|Alien Clones! |
Beer Is Good for You!
Sleeping Circles, Liopleurodon,
Galaxies Collide, Peter Pan & More!
|Alien Clones and other Clone News! |
|Woman Pregnant with Another Clone |
Seoul January 1, 2003 (AP) - Prosecutors are trying to confirm testimony from Clonaid officials in Seoul that the company impregnated a South Korean woman with a cloned human embryo and that she left the country in July, local media reported today.
The testimony came during questioning of officials at the South Korean office of Clonaid, a US-based religious sect that claimed last week it had produced the world's first cloned baby, national Yonhap news agency quoted unnamed prosecution officials as saying yesterday.
In addition to the cloned baby the group claims has already been delivered, Clonaid has said that four other women including two from Asia are expected to give birth to clones by early February. Reports here have speculated that the South Korean is one of these women.
There has been no independent confirmation of the group's cloning claims and many experts have expressed skepticism. Officials did not say what country the South Korean woman was thought to have gone to.
Clonaid said on Sunday that the cloned baby, allegedly born to an American woman, and her family were going to return to the United States yesterday, but where they live and further details were not released.
Clonaid officials in the United States did not answer phone messages and e-mails from The Associated Press.
In Seoul, South Korean prosecutors had opened an investigation in July after the sect's local office said a Korean woman had been successfully impregnated with the cloned embryo with help from BioFusion Tech, a firm based in the southeastern city of Daegu.
Expanding their investigation, prosecution investigators have recently seized documents and other research data from BioFusion and questioned its officials, Yonhap said.
Investigators confirmed that three Korean women applied to have cloned human embryos implanted and located one of them, a former model identified only by her surname Kim, it said.
They said Kim testified that she applied for the cloning test but had never been implanted with a cloned embryo, it said.
Prosecution officials refused to comment on the report.
The prosecution probe has focused on whether the companies violated existing laws that ban unlicensed, unethical medical activities or practices.
South Korea has no law banning human cloning yet, but has been accelerating efforts to enact its first law against human cloning since the investigations began in July. The Science and Technology Ministry has drafted a bill that calls for a prison term of up to 10 years for those who attempt or help to clone humans.
Research on embryonic stem cells could revolutionize the treatment of diseases such as cancer and Parkinson's disease. But the research is controversial because embryos must be destroyed to recover the stem cells.
Clonaid was founded in 1997 by the Raelian Movement, a sect that believes life on earth was created by clones of extraterrestrials.
Little else is known about the group. Yesterday, a top Clonaid official said the company was founded in the Bahamas, but its presence there was limited to a post office box for receiving correspondence.
Speaking by telephone from Las Vegas, Clonaid Vice President Thomas Kaenzig said the group's main concern was the safety of its patients and staff. "We don't want to risk anybody's life," he said.
Clonaid Home Page - http://www.clonaid.com
Raelian Clone Puppet of Masses?
Associated Press and Unreliable Reports
New York January 1, 2003 (AP/UR) - A chemist and Raelian bishop who said last week that her company would soon produce the world's first human clone - a baby girl genetically identical to her 30-year-old mother - has revealed that the "clone" is actually "clones".... and, in a surprise announcement, that the "30 year-old mother" is actually a 5 year-old marionette, named "little Marie".
A spokeswoman for Brigitte Boisselier and the company, Clonaid, Nadine Gary, said Thursday that Ms. Boisselier had intended to have video equipment at a news briefing in Florida and an "independent inspector" take DNA evidence from baby and "mother". If the baby was a clone of the mother, the two would be genetically identical.
However, Ms. Gary stunned the assembled members of the Press with a photo of "Little Marie" and dozens of identical balsa "marie-ette" offspring.
Many scientists are skeptical about Clonaid's ability to accomplish this astonishing display of mass marketing and carpentry. The company was founded in the Bahamas in 1997 by Claude Vorilhon, a former French journalist and leader of the Raelians group. Mr. Vorilhon and his followers claim aliens visiting him in the 1970s revealed they had created all life on Earth through genetic engineering.
Ms. Boisselier, who claims two chemistry degrees and previously was marketing director for a chemical company in France, identifies herself as a Raelian bishop. Ms. Boisselier would not say where Clonaid has been carrying out its experiments, but said the Raelian Religion was based in Florida "for obvious reasons".
Marionette Expert Chris Kluge's Web Site - http://users.tellurian.com//chris/SuspendedAnimationHome.html
Sect Says First Cloned Baby Goes Home
By Jim Loney
MIAMI December 30, 2002 (Reuters) - The head of a company that says it has produced the first human clone said on Monday that the mother and baby were home following the child's birth last week and genetic proof demanded by scientists and other skeptics should be available in a week.
Brigitte Boisselier, chief executive of Clonaid, which is linked to a group that believes mankind was created by extraterrestrials, declined to say whether the 31-year-old American mother and her child were in the United States or elsewhere. Her claim to have cloned a human being drew skeptical reaction from experts in the field and she offered no proof, but told Reuters that genetic testing was scheduled for Tuesday.
"Hopefully it's going to be done tomorrow," she said. "At least the (genetic) sampling should be done tomorrow. We're working on it to make sure everything is going fine."
Boisselier announced on Friday in Florida that the company had produced the first human clone with the birth of a 7-pound baby girl called Eve.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which strongly opposes human cloning, said on Friday it was "taking steps to investigate" Clonaid's claim. It said the implantation of a cloned baby into a woman is illegal in the United States without FDA approval.
Clonaid was founded by the creator of the Raelian Movement, a group that claims 55,000 followers around the world and asserts that life on Earth was sparked by extraterrestrials who arrived 25,000 years ago and created humans through cloning.
Cattle, mice, sheep and other animals have been cloned with mixed success. Some have displayed defects later in life and scientists fear the same could happen with cloned humans.
The Raelians' founder, Claude Vorilhon, a French native known as Rael to his followers, told the Miami Herald on Sunday that Clonaid has a list of 2,000 people willing to pay $200,000 to have themselves or a loved one cloned.
Vorilhon, who describes himself as a prophet, told the Herald that he had distanced himself from Clonaid since its founding but expected the company to make money and to ultimately create eternal life.
"It's a commercial company and her goal is to make as much money as possible, and I hope she will make as much money as possible," Vorilhon said of Boisselier.
He said scientists may develop technology within 25 years to create a full-grown human clone in hours and to "upload" the contents of a person's brain into the clone.
"It's a very beautiful step, but it's just a step," Vorilhon, 56, told the Herald, referring to the alleged cloning of Eve. "The ultimate goal is to give eternal life to humanity through cloning."
Vorilhon, who had his hair in a topknot and was dressed in what the Herald described as "white, space-age clothing from head to toe," claims to have been contacted on Dec. 13, 1973 outside Paris by aliens who told him that life on Earth had been created in laboratories by scientifically advanced people from space.
Boisselier told Reuters she would not reveal whether the mother and child were in the United States out of concerns for their security.
"They are at home. They came home today ... I don't want to disclose anything about their home," she said. "We are very concerned about (their security)," she added. "We don't want the parents to be bothered at any time ... until they are ready."
Boisselier said she was aware that some experts in the field had questioned whether her company was capable of producing a clone and others had called the claim a hoax.
"It's funny because they are insulting me each time they say that," she said. "They won't say that to other scientists."
Boisselier said an independent expert selected by former ABC science correspondent Michael Guillen was to perform the genetic testing on the baby and results should take about a week, after which proof of Clonaid's claim would be made public. She said she did not know the expert selected.
"We don't expect Mr. Guillen to become available for comment until everyone knows indeed whether or not this is a genuine clone," said an employee of a New York publicist that represents Guillen.
Raelian Home Page - http://www.rael.org
|Beer Is Good for You! |
|American Chemical Society Press Release |
Jerusalem December 30, 2002 - A beer a day may help keep heart attacks away, according to a group of Israeli researchers. In preliminary clinical studies of a group of men with coronary artery disease, the researchers showed that drinking one beer (12 ounces) a day for a month produced changes in blood chemistry that are associated with a reduced risk of heart attack. Their study adds to growing evidence that moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of heart disease, the number one killer in the United States.
Their findings are scheduled to appear in the Jan. 29 print edition of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.
Heart-healthy changes observed in the blood of the test participants following beer-drinking include decreased cholesterol levels, increased antioxidants and reduced levels of fibrinogen, a clot-producing protein, according to the researchers.
The study also showed, for the first time, that drinking alcoholic beverages causes structural changes in fibrinogen that make the clotting protein less active, says lead investigator Shela Gorinstein, Ph.D., a researcher with The Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Characterizing these structural changes of fibrinogen may one day serve as a new diagnostic indicator of heart attack risk, along with known risk indicators such as blood cholesterol and antioxidant levels, she says. Further studies are needed.
Forty-eight (48) men, ages 46-72, with coronary artery disease were divided evenly into two groups. Individuals in one group drank the equivalent of 12 ounces (one standard can or bottle) of beer a day for 30 consecutive days, while the others drank mineral water. Both groups ate a similar diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, during this period.
In 21 of the 24 patients in the beer-drinking group, the researchers found positive changes in blood chemicals that are associated, on the basis of previous studies by Gorinstein and others, with a decreased heart attack risk. These changes include a decrease in "bad" cholesterol, an increase in "good" cholesterol, an increase in antioxidant levels, and a decrease in levels and activity of fibrinogen.
These changes, most likely produced by the relatively high polyphenol content of beer, were generally not seen in the blood of the non-beer-drinking group, the researchers say.
No heart attacks occurred among either patient group during the study period, they say. The patients are currently being monitored to evaluate long-term heart attack risk and survival rates, but results are not yet available.
Although the beer used in this study was a standard pale lager (5 percent alcohol by volume), other beers are likely to have a similar effect, the researchers add.
The current study adds to a growing number of studies that have linked moderate alcohol consumption to a reduced risk of coronary heart disease and heart attack.
Epidemiological studies have shown that moderate drinkers have a lower risk of heart disease than both heavy drinkers and non-drinkers.
Both polyphenol and alcohol are thought to contribute to this heart-healthy effect.
Based on previous studies, it appears that polyphenols play the major role in this effect, while alcohol plays a lesser role, says Gorinstein.
Beverage type may also play a role in heart disease risk. In recent publications by Gorinstein and others, it was shown that red wine might offer more heart-protective effects than white wine and beer.
This has been attributed to the red wine's high content of polyphenols compared with lower amounts in the other beverages, the researcher says.
An association between moderate drinking and lowered heart disease risk does not necessarily mean that alcoholic beverages are the only cause, however. Some studies suggest that lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise, may help account for some of the association between lower heart disease risk and drinking.
Until this association between alcohol and lower heart disease risk is clarified, people who choose to drink alcohol are advised to do so in moderation, says the researcher. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services define moderate drinking as not more than two drinks per day for men and no more than one drink per day for women. A standard drink is 12 grams of alcohol, equivalent to one 12-ounce can or bottle of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits.
Funding for this study was provided by The Hebrew University.
|US Tracks al-Qaeda Terrorist Fleet |
|By John Mintz |
Washington January 1, 2003 (Washington Post) - United States intelligence officials have identified about 15 freighters around the world that they believe are controlled by al-Qaeda or could be used by the terrorist network to ferry operatives, bombs, money or commodities, government officials said.
US officials cite such scenarios as al-Qaeda dispatching an explosives-packed speedboat to blow a hole in the hull of a luxury cruise ship sailing the Caribbean Sea or having terrorists pose as crewmen and slam a freighter carrying dangerous chemicals into a harbor.
American spy agencies track some of the suspicious ships by satellites or surveillance planes and with the help of allied navies or informants in overseas ports. But they have occasionally lost track of the vessels, which are continuously given new fictitious names, repainted or re-registered using invented corporate owners.
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, US intelligence agencies have set up large databases to track cargo, ships and seamen in a search for "anomalies" that could indicate terrorists on approaching ships, said Frances Fragos-Townsend, the chief of Coast Guard intelligence.
Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda's leader, and his aides have owned ships for years, some of which transported commodities such as cement and sesame seeds. But one vessel delivered the explosives that al-Qaeda operatives used to bomb two US embassies in Africa in 1998, US officials said.
Since September 11, the US list of al-Qaeda mystery ships has varied from a low of a dozen to a high of 50.
Starting with the suicide bombing of the USS Cole off Yemen in 2000 by al-Qaeda men in an inflatable dinghy, a strike that killed 17 sailors, US officials have noted a steady increase in nautical attacks, some of which were aborted by the planners or uncovered by authorities at the last moment.
The latest came in October, when the hull of the French oil tanker Limburg was blasted by a speedboat off Yemen, causing a widespread oil spill. Now US Navy and Coast Guard intelligence are sorting through the corporate papers of the world's 120,000 merchant ships. US intelligence officers are also collating the names and mariners' license numbers of tens of thousands of seamen from around the world, a sizeable percentage of whom carry fake documents and use pseudonyms because of criminal pasts.
US Navy intelligence is also sharing information with dozens of allied navies, and has enlisted informants among port managers, shipping agents, crew manning supervisors and seafarers' unions.
Dozens of navy and allied ships are scouring the Arabian Sea in search of al-Qaeda ships and fighters, in one of the largest naval sea hunts since World War II. Members have boarded and searched hundreds of ships.
US efforts to track al-Qaeda's activities at sea received a boost last month with the capture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, an alleged mastermind of al-Qaeda's nautical strategy who officials say is now co-operating with US interrogators. Another captured operative, Omar al-Faruq, has told interrogators that he planned scuba attacks on US warships in Indonesia.
Navy officials say al-Qaeda has used one shipping fleet flagged in the Pacific island nation of Tonga to transport operatives around the Mediterranean. The firm - which is called Nova and is incorporated in Delaware and Romania - has allegedly been smuggling illegal immigrants for years, US and Greek officials said. Its ships also frequently change names and countries of registry, officials said.
|Sleeping Circles |
|By Paul L. Allen |
Tucson December 30, 2002 (Tucson Citizen) - Parts of Hia-Ced O'odham culture identified by archaeologist Jeffrey H. Altschul's Statistical Research Inc. include various geometric structures.
Researchers have found stone sleeping circles, or ellipses, that may have served as foundations for brush shelters, and geoglyphs, circular stone arrangements believed used for ceremonial purposes.
Most of the geoglyphs are about 12 feet across, with varying designs. One includes what appears to be concentric circles. Another is compartmentalized, with different designs in each area.
"We don't know if these were used by a group of people for ceremonies, or whether they may have been put together for use by a single shaman," Altschul said, adding that they may even have been used to illustrate ancient creation traditions.
Joseph Joaquin, the Tohono O'odham Nation's cultural director, is among those who have viewed the geoglyphs.
"I've talked to some of the Hia-Ced O'odham people, and they told me it was sort of like an offering thing after hunting parties have camped there, giving thanks for what they found hunting," he said. "Some of them had the bones of animals nearby."
The compartmentalized designs tell a different story, he was told.
"They represented different people who had played a role in the community, sort of a hierarchy, with each symbol representing one of their leaders," he said. "It was kind of an organizational structure for both themselves and the spirit aspects."
Lorraine Eiler, a Hia-Ced O'odham who grew up in Darby Wells near Ajo, has a bit of a different take on the designs.
"I would think it was most probably a spiritual man going out there alone and doing ceremonial things," said the retiree from Indian Health Services.
|Oil Spill Destroys Hermit Sculptor and His Art |
|Man's Art Ruined By Oil Spill |
By Emma Ross-Thomas
CAMELLE, Spain December 31, 2002 (Reuters) — Man has two items of clothing: a loin cloth and a pair of black rubber boots.
A 66-year-old hermit, Man lives in a hut in Camelle, a small fishing port on the northwestern corner of Spain, looking out to the Atlantic. He wears only his loin cloth to protect him from the bracing Galician weather.
He came to Spain from his native Germany 41 years ago and has spent much of the time since creating sculptures from rocks bound together with cement. Towers made from a series of blobs and swirling Gaudiesque amalgamations make up the collection.
But Man's sculpture garden has become a victim of the oil which spewed from the tanker Prestige which broke in two and sank off northwest Spain on Nov. 19, dumping an unknown amount of its 77,000-ton cargo. Along with much of Galicia's previously unspoiled coastline, Man's garden has been coated with oil and many of the sculptures have been spattered with it.
The oil has filled a rock pool surrounded by turrets and the path which leads to his hut is saturated with it. The authorities have given Man a pair of Wellington boots to protect his feet.
Man's house, some 10 feet square, is painted with yellow and white circles. Small windows, some painted, have been carved out. The facade is covered with seashells and ornamented with a broken thermometer and a fragment of an electronic board. A dolphin's back bone stands by the door like an umbrella stand and bird and fish skeletons hang from the ceiling inside the gloomy shack. Fish nets sit on the roof and tree trunks seem to poke out of the top. Yellow plastic bags dim the light coming through the transparent front door.
Reluctant to talk, Man declines to explain his sculpture garden.
"It's for free interpretation," Man said, standing in the narrow doorway of his hut, clad only in his brown loin cloth. He gives nothing away about his full name or background, nor does he reveal his feelings about the damage to his life's work. ome of his towers look like more primitive versions of sculptures by 20th century Catalan artist Joan Miro. Asked if Miro is an influence, Man bows his head and nods. "Yes."
In the garden, animal skulls and jawbones lie among the sculptures, along with parts of engines, gnarled tree trunks, buoys, cogs and a car bumper. Man says everything in the garden comes from what he finds on the beach.
Since the Prestige sank, a pair of oil-stained rubber gloves has been added to the collection. Man said that when he came to this small fishing village it was "a desert."
"[I came here and built this] to create my own world. I was looking for a place to be alone," Man said. "This is my world. I don't think like other people."
Locals say he has kicked up a fuss at development of the town's sea walkway which lies alongside his shack. Man's museum is not exactly on the tourist trail but visitors do come to see his creations and a sign in the village points to the "Museum of the German." All along the northwestern Galician coast locals have heard about "The German." The hermit charges a dollar entrance and fiercely defends his museum against trespassers, not letting them leave his sight before he sees their cash. Cameras are an extra dollar.
A hand-scribbled sign at the entrance reads "Do not enter, out of respect for the artist and his work."
Villagers in Camelle are unfazed by the blue-eyed hermit.
"He's always naked and barefoot — at the markets, in the shops, winter and summer alike, he's always naked," said Modesto Mouzo, a fisherman from Camelle. "But he's just there, quietly in his place. He used to be a bit pig-headed."
Locals said he used to stop visitors walking along the jetty, fiercely shooing them away.
"He doesn't cause any harm," said fisherman Carmelo Suarez. Still, villagers are not convinced that Man and his garden deserve the title museum or art.
"I think it's just a handful of rocks," said Mouzo.
Stinking, sticky rocks now.
Hermit Sculptor Found Dead
MADRID December 31, 2002 (Reuters) - A German hermit whose sculpture garden on Spain's northern coast was damaged by a huge oil spill has been found dead in his tiny hut, officials said Sunday.
His body was found at his home in the Galician fishing village of Camelle Saturday, but he was believed to have been dead for several days, said a secretary at the town council of nearby Camarinas.
The cause of death was unknown, she said. Manfred Gnadinger, 66, known simply as "Man" in Camelle, came to Spain from his native Germany 41 years ago and settled in the village.
The skinny, bearded hermit wore nothing but a loincloth and used stones, driftwood, animal skeletons and whatever washed up to create a sculpture garden that became a popular tourist attraction. But his garden became coated with the oil that has spewed from the tanker Prestige since it sank off northwest Spain on November 19. The ship leaked about 20,000 tons of its fuel-oil cargo before sinking and has been leaking more than 100 tons a of oil a day since then, tarring the Galician shore.
The local newspaper La Voz de Galicia said Gnadinger had been deeply saddened by the spill and quoted a friend Sunday as saying he had died of melancholy.
"It doesn't matter what the medical bulletin says: the Prestige carried off Man," the newspaper said.
|Mexico December 30, 2002 (BBC) - A complete skeleton of the biggest reptile that ever existed has been unearthed in Mexico. The fossilized bones have been identified as those of Liopleurodon ferox, a fierce predator that ruled the oceans about 150 million years ago. |
The creature, which measures 20 meters (65 ft) from nose to tail, was discovered by German and Mexican paleontologists. It has been nicknamed the "Monster of Aramberri" after the site in northeastern Mexico where it was dug up.
Although many Liopleurodon remains have been unearthed before, none have been as complete as the Mexico discovery.
The bones are to be shipped to Germany for reconstruction at the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe. Scientists plan to use the skeleton to study how the monster of the deep lived and what it ate for its last meal.
Its remains were found along with those of smaller aquatic reptiles known as ichthyosaurs, which it may have snacked on.
The Liopleurodon was the master of the deep in prehistoric times. The predator, the largest type of plesiosaur, was featured in the BBC Television series, Walking with Dinosaurs. It had an impressive array of machete-sized teeth and jaws powerful enough to chew through granite.
Plesiosaurs appeared in the Early Jurassic period and rapidly split into two major groups: long-necked forms like the Cryptoclidus and short-necked forms, or plesiosaurs, like the Liopleurodon.
The marine reptiles are cousins of the dinosaurs that roamed the Earth between 208 million and 65 million years ago. Their remains are relatively common and have been well preserved in several marine deposits throughout the world.
Walking With Dinosaurs site - http://www.bbc.co.uk/dinosaurs/fact_files/sea/liopleurodon.shtml
|Lincoln Statue Fires Racial Hatred |
|By Marcus Warren |
Richmond VA December 31, 2002 (Telegraph UK) - A plan to place a statue of Abraham Lincoln in the capital of the rebel confederacy has rekindled the flames of Civil War hatred.
Instead of promoting reconciliation, the decision to erect a sculpture of the president who led the North to victory in America's bloodiest conflict has provoked an outcry in the Southern heartland.
The brainchild of a black historian who supports confederate heritage groups, the tribute is due to be unveiled in Richmond, the capital of Virginia, in April on the anniversary of an 1865 visit by the president. But the head of the state's Sons of Confederate Veterans, Brag Bowling, has denounced the project as "a slap in the face of brave men and women who went through four years of unbelievable hell fighting an invasion of Virginia led by President Lincoln".
The sculpture, decorated with the inscription "To Bind Up The Nation's Wounds", will stand at a Civil War visitors' center. It commemorates Lincoln's visit to the still-smoldering town after its fall to Northern forces and his assassination by a rebel sympathizer in a Washington theatre.
A month earlier, the president promised to pardon the South "with malice toward none, with charity for all".
"As long as Lincoln is viewed in the South as the invader and conqueror and not the restorer, then I don't think the war will ever be truly over," said Prof Edward Smith, who first mooted the idea of a statue last year.
The divide between the North and the 11 states which seceded from the Union still runs deep almost 150 years later, as one of the country's leading politicians discovered to his cost this month.
Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, a Republican like Lincoln, was forced to step down as the Senate majority leader after implying support for the South's history of segregation.
The wearing of T-shirts featuring the "Stars and Bars", the confederate flag, by white children has also sparked a row in Georgia. Officials banned them as offensive.
|When Galaxies Collide |
|SPACE TELESCOPE SCIENCE INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE |
December 12, 2002 - NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is witnessing a grouping of galaxies engaging in a slow dance of destruction that will last for billions of years. The galaxies are so tightly packed together that gravitational forces are beginning to rip stars from them and distort their shapes. Those same gravitational forces eventually could bring the galaxies together to form one large galaxy.
The name of this grouping, Seyfert's Sextet, implies that six galaxies are participating in the action. But only four galaxies are on the dance card.
The small face-on spiral with the prominent arms [center] of gas and stars is a background galaxy almost five times farther away than the other four.
Only a chance alignment makes it appear as if it is part of the group.
The sixth member of the sextet isn't a galaxy at all but a long "tidal tail" of stars [below, right] torn from one of the galaxies. The group resides 190 million light-years away in the constellation Serpens. This densely packed grouping spans just 100,000 light-years, occupying less volume than the Milky Way galaxy.
Each galaxy is about 35,000 light-years wide. Three of the galaxies [the elliptical galaxy, second from top, and the two spiral galaxies at the bottom] bear the telltale marks of close interactions with each other, or perhaps with an interloper galaxy not pictured here. Their distorted shapes suggest that gravitational forces have reshaped them.
The halos around the galaxies indicate that stars have been ripped away. The galaxy at bottom, center, has a 35,000 light-year-long tail of stars flowing from it. The tail may have been pulled from the galaxy about 500 million years ago.
Although part of the group, the nearly edge-on spiral galaxy at top, center, remains relatively undisturbed, except for the slight warp in its disk. Most of its stars have remained within its galactic boundaries.
Unlike most other galaxy interactions observed with the Hubble telescope, this group shows no evidence of the characteristic blue regions of young star clusters, which generally arise during galaxy interactions.
The lack of star-forming clusters suggests that there is something different about Seyfert's Sextet compared with similar systems. One example is Stephan's Quintet, another congregation of interacting galaxies observed with the Hubble telescope. The difference between the two systems could be a simple one: astronomers may be seeing the sextet at the beginning of its interaction, before much has happened. This will not be the case for long, though. The galaxies in Seyfert's Sextet will continue to interact, and eventually, billions of years from now, all four may merge and form a single galaxy. Astronomers have strong evidence that many, if not most, elliptical galaxies are the result of mergers.
Astronomers named the grouping Seyfert's Sextet for astronomer Carl Seyfert, who discovered the assemblage in the late 1940s. Seyfert already suspected that one apparent member of the sextet was not a galaxy but simply a tidal tail stripped off of one of the other members.
The image was taken on June 26, 2000, with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2.
The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA), for NASA, under contract with the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).
|Genre News: Peter Pan, Roswell, Sir Ridley Scott, Top 10 Sci-Fi Characters, Angelina Jolie & More! |
|Author Sues Over Peter Pan |
By IAN STEWART
Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO January 1, 2003 (AP) - Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn't grow up, has been dragged into the adult world of federal court.
Canadian author Emily Somma has filed suit in San Francisco claiming the characters in "Peter Pan," including Tinker Bell, Wendy and Captain Hook, are now in the public domain and no longer protected by a copyright awarded in 1929.
The suit is a pre-emptive move in anticipation of legal action by the British hospital that currently holds the copyright to Peter Pan.
The Great Ormand Street Hospital for Sick Children in London already has warned Somma to halt publication of "After The Rain: A New Adventure for Peter Pan," which has been published in Canada and can be purchased through the Internet.
A lawyer for the hospital claims Somma's efforts to publish a work without paying royalties is depriving the hospital of revenue it needs to treat sick children.
Somma's lawyer, Elizabeth Rader, said the author has offered to pay royalties but was rebuffed.
The impending legal battle is part of a growing debate over copyright material.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in October in a case that seeks to thrust closely held creative property - ranging from music such as George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" to books by Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald - into the public domain.
The copyright to Peter Pan and its characters was awarded by the original creator, Sir James M. Barrie, to the hospital in 1929.
U.S. copyright protection for Barrie's works, including "The Little White Bird" - a Peter Pan prototype - and the popular children's play "Peter Pan" normally would have expired in 1987, a half-century after Barrie's death.
In a letter ordering Somma to halt publication of her book, the hospital's lawyer, Alvin Deutsch, contends that a 1976 U.S. law extended the copyright protection for Peter Pan until the year 2023.
Somma's lawyer disputes the logic and the math.
"They have a theory that spells out to that year," Rader said, "But I don't see how it adds up."
Somma's "After the Rain," in which Pan is brought home from Neverland to grow up, was published by Hamilton, Ontario-based Daisy Books.
The Canadian edition of "After the Rain" largely went unnoticed until Somma began soliciting publishers in England, Rader said in a telephone interview Monday.
A British act of Parliament extended royalty rights there to the hospital in perpetuity; Peter Pan falls within the public domain in Canada.
"All intellectual property owners police their property aggressively," said the lawyer, a fellow with Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. "They often assert more than they can get."
The London hospital has authorized a series of films based on the original Peter Pan, including Walt Disney's 1953 animated "Peter Pan," and "Hook," the Stephen Spielberg adaptation of the classic tale of never-ending childhood.
Hospital lawyer Deutsch wrote in his letter to Somma that Walt Disney has been authorized to produce several Peter Pan-related projects on the condition the hospital reap a share of the royalties.
Deutsch could not immediately be reached for comment on Somma's suit, which was filed last week in San Francisco federal court.
Rader took the case along with a colleague, Stanford Law School professor Larry Lessig, who argued the case heard by the Supreme Court in October that challenges a 1998 law extending copyright protection an additional 20 years for cultural works.
The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, known as the "Mickey Mouse Extension Act" because it extends Disney's protection on its popular cartoon character, protects movies, plays, books and music for 70 years after an author's death.
Lessig brought the case on behalf of Eric Eldred, who had been posting work by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James and others on his Web site. Eldred lost his case at trial and on appeal, but managed to persuade the Supreme Court to hear the case.
Daisy Books - http://www.daisybooks.com
Stanford Law School - http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/archives/2002-12.shtml
Classic Screen Actress Mary Brian Dies at 96
DEL MAR CA January 3, 2003 (AP) - Actress Mary Brian, who bridged the silent and early talkie eras with appearances in 82 motion pictures, including the lead opposite Gary Cooper in "The Virginian" in 1929, has died. She was 96.
Brian died Monday of heart failure at a San Diego County nursing home, family friend and spokesman Anthony Slide said Friday.
Her career spanned a quarter-century, from the classic silent version of "Peter Pan" in 1924 to the 1947 low-budget movie "Dragnet." She starred opposite such Hollywood stars as Cooper, Lew Ayres, James Cagney, Cary Grant, William Haines, Warner Oland and Dick Powell. She also played W.C. Fields' daughter in several films, including "The Man on the Flying Trapeze" (1935).
In the early talkie Western "The Virginian," Brian portrayed the schoolteacher who is romanced by the hero. The film was directed by Victor Fleming, who went on to direct "Gone With the Wind."
Fleming "was serious when he needed to be, but he had a funny sense of humor," she recalled in the film publication "Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy." "I think the good directors at that time knew that our hours were so long and tedious, that they must give us time to play a bit."
As for Cooper, she said every woman fell in love with him: "You couldn't help it, I tell you. He was beautiful, to start with. But he never felt self-important."
Born Louise Byrdie Dantzler in Corsicana, Texas, Brian moved with her family to Long Beach and was discovered by a studio executive when she entered a beauty contest.
Director Herbert Brenon cast her as Wendy in "Peter Pan" and Paramount gave her a new name, Mary Brian. She remained under contract to Paramount until 1932, appearing in more than 40 films, including "Beau Geste" (1926) and "River of Romance" (1929).
In 1931, she appeared in George Cukor's "Royal Family of Broadway" and Lewis Milestone's "The Front Page." Her other credits from the 1930's include "Shadows of Sing Sing," "College Rhythm," "Charlie Chan in Paris" and "Navy Blues."
She also did some stage work, and she continued to make occasional television appearances after her movie career ended.
In 1947, Brian married film editor George Tomasini, who edited many of Alfred Hitchcock's films. He died in 1964.
For more on Miss Brian, see the Internet Movie Database entry at http://us.imdb.com/Name?Brian,+Mary+(I)
Learn more about the classic films of Hollywood at http://darkHollywood.com
Doe Says Big Screen Roswell Almost Certain
Hollywood December 31, 2002 (eXoNews) - The Dark Horizons Web site has been stirring up rumors of a feature version of Roswell, the cult-fav TV series due to begin daily reruns on Sci Fi Channel January 13th.
A DH contributor asked actor and musician John Doe about the rumors and said Doe confirmed that the feature was "looking like almost a certainty, he said he's already agreed to do it but did quietly say don't be surprised if all the 'kids' don't come back for it."
John Doe plays Liz's father on Roswell and founded the legendary LA punk band X. [FYI, not to be confused with Gary Cooper or the current John Doe on Fox. Ed.]
Sci Fi Wire is running a survey this week to see which of the Roswell teens readers would most like to be abducted by. At press time, Majandra Delfino (Maria) was trouncing her alien counterparts soundly with 41% after 13,201 votes. No big surprise to see Brendan Fehr (Michael) following her with 30% of the vote.
Nick Wechsler (Kyle) was coming in third with 12%.
Official Unofficial Roswell site - http://www.crashdown.com
Sci Fi's Roswell site - http://www.scifi.com/roswell
Dark Horizons - http://www.darkhorizons.com
Sir Ridley Scott
LONDON December 31, 2002 (AP) - New Year's Eve proved a good knight for the movies. Director Ridley Scott and actor Alan Bates received knighthoods Tuesday in a New Year's list honoring Britons from all walks of life for contributions to their professions and to charity.
Recipients honored by Queen Elizabeth II range from stage and screen stars to a beekeeper, a cleaner and a creator of crossword puzzles. British-born Scott, 65 -- director of celluloid spectaculars including "Alien," "Blade Runner" and the quintuple Academy Award winner "Gladiator" -- was honored for services to filmmaking.
As a knight, he will be known as Sir Ridley Scott.
Bates, 68, burst onto the London stage in John Osborne's "Look Back in Anger" in 1956 went on to become one of the country's biggest stars.
He won a Tony award this year for his role in "Fortune's Fool" on Broadway and recently appeared in the films "Gosford Park" and "Evelyn."
The honors are officially bestowed by Queen Elizabeth II but largely selected by the government. Almost half of those honored were nominated by members of the public. Actor Brian Cox was named Commander of the British Empire, or CBE.
Theater and film director Michael Blakemore was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, or OBE, as was film designer Stuart Craig -- who brought Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to life in the Harry Potter films.
There were OBEs for actors Edward Fox, Jean Simmons -- Ophelia in Laurence Olivier's 1948 "Hamlet" -- and Brenda Blethyn, the Oscar-nominated star of "Secrets and Lies."
In descending order, the honors are knighthoods, CBE, Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and OBE. Those who are awarded CBEs, OBEs and MBEs have no title but can put the letters after their names.
Baby-biting Photos Will Air
By Mimi Turner
LONDON December 31, 2002 (Hollywood Reporter) - Channel 4 was braced for widespread criticism after it said Monday that it is pressing ahead with plans to air a program showing still photographs of a Chinese performance artist eating the flesh of a stillborn baby.
The programming choice signals a major shift under new chief executive Mark Thompson, a strategy that aims to shed the stylish image created by former chief executive Michael Jackson and return to the taboo-breaking profile it enjoyed upon its launch 20 years ago.
The network, which airs such blue-chip U.S. shows as "The West Wing," "ER," "Sex and the City" and "Dawson's Creek," will air the scenes as part of a documentary on the Chinese underground art scene, due to screen at 11:05 p.m. Thursday.
The program shows five color photographic stills of performance artist Zhu Yu washing the body of a dead infant and then biting into its flesh. Reflecting Channel 4's new emphasis on edgier fare, the show airs just a month after hundreds of viewers complained about the channel's broadcast of a live autopsy in front of an audience of more than 200 paying spectators.
Push Team Tries LA
LOS ANGELES December 30, 2002 (Zap2it.com) - The company that produced the short-lived "Push, Nevada" is re-teaming with ABC -- and moving a bit farther west.
LivePlanet, the production outfit headed by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, is working on a new drama, tentatively titled "Los Angeles," for the network, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Rather than the interactive mystery of "Push," the new show will be a straight drama.
The project, from writer Zack Helm, is in the early stages of development. It will focus on nine people whose lives become entwined through a series of seemingly random events. Helm will serve as an executive producer with LivePlanet's Sean Bailey and Chris Moore.
ABC's Disney sibling Touchstone TV will co-produce the show.
"Push, Nevada," which embedded clues to a $1 million-plus prize in its episodes, got creamed by CBS' "CSI" and NBC's comedy lineup at 9 p.m. Thursdays earlier this season. It lasted just seven episodes, stuffing the remaining clues into the final airing.
LivePlanet is also producing a second edition of "Project Greenlight," the HBO series that documents the production of a movie by first-time writers and directors who win a contest.
Top SF Characters Ranked
Hollywood December 30, 2002 (Sci Fi Wire) - SFX magazine has published a list of the top 10 science-fiction characters of all time, as determined by a poll of readers. The results of the poll include four characters from UPN's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, two from the SCI FI Channel's Farscape and two from Star Wars.
The number one spot went to British SF legend Doctor Who. The complete top 10 list:
The Top Ten
1. Doctor Who (Doctor Who)
2. Spike (Buffy)
3. Buffy Summers (Buffy)
4. John Crichton (Farscape)
5. Aeryn Sun (Farscape)
6. Han Solo (the Star Wars saga)
7. Willow Rosenberg (Buffy)
8. Darth Vader ( Star Wars)
9. Angel (Angel and Buffy)
10. Gandalf (Lord of the Rings)
Top to bottom:
Tom Baker as the 5th Doctor,
James Marsters as Spike and
Claudia Black as Aeryn Sun (center)
with other Farscape alien chicks.
Angelina Jolie Visits Kosovo With NATO
PRISTINA, Yugoslavia December 31, 2002 (AP) - Angelina Jolie visited with Kosovo's minority community, along with NATO peacekeepers and local leaders, during a three-day visit to the troubled region.
The Oscar-winning actress, who is a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said she was troubled by the conditions of minorities there.
"People think that when a war is over, everything goes back to normal," Jolie said Monday, after her visit concluded. "But in Kosovo, the security situation remains questionable for minorities."
Kosovo, legally part of Yugoslavia, has been run by the United Nations and NATO since 1999, when the alliance bombed Serb troops loyal to former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to stop their crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.
Some 200,000 Serbs and other minorities have left the province, fearing attacks avenging the crackdown, which killed thousands of ethnic Albanians. Only a few thousand of the displaced Serbs have returned, and those who remain live mainly in NATO-guarded enclaves.
Jolie visited the area of Kosovo's capital, Pristina, and the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, which remains a hotbed of tension.
The 27-year-old actress, who was appointed goodwill ambassador in 2001, has visited refugee camps in several regions, including Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Pakistan. She plans to return to Kosovo in the spring.
United Nations High Commission for Refugees Web site: http://www.unhcr.ch/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home