2/18/11  #609
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Once again secret information has made its way over the hidden channels that clandestinely flow throughout the deepest, darkest recesses of the planet.  Information, that at times, have brought down whole governments and sent men to their torturous deaths.  Information that has finally found its way once again to your email box in the form of Conspiracy Journal!  Your number one source of all the news fit to be kept hidden.

This week, Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such Karma-cleansing tales as:

- Doubt Cast on FBI's Anthrax Case Against Bruce Ivins -
- Arkansas Town Hit by Dozens of Mysterious Earthquakes -
- Mystery of the Black Madonna -
-
Strange Creature Photographed at Lake Windermere -
AND: Just Say No ... to Robot Marriage

All these exciting stories in this week's issue of
CONSPIRACY JOURNAL!

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


THIS IS NOT SCIENCE FICTION

OMNEC ONEC - Ambassador From Venus

DO THEY LIVE HERE AMONGST US? Have Aliens Walked In To Earthly Bodies?

It's a part of UFO research and the paranormal you seldom hear about, stresses Timothy Green Beckley, editor of the Conspiracy Journal and long time investigator of the unexplained.

I have often heard stories of human-looking, Nordic-like, aliens living amongst us, having become part of our society without the knowledge of their neighbors. They are even said to have married humans. One should recall that in Genesis it says that the sons of God in those days mated with the daughters of men, who were lovely and fair, to produce a race of giants.

The late Dr. Frank E. Stranges said he once met a man inside the Pentagon who was from another world and could read minds. The visiting stranger had no fingerprints because there was no crime on his home planet nor any wars. A college professor once told me how he had witnessed the landing of a spaceship and saw its alien crew emerge and drive off in an American-made automobile, only to see one of them standing in a supermarket line shortly thereafter.

The unique work you are now holding is the personal account of a living human being who was, with her full consent and active cooperation, transported to Earth in a spacecraft from her home planet. She arrived in the company of her paternal uncle after being carefully prepared and conditioned to live here and grow in the physical society of the native life-wave of our own planet. And the remarkable thing is that Omnec Onec is still here, perhaps getting ready to reemerge from hiding once more as our planet s people go through tough times yet again.

Before she arrived on this planet, she was carefully conditioned to our density and became physically manifest in an earth-body equivalent to a 7 year old girl. Her uncle and the crew who brought her here introduced her into a Tennessee family who had just lost their own little daughter. And although Omnec had the appearance of a 7 year old she had the Venusian wisdom and knowledge of her 210 year equivalent at the time of her arrival here in 1955.

This then is her story of her early life on Venus, her arrival here in the middle of our first modern excitement over UFOs, her preparation and adaptation to Earth living and its peculiar problems, unknown to her on her home planet.

Copies of the first printing of the hardcover edition of this book have been selling for upwards of $700 on the net. And one copy went in auction for around $1800.00. Due to a personal relationship with Col Wendelle Stevens (Ret) we are able to make copies of this work available to the vast number of people who have clammered for it but could not obtain a copy at a reasonable cost.

IT MUST BE NOTED THAT THIS WORK IS DEFINITELY NOT SCIENCE FICTION - BUT A BOOK FULL OF REMARKABLE TRUTHS THAT CAN ONLY AT THIS TIME BE PRESENTED TO EARTHLY DWELLERS FOR THEIR PERSONAL BETTERMENT! 

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- BEHIND THE SMOKESCREEN DEPARTMENT -

Doubt Cast on FBI's Anthrax Case Against Bruce Ivins

For years, the FBI believed that it had identified the perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks -- former Army researcher Steven Hatfill -- only to be forced to acknowledge that he wasn't involved and then pay him $5.8 million for the damage he suffered from those false accusations.   In late July, 2008, the FBI announced that, this time, it had identified the Real Perpetrator:  Army researcher Bruce Ivins, who had just committed suicide as a result of being subjected to an intense FBI investigation.  Ivins' death meant that the FBI's allegations would never be tested in a court of law.

From the start, it was obvious that the FBI's case against Ivins was barely more persuasive than its case against Hatfill had been.  The allegations were entirely circumstantial; there was no direct evidence tying Ivins to the mailings; and there were huge, glaring holes in both the FBI's evidentiary and scientific claims.  So dubious was the FBI's case that even the nation's most establishment media organs, which instinctively trust federal law enforcement agencies, expressed serious doubts and called for an independent investigation (that included, among many others, the editorial pages of The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal). 

Mainstream scientific sources were equally skeptical; Nature called for an independent investigation and declared in its editorial headline:  "Case Not Closed," while Dr. Alan Pearson, Director of the Biological and Chemical Weapons Control Program at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation -- representative of numerous experts in the field -- expressed many scientific doubts and also demanded a full independent investigation.  I devoted much time to documenting just some of the serious flaws in the FBI's evidentiary claims, as well as the use of anonymous FBI leaks to unquestioning reporters to convince the public of their validity.

Doubts about the FBI's case were fully bipartisan.  In August, 2008, The New York Times documented "vocal skepticism from key members of Congress."  One of the two intended Senate recipients of the anthrax letters, Sen. Patrick Leahy, flatly stated at a Senate hearing in September, 2008, that he does not believe the FBI's case against Ivins, and emphatically does not believe that Ivins acted alone.  Then-GOP Sen. Arlen Specter, at the same hearing, told the FBI they could never have obtained a conviction against Ivins in court based on their case -- riddled, as it is, with so much doubt -- and he also demanded an independent evaluation of the FBI's evidence.  And in separate interviews with me, GOP Sen. Charles Grassley and Democratic Rep. Rush Holt (a physicist who represents the New Jersey district from which the anthrax letters were mailed) expressed substantial doubts about the case against Ivins and called for independent investigations.

Despite all of this, the FBI managed to evade calls for an independent investigation by announcing that it had asked the National Academy of Sciences to convene a panel to review only the FBI's scientific and genetic findings (but not to review its circumstantial case against Ivins or explore the possibility of other culprits).  The FBI believed that its genetic analysis was the strongest aspect of their case against Ivins -- that it definitively linked Ivins' research flask to the spores in the mailed anthrax -- and that once the panel publicly endorsed the FBI's scientific claims, it would vindicate the FBI's case and end calls for a full-scale investigation into the accusations against Ivins.

But recently, the National Academy panel released its findings, and it produced a very unpleasant surprise for the FBI (though it was entirely unsurprising for those following this case). 

As The New York Times put it in an article headlined "Expert Panel Is Critical of F.B.I. Work in Investigating Anthrax Letters":  "A review of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s scientific work . . . concludes that the bureau overstated the strength of genetic analysis linking the mailed anthrax to a supply kept by Bruce E. Ivins"; while the panel noted that the genetic findings are "consistent" with the claim that Ivins mailed the letters and can "support" an association, the evidence is far from "definitive," as the FBI had long suggested.  The report, commissioned by the FBI, specifically concluded that "the scientific link between the letter material and [Ivins'] flask number RMR-1029 is not as conclusive as stated in the DOJ Investigative Summary."  This morning's Washington Post article -- headlined:  "Anthrax report casts doubt on scientific evidence in FBI case against Bruce Ivins" -- noted that "the report reignited a debate that has simmered among some scientists and others who have questioned the strength of the FBI's evidence against Ivins."

In addition to reigniting doubts, the report has also reignited calls for an independent investigation into the entire FBI case.  Yesterday, Rep. Holt re-introduced his legislation to create a 9/11-style Commission, complete with subpoena power, with a mandate to review the entire matter.  Sen. Grassley told the Post:  "There are no more excuses for avoiding an independent review."  Ivins' lawyer added that the report confirms that the case against his client is "all supposition based on conjecture based on guesswork, without any proof whatsoever."  All of that has been clear for some time, and yesterday's report merely underscored how weak is the FBI's case.

It is hard to overstate the political significance of the anthrax attacks.  For reasons I've described at length, that event played at least as much of a role as the 9/11 attacks in elevating the Terrorism fear levels which, through today, sustain endless wars, massive defense and homeland security budgets, and relentless civil liberties erosions.  The pithy version of the vital role played by anthrax was supplied by Atrios here and here; in essence, it was anthrax that convinced large numbers of Americans that Terrorism was something that could show up without warning at their doorstep -- though something as innocuous as their mailbox -- in the form of James-Bond-like attacks featuring invisible, lethal powder.  Moreover, anthrax was exploited in the aftermath of 9/11 to ratchet up the fear levels toward Saddam Hussein, as ABC News' Brian Ross spent a full week screeching to the country -- falsely -- that bentonite had been found in the anthrax and that this agent was the telltale sign of Iraq's chemical weapons program, while George Bush throughout 2002 routinely featured "anthrax" as one of Saddam's scary weapons.

That there's so much lingering doubt about who was responsible for this indescribably consequential attack is astonishing, and it ought to be unacceptable.  Other than a desire to avoid finding out who the culprit was (and/or to avoid having the FBI's case against Ivins subjected to scrutiny), there's no rational reason to oppose an independent, comprehensive investigation into this matter.

Source: Salon
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/02/16/ivans/index.html

- A WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN' GOING ON DEPARTMENT -

Arkansas Town Hit by Dozens of Mysterious Earthquakes

Jim Sutterfield was briefly puzzled by a thumping sound that seemed to slam the back of his office chair. But when the small-town Arkansas fire chief turned and saw no one was around, he quickly realized it was just an earthquake – again.

"That was only my second time to feel one, but others here have felt them for three or four months now," the Greenbrier chief said after feeling a tremor this week. "Now when it happens, people say, 'Well, there's another one.'"

Residents of Guy, Arkansas have lived through thousands of minor quakes in just six months after gas drilling apparently destabilised the earth beneath them. So frequent are the tremors - which go up to four on the Richter scale - that they have been given their own name: the Guy earthquake swarm.

Only a fraction have been felt and the only damage so far has been a cracked window of a snack bar. Locals however have reported strange shifts in the ground, odd movements and bizarre noises as the Earth moves beneath them.

They claim that the tremors began when a gas company began drilling nearby in a geological formation called the Fayetteville shale. The companies dig deep wells which are injected with water, sand and chemicals at high pressure to get access to to gas pockets.

Secondary wells have to be dug for disposal of the waste, putting further strain on the area. Residents in Guy claim that when the wells appeared, including one opposite the school, the shaking started.

Following complaints a state moratorium was imposed on any more drilling while an investigation is carried out, although scientists say they have already pinpointed the cause.

Scott Ausbrooks, a geologist with the Arkansas Geological Survey, said: ‘All this activity happened after these wells had gone online.

'What you could be looking at is a case where the strain was already there. You’d be fast-forwarding the clock,’ he told the New York Times.

His team have also already said there is ‘strong temporal and spatial’ evidence for a link between the drilling and the quakes.

Such a phenomenon has happened in the area around Guy twice before, however. The worst was in the 1980s when the Enola swarm caused 550 quakes in six months with thousands of smaller tremors. Guy, by comparison has, had 640 over a comparable period.

In both instances, however, thousands of smaller tremors were recorded.

The state moratorium covering a 600-square-mile area around Guy is being reviewed on a month-by-month basis, although several wells are still operating subject to regular reporting.

Charles Morgan, a lawyer representing Poseidon Energy Services, which drilled one of the gas wells in Guy, said there was ‘no casual connection’ between the drilling and the tremors.

‘The evidence is anecdotal at best,’ he said.

Despite Guy’s record, it still has some way to go before it is the earthquake capital of the world.

The most closely watched earthquake town on Earth is Parkfield in California which sits atop the San Andreas fault, closely followed by nearby Hollister and Coalinga.

Tremors happen on an hourly basis in Parkfield and every few years residents can expect one of at least six on the Richter scale to rattle their homes.

Among the biggest was the first to be recorded in 1857, a foreshock to the great Fort Tejon earthquake which ruptured the fault from Parkfield to the south-east for over 180 miles.

Source: The Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1354514/Guy-Arkansas-The-tiny-town-gets-
dozen-earthquakes-EVERY-DAY-gas-drilling-goes-awry.html#ixzz1DUKN2417

- GIVE ME THAT OLD TIME RELIGION DEPARTMENT -

Mystery of the Black Madonna

The Black Madonna has been a figure of mystery for centuries. Some say she’s simply a statue of the Virgin Mary carved from black wood, or perhaps has soot on her skin from the smoke of thousands of candles.  But speculation goes much deeper than that.

Throughout Europe, especially in France, about 500 Black Madonnas, painted or carved in wood or stone, stand in Catholic churches, with a few in museums. Most date from the 11th to the 15th centuries. These medieval images of the Virgin holding the Christ Child gaze benignly on their devotees, who come as pilgrims and associate them with miracles and healing.

Other researchers into the mystique of the Black Madonna state that the reasons that the Roman Catholic Church in general has not warmly embraced such depictions of the Holy Mother or Virgin Mary are because they fear that such representations are actually paying tribute to the ancient goddesses and Earth mothers and that these images perpetuate strains of pagan worship of the female principle. For example, church scholars point out that St. Germain de Pres, the oldest church in Paris (Par-isis, the Grove of Isis), was built in 542 on the site of a former temple dedicated to Isis. Isis had been the patron goddess of Paris until Christianity replaced her with St. Genevieve. Within the church of St. Germain de Pres, however, parishioners worshipped a black statue of Isis until it was destroyed in 1514.

Christianity warred against goddess worship from the days of the apostles when St. Paul (d. 62–68 C.E.) found to his great frustration that his message was being shouted down by the crowds at Ephesus who pledged their obeisance to Diana. Until they had been romanized and westernized, Diana/Artemis, together with the other two preeminent goddesses of the East, Isis and Cybele, were first represented as black madonnas. And before the people of the East bent their knees to Diana, Isis, and Cybele, they had worshipped the Great Mother as Inanna in Sumeria, as Ishtar in Babylonia, and as Astarte among the Hebrews. Most scholars agree that among the first images of the Black Madonna and her son were representations of Isis and Horus.

The Black Madonna may also refer to Mary Magdalene, who, in the traditions of many Christian sects, such as the Gnostics, was the wife of Jesus (c. 6 B.C.E.–c. 30 C.E.) In this interpretation of the events that occurred after Jesus' death at the hands of the Romans, Mary brought the cup used at the Last Supper—the Holy Grail—from Palestine to southern France, where it would eventually be guarded by the Knights Templar.

There is also a belief that Mary arrived in France carrying within her womb a child fathered by Jesus of Nazareth, who then became the progenitor for the royal family of France. For those who hold such beliefs, the Holy Grail is but a metaphor for Mary Magdalene's womb, which carried the true blood of Jesus in the person of his unborn son. Therefore, many of the depictions of the Black Madonna and child throughout the regions of southern France and Spain may be regarded as images of Mary Magdalene carrying the infant son of Jesus rather than the Virgin Mary carrying the infant Jesus.

Here’s where you’ll find a few of the better-known Black Madonnas, or Vierges Noires:

France: Chartres, Rocamadour, Puy-en-Velay

In the great cathedral in Chartres, 50 miles southwest of Paris, there are two Black Madonnas. Notre Dame de Pilar, a 16th-century copy of a figure from the 13th century, stands in her gown of gold in a side chapel of the cathedral. She perches regally atop a high pillar, surrounded by candles.  Notre Dame de Sous-Terre (“Our Lady of the Underground”) is tucked away in a crypt near a holy well that dates from pre-Christian days. During the French Revolution, the sculpture in the crypt was destroyed, and in 1856 a replica was sculpted.

Rocamadour is a town 100 miles north of Toulouse, set against a high cliff with spectacular views of the countryside. A long staircase rises from town to the church (there is also an elevator). Pilgrims sometimes crawl up the 216 stairs on their knees to reach the Chapelle de Notre Dame, a separate chapel devoted to a lovely, carved Black Madonna. This shrine has been a sacred place of renown for centuries, credited with numerous miracles.

Le Puy-en-Velay, 274 miles south of Paris, is a charming town set on hills. Climbing one of those hills takes you to the Romanesque Cathédrale Notre Dame. The small Black Madonna is in the cathedral against a curtain backdrop, resplendent in her full golden robe, with only her face and the Christ Child’s showing. On August 15, the Assumption of Mary is celebrated by carrying the Black Madonna statue in a procession through town.

Switzerland: Einsiedeln

The Black Madonna of Einsiedeln is a Gothic wood carving that dates probably from the 15th century. Wearing a brocade robe and gold crown, she’s in a black marble chapel in the basilica of a Benedictine monastery. This Madonna has long been considered a shrine of healing; hundreds of thousands of pilgrims visit every year. The elaborate, baroque abbey church is 20 miles southeast of Zurich. Every day, the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours are sung by the Benedictine monks in Gregorian chant. Near the abbey a nativity scene said to be the world’s largest holds some 500 wooden figures.

Spain: Montserrat

La Moreneta is a statue said to have been carved by St. Luke. It was brought to Spain, hidden, and discovered in the 9th century and now stands in a basilica next to a monastery. This small Black Madonna is seated with the child on her lap. If you get to the basilica at 1 pm you may hear one of Europe’s oldest and best-known boys’ choirs in their daily singing of the Montserrat hymn. A funicular and walking path lead up to the Holy Grotto, considered to be the site where La Moreneta was discovered.

Poland: Czestochowa

The “Queen of Poland” is hugely influential to Poles and a steady stream of visiting pilgrims. This is another icon traced to St. Luke, who is said to have painted it on a cypress table top (No wonder Luke is the patron saint of artists.)  It came to Poland in the 14th century. This Black Madonna, with a mournful face, wears a robe with a design of lilies; Jesus is in a gold-trimmed red robe. Both have crowns. The national shrine is in a chapel attached to a baroque basilica on a hilltop in south-central Poland. A large Pauline monastery is a part of the sanctuary, run by the Pauline fathers who celebrated their 700th anniversary in 2010.

Source: Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/15/idUS120542219720110215

- THE LEGEND OF BOWNESSIE DEPARTMENT -

Strange Creature Photographed at Lake Windermere

The legend of 'Bownessie' is echoing across the waters of Lake Windermere once again after what is being called the best ever sighting of the mythical sea creature.

Emerging from the mist with oily black skin and three eerie humps, this picture reveals a mystical looking beast gliding through the lake.

The snap was taken on a camera-phone by terrified IT graduate Tom Pickles, 24, who said an animal the size of three cars sped across the lake in front him.

'It was petrifying and we paddled back to the shore straight away,' he said.

'At first I thought it was a dog and then saw it was much bigger and moving really quickly at about 10 mph. Each hump was moving in a rippling motion and it was swimming fast.'

This is believed to be the eighth sighting of a long hump-backed creature - affectionately known by locals as Bownessie - in the past last five years.

Mr Pickles, who said he watched the creature for 20 seconds, added: 'I could tell it was much bigger underneath from the huge shadow around it.

'Its skin was like a seal's but its shape was completely abnormal - it's not like any animal I've ever seen before.'

Mr Pickles's companion Sarah Harrington, 23, said: 'It was like an enormous snake.

'It freaked us all out but it wasn't until we saw the picture that we thought we'd seen something out of this world.

'I only saw it for a few seconds but all I could think about was that I had to get off the lake.'

The pair - who both work for Shrewsbery based IT company CapGemini - were on the last day of a team building residential training course at Fallbarrow Hall, Bowness, Cumbria.

They had kayaked 300m out into the lake near Belle Isle when they spotted the monster to the south.

Mr Pickles's picture perfectly matches the description of an earlier sighting from the shores of Wray Castle in 2006 by journalism lecturer Steve Burnip.

He said: 'I'm really pleased that someone has finally got a really good picture of it.

'I know what I saw and it shocked me, it had three humps and it's uncanny the likeness between this and what I saw five years ago.'

Monster hunter Thomas Noblett and TV psychic Dean Maynard said this new sighting has fired up their enthusiasm for another search.

The pair have twice scoured the lake with sonar equipment looking for Bownessie, but to no avail.

'We're convinced there's something down there and were going to get straight back out on the water,' said Mr Maynard.

Photo expert David Farnell of Farnell's photographic laboratory in Lancaster, said he couldn't rule out a hoax but this is the best quality image of Bownessie he'd seen.

He said: 'It does look like a real photo but because its been taken on a phone the file size is too small to really tell whether it has been altered on Photoshop or not.'

Sceptics remain unconvinced that something that size could exist in the 11 mile long lake.

Nigel Wilkinson, director of Windermere Lake Cruises, said his boat crew had over 100 years experience out on the water in all conditions and hadn't spotted anything unusual.

He said: 'We carry 1.3 million passengers - that's is 2.6 million eyeballs - and none of them have ever brought Bownessie to our attention.

Dr Ian Winfield, a lake ecologist at the University of Lancaster, said it was highly unlikely that an animal as large as three car lengths could survive in Windermere.

'It's possible that it's a catfish from Eastern Europe and people are misjudging the size but there is no known fish as large as the descriptions were hearing that could be living in Windermere.'

'We run echo sounding surveys every month and have never found anything.'

The mysterious aquatic beast is starting to draw parallels with the infamous Loch Ness monster for drawing even more tourists to the Lake District hot-spot.

Ellis Butcher from Cumbria Tourism said: 'The truth is Windermere and Bowness are incredibly popular destinations and don’t need gimmicks to get people to visit.

'Nonetheless at the start of the tourism year, it doesn’t do the industry any harm to have this kind of profile across the media.'

Source: The Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1357987/Has-Bownessie-caught-camera-
couples-close-encounter-car-long-beast-Lake-Windermere.html

- HISTORY'S MYSTERIES DEPARTMENT -

Ancient Canals on the Suncoast?

A Central Florida man believes he has discovered what's left of a highly advanced ancient civilization by using some new technology, and says some of the evidence is right here on the Suncoast.

"Looking further, I begin to find the real beauty in Cortez."  John Jensen is no archaeologist. He says he's just an amatuer researcher of what's under the water. Well, what he says he's observed from the sky could rewrite the history of the world.  "I recognize some patterns that appear to be man-made, or at least not natural."

He's identified more than 60 sites in places like Louisiana, New Jersey and Florida as what he calls ancient channels, canals, and harbors.  A handful are from Tampa down to Ft. Myers, including one in Englewood and one around Cortez in Manatee County.  "There's a horseshoe with a circle in the center of it, and other lines around it that suggest that they're not natural."

Jensen says the sites are now about five feet underwater, and says there are underwater banks and edges which indicate they were built before the sea level rise six to seven thousand years ago. "That's the result of the process of digging above water, is to dump the refuse on the bank beside it."

"They definitely were modifying their environment.  A canal system or harbor system is not that unthinkable at all."  Jodi Pracht is the Archaeologist for Sarasota County.  She says our area has some of the oldest evidence of human inhabitance in all of North America, dating back between 10,000 and 12,000 years.

As far as Jensen's claims she's not so sure. "At the years this gentleman is talking about, and the level of modification...the science does not support that."

At places like the Indian Mound park in Englewood there is evidence people lived here an awfully long time ago.  However Jensen says his evidence suggests it's much bigger then we ever thought.  "(The diggings) probably were not made by some folks wearing leather buckskins, breechcloths and baskets on their heads."

Jensen says the widths of some of the underwater waterways are larger than the Panama Canal -- something which would have required some serious innovation. "Underwater sunken systems that require technology to produce that is beyond or at least equivalent to what we have today."

Jensen says he has uncovered some of the sites in just the past few months; perhaps finding something experts have yet to even see, let alone attempt to explain...at least for now.  "The science is very conservative.  There is probably a lot more going on out there than as a professional you would agree with out loud," says Pracht.

Naturally occurring or man made?  How about from something not human at all?  Jensen says he doesn't know, but perhaps the answers are just beyond the water's edge.  "Depth reading and core samples will absolutely rewrite everything we know about history."

Jensen says his work and his theories are catching on. His website, which he says he makes no money on, is now receiving more than 25,000 hits a month.

www.ancientcanalbuilders.com

Source: My Suncoast
http://www.mysuncoast.com/news/local/story/Ancient-canals-on-the-Suncoast/sFBwUjOUc0ShGe88tPh36Q.cspx

- DON'T DATE ROBOTS DEPARTMENT -

Just Say No ... to Robot Marriage

In a case of life imitating "Futurama," Maryland's gay-marriage debate has somehow morphed into worries about robot-human marriages.

The rant against robosexuals came during Robert Broadus' testimony against the gay-marriage legislation currently before Maryland legislature. "If you pass this bill, you will set the groundwork, that one day when artificial intelligence is that advanced, we will be considering whether or not people can marry their androids. ... If you say that any two people who love each other can get married, then you set that precedent," said Broadus, who heads Protect Marriage Maryland.

To make his case, Broadus referred to Lieutenant Commander Data's ability to feel emotion and shed a tear in "Star Trek: Generations," a science-fiction movie. "You laugh, but it's true," Broadus said.

For better or worse, sex with robots is already a reality, although the robots in question are really just glorified blow-up dolls. Researchers have long discussed whether there might come a day (maybe 2050?) when true love could exist between humans and artificially intelligent machines. In recent years, however, the idea of building robots that look and think like humans isn't as, um, sexy as it once was.

"The robotics field is away from that approach and geared toward specific applications," said Anne Foerst, a computer science professor at St. Bonaventure University in New York who has been dubbed "the robot theologian." (And yes, she does hold a degree in theology as well as computer science and philosophy.)

In the old days, roboticists could build cute-eyed machines like Cog, Kismet and Leonardo to test the boundaries between biological and mechanical beings. MIT's Leonardo, an Ewok-like robot, could even pass some of the psychological tests aimed at studying social cognition in children.

That kind of research "is pretty much dead right now, which is very sad,"  Foerst told me.

"You basically get applications, and applications which in my opinion are much less interesting," she said. "Those machines do not raise any questions of personhood, because they don't have anywhere to go. ... The reason why is that the funding has changed."

For better or worse, it seems that the folks funding the research are more interested in real-world results rather than the prospects for robot romance. Who knows? Maybe the academic debate over sex and marriage with robots will be revived in 2050, or more likely 2150. But in any case, Broadus needn't worry about robosexuals anytime soon.

"Gay relationships obviously consist of mutual give and take," Foerst observed. "They're equal partners, and that's completely different from robotics. To apply human-android research to gay marriage is, in my opinion ridiculous."

Foerst is apparently not the only person who feels that way. Lezgetreal's Bridgette P. LaVictoire reports that Maryland state Sen. James Brochin changed his mind and decided to vote for the gay-marriage legislation after hearing the "appalling and disgusting" testimony against it.

Source: Cosmic Log
http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/02/11/6034141-just-say-no-to-robot-marriage

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