"My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD."
(Psalms 104:34)

I Will Be Glad

Dear Friends,

     Greetings. As the days continue to darken we are still instructed to be glad. One dictionary describes glad as; "pleased, joyful". The word "glad" occurs in more than seventy-five verses in the Bible.

     Though the days grow darker, one thing we can be assured of is that when we know God loves us, we know that everything is going to be all right. Our faith which keeps us going will dispel any fears that may attempt to enter our hearts. Fear and faith cannot co-exist together.

      Although we may be tempted to fear as Martin Luther wrote in 1529, "And though this world, with devils filled, - Should threaten to undo us; We will not fear, for God hath willed - His truth to triumph through us."

     Below is the poem "Abide with Me". It is a Christian hymn written by Henry Francis Lyte. He wrote it in 1847 while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day;
earth's joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see;
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need thy presence every passing hour.
What but thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears not bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter's power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death's sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven's morning breaks, and earth's vain shadows

      The world is rapidly changing, but one thing that does not change is God and His love for us. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38,39)

      We hope the following articles will be informative.

Herald Scotland

Final destination Iran?

Exclusive: Rob Edwards

Published on 14 Mar 2010

Hundreds of powerful US "bunker-buster" bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.

The Sunday Herald can reveal that the US government signed a contract in January to transport 10 ammunition containers to the island. According to a cargo manifest from the US navy, this included 387 "Blu" bombs used for blasting hardened or underground structures.

Experts say that they are being put in place for an assault on Iran's controversial nuclear facilities. There has long been speculation that the US military is preparing for such an attack, should diplomacy fail to persuade Iran not to make nuclear weapons.

Although Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, it is used by the US as a military base under an agreement made in 1971. The agreement led to 2,000 native islanders being forcibly evicted to the Seychelles and Mauritius.

The Sunday Herald reported in 2007 that stealth bomber hangers on the island were being equipped to take bunker-buster bombs.

They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran

Dan Plesch, director, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, University of London

Although the story was not confirmed at the time, the new evidence suggests that it was accurate.

Contract details for the shipment to Diego Garcia were posted on an international tenders' website by the US navy.

A shipping company based in Florida, Superior Maritime Services, will be paid $699,500 to carry many thousands of military items from Concord, California, to Diego Garcia.

Crucially, the cargo includes 195 smart, guided, Blu-110 bombs and 192 massive 2000lb Blu-117 bombs.

"They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran," said Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London, co-author of a recent study on US preparations for an attack on Iran. "US bombers are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours," he added.

The preparations were being made by the US military, but it would be up to President Obama to make the final decision. He may decide that it would be better for the US to act instead of Israel, Plesch argued.

"The US is not publicising the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely," he added. "The US ... is using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping Iran's actions."

According to Ian Davis, director of the new independent thinktank, Nato Watch, the shipment to Diego Garcia is a major concern. "We would urge the US to clarify its intentions for these weapons, and the Foreign Office to clarify its attitude to the use of Diego Garcia for an attack on Iran," he said.

For Alan Mackinnon, chair of Scottish CND, the revelation was "extremely worrying". He stated: "It is clear that the US government continues to beat the drums of war over Iran, most recently in the statements of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

"It is depressingly similar to the rhetoric we heard prior to the war in Iraq in 2003."

The British Ministry of Defence has said in the past that the US government would need permission to use Diego Garcia for offensive action. It has already been used for strikes against Iraq during the 1991 and 2003 Gulf wars.

About 50 British military staff are stationed on the island, with more than 3,200 US personnel. Part of the Chagos Archipelago, it lies about 1,000 miles from the southern coasts of India and Sri Lanka, well placed for missions to Iran.

The US Department of Defence did not respond to a request for a comment.



5th state exempts guns. Is Washington noticing?

'I think they're going to let it ride, hoping some judge throws out case'

March 15, 2010

By Bob Unruh

A fifth state - South Dakota - has decided that guns made, sold and used within its borders no longer are subject to the whims of the federal government through its rule-making arm in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and two supporters of the growing groundswell say they hope Washington soon will be taking note.

South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds has signed into law his state's version of a Firearms Freedom Act that first was launched in Montana. It already is law there, in Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming, which took the unusual step of specifying criminal penalties - including both fines and jail time - for federal agents attempting to enforce a federal law on a "personal firearm" in the Cowboy State.

According to a report in the Dakota Voice, the new South Dakota law addresses the "rights of states which have been carelessly trampled by the federal government for decades."

"As the federal government has radically overstepped is constitutional limitations in the past year or so, an explosion of states have begun re-asserting their rights not only with regard to firearms, but also in shielding themselves against government health care, cap and trade global warming taxes, and more," the report said.

South Dakota's law specifically notes "any firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in South Dakota and that remains within the borders of South Dakota is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce."

The provisions are nearly a mirror of the original law penned in Montana as well as those adopted in subsequent decisions by Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming.

Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association spearheaded the Montana law and now describes himself as a sort of "godfather" to the national campaign.

He told WND the issue is not only about guns but about states' rights and the constant overreaching by federal agencies and Washington to impose their requirements on in-state activities.

He said he's pleased South Dakota has become No. 5, and noted Alaska, Idaho and Oklahoma all have legislation that is approaching the stage of being presented to a governor to be made into law.

The Firearms Freedom Act website also reveals that other states either with pending legislation or pending plans include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Mother Jones

Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason

-- Photo by Lucian Read.

Glenn Beck loves them. Tea Partiers court them. Congressmen listen to them. Meet the fast-growing "patriot" group that's recruiting soldiers to resist the Obama administration.

-- By Justine Sharrock

March/April 2010 Issue

THE .50 CALIBER Bushmaster bolt action rifle is a serious weapon. The model that Pvt. 1st Class Lee Pray is saving up for has a 2,500-yard range and comes with a Mark IV scope and an easy-load magazine. When the 25-year-old drove me to a mall in Watertown, New York, near the Fort Drum Army base, he brought me to see it in its glass case--he visits it periodically, like a kid coveting something at the toy store. It'll take plenty of military paychecks to cover the $5,600 price tag, but he considers the Bushmaster essential in his preparations to take on the US government when it declares martial law.

His belief that that day is imminent has led Pray to a group called Oath Keepers, one of the fastest-growing "patriot" organizations on the right. Founded last April by Yale-educated lawyer and ex-Ron Paul aide Stewart Rhodes, the group has established itself as a hub in the sprawling anti-Obama movement that includes Tea Partiers, Birthers, and 911ers. Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, and Pat Buchanan have all sung its praises, and in December, a grassroots summit it helped organize drew such prominent guests as representatives Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, both Georgia Republicans.

There are scores of patriot groups, but what makes Oath Keepers unique is that its core membership consists of men and women in uniform, including soldiers, police, and veterans. At regular ceremonies in every state, members reaffirm their official oaths of service, pledging to protect the Constitution--but then they go a step further, vowing to disobey "unconstitutional" orders from what they view as an increasingly tyrannical government.

Pray (who asked me to use his middle name rather than his first) and five fellow soldiers based at Fort Drum take this directive very seriously. In the belief that the government is already turning on its citizens, they are recruiting military buddies, stashing weapons, running drills, and outlining a plan of action. For years, they say, police and military have trained side by side in local anti-terrorism exercises around the nation. In September 2008, the Army began training the 3rd Infantry's 1st Brigade Combat Team to provide humanitarian aid following a domestic disaster or terror attack--and to help with crowd control and civil unrest if need be. (The ACLU has expressed concern about this deployment.) And some of Pray's comrades were guinea pigs for military-grade sonic weapons, only to see them used by Pittsburgh police against protesters last fall.

Most of the men's gripes revolve around policies that began under President Bush but didn't scare them so much at the time. "Too many conservatives relied on Bush's character and didn't pay attention," founder Rhodes told me. "Only now, with Obama, do they worry and see what has been done. I trusted Bush to only go after the terrorists. But what do you think can happen down the road when they say, 'I think you are a threat to the nation?'"

In Pray's estimate, it might not be long (months, perhaps a year) before President Obama finds some pretext--a pandemic, a natural disaster, a terror attack--to impose martial law, ban interstate travel, and begin detaining citizens en masse. One of his fellow Oath Keepers, a former infantryman, advised me to prepare a "bug out" bag with 39 items including gas masks, ammo, and water purification tablets, so that I'd be ready to go "when the shit hits the fan."

When it does, Pray and his buddies plan to go AWOL and make their way to their "fortified bunker"--the home of one comrade's parents in rural Idaho--where they've stocked survival gear, generators, food, and weapons. If it becomes necessary, they say, they will turn those guns against their fellow soldiers.

Pfc. Lee Pray vows he'll fight to the death if a rogue US government "forces us to engage."


Parents demand answers from Israel in bulldozer death

By Paula Hancocks

March 10, 2010

Jerusalem (CNN) -- A 23-year-old American activist stands in front of an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza. The bulldozer drives over her, crushing her to death. These are the facts.

Rachel Corrie, along with colleagues from the International Solidarity Movement, was trying to prevent Israel from bulldozing homes in Rafah, close to the Egyptian border. Her activism cost her her life in March 2003.

A colleague said at the time, "Many times the bulldozer came up to us and buried us with dirt, but they always stopped."

Corrie's parents want to know the truth about their daughter's death, whether the killing was intentional and who is accountable.

Power of grief: Corrie's fight for justice

Craig and Cindy Corrie's civil suit against Israel's defense ministry starts in Haifa, Israel, on Wednesday -- a court date that took years to reach.

"The more we found out, the more likely that the killing was intentional, or at least incredibly reckless," Craig Corrie said. "And, as a former soldier, I was even in charge of bulldozers in Vietnam... You're responsible to know what's in front of that blade, and I believe that they did."

The Israeli military carried out a month-long investigation, which found no Israeli soldier was to blame.

"The armored bulldozer crew involved in the incident did not see Ms. Corrie, who was standing behind the mound of earth, and was unable to see her or hear her voice," the military said.

Corrie's parents are proud of what their daughter did, recalling how important it was to her to help Palestinian families in Gaza.

In an interview shortly before her death, Rachel Corrie, who grew up in Olympia, Washington, said, "There are just countless ways in which these children are suffering. I want to support them."

Her mother, Cindy Corrie, told CNN, "She deserves the attention that she's receiving in this case. Every human being who is assaulted and whose life is taken in this way deserves some accountability, some explanation for why this happened, particularly when it's done by a military and particularly when it's a military supported by me and my tax dollars."

The Corries say they cannot take the bulldozer driver to court, because the Israeli military has refused to identify him for the past seven years. But Craig Corrie doesn't necessarily want to see the driver sent to jail.

"We don't think about the soldiers being the victims, but they are, and we ask a lot of these people. So I'm not full of hatred for this person, but it was a horrendous act to kill my daughter, and I hope he understands that."


Turkey threatens to expel 100,000 Armenians over 'genocide' row

Turkey has threatened to expel 100,000 Armenians from the country in response to the US branding the First World War killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks as "genocide".

by Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent -

Published: 17 Mar 2010

Ottoman soldiers posing in front of Armenians they are hanged in a public place, image taken in Alep in 1915 Photo: GETTY

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, said the position of the immigrants, many of whom have lived there as refugees for a generation, was being reviewed in the wake of the row.

Armenia claims more than 500,000 of its countrymen died in bitter in-fighting as the Ottoman Empire disintegrated at the height of the First World War.

Turkey concedes that tens of thousands died in ethnic fighting but vehemently disputes accusations that massacres were systematically planned.

Tensions with Armenia have recently escalated as a well-organised worldwide campaign has persuaded the American Congress and Swedish parliament to adopt resolutions condemning the incidents as "genocide".

An Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day Bill has also been put before the House of Commons and Mr Erdogan has warned Gordon Brown that relations would suffer if parliament passes it.

Turkish law already makes discussion of genocide an offence punishable by imprisonment.

"There are currently 170,000 Armenians living in our country. Only 70,000 of them are Turkish citizens, but we are tolerating the remaining 100,000," said Mr Erdogan.

"If necessary, I may have to tell these 100,000 to go back to their country because they are not my citizens. I don't have to keep them in my country."

The suggestion has proved controversial in Turkey with Ahmed Davutoglu, Turkey's foreign minister, rejecting any calls to drive out Armenians.

Mr Davutoglu said the move would put Turkey in the "hot seat" as it attempted to fend off charges of ingrained racial prejudice.

He said: "If we do it, it will provoke other states that opposed our policy to use the move as a bargaining chip. All newspapers will publish photos of deported Armenians and it will be called a nationalism."

Turkey has been dismayed by the campaign as it had been attempting to establish normal diplomatic relations with the ex-Soviet state.

Mr Erdogan said its neighbour should distance itself from the overseas community leading the lobbying.

He said: "Armenia has an important decision to make. It should free itself from its attachment to the diaspora. Any country which cares for Armenia, namely the US, France and Russia, should primarily help Armenia to free itself from the influence of the diaspora."

But yesterday there was uproar in Armenai over the suggestion of deportations. Hrayr Karapetyan, an Armenian MP, condemned Mr Erdogan's remarks as blackmail.

"The statement once again proves that there is an Armenian genocide threat in present Turkey, thus world community should pressurise Ankara to recognise [the] genocide," he said.

Turkey allows visa free access from much of the Caucuses and Central Asia. As a result its cities are populated by a high number of illegal immigrants.

The small community of Armenians who hold Turkish citizenship have often borne the strain of the country's political tensions.

- Raiders News Network

Last month, Virginia lawmaker Mark Cole, a Fredericksburg Republican, sponsored a bill in the House of Delegates to prohibit the involuntary implantation of microchips into human beings.

"My understanding--I'm not a theologian--but there's a prophecy in the Bible that says you'll have to receive a mark, or you can neither buy nor sell things in end times," said Cole. "Some people think these computer chips might be that mark."

In spite of some ridicule, Cole's bill passed the Virginia House of Delegates by an overwhelming 88-9 majority--because, as his fellow Republican David B. Albo opined, "The fact that some people who support it are a little wacky doesn't make it a bad idea."

Cole is not alone among state legislators nationwide. Wisconsin, California, and North Dakota have already passed legislation to protect their citizens from unwanted subdermal implants. A similar bill has just passed the house in Tennessee. The Georgia State Senate also passed an anti-microchip bill last month, sponsored by two Chips: Republican State Senators Chip Pearson and Chip Rogers, both Baptists and active in their churches.

Beast 2.0

The sponsors of these bills, all of them Republicans and outspoken conservative Christians, claim that preventing the forced implantation of microchips is a civil rights issue: they seek to protect citizens from unwanted bodily intrusions by employers and especially what they depict as a big brother-esque government. Yet the technology to embed radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips into animals and people has existed since the early nineties, and so far no one has attempted a forced implantation of the populace.

There are, of course, purely secular reasons against forced implantation of RFID chips and in favor of policies that particularly protect the truly vulnerable. But the true impetus behind these laws (give Cole points for honesty here) appears to lie squarely in Christian dispensationalism and speculation about "the mark of the beast" described in the Book of Revelation.

Conjecture about the mark of the beast has evolved alongside technology for at least the last forty years, merging with Orwellian concerns about how new technologies can enhance the power of the state. Of all innovations, those dealing with information and communication have held a special appeal for dispensationalist theories.

According to Robert C. Fuller in Naming the Antichrist, the Southwest Radio Church warned as early as 1975 that "The Beast" was the name of a supercomputer created to control the global economy. That same year, Christian dispensationalist Colin Deal expressed a similar theory, warning that "The Beast" could assign everyone on Earth an invisible "laser tattoo." Similar technological suspicions were expressed by Emil Gaverluk and Patrick Fisher in Fiber Optics: The Eye of the Anti-Christ (1979) and David Webber and Noah Hutchings in Computers and the Beast of Revelation (1986).

The Mark of Paranoia

The first person to suggest that the mark of the beast could be a microchip may have been Peter Lalonde in his One World Under Anti-Christ (1991). However, the association of microchip technology with the mark of the beast was thoroughly hammered into the American consciousness by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins' bestselling Left Behind Series. The eighth installment of the series, The Mark (2000), describes how the Antichrist's new world order will require everyone to be implanted with a microchip or be guillotined by a "loyalty enforcement facilitator." The Mark sold over three million copies by 2004.

That same year, the FDA approved the VeriChip, an RFID chip that can be implanted under the skin into human beings, marking them with personal data that can be read through a scanner. The VeriChip Corporation, now part of the company PositiveID, has suggested that this technology could have useful applications such as storing a patient's medical data and--in apparent confirmation of apocalyptic anxieties--commerce. A VIP club in Barcelona has allowed customers to use Verichips as debit cards. "Marked" beachgoers can leave their wallets at home and simply have their arm scanned to purchase a drink.

The appeal of anti-microchip legislation is part of a larger narrative that equates "the beast" with foreign interests acting through the federal government; a theme that plays well in a political climate marked by populist anger and millenialist paranoia. Advocating laws because they will hinder the actions of the Antichrist, as preposterous as it seems, is made possible by a highly-politicized American subculture that has been profoundly influenced by the dispensationalist imagination. It is not an accident that the sponsors of anti-microchip legislation have admitted their concern about the mark of the beast. By making clear that their concerns are not purely secular, these legislators are able to build support from an energized evangelical base. Opponents can mock these politicians as paranoiacs, but among voters who have read The Mark, concern about the Antichrist is a political asset, not a liability.


More than 40 schools in Detroit, Michigan, set to close under plan

March 17

Detroit closing 44 schools


City school district's emergency financial manager unveils $1 billion plan

He says plan will allow district to cut operating costs, ensure lower maintenance costs

District has been beset with falling enrollment, aging buildings, excess seats

Plan includes remodeling, renovation, new schools; part of it needs voter approval

Detroit, Michigan (CNN) -- Forty-four Detroit schools and one administrative building will close in June under a $1 billion plan unveiled Wednesday by the city school district's emergency financial manager.

The district has been beset with falling enrollment as well as aging buildings, emergency financial manager Robert Bobb said Wednesday. The plan will allow the district to cut operating costs by about $31 million in 2010 and ensure lower maintenance costs in the future, he said.

The plan, which complements an academic plan recently unveiled by Bobb, will "create a leaner, smarter DPS," he said.

"We believe that this plan provides certainty where, in the minds of some, there may be uncertainty."

Austrian Times

09. 03. 10.

US military behind Haiti quake, says Innsbruck scientist

Innsbruck political scientist Claudia von Werlhof has accused the USA of being behind the Haitian earthquake in January, it emerged today (Tues). - - According to a report on tirol.orf.at, Werlhof said that machines at a military research centre in Alaska used to detect deposits of crude oil by causing artificial earthquakes might have been intentionally set off to cause the Haitian earthquake and enable the USA to send 10,000 soldiers into the country. - - Ferdinand Karlhofer, the head of the Innsbruck Political Science Institute where von Werlhof works, has slammed her comments. He said such conspiracy theory had no scientific basis and her claim would damage the reputation of the Institute abroad.


Darpa Looks to Tap Nature's Quantum Effects

By Katie Drummond

March 12, 2010

Categories: DarpaWatch

For years, some scientists have suspected that quantum mechanics might have a little something to do with biological processes. Now, over a year after they first announced plans to look into quantum effects in biology, the Pentagon's far-out research arm is asking for research and prototypes that may help harness that knowledge.

Researchers have already established several biological realms that seem governed by quantum mechanics. For example, they already know that photosynthesis, one example of nature's incredible efficiency, is ruled by quantum energy transfers. Energy "simultaneously samples" potential routes, and opts for the most efficient one to get the job done. Now, Darpa wants even more examples that demonstrate "tantalizing evidence" of biological systems that "operate using 'manifestly' quantum effects."

That's part one. Darpa also wants developers to develop a prototype of a biomimetic sensor that mimics some of biology's most impressive quantum phenomena.

Lockheed Martin, for one, are already hard at work on the possibility of a quantum radar that could spot IEDs through soil or the walls of underground bunkers, see through camouflage, and even take down stealth planes. Right now, that patented science remains conceptual. But it sounds like Darpa's ready to invest in the potential applications.

For now, they're after high-performance sensors. But if and when quantum biology takes off, the possibilities -- beyond quantum computing -- seem endless. In Quantum Evolution, molecular biologist Johnjoe McFadden hypothesized that certain DNA mutations exhibit signs of intelligent quantum calculation. So it might only be a matter of time before Darpa gets its hands on the meaning of life, or at least some mathematical version of it.


The Biggest Dump in the World

As large as the USA, the Great Pacific Waste Patch is the biggest dump in the world. Ed Cumming discovers that it keeps getting bigger, and could be poisoning us all

By Ed Cumming - Published: 7:00AM

The Pacific Garbage Patch had been predicted as early as the late Eighties but it was only formally discovered in 1997 Photo: IMAGEBROKER

The world's biggest rubbish dump keeps growing. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch - or the Pacific Trash Vortex - is a floating monument to our culture of waste, the final resting place of every forgotten carrier bag, every discarded bottle and every piece of packaging blown away in the wind. Opinions about the exact size of this great, soupy mix vary, but some claim it has doubled over the past decade, making it now six times the size of the UK.

Dr Simon Boxall, a physical oceanographer at the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton, goes even further: "It's the size of North America. But although the patch itself is extremely large, it's only one very clear representation of the much bigger worldwide problem."

This global problem is the motive behind the Plastiki, a 60ft, 12-ton catamaran built from 12,500 recycled plastic bottles, which embarks on its maiden voyage from San Francisco this week. The brainchild of David de Rothschild, the flamboyant British banking heir and environmentalist, the Plastiki will sail right through the middle of the Garbage Patch as part of a campaign to help make more people aware of the Pacific's threatened communities and of the damage our waste is doing to our oceans.

Plastic is the main issue. Fifty years ago, most flotsam was biodegradable. Now it is 90 per cent plastic. In 2006, the United Nations Environment Programme estimated that there were 46,000 pieces of floating plastic in every square mile of ocean. With its stubborn refusal to biodegrade, all plastic not buried in landfills - roughly half of it - sweeps into streams and sewers and then out into rivers and, finally, the ocean. Some of it - some say as much as 70 per cent - sinks to the ocean floor. The remainder floats, usually within 20 metres of the surface, and is carried into stable circular currents, or gyres "like ocean ring-roads", says Dr Boxall. Once inside these gyres, the plastic is drawn by wind and surface currents towards the centre, where it steadily accumulates. The world's major oceans all have these gyres, and all are gathering rubbish. Although the North Pacific - bordering California, Japan and China - is the biggest, there are also increasingly prominent gyres in the South Pacific, the North and South Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. Our problems with plastics are only just beginning.

The Pacific Garbage Patch had been predicted as early as the late Eighties but it was only formally discovered in 1997 by Charles Moore, an American yacht-racing captain sailing home across the North Pacific from a competition in Hawaii. He noticed a large amount of debris in the centre of the gyre, and together with the oceanographer, Curtis Ebbesmeyer, formulated the idea of the Eastern Garbage Patch. Other research revealed a secondary patch to the West, and these two together constitute the Great Pacific Patch, located roughly between 135-155°W and 35-45°N. In 1999, Moore followed up his initial findings with a report showing that there was eight times as much plastic as plankton in the North Pacific. And there is a lot of plankton.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

DOUG ELFMAN: Aykroyd and the end of the world

Mar. 08, 2010

The apocalyptic movie "2012" wasn't good enough for the Oscars to take seriously. But a small cast of celebrities are taking the hit film's premise seriously: that 2012 could be the end of the world as we know it.

Stars who have ruminated publicly about 2012 being The End include Woody Harrelson, Lil' Wayne, Joe Rogan, Montel Williams and the grande dame of New Age spirituality, Shirley MacLaine.

You can add Dan Aykroyd to that list.

Aykroyd and I were catching up the other day because he's in Vegas to autograph bottles of his Crystal Head Vodka at an Albertsons.

And he's giving Wednesday's keynote address at the Nightclub & Bar Convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Because Aykroyd is a pop-renaissance man, I started by asking him about his many interests: The House of Blues (he and his partners sold it in 2006, but he's still spokesman-consultant); Crystal Head Vodka, which he co-created (no chemical additives); and "Ghostbusters III" (the script's closer to being done).

Then I asked Aykroyd, 57, about his interests in UFOs, which led to this:

He thinks "the UFO phenomenon is going to figure greatly" in a 2012 "revelation," when "the end of the world will come."

"It won't be the end of the world physically as we know it, as depicted in the movie. But it will be the end of consciousness and the end of perception as we know it."

Aykroyd is a "great admirer of George Knapp," who has chronicled UFO phenomena for decades in Nevada.

And Aykroyd, a lifetime benefactor of MUFON.com, has visited the town of Rachel on Extraterrestrial Highway and marveled at "real photographs" there of sightings.

"These aren't hoaxes or fakes," he said. "Dozens of Army officers, police, sheriffs, emergency workers -- people who are outside all day, all night, all the time -- are consistently coming forward to report events."

UFO phenomena could be elements in a 2012 realignment, perhaps as mass revelations or mass sightings, he said.

"Mass telepathic content has already occurred throughout North America on many occasions, the last notable one being in 1994 in (Quebec), where there was an incident that involved about 2,000 people being called to their back porches to look up into the sky and witness an event with a craft at the same time. That was a telepathic event where they were all contacted."

Clearly, some kind of end is near, he said.

"As Shirley MacLaine puts it: The light is going to go out in the next few years, 2012, and a new perception will come on.

"Whether that has to do with the dominance of dark matter in the universe -- or some triumph/domination of good and evil -- the light we know now, whether that's a good light or a bad light, is going to change.

"There's going to be a phase-wave shift in everything, and that's very exciting. I don't think it's destructive. I think it's going to be very constructive."

I asked him how we should prepare.

"I think we should open our minds and start being better human beings to each other, and accept that this may be the way of life. We've got to be more compassionate, more loving, more positive thinking."

A worst-case scenario is that "the good light" will go out and we will experience "the bad light." If that happens, people who practice on behalf of the good light will be even more pressed to "fight" against "whatever darkness is coming," he said.

I asked him, "Fight how?"

"Fight like hell!" he said. "Fight like hell on the side of the road."


French contestants torture each other on TV Game of Death

Contestants on a new French game show torture fellow players with electric shocks - zapping one man until he cries for mercy and apparently drops dead - in a controversial programme that has drawn comparisons with Nazi atrocities.

Like any traditional quiz show, "Le jeu de la mort" (The Game of Death) has a lively audience, a glamorous hostess, and a list of trivia questions for contestants.

However, unlike typical game shows, punishment for wrong answers is a 460-volt electric shock.

To chants of "punishment" from the studio audience, contestants zap their victims who scream in agony and eventually appear to die.

The aim of the experiment - to be aired as a documentary on France 2 TV on Wednesday evening - is to show how the manipulative power of television can push people to ever more outrageous limits.

A team of psychologists recruited 80 volunteers, telling them they were taking part in a pilot for a new television show.

They were instructed to pose questions to another "player", and punish him with up to 460 volts of electricity when he got answers wrong.

Not knowing that the screaming victim was really an actor, the apparently reluctant contestants yielded to the orders of the presenter and audience, who also believed the game was real.

The show's producer, Christophe Nick, said of the 80 participants who agreed to take part in the "game show", only 16 refused to obey orders to inflict pain.

Psychologists said the blind obedience seen on the show was the same as that seen among German soldiers ordered to commit atrocities in the Nazi death camps.

The experiment was modelled on a famous study conducted at Yale University in the 1960s, which used similar methods to examine how obedient citizens could be driven to take part in mass murder.

Jacques Semelin, a psychologist who took part in the documentary, said the participants were made to sign a contract obliging them to obey the presenter's instructions.

"They are obedient, but it's more than mere obedience, because there is also the pressure of the audience and cameras everywhere."

One contestant said after filming that taking part had helped her to understand why her own Jewish grandparents had been tortured by the Nazis.

She said: "Since I was a little girl, I have always asked myself why the Nazis did it and how they could obey such orders? And then there I was, obeying them myself.

"I was worried about the contestant, but at the same time, I was afraid to spoil the programme."


NASA discovers life hidden 600 feet below Antarctic ice

A three-inch long Lyssianasid amphipod (seen in orange) was found on the underside of the McMurdo ice shelf in Antarctica.

Six hundred feet below the Antarctic ice, where no light can be found, NASA scientists made a startling discovery a swimming shrimp-like creature that could challenge the idea of where and how forms of life can survive.

While the creature is small itself only about three inches long its impact could be tremendous.

A NASA team had lowered a small video camera to get the first-ever photograph of the underside of an ice shelf and that's when they saw the swimming creature, according to a NASA document.

The discovery could shake the very foundation of what kind of creatures can survive in certain atmospheres.

"We were operating on the presumption that nothing's there," NASA ice scientist Robert Bindschadler told the Associated Press. "It was a shrimp you'd enjoy having on your plate."

"We were just gaga over it," he told the AP.

The creature, a Lyssianasid amphipod, could lead the way for larger expeditions into harsher environments that scientists previously believed could not support life both on the Earth and even frozen moons in outer space.

The Sunday Times

Desert gives up avenue of lost sphinxes

March 14, 2010

Matthew Campbell

A HIDDEN wonder of the ancient world is to be unveiled in Egypt after excavation of the first stretch of a two-mile avenue lined with hundreds of carved sphinxes.

Built more than 3,000 years ago, the so-called Avenue of Sphinxes linked two giant temples and was used once a year for a religious procession. It was gradually buried by silt and built over after falling out of use in the 5th century AD.

Now it is being uncovered and the first part is expected to open within weeks. Visitors will have the chance to stroll under the imperious gaze of the sphinxes -- mythological creatures with the body of a lion and head of a human or ram.

The remainder of the buried avenue, 75 yards wide and flanked originally by an estimated 1,350 sphinxes, will be opened in the next few years.

"It is the longest processional avenue in the world," said Jihane Zaki, a government Egyptologist. Its restoration, he said, would return "dignity and glory" to Luxor, in what was once the ancient city of Thebes.

Amenhotep III, who ruled about 3,400 years ago, built the avenue to connect the temples. Sphinxes were carved on either side of the road next to chapels stocked with offerings for the gods. Workers have so far found 650 of the sphinxes.


Would you believe 1 million to attend Christian concert?

Doubling the size of Woodstock, organizers say, 'can't be ignored'

March 13, 2010

By Drew Zahn

A local newspaper ran a two-page article on the concert titled "Calling All Christians," and that's exactly what Jim Plack and the organizers of Jubileefest are doing, seeking to gather 1 million people to a farm outside of tiny Houston, Del., this summer for a praise and prayer event for the nation.

"Every Christian should be there," quipped the Jubileefest website, "but we only have room for a million."

Never mind that Jublieefest is in its inaugural year. Never mind that the crowd Plack is hoping to gather is more than three times larger than any Christian concert event in history and twice as big as 1969's "Three Days of Peace and Music." Plack is trusting God to fulfill the vision he says the Almighty has given him, a vision for a concert that will impact the nation even more than the fabled Woodstock.

"If half a million hippies can gather on farm in New York to do drugs and have sex," Plack told WND, "certainly God can bring a million Christians to a farm in Delaware."

Christian music festivals like Minnesota's four-day-long Sonshine draw tens of thousands of fans every summer across America. Pennsylvania's mega-rally CreationFest draws hundreds of thousands.

And while Plack doesn't expect record-setting crowds for all four days of the July 29 - Aug. 1 Jubileefest, he is calling for a million Christians to come on one night, July 31, for a prayer and praise event that will boldly proclaim to the nation's "PC (politically correct) police" that America's faithful are a force to be reckoned with.

"The Christian community hasn't really come together and said, 'Here we are, look at us,'" Plack said. "If we put a million people on a farm, that's something that can't be ignored."

What makes Plack think Jubileefest can draw so many people for one night of prayer and praise?

He told WND that the location - not far from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and within a two-hour drive of Philadelphia, New York City and major population centers in Virginia and Pennsylvania - should help.

Jubileefest's announced lineup on five stages of continuous activity should be a draw, too, with headliner Christian musicians such as Rebecca St. James, Mercy Me, Newsboys, Sonic Flood and "American Idol" finalist Chris Sligh. Speakers scheduled include Josh McDowell, Lee Strobel, David Jeremiah, Kirk Cameron and comedian Tim Hawkins.

But most importantly, Plack believes this is a God-sized goal that Providence is already working to achieve.

God shows up

For the Plack brothers, Jubileefest has been a leap of faith from the very beginning. Their faith, in turn, has been rewarded with both stunning setbacks and sudden turns of fortune the brothers attribute only to God.

Phil, who says he's the "nuts and bolts" to his brother's vision and passion, told WND one of the biggest initial challenges was convincing major artists to sign on to their fledgling dream - without the up-front money musicians typically demand.

"We've been contacting the agents of artists we had in mind, telling them up front we don't have a big war chest of cash, so we were unable to offer various artists the 50 percent deposit most require," Phil said. "Instead, we drafted a deposit system, whereby 90 days out from event, we give 50 percent of the fee, 30 days out another 25 percent and the balance on the last day of their appearance."

"Only God could do this," Jim added. "It's unheard of to be booking talent without deposit money."

Several of the artists, as might be expected, balked at the idea. Others, however, looked at the Jubileefest website and realized the opportunity to be a part of something never done before.

"All of the artists listed on our website have agreed to do the festival on that payment basis," Phil explained. "We took the posture that those not willing or able were just not the ones God want to be part of this event this year. I think God has given us a terrific lineup.

"We have seen God work time after time opening doors," Phil said. "We believe with all of our hearts it will be tremendous success."

Jubileefest, however, came to the razor's edge of being cancelled only a few months ago.

Jim told WND the story of the day he learned that the Maryland farm he had envisioned holding a million worshippers ... was suddenly scratched from the plan:

"Initially, we missed getting some of the acts together, sending us back to the drawing board and forcing delays," Jim explained. "When we were finally able to get back to the farmer, he said, 'Jim, we just leased out the land; you can't use it.'"

Jim began a scramble, calling farmers, offering to lease their land - even buy their summer crops - to find a suitable venue. The farmers, however, had contracted their land to food companies, obligated to produce the crop.

"I told my brother how discouraged I was," Jim said. "I thought this was it; we can't find a place."

Phil, however, encouraged Jim, insisting that if God wants it to happen, he'll provide the land ... for free.

Then, Jim explained, "The last farmer on my list said, 'Why not call Sam Yoder in Delaware? He has a good-sized farm.'"

In fact, Yoder had been hosting Christian concerts - small affairs for only a few dozen attendees - for years.

After giving Yoder a call, the Plack brothers visited the farmer's property and found it perfect: higher and drier than the Maryland location and well-situated between two major highways.

Jim recalled, "When we met with Sam and showed him the schedule of artists, he about jumped out of skin."

When it came time to negotiate the terms of the lease, the brothers asked how much it would cost.

Yoder's price? One dollar.

"Another domino fell," Jim explains. "The odds of all this talent on no deposit and the farm for $1? God is behind this, and he is going to make this happen."

Will Jubileefest really raise the million-Christian crowd? Some have been reported expressing doubt. Jim, however, simply expresses faith.

"The whole thing is committed to God; he's going to have to make it happen," Jim said. "It's all about trusting: Do you or don't you?"


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