destined to get much worse in the future, an authoritative global scientific report  warns.

"The smoking gun is definitely lying on the table as we speak,'' said top U.S. climate scientist Jerry Mahlman, who reviewed all 1,600 pages of the first segment of a giant four-part report. "The evidence ... is compelling.''

Andrew Weaver, a Canadian climate scientist and study co-author, went even further: "This isn't a smoking gun; climate is a battalion of intergalactic smoking missiles.''

The first phase of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is being released in Paris next week. This segment, written by more than 600 scientists and reviewed by another 600 experts and edited by bureaucrats from 154 countries, includes "a significantly expanded discussion of observation on the climate,'' said co-chair Susan Solomon, a senior scientist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

That report will feature an "explosion of new data'' on observations of current global warming, Solomon said.

Solomon and others wouldn't go into specifics about what the report says. They said that the 12-page summary for policymakers will be edited in secret word-by-word by governments officials for several days next week and released to the public on Feb. 2. The rest of that first report from scientists will come out months later.

The full report will be issued in four phases over the year, as was the case with the last IPCC report, issued in 2001.

Global warming is "happening now, it's very obvious,'' said Mahlman, a former director of NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab who lives in Boulder, Colo. "When you look at the temperature of the Earth, it's pretty much a no-brainer.''

Look for an "iconic statement''—a simple but strong and unequivocal summary—on how global warming is now occurring, said one of the authors, Kevin Trenberth, director of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, also in Boulder.

The February report will have "much stronger evidence now of human actions on the change in climate that's taken place,'' Rajendra K. Pachauri told the AP in November. Pachauri, an Indian climatologist, is the head of the international climate change panel.

An early version of the ever-changing draft report said "observations of coherent warming in the global atmosphere, in the ocean, and in snow and ice now provide stronger joint evidence of warming.''

And the early draft adds: "An increasing body of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on other aspects of climate including sea ice, heat waves and other extremes, circulation, storm tracks and precipitation.''

The world's global average temperature has risen about 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit from 1901 to 2005. The two warmest years on record for the world were 2005 and 1998. Last year was the hottest year on record for the United States.

The report will draw on already published peer-review science. Some recent scientific studies show that temperatures are the hottest in thousands of years, especially during the last 30 years; ice sheets in Greenland in the past couple years have shown a dramatic melting; and sea levels are rising and doing so at a faster rate in the past decade.

Also, the second part of the international climate panel's report—to be released in April—will for the first time feature a blockbuster chapter on how global warming is already changing health, species, engineering and food production, said NASA scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, author of that chapter.

As confident as scientists are about the global warming effects that they've already documented, they are as gloomy about the future and even hotter weather and higher sea level rises. Predictions for the future of global warming in the report are based on 19 computer models, about twice as many as in the past, Solomon said.

In 2001, the panel said the world's average temperature would increase somewhere between 2.5 and 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit and the sea level would rise between 4 and 35 inches by the year 2100. The 2007 report will likely have a smaller range of numbers for both predictions, Pachauri and other scientists said.

The future is bleak, scientists said.

"We have barely started down this path,'' said chapter co-author Richard Alley of Penn State University.

Source: Live Science


Who's Controlling our Weather?

Are our governments developing a secret technology to control the weather?

By the end of the last hurricane season, 30 November, several news sources made the observation that NO major hurricane struck or threatened the US during 2006. A quick check of weather records shows that this is a somewhat anomalous event with very few occurrences historically. Of course anomalies of science and nature demand our attention in an attempt to discover an explanation for and understanding of, the unexplained.

In 1997 US Secretary of Defense William Cohen made the following statement, "Others (terrorists) are engaging even in an eco type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves….So, there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations…It's real, and that's the reason why we have to intensify our (counterterrorism) efforts." If you think about it, that's actually a pretty scary statement coming from a sitting Secretary of State!

And consider that if our government believed terrorists were engaging in these pursuits back in 1997, you can sure as well assume our government, for good or for bad, is currently well along in pursuing these abilities as well.

Now, there is a gentleman named Richard C. Hoagland who knows something more about all this. Hoagland is a scientific researcher with some clout. He was technical science adviser to Walter Cronkite during the Apollo missions, worked with Carl Sagan developing the message discs placed aboard Pioneer spacecraft and has had a close working relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for many years. Hoagland's own independent research group is called The Enterprise Mission.

Hoagland claims among other things, that after scouring hundreds of hours of satellite radar images from a variety of sources, he has documented a phenomenon which he believes is evidence that someone or something is affecting the path and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean. As Sci-fi as that sounds, the evidence is quite compelling.

Radar images of Hurricanes Ophelia, Rita and Wilma from Sept and Oct., 05 are shown as examples on the Enterprise Mission website.

The Satellite image loops of the storm tracks indicate some anomalous and erratic behavior in the path and intensity of the hurricanes. Satellite images of hurricane Ophelia are especially intriguing to say the least. They show Ophelia well organized as a strong category 1 storm off the southeast coast of the US. Over very warm late season open water, the US Weather Service predicted a category 4 storm within 24 to 48 hours and the westerly path of the storm track had it headed for landfall along the mid Atlantic coast.

Instead, in less than 12 hours the storm had changes course and dissipated completely. The radar image shows something very strange occurring to the storm. As the storm tracks west towards the US east coast, the satellite precipitation image reveals two extremely heavy, nearly parallel bands of precipitation emanating, in waves from the east, directly toward the eye of the storm. As these heavy bands of precipitation intensify over hurricane Ophelia, the storm begins to change course, dissipate and is quickly extinguished. The effect is quite dramatic and not at all natural looking. The fact is, intensely heavy bands of cool rainfall falling on the eye of a well organized hurricane, through which the warm waters of the ocean below rise to provide energy and circulation to the hurricane, would have the effect of interfering with that energy flow and for all practical purposes starving the storm of its' fuel.

These images are from the University of Wisconsin MIMIC (Morphed Integrated Microwave Imagery at CIMSS)

Hoagland describes the dual heavy rain bands as taking on a "tuning fork" interference pattern that moves in lock step with the eye of the storm.

It is Hoagland's contention "…based on the physics of these images that these bizarre 'tuning fork' patterns -- note, geometrically aimed at the precise centers of these respective storms! -- are actually a "rainfall side-effect" of an unseen energy technology being applied to these respective storms ... in an effort to decrease both their wind velocities, and to simultaneously alter the storms' tracks themselves."

As a Spectrum Engineer I see some merit in this EM "energy technology" explanation, but I believe Hoagland's "rainfall side effect" may actually be the main desired effect, given that enough intense cold rain from above, on the storm, could act as a blanket on the storms fire and have the effect of the storm rapidly raining itself out. As I'm no meteorologist, this is mere speculation on my part.

But could this effect possibly be attained using electromagnetic waves? Consider that research indicates, and it's not unlikely, certain frequencies of high intensity EM fields could have the ability to separate molecules or break up molecular compounds. This could be used for such things as say separating H2O from air allowing the water to fall. It seems this would be more plausible over open water than over land as water vapor levels and atmospheric conditions over large bodies of water would seem more conducive. And I'd like to think that if this technology does exist, and did work over land, it would be used to address drought conditions worldwide where and when they occur, and not just to save Washington D.C. when and if it's threatened.

So, think about what it means if the government does have the secret ability to control the weather in some way, which I believe they may and which Secretary Cohen seems to suggests. After what happened with Katrina last year, could you not see an order coming from high up to deploy and apply this technology to help prevent any future Katrina like events from ever happening. Politically, it would be the smart thing to do. And if for some reason the threat from killer storms like Katrina diminishes, when all the "experts" have been saying these threats will only increase, we must all scratch our heads a little and wonder who or what may be controlling our weather?

Source: The Official Graham Hancock Website/Glenn Kreisberg


Dark Visitors: Puerto Rico’s Moca Vampire

In my post from several weeks ago entitled The Chupacabras: A Psychological Test Come To Life?, I mentioned the Moca Vampire of Puerto Rico. Again, in my more recent post Chupacabras Thoughts the Moca Vampire was mentioned by UFOmystic reader MindEcdysiast in regards to the eyewitness description of a giant bat.

With that, this post will be the first part of a multi-part post regarding the Moca Vampire.

Hispanic ufologist/cryptozoologist Scott Corrales, Institute of Hispanic Ufology (IHU), shares his article about the Moca Vampire here with the readers of UFOmystic.

Dark Visitors: Puerto Rico’s Moca Vampire

“You’re looking for what?”

Perhaps telling the gas station attendant that I was on a quest to find of the ancestor of Puerto Rico’s Chupacabras hadn’t been one of my better ideas. The paranormal predator had caused enough damage in its short-lived range to cause the locals not to want to hear its name mentioned in jest. Yet here was someone looking for an even shadier entity, in fact, the traditional “scariest monster of them all” – the one that cannot be seen or felt, but whose trail of destruction is all too real and painful.

Waving vaguely in the direction of State Highway 2, the gas station attendant muttered something about a field off the side of a back road. Putting the rented car in gear, I headed down the country road with my photographer in search of the legendary Moca Vampire.

While Chupacabras was a humorous name bestowed upon the creature by comedian Silverio Pérez, it still carried an air of menace. Could the goatsucker suddenly change diet and go for people, becoming the Chupagente? But the Moca Vampire sounded more like a Halloween bakery confection employed to delight children, not frighten them. Yet during its year and a half long reign of terror, the unknown, unseen entity caused a sensation all over the world, despite being all but forgotten almost thirty years later.

The Vampire Awakens

Coinciding with the overwhelming number of cattle mutilations occurring in the United States and in the rest of the world at that time, Puerto Ricans discovered that their livestock was being slain by a mysterious, unseen assailant. They would have been even more distressed to learn that the same situation would replay itself twenty years later, courtesy of the ubiquitous Chupacabras.

In February 1975, a Puerto Rican newspaper ran one of the very first headlines concerning the wave of mysterious animal deaths to occur in the vicinity of the small town of Moca, on the island’s western side.

The entity, dubbed “The Moca Vampire” by the press, kicked off its killing spree in Barrio Rocha, a sector of the town of Moca, where it took the lives of a number of animals in a grisly manner never seen before. Fifteen cows, three goats, two geese and a pig were found dead with bizarre perforations on their hides, suggesting that a sharp instrument had been inserted into the hapless bovines. Autopsies showed that the animals had been thoroughly relieved of blood, as if consumed by some predator.

On March 7, 1975, a cow belonging to Rey Jiménez was found dead in Moca’s Barrio Cruz, presenting deep, piercing wounds on its skull and a number of scratches around the wounds on its body. Jiménez’s cow was added to the growing list of victims, which now totaled well over thirty.

As the number of victims grew, the Moca Vampire acquired an identity of its own, much in the same way that the Chupacabras would twenty years later. Speculation as to its nature was rife: many believed it was a supernatural “bird”, like the one seen by María Acevedo, a Moca resident who noticed that a strange animal had landed on her home’s zinc rooftop in the middle of the night. According to Acevedo’s testimony, the bird pecked at the rusty rooftop and at the windows before taking flight, issuing a terrifying scream. Others more readily accepted any suggestion that it was a space alien, an occupant of the UFOs reported on an almost daily basis over Puerto Rico at the time. Some clung to the belief that a gigantic vampire bat had somehow made it from the mainland to the Caribbean, slaking its thirst on the local cattle. Only days later, farmer Cecilio Hernández notified authorities that the elusive Moca Vampire had slain thirty-four chickens on his property at some point during the night. The supernatural entity was by now responsible for ninety animal deaths in a two week period.

A faint ray of hope—soon to be dissipated by harsh reality—appeared during this critical moment in the crisis: another farmer, Luis Torres, became the man of the hour after slaying two enormous snakes (Puerto Rican boas) measuring an unheard-of length of six feet. Torres had captured the snakes as they stood ready to attack a 600-pound heifer. The media hailed this act of heroism as the “solution to the mutilation riddle”; citizens could finally issue a collective sigh of relief.

However, the Moca Vampire had its own agenda. On March 18, 1975, two goats belonging to Hector Vega, a resident of Moca’s Barrio Pueblo, were found drained of blood. Puncture marks on the goats’ necks were the unmistakable sign that the strange entity causing the deaths was still at large and hungrier than ever: it returned to Vega’s farm the following night to finish off ten more goats and wound another seven. The horrified farmer also discovered that ten additional goats had gone missing.

Source: UFO Mystic


Perplexing Accounts of Mysterious Disappearances

People disappear every day. It's been estimated that as many as 10 million people are reported missing each year in the U.S. alone; about 95 percent of them return or are otherwise accounted for. Of the remaining 5 percent, some are runaways, others are kidnappings, abductions or the victims of some other crime.

There is a small percentage of disappearances, however, for which there is no easy explanation. We related several such incidents in a previous article, Vanished! Unexplained Disappearances. The fate of these people - sometimes groups of people - is left for us to wonder about. Did they unwittingly step into a time portal?... Were they swallowed up by a rift in our three-dimensional world?... Were they abducted by extraterrestrials in UFOs? These are pretty far-out suggestions, to be sure, but the circumstances of the following unexplained disappearances leave us scratching our heads in bewilderment.

The Vanishing Prisoner - This first account is an excellent case in point because it defies any rational explanation for one simple reason: it occurred in full view of witnesses.
The year was 1815 and the location a Prussian prison at Weichselmunde. The prisoner's name was Diderici, a valet who was serving a sentence for assuming his employer's identity after he died from a stroke. It was an ordinary afternoon and Diderici was just one in a line of prisoners, all chained together, walking in the prison yard for the day's exercise. As Diderici walked with his prison inmates to the clanking of their shackles, he slowly began to fade - literally. His body became more and more transparent until Diderici disappeared altogether, and his manacles and leg irons fell empty to the ground. He disappeared into thin air and was never seen again. (From Among the Missing: An Anecdotal History of Missing Persons from 1800 to the Present, by Jay Robert Nash)

Stumble into Nothingness - It's difficult to dismiss such incredible stories when they take place in front of eyewitnesses. Here's another. This case began as a harmless bet among friends, but ended in tragic mystery. In 1873, James Worson of Leamington Spa, England, was a simple shoemaker who also fancied himself somewhat of an athlete. One fine day, James made a bet with a few of his friends that he could run non-stop from Leamington Spa to Coventry. Knowing that this was a good 16 miles, his friends readily took the bet. As James began to jog at a moderate pace toward Coventry, his friends climbed into a horse-drawn cart to follow him and protect their bet. James did well for the first few miles. Then his friends saw him trip on something and fall forward... but never hit the ground. Instead, James completely vanished. Astonished and doubting their own eyes, his friends looked for him without success, then raced back to Leamington Spa to inform the police. An investigation turned up nothing. James Worson had run into oblivion. (From Into Thin Air, by Paul Begg)

Halfway to the Well - Most disappearances do not have witnesses, yet there is sometimes circumstantial evidence that is no less puzzling. This is the case for the vanishing of Charles Ashmore. It was a cold November winter night in 1878 when 16-year-old Charles went out into the dark with a bucket to fetch water from the well for his family on their Quincy, Illinois property. He did not return. After many minutes, his father and sister became concerned. They feared that Charles perhaps had slipped in the snow that blanketed the ground and was injured, or worse, had fallen into the well. They set out to look for him, but he was just gone. There was no sign of a struggle or fall... only the clear tracks of Charles' footprints in the fresh snow that led halfway to the well, then abruptly stopped. Charles Ashmore had suddenly disappeared into the void. (From Into Thin Air, by Paul Begg)

Gone in His Sleep - Bruce Campbell was right next to his wife when he disappeared, although she didn't see it happen. She was asleep. And perhaps so was he. It was April 14, 1959, and Campbell was traveling with his wife from their hometown in Massachusetts to visit their son some distance across the country. It was a long but pleasant drive across the U.S. with plenty of stops along the way. One overnight stop was in Jacksonville, Illinois... and it turned out to be the last stop Mr. Campbell was to ever make. He and his wife checked into a motel and went to bed. In the morning, Mrs. Campbell awoke to find the space next to her in bed empty. Mr. Campbell had vanished, apparently in his pajamas. All of his belongings - his money, car and clothing - remained behind. Bruce Campbell was never seen again and no explanation for his disappearance ever found.
(From Among the Missing: An Anecdotal History of Missing Persons from 1800 to the Present, by Jay Robert Nash)

They Drove Away... To Where? - Here's another case of a couple in Illinois, but this time they both vanished - along with their car. It was May, 1970 when Edward and Stephania Andrews were in the city of Chicago to attend a trade convention party at the Chicago Sheraton Hotel. Edward was a bookkeeper and Stephania a credit investigator. They were both 63 years old, considered average, upstanding citizens who lived in a fine home in the Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights. During the party, other attendees noted that Edward complained of mild illness, which he attributed merely to be hungry (the party only served drinks and small hor d'oeuvres). They soon left the party and went to the parking garage to retrieve their car. The parking attendant later told authorities that Stephania appeared to be crying and that Edward did not look well. As they drove away with Edward at the wheel, he scraped the car's fender on the exit door, but kept on going. The attendant was the last person to ever see the Andrews. They vanished into the night. Police speculated that Edward, not feeling well, had driven off a bridge into the Chicago River. But an investigation uncovered no sign of such an accident; the river was even dragged for the car without success. The Andrews and their car were just gone.

The Long, Long Drive - A similar disappearance was reported by The New York Times in April, 1980. Charles Romer and his wife Catherine were one of those retired couples who spent half of the year in the north and half in the south, living in their summer home in Scarsdale, New York, then driving to Florida to enjoy the winter in their Miami apartment. It was on one such trip back to New York that the Romers met their mysterious fate. They set off on the long trip on the morning of April 8 in their black Lincoln Continental. Late that afternoon, they made their first overnight stop at a motel in Brunswick City, Georgia. It turned out to be their last. They checked in and dropped off their luggage in their room. Then they went out, possibly to get some dinner. A highway patrolman might have seen their car on the road that evening. If so, it was the last anyone ever saw of the Romers or their Continental. They never arrived at any restaurant and never made it back to the motel. It wasn't until three days later that an investigation showed that their motel beds were never slept in. A thorough search of the area found absolutely no trace of the Romers or their car - no clues whatsoever. They simply vanished without a trace.



The Universe As Magic Roundabout

Ever feel like you've been there, done that, and that the life you're living seems strangely familiar? Maybe a psychic has told you that you were once a great king or queen, or, at the very least, their eunuch. Perhaps a neurologist has told you that the déjà vu that you're experiencing is just a trick of the mind. But while these explanations may appeal to either the spiritually or scientifically inclined, physicist Peter Lynds argues that there may be a much grander account that explains the repetitiveness of life: a cyclic universe. In this, the first part of two articles, we look at what Lynds considers to be both vital and overlooked cosmological questions regarding the origin and mechanics of a cyclic universe.

Of course, referring to past lives and déjà vu is being a tad flippant in regard to Lynds' new paper on a cyclic universe, "On A Finite Universe With No Beginning Or End," as these areas, he explains, are really the philosophical fallout - determinism, free will, and life after death - of his new theory. In a nutshell, the model of the universe that Lynds is proposing, similar to others before him, is that the universe is in fact closed and subject to an infinite cycle of big bangs and big crunches. However, the difference between Lynds' theory and those that have gone before it is that in Lynds' model the big bang is no more the beginning of the universe than the big crunch is its end. Lynds explains, as suggested by paper's title, that while the universe is finite, there is no arrow of time; there is no past or present, and that in neither a big crunch nor big bang is a singularity ever reached.

Lynds' latest cosmological rumination follows a previous paper he wrote on time, and it's sure to spark up just as much controversy. In his earlier paper, Lynds argued, in effect, that time doesn't really exist. That is to say, there are no discrete measurements of time that can be observed in nature, and that our concepts of it are dependent upon the relative motions of mass and energy. His latest effort continues along these lines, arguing that our linear concept of time - firmly established with the introduction of the Christian calendar - has, effectively, blinkered us from the possibility of a cyclic universe. At this point, Lynds' critics are sure to be thinking that he's up to his old tricks again, but he introduces some very solid arguments, employing no less than the second law of thermodynamics to support his claims.

Lynds' paper opens with a paradox raised by the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who pondered two competing, yet similarly contradictory theories of the universe. Kant was faced with either a universe that stretched back infinitely through time, where there would be an infinite period of time before any event (a procrastinator's dream), or, of a universe that did have a beginning, but which has an equally dissatisfying outcome, as it begs the question of what came before the "beginning," ad infinitum. Lynds explains that the genius of Kant's paradox is yet to be properly realized, as through proper investigation it should tell us something about our most fundamental assumptions regarding time, cause and cosmology. To this end, Lynds' model attempts to address the rather curly issue of where the universe came from, and the problems associated with both a finite and infinite universe through his model of a cyclic universe.

Casting an eye over previous attempts at explaining the mechanics of a cyclic universe, Lynds turned to Stephen Hawking. Lynds relates how Hawking once discussed how the second law of thermodynamics might affect the future of a contracting universe (towards a big crunch). The second law of thermodynamics is one of those rock-solid physical laws, the big gun that a scientist may use to quell the pseudo-scientific flights of fancy held by the reality challenged. As Lynds explains, the law states that "heat can never pass spontaneously, or of itself, from a hot to hotter body. Hot flows to cold." This means two things: that the one-way direction of energy transference involved in natural processes is irreversible, and that the entropy of an isolated system will increase with time.

Initially, Hawking concluded that if the universe did begin to contract then the thermodynamic "arrow of time," as it is often called (erroneously, according to Lynds), would also reverse. "Everything would go into the reverse of the way we experience things today: light would travel back to the stars, and broken eggs on the floor would miraculously put themselves back together again," says Lynds. Philip K. Dick, of Blade Runner fame, once wrote about a similar situation in his novel Counter-Clock World, where many of the consequences of time reversal - such as dead relatives and feces taking up, er, previously held positions in your life (to be honest, I'm not sure which would be worse) - seem quite unpalatable. Hawking stated that such a reversal would mean that hot would flow to hotter, and that entropy would need to decrease because, as Lynds explains, "the universe would have to return to a symmetrical state of low entropy and high order at a big crunch." Thankfully, the unfolding of such an unsavory scenario is unlikely due to a number of impossible situations that would arise, not least of which being that it would require that entropy decrease and thus break the second law of thermodynamics. As Lynds points out, Hawking called this "his greatest mistake."

In his model, Lynds manages to account for, or perhaps dodge, the irreversible, asymmetric nature of the second law of thermodynamics in a rather novel way. Lynds reasons that if all other physical laws other than the second law are reversible, or symmetric, then when the universe is faced with a situation where entropy may have to decrease instead of increase; "the order of events would simply reverse so that events took place in the direction in which entropy was still increasing," says Lynds. "In relation to the big crunch, this would mean that at the point where the second law would have been breached, any future events in this direction (where entropy would be decreasing) would reverse."

These second law restrictions would also mean that instead of a big crunch singularity occurring, events would instantly proceed from where this singularity would have taken place had events not reversed. Lynds explains that following from this: "The universe would expand from where the big crunch singularity would have been had events not reversed (i.e. the big crunch reversed), and with events going in this direction, entropy would still be increasing, no singularity would be encountered, and no laws of physics would be contravened. They would all still hold."

Just how Lynds explains the mechanics behind such a scenario, and whether we would be spared the horror of being cast headlong into Philip K. Dick's world, is the topic for next week's column.

Source: Science A Go Go


How the Moon Rules Your Life

At last, scientists claim to have found a link between our satellite and human behaviour - like how it governs the size of your dinner.

For eons, folklore has blamed the Moon for everything from lunacy to bad luck. And, for the last few centuries, scientists have scoffed. Now, according to new research they're not so sure. The Moon may not be made of cheese, but it seems to influence a lot more down on Earth than we previously thought.

According to new research, the Moon affects not only the tides of the oceans but also people, producing a range of symptoms from flare-ups of gout to bladder problems. It may even lie behind the causes of car crashes and affect people's hormonal balances.

Having carried out new research and reviewed 50 other studies, scientists suggest that doctors and the police even need to prepare for how their work rate will increase at different points in the lunar cycle. Among the findings examined by the researchers were studies that showed GP consultations go up during a full moon, according to Leeds University. Appointments rise by 3.6 per cent, which works out at around three extra patients for each surgery. The researchers did not speculate on the nature of the moon-related problems or why they happened, but said that "it does not seem to be related to anxiety and depression".

Gout and asthma attacks peak during new and full moons, according to work carried out at the Slovak Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine in Bratislava, where attacks over a 22-year period were monitored.

Data from 140,000 births in New York City showed small but systematic variations in births over a period of 29.53 days - the length of the lunar cycle - with peak fertility in the last quarter. "The timing of the fertility peak in the third quarter suggests that the period of decreasing illumination immediately after the full moon may precipitate ovulation."

A study in Florida of murders and aggravated assaults showed clusters of attacks around the full moon. A second study of three police areas found the incidence of crimes committed on full-moon days was much higher than on all other days. And a four-year study into car accidents found that the lowest number happened during the full-moon day, while the highest number was two days before the full moon. Accidents were more frequent during the waxing than the waning phase.

Another study of some 800 patients with urinary retention admitted to hospital over a period of three years found higher retention during the new moon compared with other phases of the cycle. Interestingly, patients didn't show any other daily, monthly or seasonal rhythms in their retention problems.

Even what we eat and drink is affected by the lunar cycle, according to a study at Georgia State University. Researchers looked at lunar variations in nutrient intakes and the meal patterns of 694 adults. They concluded: "A small but significant lunar rhythm of nutrient intake was observed with an 8 per cent increase in meal size and a 26 per cent decrease in alcohol intake at the time of the full moon relative to the new moon.''

While scientists have been trying to prove for some time that the Moon does exert an effect, what has not been established is why. Scientists have until now examined the theory that the Moon triggers changes through its gravitational pull. But the latest research points to an effect on people's hormones. "The lunar cycle has an impact on human reproduction, in particular fertility, menstruation and birth rate. Other events associated with human behaviour, such as traffic accidents, crimes, and suicides, appeared to be influenced by the lunar cycle,'' said Dr Michael Zimecki of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

"Although the exact mechanism of the Moon's influence on humans and animals awaits further exploration, knowledge of this kind of biorhythm may be helpful in police surveillance and medical practice,'' he said.

The researchers also found links between the lunar cycle and the likelihood of people being admitted to hospital with heart or bladder problems and with diarrhoea. The menstrual cycle, fertility, spontaneous abortions and thyroid disease were also affected. Just how the Moon could have an effect needs further research. Dr Zimecki suggests that it may be the effect of the Moon's gravity on immune systems, hormones and steroids.

He said: "At this stage of investigation, the exact mechanism of the lunar effect on the immune response is hard to explain. The prime candidates to exert regulatory function on the immune response are melatonin and steroids, whose levels are affected by the Moon cycle.

"It is suggested that melatonin and endogenous steroids [which are naturally occurring in humans] may mediate the described cyclic alterations of physiological processes. Electromagnetic radiation and/or the gravitational pull of the Moon may trigger the release of hormones.''

Whatever the root cause of the Moon's influence over us, its hold over the imagination will endure as long as the shining sphere of rock remains in the sky.

Only 12 people have walked on the Moon: the first were Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969, the last were Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt in 1972. But last December, Nasa announced plans for a permanent base on the Moon in preparation for a manned mission to Mars.

Construction of the base is scheduled to take around five years, with the first voyages beginning by 2020.

Source: The Independent


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