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2/23/07  #405
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Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.  CONSPIRACY JOURNAL DOES!  And once again it is here to confound your senses and honk off those who wish to keep everything a deep, dark secret. So sit back and relax, take your shoes off and read the secret news that you may not find in your local newspaper or see on the six o'clock news.

This week, Conspiracy Journal brings you such shocking stories as:

- U.S. Army to Test Paralyzing Light Beam Weapon -
- Those Damned Cattle Mutilations -
- Could Ancient Man Fly? -
AND:  Fortune Tellers: Year of Pig Will Bring Disaster

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

Greetings subscribers,
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~ 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:


U.S. Army to Test Paralyzing Light Beam Weapon

The US Army's Aviation Applied Technology Directorate (AATD) plans to demonstrate the use of a 7.5 million candlepower (7.3 million candela) strobe floodlight system mounted on board an unmanned air vehicle as a non-lethal crowd-control system.

The project will see a Peak Beam Systems Maxa Beam searchlight adapted to operate as a strobe capable of inducing physical effects, such as short-term paralysis, in humans.

AATD plans to award contacts to the Edgemont, Pennsylvania-based Peak Systems for the modified searchlight in March, with demonstrations within 12 months.

US government acquisition records released on February 9 say the sole source contract calls for Peak Systems to "design and fabricate a light-based immobilization system/deterrent device and integrate it with an unmanned aerial system. This will include any necessary medical research on frequency and amplitude modulation of high-intensity light that will cause immobilization to all those within the beam."

The system uses a xenon-based searchlight that "can be pulsed with a unique modulation [strobe] effect that results in immobilization to those within the beam. This effort will transition the lamp from a handheld/vehicle mounted system to an airborne platform."

In parallel, the US Air Force UAV Battlelab is studying a project to adapt Raytheon's microwave-based Active Denial System (ADS) to a UAV, also for use in crowd control and battlefield shaping roles. However, this is dependent upon maturing existing ADS development efforts by Raytheon and the USAF Research Laboratory's Directed Energy (AFRL DE) Battlelab, says UAV Battlelab director Greg Pierce.

Speaking at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's (AUVSI) annual US government programs update conference earlier this month, Pierce said: "We don't have any initiatives on this, because to be an initiative it has to have reached technology readiness level 5. But we are looking at directed-energy capabilities. We are looking at high-power microwave capabilities. We are looking at what I like to call the 'annoyance ray', which came out of AFRL DE."

Existing USAF ADS demonstrator efforts have focused on a vehicle-mounted system that emits radio frequency energy at 95GHz. The bulk of that energy is absorbed within the first 0.39mm (0.016in) of the human skin, creating an intense burning sensation.

Vehicle-mounted versions are undergoing evaluation at Moody AFB in Georgia.

Source: Flight


Have You Heard About B Flat?

For reasons that remain mostly mysterious, the note we call B flat does the oddest things. Here are a few of them.

B Flats and Alligators

During World War II, the New York Philharmonic was visiting the American Museum of Natural History. During rehearsal, somebody played a note that upset a resident live alligator named Oscar. Oscar, who'd been in the museum on 81st Street, suddenly began to bellow. Naturally, with so many scientists in residence, an experiment was quickly devised to see how to get Oscar to bellow again. Various musicians — string, percussive and brass — were brought to Oscar to play various notes. It turned out the culprit was B flat, one octave below middle C.

The experiment was described back in the 1940s.

I repeated the experiment on an ABC News broadcast in the 1990s, playing a B flat to a collection of gators at a roadside attraction in Florida and recording their bellows.

Why B flat? You'd have to ask an alligator.

B Flat and Glenway Fripp the Piano Tuner

Jay Alison (of This I Believe fame) and radio correspondent Viki Merrick live in Massachusetts and help run public radio stations on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. In their capacities as managers-poets-reporters in residence, they regularly devise short promotional "moments" featuring local personalities.

One of their promos described a trip that Glenway Fripp took up a staircase.

Mr. Fripp, a piano tuner by trade, was humming in B flat while climbing the stairs at his dad's office building, when he noticed that his hum had somehow escaped him and was hanging, resonating without him, on the staircase landing. He couldn't quite explain what was happening; only that his hum (and it was definitely his hum, no one else's) had gone off without him.

If you listen to the broadcast, you can hear this for yourself. Viki Merrick recorded it. Glenway has no idea why B flat had this particular property on that particular staircase. He suspects that the walls were porous and may even contain cavities that are very B-flat friendly. That's all he knows. But the truth is, he doesn't have an explanation.

B Flat and Black Holes

This one's a bit of a stretch, but here's what happened.

In September 2003, astronomers at NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory found what can be described as sound waves emanating from a supermassive black hole. The black hole can be seen in the Perseus cluster of galaxies located 250 million light years from Earth.

Andrew Fabian of the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, England, analyzed the waves and announced, "We have detected their sound…." The sound he found (which is really the waves passing through gas near the black hole) translate to the note B flat.

But this is not a B flat you or I can hear. It is 57 octaves below middle C. A piano, by comparison, contains only seven octaves. So if a black hole hums, it hums at a frequency a million billion times lower than you can hear.

A Song in B Flat

While you may not be able to hear a black hole humming, this story is, to a considerable extent, sung.

The vocalist (who is also the lyricist, and a journalist) is Josh Kurz of Los Angeles. His partner this time out is Shane Winter, who composed the song "Have You Heard About B Flat?" — which wasn't easy, since he decided to hang with B flat for as long and as often as possible.

Source: NPR


Those Damned Cattle Mutilations

When we first encounter the cattle mutilation phenomenon, it seems very hard to digest mentally. At that point, predisposition takes over: Believers think it’s aliens doing genetic experiments, Fundamentalist Skeptics counter that it’s merely predators and scavengers who bring down livestock, drain their blood, and in some cases leave them out in back of the farmhouse, mere feet from sleeping ranchers. Both scenarios seem equally ridiculous.

Most agree that the “Kenneth Arnold” event for mutilations was the “Snippy the Horse” case of September 8th, 1967. (Chris O’Brien, author of “The Mysterious Valley,” talked with one of the original witnesses, Harry King, who reported that the horse was in fact named “Snippy,” contrary to popular belief that the animal’s name was “Lady.”) King and his mother noted that Snippy failed to return to a water trough as usual, and two days later found the animal dead on a small mesa.

Flesh had been removed from the head and neck, there was no blood at the scene, and King said that there was a strange medicinal odor in the air. When Agnes King touched a piece of the carcass, a greenish fluid oozed out, and seemed to contain some chemical that burned her skin. Residents in the area reported UFO-like activity in the skies before and after the event.

In the mid-1970s, the problem became so widespread in New Mexico that Senator Harrison Schmitt convened a symposium at the Albuquerque Public Library. In April of 1979, he invited ranchers, researchers, and law enforcement officials to gather and talk about the problem, which had up to that time cost the cattle industry in the neighborhood of $1 million. Few conclusions were reached, and one researcher from Colorado said that “The only sense of mutilations is that they make no sense at all.”

The Justice Department was called in to investigate, and hired retired FBI agent Kenneth Rommel to head “Operation Animal Mutilation.” His report, running 297 pages, was released in 1980. It concluded that the majority of the mutilations were easily accounted for as natural deaths and predator activity, with a small percentage that could not be explained adequately with the resources available. Rommel reportedly told researcher Linda Howe that she was barking up the wrong tree with her alien intervention theory, and that the phenomenon was due solely to natural causes.

With the exception of one or two reports (one where a rancher claimed to observe two alien creatures carrying a dead calf, and the other reported by an abductee under hypnosis) I know of no cases where aliens have been observed in contact with livestock. If we throw out the UFO explanation, this leaves us few options available to account for the observed anomalies in cattle mutilations.

Howe once told me that the aliens want to make it look like humans are doing this to cover their own tracks. I do not agree, and I will explain how I came to my present model of the phenomenon. Some may counter that Howe is a dedicated field researcher and I have no expertise in this area. They are right. My ideas are based on in-depth conversations with other researchers who have many years of hands-on experience with livestock mutilations.

Retired New Mexico State Police Officer Gabe Valdez was involved in the investigation of mutilations from the “ground floor.” He was the first official on the scene in countless incidents in the Dulce area from the late 1970s to the late ’80s. He has showed me firsthand evidence collected in the field, including something resembling radar chaff which was spread around a field at a mutilation scene–some of the pieces were actually stuffed in the animal’s mouth. He also found a gas mask and surgical instruments at other sites. In 2000, Valdez was hired by the National Institute For Discovery Science to contribute to its report on the phenomenon. He concluded that the cattle may be part of a covert experiment to track diseases in livestock. Independent researcher Ted Oliphant, who spent a few years in law enforcement in another mutilation hotspot–Fyffe, Alabama–came to basically the same conclusion after years of study. Chris O’Brien, while not wedded to the theory, remarks that it would account for much of the observed evidence during his years in southern Colorado.

Under this theory, the proximity of UFO sightings to mutilation outbreaks may be an attempt by whatever human agencies are involved to capitalize on the alien connection. It may also be the result of experimental or secret aircraft used in the operations. Researcher Peter Jordan concluded as much in a remote viewing study he conducted in the late 1970s where a majority of his sensitives perceived not alien craft, but light helicopters unloaded from trucks and personnel in hazmat suits. Photographs were given to the viewers in sealed envelopes.

Admittedly, this last example is too much for some to bear, but the possibility of a pathogen which was released accidentally sometime in the mid-1970s by agencies unknown, and attempts to study and control it before the fact becomes public seems to fit the evidence just as well or better than some kind of alien agenda. Diseases such as Bovine Spongiform Encephelopathy (or “mad cow”) and Cruzfelt-Jakob which affect not only domestic animals, but wildlife and humans as well is almost too frightening to consider, especially if the disease was a biowarfare experiment gone awry.

Admittedly, this theory does not account for all anomalies observed in mutilations, but it does explain many of them, and provides an excellent model for motives. Like many theories on anomalous subjects, the case is not airtight. Mysterious cases of missing organs with no visible incisions to remove them is one example that comes to mind. If the phenomenon is UFO-related though, it seems to make little sense. Hyper-intelligent aliens should not require hundreds of tries to get information on bovine physiology. Humans would need this database, and the pubic outcry if the study were made public before a cure was found would be disastrous.

Could Cattle Mutilations Be Linked to Atomic Bomb Tests?

There exists the possibility that cattle mutilations could be the result of clandestine studies on the effects of radioactive fallout throughout the United States. Considering that cattle normally graze on grasslands and ingest radioactive material drifting to the ground after nuclear tests. It is not so far fetched that government agencies, with the help of the military could secretly chart fallout patterns by harvesting randomly selected cattle.

You've heard of our new enthusiasm for nuclear weapons: the Administration's pursuit of mini-nukes, its hit list of targets from Baghdad to Beijing and its talk of periodically detonating a few by way of "testing."

You've probably heard less about a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , completed in August 2001, but only published in dribs and drabs over the past few weeks. Mandated by Congress, the study is the first ever to estimate what effect radioactive fallout from nuclear testing has had on the lower forty-eight American states.

The CDC finds such fallout has likely killed 11,000 Americans since the 1950s. They died from all manner of cancers, from melanoma to breast cancer to leukemia. Fallout has also caused about 22,000 nonlethal cases of cancer. For those keeping score, that's 33,000 cases of cancer among Americans, courtesy of global nuclear testing.

And it's not just Nevada anymore: The study's maps suggest the definition of "downwinder" -- someone living uncomfortably close to a nuclear test site -- needs revision. Fallout spreads surprisingly far and wide, with high concentrations in places like Idaho and Montana.

"Hot spots due to testing in Nevada occurred as far away as New York and Maine," says Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER), a Maryland-based think tank that has conducted its own analysis of the CDC's data.

"Hot spots from US Pacific area testing and also Soviet testing were scattered across the United States -- from California, Oregon and Washington in the West to New Hampshire, Vermont and North Carolina in the East."

A little perspective: Fallout cancers represent only a tiny fraction of all cases of cancer. The CDC notes, for example, that among the 3.8 million people born in the US in 1951, about 760,000 would normally be expected to die of cancer, while fallout exposure adds only an additional 1,000 deaths to that total.

But even so, it's a helluva price tag for testing the bomb: Eleven thousand dead Americans. Thirty-three thousand American cancers.

That price tag is a subtext in today's nuclear debates. Take Yucca Mountain: The Department of Energy says it will be safe for Nevadans to store the nation's nuclear waste there. But Robert Loux, executive director of the state's Agency for Nuclear Projects, says, "There's huge distrust of DOE here." During nuclear testing, he says, "They promised us it was all perfectly safe too -- even as DOE officials moved their own families out of town [on test days]."

Yes, that was then and this is now. But dismissing the ugly sides of this tale as relics of the cold war begs a question: Why were forerunners of the CDC study squelched as late as the mid-1990s? Robert Alvarez, a Clinton-era Energy Department official, recalled hearing in 1997 of a "suppressed" study of fallout by the National Cancer Institute, and asked for a briefing. "They were showing me these color-coded [fallout] maps of the United States. And I'm looking at this and it's really grotesque stuff, because I know what the numbers mean," Alvarez says. "And I look down at the bottom of the page and it's dated September 1992, and here I am in 1997."

That NCI study looked at one kind of cancer -- that afflicting the thyroid -- and concluded that nuclear-test fallout caused somewhere between 11,300 and 212,000 incidences of the disease among Americans. After it was finally published in 1997, Congress demanded a CDC follow-up.

A report to Congress on the CDC follow-up emphasizes its conservative approach. The study has a large margin of error-the mathematically modeled cancer tolls are more illustrative than definitive -- and it is only now being peer-reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences.

Caveats aside, the estimate of 33,000 cases of cancer seems restrained if only because it covers fallout generated over just eleven years, between 1951 and 1962, and sprinkled across the forty-eight contiguous US states. As the IEER notes, that omits:

* all Chinese atmospheric tests, which were conducted from 1964 to 1980;

* French atmospheric tests from 1963 to 1974;

* pre-1951 tests in the Marshall Islands and in the Soviet Union;

* the original three 1945 atomic blasts-in New Mexico, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The 11,000 Americans killed by an eleven-year run of nuclear testing represent a fraction of a larger story -- a cold war epic that spans five decades and dozens of nations.

Nuclear powers "owe the world a real accounting of what they did to its health," says Makhijani. "It is high time for the United Nations to create a Global Truth Commission that would examine-in detail comparable to the US government studies -- the harm that has been inflicted upon the people of the world by nuclear weapons production and testing."

Until that Truth Commission convenes however, the CDC's study is sobering enough. Alvarez says that any one of more than a dozen atmospheric tests in that eleven-year period released Chernobyl-scale radiation levels. "There were at least nineteen shots in the ballpark of the Chernobyl accident," he said. "We're talking about levels [of radioactivity] so large during that period that if today's existing safety standards to protect the public had been applied, large portions of the nation's milk supply would have had to have been withdrawn on numerous occasions." Makhijani of IEER adds that some US farm children who drank milk after the hottest atmospheric blasts were as severely exposed as "the worst-exposed children" of Chernobyl.

Reasonable people could argue, if they were so inclined, over whether 11,000 people in America killed by eleven years of nuclear testing is "a lot." But whether one sees it as horrifying or as merely a few thousand eggs broken for our cold war omelettes, the link between fallout and cancer is a reality oddly absent from discussions of busting bunkers under Baghdad or Tora Bora.

If someone would take the time to chart where cattle mutilations tend to be concentrated, I am reasonably certain that they will find a correlation with mutilations and areas of radioactive fallout, or at least where fallout would be most likely to occur.

Source: UFO Mystic/Alternet


Could Ancient Man Fly?

Models of airplanes thousands of years old... vast works of art that can only be seen from the air... ancient texts that describe aerial battles. Are they proof that ancient civilizations mastered powered flight?

Flight has been the dream of humankind since they watched in awe as birds soared effortlessly through the sky. But, according to accepted history, it wasn't until the 1780s that two Frenchmen achieved lighter-than-air flight when they were lifted into the air in a hot air balloon near Paris. Then powered, heavier-than-air flight became the goal. And although it was theorized that heavier-than-air flight was possible as early as the 13th century, and in the 16th century Leonardo da Vinci designed winged aircraft and a crude kind of helicopter, it wasn't until the Wright brothers made their first successful flights at Kitty Hawk in 1903 that powered flight became a reality.

That's the widely accepted history. Some researchers and a few rogue scientists believe there's evidence to suggest that humans achieved flight earlier in history - much earlier... so early, they say, that the knowledge of this technology has been lost and ancient stories that recount adventures of human flight have been relegated only to myth.

Is it possible that humans developed the technology to fly in early civilizations - or in civilizations that are now lost to history? Let's take a look at what some call the evidence - intriguing artifacts, carvings, inscriptions and legends - that they say point to the true record human of flight.

The Egyptian Airplane

In 1898, a peculiar six-inch wooden object was found in a tomb at Saqquara, Egypt that dated back to about 200 BCE. The object had a body or fuselage, seven-inch wings that curved downward slightly, a fixed rudder and a tail. It looked very much like a modern airplane or glider. But since airplanes had not yet been invented in 1898 (never mind ancient Egypt), it was labeled as a model of bird and stored away in the basement of the Cairo museum.

The object was rediscovered many years later by Dr. Khalil Messiha, an authority on ancient models. According to Messiha and others who have studied the object, it has characteristics of very advanced aerodynamics, much like modern pusher-gliders that require very little power to stay aloft. The curved wings are today known as reversedihedral wings, which can attain great amounts of lift. A similar design is employed on the supersonic Concorde aircraft.

Was this just a child's toy? Or was it a scale model of an aircraft the Egyptians planned to build... or did build. If they did build a full-scale version of the aircraft, no evidence exists for it. No full-size airplanes have been found in any pharaoh's tomb to fly him to the land of the dead.

The Carvings at Abydos

Although no airplanes or airplane parts have ever been found from the ruins of ancient Egypt, is there corroborating evidence that they constructed aircraft?

Even more controversial than the model airplane are the enigmatic carvings found in the temple of Abydos, Egypt by Dr. Ruth Hover. Hover photographed a wall panel which had been revealed when a newer overlaying panel crumbled and fell off. The older panel beneath contained embossed images that resemble modern aircraft as seen in profile.

One bears a striking resemblance to a modern helicopter, while others could be interpreted as aircraft, hovercraft or even flying saucers. When the photos of these carvings first surfaced, it was assumed that they had been digitally altered to create a sensational hoax. And indeed some of them had been retouched to more clearly show aircraft-like features. But even unaltered photos seemed to show the very modern-looking figures.

Perhaps looks are deceiving, however. The official take from archaeologists is that the strange carvings are palimpsests - the result of two or more overlapping carvings that combine to look like something else. The "aircraft," they say, are merely combinations of overlapping hieroglyphics.

Central and South American Shuttle

Egypt's isn't the only ancient civilization that has produced puzzling artifacts. A remarkable gold trinket estimated to be at least 1,000 years old - dating perhaps to between 500 and 800 AD - was found in Central America and along coastal areas of South America. If you weren't aware of its age, you might guess that it was a child's model of the Space Shuttle or a delta wing fighter aircraft.

When the artifact was discovered, archaeologists called it a zoomorph, or animal-shaped object. It resembles no known flying animal, however. It looks distinctly mechanical with its delta-shaped wings, stabilizer fins and rudder. It even has what looks like a pilot's seat in the right place. Experts in aerodynamics, however, contend that the wings are too far back for the object's center of gravity, and that the nose is not aerodynamically sound.

Whatever this object is supposed to be or represent, its remarkable resemblance to a modern aircraft or spacecraft is uncanny.

Nazca - A Reason to Fly?

Spread over a 37 by 15 mile plateau near Nazca, Peru are huge works of art "drawn" on the ground by people of the Paracas and Nasca cultures. The figures, called geoglyphs, are stylized portraits of a 18 different kinds of birds, a curly-tailed monkey as big as a football field, a killer whale, a 150-foot spider, a lizard, human forms and other strange objects.

Although the civilizations that created the figures flourished between 200 BC and 600 AD, no one knows for certain when the geoglyphs were made... or why. But since they were discovered, archaeologists have wondered by these people would create such monumental works of art that could not be appreciated from the ground. The figures can only be distinguished when viewed from a great height. In fact, they were discovered in recent times only when an explorer noticed them when flying over them in an airplane. Since there are no nearby mountains or other elevated areas nearby from which to look down on the Nazca lines, how were they ever seen?

Because of Nazca's large grids of crisscrossing paths, that seem to go nowhere (some extending as long as six miles), authors such as Erich Von Daniken have suggested (with only this as "evidence") that Nazca is a ancient spaceport. The paths, he contends, are runways for aircraft, and that their pilots and passengers were those privileged to view the large-scale figures.

Less sensationalistic is the suggestion that this ancient civilization constructed hot-air balloons in which to take passengers aloft to view the symbols. In 1974, Julian Nott and Jim Woodman tested this theory by building a balloon made of materials available to the Nazca natives. They constructed a gondola of totora reeds and stitched-together sheets of cotton cloth that they filled with the hot air from wood smoke. Their balloon, dubbed Condor I, quickly rose to over 300 feet, proving that it was at least possible for the South American natives of this region to have achieved lighter-than-air flight long before Europeans did.

The Vaimanika-sastra

Although the Chinese are credited with inventing rocketry, some people believe that an ancient text from India describes sophisticated air flight by human pilots. Written by Maharishi Bharadwaja in the 4th century BC (allegedly dictated while he was in a trance), the Vaimanika-sastra seems to talk about piloting some kind of aircraft - a vimana - with some astonishing capabilities.

Sounding like a manual for aerial battle (or instructions to a video game), the text claims to reveal 32 secrets of piloting a vimana, including:

    * Goodha - permits the pilot to make his vimana invisible to his enemies.
    * Paroksha - enables the pilot to paralyze other vimanas and put them out of action.
    * Pralaya - pushes an electrical force through the "five-limbed aerial tube" so that the pilot may "destroy everything as in a cataclysm."
    * Taara - provides the pilot with another means of avoiding contact with an enemy or hiding from observers: "By mixing with ethereal force 10 parts of air force, 7 parts of water force, and 16 parts of solar glow, and projecting it by means of the star-faced mirror through the frontal tube of the vimana, the appearance of a star-spangled sky is created."
    * Jalada roopa - instructs the pilot in the correct proportions of certain chemicals which will envelop the vimana and give it "the appearance of a cloud."

Was the Vaimanika-sastra simply imaginative writing, rich with symbolism and religious meaning? Or was it a description of ancient yet advanced technology that humankind was not to rediscover until the 20th century?  



How Irises "Reveal Personalities"

Patterns in the iris could give away your deep, dark secrets, and it may be possible to read a person's personality through their eyes, Swedish researchers have said.

They have detected patterns which show warm-heartedness and trust or neuroticism and impulsiveness. The team from Orebro University read pits and lines in the irises of 428 people.

Experts said the study in Biological Psychology showed that at least some aspects of personality were determined by genetics.

Close-up pictures were taken of the study participants' irises, and they also filled out a questionnaire about their personalities.

The researchers looked at crypts (pits) and contraction furrows (lines curving around the outer edge of the iris), which are formed when pupils dilate.

It was found that those with more crypts were likely to be tender, warm and trusting, while those with more furrows were more likely to be neurotic, impulsive and give in to cravings.

The researchers suggest that a neurodevelopmental gene called PAX6 could also play a major role. It is known to help control the development of the iris in an embryo.

Previous research has also shown that a mutation of PAX6 is linked to impulsiveness and poor social skills.

The team, led by Dr Matt Larsson a behavioural scientist, said: "These findings support the notion that people with different iris configurations tend to develop along different trajectories in regards to personality.

"Differences in the iris can be used as a biomarker that reflects differences between people."

Dr George Fieldman, principal lecturer in psychology at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, said: "This is very interesting. It shows that some aspects of personality have a genetic base and to identify them in the eye in this fascinating way is significant.

"It is surprising that this is possible. But it seems that the old aphorism that 'the eyes are the window to the soul' has some genetic basis."

He said it opened up the possibility that security services could one day use the technique to analyse people.

Airports, including Heathrow, Manchester and Gatwick are already testing iris scanning to identify people - but are not to check personality traits.

But Dr Fieldman added: "Security services would have to use such technologies with some caution. You would not want to arrest somebody on the basis of their iris."

Source: BBC


Fortune Tellers: Year of Pig Will Bring Disaster

HONG KONG -- Sunday marks the start of the Chinese New Year and it's a lucky one for those starting out in life. But the rest of us are in for a rough ride. Expect epidemics, disasters and violence in much of the world.

"The Year of the Pig will not be very peaceful," said Hong Kong feng shui master Raymond Lo.

Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of trying to achieve health, harmony and prosperity by using specific dates, numbers, building design and the placement of objects.

The pig is one of 12 animals (or mythical animals in the case of the dragon) on the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, which follows the lunar calendar. According to Chinese astrology, people born in pig years are polite, honest, hardworking and loyal. They are also lucky, which is why many Chinese like to have babies in a pig year.

"Any children born in The Year of Pig will receive help from others throughout their lives," Lo said.

Ronald Reagan was a pig. So are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Woody Allen and Elton John. Not to mention Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But a word of caution to the presidential candidate.

The pig finished last in the race that determined the zodiac's order, behind the dog.

Other animals in the zodiac are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey and rooster. The zodiac runs on a 12-year cycle, and each year is associated with the five elements that Chinese mystics make up the universe: metal, water, wood, fire and earth.

Therein lies the trouble.

Pig years can be turbulent because they are dominated by fire and water, conflicting elements that tend to cause havoc, Lo said.

"Fire sitting on water is a symbol of conflict and skirmish," he said. "We'll also see more fire disasters and bombings."

He noted that the Russian AK-47 rifle, a weapon of choice among insurgents around the world, was invented during a pig year.

"So it will not be surprising to see more gunbattles, murder with guns and bombing attacks in 2007," he said.

Malaysian feng shui master Lillian Too agreed.

"I wish I could say that there won't be natural disasters, but I am afraid it could be as bad as last year," she said.

"There could be epidemics," she said. "I am very worried about bird flu. Eat healthy foods and take care of your health."

Few Chinese seemed to be worried about the warnings, though, as they prepared for their biggest bash of the year -- Saturday's Lunar New Year's Eve -- celebrated by one-fifth of the world's population.

It's an occasion to have family feasts, buy new clothes and exchange red envelopes stuffed with gift money.

Not everything about the future looks bleak.

Most soothsayers said the world economy will continue to boom, though they advise people to be cautious about their investments.

"Because of the water element in the Year of the Pig, the economy will continue to grow, which also paves the way for another round of interest rate hikes," said Peter So, a celebrity fortuneteller in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong soothsayer Alion Yeo is predicting North Korea will undergo a power struggle that will bring leadership changes around May. Last year, the Year of the Dog, Yeo warned that the North Korean nuclear crisis would worsen.

The North conducted a nuclear test in October.

Singapore fortuneteller John Lok predicted the situation in Iraq will not settle and President Bush will have a bad year.

He also said the next president of France may be a woman -- no surprise there since one of the main candidates is a woman, Segolene Royal of the Socialist party.

While the pig is beloved by the Chinese, the animal is offensive to Muslims, who consider it unclean. For that reason, Chinese New Year celebrations have to be handled with care in Malaysia and Indonesia, mainly Muslim countries with large ethnic Chinese minorities.

For the first time in its history, Indonesia introduced a special set of postal stamps to mark the Lunar New Year. But concerns over Muslim sensitivities led the postal service to drop plans to put a large pig on the stamps. It chose a Chinese temple instead.

"We took the middle path," said Hana Suryana, director of the Indonesian postal service.

Still, that was progress for a country where ethnic Chinese, who make up 5 percent of the population and have long faced discrimination, once were not allowed to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

"That has changed now, but we still feel uncomfortable celebrating the day in a large way because there are some people who cannot accept that Chinese culture is a part of Indonesian culture," said Jhony Tan, a trader in Jakarta's bustling Chinatown.

Yusri Mohammad, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, said he had no problem with the Chinese celebrating the pig year in his country. He said decorative pictures of pigs in shopping malls are fine -- as long as Chinese don't start using live pigs or eat pork in public.



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