March 26, 2010

From Charles Douglas Wehner:

Re: It seems we’re all more human than average (March 14): It is significant that “self-humanizing was stronger in Germany and Japan”.

Sorry to bring this up, but it’s the war. Both, as losers, have a reputation for savagery. So there is a deep-seated feeling, amongst the populations, of REBELLION against this typecasting. This is a point not raised in the article.

By way of example, I was often met in the street by a young man who always began his “conversations” with the words “Einstein was wrong”. Apart from the important point that this makes the many mathematicians who collaborated with Einstein wrong, and the entire academic community wrong, and the Nobel Committee wrong, his arguments were always themselves wrong.

Then he showed me where his psychiatrist had his clinic. OK. So he feels inferior because of a mental problem. The motivation behind his attacks on Einstein were rebellion against type-casting. He was self-aggrandizing as a reaction to feelings of inferiority.

Another young man was classified as “educationally sub-normal”. He applied for the test to join Mensa, and failed. He tried again and again. He was determined to prove that was not less intelligent but more.

It’s human nature.

From Richard Daggett:

Re: Ladies second: are we sexist in writing? (March 16): Your recent article in World Science, titled “Ladies second: are we sexist in writing?” raised interesting questions. While the male name appeared first in most of your examples, there is one area where the opposite is preferred. To be “socially correct” a married couple should be listed in this order: wife’s given name, then husbands given name, then the surname. It would appear as Mary and John Doe.

Richard Daggett
Downey, CA

From Edward N. Haas:

Re: Ladies second: are we sexist in writing? (March 16): At 74 years of age, I dare suggest that I’ve had enough social experiences to give you an alternate version of why a great many of us tend to name the male first. It goes like this: As a rule, the male is superior to the female in muscle power and, for that reason, it has generally fallen to the male to be the one to defend his wife and children from potential predators. In other words, it is the male’s duty to stand in front of his family and, to all potential predators, to say: “Your path to my wife and children lies over my dead body.” The custom of naming the male first is, for many of us (including the wives and children anxious to have a male that protective), merely a way of expressing the male’s noble commitment to his rather obvious duty to stand in front between his family and an all too often hostile world.

From Fouzia Sadiq:

Re: Ladies second: are we sexist in writing? (March 16): Very interesting to find out that in English languauge name of the male romantic partner, He/His and MR precedes She/Her and Mrs respectively In Urdu language, folk romantic stories have a different perspective. The names of the stories go like:

Heer and Ranjha
Sohni and Mahiwal
Sussi and Punno
Shirin and Farhad
Laila and Majnu

I must tell you that Heer, Sohni, Sussi, Shirin and Laila are the females.

From Mike Quastel:

Re: “Last Supper” got ever bigger in paint: study (March 24): The last supper was almost certainly the passover meal (seder), and would of course not have included bread. The picture by Duc­cio and Ti­tian clearly shows a large chunk of bread on the corner of the table. Therefore I submit that the artist’s rendition is inaccurate and one cannot deduce anything from the sample of 2 paintings.

From Alexandra Moffat:

Re: It seems we’re all more human than average (March 14): In that article, it was mentioned that courtesy, politeness separates humans from animals. Sorry, animals display courtesy. You might say that an animal showing “courtesy” is only acting in a self- preservation way, to avoid altercations. But Isnt that, basically, why humans are often polite?

I have dogs that try not to step on each other if one is walking around a sitting or down dog. Also, If a dog is on my bed and wants to jump down, will not do it if there is a dog lying down on the floor unless she can find an open spot where she would be sure not to touch or disturb the dog on the floor.

Also, dogs honor a food bowl out of which another dog is eating.

These are just 3 anecdotal personal observations, there are many many more and I am sure canine courtesy is often noted by thousands of other dog owners. I also read somewhere that some expert said that dogs do not learn by imitating. Wrong! Experts are often not. Having said that, I am totally in awe of scientists and science - but sometimes it is a bit too removed from its subject!

March 17, 2010

From Karen (a tlank is s@yah oo.c om):

Re: Cricket babies “warned” about spiders before birth (Feb. 22): I often jokingly suggest to friends that flies possess an inherited consciousness about the dangers of flyspray. . So often as soon as I get the fly spray out of the cupboard the fly disappears. It is as if they smell it coming. Could this be a similar phenomenon?

From Lynn (b ijor ian ang el@ sbc gl

Re: Do oil “boomtowns” attract sex offenders? (Feb. 19): I was raised in Lea Co NM and it was/is an oil town. I think that the reason more criminals not just sex offenders are in these towns is because it is a rough business and the employers do not do background checks on the workers.

The oil/gas business is a rough business and it takes rough men to get the job done.

From David Ewing:

Re: Cricket babies "warned" about spiders before birth (Feb. 22): Storm and Lima's experiments seem to indicate conclusively that a pregnant cricket's exposure to a threatening spider will produce more cautious behavior in the offspring born of the eggs she's carrying at the time. How the experimenters or World Science made the jump to conclude that "information" is being transmitted, or that such infomation, if transmitted, must be specifically about spiders, is wholly unexplained. It seems more likely that a hormonal change might produce offspring with an elevated level of apprehension, or perhaps even an alertness to the danger of predators. Does such a change in the cricket's state of mind constitute "information?" And why do the authors think the response is specifically geared to spiders? Have they tried other predators or well established threats? It sounds to me like they have more work ahead to prove the headline.

From Dawn Barber:

Re: Scientists say they have found brain basis of empathy (Jan. 25, 2005):I recently conducted a google search on feeling a strangers pain and your article appeared. An excellent article-- it provided me validation of my empathy toward others.

I am 36 yr old woman who has experienced empathy for family and others my entire life and it appears that this ability has gotten stronger in the recent years. For an example, approximately ten years ago I was shaking hands with a stranger at church and he winced and said ouch- disclaimer: I really did not shake hard at all. This gentleman explained after the service that he said ouch because he has an unusual medical condition that provides significant pain to him and for the first time ever he did not feel pain and he could enjoy the sermon because he was pain free-- unbeknowst to him then and now, that the stranger (me) who extended her hand felt significant pain during the sermon with unknown etiology until our dialogue.

These experiences have continued-- again, reaffirmation was so appreciated by your article in the Feb 2008 edition. I can fully believe and understand feeling loved ones and strangers pains, but recently this empathy skill is a bit extreme. Could you please advise me: yesterday for no reason I began to feel severe back pain and could barely move (I am normally active)- and today the pain extended to my left arm and left leg, left hip and to the respective left thigh, etc. with additional symptoms of naseau and headache-- I shared with my mother who stated that her friend/ neighbor evidently been having these problems recently. Note: I didnt know this problem with my mother’s friend and I have only seen this neighbor once in 3 yrs.

Could you please explain to me how I can feel this woman’s pain when I didnt know about them nor do I really know this woman. Additionally, is there any relief from this empathy “gift”?

From David Chalk:

Re: How did religion evolve? (Feb. 8): Your article now confirms my belief, Religion is now a mental illness.

From Jon DePew:

Re: “Golden ratio” hints at hidden atomic symmetry (Jan. 7): I have been showing these principles of “Golden Ratio & Blueprints to Matter” since 2004 at my website Thanks for helping confirm my work. I really appreciate that. It’s really exciting for me :)

From Barry Klein:

Re: How did religion evolve? (Feb. 8, 2010): This article compares only two of the most superficial theories on the origin of religion, while summarily dismissing a deeper and far more interesting perspective. The two theories the article address are, basically: 1. Religion as a structure for societal order (morality, codes of conduct or the wielding of power), and 2. An internal (brain structure or chemistry) predisposition to certain kinds of mythologies.

The article mentions, but then dismisses, “secret knowledge” as an excuse for holding power over people. My argument here is that there is much more to that point, ideas which provide a much more satisfying explanation of why religion exists, but which stray too close to metaphysics for the comfort of those who insist that the explanation of everything must be mechanical, notwithstanding all the unexplained paradoxes of quantum physics, relativity and cosmology (all discussed in the archives of World Science).

This present comment does not dismiss the significance of both of the stated rationales; my point is rather that they are not sufficient to explain the virtually universal presence of religions almost all cultures, past and present (with the possible exception of some totalitarian regimes), and with many common traits among them, whether “primitive” or in “advanced” societies (quotation marks to signify that sufficiently advanced societies seem to have the most problems with social order and power/ wealth distribution; also, their religions often become hollow or fundamentalist, whereas tribal religions are often more humanistic, egalitarian and closer to people’s actual lives.

In order to get an idea of where I am going with this, let’s first look at some commonalities of religion: 1. Supernatural beings - invisible except in their manifestations, and usually only to certain people:

a. Gods - those with power over weather, life and death, the outcome of events.

b. ghosts - fixed to a certain place or person, may be innocuous or frightening.

c. animal or angel guides or spirits

d. beings from other worlds and dimensions 2. Myths and horror stories

a. mythology is full of “cities of gold,” “fountains of youth,” “magical doorways,” etc.

b. cautionary tales showing the consequences of disobeying the rules. 3. Naming everything for supernatural beings and miraculous events (people, places, constellations, conveyances, etc. ) - these keep the basic tenets in mind. 4. Codes of conduct - morality, sexual and age roles, foundations of law, taboos, obligations, offerings, etc. 5. Priests, ministers and teachers - authority, hierarchies, powers, responsibilities, segregation of knowledge. 6. Rituals and Events - codified religious experiences (and methods for achieving such experiences) - these practices may have originally had known results (specific religious states, healings, transformations, etc. ) but mostly having little power in the major religions of the West (possible exceptions being revivals and pentecostal events). 7. Sacred objects and places - things to which magic or miraculous events are attributed. In our society, these are present but routinely ignored or desecrated (e. g. , porn stars wearing huge crucifixes).

As I mentioned, the above list does include both theories in the WS article, but now we can see that there is more to the situation. Why would so many cultures, disparate in era and location, keep coming up with supernatural entities and events, and similar-enough explanations for them? Why do they keep retelling these miraculous experiences in such passionate terms, even thousands of years later? Even moreso, why would 35, 000-year-old cave paintings portray the same symbols and events as for east-African shamans and UFO abductees?

My proposal is that it is mystical experiences and supernatural events (often produced by environmental chemicals or “psychopathology” - our term for mental states we don’t understand) coupled with our genetic predisposition for supernormal experiences (I contend that it is just the perversion of this appetite that gives way to alcoholism and addiction) and also our need to contain or codify the experiences and states (out of fear and necessity).

In conclusion, I believe I have shown that both sides of the authors’ arguments have been included in support of a more inclusive perspective -- that of people’s having real-life mystical/ religious experiences, and then needing a structure for explaining and containing them.

Supernatural by Graham Hancock
Shape Shifting by John Perkins
The Jaguar that Roams the Mind by Robert Tindall
Shamanic Christianity by Bradfor
Keeney Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels
The Whole Shebang by Timothy Ferris
The Tao of Physics by Fritjoff Capra
In Search of the Miraculous by P. D. Ouspensky
The Center of the Cyclone by John Lilly
Our Other Mind by Rev. Barry Matthew (an alter-ego of mine -- manuscript online)

From Robert H. Galloway:

Re: Excessive Internet use linked to depression (Feb. 3): Error known as post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Any chance of finding this here?

Chicken or egg?

From Steve Snyder:

Re: How did religion evolve? (Feb. 8): There are a number of possible explanatory theses for the rise of religion beyond either “morality” or “power grab.” Religion as an explanatory factor for non understood life issues, an early “science,” is a well-known such thesis.

From Victor Zurbel:

Re: How did religion evolve? (Feb. 8): I agree that religion is a created belief system to foster morality and to organize people around a common cause. However, the “spiritual” experience is quite different. It is a direct experience of our connection from our individual consciousness (or soul, if you will) to a higher consciousness or universal “mind.” The ancient yogis, zen masters, and Buddhists taught meditation (not prayer) to still the mind and experience a state of peace, bliss and oneness. Rituals were added as practices to take one away from “monkey mind” and create the space to go within and withdraw from dualistic mental aberations. Bhakti (devotion) is expressing the same connectedness to our higher selves, expressed through the heart and generated by selfless service (“love all, serve all”). Osho, the mystic, said that each individual should find their own religion, rather than grow into their inherited one as that will simply become a conditioning process. He said that it is very rare for a Christian to have a religious revelation of a Buddha, or a Buddhist to have a religious experience of Christ.

When Swami Satchidananda came to america in 1966, i asked him, “Are you a Hindu?” “No, I am an Un-do,” he replied. “You have already done enough. ”

Victor Zurbel

From Mo Waddington:

Re: Child obesity: It’s the TV food ads, not the TV, study finds (Feb. 9): Might it be that the kind of parents who encourage children to watch educational DVDs also feed them a healthy diet? I suspect that the rules on advertising to children might be stricter here in the UK.

From Alan Newman:

Re: Dark energy, or just dust? Findings raise questions (March 1, 2008): I have long wondered whether cosmic dust or similar could be the culprit in making supernovae appear further than they were, giving the impression of acceleration, so this could confirm my suspicion. However, as I am not a professional astronomer, contradictory observations may have since been conducted without my being aware of it.

Nevertheless, about a year ago I plotted a graph using data on galaxy clusters released by the Chandra team. Much to my amazement, this clearly indicated deceleration, (contradicting a curve I had drawn using supernovae data)! I posed the question how this could be several times to them, but I have been ignored. Obviously, they were obliged to use a different method to establish distance, which suggests they arrived at a more relevant set of data, but misinterpreted the results.

In the hope someone would take notice, I had a short article published on the on-line General Science Journal: here.

I accept this is not peer-reviewed, but its founder Walter Babin thought it worthy of publication.

I have since tried to get a response from several astronomers, but none responded in a positive way to offer an explanation, so could you please offer comment or obtain an opinion from a suitable specialist in this field.

Alan Newman

From Moss Posner, M.D.:

Re: “Lifeless” molecules found to evolve, adapt (Jan. 4): Your recent article regarding apparent mutations in prions is stupendous for no other reason than the glaring fact that it not only indicates random variation in progeny of prions, but also that indirectly it validates the Darwinian Theory of Evolution in the process.

In so doing it is a devastating rejection of the religious arguments that attempt to invalidate Evolutionary theory, most all of which arguments are motivated at base by the assumption that Evolution and teleology are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive of all possible explanation of Origin of Species. * Other objections based upon religious considerations to the effect that, geologically, there would have been insufficient time for species to evolve a-la Darwin would then either be moot or would introduce a whole new theory which might very well eliminate the necessity of invoking DNA genetics entirely, in virtue of the Law of Parsimony.

In either case, the implications are staggering.

Moss Posner, M.D.

From R-Laurraine Tutihasi:

Re: Study: recognition of facial expressions not universal (Jan. 26): The question that comes to my mind is did the Caucasians and the Asians in the study have the same cultural background. Is this a genetic trait or a cultural one?

From Annette Corrigan:

Re: Thriving under our noses, but stealthily: coyotes (Jan. 5, 2006):They are here everyday. One just killed a neighbors dog and attacked another.

I would like the city/parks/county to be pro-active. How do we control this situation so as to “take back” our property? Kids and dogs now must be watched when they play out back. Carcasses and droppings are an everyday occurrence. They must be over-populated bc we have lived here 8 yrs and have never had this problem. Any information would be helpful.

Annette Corrigan
Wheaton, IL

From Jean Claude Gauthier:

Re: Scientists: docs don’t feel your pain much-and maybe that’s best (Jan. 20): This abstract is fascinating but I do feel the included pinions are a little precipitated. Many other tentative interpretations are equally possible.

How can the author speculate on the causes and benefits of the emotional insensitivity of physicians? I don’t think the data warrant such a conclusion. Mind you, it makes sense and seems reasonable but then what could be said about psychologists and other mental health professionals who must empathize with peoples pain, emotional and moral …

Would the desensitized for self protection and/or better efficacy hypothesis hold for psychiatrists and other medically trained clinicians, accounting for their often described perceived coldness and insensitivity but not apply to human and social science professionals ?

Could this open the door to ways of measuring Mental health burn out, compassionate insensitivity or the like???

Many questions come to mind, I hope to read more.

Jean Claude Gauthier MPs
Psychologist, Laval Qc

From Aaron Agassi:

Re: Snail’s armor could offer human protection (Jan. 19): Surely you mean: ‘configuration’, not “design”, right?

From Nelson Abreu:

Re: “Out of body” research attacks philosophical questions (Aug. 24): In what has perhaps been a well intentioned effort to research the OBE from a materialist point of view, the researchers, reporters, and reviewers in this study overlooked a very basic fact: the study did not involve a single out-of body experience! A projection of the consciousness involves a visceral feeling of being embodied in a more subtle body than the physical body itself (opposite of virtual reality setup). In an OBE, the individual is not always looking back at the physical body at a few feet of distance (although this can occur in some cases). OBEs are not always a visual phenomena either, as there are OBEs without sight, and blind people can also have OBEs. The majority of OBEs also occur mainly when the physical eyes are closed and when the body is in a more vegetative state; and also occur during brain wave patterns that differ from the normal waking state. The abovementioned study seems to say interesting things about dissociated perceptions under virtual reality conditions, but this does not says much, if anything, about the OBE itself as a separate phenomenon.

Nelson Abreu
International Academy of Consciousness
501(c)3 non-profit research and education organization

From James Smith:

Re: Bullies may enjoy others’ pain (Nov. 7, 2008): Bullies enjoy other’s pain? Someone had to do research to learn that? Please tell me how many tax dollars were spent researching the blindingly obvious. This is a perfect example of why researchers should never be permitted to pick their areas of research.

From Rod (r az zle @fai rp

Re: Crystal skulls are fake: study (May 23, 2008):It’s no surprise to me that the most impressive one wasn’t studied. My interest is in the so-called Mitchell-Hedges one.


Re: For healthy mental aging, brain games may fill in for schooling (Jan. 12):This is what was in the article “It’s well doc­u­mented that peo­ple lack­ing col­lege de­grees are more likely to de­vel­op mem­o­ry prob­lems or even Alz­heim­er’s dis­ease later in life.” I do not think that this applies to Early on Set Alzheimer’s. Do you know if I am correct?

From Pamela Reuben:

Re: Distant solar system forming from mysterious dust, scientists say (Jan. 11):It sounds like a newly forming solar system in which there was some HUGE collision of almost planet size ‘rocks. ’ That happened here with Mars. Apparently, three billion years ago, Mars looked just like earth, oceans, woods, ice-caped mountains, lakes, everything. It even had a magnetic field that was equivalent to earth’s magnetic field of today, a fact that kept deadly radiation from space from bothering anything evolving on the planet. The reason it had this wonderful magnetic field was because it had a moon that was very big and very close to the planet. Eventually that moon struck the top of the planet and killed everything on mars. I am sure there was plenty of dust thereafter and it sounds like maybe this is the kind of thing going on so far from here in the system of that star they are studying.

From Julian Lieb:

Re: Power promotes hypocrisy: study (Dec. 29): Very credible. There is a larger issue: Hershman D Jablow and Lieb, J. ”A Brotherhood of Tyrants: Manic Depression and Absolute Power.” (1994) Amherst Prometheus. I’ll check into hypocrisy as a manifestation of hypomania. Do have a look at the book. Our insights are of paramount importance.

Julian Lieb, M.D.

From William C. Gill Jr.:

Re: Moon like that in “Avatar” could be real, astronomers say (Dec. 20): Mr. Cameron is very careful with his work, and had scientific advisors galore. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if Pandora’s sun was picked specifically because it COULD have such a moon.

People, at least some of them, are walking out of Avatar in a state of depression. Pandora is so beautiful that the reality outside the theater is quite a blow to the believers. You might want to cover that.

From Ray G. Gregory:

Re: Power promotes hypocrisy: study (Dec. 29): We have been dominated since the Renaissance by the concept of the proscenium stage - where actors work from a raised lit space out into a darkened auditorium. That is, the front-line of authority faces and controls the representatives of the people. Two collectives - one trained and polished to get the authority message across effectively, and the other untrained and there for the fun of it, are locked in a confrontation that spells out the nature of the relationship that defines the society they are both (often unadwaredly) a part of. The deceptive power of the raised lit space runs throughout our heavy institutionalised world.

The space is a kind of megaphone through which is blasted the laws, mores and acceptable conventions decreed by the topdown authority echelons we are all willingly or unwillingly controlled by.

Those who occupy the raised lit space are “professionals” - those who enjoy a celebrity of one kind or another, having their faces lit up (and painted). They profess, at each appearance, to be what they are not. They cannot simply “be”.

That is, they are paid to be “hypocrites” and their form of address alters appropriately. However they are not their own masters/mistresses - though the system insists that they profess that they are so.

They are totally controlled by the form they work in. In the dark, to the sides of the lit space, lurk various degrees of slaves on whom they are desperately dependent; and beyond them, in the intenser darkness, are their real controllers, very much aware of their own decreed places in the overall hierarchy, but, with each rank of power, more heavily compromised and more deeply tainted by the hypocrisy the overall structure insists upon.

There are playwrights though (in theatre), directors, producers, managers etc. (and their equivalents in all professions) who want to cry out against such a choking convention.

They work at it though through the overwhelming form of the time, which devours them and takes their blunted protests as its own praise. These are the Hypercrites. Effectively they learn to fart out of their mouths.

I hope the authors of this article are aware what they are at the start of, if they dare to follow through what they are implying into the wide rather screwed-up world!

From Sharon Ellis:

Re: Violent conflicts fit into patterns, researchers find (Dec. 16): All matter is energy vibration. Our thoughts are creation energy. What we think, we create. Everything we think has an affect on ourselves, those around us and the planet via a collective consciousness, if one is thinking on a global scale. This subject needs to be looked at seriously and studied. One can change the mood in a room just by his/her thoughts and collectively, if a country’s thoughts are focused on a particular subject, let’s say peace or war or fear or love then the majority rules. I can do this and have done it many times. I also teach others to use their thoughts to create. (only for good, however there are two sides to a coin as we all live in a dual reality, that is one of opposites. )

Maybe there is some truth in the following saying. “In the beginning there was the word, (thought) and the word was with God, and the word was God” ( God can refer to ‘Creative Intelligence’, ‘The Mind of God’, ‘Source’ or what ever one chooses to represent a higher power.)

From Cornelius Engelbrecht:

Re: Power promotes hypocrisy: study (Dec. 29, 2009): It always strikes me as funny when scientific research confirm what we have known for centuries. In a similar fashion to the other examples of its kind, the dictum that “Power corrupts” have also made it from our collective consciousness to that language that we speak.

Only now, with the scientific data to back us we don’t have to rely on recalling the examples of history. Now we can quote research! Man, I love those guys and gals in white!

Cornelius Engelbrecht
Tripping to Reality

From Danica Anderson:

Re: Females may harbor biological “inner male” (Dec. 22): This absorbing research is invigorating.

I would approach this with a different lens and not posit the current slant as women suppressing this inner male with an engendered approach and more accurate clinical exploration.

The “sex reversal” is certainly, a male labeling of what can, also, indicate female parthenogenesis. Reprogramming of certain ovarian cell lineages can certainly point to the parthenogenesis process. Archeologically, the preponderance of female Goddess figures hundreds of thousands years old, with less than 1-3% male figures point to the female ability to be self-birthing, perhaps at an earlier period in the species development.

Currently, there has been studies on parthenogenetic births (virgin births).

Additionally, we cannot escape the biological fact that every fetus is female for the first three months in the womb.

The hormonal bath that males incur in the womb is quite severe and from the sexist and violence against her gender appears to be a life long struggle to repress the female in males.

Danica Anderson, MA, CCCJS #16713
Certified Clinical Criminal Justice Specialist-Forensic Psychotherapist

From Robert F. Beck:

Re: Collisions and “vampirism” may make stars look newly young (Dec. 26): Maybe your article provides a clue to an alternative explanation.

As this provided evidence in favour of my theory that stars can form from material ejected by black holes, and given that these young looking stars appear to form near the centre of the cluster, should we consider the possibility that a black hole is hidden at the centre of the cluster?

According to my theory of gravitation, so called “black holes” should be self-limiting, and thus as has been observed, periodically they should stop feeding, which I think is because graviton emission is inhibited, until adequate material has been lost. This would explain galaxy formation and rotation being linked to central supermassive “black holes”. So why not clusters if the central dense object had insufficient spin to throw off material to escape the central object and spiral out?

Robert F. Beck

From Shirley Bryant:

Re: Power promotes hypocrisy: study (Dec. 29): Those scientists performing this study should examine why people who are citizens of a democracy (or representative form of government) will accept behavior from their politicians--who are supposed to be hired civil servants expressing our will- more readily than those citizens of other forms of government who regularly overthrow governments or behead dictators or kick out a political party currently in control. Perhaps we U. S. citizens really believe ‘everything will change for the better after just one more election’?? If so, might the Netherlands study not really pertain to U. S. citizens with a powerless feeling?

Shirley Bryant
4849 E. Davis Field Road
Muskogee, OK 74403

From char les00 0@a m:

Re: Power promotes hypocrisy: study (Dec. 29): My singular reaction to this study, is “gee, no kidding”.

I mean, what’s remarkable here is not the result of the study, which seems absurdly obvious, but rather that grant money was actually allocated to conduct such a study in the first place.

Ah yes, the marvels of academic funding, at times, never ceases to amaze.

But OK, I will certainly agree with the outcome of the aforementioned study.

Gee, I wonder if I could get a grant to study, well... let’s see, ”do chimpanzees like bananas?”

From Cody Dow:

Re: Like Earth, if you overlook the lava everywhere? (Feb. 4): Well I am 13 and no genius but how has nobody figured this out yet. if you want to find a livable planet look for a planet of molten lava. sure you might find a planet with life in a telescope but it is millions of light years away so it had life millions of years ago. Now it is probaly a dormant planet with almost no signs of life ever being there. but if you find a planet of molten lava that is a million light years away that means it was molten lava a million years ago. Now that planet could easily be like earth now. how couild NASA have not figured that out. its so simple. please reply me.

From Rex Mottershead:

Re: Report: cells “from space” have unusual makeup (Sept. 8, 2008): This story is now more than 8 years old. An assessment by the Center for Earth Sciences, India, fairly soon after the initial fall of ‘red rain’ rather implausibly concluded that the red contaminant in the rain fall was nothing more than spores from a locally-widespread lichen, and the story would have died then if Louis Godrey of Mahatma Gandhi University had not added his own rather startling findings. Between 2003 and 2008, Louis published a series of papers and articles in which he asserted that the ‘particles’ in the red rain were in fact organisms of an unknown type - extremophiles capable of reproducing in various culture media at high pressures and temperatures up to 300 deg C, and which contained fluorescent molecules exhibiting novel characteristics.

“The red cells found in the red rain in Kerala, India are now considered as a possible case of extraterrestrial life form. These cells can undergo rapid replication even at an extreme high temperature of 300 deg C. They can also be cultured in diverse unconventional chemical substrates. The molecular composition of these cells is yet to be identified”.

Samples were forwarded early on to Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe of Cardif University, and Dr Milton Wainwright of Sheffield University but apart from a recent, very hedging statement from Prof. Wickramasinghe about the possible presence of DNA in his samples - virtually nothing. (This, presumably to satisfy the flat earthers who ridicule even the possibility of life without DNA or RNA. )

According to Godfrey Louis this organism (if that is what it is) is just about the greatest survivor of all time. How difficult can it be to flick some red goo into a boiling vat of nutrients (or a hundred different vats of nutrients) and see if anything grows? If it does, it certainly isn’t some ‘common alga’. As a one-time research assistant in microbiology I know just how quickly things can be done when a publication date looms. Yet in 6 years or more, no-one seems to have been able to either confirm or refute the claims made for reproduction of the organism, its apparently strange fluorescence, or virtually anything else of any significance.

As someone whose taxes go to support both UK universities involved, I for one am very curious to know what is going on here. If Godrey Louis’ claims are true then this is the most important story of the millennium, and deserves to be the focus of massive international research. If they are not, and the red colouration is due to nothing more than some algal spores - then lets have the research showing this to be the case published, and formally put the whole thing to bed so we can forget about ‘panspermia’ and the possibility of a universe teeming with diverse life forms.

Rex Mottershead
Somerset, UK