View Full Version : Skeptic NewsSearch - 1/14/04

14th January 2004, 09:44 PM
The Slo-Mo Ban on Ephedra
Austin Chronicle

"With all deliberate speed -- that is, after years of bad publicity, scores of deaths, and thousands of adverse health effects -- the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally moved last month to ban sales of ephedra, the nutritional and weight-loss supplement marketed under dozens of commercial names. The stimulant, derived from the herb ma huang, speeds the metabolism and heart rate and is used as an energy booster and for weight loss, but has been linked to strokes, seizures, and more than 150 deaths over the last few years."

Believing is Seeing
By Jay Ingram and David Newland
Jay's Journal

"The myth of man-made canals on Mars has been put to rest for some time, as high-resolution images of the Red Planet have become commonplace. But the origin of this romantic, galactic delusion still makes an instructive tale."

Venus' spokes much like canals of Mars
Toronto Star

"Our love affair with Mars has been rekindled by the success of NASA's Spirit rover."

The Washington (End Of) Times
by Michelangelo Signorile
New York Press

"Can you imagine the owners of the New York Times_or the Los Angeles Times or Cleveland’s Plain-Dealer_pining out loud for the mass extinction of an entire group of people? Let’s say they envisioned the incineration of all gays, claiming it was God’s plan and had their words posted on the web."

It's scientific heresy!
California Aggie

"A quick mention of cold fusion, a scientific pursuit that fizzled out in 1989, and we're done at the Science & Technology desk for the day, right?"

Proof that the 'force' really is with us
by Ai Lin Choo
Vancouver Sun

"The ideas behind Star Wars, The X-Files and an assortment of other psychic films and shows may not be so far-fetched after all."

Fictional cops slay imaginary giant critter
by Ed Kemmick
Billings Gazette

"Life is so unfair."

Witch helps unlucky football team
BBC News

"An unlucky football team has called on the services of a white witch to end its home-match losing streak."

Satanic sex cult 'invented'
Agence France-Presse

"GERMAN state prosecutors said today that they had dropped a probe into lurid claims of ritual killings and cannibalism by an alleged Satanic sect because they appeared to have been made up."

Mystery at Mud Lake
By Brian Charlton
Jackson Citizen Patriot

"When Vaughn Hobe first noticed a blinding light veering through the trees of his back yard and into his Liberty Township home in mid-December, he was mesmerized for nearly 20 minutes."

Will an explanation come from above — or below?
Huntington Herald-Press

"Sometimes a mystery remains a mystery."

It’s interesting, not humorous
Huntington Herald-Press

"So what are we to make of the whatever it was that was spotted the day after Christmas up by SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church?"

Charges reduced for man accused of abusing child in satanic ritual
Great Falls Tribune

"A Great Falls man charged with sexually assaulting a toddler as part of a satanic ritual was sentenced Thursday to time served for a lesser misdemeanor count in a plea agreement reluctantly entered into by an admittedly frustrated prosecution."

Linguist Charles Berlitz Dies; Wrote Books on Paranormal
By Adam Bernstein
Washington Post

"Charles Berlitz, 90, the eminent linguist who also wrote kooky and spooky bestsellers exploring the Bermuda Triangle, the lost continent of Atlantis and other paranormal activity, died Dec. 18 at a hospital in Tamarac, Fla. No cause of death was reported."

The Flim Flam Artist
By Michael Fumento
Tech Central Station

"Charles Berlitz, who just died, was known as one of the world's top linguists and grandson of the founder of the Berlitz language schools. Yet his true claim to fame was as author of "truth is stranger than fiction" books that were actually just plain fiction."

Magnetic fields to blame?
by Eryl Jones
The Western Mail [Wales]
<http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0600uk/content_objectid=13796376_method=full_siteid=50082 _headline=-Magnetic-fields-to-blame--name_page.html>

"RESEARCHERS in Edinburgh believe that ghostly sightings might have a link to variations in magnetic fields."

Licensed for whines and spirits
by Eryl Jones
The Western Mail [Wales]
<http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/0600uk/content_objectid=13796373_method=full_siteid=50082 _headline=-Licensed-for-whines-and-spirits-name_page.html>

"REMEMBER the phrase, "Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters.""

Religion, Geology Collide at the Grand Canyon
by Julie Cart
Los Angeles Times

"How old is the Grand Canyon? Most scientists agree with the version that rangers at Grand Canyon National Park tell visitors: that the 10-mile chasm in northern Arizona was carved by the Colorado River 5 million to 6 million years ago."

Shaving years off Grand Canyon
by Richard Ruelas
Arizona Republic

"He entered the Grand Canyon believing it was formed over millions of years by the rushing Colorado River. He climbed out nine days later ready to accept that the natural wonder is 4,500 years old, carved by waters from a great flood that buoyed Noah's Ark."

Ghost book popular among priests
Chicago Sun-Times

"The way Rocco Facchini tells it, thunderous commotion like a freight train crashing into the downstairs kitchen jolted him from sleep in the Chicago rectory where he lived one unforgettable, sweltering night in August 1956."

Cops wonder what they saw in sky
Associated Press

"Three police officers who say a strange object drifted through the skies over this northeastern Indiana city are trying to find someone else who saw it -- whatever it was."

UFO sighting might make Huntington next Roswell
by Jim Gordon
Merrillville Post-Tribune

"I know a few people from Huntington, the town that gave us Dan Quayle."

Major Swoop On Witchcraft
by Phionah Mwadilo
The Nation [Nairobi]

"The Coast Provincial Commissioner, Mr Cyrus Maina, yesterday ordered the arrest of people practising witchcraft at the Miritini area of Coast Province."

Scientist sues Next magazine over UFO land-sale story
By Sara Bradford
South China Morning Post

"A scientist and businessman is suing Next magazine for defamation over an article about his attempts to sell one-square-inch plots of land in Iowa which he claimed UFOs had flown over."

Can popping fish-oil pills stop this tantrum?
by Ian Sample
The Guardian

"It must have made fascinating viewing for anyone bringing up a child with learning or behavioural problems. Last week's Child of Our Time, the BBC programme that follows the trials and tribulations of children born at the beginning of the new millennium, told the story of James and Ruben, boys with very different behavioural problems. James was aggressive in the extreme, his day a blur of punching, beating and demolition. Ruben's problem was less visible: he was uncommunicative and struggling to make friends."

Chocolate love
by Ben Goldacre
The Guardian

"With painful inevitability, that old chestnut about chocolate's health-giving properties popped up on the health and women's pages of almost every newspaper, as is traditional at Christmas."

Athlete says ephedra ban not needed
By Rob Zaleski
Madison Capital Times

"If ephedra is so dangerous, asks Madison kinesiologist Lionel Martin, why have the Chinese been using it for more than 4,000 years?We'd all like to think that the people responsible for major health-related decisions in this country are looking out for each and every one of us."

In New Hartford, More Than Just a Tea Room
By Asa Fitch
Litchfield County Times

"Passiflora, a new business on Route 44 in New Hartford center, is hard to classify. Its bright sign, perched above the door, announces the store as a tea room and herbal apothecary."

How do you spell 'relief'?
By Lela Garlington
Memphis Commercial Appeal

"Think of it as Space Age acupuncture."

Alternative Medicine Use Common With Autism
By Jennifer Warner
WebMD Medical News

"Up to one-third of autistic children may have received complimentary or alternative medicine treatments, and a new study shows that nearly one in 10 may have used a potentially harmful type."

Indian stress-busters target Iraq
By Soutik Biswas
BBC News

"If any country's citizens needed de-stressing it would be those of Iraq."

Stick it to aches, pains
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"At a converted Castleberry Hill warehouse, Barbara Squires soothes the weary with soft music, exotic fragrances, warmth, massage, sharp needles and electric shocks."

Group Supports Idea Universe Is Designed by God
By Cary McMullen
Lakeland Ledger

"In a meeting room of the Marriott in Lake Mary, Walter Bradley flashed one PowerPoint screen after another to build his case that the universe was deliberately planned."

Conduit or con artist?
Orlando Sentinel

"It's a story that Orlando resident Jach Pursel has told probably hundreds of times: Sitting quietly on his bed one day in 1974, he slipped deep into meditation as his wife watched. Then words spilled from his lips, and Lazaris made his first appearance through Pursel."

Darby School Board tables objective origin decision
Ravalli Republic

"Darby School Board trustees will listen to both sides of the objective origins argument before deciding whether to broaden the school’s high school curriculum to include biological origin theories beyond evolution."

Goose Creek textbook review under way
By Keri Mitchell
Baytown Sun

"Four controversial biology textbooks sit among more than 100 other textbooks available for public review at the Goose Creek school district’s media services center."

Life called ‘intelligent design’
Salem Statesman Journal

"John McCaslin tried to imagine the speaker in a helmet."

A tribute to healers in the community
By Nancy Karacand
Juneau Empire

"This weekend, as many of us are watching football games on TV or skiing out on the slopes or the trails, or engaging in a variety of weekend chores, a small group of women healers will be moving toward completion of a long process of study. Five women from Juneau and one woman from Sitka will be participating in a Level 5 Healing Touch course, the final level required for certification as a Healing Touch practitioner."

Find an alternative route to health
By Kimberly Hayes Taylor
Detroit News

"For a time, acupuncture, acupressure and other holistic treatments were considered as strange and unfashionable as eating raw granola for breakfast and wearing Birkenstock sandals with socks."

Keota man fined for unlicensed massage
By Linda Wenger
Washington Evening Journal

"The Iowa Board of Massage Therapy Examiners determined that Nathan Kirby of Keota is not a licensed massage therapist and that he should stop his unlicensed practice of massage therapy for compensation in Iowa. Kirby also was ordered to pay a civil penalty of $1,000."

Board disciplines massage business
Iowa City Press-Citizen

"A massage therapy business in Washington County was disciplined by the Iowa Board of Examiners for Massage Therapy, the group announced Friday."

New York Post

"UNIVERSAL has cancelled the syndicated version of "Crossing Over with John Edward" after three low-rated seasons."

Boca firm revives request to do research on body-freezing
by Dale M. King
Bacon Raton News

"A Boca Raton firm has apparently resurrected its proposal to do research on freezing dead humans for possible later revival."

Jail for Tajik bead scam founders
BBC News

"Three men have been sent to jail for running a scam which impoverished thousands of women in Tajikistan."

Controversial cloth exhibit opens in Richmond
Port Huron Times Herald

"For centuries, the Shroud of Turin has been a source of worship and controversy. Many believe it to be the actual burial cloth of Jesus Christ."

Prayer doctor — Physician believes in tapping spiritual resources
By Elaine Jarvik
Deseret Morning News

""If it's OK," says the doctor, "I'd like to ask God's blessing on your health.""

Journalist investigates 1897 murder case
Associated Press

"Imagine a murder case without a corpse, but with a hulking, mustachioed German butcher as its presumed villain. Set it in a shuttered sausage factory at midnight, then add boiling lye vats, some highly questionable police work and a possibly insane defense attorney."

Who's Really Feasting On Gravy Train?
Tampa Tribune

"The thing about watching the news on cable is that if you missed it the first time, they will keep repeating it at least until the next Michael Jackson update."

Area code scam back
Jefferson City News Tribune

"Although neither new nor an urban legend, the phone companies again are warning consumers to be extremely careful when they call certain area codes -- especially Area Code 809."

Deodorant A Cancer Concern
By Kathleen Kerr
New York Newsday

"A new study by British researchers detected chemicals used in deodorants in tissues taken from breast tumors, but American cancer experts said yesterday there's no need to panic."

Happy birthday, Nostradamus: He knew we'd say that
By Tim Engle
Knight Ridder/Tribune News

"Nostradamus might have predicted you'd read this story. The seemingly all-knowing Renaissance man would have just celebrated his 500th birthday, if he hadn't died back in 1566 -- an event, some say, he predicted in detail."

Stars (still) in her eyes
Northwest Indiana Times

"When the late eccentric and reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes sought advice, he called on psychic Irene Hughes to look to the stars for help."

The truth is out there - but many prefer a good conspiracy
by Gerard Henderson
Sydney Morning Herald

"Modern-day conspiracy theories are the obverse side of the contemporary fascination with reality television. Addicts of reality TV come to believe that something which is essentially contrived is actually authentic. Conspiracy theorists examine the empirical evidence concerning an available event and assume it is fake."

Di theories ignore tragic normality
By Mikey Robins
The Age

"If you have a few hours to kill over the next few weeks might I suggest you type the words "Princess Di" and "Conspiracy" into a search engine."

Club members share celestial connection
Dallas Morning News

"Cosmic chatter echoed throughout Hurst Public Library's meeting room Sunday as Donna Henson greeted friends and colleagues. People stood in small huddles, wearing name badges boasting their astrological signs and talking about natal charts and nodes."

'Goggaman' gets life for rape plus 60 years
South African Press Association

"“Goggaman” not only had an obsession with spiders, tattoos and the occult; he also abducted, raped, indecently assaulted and tortured children."

By Hannah Feldman
Baltimore Magazine

"The woman’s name is unknown, but her story is a favorite with old-timers at the New Life Clinic of the Mt. Washington United Methodist Church. It was her first time at the clinic—doubtlessly, she had been drawn there, like so many others, by reports of the miraculous healings performed by the famous Olga and Ambrose Worrall and their disciples. It was the mid-1970s and, as usual, the sanctuary overflowed with people, all quietly waiting for one of the six healers to lay hands upon them, whisper a brief prayer, and send them on their way. And when it was this woman’s turn, she fell over backwards in the sort of swoon witnessed at many a big-tent revival. Olga Ambrose, with that characteristic demeanor of hers that managed to be both maternal and imperious, quickly walked over to the woman’s stretched-out form, leaned over her, and said in an even voice, “Young lady, get up! We don’t do this sort of thing at our church.” Instantly, the woman got to her feet and made her way back to her pew, newly taught that the Worralls were a very different kind of faith healer than any she had seen before."

Bleach will protect you from SARS - cult
South African Press Association

"A religious group in Hong Kong is being investigated over allegations that it told students to drink hydrogen peroxide to protect themselves against the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), officials said on Wednesday."

The case of the murdered ghost
BBC News

"A ghost club is due to meet in a pub where a man's body was taken 200 years ago when he was shot after being mistaken for a spirit."

Microsoft gets used in e-mail test hoax
By Scott Moyers
Southeast Missourian

"An e-mail hoax has invaded the in-boxes of Cape Girardeau-area Internet users this week, promising that Bill Gates himself will pay thousands of dollars to people who forward the e-mails as part of a "beta test.""

Malicious prosecution found in Sask. abuse case

"A Saskatoon police officer, a Crown prosecutor and a therapist have been found guilty of malicious prosecution in a lawsuit that sprang from allegations of ritualistic child abuse."

Judge rules child sex prosecution was malicious

"The twelve plaintiffs in Saskatoon's malicious prosecution trial have scored a victory, and one of those plaintiffs, Richard Klassen, says he finally feels vindicated."

12 accused of abuse were victims: Judge

"Twelve people who were falsely accused of ritualistically abusing three foster children more than a decade ago were the victims of a malicious prosecution, a judge has ruled."

12 cleared in Saskatchewan child abuse case
by Shannon Boklaschuk
CanWest News Service

"Richard Klassen and 11 other people wrongly accused of ritual and bizarre abuse against three foster children in the early 1990s were victims of a malicious prosecution, a Queen's Bench justice has ruled."

Twins hail malicious prosecution victory

"Two young women who were at the centre of a child molestation case in Saskatoon 12 years ago are celebrating a legal victory by the foster family they once accused of assaulting them and exposing them to satanic rituals."

Klassen keeps addiction, cancer diagnosis secret
by Jason Warick
Saskatchewan News Network

"Most observers were impressed by the way Richard Klassen eloquently argued his own malicious prosecution case."

Police may investigate key officer's actions
by James Parker
Saskatchewan News Network; CanWest News Service

"The Saskatoon Police Service has been asked to investigate the actions of Supt. Brian Dueck in the Klassen malicious prosecution case."

Saskatoon family calls for apology in malicious prosecution lawsuit
Canadian Press

"The dozen people who successfully sued investigators for malicious prosecution in a bizarre but unfounded sexual abuse scandal want the Saskatchewan government and police to apologize."

Saskatoon police chief apologizes for malicious prosecution
CBC News

"Saskatoon's police chief has issued an apology to the 12 people who won a lawsuit for malicious prosecution last month."

Sorry, Sabo tells Klassens
by Gerry Klein
Saskatoon StarPhoenix

"Saskatoon police Chief Russell Sabo apologized Wednesday to the Klassen family and announced he hired a law firm to investigate the role Supt. Brian Dueck played in their malicious prosecution."

Gov't refuses to apologize
by Gerry Klein
Saskatoon StarPhoenix; with files from The Canadian Press

"The provincial government has no apologies -- just sympathy -- for the Klassen family falsely accused of abusing foster children and will appeal a malicious prosecution judgment in a case dubbed the "Scandal of the Century.""

Klassen challenges government lawyer
by Shauna Rempel
Saskatoon StarPhoenix

"While lawyers try to figure out what happens next in a malicious prosecution lawsuit, Richard Klassen is filing a complaint with the Law Society of Saskatchewan against provincial government lawyer Don McKillop."

There's something spooky about historic Hotel Del
By Eric Noland
Redlands Daily Facts

"Bedcovers have been yanked off slumbering guests by unseen hands. Televisions have suddenly blared to life. An impression of a sleeping form has appeared on the made-up bed of an unoccupied room, and no amount of smoothing will remove it. An ethereal figure has been seen moving about, even walking down to the beach."

E-mail Hoaxes Making Rounds

"You cannot always believe what you read -- and that is especially true when it comes to some e-mail, called spam."

Noonday shows danger walks among us
By Jeorge Zarazua
San Antonio Express-News

"They visited the rented storage lockers at the same time every day, a quiet middle-aged couple whose lives seemed almost painfully routine."

N.J. militia linked to Texas weapons
By Scott Gold
Los Angeles Times

"One evening two winters ago, a man in Staten Island, N.Y., absent-mindedly flipped through his mail. Inside one envelope was a stack of fake documents, including UN and Defense Department identification cards and a note: "We would hate to have this fall into the wrong hands.""

Local 'African Queen' legend sinks under scrutiny
By Suzanne Wentley
Port St. Lucie News

"Though without the leeches and the war, a local land preservation group imagined the classic movie "The African Queen" playing out right on the banks of the St. Lucie River: A replica steamboat for tours along the area of the river where the group said portions of the movie were filmed. Maybe even the original African Queen boat on display."

Queen-sized legend
Port St. Lucie News

"One of the many urban legends about Martin County, which says the 1952 movie classic The African Queen was filmed in part on the South Fork of the St. Lucie River, has apparently now been sunk by factual analysis. Unfortunately, the county's credibility in dealing with agencies interested in preserving land might also have taken a walk off the plank."

Local can't shake eerie encounters
Pitt News

"Gennie Fritz didn't sleep in her own bedroom for six years."

A second opinion
Brattleboro Reformer

"Laura Senes offers her services from an office on Main Street. The bright, warm space overlooks a field that leads down to the Saxtons River. Senes wants people to know that whether they have felt frustrated with traditional doctors, or are just ready to try an alternative way of healing, naturopathy may be a good option to explore."

Hit or myth: Urban legends will always be believed by someone
Scotland on Sunday

"THIS arrived by e-mail from someone who should know better: "New electronic signs on the M4 have been switched on. They are rigged with the SPECS speed cameras. SPECS is a computer-camera-based system. As you pass the sign a digital camera reads your number plate. When you go past the next sign your number plate is read again. The computer ‘knows’ how far apart the signs are so it can work out your average speed between the two, or three or four. The system is fully automatic and will issue a ticket without any form of human intervention. It does this for every single vehicle that passes.""

Sender Beware: 'Oprah' E-Mail Not True

"Oprah Winfrey fans know she can be very direct about her likes and dislikes and she's no shrinking violet. But, she's never had a confrontation with a guest as described in an e-mail that's circulating the country."

Psychic spies knew of raid
By Henry Cuningham
Fayetteville Observer

"As Delta Force was trying to rescue U.S. hostages in Iran in 1980, a psychic spy monitoring the operation from the United States reported an explosion."

Local psychic provides readings for customers, bridges two worlds
Sarasota Herald Tribune

""What am I here for?""

Mother, daughter share psychic connection
Miami Herald

"Micki Dahne was a star psychic by the time Elvis had left The Room. She traveled the country, uttering predictions, working the talk show circuit, holding seances. The National Enquirer, which proclaimed her its No. 1 psychic and sent her on a national tour, gave her a new first name: "Amazing.""

Wizard Sought As 23 Aides Arrested
The East African Standard [Nairobi]

"The Government has ordered the arrest of a witch doctor at the centre of bizarre "exorcism" activities."

Woman branded witch, burnt to death in Bihar village
Indo-Asian News Service

"In a gruesome incident, a woman in a Bihar village was on Wednesday branded a witch and burnt alive."

Resort's 'healing powers' draw sick, scam artists
Japan Times

"Crystallized minerals called "hokuto-seki" at the Tamagawa Onsen hot spring resort in Akita Prefecture have captured much media attention because they are believed to be effective in curing cancer and rheumatism."

Nuwaubian chief's trial starts in U.S. court
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Nuwaubian cult leader Malachi York has alternately claimed to be Egyptian royalty, a rabbi, a Muslim imam and a space alien. He's pleaded guilty to child molestation charges -- twice."

Sect leader's trial to begin amid influx of supporters
By Joe Johnson
Athens Banner-Herald

"After a marathon jury-selection process on Monday, opening arguments in the the long-awaited trial of religious sect leader and accused child molester Dwight ''Malachi'' York are to begin today in federal court."

Prosecutor: Cult leader coerced children to have sex with him
Associated Press

"The leader of a quasi-religious cult accused of molesting young followers was a vicious manipulator who coerced children into having sex with him and rewarded them with jewelry and candy, a prosecutor said Tuesday. But the defense said the government was oppressing a peaceful group."

Witness describes years of abuse
By Joe Johnson
Athens Banner-Herald

"The trial of Dwight ''Malachi'' York got under way in federal court Tuesday with the gripping testimony of a young woman who said she was sexually molested by the 59-year-old religious sect leader from the time she was 8 years old until she was 17."

Trial continues for sect leader
By Mark Niesse
Associated Press

"A former cult member told a jury Wednesday how the group transformed from a Muslim commune in New York to an extremist sect that groomed girls for sex with its leader, Dwight ''Malachi'' York."

Victim's testimony heard
By Terry Dickson
Morris News Service

"A second woman and a man testified Thursday about having sex as children with Dwight ''Malachi'' York, the leader of a quasi-religious sect in Middle Georgia who is on trial in federal court on charges of child molestation and racketeering."

Woman testifies she groomed younger victims for York
By Wayne Crenshaw
Macon Telegraph

"A woman testifying under an immunity agreement in the child molestation trial of cult leader Malachi York said Thursday that he began having sex with her when she was 15, and as an adult she recruited and groomed younger victims for him."

'This little town didn't back up'
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"The grandmother and community activist now smiles when thinking of the "wanted" poster once put out on her. Georgia Benjamin-Smith says the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors once offered $500 for dirt on her and others who were seen as enemies of the outlandish religious group."

Experts see manipulator in sect leader
By Joe Johnson
Athens Banner-Herald

"The social organization of the religious sect led by Dwight ''Malachi'' York appeared to have been structured as an elaborate grooming process for victims used to satisfy York's lust as an alleged pedophile, according to experts on child sexual abuse."

Girl testifies Ga. cult leader molested her since age 5
Associated Press

"A 16-year-old girl told a federal jury Wednesday cult leader Malachi York began molesting her at age 5 and would sodomize or have sex with her several times a week over an eight-year period."

Avenging angel of the religious right
By Max Blumenthal

"In the summer of 2000, a group of frustrated Episcopalians from the board of the American Anglican Council gathered at a sun-soaked Bahamanian resort to blow off some steam and hatch a plot. They were fed up with the Episcopal Church and what they perceived as a liberal hierarchy that had led it astray from centuries of so-called orthodox Christian teaching. The only option, they believed, was to lead a schism."

The Politics of Peer Review
by Chris Mooney

"The rigorous vetting of unpublished research by independent, qualified experts--what's often called "peer review"--is an undisputed cornerstone of modern science. Central to the competitive clash of ideas that moves knowledge forward, peer review enjoys so much renown in the scientific community that studies lacking its imprimatur meet with automatic skepticism. Academic reputations hinge on an ability to get work through peer review and into leading journals; university presses employ peer review to decide which books they're willing to publish; and federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health use peer review to weigh the merits of applications for federal research grants. When members of Congress make an end run around this vetting process and pump R & D cash directly into their home districts, they're widely disparaged for supporting a particularly odious and anti-scientific version of pork-barrel politics."

Psychics Predict What Other Psychics Will Predict for 2004
By Kate Silver
Las Vegas Weekly

"Try asking a local psychic to predict what other psychics will predict in the year to come, and expect confusion. Discomfort. Repeat, so they know they heard right. Then read the following responses and decided for yourself who followed directions, who made their own predictions, and which will be more accurate. We picked four psychics and four predictions they foresee other psychics revealing for 2004."

Naked Came the Stranger makes a debut appearance
by Carolyn James
Massapequa Post

"Thirty -five years ago, a discussion over some serious drinking at a local watering hole led to the publication of Naked Came the Stranger, an international best seller by 24 Newsday reporters. The aging, steamy novel is now being republished, and this version includes a preface outlining how the book, conceived of bar room bravado became one of the greatest hoaxes ever pulled off by the publishing industry."

Give 'em enough rope
by Michael Holland
The Observer

"In shape and symmetry, there is something of Dava Sobel about Peter Lamont's engagingly idiosyncratic book. But unlike Ms Sobel, who used all too corporeal men and women to refract her version of historical reality, Dr Lamont, as befits a practising magician, uses illusion, or rather the illusion of an illusion, to refract his."

Notorious e-mail scam finds believers
By Jim Stratton
Orlando Sentinel

"In a windowless room, in a nondescript house on the other side of the world, Rupert Sessions glimpsed his fortune."

The Politics of Autism
Wall Street Journal

"For any parent, there are few more traumatic diagnoses than that a child suffers from autism. But the increasing political attention to that affliction is having the unintended and dangerous consequence of limiting vaccines for all children."

Rumors of rape fan anti-American flames
By Charles A. Radin
Boston Globe

"The allegations can be heard almost everywhere in Turkey now, from farmers' wives eating in humble kebab shops, in influential journals, and from erudite political leaders: American troops have raped thousands of Iraqi women and young girls since ousting dictator Saddam Hussein."

The quiet fall of an American terrorist
By Frederick Clarkson

"Only a couple of years ago, Clayton Waagner was one of three extreme-right American terrorists on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list, a self-styled avenging angel of the unborn. In the autumn of 2001, at the apex of national fear about terrorist strikes and deadly anthrax attacks, he mailed hundreds of envelopes stuffed with white powder and threatening letters to abortion clinics and reproductive rights organizations -- all in the name of the antiabortion Army of God. Doctors, staffers, clients and their families were terrified, and hundreds of clinics were shut down. That made Clayton Waagner a celebrity, of sorts, and to some, a hero."

"Thanks be to God and the Christian terrorist"

"Editor's note: On Dec.10 2003, Salon published an article by Frederick Clarkson describing the conviction of American terrorist Clayton Waagner, who in the fall of 2001 gained a place on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list after sending anthrax threats to abortion clinics across the U.S. What was most remarkable about the trial, wrote Clarkson, was the "near-complete lack of media attention that it attracted," and a trivialization of Waagner's terrorist acts which has prochoice activists concerned. After Clarkson's article appeared, the Army of God website carried a response by Chuck Spingola in praise of "Christian terrorists" such as Waagner. An excerpt appears below."

Pursuing SYDA
East Bay Express

"Before they sought enlightenment from the Kabbalah or Dr. Phil, celebrities flocked to the teachings of the guru: Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, the spiritual leader of Siddha Yoga Dham of America, or SYDA. Meg Ryan, for instance, is rumored to keep in her wallet a picture of the guru, who supposedly bestows upon her followers a powerful spiritual jolt through something called "shaktipat.""

Threat Level Pink
By Laura Sessions Stepp
Washington Post

"If you've been around middle-school girls any time recently, you've undoubtedly seen them wearing jelly bracelets, those bangles of rubbery plastic that come in every color and that carry, some adults would have us believe, connotations of wild teen sex."

Dean: Ninja power?
By John Gorenfeld

"It's 1984. Dr. Howard Dean has an internal medicine practice in Vermont, and fifth-graders everywhere love ninjas. Meanwhile, "Ninja III: The Domination" is in theaters. In one scene, a hooded warrior is wreaking his trademark havoc on a golf course, plying the ancient mystical art of making patrol cars fly into lakes in slow motion."

"In the Name of Science" by Andrew Goliszek
By Farhad Manjoo

"In 1932, the United States Public Health Service alerted hundreds of poor black men in Macon County, Ala., to a new treatment for "bad blood," a term locals used to refer to a wide range of sexually transmitted diseases. The "special treatment," the government said, would be offered by doctors at the Tuskegee Institute, the Alabama college founded by Booker T. Washington; the men would be treated for free as long as they allowed doctors to observe their condition."

Another twist in the tale
The Economist

"THE Voynich manuscript, once owned by Emperor Rudolph II in 16th-century Bohemia, is filled with drawings of fantastic plants, zodiacal symbols and naked ladies. Far more intriguing than its illustrations, however, is the accompanying text: 234 pages of beautifully formed, yet completely unintelligible script."

Card prank wearing thin
By Joanna Norris
Otago Daily Times

"Hundreds of well-meaning New Zealand businesses taken in by a prank have created more than a decade of unnecessary work for an elderly Australian nun."

Sick of the World
by Leif Strickland
D Magazine

"On the southeastern edge of Dallas County, in a former gravel quarry, live 10 people who are allergic to the world. They can’t make trips to the grocery store, go to the movies, or do any of the things that healthy people take for granted. They have one of the most mysterious and controversial ailments in modern medicine. And like 30,000 other patients during the past three decades, they’ve come to Dallas because they believe one unorthodox physician can help them get well."

Stories with legs
by Justine Hankins
The Guardian

"I often see buzzards on my dog walks, sometimes a red kite. Such sightings make me wonder what a miniature dachshund looks like to a bird of prey: a rabbit, perhaps? On one occasion, a buzzard hovered with intent directly above one of my dogs. Little Pepper was being sized up. I nearly panicked. Would it? Could it? Of course not, but I'm haunted by infant-school fables of sheep carried off by golden eagles and bawling kids rescued from precipitous eyries."

Babies for sale
By Douglas Okwatch and Argwings Odera
East African Standard

"The East African Standard has looked into the cavernous depths of evil — and recoiled in pain and revulsion."

Closet-racist tales about Elvis seem to be merely myths
Tacoma News Tribune

"Elvis Presley's birthday was Thursday. Blue Hawaiian toasts were raised coast to coast. Impersonators' pelvises went into overdrive and will continue to swivel wildly through this weekend at parties such as the Elvis Birthday Bash, Saturday in Olympia, and the Elvis Invitationals, tonight at Seattle's Experience Music Project."

Forces can't shake fecal dust fears
by Francine Dube
National Post

"It's the rumour that can't be killed -- no matter how hard the Canadian military tries. Despite hundreds of soil and air tests, there are soldiers who continue to believe 30% of the dust in Kabul is made up of fecal matter and could affect their long-term health."

Distrust of U.S. foils effort to stop crippling disease
By John Murphy
Baltimore Sun

"If it were possible to wind back the centuries, Halima Umar's village would probably look much as it does today. Umar and her neighbors fetch water by lowering a bucket into a hand-dug well, toil in fields of millet and guinea corn, and sleep in houses made of mud, leaves and animal hair, the walls sagging like sandcastles struck by an ocean wave."

Muslims' fears pose barrier to fighting polio in Nigeria
By John Donnelly
Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2004/01/11/muslims_fears_pose_barrier_to_fighting_polio_in_ni geria/

"In this village of 3,000 people, 12 cars, one college graduate, and no telephones, the final push to erase polio from the earth hit a dead end."



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16th January 2004, 09:47 AM
Excellent job as usual. Thanks Agent13.