Godzilla Meat,
Sunken Treasures,
Haley's Comets,
Mozart's Death!
Godzilla Meat Going on Sale

TOKYO June 12, 2001 (AP) — Japan's best-known monster, Godzilla, is coming to stores soon — canned.

"Godzilla Meat,'' actually 3.5 ounces of corned beef from Tokyo toy maker Takara Co., is packaged with pictures of the stomping, fire-breathing, irradiated dinosaur made famous by Toho movies that started coming out in the 1950s.

"People can eat Godzilla and become energetic and powerful. It's got dreams mixed in with fun,'' Takara spokeswoman Yoko Watanabe said Tuesday. "It's like Popeye and his can of spinach.''

The cans, slated to appear in Japanese stores in October, will sell for $4.75, Takara said.

There are no plans so far to export Godzilla Meat, according to Takara, the maker of the Transformers toys.

Also planned for sale in Japan this fall are Godzilla Eggs, a can of about 15 quail eggs, and Radon Meat, canned barbecued chicken named after the winged monster.

Takara also plans to sell King Ghidora Meat, but buyers will find the taste of the three-headed dragon-like creature suspiciously like Godzilla Meat — it's the same corned beef inside.

House Leader Presses Ashcroft on FBI Carnivore Surveillance

WASHINGTON June 14, 2001 (Reuters) — House Majority leader Dick Armey may seek U.S. Justice Department budget cuts to curb the use of the FBI e-mail surveillance tool formerly known as Carnivore, a spokesman said on Thursday.

“If necessary he would consider using Congress’s power of the purse to pull the plug on Carnivore,” said the aide, Richard Diamond.

At issue is specialized software used by the FBI for court-authorized tracking of a criminal suspect’s online communications with the cooperation of an Internet service provider. Unlike other court-ordered electronic surveillance tools, Carnivore, as it is still widely known, gives law enforcers access to the communications of all the service provider’s customers, critics have charged. In a letter earlier in the day, Armey, a Texas Republican, urged Attorney General John Ashcroft to rethink the program, which he inherited from the Clinton administration.

“I respectfully ask that you consider the serious constitutional questions Carnivore has raised and respond with how you intend to address them,” Armey wrote. He cited a decision on Monday by the Supreme Court restricting drug-hunting police officers’ use of thermal-imaging technology to peer inside a suspect’s home unless they first obtain a warrant.

The court’s 5-4 ruling was a setback for the Justice Department, which had argued the use of a thermal imager to scan a home’s heat patterns was not covered by Fourth Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure.

As a result, Armey said it was reasonable to ask whether Carnivore “similarly undermines the minimum expectation that individuals have that their personal communications will not be examined by law enforcement devices unless a specific court warrant has been issued.”

Chris Watney, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said Ashcroft was “very concerned about this issue and is reviewing it.” She said he would respond directly to Armey.

Ashcroft, like Armey, is widely regarded as a strong advocate of privacy rights. He has been studying a Justice Department task force’s report on possible changes to the system which the FBI has renamed DCS-1000, a name spokesman Paul Bresson said did not signify anything in particular. Watney said she had no indication when Ashcroft would decide what, if anything, to do about the system. The in-house task force was assembled by Ashcroft’s predecessor, Janet Reno, under pressure from Armey and other lawmakers.

Swiss Scientists Announce Discovery of Mars Meteorite
BERN, Switzerland June 15, 2001 (AP) - Swiss scientists announced that they have discovered a Mars meteorite in the desert of Oman, one of only 18 bits of rock ever found on Earth from the red planet.

A team of researchers based at the University of Bern said Friday the half-pound rock, formed from molten lava, would contribute to rapidly growing knowledge of Mars.

"Since the announcement of possible traces of life in the Antarctic Mars meteorite ALH84001 in 1996, Mars research has boomed," a statement said.

That rock, also known as Allen Hills 84001, was found near the South Pole, as were other Mars meteorites before scientists started looking hard in deserts in recent years.

Some researchers suggested Allen Hills contained fossilized remains of extraterrestrial life, but "the arguments presented in 1996 are hardly taken as solid evidence today," the Bern statement said.

The team said X-ray tomography of the new rock had shown a surprising number of hollow pockets inside. Team member Marc Hauser, a geologist, said those pockets could contain clues about Mars and whether there is life on the planet.

Hauser told The Associated Press that it would take several months before any initial conclusions can be drawn.

The new meteorite has been named Sayh al Uhaymir 094 after the region of desert where the team found it and more than 180 other meteorites last January and February.

The team said they and other scientists were able to determine that their meteorite is from Mars by a range of analysis of tiny fragments and the whole rock.

"The nature of the minerals as well as their composition clearly demonstration that SaU094 is a Mars meteorite," the statement said, adding that "the origin from Mars is supported by measurements of oxygen isotopes" by a researcher in Britain.

They said the rock had been formed from molten lava, similar to volcanic rocks on Earth.
Looting A Lost Civilization

Las Milpas, Belize June 7, 2001 (San Francisco Chronicle)-- It looked like an odd-shaped hill in the jungle, until the looters' tunnels came into view. At the end of the biggest tunnel there was a hollow chamber, the ceiling burnt black by the thieves' fiery torches, in what was once a Maya pyramid.

This is Las Milpas, a ninth century Maya ceremonial center of 11 plazas and about 50 structures that was long ago reclaimed by the jungle. The archaeologists were beaten to the site by fortune hunters, who probably found the skeleton of a Maya king or priest decked out in jade jewelry, with pots and bowls laid out beside him. The bowls would have been painted with hieroglyphics intended to remind the spirit of the dead what he had done in his life and provide him with directions to the afterlife.

These days, more and more tourists from the United States and Europe are visiting Maya cities that have been excavated and restored: Chichen Itza and Palenque in Mexico, Tikal in Guatemala and Copan in Honduras.

But as the international appetite for Maya culture grows, so has the hunger for illegal artifacts. In fact, researchers are involved in a race against time with increasingly tenacious looters.

In the past two decades, scholars have cracked the complex hieroglyphic code of the Maya, shedding light on an advanced civilization whose astrologers and mathematicians used the zero before their European counterparts.

The Maya disappeared in the 11th century and scholars are uncertain why, offering a range of theories, including drought, war and disease. But with so much looting going on, the cause of the Maya civilization's demise may never be revealed.

In Belize and Guatemala, scientists are hoping to reach huge ruins that have been largely unexplored. Satellite images show that the region could have 4,000 undiscovered sites.

On both sides of the border, looting has become a lucrative illegal trade, second only to drugs. In 1997, Richard D. Hansen, a University of California at Los Angeles archaeologist who has been documenting looting in Guatemala estimated the annual trade at $120 million. The problem is compounded by the extreme poverty of the majority of the population of Guatemala, especially in the Peten region, where Maya sites are concentrated.

Treasure hunters typically covet jade jewelry, inscribed pottery, sacrificial altars and stelae -- man-sized stone slabs, carved with images of kings and their achievements.

"Just to give you an idea of what Maya artifacts are worth, there was a Sotheby's (London auction house) sale in 1990, where a common polychrome vase went for $5,000, a jade necklace for $13,000 and a pair of zoomorphs (limestone carvings of deities in animal form) for $230,000," said George Thompson, the commissioner of the Belize government's Department of Archaeology. "Now, the prices are much higher."

Thompson says a large portion of stolen artifacts make their way to the United States and Europe via Cancun, a Mexican resort city. The smuggling occurs even though importation of looted treasures into the United States is prohibited under a 1983 federal law that obligates the U.S. government to observe a UNESCO convention. A little-known State Department agency -- the Cultural Property Advisory Committee -- is supposed to keep Americans from buying antiquities.

Since Guatemala is a major transshipment point for Colombian cocaine and heroin, the same criminal drug organizations have moved into the business of looting Maya treasure, observers say.

"There is a relationship between smuggling (artifacts) and narcotics trafficking," said former Guatemalan Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Juan de Dios Estrada.

The entry of organized crime has increased the violence associated with smuggling. Last year, 14 artifacts were stolen from a museum at the Maya city of Cahal Pech in Belize. Arrests were made and half of the stolen pieces were recovered due to information given by a museum employee. The day before the man was scheduled to testify in court, he was assassinated.

In Belize, a tiny nation with few resources, the police rely on archaeologists to investigate such theft. Guatemala, on the other hand, has a special police investigation unit.

Inspector Victor Manuel Salazar, who heads the Police Patrimonial and Environmental Department, concedes that his 17 agents have made little headway -- they arrested only one suspect last year. Salazar says smugglers are not only well-organized and well-armed, but enjoy protection from powerful politicians and ex-military officers.

"There have been cases that we have been told to drop," said Salazar from his tiny downtown office in Guatemala City. "So our arrest record is not good."

Four years ago, former Gen. Cesar Augusto Garcia was fired as Guatemala's vice minister of defense after being accused of being part of a smuggling ring allegedly headed by Alfredo Moreno, an ex-military intelligence officer. Sixteen other officials, including three colonels, police officers and customs officials were also dismissed.

Some former leftist guerrillas are also looters, according to archaeologists and Belizean military sources. Although Guatemala's bloody 36- year civil war ended in 1996, some armed rebels have found few ways of earning a living, they say.

Valentino Castillo has tended to the ruins at Caracol, a Maya site in Belize, for more than 30 years. Two years ago, he saw seven looters armed with AK-47 assault rifles and wearing guerrilla uniforms.

"I climbed a tree, because there was no way I was going to challenge those men," said the elderly worker as he wrung his gnarled hands.

Castillo also complained about those he calls "legal looters" -- foreign archaeologists. He says they are supposed to turn over everything they find to the nation's Archaeological Commission, but when a tomb is found they sometimes send workers away.

"But I used to sneak back at night, and the stuff I saw was never handed over or cataloged," said Castillo.

At the very least, foreign scientists have helped create future looters by hiring laborers to help them with the excavations, said Thompson.

"These guys (laborers) know where to look. They know the astrological alignments the Maya used when laying out their buildings, so they know where to dig the trenches," said Thompson. "These teams can loot a building in a couple of days with just picks, shovels and candles."

Bush Aide With Intel Stock Met With Executives Pushing Merger

WASHINGTON June 13, 2001 — President Bush's top adviser, Karl Rove, who owned more than $100,000 of stock in Intel Corporation, met in March with the company's chief executive and two lobbyists as they pushed for federal approval of a corporate merger. The administration approved the deal less than two months later.

White House officials said that Mr. Rove referred the executives to others in the administration and that he played no part in the approval. The officials said Mr. Rove did not recall raising the issue with the president.

"He offered no advice or counsel with regard to this decision," said Dan Bartlett, a White House spokesman. Mr. Rove continued to receive copies of correspondence from Intel and its trade group until the decision was made in early May, documents show.

Mr. Rove sold all of his stock last Thursday, unloading a portfolio of holdings in defense, technology, energy and banking companies valued at between $1 million and $2.5 million.

Some legal experts said Mr. Rove should have removed himself from the discussion with Intel to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest under federal ethics laws. Those laws prohibit an official with an economic interest in a decision from participating in recommendations, advice or rulings.

Intel's chief lobbyist, Jim Jarrett, said that he, another lobbyist and the company's chief executive, Craig Barrett, met separately on March 12 with Mr. Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney at the White House. The meetings, requested by Intel, also covered Mr. Bush's energy, tax cut and education plans and were "quite useful" in the effort to win federal approval of the merger between one of Intel's United States suppliers and a Dutch company, Mr. Jarrett said.

The deal was subject to government approval because it involved foreign ownership of a United States computer company whose sensitive technology is relied upon by the military.

"I don't know that you can say that any one meeting tips the balance, but certainly when the C.E.O. comes to call and makes this one of his priorities, it demonstrates to him that we think it's important," Mr. Jarrett said.

Company executives said that they were unaware that Mr. Rove owned between $100,000 and $250,000 in Intel stock at the time.

The only way Mr. Rove could have avoided violating federal ethics laws was "if he were truly mute and he offered no comment then or later" on the Intel matter, said Stephen Gillers, a professor of law at New York University.

Creating a blind trust or divesting months earlier should have been a "no-brainer," said Sheldon Cohen, who set up the first presidential blind trust, in 1963, for President Lyndon Johnson.

A White House spokeswoman, Anne Womack, said that Mr. Rove decided last December to sell his stocks but was advised in January by the Bush transition counsel, Fred Fielding, that he should wait. Ms. Womack said that Mr. Fielding suggested the White House counsel's office should obtain a government certificate of divestiture that would allow Mr. Rove to defer paying capital gains taxes on the stock sales.

White House officials said the request for the certificate was delayed because the counsel's office was inundated with the work of a new administration, like arranging security clearances for nominees and developing employee ethics standards.

During that time, the value of Mr. Rove's stock fell about 20 percent and then recovered. An Associated Press analysis of stock prices indicates the stocks that Mr. Rove valued on his ethics form last December at between $1.2 million and $2.8 million had dropped in value to between $896,000 and $2.2 million by mid- March. At the time he sold, they were between $1 million and $2.5 million.

Conservatives Oppose End to Navy Bombing on Vieques Island
Associated Press

WASHINGTON June 15, 2001 (AP) - President Bush's plan to end Navy bombing exercises on Puerto Rico's Vieques Island is generating strong opposition from conservative Republicans, who say Congress can block the proposal.

The lives of military personnel would be endangered if the Navy stops the exercises and opponents at other training sites would only pick up steam if Bush's proposal stands, GOP lawmakers told reporters Thursday.

Rep. Bob Stump, R-Ariz., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said he will conduct hearings on the proposal this month.

Bush announced Thursday in Goteborg, Sweden, that 60 years of Navy bombing exercises on the island would end in May 2003. That's when the military would have pulled out under an agreement between former President Clinton and Puerto Rico's former governor, Pedro Rossello, if Vieques voters decided in a November referendum to end the exercises.

The training has been unpopular with many Hispanic voters, leaving Bush with a political problem, but the criticism from GOP lawmakers has created a new dilemma for the White House. The lawmakers said any change in the November referendum - a plebiscite signed into law - would need approval from Congress.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said he "will do everything I can within my power to keep from changing the law so that we can go ahead with the November referendum and let the self-determination on the island of Vieques take place."

Inhofe said, "I see this as an issue that means American lives. We are going to lose other ranges if this range is lost."

Stump said he was "a little surprised today at the suddenness of the announcement" and called the proposal "a step in the wrong direction."

"We have other areas ... even within this country where there have been numerous complaints about our training around our bases, and I think once you give in to this type of action ... then we're inviting trouble in many other places," he said.

Democrats said Bush should end the bombing sooner. "I'm sorry that they seem to be putting it off for two years," House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., said.

A nonbinding referendum will be held later this year in Vieques, where protests against use of the island have become more intense. The island has more than 9,000 residents.

Sen. John Warner, R-Va., ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee and its former chairman, also called for Senate hearings but the new committee chairman, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., only would say he had taken the request under advisement.

Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, wondered what the United States should tell other countries that host U.S. training facilities.

"What do we tell them? We won't bomb on ours, but we'll bomb on yours?" Hansen said.

Speaking to reporters on his weeklong European tour, Bush said Thursday, "These are our friends and neighbors, and they don't want us there." He added: "The Navy ought to find somewhere else to conduct its exercises."

In Puerto Rico, Gov. Sila Calderon said she was satisfied by the announcement. "But we deplore that the intention to continue with the military exercises and bombings for two additional years," she said.

Pentagon officials want planning to begin now for an end to all exercises, possibly with appointment of a study panel to look at alternative sites and ways to train.

A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it is hoped such a panel would find a location that is similar while also switching to more simulated training.

At the Pentagon, officials said Bush's decision was a big disappointment. They were concerned that he did not await results of the November referendum on Vieques.
Watermelon News: Be There Or Be Square

Watermelon Given Heave-Ho in Messy Campus Tradition

Times Staff Writer

LA JOLLA CA June 9, 2001 (Los Angeles Times) - It shall be noted that Friday's 36th annual Watermelon Drop at UC San Diego was a good Watermelon Drop, although not a record-breaking one.

This is serious stuff. The Watermelon Drop is the oldest tradition on this youngish campus of tall trees and modern architecture.

It began in 1965 when physics professor Bob Swanson asked his students to calculate the terminal velocity and "splatter range"--the distance between where the watermelon hits and where the farthest seed is flung--of a watermelon dropped from the seventh floor of the science building.

From this physics-can-be-fun beginning has evolved an annual event that signals the end of spring quarter and the commencement of final exams.

University life, of course, is replete with contests that mix silliness with science: the egg-drop festival at Cal State Fullerton, the walk-on-water challenge at the University of San Diego, and Ditch Day at Cal Tech, among others.

At a campus like UC San Diego, where the brainpower is sizable--the average freshman enters with a 3.99 grade-point average--and the drive to succeed is intense, the Watermelon Drop, which is preceded by a Watermelon Festival and followed by a Watermelon Feed, is a needed diversion before the grimness of finals.

"It's a release," said history professor Michael Parrish from a vantage point well outside splatter range.

Even in their fun, however, UC San Diego students prefer to keep statistics and records and apply the scientific method. No sense going totally out of character.

At 79 feet 9 inches, the splatter range of the watermelon dropped on Friday fell far short of the record 1974 splat of 167 feet 4 inches. Truth be known, it was even short of the inaugural splat of 91 feet in 1965. The terminal velocity, as always, was 112 mph.

Debate immediately broke out among the assembled science majors about whether the shortfall is evidence that watermelon rinds are getting tougher or concrete is getting softer.

Seth Raphael, a freshman serving as Watermelon Queen, was suitably royal in watermelon helmet and seed-like facial paint. His watermelon magic act helped him best another candidate who performed watermelon karate, slicing a watermelon in half.

Still, only time will tell if Raphael wins a spot alongside Bill Clabby, the 1979 Watermelon Queen whose outrageously oversized sunglasses are remembered still.

"This is one final moment of fun before the crunch hits," said Raphael, who is alternating his academic interest between dramatic arts and computer science.

Hallie Taylor, a former UC San Diego student, returned to campus from West Virginia to watch her son reign over the Watermelon Drop. She took pictures lest her neighbors refuse to believe what college students do in California.

Unfortunately, the Watermelon Queen's release of the oval-shaped fruit from the top of Urey Hall was somewhat short of the announced time of 10 minutes past noon. As a result, some students who had scurried across this expansive campus arrived when the pulpy fruit was already spread across the concrete.

"Outrageous," said freshman Sam Litvin, clutching a copy of Boccaccio's "Decameron"--that sometimes somber, sometimes licentious tale of love and Black Death that has long been an undergraduate favorite.

Some students watched the drop as they paused between classes; others arrived early and waited patiently.

Steve Bond, a researcher in the computational chemistry department, was there to check his calculation that it would take 2.25 seconds for the fruit to hit the pavement. Other people were just intrigued with the spectacle.

"I just wanted to see something go splat," said Keith Conrad, assistant professor of mathematics.

Treasures of Sunken Egyptian Port Revealed

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt June 7, 2001 (Reuters) - Colossal statues, sunken ships, gold coins and jewelry are among the treasures newly uncovered by a French marine archaeologist in the submerged ancient city of Heracleion off the Egyptian coast.

"History is materializing in our hands,'' Egypt's Culture Minister Farouk Hosni told a news conference in nearby Alexandria on Thursday at which Franck Goddio presented the results of what he called a "very special year'' of excavation.

Goddio announced the discovery of the city itself a year ago. The archaeologist believes Heracleion, recorded as a key port at the mouth of the Nile in ancient times, was destroyed by an earthquake or similar, sudden catastrophic event. The Frenchman has been documenting and mapping the antiquities discovered by his team of divers at the site four miles from the shores of Aboukir Bay with the help of advanced electronic technology.

Among the most remarkable is an intact black granite stele, or inscribed slab, almost identical to one found in 1899 that now reposes in Cairo's Egyptian Museum. Both feature an edict of Pharaoh Nektanebos the First (378-362 BC) imposing a 10 percent levy on Greek goods in favor of a temple to the goddess Neith.

The one found more than a century ago orders the stele to be erected in the town of Naukratis. That discovered by Goddio says it should be installed at "Heracleion-Thonis.''

The perfectly preserved stele, 6-1/2 feet high, thus bolsters the case for identifying the ruined city as Egypt's Heracleion, once more the stuff of legend than history. It is not to be confused with a city of the same name on Crete.


The Greek historian Diodor recounts how Heracles, the mythic son of the supreme god Zeus and known as Hercules in Latin, dammed a Nile flood, setting the river back in its course. Local people built him a temple and called the town Heracleion.

According to Herodotus, another Greek historian, Helen of Troy and her lover Paris fled to Heracleion to escape Helen's husband Menelaus, but were rebuffed by Thonis, the watchman at the entrance to the Nile who had moral qualms.

Ancient texts speak of the city as the port of entry to Egypt and major customs post at the mouth of the Nile before Alexandria itself was founded in 331 BC -- and before the Nile itself changed course.

Goddio showed an electronic image of the site with a deep blue stripe that he said indicated the old Nile river bed running next to the submerged city.

Goddio's team found three huge pink granite statues -- one of the Nile god Hapi, the others of an unidentified pharaoh and queen -- in pieces near the remains of some thick walls.

They lay on the seabed near a granite shrine, or naos, with hieroglyphics from the Ptolemaic era -- the last three centuries BC -- showing that it was the sanctuary in a temple to the supreme god Amun, apparently the great temple of Heracleion.


Goddio believes a natural disaster, such as an earthquake, destroyed Heracleion, which would explain why none of the artifacts found date from later than the first century BC.

"During the electronic survey, we had evidence, a very strong nuclear resonance magnetic image, which shows there was some seismic fault right on the spot of Heracleion,'' he said.

"It was obvious that there was a lot of buried ruins and vestiges in that spot.''

He said his team had been surprised to find that despite lying beneath the sea for centuries, remains such as a wall 150 yards long and 1.25 yards wide were very well preserved under a layer of sediment.

Divers had located other objects using a special acoustic device accurate to a centimeter (half an inch).

This had enabled them to uncover superb artifacts ranging from bronze vessels to gold coins and jewelry. Among the finest were a glazed Attic bowl and gold earrings, both from the fourth century BC, as well as an incense burner and hundreds of coins, mostly from the late pharaonic and Ptolemaic periods.

Ten closely bunched shipwrecks indicated the location of Heracleion's once-teeming harbor and its calamitous fate.

"Obviously this could have happened only because of a major tidal wave,'' Goddio said.

Goddio, who heads the Paris-based Institute of Underwater Archaeology, said a huge stone fragment, found not far from the temple, was one of 15 that made up one of the biggest stele ever found in Egypt, covered with hieroglyphics and Greek inscriptions from Cleopatra's time in the first century BC.

"It will take quite a lot of months to read and interpret this stele but it will most probably bring a lot of information about this period,'' he said.

Gaballa Ali Gaballa, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, described Goddio's discoveries as a ''dream come true'' and called for a comprehensive survey of Egypt's Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts to map antiquities and guide researchers.

Orphans Learn of Stuttering Experiments Decades Later
MORAGA, CA June 11, 2001 (AP) - For four months near the end of the Great Depression, Mary Tudor gave a handful of children at an Iowa orphanage a lesson they would never forget - she taught them to stutter.

The experiment eventually led to a theory that helped thousands of children overcome the speech impediment. But it also condemned some of the children in Tudor's class to lives as outcasts and misfits.

A lifetime later, the private story of 22 orphans who unwittingly submitted to the experiment has been examined through an investigation by the San Jose Mercury News, which reported on its findings Sunday and Monday.

Tudor, then an eager graduate student at the University of Iowa, is now 84-year-old Mary Tudor Jacobs, a retired speech therapist who lives in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Moraga. Her subjects, at least 13 of whom are still alive, learned of the experiment only this spring when the Mercury News contacted them.

Decades ago, the orphans saw Tudor as a benefactor, whose visits provided a break from the privation of the Iowa Soldiers' Orphans' Home in Davenport.

Now, some call her "The Monster."

"It's affected me right now," says Mary Korlaske, now 74. "I don't like to read out loud because I'm afraid of making a mistake. I don't like talking to people because of saying the wrong word."

The experiment was designed by Tudor's professor, Dr. Wendell Johnson, who went on to become one of the nation's most prominent speech pathologists.

Johnson theorized that stuttering was not an inborn condition but something children learned from parents who seized on minor speech imperfections. As children became acutely aware of their speech, he believed, they could not help but stutter.

Results from the experiment Tudor conducted for Johnson from January into May 1939 seemed to prove his theory. The protocol was simple: the children were divided into two groups of 11, with one group labeled normal speakers and given positive speech therapy, and the other group induced to stutter.

Eight of the orphans Tudor badgered about their speech - even if it was nearly flawless at first - became chronic stutterers.

Johnson, himself a chronic stutterer, never disclosed the orphan experiments although he used evidence from them to reach his conclusions. As the world learned of Nazi medical experiments on living subjects, Johnson's peers warned him the research could destroy his career.

Still, until the 1970s Johnson's work was speech therapy orthodoxy and even today the orphan experiment underlies the popular view that positive reinforcement is the best therapy for children with speech problems.

Johnson died in 1965 at the age of 59. In 1968, the University of Iowa founded the Wendell Johnson Speech and Hearing Center, which remains one of the nation's leading institutes for speech pathology and audiology.

Tudor doesn't know how her professor regarded the treatment of the orphans, but she has strong feelings.

"I didn't like what I was doing to those children," Tudor told the Mercury News. "It was a hard, terrible thing. Today, I probably would have challenged it. Back then you did what you were told."

Tudor returned to the orphanage three times to try to reverse the stuttering therapy during the 1940s. Johnson apparently did nothing else to try to reverse the damage.

Stuttering, to the one in 100 who stutter, is disabling, drawing torment from children and doubt from adults. And it still baffles the experts who try to treat it.

Baffled - and angry - is how many of Tudor's subjects feel today.

"There but for the grace of God, I could have been placed in an experimental group," said Donna Lee Hughes Collings, who had been a normal speaker in a control group and therefore suffered no damage. "It could have been my life that was destroyed."

Three months ago, Tudor received a letter from Korlaske, now Mary Korlaske Nixon. The letter, full of misspelled words seemingly scratched in fits and bursts, called her "monster" and "Nazi."

"I remember your face, how kind you were and you looked like my mother," she wrote. "But you were ther to destroy my life. ... I have nothing left. You stolen my life away from me."

Korlaske told the Mercury News she eventually married a man who helped her piece together her self-confidence, but she resumed stuttering after he died in 1999. She moved into the Iowa Veterans' Home and placed a "Do Not Disturb" sign on her door, venturing out only on rare occasions.

Johnson's use of orphans was not unique. In the early 1900s, physicians in North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio injected dozens of orphans with syphilis and tuberculosis. Researchers at the University of Iowa had already conducted other projects using orphans from the Davenport home, one a decades-long study to see if children who remained in the unstimulating orphanage had a greater chance of being developmentally retarded than children placed in a special preschool.

A few speech pathologists have been aware of Johnson's stuttering experiment. Most agree that it changed the way people regarded stutterers and opened the door to effective new therapies.

"Today we might disagree with what he did, but in those days it was fully within the norms of the time," said Duane Spriestersbach, a close colleague of Johnson who went on to become a professor of speech pathology at the University of Iowa.

Johnson "was an extremely ethical and moral person, and if something happened to those children it was because of something he did not foresee," said another of Johnson's proteges, Bill Trotter, now a retired Marquette professor.

Tudor remains deeply ambivalent about the experiment.

"Look at the countless number of children it helped," she told the Mercury News.

And yet she can't forget how the orphans greeted her, running to her car and helping her carry in materials for the experiment.

"That was the pitiful part," she said. "That I got them to trust me and then I did this horrible thing to them."
Flatfaced Skeleton Alters Human Evolution

by Dick Ahlstrom

June 7, 2001 (The Irish Times) - Scientists will have to rewrite the story of human ancestry follow ing the discovery of a 3.5 million year old "missing link". Recovered in Kenya, the fossil skull has modern features including a flat face and much smaller teeth than other apelike ancestors.

Research assistant Mr Justus Erus made the find while working with members of the Leakey family, near the Lomekwi River in northern Kenya. Christened Kenyanthropus platyops, the flat-faced man of Kenya, the skull featured in a science journal, Nature.

The near complete skull is battered and weathered but clearly is a new breed of early human. It is the oldest near complete human skull. The skull is 3.2 million years to 3.5 million years old. It was recovered in 1999 during field work sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

Its discovery has profound implications for our understanding of human ancestry according to Dr Maeve Leakey. Scientists believed for the past 20 years that there was a single common ancestor which led to successive hominid species.

The common link was Australopithecus afarensis, a species made famous by the partial Ethiopian skeleton discovered in 1974, christened "Lucy". Lucy was able to walk upright, but was ape-like with projecting mouth and heavy brow. The new skull, Kenyan thropus, has a much flatter face and raised cheek bones. The brow is smaller and has quite small molars compared to Lucy and her later relatives.

"Kenyanthropus shows persuasively that at least two lineages existed as far back as 3.5 million years. The early stages of human evolution are more complex than we previously thought," Dr Maeve Leakey said.

Palaeontologists can infer much from the ancient African fossils. Lucy's hip joints showed that she walked upright although powerful upper limbs suggested an expert tree climber.

Tooth size and face shape relate to the way a species chews its food, Dr Leakey pointed out. The stark differences between the two fossil skulls suggests entirely different diets and could have co-existed without competition for food resources.

Kenyanthropus looked different than hominids about at the time, with remarkably human features. It still had a long way to go in terms of brain power however, with a brain case no bigger than a modern chimp.

This find may also bring the reclassification of other fossil finds. Kenyanthropus is very similar to the skull KNM-ER 1470, discovered in the 1970s by Richard Leakey and colleagues on the eastern shore of Lake Turkana and named Homo rudolfensis.

Goldfish Gone In Blazing Farewell
London Times

Oxfordshire June 15, 2001 (London Times) - There was something distinctly fishy about a fire that sent 26 people to hospital. Now investigators have named a goldfish bowl as the cause of the blaze.

Fire officers suspect that the water-filled bowl may have acted as a magnifying glass, concentrating the sun’s rays shining through a window in Oxfordshire and creating enough heat to start a fire in a nearby garden shed that contained potentially noxious chemicals.

Three sheds and a neighbouring house were damaged in the blaze in Berinfield. The two goldfish in the bowl also died.

The sun’s rays are thought to have entered the window of one shed, where a rat catcher kept the fish, passed through their bowl and bounced out at greatly increased intensity into the window of an adjoining shed where chemicals were kept. The rat catcher used the second shed to store tablets of aluminium phosphide, whose function is to kill moles and other vermin.

The tablets, which smell of garlic and rotting fish, gave off fumes when drenched by the firefighters’ hoses. Eighteen firefighters, four paramedics and four neighbours were taken to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford suffering from vomiting, nausea, burning chest sensations and sore mouths. All were detained overnight but released yesterday.

Lawrie Booth, assistant chief fire officer, said: “It is an extremely unusual cause of fire — a million-to-one chance. We are investigating it as one possible source.”
Bill Haley's Comets Still Rockin'
Associated Press Writer

LARGO, FL June 13, 2001 (AP) — Nearly half a century after "Rock Around the Clock'' helped give birth to rock 'n' roll, original band members from Bill Haley and His Comets are still rockin'.

The musicians, now in their 60s and 70s, may be slowed by age, but these retirees still have the beat, occasionally touring around the world.

"We were the band that created the sound,'' says Marshall Lytle, at 67 the youngest of the group known as The Original Comets. "When people say, 'You sound just like Bill Haley's Comets,' I say, 'That's who we are.'''

Lytle, on bass, still does his signature high-energy performance of the mid-1950s. He jumps and stands on the 20-pound fiddle and hurls it into the air during concerts.

Today, he owns a home decor shop with his wife, Jeanne, in Largo, near Tampa, and gets together with his bandmates for concert tours in the United States and Europe several times a year.

His desk in a corner of the store is like a shrine to rock 'n' roll. On the wall, there are gold records, signed photographs of the group, then and now. There's also an orange banner reading "You're never too old to rock,'' and a copy of a 1955 flier from a Tulsa, Okla., concert that has Haley and the Comets headlining — and Elvis Presley as just another act.

It doesn't take much coaxing to get Lytle to break into song and start snapping his fingers and tapping his feet.

"Rock 'n' roll is the fountain of youth,'' says 77-year-old drummer Dick Richards of Ocean City, N.J. "You get on stage, see all those people out there, it makes you 18, 19 years old again. I don't know anything that can beat that high.''

Lytle, Richards, sax player Joey Ambrose, 67, of Las Vegas, and keyboardist Johnny Grande, 71, of Nashville, Tenn., all were members of Haley's band when they recorded "Rock Around the Clock.'' The 1954 recording went on to become the anthem of rock 'n' roll.

They make up The Original Comets, along with guitarist Franny Beecher, 79, of Norristown, Pa. Beecher, who played with Benny Goodman's swing band in the late 1940s, joined Haley in 1954 as lead electric guitar after the untimely death of original guitarist Danny Cedrone.

"My reward for recording "Rock Around the Clock'' was $41.25. That was the musician's scale for a three-hour recording session then,'' Lytle says.

The band had rehearsed "Rock Around the Clock'' in Haley's basement. When they got to the studio, the producer pushed "Thirteen Women'' as the A side of the Decca record. Haley and His Comets spent 2 1/2 hours on that song. They had to do the arrangement first, then the recording.

With only a half-hour left on the schedule they recorded "Rock Around the Clock'' as the B side in two quick takes.

"It didn't take off right away,'' Lytle says. "The record was put out promoting 'Thirteen Women.'''

"Shake, Rattle and Roll,'' recorded at a second session, became a hit first.

In 1955, "Rock Around the Clock'' was picked as the title track for the teen rebel movie "Blackboard Jungle'' after a producer heard the song blaring from his teen-age daughter's bedroom.

"It became an instant worldwide hit,'' Lytle says.

It shot to No. 1 on the charts, stayed for eight weeks and sold 22 million copies.

Bill Haley and His Comets were in demand to play ballrooms, arenas and concert stages worldwide. Fans mobbed them everywhere, once in Berlin trashing the stage and forcing them to an armory rooftop for safety.

They appeared on Milton Berle's television show, "The Ed Sullivan Show'' and "American Bandstand.''

Lytle gives much of the credit for success to the late James Myers, co-author of the song with Max C. Freedman. Myers, who owned a publishing company, never missed a chance to promote the song, for which he received handsome royalties. He got the song into 40 movies — and his Mercedes. When Myers tooted the horn on his car it played "Rock Around the Clock.''

Haley died in 1981.

Lytle, Richards and Ambrose had quit the band in 1955 to form the Jodimars, a name they made up using a combination of letters from their first names.

"We thought we could really knock them dead,'' Ambrose says. "We never really had a hit, but we did OK.''

Grande and Beecher stayed with Haley until 1962. In the late 1950s the sound and style changed as Elvis climbed the charts, then changed again as the Beatles exploded onto the music scene.

Eventually, all the original band members went their separate ways, getting jobs to support their families, some continuing to play weekends for the love of the music.

In 1987, they were asked to come to Philadelphia for a reunion of acts that had performed on "American Bandstand.''

"We hadn't seen each other in over 30 years. We walked right by each other in the hotel,'' Ambrose says. "We got together and rehearsed till we got it down good enough that we wouldn't make a fool of ourselves. And we got a standing ovation.''

Beecher says he was all for the reunion, which they all figured would be "a one-time thing.''

"We didn't intend to make a career of it,'' he says.

Since then the group has been back on tour playing festivals, fairs and concerts in Europe and the United States, with Londoner Jacko Buddin singing — he sounds a lot like Haley.

This time the retirees say it's not a whirlwind pace. They get to choose when and where they go.

"I'm asked if I ever think of giving it up,'' Beecher says.

"To do what — sit in a rocking chair? This is not like working everyday. It's more like a vacation.''


On the Net:


Democrats Criticize Bush Missile Defense System

Associated Press

WASHINGTON June 12, 2001 (AP) - The national missile defense system that President Bush is trying to promote to American allies during his current European tour was condemned by Democrats on Capitol Hill as unneeded and unworkable.

While lawmakers often mute their criticisms of a president when he is abroad, Rep. Tom Allen, D-Maine, said Tuesday the issue was too important to ignore, "particularly when the attention of the country and the attention of the world is focused."

Allen joined six other House Democrats and several anti-missile defense activist groups at a news conference to oppose Bush's proposal as ineffective, too expensive and a threat to national security. "It's based on the idea of build first, figure it out later," said Rep. Rush Holt, D-N.J., a physicist.

Building a limited anti-missile system to defend the nation against future threats from nations such as North Korea and Iran was one of Bush's main campaign promises, and the idea has an aggressive advocate in Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. They argue that those countries within five years may have missiles capable of hitting U.S. territory.

But the plan, which effectively scraps the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, is strongly opposed by China and Russia and faces a hard sell in Europe.

The Clinton administration approved funding for research into missile defense but put off a decision on putting a system into operation. Bush is committed to building the system and the $310 billion defense budget for fiscal 2002 includes $3.8 billion for various national missile defense projects.

That figure could grow when Rumsfeld submits a revised budget later this year reflecting an administration review of the nation's defense needs. Rumsfeld is also reportedly considering a small-scale defense system that would be based in Alaska and ready for deployment by the end of 2004.

Even if Bush persuades European leaders of the benefits of the system, he faces an uphill battle in Congress, particularly after the Democratic takeover of the Senate. New Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden, D-Del., is a skeptic, as is new Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D.

Daschle said last week he was "mystified" by the concept of spending up to $100 billion on a program that may not even work. "There is such a rush to deploy that I think it's going to be an embarrassment to them, to the country."

In the House as well, Democrats, and some Republicans, argue against spending billions on unproven technology when the country has more pressing needs. NMD, the acronym for national missile defense, "means no more dollars" for health care, education, prescription drug benefits and other needs, said Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif.

Bush Extends Russian Uranium Order
WASHINGTON June 13, 2001 (AP) — President Bush on Wednesday extended a federal order ensuring that money paid to Russia for uranium is not seized by creditors.

Until President Clinton signed the executive order in June 2000, Russia had feared creditors would seize the payments to settle unrelated debts.

Bush meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Slovenia on Saturday.

Clinton's order freed Russia to resume shipping low enriched uranium that has been "downblended'' after being taken from nuclear weapons stockpiles, so it can be used in U.S. commercial reactors.

The deal is a key part of American attempts to get Russia to dispose of nuclear weapons material so that it doesn't fall into the hands of terrorists or other rogue groups.

In his continuation order, Bush said it is a "major national security goal'' to guarantee that material removed from Russian nuclear weapons is used "for peaceful commercial uses, subject to transparency measures, and protected from diversion to activities of proliferation concern.''

Bush's budget proposed cutting the Energy Department's nonproliferation programs — including those aimed at helping Russia stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction — by $100 million from $874 million in the current year.

More than 1,000 tons of highly enriched uranium and 150 tons of plutonium still exist in the Russian nuclear complex, enough to build 60,000 to 80,000 weapons, according to former Sen. Sam Nunn, co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and a critic of Bush's budget cut.
Fabyan Took on Shakespeare and Gravity

Associated Press Writer

GENEVA, IL June 13, 2001 (AP) — On a laboratory wall 40 miles west of Chicago, a plaque reads simply: "To the memory of George Fabyan from a grateful government.''

The plaque at the Riverbank Acoustic Laboratory was presented several years ago by the National Security Agency, an organization that didn't exist when Col. George Fabyan died 65 years ago this month. And it doesn't specify what the government was being grateful for — which is probably understandable.

Just what do you say in thanks to a man who was best known for persuading a Chicago judge to rule that Sir Francis Bacon wrote the works of Shakespeare and for building an antigravity machine that never worked?

Fabyan, a millionaire cloth dealer, spent years and a small fortune pursuing both notions. His 300-acre estate, Riverbank, housed one of the world's first think tanks — staffed by cryptologists, geneticists and acoustic scientists. They didn't discover much to support Fabyan's theories, but inadvertently contributed to U.S. victory in both World Wars.

And Fabyan didn't seem to mind that his experts rarely found what he hired them to do. He seemed content with whatever they could generate — even notoriety.

That notoriety hit its high-water mark on April 21, 1916, when Judge Richard S. Tuthill issued a ruling on a lawsuit brought against Fabyan by motion picture producer William N. Selig, who was releasing a series of Shakespearean movies in conjunction with the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. Selig filed his lawsuit ostensibly to keep Fabyan from publishing a book that would use code analysis to prove Bacon was the true author of Shakespeare's plays.

After listening to Fabyan's cryptologists, Tuthill ruled: "This cipher convinces me that Bacon not only wrote the works attributed to Shakespeare, but also (Edmund) Spenser's best output, (Robert) Burton's 'Anatomy of Melancholy' and all of (Robert) Greene and (George) Peele.''

"Bacon must have been a very busy man!'' was the amused comment of a modern Shakespeare scholar, professor Gail Kern Paster of George Washington University and the Folger Shakespeare Library.

In 1916, Tuthill's ruling was front-page news in New York and London, but Chicago reporters greeted it cynically. They knew that Fabyan, Selig and Tuthill were all friends. They also knew the self-educated Tuthill had a love of showing up his college-trained colleagues on the bench. And, as a chancery court judge, he had no business ruling on a civil lawsuit in the first place.

The notion that it was a "put up job'' gained strength when Selig's assistant, Jack Wheeler, was questioned by the Chicago Tribune about the $5,000 damages his boss was ordered to pay.

"Isn't that sad?'' Wheeler wisecracked. "That will be about 9 million columns of publicity, won't it?''

Selig proceeded to release his movies, while court authorities reprimanded the 75-year-old Tuthill and voided his ruling.

It's not known precisely when Fabyan became interested in Bacon, but in 1912 or 1913 he arranged housing at Riverbank for Elizabeth Wells Gallup, a woman who claimed to have found ciphers in Shakespeare's plays, indicating that Bacon was their true author.

Such claims were nothing new, and had been the subject of at least one 19th-century best seller. But Gallup provided a new twist by saying she had found cryptographic evidence that Bacon was really the son of Queen Elizabeth I, and thereby the true heir to the English throne.

Bacon was known to have invented and used a "bilateral cipher'' which used two different typefaces in each message. Each set of five letters in the printed text represented one letter in the coded message. Using capital and lowercase letters, for example, "Aaaa'' might stand for "a,'' "aAaaa'' might be "b,'' and "aaAaa'' might be "c'' ... on through "aAaAA'' as "x,'' "aaAAA'' as "y,'' and "AAAAa'' as "z.''

In actual use, the cipher could be relatively subtle. The first line of "Macbeth'' — "When shall we three meet again?'' — could be printed in a combination of regular and italic letters to spell any five-letter encoded name, such as "Elvis.''

Since the earliest editions of Shakespeare's works were printed in a jumble of different typefaces, Fabyan thought there might be a glimmering of truth in Gallup's claims. He paid to have early Shakespeare editions and Bacon manuscripts sent from England for her use, and recruited a staff of clerks and had them trained in cryptography.

Fabyan read in one of Bacon's works a description of a levitation device that allegedly worked on acoustic principles. He built one, but couldn't get it to fly, so he sent to Harvard University for some acoustic experts to help him.

Fabyan also had some unrelated stock-breeding experiments in mind, so he hired a young Cornell University geneticist, William Friedman.

Friedman turned out to be the true find. He fell in love with cryptographer Elizebeth Smith, and taught himself her specialty in a matter of weeks. He soon proved capable of cracking Britain's most sophisticated field code at a speed that was previously believed impossible.

But as Friedeman improved the code-breaking, Gallup's anticipated breakthrough on the authorship question failed to occur. The cryptanalysis simply didn't find anything useful and Friedman began to suspect that no cipher existed.

The cryptology project might have dissolved had the United States not entered World War I in April 1917. The federal government had virtually no cryptographers, and Fabyan had plenty, so Riverbank became the NSA of its day. Newlyweds William and Elizebeth Friedman were soon cracking German and Mexican codes for the U.S. military and helping Scotland Yard expose anti-British agents in North America.

When the U.S. Army finally established its own Cipher Bureau, its first 88 officers were trained by Fabyan and the Friedmans at Riverbank. When they graduated, William Friedman took a commission himself and went to France.

The Friedmans returned to Riverbank briefly in 1920 and then entered government service.

William Friedman became the nation's top code breaker and led the successful effort to crack the Japanese codes before World War II. Elizebeth Friedman did her code breaking for the Coast Guard and the Treasury Department, and later established a secure communications system for the International Monetary Fund.

In 1955, the Friedmans returned to the Shakespeare question in their book, "The Shakespearean Ciphers Examined.'' Although they thanked Fabyan for encouraging code studies, they concluded that they began their careers seeking something that did not exist.

Fabyan died in 1936, without ever getting his Baconian levitating machine off the ground. But the building where it was housed, and where the plaque now hangs, is still a functioning research facility, specializing in architectural acoustics.

Scientists Discover the Dark Side of Vitamin C
Scripps Howard News Service

Pennsylvania June 14, 2001 (Scripps Howard) - Vitamin C, that champion antioxidant thought to guard against gene destruction, is also capable of producing DNA-damaging compounds, scientists have found.

Mutations caused by the compounds have been found in a variety of tumors, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania said.

The results of test-tube studies, published Friday in the journal Science, may help explain why vitamin C supplements have so far shown little effectiveness at preventing cancer in clinical trials.

Researchers stress that their study doesn't mean vitamin C causes cancer, either.

"It's possible that vitamin C isn't working in cancer-prevention studies because it's causing as much damage as it's preventing, although that's really speculation at this point," said Ian Blair, lead author and a researcher at the Center for Cancer Pharmacology at Penn, which supported the study along with the National Cancer Institute.

"What we can say is that vitamin C clearly doesn't work when you expect it to, and now we're in a position to see if that's what's happening in vivo (living cells)," Blair added.

Vitamin C is known to do good things in the body, including offering protection from free radicals, the biochemical equivalent of rust, that cause cellular damage as we age. Free radicals, formed constantly by the breakdown of oxygen in cells, have been implicated in heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, even wrinkled skin.

Some scientists have long recommended supplements of vitamin C to help ward off this damage and especially to prevent cancer. But the supplements' effectiveness has been widely questioned, with some studies showing that mega-dosing can actually cause harm.

"The logic being used for the supplements is that fruits, vegetables, etc., contain vitamin C; these foods prevent cancer; thus vitamin C prevents cancer," Blair said. "But our message is that it's the total diet that's important, not just one antioxidant in isolation."

Free radicals can act indirectly to damage DNA, converting fatty acids in the blood into another fatty compound called lipid hydroperoxide. In the presence of certain catalysts, particularly metal ions, the compound can degrade further into DNA-damaging agents called genotoxins.

Blair and other researchers had suspected that vitamin C might be able to spark formation of the genotoxins. In the lab, they added vitamin C to solutions of lipid hydroperoxides in an amount comparable to those that might be found in a person's body if he or she was getting 200 milligrams of the vitamin each day.

They found that the vitamin was more than twice as efficient as metal ions in inducing formation of genotoxins, including a particularly potent variety, and "suggests that this process could give rise to substantial amounts of DNA damage."

The next step for Blair and his colleagues is to see whether vitamin C produces significant amounts of genotoxins in intact cells, and whether they generate cancer-causing mutations.
FDA Says Cloned Livestock Not Safe for Eating
Associated Press

WASHINGTON June 5, 2001 (AP) - The Food and Drug Administration says meat and milk from cloned livestock should not be sold to consumers until experts determine it is safe and the technology won't harm the environment or the animals.

"We're trying to make a science-based decision on whether these types of animals pose any risk or not," John Matheson, a senior regulatory review scientist for the FDA, said Tuesday.

In a series of meetings over the past six months, FDA officials have asked biotech companies to keep the livestock out of the food chain until the National Academy of Sciences completes a review of their safety and makes recommendations to FDA. The study is expected to be finished by early next year.

The FDA is concerned about the welfare of the cloned animals as well as their safety for humans and the environment. The agency believes it has the authority to regulate cloned animals under its approval process for new animal drugs.

Essentially, the agency is deciding whether cloned animals should be treated like genetically engineered animals, which are regulated by the FDA, or like animals bred through in-vitro fertilization, which don't require FDA regulation.

"We figure there is a pretty good chance there won't be a need to regulate them," Matheson said.

One concern of scientists is that mass animal cloning could lead to breeds that are more susceptible to disease, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

A Holstein dairy cow cloned by Infigen Inc. of DeForest, Wis., was sold at auction last fall in the first commercial sale of a farm animal. Infigen also owns a herd of cloned cattle that are used to produce genetically engineered proteins for pharmaceutical purposes.

Infigen's cloning process involves activating an unfertilized egg by removing the nucleus, fusing the egg with a cell from the same animal's ear, and then using a chemical compound to trigger a release of calcium that causes the egg to divide and grow. The resulting embryo is then implanted in a surrogate cow.
Doctor Offers New Theory of Mozart's Death

Associated Press

CHICAGO June 10, 2001 (AP) - Forget rheumatic fever, kidney stones, heart disease, pneumonia and even poisoning. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart may have really been killed by pork cutlets.

The latest theory about the composer's untimely death on Dec. 5, 1791, at age 35 in Vienna suggests the culprit was likely trichinosis.

The illness is usually caused by eating undercooked pork infested by the worm, and could explain all of Mozart's symptoms, which included fever, rash, limb pain and swelling, says Dr. Jan. V. Hirschmann of Puget Sound Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Seattle.

Hirschmann offers as damning evidence an innocuous little letter Mozart wrote to his wife 44 days before his illness began, as documented in a 1999 biography.

"What do I smell? ... pork cutlets! Che Gusto (What a delicious taste). I eat to your health," Mozart wrote.

"If his final illness was indeed trichinosis, whose incubation period is up to 50 days, Mozart may have unwittingly disclosed the precise cause of his death - those very pork chops," Hirschmann said.

His eight-page report, based on an examination of medical literature, historical documents and Mozart biographies, is published in the June 11 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

Mozart died 15 days after he became ill. His doctors offered only a vague cause of death - "severe miliary fever" - and no autopsy was performed. His wife, Constanze, reportedly said after his death that Mozart thought he was being poisoned, and rumors circulated that his enemies, including rival composer Antonio Salieri, may have done him in.

Since then, medical theorists have largely discounted foul play.

Hirschmann, an infectious disease specialist, said Mozart's symptoms did match those of an unspecified epidemic disease going around Vienna at the time. Trichinosis wasn't identified until the 1800s, when there were several deadly outbreaks in Europe. Drugs since have been developed that can kill the worms and treat the symptoms, and fatal cases now are rare.

Hirschmann noted that complications of trichinosis can include pneumonia and heart problems - culprits listed in other Mozart theories, which Hirschmann says don't adequately explain all the features of Mozart's illness.

Dr. Faith Fitzgerald, a University of California-Davis professor of medicine whose rheumatic fever theory drew front-page attention last year, isn't offended that Hirschmann has come up with a different explanation for Mozart's death.

"There have been 150 separate diagnoses proposed, and now there's another one," she said. "It does strike me as somewhat strange the investment people have in something that is virtually unknowable."

Mozart's grave was dug up about seven years after his death so it could be reused, and his remains were dispersed. Hirschmann acknowledged that not being able to be proved wrong "makes it much more enjoyable to speculate."

Doctors like to review the master's death because "it's fun and because it's Mozart," Fitzgerald said. "I personally think that he died because they needed a new choirmaster in heaven."

Visit eXoNews for more recent news!


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