Visit eXoNews for more recent news!

UFO Rovers Retaliate!
Stars Back Dems, Pentaquarks,
Cosmic Rays, Ecology News,
Southern Ocean Dying
& More!
UFO Rovers Retaliate: Latest UFO Reports!
By FLAtRich
from NUFORC reports

Earth January 26, 2004 (eXoNews) - You think you are better than us, Earthlings? You think you can just drop those hostile dogs on our planet and we will run and bury ourselves in the sand? Well you're barking up the wrong tree, NASA dogs!

We've been abducting your kind for centuries, just ask Agent Scully!

We will have our revenge, Big Blue Satan!

Hey, maybe they will. Here are some recent UFO sightings as reported by NUFORC (National UFO Reporting Center.)

Note that these tales are exactly as they were posted to NUFORC except for formatting and a few spelling corrections here and there.

[And, of course, the usual eXoNews-enhanced photographs. Ed.]

Alien Rover?
Posted: 1/22/2004
Location: Glocester, RI
Shape: Teardrop
Duration: 4-5 minutes

I went out to George Washington State Park at about 12:30pm to walk my dog through some trails and I had been walking for about 10 minutes when my dog came to a dead stop and dug his paws into the ground growling and showing his teeth.

He was looking off into the woods to our right so I stopped in shock to try and see what he was so worked up over. I had to stare almost 2 minutes before I saw it. It was a black teardrop shaped thing weaving out from behind a tree and it seemed like it would look at us and go back behind the tree.

I was scared as hell but very curious and being that I had my dog with me for protection I decided to move towards it. My dog wanted to pursue it by this point also so we began stepping off the trail and walking towards it. We had walked maybe 15 feet and it flew out from behind the tree and began moving away from us at a slow speed.

I tried to keep up with it but even running it moved just a little bit faster than us. I saw no marks on it; no other parts just a black teardrop shape.

Finally it rose up between some pines after chasing it for about 3 minutes and from what I could see through the tree branches, it took off in a vertical climb faster than I've ever seen anything move in my life.

It just went straight up till I couldn't see it anymore. I was scared and decided to get the hell out of there after seeing it do that. I don't know what I saw today, but believe me when I tell you it frightened me. I never heard a noise either and come to think of it, it never seemed to hit a tree branch or bush or anything. It definitely knew how to fly well whatever it was.

My best description of what it was made out of would be like describing the black glass that you see over a security camera in a casino or something. Very black and reflective. Other than that, I saw nothing else and didn't get close enough for any other details. It was about the size I'd say of maybe two basketballs together.

Beam Me Up!
Posted: 1/22/2004
Location: Kaiserslautern/Mainz (on autobahn) (Germany), 
Shape: Flash
Duration: 2 seconds

On 21 Jan 04, at about 0635, while traveling east on Autobahn A 63 (from Kaiserslautern to Mainz), a large light flash occurred.

It started as a low intensity flash and suddenly became brighter.

It lit up the early morning darkness like daylight.

The high intensity light appeared bluish, similar to that of light emitted from a halogen car headlight or lamp.

The light was witnessed by persons from Kaiserslautern to Wiesbaden to Koln (Cologne), Germany.

The total incident lasted no more than two seconds.

A friend related German media had reported the light was caused by a meteor reentering the earth's atmosphere however, I don't know if that's been verified at this time.

((NUFORC Note: Many other reports in the press of this event shortly after it had occurred. PD))

Football Aliens?
Posted: 1/22/2004
Location: Corinth, VT
Shape: Light
Duration: few seconds

My background is... quiet. I thought I never would be sharing an experience I couldn't reasonably explain. However, since this happened tonight, I can't focus on anything else. 

First, I noticed what I took to be an exploding star in the east as I was driving home at approximately 19 hundred hours (7:15pm, Jan. 20th, 2004.

Moments later as I came to the end of one road and make a right I spotted my neighbor's dog crossing at this intersection, and escorted her safely home. Then I was back in my car, backing out of my neighbor's driveway. As I swung my car around and cleared the side of their home, and now crossways in the road, directly in front of me is an access road leading down around the back of my neighbor's home to a backyard area (small meadow).

Anyhow, about 1/4 of a football field in front of me, and directly straight up, about 1/3 length of a football field was what looked like a light fixture one would see at a football stadium. It had three or four large lenses, (side by side) each a medium-bright glowing white light. It did not have a "beam" that blinded me, but just hung there and was bright and glared. I looked beyond the side of the lights to glimpse at what was holding this up there. What I saw was an outline showing that it curved away and behind the "set of lights".

I pulled my car ahead and to the side of the road trying to keep an eye on it to get a better look through my passenger side window...when it just disappeared. I was at their home for only a few minutes to deliver their dog to them and it wasn't there when I took the dog home. I came home; called my neighbor, and went back to their home to discuss and point out what I had seen.

They, like me, are mystified.

Golf Aliens!
Posted: 1/22/2004
Location: Maple Valley, WA
Shape: Other
Duration: 10 minutes

It is a clear starry night in Maple Valley, Washington.

I was at my computer and I could see something sparkly out the corner of my eye outside the window.

It was multi-colored and twinkley.

I got my binoculars and looked at it and it was a round golf ball-shaped thing with many colors moving around on it.

I woke my husband up to come and look at it; but when he came out on our deck to see it, it had moved backwards and he or I could not see the detail I could see only seconds earlier.

It is still there right now but too far back to see the shape and detail now.

It is in the eastern sky.

I can still see the colors twinkling, but not the shape or detail.

It was very beautiful; but I cannot imagine what it was; and did not know who to contact about it.

Son of Golf Aliens!
Location: Langley, WA
Shape: Unknown
Duration: 4 hrs. 15 min.

I live on a golf course. I was looking down the fairway at 22:00 where it is always pitch-blackness and saw a flaming bright spot on the ground with two lights on the left, low in the sky.

The lights and bright spot looked to be about 300 yards away. I thought there was a fire on the fairway. With the binoculars I saw a circle of bright light with heavy white vapors swirling within it and evaporating upward.

There were two bright lights above. One light was pulsing brighter and seemed to be a spotlight on the circle. No noise.

As time passed, the two lights moved slowly backwards, always low to the ground, away from the fairway, and the circular light with the vapors moved at the same rate keeping the same distance apart.

I watched until 02:15. Then, the bright lights were still low in the sky and were specks of light, and the circular bright spot was now above the ground, smaller too.

Intense Molecular Aliens!
Posted: 1/17/2004
Location: Lake Hopatcong, NJ
Shape: Triangle
Duration: 5 minutes

My fiancé and I observed a triangular shaped object traveling west, hovering at about 2000 feet above the lake, making a loud helicopter noise.

The triangular shape was more specifically like a science model of a molecule, approximately 20-30 feet high and 20-30 feet wide.

It had a star of many points at the center (nucleus region) which was blinking white and red light.

It had an extremely bright and flashing light above this center and two bright lights below at a 90-degree separation.

The craft was moving slowly, almost hovering for a moment, then it ascended and seemed to retract the outer lights and continue in a slow westerly direction.

Further north, we observed another craft, shaped more like a plane, but the sharply pointed bulkhead was all white light and there were too many flashing red and white lights for it to be a plane.

The exact shape of the body of both objects, which presumably connected these lights, was too dark to ascertain. 

Both objects flew too low to the ground to be regulated aircraft and flew at a very slow rate.

The rumbling of the triangular shaped object was intense.

Want more? Go to the National UFO Reporting Center -

Bush Backs Anti-abortion Protestors

Washington January 23, 2004 (AFP) - US President George W. Bush, courting the right-wing election year vote, delivered a warm message of support to anti-abortion protestors gathered in Washington and urged them to back his bid for a second term.

"During the past three years we've made real progress toward building a culture of life in America," he said in a telephone call beamed to the marchers. "But we all know there is still more to do." 

The annual demonstration, which converges on the US Supreme Court, this year marked the 31st anniversary of the US Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal in the United States. 

Bush recalled his controversial decision two years ago to restrict government funds from embryonic stem-cell research, his support for a ban on a procedure its critics call "partial-birth abortion" and vowed to pursue "without delay" legislation forbidding human cloning. 

"Human life is a creation, not a commodity, and should not be used as research material for reckless experiments," the president said during a brief stop here to tout his reelection agenda. 

Bush also reminded his cheering listeners that he had called in his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday for doubling federal monies for abstinence-only sexual education programs. 

The abortion issue is a hot potato in any election campaign, with candidates trying to court both sides of a question on which most voters themselves appear unclear in their views. 

"There has been very little shift in opinion over the last 20 to 25 years," said Tom Smith, director of the University of Chicago's General Social Survey, largest survey on social trends in America. "Most people do not have an absolute position on abortion. 

"A little less than 10 percent are absolutely pro-life, 30 percent are absolutely pro-choice, and 60 percent are conditionalists, not absolutists," he said. 

But in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest, or involving a serious genetic defect in the fetus, or which would put the mother's health in danger, Smith said 80 to 90 percent of the population would support abortion. 

Abortion, said Washington political analyst Allen Lichtman, is "clearly one of those issues that stands with race as the great American issue that never goes away, that's never solved and taps into people's deepest beliefs and emotions." 

Bush, he said, is indisputably against abortion, and what the Supreme Court decides, it can undecide. Their terms on the bench are for life. But when one dies or retires, the president names a replacement, subject to Senate confirmation. 

"Bush may try to fudge the issue a little bit but he's clearly pro-life," said Lichtman. "If Bush gets re-elected and the Republicans make big gains in the Senate, and two judges step down, there's the possibility that two more votes in the Supreme Court could overturn Roe vs Wade. 

"It's not usually very explicit in presidential elections, it's not as if there's a great national debate on abortion, but it's always present and people know where the candidates stand." he said. "It's going to be more so this year."

Stars Back Dems

LOS ANGELES January 25, 2004 (AFP) - Madonna is behind Wesley Clark. Uma Thurman backs John Kerry.

Paul Newman, Martin Sheen and Susan Sarandon are with Howard Dean: Hollywood stars are choosing sides in the Democratic presidential race.

Experts however say that while celebrities might draw attention to a campaign, they don't necessarily draw votes. 

"I don't think that voters think of Madonna or Martin Sheen when they vote," said Joe Rothstein, editor of 

Besides Madonna, the pop star who recently announced her support for Clark with much fanfare, the former NATO commander has received backing from former "Cheers" star Ted Danson and Barry Levinson, director of "Good Morning Vietnam" and "Rain Man." 

Clark also has been endorsed by controversial filmmaker Michael Moore, and has visited Los Angeles in efforts to court more celebrities as he seeks the nomination to challenge President George W. Bush in the November 2 vote. 

However, Dean is the candidate that has garnered the most celebrity endorsements, experts said. 

The former Vermont governor's campaign gained so much media attention he was widely considered the frontrunner for the nomination until his disappointing third-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. 

Among the celebrities who have campaigned for Dean are Sheen, who plays a US president on the television series "The West Wing," actor/director Rob Reiner, and actress Sarandon. 

Experts said there's little sign those endorsements have helped Dean. 

"There are few people who will support a political figure just because some actor or actress says so. More often than not they end up hurting candidates if they are lightning rods for controversy," said Stuart Rosenberg, editor and publisher of The Rothenberg Political Report. 

According to MTV, actress Thurman has given money to Kerry, the winner in Iowa and current frontrunner in the polls, and songwriter Carole King has organized a benefit concert for the Massachusetts senator. 

Of the four main Democratic candidates, the one that has perhaps received the least celebrity support is North Carolina Senator John Edwards. His only noticeable star-support has come from the rock band Hootie and the Blowfish. 

Still, none of the Democratic candidates has gained as much support from Hollywood as former president Bill Clinton, a darling of the celebrity set who capitalized on his own celebrity to win two four-year terms in office. 

There is a minority of voters -- perhaps 25 percent -- who are swayed by such superficial matters as celebrity endorsements, said Bruce Cain of the University of California at Berkeley. 

"They are less well-informed people who consider other issues such as image. In the end what the stars think might be decisive for them and may also affect the result of the elections," he said.

Astronauts Blamed for Air Leak
Cape Canaveral January 24, 2004 (AP) - The hose responsible for the slow air leak aboard the international space station was poorly designed and cracked in part because crew members kept grabbing it to look out a window, a NASA official said Friday.

The hose was removed and capped off earlier this month, and the air pressure aboard the orbiting outpost has since stabilized.

"It's not a very good design," said Bill Gerstenmaier, space station program manager. "These hoses are known to crack."

The hose is used to prevent a window on the space station from fogging up. It removes condensation that forms between the panes of glass and vents it into space.

Crew members, over time, contributed to the cracking of the flexible metal hose by grabbing it to look out the window, Gerstenmaier said.

"There are not a lot of places on the window to hold onto from the crew's standpoint," he said. "I think the crew using it wouldn't necessarily have been a problem if we had done a little better job on the design side."

A spare hose will be sent up on a Russian cargo ship that is scheduled to be launched next week.

Astronaut Michael Foale and cosmonaut Alexander Kaleri discovered the hose was leaking on January 11. It caused a slow drop in pressure for three weeks - the biggest prolonged loss of pressure ever on the space station.

NASA workers are reviewing other hoses on the station to see if they have a similar design.

The newly formed NASA Engineering and Safety Center in Langley, Virginia, also will look at whether there are other means of detecting leaks on the station. The center was formed as part of the reforms undertaken by NASA after the space shuttle Columbia disaster a year ago that killed seven astronauts.

Foale and Kaleri are tentatively set to take a spacewalk in late February, which will leave the station temporarily unmanned. They will look for the source of a noise they heard last November that sounded like a flapping sheet of metal.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Press Release

Troy NY January 23, 2004 — An international team of physicists has provided the best evidence to date of the existence of a new form of atomic matter, dubbed the "pentaquark."

The research team confirmed the existence of pentaquarks by using a different approach that greatly increased the rate of detection compared to previous experiments.

The results are published as the cover story in today’s issue of the journal Physical Review Letters.

"The latest, and most conclusive evidence of this five-quark particle — the ‘pentaquark’ — could bring immense insight in understanding the laws and structure of universal matter in its most fundamental form," said lead author Valery Kubarovsky, a Research Scientist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

The research was carried out at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) by the CLAS (CEBEF Large Acceptance Spectrometer) collaboration, which consists of physicists from universities and laboratories in seven nations.

Nearly all matter on Earth is held in the nuclei of atoms. An atomic nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons, with the number of protons determining the chemical element. In the last four decades, physicists have discovered that these subatomic particles are composed of even smaller particles, called quarks, which are held together by a strong nuclear force called "glue." Each proton and neutron is composed of three quarks, for example. 

For years, scientists have predicted that five-quark particles also could exist under unusual conditions. Yet, no proof surfaced until late 2002 when a Japanese team announced its discovery of the pentaquark in particle-smashing experiments. When the researchers zapped carbon atoms with high-energy gamma rays, they observed that, after gamma ray photons "crashed" into the neutrons, a few neutrons "grew" into five-quark particles. The Jefferson Lab team then corroborated this finding using a deuteron target. 

The team announced the initial discovery of a pentaquark on a proton target at an international physics conference in New York City in May 2003. The findings were soon corroborated by researchers at Bonn University in Germany. Kubarovsky presented the CLAS team’s results at the first conference on pentaquarks, hosted by Jefferson Lab in November 2003. 

Still, the results of subsequent experiments by researchers globally have been mixed until now. 

"Detection is difficult because we are unable to ‘see’ the pentaquark itself, which lives less than one hundredth of a billionth of a billionth of a second, before decaying into two separate particles," said Paul Stoler, Rensselaer physics professor and chair of the Jefferson Lab Users Board of Directors. "But even the two-particle, tell-tale sign is difficult to detect because of the many irrelevant reactions, or ‘debris,’ that also occur in the same experiments."

To limit the debris, CLAS team members searched for a simpler mode of production. Since they could not isolate a single neutron — stable neutrons cannot exist freely — they turned to the single proton as a target. 

One proton makes up the entire nucleus of the simplest element known in the universe: hydrogen. In the experiment, the Jefferson Lab team liquefied the hydrogen at a temperature that reached a few degrees above absolute zero before zapping the element with gamma rays. 

"Shifting our focus from neutrons to protons dramatically altered our results," Kubarovsky said. "We strongly increased the previous success rates for detecting pentaquarks." 

According to CLAS researchers, further experimentation is needed to increase the pentaquark detection rate per particle explosion, to better understand the details of how the pentaquark is produced, and its internal characteristics. Several follow-up experiments will be conducted at Jefferson Lab within the next year.

"Consider that, out of several billion collisions, scientists have found a few dozen pentaquarks. We need to find at least a thousand events that result in the creation of pentaquarks to have more valuable information on the nature of this new state of matter," Kubarovsky says. "Right now we have a sample of about 45, which is the most significant in the world."

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute -

Cricket Batsman Struck by Lightning

By Marnie O'Neill and Danielle Teutsch
The Sun-Herald

Bomaderry Australia January 25, 2004 (Sun-Herald) - A lightning bolt killed a batsman during a game of cricket yesterday, the shock of electricity so intense it shattered his bat.

Fellow players watched in horror as the lightning struck 31-year-old David Evans on his helmet in a game at Bomaderry on the South Coast.

Bomaderry Cricket Club secretary Graeme Sawkins said: "It wasn't even stormy at the time."

"We all said before the game started that if it was stormy then we'd stop play, but it was quite clear. David got up to bat and suddenly, out of the blue, a lightning bolt came down and hit his helmet, went through his body and shattered his bat. It left a hole in the ground next to the wicket where he was standing. Six or seven other players got knocked down with the impact."

Two fielders, including a 13-year-old boy, were injured. Two women were injured after they were struck by another bolt nearby.

The first bolt struck at Artie Smith Oval in Bomaderry about 5.30pm, killing Mr. Evans and injuring the fielders. Mr. Sawkins's son Matt, who was playing a game on the ground below the oval, saw the bolt of lightning that struck Mr. Evans. 

"There were storms all afternoon. It was the first bolt of lightning," he said. "His cricket bat exploded. He was about to take strike."

The umpire, square-leg fielder and umpire on the wicket end were knocked off their feet.

Cosmic Rays Don't Change Climate
American Geophysical Union Press Release

WASHINGTON January 22, 2004 - Eleven Earth and space scientists say that a recent paper attributing most climate change on Earth to cosmic rays is incorrect and based on questionable methodology. Writing in the January 27 issue of Eos, published by the American Geophysical Union, Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and colleagues in Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States challenge the cosmic ray hypothesis. 

In July 2003, astrophysicist Nir Shaviv and geologist Jan Veizer wrote in GSA Today that they had established a correlation between cosmic rays and temperature evolution over hundreds of millions of years. They also claimed that current global warming is not primarily caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide. Their findings have been widely reported in international news media. 

According to Rahmstorf, Shaviv and Veizer's analyses--and especially their conclusions--are scientifically ill-founded. The data on cosmic rays and temperature so far in the past are extremely uncertain, he says. Further, their reconstruction of ancient cosmic rays is based on only 50 meteorites, and most other experts interpret their significance in a very different way, he says. He adds that two curves presented in the article show an apparent statistical correlation only because the authors adjusted the data, in one case by 40 million years. In short, say the authors of the Eos article, Shaviv and Veizer have not shown that there is any correlation between cosmic rays and climate. 

As for the influence of carbon dioxide in climate change, many climatologists were surprised by Shaviv and Veizer's claim that their results disproved that current global warming was caused by human emissions, Rahmstorf says. Even if their analysis were methodologically correct, their work applied to time scales of several million years. 

The current climate warming has, however, occurred during just a hundred years, for which completely different mechanisms are relevant, he says. For example, over millions of years, the shifting of continents influences climate, while over hundreds of thousands of years, small changes in Earth's orbit can initiate or terminate ice ages. But for time periods of years, decades, or centuries, these processes are irrelevant. Volcanic eruptions, changes in solar activity, and the concentration of greenhouse gases, as well as internal oscillations of the climate system, are crucial on this scale. 

The 11 authors of the Eos article affirm that the strong increase of carbon dioxide and some other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to manmade emissions is most probably the main cause of the global warming of the last few decades. The most important physical processes are well understood, they say, and model calculations as well as data analyses both come to the conclusion that the human contribution to the global warming of the 20th century was dominant.

American Geophysical Union -
Deadly Hair Dye?
Washington January 24 2004 (AFP) - Researchers have found more signs of a possible link between the use of hair-coloring products over a long period of time and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found.

In a study of more than 1 300 women in the US state of Connecticut, those who began dying their hair prior to 1980 had a 40 percent greater risk of developing this cancer.

Those who used darker, permanent hair-coloring products for at least 25 years - eight times or more a year - had double the chance of developing the cancer, according to Tongzhang Zheng, a Yale University epidemiologist who led the research.

The risk did not increase for those using non-permanent, light-toned dyes.

Until the late 1970s, permanent dyes were mixed with an oxidizing agent and, during the process of coloring, new chemical products emerged -- some of which may be cancer-causing, said Zheng.

Researchers also did not see a rise in this type of cancer among women who started dying their hair after 1980, regardless of the color used. They have yet to determine whether the pre-1980 users' increased risk was related to changes in chemicals in the dyes or longer-term exposure.

In the late 1970s, dye manufacturers stopped using some carbon-based compounds after rats and mice developed cancer after eating food containing the chemicals.

This latest study establishes an observed epidemiological link, not a clinical link. Other studies in the past five years have shown conflicting data.
Ecology News!

Bush Gives 9 Million Acres of Alaska to Oil Developers
By John Heilprin
Associated Press

WASHINGTON January 23, 2004 (AP) — Interior Secretary Gale Norton signed off on a plan Thursday for opening most of an 8.8-million-acre swath of Alaska's North Slope to oil and gas development.
Some of the drilling could occur in areas important for migratory birds, whales, and wildlife.

The Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management will use the plan to manage a northwest portion of the government's 23.5-million-acre National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska.

Geologists believe the reserve may contain 6 billion to 13 billion barrels of oil.

It is located just west of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where President Bush wants to open a 1.5-million-acre coastal plain to drilling as one of his top energy priorities. The Senate, in debating a massive energy bill, has rejected drilling there.

Environmentalists said the management plan threatens the health of Arctic tundra, ponds, and lakes that are home to wildlife and migratory birds and provide a vital subsistence hunting and fishing ground for native Alaskans.

"It makes no sense to industrialize this incomparable wilderness area when there's only about six month's worth of economically recoverable oil ... and it would take at least 10 years to get it to market," said Charles Clusen, director of the Alaska lands project for the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group.

The plan makes 7.23 million acres available for energy leasing but will defer leasing the other 1.57 million acres for a decade to see if more environmental studies are needed, Interior Department officials said.

All energy leases will be subject to strict environmental standards, the officials said, while other provisions are meant to protect water quality, vegetation, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitats, and subsistence uses.

The Interior Department proposed the management plan in January 2003. With few changes, the plan includes creation of a 102,000-acre Kasegaluk Lagoon Special Area fenced off from leasing. It is considered particularly sensitive, as it is home to beluga whales, spotted seals, and the black brandt, a migratory wild goose.

The plan designates special study areas of more than a half-million acres each for the Pacific black brandt and caribou. It also requires habitat studies for eiders, a bird whose existence is imperiled, and yellow-billed loons, and sets restrictions to minimize loss of foraging habitat for raptors around the Colville River Special Area.

Norton said oil and gas from the North Slope will help increase domestic energy production and stabilize prices in the long term.

"This plan will help produce energy in an environmentally responsible manner with the best available technology, while protecting the important biological, subsistence, and cultural values found in this area," she said.

The reserve was set aside in the 1920s for potential energy development.

Environmentalists said the management plan rewards Bush administration friends in the oil and gas industry.

"This decision certainly gives big oil and gas plenty to be thankful for," said Eleanor Huffines, regional director in Alaska for The Wilderness Society.

The Bureau of Land Management can now modify or waive environmental safeguards on a case-by-case basis for economic reasons, environmentalists said. The bureau expects to hold a lease sale for oil and gas development on selected tracts next June. The Clinton administration had opened much of the eastern section of the reserve to oil and gas exploration in 1998, with tight restrictions and some areas fenced off.

Norton Seeks to Triple Drilling in Wyoming
By Judith Kohler
Associated Press

DENVER January 23, 2004 (AP) — Interior Secretary Gale Norton said this week that her agency wants to triple the number of drilling permits approved in Wyoming's natural gas fields to help meet the nation's growing energy needs.

Wyoming, Colorado, and other Rocky Mountain states make up one of the country's two major accessible gas reserves, Norton said following an energy conference.

"Natural gas is a major energy need for the country. The demand for natural gas is expected to far outstrip the production," Norton said.

The Bush administration is pushing for speedier approval of permits to drill for gas on federal land in the Rockies. Companies have complained that it takes up to three times as long to process permits on federal land than on private or state property.

Norton said her agency's goal is to increase to 3,000 from about 1,000 the number of permits approved annually on Bureau of Land Management land in Wyoming's Powder River Basin.

The northeastern Wyoming basin contains vast deposits of coal bed methane gas, which requires pumping ground water to release the natural gas trapped in coal seams.

Jill Morrison of the Powder River Basin Resource Council, a Sheridan, Wyoming–based conservation group, said residents will watch to see how the bureau handles the increase in permits. She contends the bureau isn't doing the kind of analysis needed to determine the cumulative impacts of drilling on a broad scale.

Residents have complained about water wells going dry because of pumping on neighboring property, she said. She also called bonds required to cover cleanup costs "woefully minimal."

"There is going to be a huge taxpayer liability here for the cost of cleanup and reclamation that the government hasn't even begun to account for," Morrison said.

Southern Ocean Dying

Australia January 23, 2004 (BBC) - Scientists in Australia have warned that fish piracy is damaging the Southern Ocean to such an extent that time is running out to save it.

Illegal fishermen, primarily on the hunt for the prized Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides), are wiping out both fish stocks and bird species that live in the ocean. 

Species numbers are said to have dropped so acutely that Australia has called for global help to tackle the pirates. 

"It is probably the last chance for us to get it right," Dr Adel Pile, of Sydney University, told BBC World Service's One Planet program. The Southern ocean, this continuous mass of water, is really important, and [is] regulating globally things like our climate - El Nino starts in the Southern Ocean. If we mess around with the ecosystem enough that we can throw it out of balance, it's not just going to be limited to those of us who live in the Southern Hemisphere - it's going to have global ramifications." 

Scientists say they know more about the surface of Mars than they do about the Southern Ocean. 

Australia recently deployed an armed surveillance ship to protect fish stocks, but campaigners already fear the Patagonian toothfish has been hunted to near extinction. Known as the "white gold" of Antarctica, the toothfish's flaky flesh is a delicacy in Japan and the US, and the strong demand for it in these countries has fuelled the illegal trade. 

Indeed, there are fears that many fish pirates operate with the corrupt support of governments in many countries. As a result, Australia's fisheries minister Ian McDonald has said a unified international response is only way to combat the pirates. 

"They are very active," he said. "We will be able to work more co-operatively with the British and the South Africans and New Zealanders. Together, I think we can form some sort of Southern Ocean coalition that jointly will embark on a major attack on this illegal fishing problem - and all of the consequences that come out of this illegal fishing."

There is so much concern because scientists believe that over fishing could have devastating environmental consequences. The toothfish plays an important role in the Antarctic's marine ecosystem. It is part of the diet of the sperm whale and the elephant seal. 

"They're all important, all the steps [in the food chain] - we can't afford to lose any of them," Matt Jacobs, of the Sydney Aquarium, told One Planet. "If we lost a species, it could have repercussions on another species." 

Mr. Jacobs warned that the knock-on effect of destroying any one species would be felt by all, including humans. 

"If you take out an apex predator like the great white shark, you'll end up with a larger seal population, which could in turn mean less fish," he said. "Professional fishermen then get affected, as well as everyone else." 

Destruction is not only below the ocean's surface, it is also above it. 

It is estimated 100,000 seabirds breeding on the sub-Antarctic islands are killed every year as a result of feeding on the long-line hooks used by illegal trawlers. The seabirds are attracted to the baited hooks, strung out for kilometers across the ocean. 

The birds get caught on the hooks, which are subsequently sunk. When this happens, the birds are pulled down and drown. 

Nicola Bynin, of Humane Society International, said she believed some species were being slowly wiped out. "The great albatross and petrels are probably the most endangered set of birds on the planet," she said. 

"The reason they are going extinct is because of illegal poaching of the Patagonian toothfish."

Genre News: Angel, Power Rangers, Riddick, Captain Kangaroo, Joan, Art Garfunkel & Ann Miller
Angel Turns 100 and The WB Loves Our Boy!
WB Press Release (Warning: Some spoilers)

BURBANK, CA (January 21, 2004) - ANGEL, The WB's critically acclaimed drama about a vampire cursed with a conscience and a soul, will celebrate its centennial episode on Wednesday, February 4 (9:00-10:00 p.m. ET) with the installment titled "You're Welcome." Series star David Boreanaz will be reunited with former series regular Charisma Carpenter, returning for the first time this season in a special guest-starring role as Cordelia Chase, who fell into a coma at the end of last season. 

In the 100th episode, Cordelia (Carpenter) mysteriously awakens from her coma and is shocked to discover that instead of fighting against the evil law firm, Wolfram & Hart, Angel (Boreanaz) and the group are now running it.

Realizing that Angel has lost his conviction to be a hero, Cordelia gives him the information and support he needs to get back on track.

Meanwhile, while Angel has security keeping an eye on Eve (Sarah Thompson), her partner Lindsay (guest star Christian Kane) prepares to bring about Angel's demise. 

ANGEL is currently The WB's second highest-rated series with adults 18-34.

The series was created by Academy and Emmy Award-nominated writer Joss Whedon, along with David Greenwalt. Whedon serves as executive producer, along with Sandy Gallin, Gail Berman, Fran Rubel Kuzui, Kaz Kuzui, Jeffrey Bell and David Fury.

The series stars David Boreanaz, Alexis Denisof, J. August Richards, Amy Acker, James Marsters and Andy Hallett.

"You're Welcome" was written and directed by David Fury. ANGEL is a Mutant Enemy, Inc. and Kuzui/Sandollar production in association with Twentieth Century Fox Television.

The series is currently in its fifth season.

Angel Official site -,7353,||139,00.html

Angel Fan Poll -

Power Rangers Go Prehistoric 
By Andrew Wallenstein

LOS ANGELES January 23, 2004 (Hollywood Reporter) - Disney's "Power Rangers" franchise will go prehistoric for its new season. 

"Power Rangers DinoThunder," which transports the popular fighting force into the realm of the dinosaurs, will return the franchise for its 12th season in the U.S. market and its second under Disney ownership. 

Disney acquired the Japan-bred franchise, which morphs into a different series each season, as part of its takeover of Fox Family Worldwide in 2001. 

Beginning Feb. 14, "DinoThunder" will join the schedule on Jetix, a new action-adventure programming block that runs on cable networks ABC Family and Toon Disney, where the series is making its debut. The series also will begin its run one week later in the Saturday morning lineup at ABC. Together with the 11th version of the series, "Ninja Force," "Rangers" will occupy 17 time slots each week on Disney-owned channels. 

Accompanying "DinoThunder" will be a new wave of "Rangers"-related merchandise aimed at boys.

Jetix Official site -

Kristin Lehman Reveals Riddick Hints

Hollywood January 22, 2004 (Sci Fi Wire) - Kristin Lehman, who co-stars with Vin Diesel in the upcoming SF movie The Chronicles of Riddick, told SCI FI Wire that her character will share a bond with Diesel's antihero.

"I play the only other Furyan in the film," Lehman (TV's Strange World) said in an interview. "Vin is, as we know, a Furyan. And this, of course, is the odyssey for him, to realize who he is, what he comes from, what his odyssey is. And I am the Furyan who brings that out in him. I come to him."

In Riddick, the follow-up film to 2000's Pitch Black, viewers discover that Furyans are a mysterious and vanished race of people who stand as the universe's only countermeasure to the rapacious Necromongers, who are sweeping through the galaxy. "You've got to see the movie to see what a Furyan is," the Canadian-born Lehman said. "That's the planet that they come from, Furya. And the movie is all about [Riddick's] finding out—and us finding out—what a Furyan is. And as you know, [the Chronicles of Riddick is envisioned as the first of] three films, so hopefully this one will be spectacular, and they'll want to make more and more, and we'll get to delve more and more into the culture and the people and the characters."

Lehman said she originally auditioned unsuccessfully for a role in Pitch Black. "I had read with [Diesel] originally for Pitch Black, so I was familiar with him," she said. "He's one of the executive producers on this, so he has a real strong personal stake in it. It was great. ... He's incredibly creative. He's an incredibly rich, creative man. And this film, I think, is a testament to how invested he is with telling stories."

Lehman added that Riddick will expand greatly on the universe introduced in the first movie. "[It's] entirely different," she said. "It's vast, it's epic. ... Tremendous in scope and tremendous in special effects."

[Not only Strange World! Kristin Lehman has also guest starred twice as Molly Noguchi, a serious Dylan Hunt love interest on Andromeda and is best known to genre fans as the superhacker Esther Nairn in the X-Files "Kill Switch" episode. "She's so hot!" Frohicke said, and I agree. Ed.]

Riddick, from writer/director David Twohy, opens June 11.

Denis Leary to Rescue FX 
By Nellie Andreeva 

LOS ANGELES January 23, 2004 (Hollywood Reporter) - FX has ordered 13 episodes of "Rescue Me," a drama about New York firefighters, starring comedian Denis Leary. 

The story centers on Tommy Gavin (Leary), who is trying to conceal his fear of his job post-Sept. 11 while recovering from his recent divorce, or as Leary describes him, "a really conflicted, funny and screwed-up character, which to me is always the most fun guy to play." 

The show will weave humor into the inherent drama that firefighters face every day, Leary said.

"There is a lot of humor in the fire department. Even after 9-11, these guys get by with their sense of humor," Leary said. "I thought it was an interesting dynamic to have to deal with that amount of grief and that (post-Sept. 11) circumstance and at the same time go to work every day and fight fires going in there with the sensibility that it could be your last day at work." 

Leary first conceived "Rescue Me" as a feature, which he was developing with friend and collaborator Ted Demme. Following Demme's death in early 2002, Leary focused on other projects until he mentioned the idea to another friend, Peter Tolan, with whom Leary created the acclaimed ABC comedy "The Job." 

Tolan suggested the premise might be better suited for a series, and the two penned the pilot script for "Rescue Me" on spec. All characters in the show are based on Leary's friends, a crew of firefighters working in a Manhattan firehouse. 

Production on "Rescue Me," executive produced by Leary, Tolan and Leary's production partner, Jim Serpico, is scheduled to begin in April in New York. Co-starring in the series are Jack McGee, Stephen Pasquale, Daniel Sunjata, John Scurti, Michael Lombardi, Michael Mulheren and Andrea Roth. 

"Rescue Me" is FX's third drama series, following "The Shield" and "Nip/Tuck."

Captain Kangaroo and Clarabell Die at 76 
Associated Press Writer

MONTPELIER VT January 23, 2004 (AP) - Bob Keeshan, who gently entertained and educated generations of children as television's walrus-mustachioed Captain Kangaroo, died Friday at 76.

Keeshan, who lived in Hartford, Vt., died of a long illness, his family said in a statement. 

Keeshan's "Captain Kangaroo" premiered on CBS in 1955 and ran for 30 years before moving to public television for six more. It was wildly popular among children and won six Emmy Awards, three Gabriels and three Peabody Awards. 

The format was simple: Each day, Captain Kangaroo, with his sugar-bowl haircut and uniform coat, would wander through his Treasure House, chatting with his good friend Mr. Green Jeans, played by Hugh "Lumpy" Brannum. 

He would visit with puppet animals, like Bunny Rabbit, who was scolded for eating too many carrots, and Mr. Moose, who loved to tell knock-knock jokes.

But the show revolved about the grandfatherly Captain Kangaroo, whose name was inspired by the kangaroo pouch-like pockets of the coat Keeshan wore. 

"I was impressed with the potential positive relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, so I chose an elderly character," Keeshan said. 

In a statement issued by his son Michael, Keeshan's family said: "Our father, grandfather and friend was as passionate for his family as he was for America's children. He was largely a private man living an often public life as an advocate for all that our nation's children deserve." 

Keeshan, born in Lynbrook, N.Y., became a page at NBC while he was in high school. He joined the Marine Corps in 1945. 

His first television appearance came in 1948, when he played the voiceless, horn-honking Clarabell the Clown on the "Howdy Doody Show," a role he created and played for five years. 

Later he played Corny the clown, the host of a noontime cartoon program in New York City. 

"Captain Kangaroo" debuted on Oct. 3, 1955, and Keeshan remained in that role until 1993. 

Keeshan, who moved to Vermont in 1990, remained active as a children's advocate, writing books, lecturing and lobbying on behalf of children's issues. 

He was critical of today's TV programs for children, saying they were too full of violence. And he spoke wherever he went about the importance of good parenting. 

"Parents are the ultimate role models for children," he said. "Every word, movement and action has an effect. No other person or outside force has a greater influence on a child than the parent."

When Fred Rogers, the gentle host of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," died last year, Keeshan recalled how they often spoke about the state of children's programming. 

"I don't think it's any secret that Fred and I were not very happy with the way children's television had gone," Keeshan said. 

In 1987, Keeshan and former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander co-founded Corporate Family Solutions, an organization that provided day-care programs to businesses around the country. 

Keeshan believed children learn more in the first six years of life than at any other time and was a strong advocate of day care that provides emotional, physical and intellectual development for children. 

"Play is the work of children. It's very serious stuff. And if it's properly structured in a developmental program, children can blossom," he said. 

Keeshan's wife, Jeanne, died in 1990. He had three children.

When You're a Jet on Joan

Hollywood January 22, 2004 (Sci Fi Wire) - Amber Tamblyn, star of CBS' hit supernatural series Joan of Arcadia, told SCI FI Wire that she just finished shooting a scene with her real-life father, actor Russ Tamblyn, and some family dynamics spilled over.

"I think everybody was really excited, because they were like, 'What's the scene going to be like?'" Tamblyn said in an interview at CBS' recent winter press preview.

"And I stepped on a couple of his lines, and he, like, yelled at me, like he does at home. Like, 'No, you wait!' And we totally started bickering at each other. The first [assistant director] was like, 'OK, no family feuding on the set. Let's just take a breather. Calm down,'" she added with a laugh.

In an episode to air in February, the elder Tamblyn appears as God in the form of a hippie dog walker, Amber said.

"He actually grew his beard out so that he could look scruffy, like a hippie," she said.

"It was a lot of fun. He was walking six dogs, these big dogs, and they started wrapping around us and tying us up together. It's going to be a really funny scene."

Off the set, Amber said that longtime actor Russ (West Side Story) doesn't have much advice for the rapidly rising young star, who was just nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

"My dad is terribly way too laid back for me," she said. "Like, when I start stressing over something, he's so laid back. ... He just says, especially for things like award shows and things like that, he's, like, 'Look at it as a three-ring circus. Just have fun. Look at how fun and funny people are and just enjoy yourself.'"

Will Russ Tamblyn be back on Joan?

"It was just one day," Amber said. "It was short. But it's my dad. They'll probably bring him back for something else."

Joan of Arcadia airs Fridays at 8 PM/7c on CBS.

Joan Official site -

Garfunkel Busted for Pot

NEW YORK January 22, 2004 (Reuters) - Singer Art Garfunkel got busted for marijuana possession by a New York state trooper who had no idea he was arresting half of the legendary '60s duo Simon and Garfunkel, police said on Thursday. 

The trooper arrested Garfunkel, 62, after stopping the driver of his limousine for speeding on Saturday in Hurley, New York, 90 miles north of New York City, police said. 

"The trooper noted a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle," police said. "The trooper found a small amount of marijuana in Garfunkel's jacket pocket." 

Adding insult to injury, police said the arresting officer did not recognize Garfunkel, known with Paul Simon for singing such rock classics as "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "The Sound of Silence" and "Scarborough Fair." 

Garfunkel, the only passenger, was due to appear next Wednesday at the Town of Hurley Court charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. He faces a $100 fine. The driver got a ticket for driving 61 mph in a 45-mph zone. 

Simon and Garfunkel just completed a successful reunion tour in the United States.

Simon and Garfunkle Official site -

Web Users Watch Less TV 
By Paul Bond 

LAS VEGAS January 23, 2004 (Hollywood Reporter) - A few years ago, a UCLA study determined that Americans who surf the Internet watch less television. Now, an international version of that same study concludes that to be a worldwide pattern. 

Example: In Hungary, non-Internet surfers watch 17.5 hours of TV per week, while those who use the Internet watch only 11.8 hours per week, a difference of 5.7 hours. 

The lengthy, first-of-its kind study, called the World Internet Project, surveyed residents of 14 countries. In every case, Internet users watched less television. 

Internet users worldwide "buy" their time to surf the Internet with hours they once spent watching TV, concluded Jeffrey Cole, director of the UCLA Center for Communication Policy, which is responsible both for the World Internet Project and the fourth annual domestic version of that report due out next month. 

In the United States, Internet users watch 11.6 hours of TV per week, while non-Internet users watch 16.8 hours. 

"Clearly, we are witnessing a huge change in behavior that we are only now beginning to explore," said Cole.

Ann Miller Dies at Age 81 
By Steve Gorman 

LOS ANGELES January 22, 2004 (Reuters) - Ann Miller, the whirlwind Hollywood hoofer and comic actress who co-starred with such dancing greats as Fred Astaire in "Easter Parade," Gene Kelly in "On the Town" and Bob Fosse in "Kiss Me Kate," died on Thursday at age 81, a spokeswoman said. 

Miller, whose last screen performance was her featured role as the landlady Catherine "Coco" Lenoix in David Lynch's bizarre 2001 mystery "Mulholland Dr.," died of lung cancer at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, her longtime publicist Esme Chandlee said. 

"She was a much better actress than people gave her credit for because she was always singing and dancing," Chandlee told Reuters. 

While never quite reaching the lofty star status of contemporaries like Ginger Rogers or Cyd Charisse, the leggy, raven-haired Miller established herself as a second lead in a string of memorable Hollywood musicals during the 1930s, '40s and '50s.

Her film career faded by 1956, but she continued to perform in nightclubs, on television and on stage into the 1990s. In 1969, she became one of the stars to succeed Angela Lansbury in the title role of "Mame" on Broadway, and returned to the Great White Way a decade later with Mickey Rooney in the musical "Sugar Babies." 

Born and raised in Texas, Miller began dancing at age 5 as therapy for a childhood case of rickets, and signed her first Hollywood contract with RKO as a teenager in the 1930s. 

Winning notice as Ginger Rogers' dancing partner in the 1937 film "Stage Door," she landed supporting roles in a string of movies through the remainder of the decade, including "Room Service" with the Marx Brothers in 1938. 

In the early 1940s, she set a record for the fastest tap dancing, producing more than 500 tap sounds per minute. In 1948, she signed with MGM and danced with Fred Astaire in her first film for that studio, "Easter Parade." 

She co-starred with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Betty Garrett the following year in "On the Town" and played Lois Lane "Bianca" in the 1953 film version of "Kiss Me Kate," the musical adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew," co-starring Bob Fosse, Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel. 

Miller remained active in show business well into her 70s, playing Carlotta Campion and belting out "I'm Still Here" in a 1998 Paper Mill Playhouse revival of "Follies." The following year, she took a part in the Lynch-directed TV pilot for "Mulholland Dr.," which was turned into a feature film and released in 2001 after ABC passed on the series.

Click here for last week's Genre News!

Paperback books by Rich La Bonté - Free e-previews!