Who Killed Marilyn?
UK Plagiarism, Anti-Aging Fraud,
Dumbbell Nebula, Noah's Flood,
The Cyclops, Phil Spector & More!
Joe DiMaggio Was Convinced Kennedys Killed Marilyn!

NEW YORK February 11, 2003 (Scotsman UK) - He was only married to Marilyn Monroe for nine turbulent months, but Joe DiMaggio, the reclusive US baseball legend, vowed he would never forgive the Kennedys for her death. 

Now, four years after his own demise, the man immortalized by Simon and Garfunkel in the song Mrs. Robinson appears to have his revenge. 

A new book, written by his long-time lawyer and close companion Morris Engelberg, reveals he really did believe the Kennedy clan killed Monroe.

"They murdered the one person I loved," DiMaggio confided to Mr. Engelberg. 

Officially, Monroe, who allegedly enjoyed affairs with both John Kennedy, the US president, and his attorney general brother, Robert, committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills in 1962. 

But rumors she was killed by the Kennedys because she knew too much about the political dynasty’s Mafia links and was threatening to go public to get back at Robert for dumping her have persisted ever since. 

DiMaggio, who organized Monroe’s funeral and, for the next 20 years, had white roses delivered to her grave twice a week, refused to talk publicly about what he thought happened. However, he appears to have sanctioned his memoirs to come out after his death. 

The Yankee Clipper, as he was known, claims to have read the Hollywood star’s diary after her death. 

Monroe’s journal disappeared shortly afterwards but, according to the book DiMaggio: Setting the Record Straight, the star of The Seven Year Itch had apparently noted her conversations with Robert Kennedy about CIA plans to poison Fidel Castro with the aid of the Chicago gangster Sam Giancana, and the government’s investigation into union leader Jimmy Hoffa’s Mafia links. 

Monroe met the Kennedys through Peter Lawford, their British brother-in-law, and is believed to have passed on Robert’s pillow talk to Frank Sinatra, who in turn reported to Giancana. 

Engelberg and co-author Marv Schneider tell how Monroe spoke to DiMaggio’s son, Joe Jr., on the night she died saying she wanted to set the record straight. 

"She said she spoke with RFK [Robert Kennedy] three or four times a week and he told her about the work he was doing," the book reveals. "He mentioned which mobsters they were going after. Marilyn would pass on some of those tidbits to Sinatra, according to Joe Jr."

DiMaggio shed no tears when the Kennedys were assassinated. According to the book, which contains a foreword by Henry Kissinger, DiMaggio believed "they got what they deserved". 

DiMaggio, who was 84 when he died after a long battle with cancer, refused to shake Robert Kennedy’s hand when they met at New York’s Yankee Stadium. Just a few years before he died he agreed to go to the Kennedy Centre only if no member of the extended political family was there. 

When Engelberg asked him why, DiMaggio responded: "What they did to me will never be forgotten." 

DiMaggio was considered to be one of the greatest baseball players, but he hated the limelight and sports fans were stunned when he suddenly married Monroe in 1954. He was 39 and already retired, she was 27 and at the height of her fame. 

They spent their honeymoon in Japan, where 100,000 US troops turned out to meet them.

Afterwards, Monroe commented: "I have never heard so much cheering." DiMaggio replied knowingly: "I have." 

Few were surprised when the couple split within nine months. He moved to Hollywood, Florida, and in later years, became estranged from his only son, Joe Jnr, and other family members. 

Engelberg, his next door neighbor, came under attack in the months before the player’s death for appearing to control every aspect of DiMaggio’s life.

Official Marilyn Monroe web site - http://www.marilynmonroe.com 

Moderate Republicans Try to Block ANWR Bill
Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON February 11, 2003 - A group of moderate House Republicans joined Democrats Tuesday in an effort to block western Senate Republicans from loading a massive spending bill with measures the moderates say would weaken environmental protections. 

"It would seriously undermine the legislative process to add new provisions behind closed doors and at the very last minute to a must-pass spending bill that is already four months late," the eight GOP lawmakers said in a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bill Young, R-Fla. 

The Senate Republicans, led by their appropriations committee chairman, Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, succeeded Monday night in protecting provisions that would open more areas in Alaska and national forests throughout the West to new logging. 

The letter, signed by eight House Republicans, was circulated Tuesday as lawmakers continued to work through a massive, $396 billion spending package financing nearly every federal agency for the rest of the year. 

Stevens also is pushing for language in the bill to provide money for "pre-drilling" in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve despite a two-decade-old ban on oil exploration there. 

Opening ANWR to drilling for oil and natural gas is the centerpiece of President Bush's energy policy. The Senate voted against the idea last year and Democrats have vowed to use delaying filibuster tactics to block in vote on it this year. 

Democrats also lost a measure to add $200 million for land conservation programs in the Interior Department to bring their funding up to the same level as last year. "We in essence have now said conservation programs are our last priority," Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., said afterward. 

Senate Republicans are trying to include in the bill several other measures opposed by environmentalists. 

Sens. Trent Lott and Thad Cochran, both R-Miss., are pushing for the inclusion of $15 million to start construction on the world's largest hydraulic pumping plant to decrease flooding in the Mississippi Delta. Critics say it would destroy 200,000 acres of swamps and marshes. 

So far, Senate Republicans have prevailed on expanding the U.S. Forest Service's ability to enter agreements with lumber companies to thin more of the 191 million acres of national forests without challenges by environmentalists. 

"There is just an horrendous amount of damage to the environment included in this bill," said Debbie Sease, the Sierra Club's Washington, D.C.-based legislative director. "This is sort of back to the bad old days." 

In Alaska alone, Stevens wants the bill to open up 9 million acres of Tongass National Forest and the 5.3-million-acre Chugach National Forest to road-building and logging, which would lift protections on about a quarter of 58.5 million acres put off-limits by the Clinton administration. 

"They see this as the best chance to get something like this done," said Tim Bristol, who heads the Alaska Coalition, an environmental group in Juneau. "It's secretive because it's tucked away in a giant spending bill. And just about any of them, if they were subject to open debate, would fail." 

Stevens' office said he would have no comment on the environmental riders until the bill is ready for a Senate vote, which could come by the end of the week. 

The letter was signed by House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert of New York, Reps. Mike Castle of Delaware, Christopher Shays of Connecticut, Jim Leach of Iowa, Nancy Johnson of Connecticut, Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland, Chris Smith of New Jersey and Sue Kelly of New York. 

Senate Appropriations: http://appropriations.senate.gov 

Alaska Coalition: http://www.alaskacoalition.org/index.htm 
UK Plagiarizes Iraq Dossier
By Dominic Evans 

LONDON February 7, 2003 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair was accused Friday of playing the same propaganda games as Saddam Hussein after chunks of an "intelligence" dossier on Iraq turned out to have been plagiarized from academic papers. 

The dossier, published this week on a government Web site, said Iraq had mounted a massive campaign to deceive and intimidate U.N. inspectors hunting for banned weapons. 

The latest in a series of British documents focusing on the alleged threat from Saddam and rallying support for a possible U.S.-led war, it was praised by Secretary of State Colin Powell in the U.N. Security Council Wednesday. 

It claimed to draw upon "a number of sources, including intelligence material." But Friday, officials admitted whole swathes were lifted word for word -- grammatical slips and all -- from a student thesis. 

Outraged politicians jumped on the revelation to accuse Blair of misleading the public and said it cast doubt on the credibility of his whole case against Saddam. 

"This is the sort of thing that Saddam Hussein himself issues," fumed opposition Liberal Democrat Jenny Tonge. 

One of Blair's former junior defense ministers, Peter Kilfoyle, said he was shocked that the government was trying to win over Britons on such "thin evidence." 

"It just adds to the general impression that what we have been treated to is a farrago of half-truths, assertions and over-the-top 'spin'," he told BBC radio. 

Glen Rangwala, an Iraq specialist at Cambridge University who analyzed the Downing Street dossier, told Reuters that 11 of its 19 pages were "taken wholesale from academic papers." 

"If the nature of the intelligence is actually just Web research, then it rather casts doubt about the plausibility of the government's earlier claims," said Rangwala, a critic of U.S. and British policy on Iraq. 

Sections in the dossier on Saddam's security apparatus drew heavily on an article written last year by Ibrahim al-Marashi, an American postgraduate student of Iraqi descent who works at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. 

"I was a bit disenchanted because they never cited my article," Marashi told BBC radio. 

"... any academic, when you publish anything, the only thing you ask for in return is that they include a citation of your work. There are laws and regulations about plagiarism that you would think the UK Government would abide by," he said. 

Experts who pored over the document said it also lifted material from articles published in 1997 and 2002 in Jane's Intelligence Review. 

British ministers have privately admitted that gathering information on Iraq is extremely difficult and intelligence on Baghdad is "thin." 

Rangwala said the document was sloppy and appeared to have been pulled together in a hurry. 

"That shows there is anxiety in the British government about public distrust of the information that they have been circulating -- and their lack of a substantive case that the inspections route is not a viable alternative to war," he said. 

Blair's spokesman insisted the document was fundamentally accurate, and said no one could dispute its central argument that Iraq was trying to deceive the U.N. inspectors. 

"In retrospect, we should, to clear up any confusion, have acknowledged which bits came from public sources and which bits came from other sources," he said. 

Britain, which is pouring tens of thousands of troops into the Gulf to support U.S. preparations for possible military conflict with Iraq, also came under fire over its last dossier on Iraq -- a paper published in December on rights violations. 

The human rights group Amnesty International accused Britain of raising Iraqi rights abuses which it had studiously ignored in the 1980s when Saddam, backed by the West, fought an eight-year war with Iran.

[This story hit the mainstream, but vanished quickly off US news sites. We brought it back with the download addresses so you can see for yourself if you are so inclined. Ed.]

Blair dossier: www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page7111.asp

Marashi publication: http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/2002/issue3/jv6n3a1.html

Kerry Blasts Bush Environmental Policies
WASHINGTON February 11, 2003 (Reuters) - Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts blasted President Bush's environmental policies Sunday and said U.S. forces were being asked to risk their lives to make sure Mideast oil flowed. 

Kerry said in a speech at the John F. Kennedy presidential library in Boston that the United States must reduce its dependence on foreign oil so it cannot be held hostage by leaders like President Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

"Every day our servicemen and women put their lives on the line so that oil can flow from around the world to America's gas stations," he said. "But let there be no doubt, we pay a heavy price."

Kerry, one of six declared Democratic candidates who plan to seek their party's nomination to challenge Bush in the 2004 presidential election, said the United States cannot drill its way to self-sufficiency along the lines favored by Bush in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Instead, he urged development of technology to make homes, businesses, and transportation more efficient while creating a national market for biofuels from crops, wood, and waste.

"We must forge a new path to create a stronger America," Kerry said, "an America where the use of military might is not clouded by our need for oil."
Poets to Protest White House Action
MANCHESTER, VT February 9, 2003 (AP) — A group of poets will participate in a reading to protest White House cancellation of a symposium after some of the participants expressed anti-war sentiments on Iraq. 

Jamaica Kincaid, Galway Kinnell and Jay Parini will read their own work at the Feb. 16 reading in Manchester, along with works by the poets who were to have been featured at the White House. Organizers said they plan to select verse that addresses the tradition of dissent in literature. 

The White House event, planned by first lady Laura Bush, had been scheduled for Wednesday to feature the poetry of Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman. Mrs. Bush, a former librarian who has made teaching and early childhood development her signature issues, has held a series of symposiums to salute America's authors. 

However, the White House called off the symposium after learning that some poets might use it to express opposition to a possible war with Iraq. 

Noelia Rodriguez, a spokeswoman for the first lady, said: "While Mrs. Bush respects the right of all Americans to express their opinions, she, too, has opinions and believes it would be inappropriate to turn a literary event into a political forum." 

Parini said it was naive of the White House to invite writers and expect them to leave their politics at the door. 

"It's called attention to the fact that poets are against the war in a big way," said Parini, a Middlebury College faculty member. 

The sponsors of the Manchester reading, bookstore owners Edward and Barbara Morrow, say they disagree with the perception that people opposed to war are unpatriotic. 

"The war in Iraq, you can look at that however you want to look at it," Edward Morrow said. "But the notion that protest and dissent and free speech is unpatriotic is so twisted that it's alarming." 

The Manchester reading is not the only protest. Sam Hamill, a poet and founder of the highly regarded Copper Canyon Press, declined the White House invitation and e-mailed friends asking for anti-war poems or statements. He said last month he had received more than 1,500 contributions.
War Against Anti-Aging
Gerontological Society of America Press Release

February 10, 2003 - Why are research scientists speaking out against anti-aging medicine, and what are the potential consequences? 

The campaign against anti-aging medicine has recently been launched by an international group of some 50 biogerontologists – biologists who conduct research on the basic processes of aging. Proclaiming that there is "no truth to the Fountain of Youth" in Scientific American and other publications, they seek to discredit what they judge to be fraudulent and harmful products and therapies.

At the same time, they are attempting to distinguish their own research from the activities of practitioners and entrepreneurs that purvey hormone injections (e.g., HGH), special mineral waters, and other anti-aging services and products. 

In the February 2003 issue of The Gerontologist, Robert H. Binstock, Professor of Aging, Health, and Society at Case Western Reserve University, interprets why this war against anti-aging medicine is taking place and assesses its consequences.

He argues that the biogerontologists -- many of whom are themselves trying to develop interventions that will actually slow or arrest the processes of aging – fear that the contemporary prominence of pseudoscientific anti-aging medicine could threaten the status and funding of their own research.

Through their attack on anti-aging medicine, however, they may be shooting themselves in the foot. 

Binstock's analysis is that the biogerontologists may be inadvertently undermining their own legitimacy and research support by blurring public understanding of the difference between the anti-aging services and products that they are denigrating, and their own aspirations to achieve effective anti-aging interventions. 

Instead of this war on anti-aging medicine, he suggests, the biogerontologists might be wiser to invest their efforts in pointing out to the public and decision makers the potential health benefits to be realized from their own research in the decades ahead, such as active longevity free from disability and functional dependence. 

Universe To Expand Forever
By Dr David Whitehouse 
BBC News Science Editor 

February 11, 2003 (BBC) - The Universe will expand for ever, at an ever-increasing rate, NASA scientists are to announce. They base their conclusion on new data obtained by the Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) satellite, which has been orbiting the Sun beyond the Moon since shortly after its launch in 2001. 

MAP data also confirm previous findings that most of the Cosmos is composed of mysterious "dark energy" that is causing the expansion of the Universe to accelerate. 

Atoms - the basic components of matter that can give off light - comprise only a few per cent of the Universe. As one astronomer put it: "To the Universe, stars and planets are minor impurities." 

MAP was launched in 2001 to make its way to the L2 Lagrange point of gravitational balance between the Earth, Moon and Sun. 

It is the first probe to be positioned at L2, which is four times further away than the Moon, and which follows the Earth and the Moon around the Sun. 

MAP's focus is the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) radiation. The CMB was first detected in 1965 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson of the Bell Telephone labs in the US. It has been called the "echo" of the Big Bang - the event that created the Universe about 15 billion years ago. The CMB is radiation that formed about 400,000 years after the Big Bang, when the Universe had cooled to such a degree that hydrogen atoms could exist. 

In 1992 the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite detected fluctuations in the CMB that were attributed to the first structures to form in the Universe - the so-called seeds of galaxies appearing in the vast clouds of hot gas that was all the Universe consisted of at the time. 

Astronomers believe that the CMB contains a great deal of information about the origin and fate of the Universe. Measurements of the CMB will allow cosmologists to determine basic parameters of the Universe, for instance whether it will expand for ever, or collapse, or whether its expansion will accelerate or slow down. 

Able to scan the whole sky every six months, the NASA satellite is producing MAPs of the CMB with unprecedented accuracy. MAP's first release of data will confirm previous results obtained by the Boomerang balloon-based detector that flew over Antarctica in 2000. It will show that "dark energy" dominates the Universe, causing the expansion of the Cosmos to accelerate. 

This will mean that eventually all matter in the Universe will be scattered ever more thinly and, as the stars go out and the galaxies fade, all will become an ever-cooling thin gas.
NASA Discusses Future Space Mission
University of Michigan College of Engineering Press Release 

ANN ARBOR February 10, 2003 - A NASA official and a U.S. Congressman will visit the University of Michigan College of Engineering on Friday, Feb. 14 to discuss the future of NASA's space exploration efforts in a post-Columbia environment and help unveil a new scientific instrument designed by the College of Engineering for NASA's planned mission to Mercury in 2004. 

Dr. Richard Fisher is director of NASA's Sun-Earth Connection Division. He has overall responsibility for developing policy and providing guidance for NASA's program to understand the physics of the variable Sun and its influence on the heliosphere, solar system plasmas, the upper atmospheres and magnetospheres of planets, especially the Earth, and the origin of cosmic rays. 

U.S. Congressman Joe Knollenberg represents Michigan's Ninth Congressional District and serves on the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee for Independent Agencies, which includes responsibility for appropriations supporting NASA. 

The College of Engineering will unveil the Fast Imaging Plasma Spectrometer (FIPS), a revolutionary instrument designed for NASA's MESSENGER Mission to Mercury and engineered by Michigan Engineering's Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences (AOSS) department. The FIPS project, led by U-M research scientist Thomas Zurbuchen, demonstrates how the creation of high-performance, low-weight instruments can be used to explore the solar system without risk to human life. 

This event is free and open to the University community, invited guests and the media. Activities will begin at 10:30 a.m. with an outreach tour of research-related facilities. Formal presentations begin at 12:30 at Boeing Auditorium in the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Building. Questions and interviews by media will be addressed from 2 p.m. to 2:30.
The Dumbbell Nebula

February 10, 2003 - An aging star's last hurrah is creating a flurry of glowing knots of gas that appear to be streaking through space in this close-up image of the Dumbbell Nebula, taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. 

The Dumbbell, a nearby planetary nebula residing more than 1,200 light-years away, is the result of an old star that has shed its outer layers in a glowing display of color. The nebula, also known as Messier 27 (M27), was the first planetary nebula ever discovered. French astronomer Charles Messier spotted it in 1764. 

The Hubble images of the Dumbbell show many knots, but their shapes vary. Some look like fingers pointing at the central star, located just off the upper left of the image; others are isolated clouds, with or without tails. Their sizes typically range from 11 - 35 billion miles (17 - 56 billion kilometers), which is several times larger than the distance from the Sun to Pluto. Each contains as much mass as three Earths. 

The knots are forming at the interface between the hot (ionized) and cool (neutral) portion of the nebula. This area of temperature differentiation moves outward from the central star as the nebula evolves. In the Dumbbell astronomers are seeing the knots soon after this hot gas passed by. 

Dense knots of gas and dust seem to be a natural part of the evolution of planetary nebulae. They form in the early stages, and their shape changes as the nebula expands. Similar knots have been discovered in other nearby planetary nebulae that are all part of the same evolutionary scheme. They can be seen in Hubble telescope photos of the Ring Nebula (NGC 6720), the Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392) and the Retina Nebula (IC 4406). The detection of these knots in all the nearby planetaries imaged by the Hubble telescope allows astronomers to hypothesize that knots may be a feature common in all planetary nebulae. 

This image, created by the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI), was taken by Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 in November 2001, by Bob O'Dell (Vanderbilt University) and collaborators. The filters used to create this color image show oxygen in blue, hydrogen in green and a combination of sulfur and nitrogen emission in red. 

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).

The Hubble Telescope site - http://hubble.gsfc.nasa.gov 

Chemical Disasters Strike!
1,000 Evacuated in Hazardous Train Crash
By Susan Skiles Luke
Associated Press

TAMAROA IL February 11, 2003 (AP) - Cleanup crews worked to stabilize hazardous chemicals and right the cars of a freight train that derailed near the center of town and forced hundreds of people from their homes.

No injuries were reported after 21 cars of an Illinois Central-Canadian National train derailed Sunday morning in this southern Illinois town of 800, authorities said.

The train was carrying vinyl chloride, formaldehyde, hydrochloric acid, and methanol, Perry County Sheriff Keith Kellerman said.

Authorities evacuated as many as 1,000 people within three miles of the derailment site. Officials closed the town's elementary school Monday and said residents could be out of their homes until Wednesday. An emergency shelter was set up for evacuees at a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall.

Melissa Grissom, 34, said police officers told her and her two children to leave their home.

"It looked bad ... but I didn't know it was that bad," Grissom said Sunday at the shelter.

The chemicals are hazardous to breathe and could cause death in high concentrations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many emergency workers were kept away from the trains because of the danger, Kellerman said.

Vinyl chloride leaking from one or two cars caught fire, said Kellerman and Canadian National spokesman Jack Burke. Leaking methanol also caught fire, Tamaroa village trustee William Place said.

Tests conducted upwind of the site indicated no air pollution, said Chris Cahnovsky, an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency field worker.

Crews were checking for possible soil and groundwater contamination, said Dave Searby, operations officer for the DuQuoin Emergency Services and Disaster Agency.

"We don't know for sure how long it will be before people can return home," Searby said. He said state and local officials were working on a plan to tend to pets who were left behind.

The train, operated by a two-person crew, had about 100 cars, Burke said. He said chemical-hauling trains typically roll north from Louisiana to Chicago or to a switching point in Effingham for movement elsewhere. Each car carried 24,000 pounds of chemicals.

Tamaroa is 28 miles north of Carbondale in southern Illinois.

Fire Prompts Entire Alabama Town to Flee

SLOCOMB AL February 11, 2003 (AP) - Fire erupted Tuesday at a farm-supply store housing dangerous chemicals, prompting the evacuation of the entire town of 4,200, authorities said.

No immediate injuries reported after the blaze broke out at Mathis Farm Supply, a few miles from the Florida line.

Scott Adcock, a spokesman for the state's Emergency Management Agency, said all of Slocomb was evacuated. Schoolchildren were taken to a high school stadium and an elementary school gym away from the fire, and a shelter was being opened at a church.

Adcock said he was uncertain what dangerous chemicals were involved, but authorities said the building on fire contained numerous fertilizer products.

Hazardous-materials teams were sent from Dothan and the Army's Fort Rucker.

Is Noah's Flood Short on Water?
By Robert Cooke

February 6, 2003 (Newsday) - Scientists are seriously challenging a recent, fascinating proposal that Noah's epic story -- setting sail with an ark jam-full of animal couples -- was based on an actual catastrophic flood that suddenly filled the Black Sea 7,500 years ago, forcing people to flee. 

In a detailed look at the rocks, sediments, currents and seashells in and around the Black Sea, an international research team discounts the Noah flood idea, arguing that all the geologic, hydrologic and biologic signs are wrong. Little that the Earth can tell us seems to fit the Noah story, they say. 

The research takes aim at the work of two Columbia University geologists -- William Ryan and Walter Pitman -- whose proposal in 1997 ignited much new interest, and much new research, into Middle East history and geology. 

According to Ryan and Pitman, their strong evidence shows that sudden flooding of the Black Sea did occur, and they think it was such a traumatic event that it became part of the folklore of ancient peoples of the Middle East, showing up vividly in the Bible. 

Ryan and Pitman's proposal, first published in a marine geology journal, holds that the gradual rise of sea level at the end of the last Ice Age eventually overtopped and washed out a fragile natural barrier across what is the Bosporus Strait. 

And once the barrier fell, it set off a catastrophe for settlers living in a huge basin to the northeast. 

As the fragile barrier across the Bosporus collapsed, Ryan and Pitman proposed, a massive amount of seawater surged from the Mediterranean into what was then a stagnant, low-lying basin, the huge region now filled by the Black Sea. 

According to their scenario, the surge of seawater continued for about two years, until the major inland sea reached its present size. But whether it actually happened, and whether it matches what the ancient writings report, are questions that are open to debate. Now an international team lead by Ali Aksu argues there was no Black Sea flood at that time, and little else to support Noah's story. 

Instead, they see evidence that 7,500 years ago the Black Sea was already full, that it wasn't very salty, and more water was running out of the Black Sea than was pouring in through the Bosporus. As it does today, they said, the narrow strait carried a two-way flow 7,500 years ago, with salty water going in via the bottom, and less-salty water coming out on the surface. So, no flood. 

This narrow strait, the Bosporus, is important geologically and historically. It is a thin channel that separates the two major land masses, Europe and Asia. It has been a historic crossroads for millennia, a place where East meets West, in what is now Turkey. At the Bosporus' northeastern end is the Black Sea, and at the other end is the Sea of Marmara, linked to the Mediterranean, and thus to all the world's oceans. 

What Aksu of the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada, and his co-workers argue is that for the past 12,000 years brackish water has been steadily streaming out of the big inland sea and into the Mediterranean. Their studies of deltas, sea-floor sediment cores and the remains of marine life at the southern end of the Bosporus show no evidence of a Noachian flood. 

Despite the new evidence gathered by Aksu's team, Ryan and Pitman aren't retreating. Ryan pointed out that Aksu's team did most of its work outside the Black Sea, mapping the flow of water, the build-up of sediments and other evidence beyond the southern end of the Bosporus.

Anchor and Palette Gallery web site - http://www.anchorandpalette.com

World's Shortest Story Author Dies
Mexico City February 9, 2003 (BBC) - The Guatemalan writer, Augusto Monterroso, has died at age 81. Monterroso - winner of Spain's Prince of Asturias literary prize - is credited with writing one of the world's shortest stories. El Dinosaurio (The Dinosaur) reads in its entirety: 

"Upon waking, the dinosaur was still there." 

Monterroso  also wrote the critically acclaimed The Black Sheep and Other Fables, which has been translated into English. The writer died of heart problems in Mexico City where he lived with his wife the Mexican author Barbara Jacobs. 

Born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Monterroso was however a Guatemalan citizen. He was exiled from Guatemala in 1944 for opposing the dictator Jorge Ubico and protesting against United States-owned banana plantations operating in Central America. 

"He is one of the cleanest, most intelligent, transparent and smiling authors in the Spanish language," the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes said of the writer when he won the Spanish literary award. He also received the highest honor the Mexican Government can bestow on foreign dignitaries, the Aguila Azteca, in 1988. 

Monterroso is survived by his wife, two daughters and five grandchildren.

Cyclops Myth Spurred by "One-Eyed" Fossils?
By Hillary Mayell
National Geographic News

February 5, 2003 (National Geographic News) - Ever wonder where our worst nightmares come from? For the ancient Greeks, it may have been the fossils of giant prehistoric animals. 

The tusk, several teeth, and some bones of a Deinotherium giganteum, which, loosely translated means really huge terrible beast, have been found on the Greek island Crete. A distant relative to today's elephants, the giant mammal stood 15 feet (4.6 meters) tall at the shoulder, and had tusks that were 4.5 feet (1.3 meters) long. It was one of the largest mammals ever to walk the face of the Earth. 

"This is the first finding in Crete and the south Aegean in general," said Charalampos Fassoulas, a geologist with the University of Crete's Natural History Museum. "It is also the first time that we found a whole tusk of the animal in Greece. We haven't dated the fossils yet, but the sediment where we found them is of 8 to 9 million years in age." 

The tusk and several teeth of a Deinotherium giganteum, a distant relative of today's elephant and one of the largest mammals ever on Earth, were discovered on the Greek island Crete. This marked the first finding of the creature in Crete.

Skulls of Deinotherium giganteum found at other sites show it to be more primitive, and the bulk a lot more vast, than today's elephant, with an extremely large nasal opening in the center of the skull. 

To paleontologists today, the large hole in the center of the skull suggests a pronounced trunk. To the ancient Greeks, Deinotherium skulls could well be the foundation for their tales of the fearsome one-eyed Cyclops. 

In her book The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times, Adrienne Mayor argues that the Greeks and Romans used fossil evidence—the enormous bones of long-extinct species—to support existing myths and to create new ones. 

"The idea that mythology explains the natural world is an old idea," said Thomas Strasser, an archaeologist at California State University, Sacramento, who has done extensive work in Crete. "You'll never be able to test the idea in a scientific fashion, but the ancient Greeks were farmers and would certainly come across fossil bones like this and try to explain them. With no concept of evolution, it makes sense that they would reconstruct them in their minds as giants, monsters, sphinxes, and so on," he said.

Homer, in his epic tale of the trials and tribulations of Odysseus during his 10-year return trip from Troy to his homeland, tells of the traveler's encounter with the cyclops.

In the The Odyssey, he describes the Cyclops as a band of giant, one-eyed, man-eating shepherds. They lived on an island that Odysseus and some of his men visited in search of supplies. They were captured by one of the Cyclops, who ate several of the men.

Only brains and bravery saved all of them from becoming dinner. The captured travelers were able to get the monster drunk, blind him, and escape. 

A second myth holds that the Cyclops are the sons of Gaia (earth) and Uranus (sky). The three brothers became the blacksmiths of the Olympian gods, creating Zeus' thunderbolts, Poseidon's trident. 

"Mayor makes a convincing case that the places where a lot of these myths originate occur in places where there are a lot of fossil beds," said Strasser. "She also points out that in some myths monsters emerge from the ground after big storms, which is just one of those things I had never thought about, but it makes sense, that after a storm the soil has eroded and these bones appear." 

A cousin to the elephant, deinotheres roamed Europe, Asia, and Africa during the Miocene (23 to 5 million years ago) and Pliocene (5 to 1.8 million years ago) eras before becoming extinct. 

Finding the remains on Crete suggests the mammal moved around larger areas of Europe than previously believed, Fassoulas said. Fassoulas is in charge of the museum's paleontology division, and oversaw the excavation.

He suggests that the animals reached Crete from Turkey, swimming and island hopping across the southern Aegean Sea during periods when sea levels were lower.

Many herbivores, including the elephants of today, are exceptionally strong swimmers. 

"We believe that these animals came probably from Turkey via the islands of Rhodes and Karpathos to reach Crete," he said. 

The Deinotherium's tusks, unlike the elephants of today, grew from its lower jaw and curved down and slightly back rather than up and out. Wear marks on the tusks suggest they were used to strip bark from trees, and possibly to dig up plants. 

"According to what we know from studies in northern and eastern Europe, this animal lived in a forest environment," said Fassoulas. "It was using his ground-faced tusk to dig, settle the branches and bushes, and in general to find his food in such an ecosystem." 

The fossils were uncovered when land was being cleared for an olive orchard; Fassoulas is encouraging farmers to be on the lookout for more.

Did Swiss Immigrant Build Stonehenge?

LONDON February 11, 2003 (AP) - Stonehenge, the mysterious ring of ancient monoliths from the dawn of Britain's proud civilization, could be the work of a central European immigrant, archeologists said Monday.

An early Bronze Age archer, whose grave was discovered near the stone circle last year, may have helped build the monument. And tests on the chemical components of his tooth enamel showed he grew up in the region that is now Switzerland.

The archer "would have been a very important person in the Stonehenge area," said Andrew Fitzpatrick, Wessex Archaeology's project manager in charge of Stonehenge.

"It is fascinating to think that someone from abroad--probably modern-day Switzerland--could have played an important part in the construction of Britain's most famous archeological site."

The 4,000-year-old man was identified as an archer because of the flint arrowheads found by his body, along with other artifacts belonging to the Beaker Culture that flourished in the Alps during the Bronze Age.

The archer, dubbed "The King of Stonehenge" by the British press, lived around 2300 B.C., about the time the great stone circle was formed in Amesbury, 75 miles southwest of London.

The 100 artifacts found in his exceptionally rich grave, discovered about three miles from Stonehenge, indicate he was "obviously a very prominent man" and likely involved in constructing the monument, Wessex Archaeology spokesman Tony Trueman said.

Although the indigenous British originally came from mainland Europe, they settled thousands of years before the arrival of the archer, who clearly belonged to a different culture, marked by a new style of pottery, the use of barbed flat arrow heads, copper knives and small gold ornaments.

His grave contained teeth and bones as well as two gold hair tresses, three copper knives, flint arrowheads, wrist guards and pottery. The copper knives came from Spain and France. The gold dated to as early as 2470 B.C., the earliest dated gold objects found in Britain.

Genre News: Phil Spector, John Corbett, Angel and Buffy, Miracles, Firefly and More!
Phil Spector
By FLAtRich

Hollywood February 11, 2003 (eXoNews) - Lawyer Robert Shapiro, who also worked for O.J. Simpson, says Phil Spector's next court appearance over the shooting death of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson will be on March 3.

The record producer who changed the sound of rock and roll forever in the 1960s is free on a million dollars bail until LAPD figures out just who shot Clarkson in the marble entryway of Spector's thirty-three room mansion in Alhambra, California, in the early morning hours of February 3, 2003.

Former Ronette and Spector spouse Ronnie Spector issued a statement regarding the shooting this week:

"My heart goes out to the woman and her family. I don't know what the circumstances are; I can only say that when I left in the early '70s, I knew that if I didn't leave at that time, I was going to die there. I've said it in my book over 12 years ago and I still believe it to be true now."

Phil Spector produced most of Ronnie's big hits, including "Be My Baby" and "Baby, I love You". They were married from 1968-1974.

The odds seem to finger Spector as the shooter. It's LA's biggest crime since Wynona Rider pilfered some clothes in Beverly Hills. Check your local tabloids for details.

There is a bit of background required for those too young to really know Phil Spector.

The latest Spector music news before the shooting was that it wasn't true that Phil Spector was hired to produce The Vines' second album. There's a bit more to Phil Spector than a Vines rumor, kids.

Phil Spector was the very first teenage millionaire rock producer. He wrote and produced his first hit "To Know Him Is to Love Him" in 1958 at the age of 17 posing as The Teddy Bears. He went on to co-author "Spanish Harlem" for Ben E. King, and produce "Corrina Corrina" for Ray Peterson, and, my personal Spector favorite, "Pretty Little Angel Eyes" for Curtis Lee in 1961. He co-founded Philles Records in 1961 and created and produced dozens of classic rock chartbusters for The Crystals, The Ronettes, The Righteous Brothers, Bob B. Soxx & Blue Jeans, Ike and Tina Turner, etc.

Spector also worked with The Beatles, John Lennon, George Harrison, and The Ramones.

At the time of Spector's initial success, his major competition was from writer-performer Paul Anka. You might say Phil was the first bad boy of rock versus Anka's shiny clean image. In the now defunct Studio A at Gold Star Studios in Hollywood, Spector invented what came to be known as the "wall of sound" by basically cramming a lot of studio musicians into a small room having them all play at the same time.

That may seem an odd approach to anyone who has seen a modern recording studio, but keep in mind that Spector started before multi-track tape recorders and way before digital recording. The best you could do in those days was to dub down everything you had on one track to a second tape recorder while you played along.

Spector's method included having several musicians play the same instruments in unison to thicken the sound and try to defeat the inevitable "hiss" that resulted from making copies of copies of tracks. Hiss was vanquished with the advent of modern multi-track mixing boards, filters, etc. It vanished completely with digital recording.

Vocal overdubbing became a standard technique after Phil Spector. John Lennon used it extensively on his solo efforts and many of today's shrill female pop stars wouldn't exist without it. Phil Spector made his wall of sound an art form and every other classic rock producer that followed - most notably Brian Wilson and The Beatles' George Martin - owed something to Phil Spector.

It is said that when Sonny Bono worked as one of Spector's percussionists, Sonny used to write notes on Spector techniques inside his tambourine. Sonny and Cher both started with Spector. Cher sang back-up on classic Spector tunes and he once produced her as a single on a novelty hit called "Ringo, I Love You". Sonny wrote and produced most of the early Sonny and Cher hits, including "I Got You, Babe", using what he learned from Spector.

Spector always preferred to stay out of the spotlight and let his work speak for him. After the 1960's English invasion wiped out American vocal group music, Spector grew reclusive until John Lennon brought him back to produce The Beatles' "Let It Be" album, reportedly over the objections of Paul McCartney.

Lennon and George Harrison continued to work with Spector on solo efforts after The Beatles broke up. Spector produced the Harrison masterpiece record set, "All Things Must Pass" and many of John's biggest solo hits. He and Lennon split up during sessions for John's "Rock 'N' Roll" LP in 1974. Spector co-produced and co-arranged four of the LP's thirteen cuts.

Paul preferred a more stripped down sound and never worked solo with Spector, although he did use George Martin's wonderfully massive orchestration on "Live and Let Die", which is reminiscent of the Spector wall of sound.

Spector resurfaced again during the punk-new wave era when he produced The Ramones' "End Of The Century" LP and got Joey and the boys a hit with a new version of "Baby I Love You".

In 2000 Spector co-produced "Gimme Some Truth" a TV documentary about the recording session for John Lennon's "Imagine" album.

He returned to producing in 2002, working on four tracks for the UK group Starsailor.

Lana Clarkson 
AP Special Correspondent 

LOS ANGELES February 5, 2003 (AP) - The actress found slain in music producer Phil Spector's mansion was a cult figure in B-movies who sold her pinups on the Internet and worked as a ticket collector at a blues club as her career faded, associates said. 

Lana Clarkson, 40, was discovered by B-movie king Roger Corman and starred in a series of films including "Barbarian Queen," a character Corman said was the model for TV's "Xena: Warrior Princess." 

"Lana was a beautiful woman, a wonderful actress, and an adventurous spirit," Corman said Tuesday in a statement. "Always brave, she performed all of her own stunts, and showed unusual fortitude and athleticism in her horseback riding and fight sequences." 

Spector was arrested before dawn Monday for investigation of first-degree murder after Clarkson's body was found in the foyer of his mansion, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of Los Angeles. He was freed Monday night after posting $1 million bail. No charges have been filed. 

Lt. Dan Rosenberg said deputies found the weapon used in the slaying but declined to say where in the house it was located. The call reporting that shots had been fired came from inside the residence, he said. 

The investigation into the slaying shows that Spector and Clarkson met at a nightclub in Los Angeles, said Craig Harvey of the Los Angeles County coroner's office. No further details were immediately available.

Clarkson had her own Web site and a company called Living Doll Productions. She appeared in TV commercials and was a guest at comic book and pop culture conventions dressed as "Barbarian Queen." 

She began working last month at the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip where she was a ticket collector and hostess, friends and associates said. 

"She wasn't thrilled to have people from the industry see her doing that, but she thought it was a good step to get back into the mainstream," said her neighbor, Paul Pietrewicz. 

Clarkson's lawyer, Roderick J. Lindblom, issued a statement late Tuesday from her family thanking "Lana's extended family, friends and fans for the outpouring of love and support that they have shown during this extremely difficult time." 

The statement asked that the family's privacy be respected during its time of mourning. The lawyer declined to identify the family members. 

Julie Jungwirth said she's rented a one-story house in the Venice area of Los Angeles to Clarkson for over two years.

Clarkson would attach a letter with every rent payment, she said. 

"In the last letter, she apologized for sending the rent in late. She said last year was not so great for her and ended it by saying 2003 will be better. It's so sad to think about that," Jungwirth said. 

Living Doll Productions: http://www.livingdollproductions.com

John Corbett Gets Lucky in April
By FLAtRich

Hollywood February 11, 2003 (eXoNews) - According to the John Corbett web site, the former star of Northern Exposure and The Visitor will star in "Lucky", a new series scheduled to premiere on April 8th at 10pm ET on F/X Networks.

The site describes "Lucky" as "a dark comedy that focuses on the adventures of recovering gambling addict Michael 'Lucky' Linkletter. He loses everything he owns in Las Vegas and tries to rebuild his life in Sin City, all while continuing to spend time with his fellow compulsive gambler friends."

Lucky co-stars Ever Carradine ("Once and Again"), the daughter of actor Robert Carradine and granddaughter of vet horror actor John Carradine. Dan Hedaya and Seymour Cassel also appear in the series.

Lucky will occupy the time slot currently occupied by The Shield, which will have just completed its 13 episode second season.

Corbett starred in the hit film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, which has grossed over $332 million world-wide. The VHS and DVD of Greek Wedding were released on February 11, 2003.

John Corbett web site - http://john-corbett.com 

Official Lucky site - http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/originals/lucky 

The Visitor shows up on Sci Fi Channel from time to time. Sci Fi's Visitor site is at http://www.scifi.com/thevisitor
Angel Fans Get Season One

Hollywood February 11, 2003 (eXoNews) - The first season of Angel has been released to DVD and our friends at Zap2It are giving away four complete first season box sets to four lucky stiffs.

Zap2it's Angel DVD Giveaway runs from February 4 through February 18th.

You must be 18 years of age or older and a legal resident of the U.S. to enter. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes begins February 4, 2003, and ends February 18, 2003.

Enter to win at: http://tv.zap2it.com/games/buffy/angel_special.html 

The Rules are here: http://tv.zap2it.com/games/buffy/angel_rules.html

Angel To Visit Buffy? 

Hollywood February 11, 2003 (Sci Fi Wire) - The WB and UPN will apparently allow a crossover between the frog network's Angel and the smackdown network's Buffy the Vampire Slayer if Buffy ends this year, as speculated, sources told TV Guide Online. Angel (David Boreanaz) would appear in the series finale of Buffy in May, should the series end its run then, the sources told the site.

Boreanaz wouldn't confirm the crossover, but he did tell the site that "fans would enjoy that. It would be really nice for them." So far, no decision has been made on whether Buffy will end this year, though rumors of a crossover lend weight to that speculation.

SCI FI Wire earlier reported that Buffy's Alyson Hannigan (Willow) would cross over on the March 26 episode of Angel.

As far as the future of Angel, a WB spokesperson told TV Guide that a decision will come in May. Boreanaz told the site that he is "confident that we'll have another season. I think that the show has done remarkably well for the network, and we've proven to have a [loyal] following."

Oh, and yes, Charisma is pregnant and Amy is getting married! Read more Angel news at http://tv.zap2it.com/news/tvnewsdaily.html?30060 

Chat With Quark 

Hollywood February 11, 2003 (eXoNews) - Armin Shimerman (Quark on DS9 and Buffy's old principal at Sunnydale High) will be chatting at the Star Trek official site on Tuesday, February 18 at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

The chat is at the Official Star Trek Site - http://www.startrek.com 

Miracles Digs Deeper 

Hollywood February 11, 2003 (Sci Fi Wire) - Roger Birnbaum, executive producer of ABC's paranormal drama series Miracles, told SCI FI Wire that the next 11 episodes will further develop the show's mystical themes.

"I think fans can look forward to more paranormal sequences or storylines, more sequences that explore the darkness," Birnbaum said in an interview. "This is going to get edgier and edgier as it goes along."

The show stars Skeet Ulrich as an investigator of miracles who finally stumbles on some real unexplained phenomena. Unfortunately, these phenomena appear to be the work of a dark force. Miracles airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Miracles Official site - http://abc.abcnews.go.com/primetime/miracles/index.html

[This show is pretty good, but it's getting low ratings. If you want to see it last 11 more episodes, you'd better tell yer friends. Ed.]

The Singing Detective Returns 
By Chris Gardner and Ian Mohr 

Hollywood February 7, 2003 (Hollywood Reporter) - Marking its second acquisition of a 2003 Sundance Film Festival title, Paramount Classics sealed a deal Thursday to acquire North American rights to Keith Gordon's "The Singing Detective," starring Robert Downey Jr., Mel Gibson and Robin Wright Penn.

The company -- which picked up "The United States of Leland" at Sundance last month -- also scooped up Latin American and Japanese rights to "Detective." The Paramount specialty film arm is planning a fall rollout for "Detective," which also stars Jeremy Northam, Katie Holmes, Carla Gugino, Adrien Brody and Alfre Woodard.

The film was produced by Gibson, Steven Haft and Bruce Davey and was adapted by Dennis Potter from his acclaimed 1986 TV miniseries of the same name.

Firefly's Torres Moves to CBS

Hollywood February 11, 2003 (eXoNews) - According to an article by Kate O'Hare on Zap2It, the Serenity's first officer has jumped ship for the CIA.

Actress Gina Torres has joined the cast of The Agency on CBS, but she told Zap2It that all was not necessarily over for Firefly.

"There's cooking happening," Torres said, "and that's great, the fact that they still believe in it. They're trying to work something out."

Read the rest of the story at http://tv.zap2it.com/news/tvnewsdaily.html?30077 

More news for Firefly fans at http://www.fireflysupport.com 

Oscar Nominees Announced

Hollywood February 11, 2003 (eXoNews) - As if you didn't know. If you really want the whole list, go to http://www.oscar.com/nominees/nominees_print.html 

For once it looks like everybody nominated in the major categories deserves a statue!

The Oscars will be presented on March 23, 2003 at 8:30/5:30p on ABC.

Science Fiction Writers Support Space Exploration

February 11, 2003 (eXoNews) - An impressive list of authors are urging NASA and other space agencies to continue manned space exploration despite the recent Columbia tragedy.

Veteran science fiction and fantasy authors Harlan Ellison, James Gunn, Joe W. Haldeman, Anne McCaffrey, and Robert Silverberg are among the long list of signers on a Statement of Support posted at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America web site.

The statement urges the dream to carry on:

"The loss of the Columbia and its crew touches the lives of not just Americans, Israelis, and Indians, but in fact everyone on Earth. The exploration of space is one of the human race's oldest ambitions, one that has been reflected in our literature long before we developed the technological capability to venture forth into the cosmos. We must not allow this tragedy to bring an end to this magnificent journey, but instead let their courageous example lead us upward and outward."

To add your name and support, go to http://www.nyx.net/columbia 

Visit eXoNews for more recent news!

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