"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? Jesus answered and said unto them...there shall be earthquakes, in divers places."
(Matthew 24:3, 4 & 7)
What Shall Be The Sign
Greetings. As some of the following articles attest, and as we are sure that you are aware, the past few weeks would certainly seem to be a part of the fulfillment of the above scripture. In the seven days following the massive earthquake in Chile, there were at least an additional 250 earthquakes in different parts of the world.
Earthquakes would seem to play an important role in scripture, especially scripture concerning the End Times. Just before the start of the Great Tribulation, in Revelation Chapter 8 verse 7, when the first trumpet of tribulation is about to sound, verse 5 states: "And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake." And then begins the Great Tribulation.
And at the end of the "Great Tribulation", just prior to the beginning of the "Wrath" of God, when the seven vials of wrath are poured upon the earth, Revelation 11:19 says: "the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail."
Again, at the end of the Wrath of God, after the seventh vial has been poured out upon the earth, the Bible once again says: "There were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great." (Revelation 16:18)
Earthquakes are not only momentous events in themselves, but would also seem to portend even greater future events.
And finally, how will those who have wreaked havoc upon the earth react when the Lord arises to shake terribly the earth? "The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. (Isaiah 2:17,19,29,21)
Chilean Quake Likely Shifted Earth's Axis, NASA Scientist Says
By Alex Morales
March 1 (Bloomberg) -- The earthquake that killed more than 700 people in Chile on Feb. 27 probably shifted the Earth's axis and shortened the day, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientist said.
Earthquakes can involve shifting hundreds of kilometers of rock by several meters, changing the distribution of mass on the planet. This affects the Earth's rotation, said Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who uses a computer model to calculate the effects.
"The length of the day should have gotten shorter by 1.26 microseconds (millionths of a second)," Gross, said today in an e-mailed reply to questions. "The axis about which the Earth's mass is balanced should have moved by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters or 3 inches)."
The changes can be modeled, though they're difficult to physically detect given their small size, Gross said. Some changes may be more obvious, and islands may have shifted, according to Andreas Rietbrock, a professor of Earth Sciences at the U.K.'s Liverpool University who has studied the area impacted, though not since the latest temblor.
Santa Maria Island off the coast near Concepcion, Chile's second-largest city, may have been raised 2 meters (6 feet) as a result of the latest quake, Rietbrock said today in a telephone interview. He said the rocks there show evidence pointing to past earthquakes shifting the island upward in the past.
"It's what we call the ice-skater effect," David Kerridge, head of Earth hazards and systems at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh, said today in a telephone interview. "As the ice skater puts when she's going around in a circle, and she pulls her arms in, she gets faster and faster. It's the same idea with the Earth going around if you change the distribution of mass, the rotation rate changes."
Rietbrock said he hasn't been able to get in touch with seismologists in Concepcion to discuss the quake, which registered 8.8 on the Richter scale.
"What definitely the earthquake has done is made the Earth ring like a bell," Rietbrock said.
The magnitude 9.1 Sumatran in 2004 that generated an Indian Ocean tsunami shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds and shifted the axis by about 2.3 milliarcseconds, Gross said.
The changes happen on the day and then carry on "forever," Benjamin Fong Chao, dean of Earth Sciences of the National Central University in Taiwan, said in an e-mail.
"This small contribution is buried in larger changes due to other causes, such as atmospheric mass moving around on Earth," Chao said.
Epoch Times Shook the World in Past 7 Days
By Carlos Morales
Created: Feb 28, 2010
CARACAS, Venezuela --In the past seven days there have been more than 258 recorded earthquakes of a magnitude higher than 4.5 on the Richter's scale. Chile alone has already experienced 81 aftershocks at a rate of 4 per hour since the first big earthquake of 8.8 struck on Saturday, Feb. 27. Tsunami alarms sounded across the world.
Apart from the abundant seismic activity in Chile, moderate to strong earthquakes have occurred in several countries, among them: Ecuador (M5.3; 28/2/2010), Argentina (M6.3; 27/2/2010), Afghanistan (M5.7; 27/2/2010), Philippines (M5.7;26/02/2010), Japan/Ryukyu Islands (M7.0; 26/2/2010), Guatemala (M5.6; 23/2/2010), Haiti(M4.7; 23/2/2010), Iran(M5.1; 23/2/2010), Tonga(M5.7; 22/2/2010 with replicas of approximately higher than M5), and 2 earthquakes in Mainland China of M5.4 and M5.0 in the regions of Xizang, Yunnan on Feb. 26 and 27.
(And now Taiwan and Sumatra - Ed)
From The Times
'The sea was 30 metres high. Everybody ran'
March 2, 2010
Dom Phillips, ConstituciÃ³n
When the earthquake struck the dirt-poor coastal town of ConstituciÃ³n, José Carrasco was sleeping in the cab of his truck by the beach.
"It was really strong, shaking," he said. Forty-five minutes later he saw the first tsunami wave coming towards him. "The sea came and covered everything. It was 30 (97 feet 5 inches) metres high. There were two waves. When we saw the sea coming in, everybody ran. I climbed up the hill."
The smell of death hung yesterday over this fishing town, battered not just by the earthquake but by the tsunami that came in its wake and claimed hundreds of lives. Much of it lay in ruins. Debris from the waves covered the beach and the tiny port. Mr Carrasco's blue truck was a tangle of bent metal, surrounded by the remains of battered cars, their windows shattered.
A yellow food stall was stuck on top of the shell of a van on a pile of broken timber. Electricity pylons were wrapped around giant palm trees torn from their roots. Bulldozers had begun shoving the debris -- piles of broken metal, bits of cars, trucks, railings, wood and palm fronds. ConstituciÃ³n now resembles a giant scrapyard.
Giant waves hit cruise ship; 2 passengers killed
March 4, 2010
Giant waves slam cruise ship
26-foot waves hit ship with 1,350 passengers aboard
German, Italian passengers killed when waves smashed windows
Fourteen other people injured
Vessel, the Louis Majesty, returns to port in Barcelona, Spain
Madrid, Spain (CNN) -- Two passengers aboard a cruise ship were killed when 26-foot waves crashed into the vessel Wednesday off northeast Spain, officials said. Fourteen others were injured.
The Greece-based Louis Cruise Lines ship was in the Mediterranean north of Barcelona when it was hit by three "abnormal" waves, each about 26 feet (9 meters) high, cruise line spokesman Michael Maratheftis said.
As a result, five windows in public areas -- on the forward part, or bow, of the 14-deck ship -- were smashed, and two male passengers -- a German and an Italian -- were killed, he said.
Fourteen others were treated aboard the ship for light injuries but were hospitalized as a precaution when the ship returned to Barcelona on Wednesday night, Maratheftis said.
Spain's state news agency reported that two of the passengers had serious injuries, including a 62-year-old woman with fractures in both legs. Maratheftis would not provide specifics, but said there were no life-threatening injuries to the 14 wounded passengers.
The vessel, the Louis Majesty, was sailing under a Maltese flag and traveling from Barcelona, Spain, to Genoa, Italy, the Greek Public Ministry of the Mercantile Marine said.
The incident occurred 24 miles off the coast of Cabo de San Sebastian near the Spanish town of Palafrugell, Maratheftis said
The ship had 1,350 passengers and 580 crew members, the Greek ministry said.
The passengers, including three Americans, were from 27 nations, Maratheftis said in phone interviews from Cyprus.
Buoy data off the French coast indicated that weather was the likely cause of the high waves. Winds were at 45 mph at that buoy.
All of the passengers were to be flown home on Thursday from Barcelona at the expense of Louis Cruise Lines, Maratheftis said.
"The next cruise has been canceled," and the Louis Majesty will remain in Barcelona for repairs, Maratheftis said. The vessel is due to resume cruises on March 14, he said.
College students urged: Trade Bible for Playboy
'Religious texts are so appalling, you are better off having porn'
By Drew Zahn
February 27, 2010
In the lobby of the University of Texas at San Antonio's humanities building, a hand-drawn poster announces, "Free porn: Just trade in your holy books (Bible, Koran, Vedas) for porn."
A student group at the university called The Atheist Agenda is reviving its Bibles-for-porn program, called "Smut for Smut," for three days beginning March 1, according to a report from San Antonio's KENS-TV.
"The idea is that religious texts are so appalling," said Atheist Agenda group member Brian Talker in a 2006 interview with UTSA student publication The Independent. "They are so full of genocide, misogyny and ludicrous ideas that far overshadow any banal common-sense platitudes like loving thy neighbor, that you are better off having porn, which isn't nearly as smutty."
A current member of the group told KENS the program is also meant as a slap against religious leaders and the "hypocrisy" of their condemnations of pornography.
"They've been going and rallying against pornography for the longest time," the unidentified student said, "and the disgusting, depraved acts that are within the Bible, Koran and Vedas completely outnumber any [faults] of any pornographic image."
Find out how corruption is "packaged, perfumed and marketed" to us as good and wholesome. The culture-war classic "The Marketing of Evil" is now available as a 4-disc AUDIOBOOK read by the author, David Kupelian!
Other students, however, have expressed outrage.
"As a Christian myself, I just take offense to it," one student told the TV station.
"Did they really do that?" asked another. "It kinda made me want to cry, it really did."
University officials have stated that the controversy over the poster and program boils down to protected freedom of speech.
UTSA spokesman David Gabler told KENS, "We are a marketplace of free ideas here at UTSA, and our students have all [the] constitutional rights afforded to all individuals in the United States."
The Atheist Agenda, founded by students in 2005, launched its first Smut for Smut program in December of that year.
Bankruptcy looms, Greek PM warns
'If anyone thinks that this is a remote nightmare scenario, they don't realize what the situation is,' George Papandreou tells governing party
Renee Maltezou and Dina Kyriakidou
Athens -- Reuters
Published on Tuesday, Mar. 02, 2010 11:19AM EST
Last updated on Wednesday, Mar. 03, 2010 7:29AM EST
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said Tuesday his country was fighting for survival against bankruptcy and urged civil servants and pensioners to accept sacrifices to save the debt-burdened nation.
In a dramatic speech to his Socialist PASOK party on the eve of a cabinet meeting expected to approve new austerity measures, Mr. Papandreou said: "I will fight to save the fatherland from whatever the nightmare possibility of bankruptcy might entail."
Under pressure to meet European Union demands to find up to â‚¬4.8-billion euros in additional savings before he visits Germany Friday, he played up the risk of default, saying speculators had made borrowing costs prohibitive.
"If anyone thinks that this is a remote nightmare scenario, they don't realize what the situation is," he said. "Each day we discover new holes, new landmines, in the budget deficit."
Mr. Papandreou did not spell out specific measures but he said public employees would have to get by on less, and the state could not go on subsidizing pensions. That could hurt two of PASOK's key support bases.
"We need to take tough decisions, decisions that can be unfair," he declared.
Government sources said measures under consideration included raising value added tax (VAT), increasing duty on fuel, cutting public sector pay, freezing pensions and higher duty on fuel, tobacco, alcohol and luxury goods.
A New World Order Is Moving In
The world's economic axis is shifting because of Greece's sovereign debt issues and recent natural disasters.
Recent events offer evidence that the ground beneath our feet is shifting, both literally and metaphorically, and scientists and traders alike are noting the effects. In the literal sense, Richard Gross, a geophysicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, estimates that the massive earthquake that struck off the coast of Chile last Saturday moved hundreds of miles of solid rock several yards, altering the Earth's axis by approximately three inches due to the shifting of such a substantial mass. A movement of that magnitude is rare; yet investors can be forgiven for being unimpressed. The axis of world economic power is also shifting as the aftershocks of economic crisis continue to alter the world order.
The European economy appears to be on shaky ground as its leaders struggle to come to terms with what we will one day view as having been an inevitable sovereign debt crisis, caused by structural shortcomings in the European Monetary Union and brought to a head by profligate spending on the part of its weakest members. While it seems likely that Germany and France with their banks heavily exposed to Greek sovereign debt will reluctantly guarantee Greece's bonds, the assault on the euro is underway and massive short bets are being placed worldwide. Traders won't be surprised to see the market turn on Spain next, further testing the resolve of the E.U.'s strongest members. The fate of the euro itself may hang in the balance.
Just as tectonic movements can dramatically alter the landscape (the Chilean quake had the effect of raising Santa Maria Island, off the coast of Concepcion, by six full feet, claiming new land from the sea), so too can shifts in economic mass affect the distribution of global power. The upheavals that have plagued the financial world in the last two years have lifted China to a new level of prominence as the world's largest exporter, one with a nearly insatiable appetite for commodities. The sleeping giant has moved into the next phase of the economic cycle far sooner than the rest of the world, and it is taking key resource suppliers like Australia along for the ride. Both governments have recently taken steps designed to prevent their economies from overheating and creating new asset bubbles.
This stands in stark contrast to the actions of governments across Southern Europe where debt concerns are forcing governments to curtail stimulus efforts, even in the face of deepening recessions. As Asia supplies the majority of world economic growth over the next decade or three, America's gaze will continue to shift westward. The world's economic axis is shifting and the new century will be dominated by the countries of the Pacific Rim and the Indian subcontinent.
Western efforts to slow the process are probably doomed to failure, victims of enormous demographic differences that benefit the nations of Asia, abetted by a technologically linked world in which capital and ideas flow across borders at lightning speed. Traders in the West have long become accustomed to coping with world markets that trade 24/7, and ordinary citizens are feeling the stress as well. As the pace of daily life accelerates for citizens across the planet, there is one more piece of bad news: The Chilean earthquake is believed to have increased the speed of Earth's rotation, shortening the day by 1.26 millionths of a second due to the “ice-skaters” effect of moving mass closer to the axis of a rotating body.
That may not sound like a lot of time, but it may provide some relief to those who find themselves groggily banging on the snooze button tomorrow, wondering how morning could have come so quickly. If you fall into that category, you can relax. For once, it's not a figment of your imagination: Your alarm clock actually did wake you earlier than it did last week. It's merely fundamental physics.
What Caused the Euro Crisis?
By Leo Cendrowicz, TIME, Feb. 26, 2010
If you believe some European politicians, there may be a sinister force behind the economic crises currently convulsing Greece and Spain and threatening the stability of the euro. They believe the problems in the two countries did not happen by accident or even as a result of poor financial planning, but were instead planned all along in order to destabilize the euro. One can almost picture a bald man with an evil laugh stroking a white cat in a hollowed-out volcano and plotting world domination.
Last month, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou blamed his country's economic meltdown on "an attack on the euro zone by certain other interests, political or financial. We are being targeted, particularly with an ulterior motive or agenda." And according to Spain's El Pais newspaper, agents at the country's National Intelligence Center are investigating whether "attacks by investors and the hostility shown by some sectors of the British and U.S. press" amount to "collusion." "None of what is happening, including editorials in some foreign media with their apocalyptic commentaries, is happening by chance or innocently," Spanish Transport Minister José Blanco declared in a radio interview earlier this month.
Nor is there just one alleged plot involved. The colorful Greek Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos this week claimed that the Nazi theft of Greek gold during World War II was to blame for the country's ballooning deficit, which has shaken investors' confidence in the euro, causing it to plunge in value against the dollar in recent weeks.
Gold theft aside, is there any truth to the other conspiracy theories being circulated? "This certainly has some entertainment value," says Johnny Munkhammar, a research director at the European Enterprise Institute, a Brussels-based think tank aimed at promoting entrepreneurship. "But the idea that any of these theories have anything to do with creating the current crisis is, of course, ridiculous." He says Greece is to blame for its own mess, having amassed a huge pile of debt from years of statistical fraud in Greece's public-accounts sector. "Politicians turn to conspiracy theories because they feel they need someone else to blame," Munkhammar says.
The blame is certainly going around. Many conspiracists accuse "foreign hands," more specifically Anglo-Saxons, for the Greek and Spanish crises, arguing that they have always hated the euro and are now using their hedge funds and media operations to bring it down. Some suggest that speculators are attacking the euro to block moves toward tougher European Union regulation of the market. Others, like European Central Bank chief economist JÃ¼rgen Stark, suggest people are perpetrating a ruse to hide the U.K.'s budget deficit. "It's astonishing to see where most of the criticism of the euro is coming from," Stark says. "Much of what they are printing reads as if they were trying to deflect attention away from problems in their own backyards."
Nicolas Véron, a senior fellow at the Breugel economic think tank in Brussels, says the theories reflect a virulent public mistrust of the free market in euro-zone countries, particularly in southern Europe. "There is a very long and deep suspicion of markets in these places," he says.
But while most conspiracy theories are overblown, some experts believe there is at least some kernel of truth to them. "They are correct to say there has been massive short-selling against the euro," says Iain Begg, an associate fellow at the London think tank Chatham House. "Speculation is what markets are about. It is simply an opportunity to make money. Financial markets are amoral, feral beasts. If they see a weakness, they go for it. And Greece was seen as weak."
He admits that the role of Goldman Sachs and other major banks in helping Greece disguise its mounting debts--which U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke pledged on Thursday, Feb. 25, to investigate--reinforces the image of evil geniuses pulling the market's strings. But Begg stresses that conspiracy theories were being bandied about long before the Goldman Sachs revelations emerged and were characterized by deliberately vague allegations about political and media interests.
Bossier sheriff launches 'Operation Exodus'
By Drew Pierson
February 27, 2010
The Bossier Parish sheriff's office is launching a program called "Operation Exodus," a policing plan for an end-of-the-world scenario involving a mostly white group of ex-police volunteers and a .50-caliber machine gun, inspired in part from the Book of Exodus in the Bible.
"The buck stops with Larry Deen," said Bossier Parish Sheriff Larry Deen. "The liability stops with
Larry Deen. I am the chief law enforcement officer in this parish, and it is incumbent upon me protect all of the people in it."
Deen said he had been formulating a plan to protect Bossier Parish's vital resources, like food and
gasoline, in the event of a catastrophic event, such as war or a terrorist attack. Deen said he had been thinking of the plan since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Local residents may remember then-President George W. Bush's address to the nation was made
out of Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City immediately after the attacks. At that time, Deen's
men and about 100 other patrol cars barricaded entry to the base to protect the president from what
turned out to be the nonexistent threat of an assault on the base.
Deen's office contacted more than 300 parish residents it thought would be useful during a
similar emergency. Two hundred were chosen. Most of these people are ex-police officers and sheriff's office deputies that the sheriff's office was familiar with, Deen said.
Under the plan, these volunteers, supplemented with active public safety personnel, will be dispatched to vital areas in Bossier to protect them from looters or rioters. Deen listed as examples food inside grocery stores and gasoline in gasoline stations, not to mention protecting hospitals and other public meeting places.
These volunteers will be armed by the sheriff's office, using, among other things, shotguns, riot
shields and batons. The members are mostly white men. Five are black. Women involved will only be used in "support roles," Deen said, which indicated non-combat activity. One of their first official training sessions was Feb. 20 when they learned basic hand-to-hand combat techniques.
Deen said in a press release last week that he named the program in part from the Book of Exodus in the Bible. However, on Wednesday, when asked whether
he believed in a true "End of Days" scenario, he declined comment.
When asked whether the program would be a useful tool in the event of a disaster, Sandy Davis, director of the Caddo-Bossier Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, said "I think every public safety agency should be prepared for disaster response."
Deen said he had contacted other parish officials to inform them of the plan and coordinate their efforts, and the other officials "were all for it."
However, few parish officials wanted to give The Times comment about the program. They included Bossier City Mayor Lorenz "Lo" Walker and Bossier Parish Administrator Bill Altimus.
For now, Operation Exodus volunteers selected will meet quarterly to hold refresher training, Deen said.
"It's my job," Deen said. "It's a calling."
One in four Germans wants microchip under skin: poll
Monday, March 1st, 2010 -- 10:58 am
HANOVER, Germany -- It sounds like something from a sci-fi film, but one in four Germans would be happy to have a microchip implanted in their body if they derived concrete benefits from it, a poll Monday showed.
The survey, by German IT industry lobby group BITKOM, was intended to show how the division between real life and the virtual world is increasingly coming down, one of the main themes of the CeBIT trade fair that kicks off Tuesday.
In all, 23 percent of around 1,000 respondents in the survey said they would be prepared to have a chip inserted under their skin "for certain benefits."
Around one in six (16 percent) said they would wear an implant to allow emergency services to rescue them more quickly in the event of a fire or accident.
And five percent of people said they would be prepared to have an implant to make their shopping go more smoothly.
But 72 percent said they would not "under any circumstances" allow electronics in their body.
The results appeared to surprise even the high-tech sector.
"This is of course an extreme example of how far people can imagine networks going," said BITKOM chief August-Wilhelm Scheer.
Scotland On Sunday
Fears of stand-off with military grow amid new Turkish arrests
Published Date: 28 February 2010
By Alexandra HudsonTURKEY'S Islamic government was yesterday facing a potential new stand-off with the country's staunchly secular military.
A retired general charged over an alleged plot to unseat the government last night said "the struggle had now started" , a thinly veiled threat that the army may once again intervene in Turkish politics.
General Cetin Dogan was speaking through his lawyer after he was jailed on remand, along with another general.
A former head of Turkey's First Army and widely tipped to become the nation's most powerful serviceman Ã¢â‚¬" Dogan was charged late on Friday.
Police spent much of last week rounding up military officers over allegations of a coup planned back in 2003. New detentions on Friday brought the total number of officers in custody to 33.
"When Dogan learned he was to be charged he said 'the fight has started now'," the general's lawyer, Celal Ulgen, said.
He added there was no concrete evidence against Dogan and prosecutors went to great lengths to have him charged.
The other high-ranking official to be charged was Lieutenant-General Engin Alan, a former special forces commander who led a successful operation to capture the country's most wanted man, Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan, and bring him back to Turkey in 1999.
Turkish markets, weakened by five days of tension since a first wave of arrests on Monday, had begun to recover on Friday on hopes that the likelihood of a confrontation between the government, in power since 2002, and the secularist military was receding with the release of three other retired generals.
But reports police had detained 17 more serving military officers and one retired officer sparked renewed selling and fresh concern over a possible standoff.
"The second wave of arrests will have raised the tensions," said Istanbul-based analyst Gareth Jenkins, ahead of news of the retired generals' arrest. "Should the pair be charged and held on remand this could up the stakes."
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's AK Party, which denies accusations it has a secret Islamist agenda, is banking on an economic recovery to win over voters ahead of an election due early next year.
The military has overthrown four governments in Turkey in the past 50 years.
Some analysts said Dogan was a key player in the campaign that, in 1997, ousted from power the Islamist Welfare Party led by Erdogan's mentor, Necmettin Erbakant. Erdogan was the Welfare Party's vocal mayor of Istanbul at the time. Secularists suspect Erdogan and his party of trying to Islamicise the state by stealth; filling the bureaucracy and judiciary with supporters.
America's Deadliest Sweetener Betrays Millions, Then Hoodwinks You With Name Change
Posted by: Dr. Mercola
March 02 2010
Aspartame producer Ajinomoto is launching a new initiative that will rebrand the sweetener as "AminoSweet".
Aspartame is used in many foods and beverages marketed as low calorie or sugar-free. However, its reputation has been clouded somewhat by studies that have investigated reports of ill effects.
Just to remind you, the side effects of aspartame can include:
Change in vision
Convulsions and seizures
Nausea and vomiting
It can cause many, many other problems as well.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Aspartame is the most controversial food additive in history, and its approval for use in food was the most contested in FDA history. In the end, the artificial sweetener was approved, not on scientific grounds, but rather because of strong political and financial pressure. After all, aspartame was previously listed by the Pentagon as a biochemical warfare agent!
It's hard to believe such a chemical would be allowed into the food supply, but it was, and it has been wreaking silent havoc with people's health for the past 30 years.
The truth is, it should never have been released onto the market, and allowing it to remain in the food chain is seriously hurting people - no matter how many times you rebrand it under fancy new names.
The Deceptive Marketing of Aspartame
Sold commercially under names like NutraSweet, Canderel, and now AminoSweet, aspartame can be found in more than 6,000 foods, including soft drinks, chewing gum, table-top sweeteners, diet and diabetic foods, breakfast cereals, jams, sweets, vitamins, prescription and over-the-counter drugs.
Aspartame producer Ajinomoto chose to rebrand it under the name AminoSweet, to "remind the industry that aspartame tastes just like sugar, and that it's made from amino acids - the building blocks of protein that are abundant in our diet."
This is deception at its finest: Begin with a shred of truth, and then spin it to fit your own agenda.
In this case, the agenda is to make you believe that aspartame is somehow a harmless, natural sweetener made with two amino acids that are essential for health and present in your diet already.
They want you to believe aspartame delivers all the benefits of sugar and none of its drawbacks. But nothing could be further from the truth.
How Aspartame Wreaks Havoc on Your Health
Did you know there have been more reports to the FDA for aspartame reactions than for all other food additives combined?
In fact, there are over 10,000 official complaints, but by the FDA's own admission, less than 1 percent of those who experience a reaction to a product ever report it. So in all likelihood, the toxic effects of aspartame may have affected roughly a million people already.
While a variety of symptoms have been reported, almost two-thirds of them fall into the neurological and behavioral category consisting mostly of headaches, mood alterations, and hallucinations. The remaining third is mostly gastrointestinal symptoms.
How Diet Foods and Drinks CAUSE Weight Problems
In recent years, food manufacturers have increasingly focused on developing low-calorie foods and drinks to help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity. Unfortunately, the science behind these products is so flawed, most of these products can actually lead to increased weight gain!
For example, researchers have discovered that drinking diet soda increases your risk of metabolic syndrome, and may double your risk of obesity - the complete opposite of the stated intention behind these "zero calorie" drinks.
Even More Toxic Dangers of Aspartame
- As mentioned earlier, almost two-thirds of all documented side effects of aspartame consumption are neurological.
One of the reasons for this side effect, researchers have discovered, is because the phenylalanine in aspartame dissociates from the ester bond. While these amino acids are indeed completely natural and safe, they were never designed to be ingested as isolated amino acids in massive quantities, which in and of itself will cause complications. - - Additionally this will also increase dopamine levels in your brain. This can lead to symptoms of depression because it distorts your serotonin/dopamine balance. It can also lead to migraine headaches and brain tumors through a similar mechanism.
The aspartic acid in aspartame is a well-documented excitotoxin. Excitotoxins are usually amino acids, such as glutamate and aspartate. These special amino acids cause particular brain cells to become excessively excited, to the point that they die.
Excitotoxins can also cause a loss of brain synapses and connecting fibers. A review conducted in 2008 by scientists from the University of Pretoria and the University of Limpopo found that consuming a lot of aspartame may inhibit the ability of enzymes in your brain to function normally, and may lead to neurodegeneration.
According to the researchers, consuming a lot of aspartame can disturb:
The metabolism of amino acids
Protein structure and metabolism
The integrity of nucleic acids
Furthermore, the ester bond in aspartame breaks down to formaldehyde and methanol, which are also toxic in their own right. So it is not surprising that this popular artificial sweetener has also been found to cause cancer.
New Jersey Family Asked to Cover Up Nude Snow Woman
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
A New Jersey family's nude snow woman got a frosty shoulder from at least one person.
Maria Conneran and her family sculpted Venus de Milo in last week's snow outside their Colonia Boulevard home in Rahway.
Her mother, Elisa Gonzalez, called it, "curvaceous, bodacious and booty-licious."
But Sgt. Dominick Sforza says police received an anonymous complaint.
Gonzalez says the officer was apologetic and appreciative of the sculpture's assets. The officer asked the family to dress the snow woman.
The family added a green bikini top and a blue sarong bottom.
The family took it down on Monday because it was starting to melt in the warmer air.
Old Age, From Youth's Narrow Prism
By Marc E. Agronin, M.D., NY Times, March 2, 2010
The old woman had drawn down the shade in her room--hoping, I imagined, to stop the midday Miami sun from penetrating her grief. But the sun still hit the window full force and illuminated the shade like a Chinese lantern.
She sat silently in a wheelchair, her 93-year-old silhouette stooped in the bathing light. I entered, held her hand for a moment and introduced myself. "Sit down, doctor," she said politely.
I asked her why she had come to the nursing home, and she described the recent passing of her husband after 73 years of marriage. I was overwhelmed by the thought of her loss, and wanted to offer some words of comfort. I leaned in close and spoke.
"I'm so sorry," I told her. "What has it been like for you losing your husband after so many years of marriage?"
She paused for a moment and then replied: "Heaven."
Seeing my bewilderment, she smiled and went on to describe how she had endured decades in an unhappy marriage with a gruff, verbally abusive man.
As she spoke, I realized why my instincts were so completely off. In my misguided empathy I had committed what William James called the psychologist's fallacy, assuming incorrectly that one knows what someone else is experiencing.
With this newly widowed patient I imagined that only a life of sadness and decrepitude remained, and I felt bad about it.
But I was wrong. She had not fallen into the abyss. She was glad to have finally won a measure of freedom and was determined to make the best of it. As her life unfolded at the nursing home over the next year, she threw herself into new activities and relationships in a way that was quite unexpected.
All of us lapse into such mistaken impressions of old age from time to time. It stems in part from an age-centered perspective, in which we view our own age as the most normal of times, the way all life should be. At 18 the 50-year-olds may seem ancient, but at 50 we are apt to say the same about the 80-year-olds.
"So what's it really like to be old?" I often ask my patients, who are mostly in their late 80s and 90s, and the responses are unexpected.
"I forgot I was so old," a 100-year-old patient recently told me, and then excused herself to make it to bingo on time.
This age-centrism is particularly pervasive in people's attitudes toward nursing homes. All too often we imagine that life seems to end at the nursing home door--that it is loveless and lonely, with death hovering close by.
We make this mistake when we refuse to see the needs for intimacy even in the most debilitated elderly. Our youth-centered culture equates love with sex; in contrast, I have seen with my older patients that love can be an endlessly blossoming flower, felt and expressed in hundreds of ways. A friend's mother who suffers from Alzheimer's disease has fallen in love with another resident on her floor, and they walk around holding hands and snuggling with a newfound innocence that perhaps only their memory loss restored.
We also project our terror of death onto the aged, assuming that fear and depression must stalk the final years of life. And yet in my 15 years of working in nursing homes, I have never heard a patient say that he or she was afraid of death. Sometimes there is acceptance, other times anticipation, but most often it is not a great concern.
We imagine the pains of late-life ailments but not the joys of new pursuits; we recoil at the losses and loneliness and fail to embrace the wisdom and meaning that only age can bring.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow captured the sentiment well: - For age is opportunity no less - Than youth itself, though in another dress, - And as the evening twilight fades away - The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
With all that shaking going on, (that the scriptures at the introduction pointed out) what are we to do? King David, in Psalm 46, knew the answer. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."
The entrance to God's refuge is through His Son, Jesus. Jesus said; "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) All you have to do, to have entrance to that "Refuge", is to receive Jesus into your life.
To do this just pray this short simple prayer: "Dear Jesus, I want access to that refuge, I ask you to please come into my heart, forgive me my sins, and give me your gift of eternal life. Amen."
We invite you to write us with any questions you may have, or if you would like help in getting answers from the spirit world, one of our Christian mystics would be only too happy to do so for you.
Until next week...
'Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven."