|Saturn Award Winners! |
The Plant From Hell,
Atomic Bombs Are Back,
FBI Versus Einstein & More!
|Saturn Award Winners! |
|Century City June 12, 2002 (eXoNews) - The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films 28th Annual Saturn Awards show took place in Century City on June 10th. The Saturns are an overlooked awards show in the major press, but from this year's attendees it's obviously time the entertainment industry paid them a little more attention. Originally invented at UCLA by Dracula fan Dr. Donald A. Reed, the Saturns are supported by genre lovers large and small. Forrie Ackerman (Famous Monsters of Filmland) was an early champion, and any fan can join the Academy for a nominal fee and vote for the awards. |
Please check out the Cinescape site at www.cinescape.com for full coverage of the ceremonies.
Cinescape, one of fandom's leading magazines and websites, hosted this year's awards and there was no lack of participation by Hollywood genre favorites. Actors from Enterprise to Farscape showed up, and Stephen Spielberg was there to accept best picture and best screenplay awards for A.I.
Nick Cage presented Spider-man creator and Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee with the Academy's Saturn Life Career Award. According to Cinescape, Cage claimed Stan authored more than comics. "I even took my name from one of his characters," Cage said in his introduction. "Luke Cage, Hero For Hire."
Picking up the award for Best TV Series (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Buffy creator Joss Whedon summed it up perfectly:
“I’ve been told some of what I do is so good it transcends the genre, but I don’t believe in transcending the genre. I believe in the genre! My step father keeps asking me when I’m going to do something without vampires or space ships or aliens or whatever, and I’m proud to say never!”
|Genre News: Buffy, Witchblade, Johnny Depp, Angel, Birds of Prey, Goldmember & More! |
Buffy Crosses The Pond
Hollywood June 11, 2002 (Sci Fi Wire) - Joss Whedon, whose Buffy the Vampire Slayer took home the Saturn Award for best network television series, told SCI FI Wire that he will move production to England for the seventh-season premiere episode.
"I am going to England ... in a couple of weeks to shoot some second-unit with Tony [Head, who plays Giles,] and Alyson [Hannigan, who plays Willow,] for the season premiere of Buffy," Whedon told reporters after receiving his award June 10 in Los Angeles. "So that'll be fun. Our first production values ever. We're very excited. Usually it's 'So we're in Venice. Hand me that goblet.' So it's a thing."
As for next year's storyline for the UPN series, Whedon remained coy, but promised a change from this year's dark themes. "I can only tell you a little bit," he said. "This is something I've been sort of gearing towards since the very beginning of the show. It's a question of bringing it onto a much larger scale and at the same time making it much more personal and much more personal to Buffy herself. This year was a chance to let the other characters [shine.] ... The big climactic scene [was] between Xander and Willow, and that was because, as characters and as actors, they'd earned that opportunity. And I thought it was right for them to sort of be the spokespeople for what was going on at the end there. But next year Buffy will be much less peripheral to the climax. The climax will be the biggest thing we've ever done."
Whedon added, "You know, every year it might be the end. Except, actually, this year. This year I really did sort of leave it up in the air. You could have said this could have been an end, but the [cliffhanger] with Spike and the thing on Angel, this was sort of the exception to the rule. But I am looking for closure next year in way because we're making a more positive statement. This year was just about surviving the year. Sometimes the audience felt that actually it's their chore too. What? You don't want to be depressed all the time like me? I don't understand. But next year is something that's a lot more positive and definitive. And in that it has to end with an exclamation point, not a question mark."
Buffy can always be found at http://www.buffy.com
Butler's Rock Star Dad Appears In 'Witchblade' Premiere
LOS ANGELES June 10, 2002 (Zap2it.com) - When Yancy Butler returns to the screen this week in the season premiere of TNT's "Witchblade," viewers are likely to notice her easy on-screen rapport with one of her co-stars.
That's because said supporting character is none other than her father, rock and roller Joe Butler (The Lovin' Spoonful).
Joe Butler makes his television acting debut as Arnold Buck, an ex-cop whose runaway teenage daughter has become a stripper on an adult Web site. When she is implicated in the murder of her boss, Butler's character, New York detective Sara Pezzini, teams up with Arnold to investigate.
Onstage, Butler has starred on Broadway in "Mahogany" and in the original cast of "Hair." His feature film work includes "Born to Win," with George Segal ("Just Shoot Me"), and "One Trick Pony," with Paul Smith.
An original member of The Lovin' Spoonful, Butler was first the band's drummer, but now tours with the group as the lead singer.
"Witchblade" premieres at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, June 16. After that, the show will return to its regular time slot, Mondays at 9 p.m.
More Witchblade news at http://www.witchbladetv.com
Johnny Depp Does Disney Flic Based on Pirates Ride
BY CHRISTOPHER ALLAN SMITH
Hollywood June 10, 2002 (Cinescape) - With his acting cred firmly established after films like ED WOOD, SLEEPY HOLLOW and DONNIE BRASCO, it looks like Johnny Depp is going to do what so many other fine actors have done before: let Jerry Bruckheimer turn them into action heroes.
Depp is in talks to star in Bruckheimer’s feature film translation of the Disneyland ride PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. CARIBBEAN tells the high adventure tale of a band of… well… pirates and their adventures in… well… the Caribbean, and is set to start shooting this October with Gore Verbinski (THE MEXICAN) directing.
Not only is Depp in talks to do CARIBBEAN, but he’s also considering going straight from that to TAKEDOWN, another actioner set to start shooting next March.
Gellar Opts Out Of Buffy Toon
Hollywood June 10, 2002 (Sci Fi Wire) - Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Sarah Michelle Gellar told SCI FI Wire that she has chosen not voice her character in Joss Whedon's proposed Buffy: The Animated Series.
"I don't know anything about the animated series," Gellar said in an interview. "I'm not part of that. It says that I am [on the Internet], but the first I heard of it was last week."
Gellar added that she does not know who would voice the animated Buffy. Gellar has played the Slayer for six years in the live-action series, which started on The WB and now airs on UPN.
Scoobies Be Alert! You can still win the Season 2 Buffy DVD Boxed Set from Zap2It.com! One lucky Zap2it user will win the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" Season Two DVD box set and a collectible "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" comic book. Four runner-up winners will receive just the comic book. Enter now for your chance to win. And be sure to check Zap2it frequently for the latest "Buffy" news and info. It's going to be a long summer before she's back! Note: Contest Ends June 20. Go here for details: http://tv.zap2it.com/shows/features/features.html?26341
Birds of Prey Cast Pix Released
BY CHRISTOPHER ALLAN SMITH
Hollywood June 7, 2002 (Cinescape) - Now that the 2002-2003 television season is glaring at us from the horizon, images form the promising new genre shows are starting to trickle out.
One of the shows percolating the most interest at this early stage is WB’s BATMAN tie-in show, BIRDS OF PREY.
The show tells the story of some of the Bat-family second level heroes, like Huntress (played as Catwoman’s daughter Helena Kyle’s alter ego), Oracle (the Barbara Gordon we all know and love) and the Black Canary.
In the show, debuting on WB next year, Ashley Scott plays Huntress, Dina Meyer (STARSHIP TROOPERS) plays Oracle and Rachel Skarsten plays the Black Canary.
Birds of Prey website at http://www.gothamclocktower.com
Whedon: Charisma Carpenter Will Return To Angel
Hollywood June 11, 2002 (Sci Fi Wire) - Putting to rest a persistent Web rumor, Angel co-creator Joss Whedon told SCI FI Wire that regular cast member Charisma Carpenter will indeed return for The WB series' fourth season in the fall.
Carpenter's month-long absence in the middle of last season and her character Cordelia's ascendance into a higher plane of existence in the season finale fueled rumors that unspecified personal problems had resulted in her departure from the series.
Not so, Whedon said in an interview at the Saturn Awards ceremony in Los Angeles June 10. "I hadn't heard all the vicious stuff," he said. "I just heard people saying, 'Is she coming back?' I've heard every vicious rumor about everybody, and I lend them all very little credence. She is coming back. She's a part of the show. She's an essential part of the show. ... It's not as vicious a rumor as the rumor that I directed Boy Meets World, but it's up there."
Angel has moved to Sunday nights at 9 PM on the WB.
Check out the latest about Angel and his friends at http://www.cityofangel.com
Rohm Wants Angel Too!
Hollywood June 10, 2002 (Sci Fi Wire) - Elisabeth Rohm — who left The WB's Angel in 2001 to join the cast of Law and Order — told SCI FI Wire that she would like her character, detective Kate Lockley, to return for an episode of the vampire series. "I would do it in a heartbeat, but I would do it on the side," Rohm said in an interview. "I would come in and have Law and Order work out [my schedule]."
Rohm has met with Angel co-creator David Greenwalt to discuss when her return might fit with her commitment to Law and Order.
"I talked to David Greenwalt yesterday," she said. "He's a very good friend, and [Angel star David] Boreanaz is a good friend, so I love the whole family. It's just a matter of timing, and I've been too busy, really. But I'd like to."
Tom Cruise, Gwyneth and Spielberg Make Cameos in 'Goldmember'
HOLLYWOOD June 10, 2002 (Zap2it.com) - In an attempt to boost up attendance for his long-awaited "Austin Powers in Goldmember," Canadian actor Mike Myers has called on an old friend to make an unprecedented appearance.
Director Steven Spielberg, a longtime Myers friend, plays a cameo role in his pal's upcoming film. In addition, Spielberg convinced his "Minority Report" star Tom Cruise to make an appearance as well. Spielberg appears in the film directing an Austin Powers movie within the movie. Cruise plays Austin Powers -- '70s hair, suit and all, and Paltrow is the female star.
"I normally wouldn't say 'yes,' but Mike's a very close friend of mine, and the scene was really funny," Spielberg tells the Associated Press. "So he also had written a part for Gwyneth Paltrow, who's like one of my kids. I knew Gwynnie before she was born, actually. ... I sent the pages to Tom and Gwynnie and they both agreed to do it."
In the scene featuring Spielberg, the "real" Austin Powers (played by Mike Myers) arrives on set and tries to make a few suggestions to the director, who has his Oscar close at hand. Poking fun at his reputation, Spielberg refuses Austin's advice, holding up his Oscar as proof that he knows what he's doing.
Directed by Jay Roach, "Austin Powers in Goldmember," centers on horny British secret agent Austin Powers (Myers) who takes on Dr. Evil and Mini-Me who have somehow managed to escape from a maximum security prison and who have teamed up with Goldmember. Together they formulate a plan for world domination which involves a large amount of time-travel, and kidnapping Austin Powers' father, England's master spy, Nigel Powers (Michael Caine).
As Austin chases Dr. Evil, Mini-Me and Goldmember through time, he stops in 1975 to "connect" with an old girlfriend, detective Foxy Cleopatra (Beyonce Knowles), and requests her help to track the villains and save his father.
Other celebrities making cameos in the film are Danny DeVito, Quincy Jones, Ozzy Osbourne, Britney Spears, Fred Savage and Kevin Spacey.
|Unleashing A Virus To Control 'The Plant From Hell' |
By Chuck Woods
Florida June 11, 2002 (UniSci) - It sounds like the name of an exotic new drink, but tropical soda apple has been more aptly described as the "plant from hell," say University of Florida researchers who have developed a natural way to control the rapidly spreading weed.
"The highly invasive plant, which forms a dense and thorny thicket that is impenetrable to animals and people, has been classified by the federal government as one of the nation's most noxious weeds," said Raghavan Charudattan, professor of plant pathology with UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
"In Florida and seven southeastern states, it's literally taking over, displacing native plant species in infested areas."
He said the weed, native to South America, is a serious environmental threat to natural areas, and it's become a major problem for the beef and dairy cattle industries.
Sharp thorns make the plant's foliage unpalatable, but livestock, wild animals and birds that eat the fruit help spread the seeds. Mature plants can produce 50,000 seeds that germinate under a wide range of conditions. Seeds also can be spread by compost, sod and moving water. Another concern, he said, is that cattle shipped out of Florida may harbor plant seeds in their digestive tracts and spread the weed to neighboring states. To stop the spread of seeds, Georgia, South Carolina and other southeastern states may require Florida cattle to be held on weed-free pastures for 10 days before being shipped to nearby states.
"Pastures infested with the weed have less area available for cattle grazing, which means the stocking rates -- the number of animals per acre -- must be reduced," Charudattan said.
Wade Grigsby, vice president of the cattle division for Alico Inc. in LaBelle, said the weed is an economic and environmental headache for the livestock industry. "It may be impossible to eradicate tropical soda apple, but Charudattan's new biocontrol is the best option we have for bringing the weed under control," Grigsby said.
Until now, the only way to control the weed was with repeated mowing and chemical herbicides. But, Charudattan said, applying herbicides is a problem for the cattle industry because of possible chemical residues in milk and meat. Charudattan's research has shown that a common plant virus can be used to kill tropical soda apple, and he is seeking commercial partners to produce and market the virus as a natural biocontrol or bioherbicide.
"During a routine examination of several plant pathogens for their ability to cause disease on tropical soda apple, we discovered that tobacco mild green mosaic virus kills the weed," he said. "Tests in two pastures demonstrated the virus kills up to 97 percent of the weed."
To determine which plants may be vulnerable to the virus, Charudattan is testing the virus on some 200 different plant species, including other weeds and cultivated plants. The virus does not affect people or animals, he said.
"We know that some varieties of tobacco and peppers are susceptible, but the virus can be used safely in areas where tobacco and peppers are not grown," he said.
The virus, which can be applied easily and inexpensively with a portable back-pack sprayer, is effective against tropical soda apple under a wide range of temperatures and year-round growing conditions. Charudattan said the bioherbicide would be easy to produce. "High concentrations of the innoculum can be produced inexpensively in tobacco plants and stockpiled for use. It remains effective for decades," he said.
Susceptible tobacco plants could be used to mass-produce a commercial bioherbicide. As they mature, infected leaves are harvested, freeze-dried and ground into a fine powder for storage at room temperature, he said.
"To demonstrate how easily the bioherbicide could be produced, we are establishing a pilot production facility at UF," Charudattan said. "The prototype production system could be established as a self-sustaining service from UF or licensed to a commercial company."
|US Opposes Labeling Genetically Engineered Food |
By Deena Beasley
TORONTO June 11, 2002 (Reuters) — The U.S. White House is against adopting regulations, already in use in some countries, that would require companies to label foods that use genetically engineered ingredients, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said Monday. Thompson said labeling foods as genetically altered "puts fear in the market" and would serve only to stymie innovation in the rapidly advancing biotechnology food industry.
"I don't think it solves the problem. Mandatory labeling doesn't work," he said at the annual meeting of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the trade group representing the fields of health care, agricultural, industrial, and environmental biotechnology.
Last year the group's conference, held in San Diego, was targeted by marchers opposed to so-called "Frankenfoods," but their ranks fell short of forecasts. Here in Toronto, the scene is even more subdued; protesters staged a brief rally on Sunday, and there are no concrete barriers, although the police presence is still noticeable.
Some countries already require labels to state whether food contains, for instance, corn whose genes have been altered to enable the organism to resist the corn borer pest. But the United States does not.
"We are concerned about food safety. None of these crops have been tested for safety," said Charles Margulis, genetic engineering specialist at the environmental group Greenpeace.
The European Union, unnerved by food safety scares such as mad cow disease, has banned new biotech crops from other parts of the world for the past three years. The United States is by far the largest producer of genetically altered corn- and soy-based food.
No one really knows what happens when plants that have not evolved in nature are consumed by humans, Margulis said. "There could be allergies, increased toxins, or other unexpected side effects," he said.
In the United States, weed- and pest-resistant versions of six crops — soybeans, corn, cotton, papaya, squash, and canola — are now being grown, and many other transgenic plants are being developed.
Last month, a report by the U.S. General Accounting Office said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had adequately tested the safety of new biotech foods before allowing them to be sold, and consumers who ate bioengineered foods were not at a higher risk of allergies or toxic reactions.
A biotech corn variety not approved for human consumption slipped into the food supply in late 2000, sparking a nationwide recall of more than 300 kinds of corn-based foods. StarLink was approved only for animal feed due to concern that it might cause allergic reactions in humans. Several U.S. class action suits are pending against Aventis CropScience, which made StarLink.
A National Academy of Sciences panel in February said the government had allowed food manufacturers to market biotech crops without fully probing their potential environmental impact.
|'Lucy' Statue Stolen in Minnesota |
ST. PAUL, Minn. June 10, 2002 (AP) - She's five-feet tall, weights 400 pounds, and was wearing a blue dress and a smile when last seen.
Police in St. Paul, Minnesota, are on the lookout for Lucy, one of the 100-odd statues around St. Paul for its annual celebration of the beloved "Peanuts" characters.
The statue was reported stolen yesterday and police are looking for more than one suspect, based on Lucy's large size. A police commander says she'd like to think it's a college prank or something similar.
It's the third consecutive year that characters from the "Peanuts" comic strip have graced the streets, plazas and public spaces in the city where the late "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz grew up.
|Global Warming Melting Everest Glacier |
GENEVA June 07, 2002 (Reuters) — A glacier from which Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay set out to conquer Mount Everest nearly 50 years ago has retreated three miles up the mountain due to global warming, a U.N. body says.
A team of climbers, backed by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), reported after their two-week visit last month that the impact of rising temperatures was everywhere to be seen.
The landscape bears the scars of sudden glacial retreat, while glacial lakes are swollen by melted ice, UNEP spokesman Michael Williams said Thursday.
During their visit, the team of climbers from the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA) spoke to the head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, Tashi Jangbu Sherpa, who told them that the ice fields had seen rapid change over the past 20 years. "He told us that Hillary and Tenzing would now have to walk two hours to find the edge of the glacier which was close to their original base camp," Williams quoted UIAA president Ian McNaught-Davis as saying.
In 1953, New Zealander Hillary and Tenzing, a native of Nepal, became the first climbers to reach the summit of the world's highest mountain.
UNEP recently warned that more than 40 Himalayan glacial lakes were dangerously close to bursting, threatening the lives of thousands of people, because of ice melt caused by global warming.
According to scientists, the average global temperature could rise by 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius over the next 100 years unless governments take action to cut emissions of so-called greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.
|Atomic Bombs Are Back! |
Kitchen Table Atom Bomb
By Alex Kirby
BBC News Environment Correspondent
London June 11, 2002 (BBC) - British researchers say it would be frighteningly easy for terrorists to make a nuclear bomb. They say the chemistry involved is simpler than in making illicit designer drugs. They believe making a device would be no harder than building the bomb that destroyed the Pan Am aircraft over Scotland in 1988. And they say the UK should stop reprocessing spent nuclear fuel soon, to prevent it being stolen.
The claims are made in a paper by the Oxford Research Group (ORG) called The Production Of Primitive Nuclear Explosives From Mox Fuel (Mox is a mixture of uranium and plutonium oxides). It describes the ease with which a determined but technically unsophisticated group could make, not a "dirty bomb", but a genuine nuclear explosive. The paper says a terrorist organization could "relatively easily extract the plutonium and fabricate a nuclear explosive, having first acquired Mox fuel".
Both the 1988 Lockerbie bomb and the nerve gas weapon used in the Tokyo subway in 1995, it says, "required considerable planning and scientific skills".
It adds: "It is a sobering fact that the fabrication of a primitive nuclear explosive using reactor-grade plutonium, obtained from Mox, would require no greater skill. None of the concepts involved in understanding how to separate the plutonium is difficult. A second-year undergraduate would be able to devise a suitable procedure by reading standard reference works, consulting the open literature in scientific journals and by searching the world wide web."
ORG says enough plutonium to check and refine procedures can easily be extracted from mud from the Ravenglass estuary in northwest England, which it says is contaminated by discharges from the nearby Sellafield reprocessing plant.
It would be easy, the paper says, for the bomb makers to refine their methods without arousing suspicion "by using environmental chemistry as a front". A plutonium oxide bomb would be an effective weapon, but one made of metallic plutonium might produce a bigger explosion. The paper says it would be a job for two or three people. The completed bomb - the plutonium, a beryllium shell, and a plastic explosive container - would have a diameter of about 80 centimeters (31 inches).
ORG says: "The size of the nuclear explosion from such a crude device is impossible to predict. But even if it were only equivalent to the explosion of a few tens of tons of TNT, it would completely devastate the center of a large city. Such a device would, however, have a strong chance of exploding with an explosive power of at least 100 tons of TNT. Even 1,000 tons or more equivalent is possible, but unlikely."
A 100-ton equivalent explosion would be "catastrophic", with anyone caught in the open within 600 meters (650 yards) likely to be killed by the direct effects of radiation, blast or heat.
"An explosion of this size, involving many hundreds of deaths and injuries, would paralyze the emergency services. They would find it difficult even to deal effectively with the dead. Even if the device, when detonated, did not produce a significant nuclear explosion, the explosion of the chemical high explosives would disperse the plutonium widely."
So much of the stricken city would remain uninhabitable until decontaminated, which could take years. ORG concludes that the risk of terrorists stealing the material for a nuclear device is "a terrifying possibility".
It is urging a halt to reprocessing at Sellafield as soon as possible. Two vessels returning rejected Mox fuel from Japan are due to set sail for Sellafield this week.
UN Nuke Team Searches for Missing Radioactive Materials
VIENNA June 11, 2002 (Reuters) — The United Nations nuclear watchdog agency began searching a rugged swath of western Georgia on Monday for two containers of deadly radioactive material left over from former Soviet days.
An international team started by horseback, car, and on foot to scour 550 square km (212 sq mile) for the devices, once used to power remote communications stations, after two others were recovered in February.
The discovery last December of the first two containers in Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region renewed fears in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States that nuclear material could fall into the hands of people who would use it to make crude bombs.
About 80 Georgian and international searchers will use radiation detectors to try to pinpoint the devices in a landscape of mountains, river gorges, and forests. "It's not quite a needle in a haystack because the detectors they are using allow them to detect from a distance," said Mark Gwozdecky, spokesman for the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The search for the two containers is based on Russian information received by the IAEA.
The agency has said the radioactive strontium-90 material in the containers cannot be used to make even a crude nuclear bomb. But it has declined to speculate on whether the strontium could be used for a so-called dirty bomb, by using conventional explosives to spread the radioactive material.
The current search will be followed in September by a wider effort by air and road to survey other parts of Georgia for known or suspected sources of radiation left behind by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The Soviet Union, one of the world's five recognized nuclear powers, left behind nuclear materials that have since turned up in many of its former republics.
Three Georgian foresters who found and briefly handled the first two containers in early December suffered severe radiation sickness. Two of the men are still being treated in France and Russia, the IAEA said.
Potassium Iodide a Hot Seller
By LAURAN NEERGAARD
AP Medical Writer
WASHINGTON June 11, 2002 (AP) — It's a cheap tablet that does one thing: protect the thyroid gland from one type of radioactive fallout. But with concern over radiological terrorism growing, potassium iodide is hot — even though it's not a cure-all.
One Internet site, NukePills.com, reported orders for 10,000 packs of the pills on Monday alone.
People who live near nuclear reactors have been stocking up since Sept. 11, in case of an attack or accident. But don't assume you need the drug because of "dirty bomb'' scenarios now making headlines, experts caution.
Potassium iodide would be helpful only if a dirty bomb used radioactive iodine instead of other radioactive substances, and then only for people close to the explosion.
"You shouldn't go, 'Oh my god, I just heard there was a dirty bomb 20 miles away so I'm automatically going to take it,''' says radiation expert Jonathan Links of Johns Hopkins University, who is helping Baltimore officials prepare for the possibility of dirty bombs.
"Just because you're in the same town with a dirty bomb doesn't mean you take potassium iodide,'' agrees Dr. David Orloff of the Food and Drug Administration. "Wait 'til you hear instructions from public health officials.''
Potassium iodide, chemical symbol KI, is the only medication for internal radiation exposure. But it has just one use — to prevent thyroid cancer by shielding the thyroid from radioactive iodine. It blocks no other type of radiation, and protects no other body part.
Just as with any medication, overdoses of potassium iodide can be dangerous. Some people may experience allergic reactions, including nausea or rashes, from taking potassium iodide.
Sheltering and evacuation remain the cornerstones of protection. Still, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is offering states enough KI to treat every resident within 10 miles of a reactor, because radioactive iodine is likely to be released during a serious reactor accident or attack.
Many people are buying their own, largely through Internet sites like NukePills.com that also point out reactor locations. FDA-approved KI is sold without a prescription, for about $1 a pill. A dose is one tablet a day for adults, smaller amounts for children.
A traditional explosive releases small amounts of radioactive material. Experts say a dirty bomb would probably use a substance other than radioactive iodine.
How would people know?
In Baltimore, emergency officials who respond to explosions are being trained to operate credit card-sized radiation detectors, Links said. Laboratory testing of any radioactive samples could tell what kind and how much of a substance was present in a few hours.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission: http://www.nrc.gov
Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov
|Angelina Jolie Offers The Shirt Off Her Back for UN Refugee Auction |
UNITED NATIONS June 11, 2002 (Reuters) - T-shirts signed by actress Angelina Jolie and supermodel Naomi Campbell are among the celebrity items being auctioned on eBay.com to mark World Refugee Day, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday.
A model car signed by Formula One racer Michael Schumacher, a tennis racket owned by Martina Hingis and a silk Ungaro blouse and scarf worn by the late actress Melina Mercouri are also on the block to benefit UNHCR programs for women around the world, the agency said. It hopes to raise $250,000 through the auction, which began Monday night on eBay.com's main Web site as well as its various national sites.
World Refugee Day is June 20.
Women make up 50 percent of refugees helped by UNHCR world-wide, spokesman Kris Janowski said.
"In addition to carrying out their daily duties, they play an active role in camp life, education and distribution of aid. At the same time, they are the most exposed to violence and abuse," he said.
World Refugee Day auction site - http://members.ebay.fr/aboutme/worldrefugeeday_usa
|McCloud River Wintu Tribe Seeks Recognition |
|By Deborah Kong |
Redding CA June 8, 2002 (AP) - A nearly forgotten American Indian tribe from northern California hopes a new museum exhibit will help raise awareness of its history and boost its bid for federal recognition. For more than a century, baskets, a deerskin quiver, feather cape and other cherished items of the McCloud River Wintu were tucked away in the Smithsonian Institution's vast storage warehouses. Last week, they returned home.
They are part of "Journey to Justice: The Wintu People and the Salmon," an exhibit about the tribe and their main food source. It opens today at the new Turtle Bay Museum in this former logging town.
Linda Curl Malone, a Wintu, cries when she talks about how she anticipated seeing the baskets for the first time. "I kept telling my mother, who is 92 years old, 'Just hang on, mom. Just stay with us until June,'" she said.
Many Wintu were driven from their land after settlers arrived in the 1800s, then died of disease and starvation. Their numbers dwindled from as many as 34,000 in the mid-1700s to a few hundred at the turn of the century. With the construction of Shasta Dam in the late 1930s, the remaining Wintu watched as their dead were moved to a cemetery and water covered their sacred burial grounds.
Generations of Wintu have advocated for Indian rights, most recently applying for recognition by the federal government in 1993. About 1,500 Wintu who live in the Redding area are not federally recognized.
Some 559 tribes are federally recognized. The efforts of the Wintu have been complicated because a treaty with Congress was never ratified in the 1850s, Malone said. Recognition would allow the Wintu to exist as a sovereign nation and to receive health, housing and education benefits that other tribes get. They could submit an application to open a casino and legally hold religious ceremonies using the feathers of an eagle, a threatened species.
"It's just amazing we're still here today," said Gene Malone, Linda's 39-year-old son. Federal recognition would be "an amount of justice for the huge injustice that was done."
The museum exhibit will probably be used as evidence demonstrating the Wintus' relationship with the federal government, he said.
The Wintu sold or traded items to salmon breeder Livingston Stone, who sent the materials to the Smithsonian in 1875. They remained there until curator Alice Hoveman and Wintu basket-maker and educator Michelle Noonan retrieved them recently. Among the artifacts is a skirt made of blackened pine nut shells that may have been used in a Wintu puberty dance. The celebration of a girl's coming of age was a lost practice until a few years ago, when Jill Ward planned a ceremony for her daughter, Audrey.
"To see it here makes me feel good, like a tradition might actually come back," said Ward, gazing at the skirt in a display case at the museum. "It's like loved ones from the past leaving a letter for you."
In designing the exhibit, the Wintu told Hoveman they "want the truth to be told," Ward said. "So many times in schoolbooks and when teachers were talking about what happened, people just sort of gloss over the fact there were massacres, racism."
Linda Malone hopes the 64 artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian will recall the tribe's proud heritage and combat old stereotypes.
"I want to show we're not wild, lazy savages," said Malone, 58, who was a consultant to the museum. "We were great hunters, fishermen, sportsmen."
Today, many Wintu "don't even know their history. We hope to educate even our own people."
|Archaeologists Unearth 1700 Year-old Canal System in Florida |
By Rhonda Miller
ORTONA June 6 2002 (Sun-Sentinel) – Archaeologists on Thursday said they have uncovered a sophisticated 1,700 year-old canal system and a huge pond dug by ancient Indians near this tiny town, located west of Lake Okeechobee.
The canal site is so important that it could rival the discovery four years ago of the mysterious Miami Circle ruins near downtown Miami, one expert said.
Ortona, population 500, is located on Route 78 and is 13 miles west of Moore Haven. The town is sited just north of the Caloosahatchee River, which is part of the cross state Okeechobee Waterway. Archaeologists held a press conference there at the Ortona Indian Mound Park at 10:30 this morning to announce their finds. Included was an elaborate seven-mile-long canal that was excavated by ancient Indians, now extinct, who lived and farmed in that area.
The canals, first discovered in 1996, were used for fishing and for transportation around rapids that used to exist in the Caloosahatchee River, which runs from the lake to the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Myers. Robert Carr, executive director of the Archaeological and Historical Conservancy in Miami, called the discoveries “engineering marvels.”
Carr estimates that hundreds of Native Americans lived in this area and used handmade tools of wood and shell to dig out millions of yards of sand and soil.
"This suggests one level of technological achievement that really has never been honored before,'' said Carr. Previously archaeologists dated the canals to be hundreds of years younger.
Also discovered was a 450-foot long pond that was dug in the shape of a sacred mace-like baton, a power symbol for many Native Americans. It was built around 700 A.D., scientists said. The canal and the pond were discovered from the air and much of their detail can only be seen that way. Carbon dating helped date material in the canal and pond sites.
The pond discovery almost never happened, Carr said. Crews building a road in the area almost destroyed it before its significance was discovered.
The pond also has a mysterious astronomical alignment that is found in other Native American sites – it is 20 degrees west of north. If the pond and canal system stands up to further scrutiny it could prove to be the oldest Indian canal system found in this country, Carr said.
Carr also said the find will rival the discovery of the Miami Circle, the mysterious stone Indian ruins in downtown Miami that were found in 1998 when an apartment complex was torn down. The discovery in the Glades County community of Ortona, a former village of the extinct Caloosahatchee Indian tribes, comes after six years of investigations in the area, Carr said.
Indians were digging canals hundreds and perhaps thousands of years ago in Ortona, said Jerald T. Milanich, a curator in archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History. Some canals likely were used for canoe travel between villages and rivers, he said.
In other sites near Lake Okeechobee, archaeologists have found canals with complicated lock systems to maneuver canoes up hills, earthen mounds in geometrical shapes and intricate wooden sculptures and masks.
"South Florida Indians were very well adjusted to their environment and lived quite well,'' said Milanich, who has excavated some of the sites.
In Miami, archaeologists say Tequesta Indians carved a 38-foot circle, known as the Miami Circle, into limestone 2,000 years ago. Scientists believe the site was the base of a large building.
Archaeological and Historical Conservancy, Inc. - http://www.flarchaeology.org
Glades County - http://www.gladesonline.com
|4000 Year-old Egyptian Seal Found on Scottish Estate |
By Paul Kelbie
Musselburgh, Scotland June 5, 2002 (Independent UK) - An ancient Egyptian seal belonging to a pharaoh who died almost 4,000 years ago has been uncovered in the rubble of a Scottish stable block.
The delicately carved soft blue-grey stone, which measures only 45mm (2in) in height, was found during excavations of Newhailes, a 17th-century country house in Musselburgh, near Edinburgh.
The seal is highly polished and bears a series of hieroglyphics inside a royal cartouche, which experts have been able to identify as an official seal of office issued to a member of the royal household for the funeral of Tuthmosis III, who reigned in 1500BC.
"It is a most extraordinary find. Objects like these are about as rare as hen's teeth and to find one in Scotland is remarkable," said David Connolly, senior archaeologist for Addyman Associates. The discovery was made as the company excavated the home on behalf of the National Trust for Scotland, which inherited the estate six years ago.
It is believed the stone may have been brought back to Scotland by Sir John Dalrymple in the 1780s as a souvenir of the Grand Tour.
"How it came to be discarded among the remains of a bonfire buried under the courtyard of the stable we can only guess," Mr Connolly said. "It appears to have been hollowed out and adapted as perhaps the handle of a riding crop and at some later stage discarded with the rubbish."
Newhailes, which is opening to the public for the first time this week, is a remarkable time-capsule of history. Built in 1686 by the architect James Smith for himself and his 34 children, the early version of a Palladian town villa nearly bankrupted him and was eventually sold, passing into the hands of the Dalrymple family, who dominated the Scottish legal system in the 18th century, in 1707.
It was they who added the east and west wings to Smith's more modest villa, to include a series of ornate state rooms that still retain their rocco interior decorational scheme.
The house is home to a wealth of paintings by Ramsay, Raeburn, de Medina and Vogelsang as well as an impressive library of more than 5,000 volumes, which was described by Samuel Johnson as "the most learned room in Europe".
The last of the Dalrymple line, Sir Mark, died in 1971 without an heir. Death duties and the increasing cost of maintaining such a house forced Sir Mark's widow, Lady Antonia, and the trustees of the estate to offer the house and 80 acres of grounds free to the National Trust in 1996.
|Breast-feeding Bans Banned in Scotland |
By Dave King
Scotland June 10, 2002 (Daily Record UK) - Heaven help the waiter or cafe owner who asks a breast-feeding mum to cover up in future. They could be forced to pay a heavy fine under MSP Elaine Smith's plan to make life easier for nursing mums.
Smith believes people in general are now more comfortable with public breast-feeding - and she wants the law to reflect that. The Labour MSP has tabled a Member's Bill which would make preventing a mother feeding her hungry child a criminal offence. She wants to see fines imposed on restaurateurs, along with owners of other business and public bodies, if they refuse to allow breast-feeding on their premises.
Smith, who has been campaigning to promote breast-feeding for several years, believes her Bill would boost the number of mothers willing to breast-feed. She says it would send a positive message that they would be supported, and that those who tried to stop them would be punished.
Smith, who has a six-year-old son, Vann, says the measure is essential if Scotland is to meet the Executive's target of having half of all babies breast-fed at six weeks old by 2005. "All the research shows breast-feeding is best for babies. We have to do all we can to improve our position as second bottom in Europe when it comes to feeding our babies."
In the US, New Jersey has introduced a scale of fines ranging from $25 to $200 (£17.50 to £140) for pub owners who refuse to allow mothers to feed their babies. But in Ohio, campaigners are trying to end a local law which means mums face a misdemeanor charge if they expose their nipple while feeding in public.
Smith has personal experience of the prejudices shown by some restaurant owners. She was banned from feeding her son in a supermarket cafe in Coatbridge five years ago and was told she could feed the baby in the toilet.
Her first experience of the problem had come some years earlier when she lived in Inverness and a visiting friend with a baby said she was going to feed the child in the railway station toilet. Smith said : "I was appalled. I told her we should just go to a cafe but she insisted it would be better to go to the toilets, rather than risk being asked to leave the cafe if someone objected. It is a problem for mothers - do they ask permission and risk refusal or do they go ahead and then spend the time wondering if someone is going to come across and tell them to stop or leave."
A local support group in Inverness eventually produced a list of restaurants, cafes and pubs where mothers could feed their babies without any worries, an idea Smith would liked to see copied elsewhere in Scotland. But she doesn't just want her Bill to apply to pubs and restaurants - public bodies would be covered too.
She explained : "There was a case in Edinburgh a few years ago when a woman was asked to get off a bus because she was feeding her baby. That is ludicrous and my Bill would make sure there wouldn't be any repeats because the bus operator would be liable to a fine. If we are saying, "breast is best," we should send a clear message that we won't entertain anyone trying to stop mothers feeding in a place where children are entitled to be."
|Are Black Holes Galactic Generators? |
Albuquerque June 9, 2002 (LANL NEWS RELEASE) - Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory believe that magnetic field lines extending a few million light years from galaxies into space may be the result of incredibly efficient energy-producing dynamos within black holes that are somewhat analogous to an electric motor. Los Alamos researchers Philipp Kronberg, Quentin Dufton, Stirling Colgate and Hui Li discussed this finding at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Albuquerque, N.M.
By interpreting radio waves emanating from the gigantic magnetic fields, the researchers were able to create pictures of the fields as they extended from an object believed to be a black hole at the center of a galaxy out into regions of intergalactic space. Because the class of galaxies they studied are isolated from other intergalactic objects and gas ‹ which could warp, distort or compress the fields ‹ the fields extend a distance of up to ten million light years.
The energy in these huge magnetic fields is comparable to that released into space as light, X-rays and gamma rays. In other words, the black hole energy is being efficiently converted into magnetic fields. The mechanism is not yet fully understood, but Kronberg and his colleagues believe a black hole accretion disk could be acting similarly to an electric motor.
Colgate and Los Alamos colleagues Vladimir Pariev and John Finn have developed a model to perhaps explain what is happening. They believe that the naturally magnetized accretion disk rotating around a black hole is punctured by clouds of stars in the vicinity of the black hole, like bullet holes in a flywheel. This, in turn, leads nonlinearly to a system similar to an electric generator that gives rise to a rotating, but invisible magnetic helix.
In this way, huge amounts of energy are carried out and away from the center of a galaxy as a set of twisted magnetic field lines that eventually appear via radio waves from luminous cloud formations on opposite sides of the galaxy.
The Los Alamos researchers are calculating methods by which enormous amounts of expelled magnetic energy are converted into heat ‹ manifested in the form of a relativistic gas of cosmic rays that create radio energy that can be detected by radio telescopes such as the Very Large Array. Although the exact mechanism is still a mystery, the Los Alamos researchers believe that a sudden reconnection or fusing of the magnetic field lines creates and accelerates the cosmic rays.
The researchers still don't understand why this fast magnetic field reconnection occurs. But understanding the mechanism could have important applications here on Earth such as creating a system of magnetic confinement for a fusion energy reactor.
The Los Alamos research is supported by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program and the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada also provided support.
Los Alamos recently joined Southwest Universities consortium, which is hoping to build a very low frequency radio telescope called "LOFAR" in New Mexico or West Texas. The new telescope will be an excellent instrument for detecting hidden magnetic energy of the type the Los Alamos research team is interested in studying.
Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by the University of California for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the U.S. Department of Energy and works in partnership with NNSA's Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories to support NNSA in its mission.
Los Alamos enhances global security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health and national security concerns.
|FBI Campaign Against Einstein Revealed |
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Science Editor
New York June 8, 2002 (BBC) - A new book reveals the 22-year effort by FBI director J Edgar Hoover to get Albert Einstein arrested as a political subversive or even a Soviet spy.
Uncovered FBI files are revealed in a book by Fred Jerome who says it was a clash of cultures - Einstein's challenge and change with Hoover's order and obedience.
From the time Einstein arrived in the US in 1933 to the time of his death, in 1955, the FBI files reveal that his phone was tapped, his mail was opened and even his trash searched.
Einstein became world famous in 1906 for his Special Theory of Relativity that deals with light. His General Theory of Relativity, published in 1919, deals with gravity and has been called mankind's greatest intellectual accomplishment.
The Einstein File begins with a request by J Edgar Hoover in 1950: "Please furnish a report as to the nature of any derogatory information contained in any file your bureau may have on the following person."
That person was Albert Einstein, and the request intensified a secret campaign to discredit him. Hoover was worried about Einstein's liberal intellectualism and his dabbling in politics, something that has been forgotten today. It has been overtaken by Einstein's absent-minded professor image. But Einstein was outspoken against social injustice and violations of civil rights.
The fledgling state of Israel once offered Einstein its presidency. Einstein declined.
The broad outline of this story has been known since 1983, when Richard Alan Schwartz, a professor of English at Florida International University in Miami, obtained a censored version of Einstein's 1,427-page FBI file. But Jerome uncovers new material.
He sued the US Government with the help of the Public Citizen Litigation Group to obtain all the documents in the Einstein file.
The new material shows how the bureau spied on Einstein.
"It is like the agents got up in the morning, brushed their teeth, opened other people's mail and tapped some phones," he told the BBC.
After he left Germany, appalled by the barbarism of the Nazis, Einstein lent his name to a variety of organizations dedicated to peace and disarmament. Because of this, the Woman Patriot Corp wrote a 16-page letter to the State Department, the first item in Einstein's file, in 1932, arguing that Einstein should not be allowed into the United States.
"Not even Stalin himself" was affiliated with so many anarchic-communist groups, the letter said.
Fred Jerome reveals that the 1,800-page document prepared about Einstein by the FBI shows that the agency even bugged his secretary's nephew's house. The files reveal that for five years J Edgar Hoover tried, and failed, to link Einstein to a Soviet espionage ring.