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12/7/07  #446
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Welcome one and all to the greatest show on Earth!  Inside the big top we have such mysteries as you've never seen before!  A three-ring extravaganza of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal and much, much, MORE!  So sit back and relax and prepared to be amazed, because Conspiracy Journal is here once again for your viewing pleasure. 

This week Conspiracy Journal brings you such eccentric stories as:

- The Conspiracy Against Renewable Energy -
- The Antichrist - A Historical Puzzle -
- Everest Footprints Stir up Yeti Legend -
- Centuries-Old Map Baffles Researchers -
AND:  Shadowy Path May Lead to Treasure

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

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~


What is the Secret About the Hollow Earth That Admiral Richard Byrd Took to His Grave?

Explore the bizarre world under the Poles! Journey with renown researcher Tim Swartz as he attempts to unravel Admiral Richard E Byrd's mysterious journey to find a secret subterranean world! Here is evidence that the great adventurer actually ventured beyond the poles into a rich land inhabited by a race of superbeings as well as possibly refugee scientists and SS members of Hitler's dreaded Nazi regime.

How the world was formed. The existence of the mythological lands of Hyperborea and Ultima Thule.  The development of the Flying Saucer. The mysterious lands and people of the Far North.  Operation Highjump - Antarctic Attack!  Did Hitler Escape to Antarctica?  Britain's Secret War at the Poles.  Did an Inner World race give the German's UFO technology?

This is a large size - 8.5x11 -- book with easy to read text and contains many important illustrations, art work and documents for the serious student to study. 

You can order this book now for the special price of ONLY $17.95 plus $5.00
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AND, if you order right now, we will send you a VERY SPECIAL FREE GIFT - a DVD of Timothy Green Beckley's (Mr. UFO) appearance on OUT THERE TV, where he talks about the Hollow Earth and other inner Earth mysteries.  You get this DVD FREE for being among the first to order this incredible book.

So don't delay, order your copy of Admiral Byrd's Secret Journey Beyond the Poles today for only $17.95 plus $5.00 for shipping -  A GREAT PRICE!

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In This Incredible Issue:
The FeeJee Mermaid and the History of
This Elusive Creature
12 Most Popular Cryptids
Cannibalism: Who's For Dinner?
The Psychic World of Amelia Earhart
PLUS: Explore Georgia's Guidestones
The Lore of the Werewolf
Ancient Aliens-ETs or Gods?
And much more, including book, music,
and movie reviews, exhibit  listings, your
winter horoscope, and conference listings!

Get your issue TODAY at your favorite bookstore
or magazine stand.


The Conspiracy Against Renewable Energy

I hate to use the “C” word, but there is no other way to say it. There is a national conspiracy to prevent renewable energy from becoming the primary energy source in the United States.

And who are the conspirators? The usual cast of characters: the fossil fuels industry, which continues to rake in exorbitant profits on oil and gas while it refuses to make any significant investment in renewable energy, even in the face of global warming; the members of the mainstream news media, too craven to cross their corporate masters by doing any serious coverage on the viability of renewable energy in today’s market; and the members of Congress, too addicted to the big bucks they receive from Big Oil and other traditional energy sources to create any sweeping renewable energy legislation for the good of the country.

The truth is, if it were not for this unholy trinity of greed, cowardice, and bribery, all of us would already be living in solar or wind powered homes and driving electric cars to and from work.

Here are the facts:

1) According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the amount of solar energy that hits the surface of the earth every hour is greater than the total amount of energy that the entire human population requires in a year. Another way of looking at it is that roughly 100 square miles of solar panels placed in the southwestern U.S. could power the entire country.

2) The Department of Energy also states that all U.S. electrical energy needs could be met by the wind in Texas and the Dakotas alone.

3) In 1977, the Office of Technology Assessment published a nonpartisan report that concluded that if the federal government offered substantial tax credits and incentives to speed up the mass production of renewable energy technologies, these technologies "could be made competitive in markets representing over 40% of U.S. energy demand by the mid-1980s." At that rate, they would be competitive in almost all markets today.

4) The technology to produce photovoltaic panels and modern wind turbines has been around for decades, and thousands of Americans already have installed these renewable technologies on their homes and businesses, cutting their energy bills by significant margins. Recently, a New Jersey resident named Mike Mercurio installed both an array of solar panels on his roof and a wind turbine in his back yard and cut his energy bill from over $300 per month to about $10 per month.

This immediately begs the question: If we have the renewable technology at hand and we know it works, why don’t we use it in place of heavily polluting energy sources like oil, gas or coal? And why have so few people installed solar panels or windmills on their homes and in their backyards?

The primary reason is because the cost of renewable energy is still relatively high compared to fossil fuels, although the gap is closing as the cost of natural gas and oil continues to climb. For example, the price to install an array of photovoltaic panels on the average home-- notwithstanding some modest tax incentives and rebates from the government-- is anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000. At this price, only those who are well off can afford to have solar panels installed on their homes.

Of course, anyone with half a brain knows that once a product is mass produced, its price per unit plummets. But in order to facilitate this process and make it happen over a period of years and not decades, the federal government (with help from the states) needs to institute a massive, full-scale national renewable energy program, something equivalent to the Marshall Plan, something that would transform our entire society within a decade.

It can begin this process with a four-point plan: 1) Mandate tight pollution standards on the fossil fuels industry and stiff penalties for not abiding by them. This will get the carbon-based boys to start thinking about divesting some of their money into renewable energy. 2) Impose high CAFE standards on auto manufacturers and stiff penalties if they don’t implement them post haste. This will get the bright boys at GM to start thinking about electric cars in a big way. 3) Implement a windfall profits tax on oil companies and remove tax incentives to the entire fossil fuels industry. This will create billions of dollars that can be used to promote renewable energy. 4) Offer generous tax credits and incentives to the renewable energy industry to facilitate mass production of its technology and equally generous tax credits and incentives for homeowners to buy it.

If Congress made this four-point plan a reality, it would literally reverse the brain-dead energy policy that has been in effect for the past 27 years, ever since Ronald Reagan, Big Oil’s Bad Boy, strutted into office, decimated Jimmy Carter’s renewable energy program, and created energy bills and tax policies that favored the fossil fuels industry at the expense of renewable technology.

But how much money would it actually cost to institute a full-scale national renewable energy program in the United States? Hundreds of billions, no doubt, which is a lot of money, but not that much when you consider that over the past seven years, the Bush regime has already blown a half trillion dollars on Iraq and another trillion on tax cuts for the rich.

If that $1.5 trillion had been used to fund renewable energy instead, photovoltaic panels and wind turbines would already be in mass production at affordable prices for most homeowners, and the electric car industry would have been able to stage a major comeback.

For the last couple of decades, the electric car industry has languished due to the introduction of the hybrid car, the “compromise car,” as I call it. Instead of going from gas-powered cars straight to all-electric vehicles, which was the original plan, auto manufacturers decided to take an in-between step in deference to the fossil fuels industry and create the hybrid. (See the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? for more information on how auto manufacturers deliberately sabotaged their own electric vehicles.)

As a result, three misperceptions about electric cars have persisted to this day: 1) They’re too slow. 2) Their batteries won’t go far enough on a single charge. 3) Their batteries take too long to recharge. This was partially true 20 years ago, but no longer. Recently, the Japanese built an electric car called the Ellica that can out perform a gas-powered Porsche from zero to 100 by almost two seconds! So much for being slow.

And as far as batteries being a problem, the technology has come a long way in recent years, and if the money is there for more research and development, the battery technology will be perfected, and the electric car will become the ultimate driving machine, i.e., a vehicle that is affordable, fast, pollution-free, economical, and stylish-- all in one package. And the best part of all, American drivers will never have to pay $3 a gallon for gas again. At the end of the day, they will simply plug their electric vehicles into their solar and wind-powered homes and recharge their batteries for nothing!

This has always been the dream of environmentalists: a non-polluting energy source for their homes and a zero-emission vehicle for travel at a cost that would be reasonable for everyone. Of course one person’s dream is another person’s nightmare, and this green scenario is anathema to the fossil fuels industry. It means they would lose their economic and political stranglehold on not just America, but the entire world. Which is why they’ve been bullying mainstream news organizations for decades and paying off politicians at the beginning of each election cycle.

Naturally, there are plenty of cynics around who say it will take 50 years for renewable energy to make a real difference in our energy consumption, and we’ll still need good old gas, oil, and coal as our primary sources of energy in the meantime. Of course, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy if we just sit back and do nothing, but if we change our energy policy dramatically, we can transform our entire society in a relatively short period of time.

As proof, consider this: In 1997, the Danish government began an experimental project on the island of Samso to see if it was practical to use various forms of renewable energy for all the island’s energy needs. Their goal was to accomplish this in ten years.

Remarkably, they finished ahead of schedule, and today 100% of the island’s electricity is generated by 11 one-megawatt wind turbines, while the rest of the island’s energy needs are met by using solar panels and other forms of renewable energy. True, it is easier to convert a small island to renewable energy than a large country. But the point is, the technology is available, and with the proper financial incentives and a full-scale commitment from the federal and state governments, the United States could break free from fossil fuels and be well on its way to becoming a land where solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars would become the norm in ten years.
The only thing it takes is the political will to stand up to the fossil fuels industry. I know that’s asking a lot. But in view of the perpetual wars for oil in the Middle East, the increased awareness of global climate change, and the high cost of gasoline at the pump, maybe, just maybe, enough Americans will get fed up living under the greasy, smelly, polluted armpit of the fossil fuels industry and look to the sun and the wind to guide them to a cleaner, safer, brighter future.

Source: Hidden Mysteries


The Antichrist - A Historical Puzzle

It often comes as a great surprise to people to discover that "the Antichrist" does not appear in the Book of Revelation at all. In fact, it's nowhere else in the Bible or in other apocalyptic literature except in a few passages in two of the Johannine Epistles. So the key questions are these: Where did it come from? And how does it come to be so central to the way the story of Revelation is interpreted in later centuries, all the way down to the present?


Most apocalyptic literature tends to portray the history of the world as a cosmic conflict between God and some evil force, usually called Satan. It's important to note, therefore, that the extremely influential legend of how Satan was an angel in Heaven who rebelled against God and was cast out only arises with the writing of I Enoch, in ca. 225 BCE. This work of Jewish apocalyptic transforms older Near Eastern combat myths into the scheme for this dualistic battle between God (good) and Satan (evil).

This scheme is seen in the Book of Revelation, particularly in the central vision (called the "portents in heaven") found in chapters 12-13. There it describes Satan as the ancient dragon who had tried to consume the offspring of the cosmic woman, a kind of celestial Eve or Mary.

    12:1 A great portent appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birthpangs, in the agony of giving birth. 3 another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. Then 4 His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; 6 and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred sixty days.

    7 And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, 8 but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9 The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world -- he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
    (Rev. 12.1-9)

Following this the dragon (Satan) proceeds to make war on the offspring of the woman, i.e., the saints, on earth (Rev. 12.11-17). This is the cosmic conflict of which the author of Revelation depicts the Christians as being in the middle.

Then in Revelation 13 we discover that the dragon (Satan) has two henchmen, referred to as two "beasts," one who comes from the sea (Rev. 13.1-10) and one who comes from the land (Rev. 13.13-17). The "beast from the sea" is said to have received his power directly from Satan, while the "beast from the land" is the one who makes people worship the "beast from the sea."

    13:12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. ...14 and by the signs that it is allowed to perform on behalf of the beast, it deceives the inhabitants of earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that had been wounded by the sword and yet lived; 15 and it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, 17 so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18 This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person. Its number is 666.
    (Rev. 13.13-17)

In the context of Revelation, the "beast from the sea" clearly refers to the Roman emperor, probably Domitian, who ruled from 81-96 CE. The "beast from the land," then, most likely refers to a chief administrator of Roman rule in Ephesus and Asia Minor, i.e., the "henchman" of the Emperor. This is probably the provincial governor (or proconsul) who would have overseen the political and religious operations of the area from his capital in Ephesus.

Another possibility would be the High Priest of the Provincial Imperial Cult, who would have been a leading citizen from one of the main cities. The imperial cult in Ephesus was set up by Domitian in 89 CE, and this may be the crucial event that sparks the reaction of the author. Hence, the "mark" refers to an imperial slogan or seal used on official documents and commercial contracts.

"666" is most likely a reference either to Nero or Domitian or to some imperial title or slogan known at Ephesus. From other contemporary apocalyptic sources we know that they used numerology in this way.

For example, among the fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls was found just such a numerical calculation based on the name of Nero using Hebrew letters. It is difficult to know precisely what combination of letters was intended to total 666 in Revelation, but several suggestions have been made that fit. It might have been a reference to Nero or to Domitian. There was also a rumor current in Asia Minor at that time that Nero had come back to life as Domitian. So, it remains unclear.

Another problem is that Roman coins and inscriptions almost always employ abbreviated forms of names and titles for Emperors. So it is quite possible that the slogan was somethng like that, and the abbreviations would have only been understood by people from the local contexts. What was the mark, then? It probably was a form of imperial propaganda, closely aligned with the imperial cult, which was used in commercial contracts and affidavits. Or it might have been the images and inscriptions on the money itself, that to the author of Revelation symbolized collusion with the "beast."


The actual term "Antichrist" occurs in five times in the New Testament and once in early Christian literature of the 2nd century CE. Most of the New Testament occurrences appear in 1 John (2.18, 2.22, 4.3), with one in 2 John 7:

    18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist--he denies the Father and the Son.
    1 John 2.18- 2.22

    2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
    1 John 4.2-4.3

    7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.
    2 John 7.

In both texts, the reference is clearly to Christians who bring a different doctrine of Christ, especially one that says that Jesus was never "in the flesh." In neither case does it refer to a celestial embodiment of evil or an equivalent of Satan.

This is also how the term is used in the writing of Polycarp of Smyrna, a well-known Christian bishop from Asia Minor who was prominent not long after the time of Revelation. Tradition even holds that he was even a disciple of John the Presbyter, one of the "Johns" who possibly authored Revelation.

In his letter to Christians at Philippi (ca. 115-125 CE) Polycarp basically quotes the same usage as found in 1 John 4.3: "For everyone who does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is an antichrist .. and is of the devil" (Polycarp, To the Philippians 7.1). So it is still the case in the second century CE that the term refers to human adversaries who bring a heretical doctrine, although it is noteworthy that by Polycarp's time such heretics are being linked with Satan.


There are probably two distinct lines by which this terminology eventually makes its way into the orbit of the way the story of Revelation came to be understood.

First is the namesake of John. Simple as this may seem, it is probably the case that elements from the different writings in the New Testament having the name "John" on them were read into one another. Thus the adversarial figures from 1 John and 2 John were erroneously equated with the adversaries (the two beasts) of Revelation 13. But it is important to note that most New Testament scholars would agree that these works were all by at least three different "Johns" -- one who wrote the Gospel and probably 1 John (traditionally the apostle himself), a second who wrote 2 & 3 John (whose real name is not given), and the third, the author of Revelation (traditionally known as John the Elder).

Second is the growing idea that arose near the beginning of the second century that there would be an adversary of Christ who would come in the last days before Jesus' return. This idea is most clearly expressed in the New Testament in 2 Thessalonians 2.1-12:

    1 As to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we beg you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as though from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come unless the rebellion comes first and the lawless one is revealed, the one destined for destruction. 4 He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that I told you these things when I was still with you? 6 And you know what is now restraining him, so that he may be revealed when his time comes. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is apparent in the working of Satan, who uses all power, signs, lying wonders, 10 and every kind of wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion, leading them to believe what is false, 12 so that all who have not believed the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness will be condemned.

This adversary is called "the lawless one," a deceiver expected to disrupt Christian belief near the time of Jesus' eschatological return. According to this passage, his appearance is one of the "sure signs" that the second coming of Jesus is near and that believers had better be on guard.

While this letter is internally attributed to Paul, many scholars think it was written later, probably near the end of the first century. It reflects something of an emerging crisis of confidence among some Christians of that day (at least in Paul's churches) regarding the eschaton.

This crisis was likely precipitated in large measure by the disastrous outcome of the revolt against Rome. Their concern might have gone something like this: "Well, if that wasn't the final battle, as we first thought, when is it coming?" Probably more than any single idea, this is the one that comes closest to the "antichrist" figure of later apocalyptic interpretation.

Gradually, over time, these various lines converged. The "lawless one" of 2 Thessalonians came to be equated with the "beast" of Revelation and labeled with the title "Antichrist" from the Johannine epistles.

Throughout the early Middle Ages, popular Christian preaching continued to repeat and reinforce these ideas. Most of these preachers were poorly educated and knew little of the actual circumstances of the New Testament period. Their handbook for sermon preparation was something known as "glosses," that is, copies of the Biblical text with marginal commentaries on individual passages and ideas.

It was in these glosses of the early Middle Ages (7th to 11th centuries) that passages in Revelation came to receive some legendary additions, including the Antichrist terminology and a story to go with it.

The commentators of the glosses even spoke of the birth of this Antichrist figure. He was often depicted as being Jewish, or as having a Jewish mother who was impregnated by Satan himself. These texts were often illustrated with lurid depictions of these ideas.

It was from this popular tradition that much of the later Antichrist myth was born, and with it some of the most deeply ingrained and virulent elements of antisemitism in the western tradition. By the time we get to Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) and Joachim of Fiore (11323-1202) these images had been firmly entrenched in the imagination.

Source: PBS


Everest Footprints Stir up Yeti Legend

TV producers hope to tie tracks to tales of abominable snowman.

KATMANDU, Nepal - Members of a TV production team investigating the existence of the legendary Yeti in Nepal said Friday that they have found footprints intriguing enough to merit further investigation.

The team of nine producers from "Destination Truth," armed with infrared cameras, spent a week in the icy Khumbu region where Mount Everest is located and found the footprints on the bank of the Manju River at an elevation of 9,350 feet (2,850 meters).

One of the three footprints found on Wednesday is about 1 foot (30 centimeters) long, with an appearance similar to those shown in sketches of the purported apelike creature, the team said.

"It is very, very similar," Josh Gates, an archaeologist who serves as the host of the weekly travel adventure series, told Reuters in Katmandu after returning from the mountain. "I don't believe it to be a bear. It is something of a mystery for us."

"Destination Truth" appears on the Sci Fi Channel in the United States.

Tales by sherpa porters and guides about the wild and hairy creatures lurking in the Himalayas have seized the imagination of mountain climbers going to Mount Everest since the 1920s. Several teams have searched for it and some have even claimed to have discovered footprints. But no reputable investigator has actually seen the creature, nor has it been scientifically established that the Yeti exists.

Gates said the footprints on lumps of sandy soil, which would be sent to experts in the United States for analysis, were "relatively fresh, left some 24 hours before we found them."

"This print is so pristine, so good, that I am very intrigued by this," said Gates, flanked by his team members.

Even if the traces are found to be authentic footprints, it's not yet clear how they could be attributed to a Yeti rather than, say, a less exotic mountain creature. Nevertheless, the evidence may be enough to fuel a TV show. "Destination Truth" chronicles some of the world's notorious purported cryptozoological creatures and unexplained phenomena.

Some local sherpas believe that the Himalayas are abodes of strange creatures and consider the Yeti (also popularly known as the "abominable snowman") as a protector. Others say it is a destroyer.

"There is a kind of mysterious creature that lives in the Himalayas," said Ang Tshering Sherpa, chief of Nepal Mountaineering Association in Katmandu, who hails from the Khumbhu region.

Mountaineering and wildlife officials in Nepal said, however, that they doubted whether footprints were those of a Yeti.

"The footprints may be from a Himalayan bear," Ang Tshering Sherpa, the president of Nepal Mountaineering Association said after looking at pictures of the prints.

"It is believed that Yetis have only four toes but the footprints recorded by the US team have five toes," said Sherpa, whose father went unsuccessfully looking for the legendary beast in the 1950s.

As well, Laxmi Manandhar, a spokesman at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, said: "People living in the high Himalayas believe in this strange creature called a Yeti but nobody has actually seen it.

"The footprint castings brought by the US television crew are strange, but there is no supporting evidence to back up the claim that these are footprints of the Yeti."

Source: MSNBC


V2G Car Generates Electricity, and Cash

The price of oil nearly reached $100 a barrel recently, but a new University of Delaware prototype vehicle demonstrates how the cost of the black stuff could become a concern of the past.

A team of UD faculty has created a system that enables vehicles to not only run on electricity alone, but also to generate revenue by storing and providing electricity for utilities. The technology--known as V2G, for vehicle-to-grid--lets electricity flow from the car’s battery to power lines and back.

“When I get home, I’ll charge up and then switch into V2G mode,” said Willett Kempton, UD associate professor of marine policy and a V2G pioneer who began developing the technology more than a decade ago and who is now testing the new prototype vehicle. The UD V2G team includes Kempton as well as Ajay Prasad, professor of mechanical engineering; Suresh Advani, George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering; and Meryl Gardner, associate professor of business administration, along with several students.

When the car is in the V2G setting, the battery’s charge goes up or down depending on the needs of the grid operator, which sometimes must store surplus power and other times requires extra power to respond to surges in usage. The ability of the V2G car’s battery to act like a sponge provides a solution for utilities, which pay millions to generating stations that help balance the grid. Kempton estimates the value for utilities could be up to $4,000 a year for the service, part of which could be paid to drivers.

The technology will work on a large scale, he said, because on average 95 percent of all cars are parked at any given time. One hour a day of car usage is the average in America.

“A car sitting there with a tank of gasoline in it, that’s useless,” he said. “If it’s a battery storing a lot of electricity and a big plug that allows moving power back and forth quickly, then it’s valuable.”

Kempton already has one of those large plugs at his home. He has a 240-volt plug that gives the battery a full charge--or a range up to 150 highway miles--in just two hours. A smaller, standard 110-volt plug works but provides a full charge in about 12 hours. The smaller plug also moves less power for the grid operator when the car is in V2G mode, Kempton explained.

“The bigger the plug, the more power you can move, the more revenue,” he said, explaining that it cost about $600 to have the larger plug installed.

But even though Kempton is supplying power to the grid with the prototype car, he’s not getting paid for it--yet.

PJM, the grid operator for 14 states, including Delaware, is keen on the technology and hosted a demonstration of the V2G car. But PJM requires at least 300 megawatts to purchase power. That means the UD team and its collaborators must get 300 cars up and running.

The prototype car is a stepping-stone to that goal. Kempton is working with UD mechanical engineers Prasad and Advani, who plan to add V2G to the University’s hydrogen fuel cell bus. Next, the team, including the company that created the car, California-based AC Propulsion, will test the prototypes and fix any potential problems they bring to light. Then they’ll begin creating a user interface that will let drivers, for example, tell the car to never go below 50 percent charge while in V2G mode.

Helping him to learn what types of features potential buyers would want on the car and to identify potential buyers are business administration faculty member Gardner and her students. They’ve done a pilot survey of nearly 100 drivers that’s shown there’s a lot of interest in the technology, she said.

“We also want to provide information on how to market the car,” she said, so her team is asking people questions like how much they would be willing to pay for it and how they feel about driving a car that’s better for the environment than a gasoline-powered vehicle.

That last question gets Kempton, who also is involved in College of Marine and Earth Studies research on offshore wind farms, the most excited. He explained that even if the electricity used to charge the car is produced by a coal-fired power plant, the car itself produces no carbon dioxide emissions. If a wind farm fuels the electricity from the power plant, he explained, the car and its power source would be emissions free.

And even though the green aspect of the car is key for Kempton, he knows consumers might have some other, more practical, questions about the vehicle, such as, “What’s it like to drive?”

Zippy yet quiet, being behind its wheel is a thrill, he said. “I hate getting back in my gas car. It feels sluggish.”

Source: Newswise


Centuries-Old Map Baffles Researchers

The only surviving copy of the 500-year-old map that first used the name America goes on permanent display this month at the Library of Congress, but even as it prepares for its debut, the 1507 Waldseemuller map remains a puzzle for researchers.

Conservators at the Library of Congress prepare a 500-year-old map that first used the name America for display. Created by German monk Martin Waldseemuller, it is the only surviving copy.

Why did the mapmaker name the territory America and then change his mind later? How was he able to draw South America so accurately? Why did he put a huge ocean west of America years before European explorers discovered the Pacific?

"That's the kind of conundrum, the question, that is still out there," said John Hebert, chief of the geography and map division of the Library of Congress.

The 12 sheets that make up the map, purchased from German Prince Johannes Waldburg-Wolfegg for $10 million in 2003, were mounted on Monday in a huge 6-foot by 9.5-foot (1.85 meter by 2.95 meter) display case machined from a single block of aluminum.

The case will be flooded with inert argon gas to prevent deterioration when it goes on public display December 13.

Researchers are hopeful that putting the rarely shown map on permanent display for the first time since it was discovered in the Waldburg-Wolfegg castle archives in 1901 may stimulate interest in finding out more about the documents used to produce it.

The map was created by the German monk Martin Waldseemuller. Thirteen years after Christopher Columbus first landed in the Western Hemisphere, the Duke of Lorraine brought Waldseemuller and a group of scholars together at a monastery in Saint-Die in France to create a new map of the world.

The result, published two years later, is stunningly accurate and surprisingly modern.

"The actual shape of South America is correct," said Hebert. "The width of South America at certain key points is correct within 70 miles of accuracy."

Given what Europeans are believed to have known about the world at the time, it should not have been possible for the mapmakers to produce it, he said.

The map gives a reasonably correct depiction of the west coast of South America. But according to history, Vasco Nunez de Balboa did not reach the Pacific by land until 1513, and Ferdinand Magellan did not round the southern tip of the continent until 1520.

"So this is a rather compelling map to say, 'How did they come to that conclusion,"' Hebert said.

The mapmakers say they based it on the 1,300-year-old works of the Egyptian geographer Ptolemy as well as letters Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci wrote describing his voyages to the new world. But Hebert said there must have been something more.

"From the writings of Vespucci you couldn't have prepared the map," Hebert said. "There had to be something cartographic with it."

Waldseemuller made it clear he was naming the new land after Vespucci, describing how he came up with the name America based on the navigator's first name.

But he soon had misgivings about what he had done. An atlas Waldseemuller produced six years later shows only part of the east coast of the Americas, and refers to it as Terra Incognita -- unknown land.

"America has gone out of his lexicon," Hebert said. "(No) place in the atlas -- in the text or in the maps -- does the name America appear."

His 1516 mariner's map, on the same scale as the 1507 map, steps back even further, showing only parts of the new continents and reconnecting the north to Asia. South America is labeled Terra Nova -- New World -- and North America is labeled Terra de Cuba -- Land of Cuba.

"Essentially he's reconnecting North America to the Asian mainland, suggesting a continual world of land mass rather than separated by those bodies of water that separate us from Europe and Asia," Hebert said.

Why the rollback? No one knows.

In writings accompanying the 1516 map, Waldseemuller comes across as if he "has seen the better of his error and is now correcting it," Hebert said.

He speculated that power politics played a role. Spain and Portugal divided the globe between them in 1494, two years after Columbus, with territory to the east going to Portugal and land to the west to Spain.

That demarcation line is oddly absent from the 1507 Waldseemuller map, and flags marking territorial claims in South America suggest Portugal controls the region's southernmost land, even though it is in Spain's area of influence. On the later map, the southernmost flag is Spanish, Hebert said.

"It is possible one could say the 1507 map is influenced strongly by Portuguese sources and conceivably the 1516 map may be influenced more by Spanish sources," he said.

Although the map conceals many mysteries, one thing is clear: it represents a revolutionary shift in the way Europe viewed the world.

"This is ... essentially the beginning or first map of the modern age, and it's one that everything builds on from that point forward," Hebert said. "It becomes a keystone map."

Source: AOL News


Shadowy Path May Lead to Treasure

HATFIELD, ARK. -- Deep in the woods near Brushy Creek stands an old beech tree, its smooth bark etched with dozens of carvings, including biblical references, a heart and a legless horse.

Bob Brewer was 10 when his great-uncle, W.D. "Grandpa" Ashcraft, pointed it out on a logging trip 57 years ago.

"He said, 'Boy, you see that tree? That's a treasure tree,' " Brewer recalled on a recent visit to the site. " 'You see that writing? If you can figure out what that is, you'll find some gold.' "

The old man didn't elaborate, but his words stuck with Brewer through childhood and two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Navy helicopter crewman. So did memories of Grandpa's frequent, unexplained horseback rides into the nearby Ouachita Mountains.

In 1977, after retiring from the Navy, Brewer returned to western Arkansas and took up an obsessive search -- for buried treasure, and for his family's links to a secretive, subversive Confederate group, the Knights of the Golden Circle, or KGC.

After many years of research, he is among those who believe that the group buried millions in ill-gotten gold across a dozen states, to finance a second Civil War that never came to be. And he thinks Ashcraft and his son, Odis, had something to do with it.

"I think Grandpa Ashcraft and Uncle Ode had a secret," Brewer says.

A similar theme will play out on the big screen Dec. 21, when Nicolas Cage returns as code-breaking treasure hunter Ben Gates in "National Treasure: Book of Secrets," a sequel to Disney's 2004 hit. Brewer is a consultant on the film.

But although Cage's character searches for Confederate gold and his ancestral ties to the Lincoln assassination, Brewer's journey shows, once again, that real life can be stranger than fiction -- or at least as intriguing.

Steeped in the history of the South and the West, his quest is haunted by the legend of Jesse James and imbued with the mysterious stuff of Freemasonry, coded treasure maps and conspiracy theories dating to John Wilkes Booth.

Along the way, Brewer says, he has unearthed about $200,000 worth of gold and silver coins. It's enough to support his modest lifestyle, and to thumb his nose at those who might think he's just another old coot with a metal detector.

"It's my damn story," he says, "and if they don't believe it I'm not gonna worry about it, damn it. Pardon my French."

Brewer's life is detailed in "Shadow of the Sentinel: One Man's Quest to Find the Hidden Treasure of the Confederacy," a book he wrote with Warren Getler, a former Wall Street Journal reporter.

The authors say their 2003 book, reissued in paperback as "Rebel Gold," sheds new light on the hidden history of the KGC, even as it lays out Brewer's efforts to trace his familial connections to the group and crack the code behind its legendary "depositories."

Having found smaller coin caches, Brewer says he's now on to "a big, big one" in Oklahoma -- big enough to more than validate his 30-year search.

"It was supposed to have been $2 million when it was buried," he says. "We figure it's about 80 times that face value."

The hunt that brought Brewer to this point began in earnest after he retired from the Navy in 1977 and started spending time at a Hatfield coffee shop, where talk often turned to treasure-hunting. Some spoke of "Spanish treasure signs," similar to the markings his great-uncle had shown him.

Spaniard Hernando de Soto had explored the nearby mountains in 1541 and local legend held that he stashed gold there. Over time, Brewer came to doubt the Spanish angle, but linked what his forebears had told him to what he was hearing in town.

He sketched the symbols others described, tracked them down when he could and plotted them on topographical maps. During a stint as a state inspector of beekeepers, he explored remote areas of the forest and found more carvings on trees and rock faces.

Many were recurring symbols: snakes, turtles, crescent moons, crosses, numbers and letters with odd flourishes. Brewer figured they were cryptic indicators of distance and direction, clues to buried riches.

By mapping them, Brewer surmised that they ran along lines that might extend for miles as part of a larger "treasure grid." Tracing the lines with a metal detector, he says, he learned to systematically find buried clues, one leading to the next, everything from gun barrels to farming implements to milk can lids.

If that sounds far-fetched, it did also to some of the 400 or so residents of Hatfield, including Brewer's wife, Linda.

"A lot of her friends, and even my own family, were telling her, 'You better watch Bob because he's going off the deep end,' " Brewer says. "She was beginning to believe it, too."

But Brewer persisted, and concluded that clues could be found not only in carvings on trees but also in the trees' shape. Some appeared to have been contorted as saplings, or had oddly grafted limbs that caused them to grow into unusual shapes and directional pointers.

Following a line from one such "hoot owl tree," Brewer says, he found the carved beech that Grandpa Ashcraft had shown him several decades earlier.

He studied its symbols, "walked the lines" radiating from them and found buried horseshoes and other clues that led to his first cache in 1991 -- a canning jar filled with gold and silver coins from the 1800s, their $400 face value a fraction of their actual worth.

Brewer says he was "stunned" by the find, in the forest about 10 miles from his home.

"I was totally wiped out for a couple of days and couldn't sleep for a couple of nights," he says. "I thought I had it all figured out and I'd be rich within a week. I was a little wrong about that."

The Brewers made a video about the carved beech, dubbed the "Bible Tree" for etchings such as "1st Thess 3:2," an apparent reference to First Thessalonians. It was a hit at treasure-hunting shows, and Brewer soon was trading stories and information with others who shared his esoteric interest.

In 1993, one of them showed Brewer a book about Jesse James, with passages about the Knights of the Golden Circle, buried Confederate treasure and cryptic symbols.

Founded in the 1850s by George Bickley, a former Virginian living in Cincinnati, the group was reputed to include prominent political figures and Confederate leaders, among them Gen. Albert Pike, a high-ranking member of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

One of the things that led Brewer to link his family to the KGC were "Pike" carvings he'd seen on trees. Another was Grandpa Ashcraft's mysterious, daylong rides into the woods.

Sometimes his great-uncle told him he'd been hunting "cows," says Brewer, who only much later learned it might have been short for "cowan," a Masonic term of contempt for intruders. Grandpa had shown him where one was buried amid the pines and hardwoods.

"He said the man got in here, got to messing around and putting his nose where he shouldn't have, and got himself killed, " he says.

Eventually, Brewer concluded that Grandpa and Uncle Ode were part of a generations-old network of "sentinels" who watched over caches of KGC money. Much of it came from government-payroll holdups and train robberies, according to Brewer and others who say Jesse James was a leader and benefactor of the group.

Ceci Gillespie thinks some of the loot wound up on a chunk of property she and her sister own in Wapanucka, Okla., about 100 miles southeast of Oklahoma City.

"We've had at least 10 people show up with the same idea, that Jesse James buried treasure there," Gillespie says, starting with an 87-year-old man who greeted her with a "treasure map and his 'list of reliable facts' " some 20 years ago.

In the mid-1990s came Brewer, teamed with an Oklahoma schoolteacher who also had a Jesse James treasure map. In the area, they found a jar of silver coins dated 1812 to 1880, Brewer says, but their hunt was cut short when the sisters booted them from the property.

Brewer says the teacher doubled back without him and found another cache of gold coins. The man might later have struck it even richer, according to a 1995 story in the Daily Oklahoman, which said he'd "unearthed a Wells Fargo safe full of gold coins" at an undisclosed location.

If it was from her property, Gillespie says, she's never gotten any of it, though she is convinced that millions in gold are still stashed there.

Robert Smith, a University of Oklahoma law professor who has written at length about Jesse James and other American outlaws, dismisses stories of huge treasure troves.

"I know very little about the Knights of the Golden Circle or whether such an organization even existed," he says. "But my own feeling is this stuff about buried gold, as far as Jesse James is concerned, is nonsense."

James M. McPherson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War historian and a professor emeritus at Princeton University, has his own doubts about the group's reach.

"There certainly was an organization called the Knights of the Golden Circle," McPherson allows, noting the group sought to spread slavery by annexing territory in Mexico and the Caribbean in the years before the Civil War.

But once the war began, "the story becomes pretty shadowy," he says.

"My guess is that as the war went on, its reality kind of shaded over into myth," he says.

Brewer's co-author Getler, who met Brewer in 1998 and spent five years with him in the field and on a lengthy paper chase, counters that "we dug a lot deeper" into the group than anyone before.

"The Knights of the Golden Circle were a much more powerful organization than history gives credit to," Getler says.

At the National Archives in Washington, he and Brewer scoured files and rare-book collections, finding the personal prayer book of KGC founder Bickley, who in 1863 was arrested as a spy but never charged, and died in 1867. Inside the book was a hand-written key to the group's code.

The pair interviewed descendants of members, searched the Library of Congress for relevant writings and pored over the archives of the Pinkerton detective agency, which had pursued James. Their search of an online database yielded illuminating articles from newspapers, magazines and journals dating to the 1800s, and at Georgetown University Library they found works on Booth.

They concluded Booth was either a KGC member or was helped by the group while on the run after shooting President Lincoln at Ford's Theater on April 14, 1865.

"No one can be sure," Getler says, "but we are pretty confident that the KGC, the most powerful subversive group that ever existed in the United States, was very involved in the assassination of Lincoln."

He's also confident that Brewer is on to something very real.

"This is not crop circles," he says.

Brewer's quest has taken him from Arkansas to Georgia to Arizona and back to Oklahoma, where he and two partners have zeroed in on a site more than 100 miles from the Gillespies' land.

Like other treasure hunters, they are cagey when discussing their work, loath to let slip too many details about exactly where and what they're doing.

They say the Oklahoma search got held up by summer rains and flooding, which produced four-foot-high grass. It's crawling with snakes and too high to work in with metal detectors, they say, and hiring someone to mow it would draw too much attention.

Others might be watching and could beat them to the gold. Brewer is willing to wait it out.

"We know where it's at now," he says. "All we have to do is put our detectors over it and we'll find it."

In some areas, treasure hunting is banned by law or requires permission from private property owners, or state and federal agencies that oversee public lands. At the Oklahoma site, Brewer and his partners have a contract with the owner.

"We don't ever go anywhere without permission -- period," says John London, 63, an Amarillo, Texas, electrician and satellite dish installer working with Brewer. "There are no ifs ands or buts about it, and if you don't get it, the 'butt' will be yours."

Along with metal detectors, global positioning devices and laptop computers with mapping software, London's treasure-hunting tools include dowsing wands and an "information rod" made from an old rabbit-ears TV antenna with a silver dollar riveted onto it.

He insists it works, but says he hasn't had to rely on it in Oklahoma.

"This is pure KGC research that has brought this stuff up," he says.

Another partner, Jim Weaver, a 63-year-old window and siding salesman from Hutchinson, Kan., credits Brewer's "unique ability" to decipher symbols and find clues.

"You can say it's a gift. You can say it's genetic," Weaver says. "I don't know what it is, but Bob really has discovered something remarkable."

He says he's seen evidence "beyond any possible shadow of a doubt" in Oklahoma.

"If we bring this thing to the conclusion we anticipate," he says, "it will be mind-boggling."

If he does hit it big, Brewer says, it won't change his life much. He has all he needs: a good family, enough money to pay his bills, a nice house on a patch of land where he can step out his front door and shoot deer and wild turkey all day long.

Mostly, he just wants to finish his life's work.

"Sometimes I wish I had never started it," he says. "But I was always good at puzzles and when I set my mind to doing something, I do it."

Source: LA Times,0,387467.story?coll=la-home


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