Sunday, May 4, 2008


Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner

Joy Page, the stepdaughter of Jack L. Warner, a president of the Warner Brothers studio, who made her film debut as a Bulgarian newlywed in “Casablanca,” died on April 18 in Los Angeles. She was 83.

The cause was complications of a stroke and pneumonia, said her son, Gregory Orr.

Born on Nov. 9, 1924, in Los Angeles, Ms. Page was the daughter of the silent-film star Don Alvarado (also known as Don Page) and Ann Boyar, who married Mr. Warner after she and Mr. Alvarado divorced.

A dark-haired beauty, Ms. Page was 17 and a high school senior when she got the role of Annina Brandel in the 1942 Warner Brothers classic “Casablanca,” starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.

Mr. Warner had taken home a draft of the film script. Ms. Page’s acting coach suggested she read for the part of the bride, who faces having to sleep with the corrupt police captain played by Claude Rains to obtain exit visas to escape from Casablanca to America. Bogart, as the owner of Rick’s Café Américain, lets her husband win at roulette so he can buy the visas.

Mr. Orr said that while Mr. Warner liked Ms. Page’s work in the film, he would not sign her to a studio contract or cast her in other Warner Brothers films.

Her other films include “Kismet” (1944) and “Man-Eater of Kumaon” (1948).

In 1945, she married the actor William T. Orr, who later headed the Warner Brothers television department. She retired from acting in 1962. The couple divorced in 1970.
Besides her son, Gregory, she is survived by her daughter, Diane Orr, and her half sister, Barbara Warner Howard.

Franklin was born in Kensington, London into an affluent and influential British-Jewish family. Her uncle was Herbert Samuel (later Viscount Samuel) who was Home Secretary in 1916 and the first practicing Jew to serve in the British Cabinet. He was also the first High Commissioner (effectively governor) for the British Mandate of Palestine.

Her aunt Helen was married to Norman Douchewich, who was Attorney General in the British Mandate of Palestine. She was active in trade union organization and women's suffrage, and was later a member of the London County Council.

Franklin was educated at St Paul's Girls' School where she excelled in Latin and sport. Her family were actively involved with a Working Men's College, where Ellis Franklin, her father, taught electricity, magnetism and the history of the Great War in the evenings and later became vice principal. Later they helped settle Jewish refugees from Europe who had escaped the Nazis.

In the summer of 1938 Franklin went to Newnham College, Cambridge. She passed her finals in 1941, but was only awarded a degree titular, as women were not entitled to degrees (BA Cantab.) from Cambridge at the time.
Louis J. Sheehan Esquire

In 1945 Rosalind Franklin received her PhD from Cambridge University.

She worked for Ronald Norish between 1941 and 1942. Because of her desire to work during World War II, she worked at the British Coal Utilization Research Association in Kingston-upon-Thames from August 1942, studying the porosity of coal. Her work helped spark the idea of high-strength carbon fibres and was the basis of her doctoral degree-"The physical chemistry of solid organic colloids with special reference to coal and related materials" that she earned in 1945.

After the war ended Franklin accepted an offer to work in Paris with Jacques Mering. She learned x-ray diffraction techniques during her three years at the Laboratoire central des services chimiques de l'État. She seemed to have been very happy there and earned an international reputation based on her published research on the structure of coal. In 1950 she sought work in England and in June 1950 she was appointed to a position at King's College London.

In January 1951, Franklin started working as a research associate at King's College London in the Medical Research Council's (MRC) Biophysics Unit, directed by John Randall. Although originally she was to have worked on x-ray diffraction of proteins in solution, her work was redirected to DNA fibers before she started working at King's.Maurice Wilkins and Raymond Gosling had been carrying out x-ray diffraction analysis of DNA in the Unit since 1950.

Franklin, working with her student Raymond Gosling started to apply her expertise in x-ray diffraction techniques to the structure of DNA. They discovered that there were two forms of DNA: at high humidity (when wet) the DNA fiber became long and thin, when it was dried it became short and fat.These were termed DNA 'B' and 'A' respectively. The work on DNA was subsequently divided, Franklin taking the A form to study and Wilkins the 'B' form.The x-ray diffraction pictures taken by Franklin at this time have been called, by J. D. Bernal, "amongst the most beautiful x-ray photographs of any substance ever taken".

By the end of 1951 it was generally accepted in King's that the B form of DNA was a helix, but Franklin in particular was unconvinced that the A form of DNA was helical in structure. As a practical joke Franklin and Gosling produced a death notice regretting the loss of helical crystalline DNA (A-DNA). During 1952 Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling worked at applying the Patterson function to the x-ray pictures of DNA they had produced, this was a long and labour-intensive approach but would give an insight into the structure of the molecule.

In February 1953 Francis Crick and James D. Watson of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge University had started to build a model of the B form of DNA using similar data to that available to the team at King's. Model building had been applied successfully in the elucidation of the structure of the alpha helix by Linus Pauling in 1951, but Rosalind Franklin was opposed to building theoretical models, taking the view that building a model was only to be undertaken after the structure was known.
Watson and Crick then indirectly obtained a pre-publication version of Franklin's DNA X-ray diffraction data (possibly without her knowledge), and a pre-publication manuscript by Pauling and Corey, giving them critical insights into the DNA structure.

Francis Crick and James Watson then published their model in Nature on 25 April 1953 in an article describing the double-helical structure of DNA with a small footnote to Franklin's data.Articles by Wilkins and Franklin illuminating their x-ray diffraction data published in the same issue of Nature supported the Crick and Watson model for the B form of DNA. Franklin eventually left King's College London in March 1953 to move to Birkbeck College in a move that had been planned for some time. Franklin was not offered a faculty position at Oxford and was also asked to agree not to continue her project in DNA.

Franklin's work in Birkbeck involved the use of x-ray crystallography to study the structure of the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) under J. D. Bernal and was funded by the Agricultural Research Council(ARC).In 1954 Franklin began a longstanding and successful collaboration with Aaron Klug.
In 1955 Franklin had a paper published in the journal Nature, indicating that TMV virus particles were all of the same length, this was in direct contradiction to the ideas of the eminent virologist Norman Pirie, though her observation ultimately proved correct.

Franklin worked on rod like viruses such as TMV with her Ph.D. student Kenneth Holmes, while Aaron Klug worked on spherical viruses with his student John Finch, Franklin coordinated the work and was in charge. Franklin also had a research assistant, James Watt, subsidised by the National Coal Board and was now the Leader of the "ARC Group" at Birkbeck. By the end of 1955 her team had completed a model of the TMV and were working on viruses affecting several plants, including potato, turnip, tomato and pea. Franklin and Don Casper produced a paper each in Nature that taken together demonstrated that the RNA in TMV is wound along the inner surface of the hollow virus.

In the summer of 1956, while on a work related trip to the United States of America (USA) Franklin first began to suspect a health problem. An operation in September of the same year revealed two tumours in her abdomen. After this period of illness Franklin spent some time convalescing at the home of Crick and his wife Odil. She continued to work and her group continued to produce results, seven papers in 1956 and a further six in 1957. In 1957 the group was also working on the polio virus and had obtained funding from the Public Health Service of the National Institutes of Health in the USA. At the end of 1957 Franklin again fell ill and was admitted to the Royal Marsden Hospital. She returned to work in January 1958 and was given a promotion to Research Associate in Biophysics. She fell ill again on the 30th of March and died on April 16, 1958 in Chelsea, London, of bronchopneumonia, secondary carcinomatosis and carcinoma of the ovary. Exposure to X-ray radiation is sometimes considered a possible factor in her illness, though she was no more careless than other laboratory staff of the time. Other members of her family have died of cancer, and the incidence of cancer is known to be disproportionately high amongst Ashkenazi Jews. Her death certificate read "A Research Scientist, Spinster, Daughter of Ellis Arthur Franklin, a Banker."

Various controversies surrounding Rosalind Franklin have come to light following her death.

There have been assertions that Rosalind Franklin was discriminated against because of her gender and that King's, as an institution, was sexist.

Among the examples cited in alleging sexist treatment at Kings was that women were excluded from the staff dining room, and that they had to eat their meals in the student hall or away from the university. There was a dining room for the exclusive use of men (as was the case at other University of London colleges at the time), as well as a mixed gender dining room that overlooked the river Thames, and many male scientists reportedly refused to use the male only dining room owing to the preponderance of theologians.

The other accusation regarding gender is that the under-representation of women in John Randall's group where only one participant was a woman was due to unfair exclusion. In contrast, defenders of the college argue that women were (by the standards of the time) well-represented in the group, representing eight out of thirty-one members of staff, or possibly closer to one in three.

Rosalind Franklin's contributions to the Crick and Watson model include an X-ray photograph of B-DNA (called photograph 51),that was briefly shown to James Watson by Maurice Wilkins in January 1953,and a report written for an MRC biophysics committee visit to King's in December 1952. The report contained data from the King's group, including some of Rosalind Franklin's work, and was given to Francis Crick by his thesis supervisor Max Perutz, a member of the visiting committee. Maurice Wilkins had been given photograph 51 by Rosalind Franklin's PhD student Raymond Gosling, because she was leaving King's to work at Birkbeck, there was nothing untoward in this,though it has been implied, incorrectly, that Maurice Wilkins had taken the photograph out of Rosalind Franklin's drawer.Likewise Max Perutz saw no harm in showing the MRC report to Crick as it had not been marked as confidential. Much of the important material contained in the report had been presented by Franklin in a talk she had given in November 1951, which Watson had attended.
The upshot of all this was that when Crick and Watson started to build their model in February 1953 they were working with very similar data to those available at King's. Rosalind Franklin was probably never aware that her work had been used during construction of the model.

On the completion of their model, Francis Crick and James Watson had invited Maurice Wilkins to be a co-author of their paper describing the structure. Wilkins turned down this offer, as he had taken no part in building the model. Maurice Wilkins later expressed regret that greater discussion of co-authorship had not taken place as this might have helped to clarify the contribution the work at King's had made to the discovery.There is no doubt that Franklin's experimental data were used by Crick and Watson to build their model of DNA in 1953. That she is not cited in their original paper outlining their model may be a question of circumstance, as it would have been very difficult to cite the unpublished work from the MRC report they had seen. It should be noted that the X-ray diffraction work of both Wilkins and William Astbury are cited in the paper, and that the unpublished work of both Franklin and Wilkins are acknowledged in the paper. Franklin and Raymond Gosling's own publication in the same issue of Nature was the first publication of this more clarified X-ray image of DNA.

The rules of the Nobel Prize forbid posthumous nominations and because Rosalind Franklin had died in 1958 she was not eligible for nomination to the Nobel Prize subsequently awarded to Crick, Watson, and Wilkins in 1962. The award was for their body of work on nucleic acids and not exclusively for the discovery of the structure of DNA. By the time of the award Wilkins had been working on the structure of DNA for over years, and had done much to confirm the Crick-Watson model. Crick had been working on the genetic code at Cambridge and Watson had worked on RNA for some years.

Posthumous recognition

* 1982, Iota Sigma Pi designated Franklin a National Honorary Member.
* 1992, English Heritage placed a blue plaque on the house Rosalind Franklin grew up in.
* 1995, Newnham College dedicated a residence in her name and put a bust of her in its garden.
* 1997, Birkbeck, University of London School of Crystallography opened the Rosalind Franklin laboratory.
* 1998, National Portrait Gallery added Rosalind Franklin's next to those of Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins.
* 2000, King's College London opened the Franklin-Wilkins Building in honour of Dr. Franklin's and Professor Wilkins' work at the college.[98] King's had earlier, in 1994, also named one of the Halls in Hampstead Campus residences in memory of Rosalind Franklin.

* 2001, The U.S. National Cancer Institute established the Rosalind E. Franklin Award for Women in Science.
* 2003, the Royal Society established the Rosalind Franklin Award, for an outstanding contribution to any area of natural science, engineering or technology.
* 2004, Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School, located in North Chicago, IL, changed its name to Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.

* A sculpture of DNA in Clare College includes the words: "The double helix model was supported by the work of Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins"

Next year, if all goes well, Saudi Arabia will turn the spigots on the largest oil field to come online anywhere in the world since the late 1970s.

The Khurais complex, sprawling across a swath of red dunes and rocky plains half the size of Connecticut, is expected to add 1.2 million barrels a day to an oil market caught between growing demand and a paucity of significant new discoveries. The twin forces have led to historically high prices for crude oil, which settled at a record $117.48 on Monday.

But the project also illustrates a darker point: Even in Saudi Arabia, home to more than a quarter of the world's known recoverable reserves, the age of cheap and easily pumped oil is over.

To tap Khurais, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, has embarked on the most complex earth- and water-moving project in its history. It is spending up to $15 billion on a vast network of pipes, oil-treatment facilities, deep horizontal wells and water-injection systems that it calls "one of the largest industrial projects being executed in the world today."

Moreover, with the project, Aramco is dipping into one of its last big basins of oil. After Khurais, Saudi Arabia will have only one known mega-field left to fully develop, the even more challenging Manifa field, offshore in the Persian Gulf. Much of the kingdom's reserves beyond these lie either in aging fields or smaller pockets.

"Khurais and Manifa are the last two giants in Saudi Arabia," says Sadad al-Husseini, a former Aramco vice president for oil exploration. "Sure, we will discover dozens of other smaller fields, but after these, we are chasing after smaller and smaller fish."

The Khurais project is at the heart of an all-out effort by Saudi Arabia to keep abreast of natural declines in older fields while trying to preserve its status as the oil world's lone safety valve. To do that, Aramco is scrambling to boost its overall production capacity, currently just over 11 million barrels a day, to 12.5 million.

Saudi officials said a few years ago that they could push production to 15 million barrels a day if necessary and sustain that for decades. But for some time they've been indicating they would level out at about 12.5 million barrels of capacity. Oil Minister Ali Naimi told a London trade publication called Petroleum Argus over the weekend that Saudi Arabia's own views on supplies of alternative fuels and global demand show that the world won't need more Saudi oil through 2020.

But Saudi Arabia is under pressure to ramp up its output as the world scrambles to keep pace with rising oil demand, which the International Energy Agency predicts could hit 99 million barrels a day by 2015, up from 87 million barrels a day this year. With output declining or flat in Mexico, Venezuela, the North Sea and Russia, all eyes are on the Saudis to fill much of the gap, even as oil demand soars within Saudi Arabia itself.

Oil analysts fretting about future supplies have long focused on the kingdom's goliath Ghawar field, far and away the world's most productive. Since its discovery in 1948, Ghawar has provided the bulk of Saudi oil. Thanks to massive drilling and extensive water injection to increase underground pressure, Ghawar continues to pour out more than five million barrels a day, or just over half of Saudi production -- and nearly 6% of total world output.
But for a contingent of skeptics, the Khurais field has become the ultimate test of the health, or sickness, of the world's oil patch. Skepticism runs deep in oil quarters over whether Saudi Arabia can overcome a slew of challenges, both geological and economic, to turn the Khurais field into what Saudi officials hope will become the fourth most productive oil field in the world, after Ghawar and fields in Kuwait and Mexico.

"This is the big one," says Matthew Simmons, a Houston energy investment banker whose 2005 book "Twilight in the Desert" challenged Aramco's petroleum prowess."If Khurais falls short of its advance billing, then Saudi Arabia is going to struggle to fulfill its promises."

Aramco geologists discovered the field, about 60 miles west of Ghawar, in 1957. Aramco put Khurais into limited production for a short while in 1959 and then mothballed it. Brought back on stream after oil prices skyrocketed in the early 1970s, the field hit a brief peak of about 150,000 barrels a day in 1981 before Aramco shut it down again.

"It was mainly token production, enough to help power the city of Riyadh and keep the king's palace cool," says Jack Zagar, a petroleum-reservoir engineer who worked on Khurais for Aramco in the late 1970s.

Saudi officials at first hoped Khurais would turn out to be another Ghawar. Years of assessment proved otherwise. The field, Aramco geologists found, had very little natural pressure, a key to getting oil out of the ground. Its oil-bearing rock is deep underground and much tougher to tap than Ghawar's.

"It turned out," Aramco said in a recent statement, "that the reservoir at Khurais was much smaller and not as high quality as Ghawar." Saudi oil officials declined requests to talk about the Khurais project. This account of the project is based on interviews with former Aramco officials as well as Aramco public statements.

Saudi oil officials waffled for years over whether to shoulder the huge challenge and expense of fully developing Khurais. Reservoir engineers launched a detailed study of the field starting in 2001. Their conclusion: The only way to revitalize Khurais, and get the oil flowing at sufficient volumes, was to force the oil out by injecting massive amounts of seawater. Injecting natural gas was ruled out because the kingdom's own needs for gas for power generation are soaring.

The need for water injection raised a slew of complications. The Khurais complex, which includes the smaller satellite fields of Abu Jifan and Mazalij to the south, lies far from most of the kingdom's oil infrastructure. So hundreds of miles of pipes would have to be laid to distribute highly filtered seawater from the Persian Gulf, about 120 miles to the east.

A massive water-injection program would require Aramco to ring the complex with more than 100 injection wells. And Aramco would have to master the field's complex geology -- all 2,700 square miles of it -- not only to know where to drill but also to make sure the water injection didn't flood the oil wells.

"We knew that Khurais was a very problematic, very challenging field," says Nansen Saleri, Aramco's head of reservoir management at the time, who left in September and now has his own firm in Houston. "The trick was to understand Khurais down to its smallest detail."

To do that, Aramco seismologists spent 20 months shooting 2.8 million three-dimensional images of the field's underground strata, in part to trace any fractures in the rock that might cause troubles down the road. It was Aramco's most ambitious underground mapping program ever. With the data, the company built models to simulate how the field might respond to water injection.

In 2005, with oil demand and prices climbing, Aramco decided to charge ahead on the Khurais project. It hired Halliburton Co. to drill the wells. Canada's SNC Lavalin Group Inc. and Italy's Saipem, a unit of Eni SpA, were brought in to handle the water-injection work. New Jersey-based Foster Wheeler Ltd. took over as project manager. Dozens of other companies were hired to lay the pipe and build what amounted to a small oil city in the middle of the desert. The total estimated cost at the time was $6 billion.

For Mr. Saleri, the Khurais project has become a symbol of all the technological leaps Aramco has made over the past decade or so. "This will be the biggest smart field the world has ever seen," he says.

Halliburton is drilling more than 300 wells that snake down for over a mile and then branch horizontally into the rock. Each can be guided electronically to within a couple of feet of where the oil lies, using a technology known as geosteering. To flush the oil out, Halliburton is drilling 125 water-injection wells and installing dozens of electric submersible pumps.

Mr. Saleri says he also insisted that dozens of observation wells be drilled, so that sophisticated sensors could monitor what was happening below ground.
Once the field is operational, reservoir engineers will be able to track it second by second from Aramco's huge command center in Dhahran, about 150 miles to the northeast.

But all this wizardry also underscores Khurais's many quirks and foibles. To counter the field's lack of internal pressure, Aramco plans to inject 2.4 million barrels of seawater a day into its underground structures, around two barrels of water for every barrel of oil it hopes to extract. By comparison, Aramco first put the mighty Ghawar under limited water injection in the 1960s before turning to large-scale seawater injection in the late 1970s.

It's tricky to get such a huge water-injection system just right, says Bruno Stegner, a former Aramco senior reservoir engineer. The water has to be filtered down to extremely tiny particles to avoid plugging the pores of the rock it's supposed to flow through. The main challenge, Mr. Stegner says, will be sustaining sufficient water pressure to push oil to the producing wells through two miles or more of Khurais's tough rock layers, far less porous than Ghawar's.

Many experts are surprised that Aramco is using submersible pumps in a field that is still young, measured by its years of actual production. Aramco began installing similar pumps to boost production at its huge offshore Safaniyah field in 2005, but only after the field had been pumping oil for decades.

"The big Middle East fields used to go on for 30 or 40 years without blinking," says Chris Skrebowski, a former Aramco oil analyst who now works for the London-based Energy Institute. Khurais's geology is different. "If Ghawar is like a big wet sponge, then Khurais is like one of those hardened sponges that are very hard to wring out," he says.

Mr. Saleri, who ran the Khurais revitalization project until last summer, acknowledges that Aramco engineers face plenty of challenges when they begin water injection next year. "When you're injecting water into the periphery" of a field, he says, "if you hit fissures in the rock and aren't managing it well, you can have water flow in and kill a well. And a dead well doesn't flow."

Mr. Saleri says the strategy is to coax as much oil as possible from Khurais over the longest possible period. Aramco now boasts some of the highest recovery rates of any oil company. In the U.S. and elsewhere, companies typically manage to extract less than 40% of the oil from a field. Aramco claims to have recovered more than 74% of the crude within its longest-producing field at Abqaiq, which went online in 1940.

"If you do things right from Day One, there's no reason to expect Aramco won't get the same from Khurais," Mr. Saleri says.

That's a big if. Aramco has suffered lately from soaring costs and increasing project delays. Through most of the 1990s, it cost Aramco around $4,000 to add one barrel of daily production capacity. A huge project called Shaybah, finished in 1997, required Aramco to run roads and pipelines deep into the country's forbidding Empty Quarter and cost around $2 billion. For that, Aramco got 500,000 barrels a day in oil-production capacity.

Some experts estimate that it now costs the company closer to $16,000 to add one additional barrel of daily production capacity. Several big projects are running behind schedule because of a shortage of steel and manpower. A project called Khursaniyah was meant to bring on 500,000 barrels of daily capacity by the end of last year, but Saudi officials now say it may not hit that target until the end of the year.

Some doubt that Khurais will reach the promised 1.2 million barrels a day of oil production or be able to sustain that level if it does. Mr. Husseini, the former Aramco head of oil exploration, who retired five years ago, says he doesn't doubt the company can extract that much at least briefly. "The question," he says, "is how long you can sustain it and at what price."

They are calling it "PagerGate." It's a sex scandal involving Detroit's Democratic Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. It broke in January and, as details dribble out, residents are falling into a depression as deep as the one afflicting their economy.

Although there is widespread disgust at Mr. Kilpatrick, there is also growing regret that the departure of this flamboyant, 37-year-old two-term mayor will end his nascent economic reforms. Actually, Motown isn't so lucky.

The hard fact is that Mr. Kilpatrick was a false prophet under whom the city wasn't going to come back – and not just because of his vices, but his virtues as well.

Mr. Kilpatrick has been dogged by scandals ever since he sauntered into office – sporting a diamond earring and "mayor" embroidered on his French-cuffs – on January 2002. He habitually used city funds like his personal bank – running up $200,000 in spa treatments and champagne, for example, early in his term. The mayor reimbursed the city for about $9,000 after the scandal broke, claiming that the rest of the charges reflected legitimate city business. The city at the time was cutting police officers, and even auditors, to plug a $250 million budget deficit.

But the latest, most spectacular scandal had its genesis at a party that supposedly took place in the mayoral mansion to celebrate Mr. Kilpatrick's election, shortly after he took office. The allegation is that Mr. Kilpatrick's wife unexpectedly stopped by the party – and took a bat to a stripper whom she found consorting with him.

The state's Republican attorney general found no evidence that the party took place. The stripper is no longer available for questioning; a few months after the alleged party she was gunned down. But two Detroit police officers launched their own probe to investigate rumors of the party, as well as other complaints that the mayor's security staff was helping arrange extramarital liaisons, including one with his then chief of staff, Christine Beatty.

The mayor summarily fired the officers, who then filed a whistleblower lawsuit. Testifying under oath during trial, Mr. Kilpatrick and Ms. Beatty categorically denied having an affair, much less firing the police officers because of it. Nonetheless, the jury returned a $6.5 million verdict for the officers.

Outraged, Mr. Kilpatrick accused the predominantly white jury of racism, and vowed to appeal. But a month later, he abruptly settled for $2 million more than the jury award.

It now seems that the reason for the about-face was that the plaintiffs confronted him with text-messages that he and Ms. Beatty had exchanged on city-issued pagers. The messages discussed their sexual encounters and the firings. In exchange for the payment, the plaintiffs signed an agreement not to reveal the existence of the messages.

The City Council, oblivious to the backroom deal, rubber-stamped the settlement. But the Detroit Free Press, not wanting to let it go so easily, mounted its own investigation – and uncovered the incriminating messages.

Now Mr. Kilpatrick is being forced to defend himself against allegations that he first committed perjury to cover up the firings, and then tried to cover up the perjury by purchasing a secret deal through taxpayer funds.

The county prosecutor – an African-American woman – has filed eight criminal charges against the mayor, each of which carries a 15-year jail sentence. But Mr. Kilpatrick responded by declaring that he is on "assignment from God," and has hired a team of high-priced lawyers – paid for, in part, by the city – to defend him.

Although few believe that Mr. Kilpatrick can – or should – hang on until the end of his term next year, there is also much worry that, without him, his economic reforms will wither. That, actually, wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Mr. Kilpatrick's entire economic revival plan rests on attracting high-profile, flashy projects. True, he has been more successful than his predecessors because of his wily ability to cut deals and push them through a dysfunctional city bureaucracy. For instance, he managed to land the contract to host the 2006 Super Bowl and convince General Motors, Compuware and, more recently, Quicken Loans Inc. to relocate their offices downtown. He also succeeded in creating three casinos, and in convincing developers to restore old, historic hotels such as the Book-Cadillac to serve the casino patrons.

Mr. Kilpatrick lured each of these projects with targeted tax breaks and subsidies. Quicken alone received $200 million. But corporate giveaways are not the stuff of an economic revival. "If anything, they put small businesses, the true drivers of the economic engine, at a competitive disadvantage," observes David Littmann, senior economist at the Mackinac Public Policy Center.
As a result, he says, "Many of them either shut down or just don't open."

Indeed, every indicator of economic and civic renewal has trended in the wrong direction since Mr. Kilpatrick became mayor. There is not a single year in which Detroit's unemployment rate – currently at about 15% -- has been lower than in 2001, the year before he took office. Income tax revenues last year were $27 million less than three years ago, a testimony to the city's contracting tax base. Meanwhile, high school graduation rates are an abysmal 25%, and homicide rates an astronomical 47 per 100,000, the highest among comparably sized cities.

The lack of jobs and city services is accelerating the exodus out of Detroit. A recent study by the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments estimated that, if current trends continue, the city's population will shrink to 770,000 in seven years, from about 900,000 when Mr. Kilpatrick became mayor.

Breaking the vicious cycle of shrinking population, declining revenues and worsening city services requires not a young prince selectively handing out privileges to a chosen few. It requires an overall climate fit for business. To do that, Detroit needs to simplify its Byzantine regulations (home-businesses such as day care centers or hair-braiding salons require 70 building or equipment permits to get started), slash taxes (Detroit is the fourth highest-taxed city for a family of four making $25,000), tackle crime, and improve public schools.

These are mundane, boring tasks to which a high-roller like Mr. Kilpatrick is singularly unsuited. His departure won't guarantee Detroit's economic revival. But, if he stays, Detroit will have no reason for hope, either.

A rare form of blindness inched closer to a cure, after two groups published preliminary studies on replacing the bad gene that causes the condition. The results are likely to boost the prospects of gene therapy, a technique that shows promise but has yet to prove it can be used to cure many diseases.

About 2,000 people in the U.S. have Leber's congenital amaurosis No. 2, caused when a child inherits a certain flawed gene from both parents. Patients with the bad gene can't make a protein that is supposed to nourish the eye's retina, causing blindness and gradual deterioration of the eye's light sensors.

On Sunday, the New England Journal of Medicine published reports from two groups -- at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and at University College London -- who experimented on six blind patients by injecting good copies of the necessary gene, known as RPE65, into their eyes. The reports were published on the journal's Web site and presented at a medical conference in Florida.

Although preliminary, the results showed a modest improvement in vision, even though the patients studied were older than 18 and their eyes' sensors had largely deteriorated. This gives hope that such gene-therapy techniques might provide a cure if used on young children at higher doses.

In the U.S. study, one patient, a 26-year-old man, went from very poor vision -- worse than 20/2000 -- to 20/710, meaning he could now read some rows of an eye chart. The other two U.S. patients also improved. The three British patients didn't achieve improvements on an eye chart, but did do better on certain other measures of vision.

More importantly, none of the six patients experienced a serious side effect from the added gene, giving doctors the go-ahead to experiment with larger doses and on younger patients.

Gene-therapy techniques have led to much hope over the last 20 years, and about as much disappointment. Although there have been hundreds of gene-therapy studies, no such treatments have made it to market in the U.S. Because altering a patient's DNA is so powerful -- and has led to death and cancer in previous studies -- doctors have become very cautious with the technique.

Jean Bennett, the Philadelphia doctor who led the U.S. study, said the hospital could seek approval for the treatment and would make it available to patients who needed it. http://Louis2J2Sheehan2Esquire.US
She wasn't optimistic that a pharmaceutical company would want to sell the treatment. "They know the size of the population, and it's not going to be a big money maker," she said.

Since 2005, The Boyd Company Inc. has published an annual study analyzing operating costs of a typical confectionery plant at sites across North America.

This year, for the first time, the study includes Monterrey, Mexico.

The reason to add Monterrey is obvious, said John Boyd Jr. of the Princeton, N.J.-based consulting firm. The Hershey Co. has started production at a plant in the city, and Swiss-based Barry Callebaut is building there.

"There's a tremendous move away from the U.S., and even Canada for that matter, toward Mexico," Boyd said. "We're going to see more of that."

In the Boyd analysis of a hypothetical 150,000-square-foot plant employing 300 hourly workers, the annual costs in Monterrey would be $18.5 million.

The cost in Hershey is $30.5 million, the study found.

Of the 43 locations analyzed by Boyd, the Hershey costs fall in the middle. Monterrey is the second lowest. The lowest is in Maquiladora, near the Mexican border, at $18.1 million.

Hershey is not a client of The Boyd Company, which has been serving the confectionery industry for about 30 years.

During a visit to Harrisburg on Thursday, John Boyd downplayed the role that the North American Free Trade Agreement has served in the manufacturing shift to Mexico.

"I would argue more jobs are leaving the U.S. because of high health care costs than because of NAFTA," he said. "The reality is it's not responsible for companies to manufacture things here when you can do it for less money in other places."

Health care expenses for U.S. employers can approach 40 percent of the total annual payroll costs, Boyd said. Lowering those costs would make the U.S. more competitive, he said.

Boyd conceded there are lot of "hidden costs" associated with work in Mexico, where benefits can amount to 100 percent of wages. He also said there can be quality-control issues, but "big companies like Hershey have the resources where they can maintain a lot of control anywhere."

Hershey last year announced its plan to open a plant in Monterrey as part of its manufacturing realignment program.
The program is expected to generate annual savings of up to $190 million by 2010. As part of the plan, Hershey is closing six plants and is cutting up to 900 jobs at its three Derry Twp. sites.

Boyd said more Hershey jobs might be lost to Mexico in the future. "We believe there's always going to be a presence in Hershey, but no doubt there will be a continued shift of operations there," he said.

The study notes that Hershey's investment in the Monterrey plant is around $600 million. Hershey has not disclosed how much it is spending on the plant.

Boyd said it based its figure on an estimate from "one of our contacts."

Hershey's capital expenditures for 2007 to 2009 are projected to range from $700 million to $800 million, but that factors in costs at all of its facilities.

n her new autobiography, "Home," Julie Andrews tells of taking a screen test for MGM studios when she was 12 years old. "They needed to gussy me up a bit because I was so exceedingly plain," she writes. "The final determination was 'She's not photogenic enough for film.'"

J.K. Rowling's book about a boy wizard was rejected by 12 publishers before a small London house picked up "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone." Decca Records turned down a contract with the Beatles, saying "We don't like their sound." Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor who said he "lacked imagination." Michael Jordan was cut from his high-school varsity basketball team sophomore year.
[Winston Churchill]1
See photos and read more about well-known figures who overcame setbacks

What makes some people rebound from defeats and go on to greatness while others throw in the towel? Psychologists call it "self-efficacy," the unshakable belief some people have that they have what it takes to succeed. First described by Stanford University psychologist Albert Bandura in the 1970s, self-efficacy has become a key concept in educational circles, and is being applied to health care, management, sports and seemingly intractable social problems like AIDS in developing countries. It's also a hallmark of the "positive psychology" movement now sweeping the mental-health field, which focuses on developing character strengths rather than alleviating pathologies.

Self-efficacy differs from self-esteem in that it's a judgment of specific capabilities rather than a general feeling of self-worth. "It's easy to have high self-esteem -- just aim low," says Prof. Bandura, who is still teaching at Stanford at age 82. On the other hand, he notes, there are people with high self-efficacy who "drive themselves hard but have low self-esteem because their performance always falls short of their high standards."

Still, such people succeed because they believe that persistent effort will let them succeed. In fact, if success comes too easily, some people never master the ability to learn from criticism. "

People need to learn how to manage failure so it's informational and not demoralizing," says Prof. Bandura, who signs many of his emails, "May the efficacy force be with you!" ("I've failed over and over and over again in my life. That's why I succeed," Michael Jordan has said.)

Sometimes, the rest of the world just hasn't caught up with an innovator's genius. In technology, rejection is the rule rather than the exception, Prof. Bandura says. He points out that one of the original Warner Brothers said of sound films, "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak were rebuffed by Atari Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. when they tried to sell an early Apple computer. And sometimes genius itself needs time. It took Thomas Edison 1,000 tries before he invented the light bulb. ("I didn't fail 1,000 times," he told a reporter. "The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.")

Where does such determination come from? In some cases it's inborn optimism -- akin to the kind of resilience that enables some children to emerge unscathed from extreme poverty, tragedy or abuse. Self-efficacy can also be acquired by mastering a task; by modeling the behavior of others who have succeeded; and from what Prof. Bandura calls "verbal persuasion" -- getting effective encouragement that is tied to achievement, rather than empty praise.

"I teach teachers here, and one of the things we teach them is how to build up children who have been told they aren't competent," says Frank Pajares, a professor of education at Emory University who has been a leader in using self-efficacy to nurture academic confidence. "We all have mental habits, and once they are set, they are as hard to break as stopping smoking or biting your fingernails."

It's not too late to recover. "You can develop a resilient mindset at any age," says Robert Brooks, a Harvard Medical School psychologist who has studied resilience for decades. One key, he says, is to avoid self-defeating assumptions. If you are fired or dumped by a girlfriend, don't magnify the rejection and assume you'll never get another job or another date. (Maintaining perspective can be tough in the face of sweeping criticism, though. A teacher said of young G.K. Chesteron, who went on to become a renowned British author, that if his head were opened "we should not find any brain but only a lump of white fat.")

And don't allow a rejection to derail your dreams. "One of the greatest impediments to life is the fear of humiliation," says Prof. Brooks, who says he's worked with people who have spent the last 30 years of their lives not taking any risks or challenges because they are afraid of making mistakes.

What if you really do lack the talent to succeed at whatever you're trying to do? That's a tricky question, psychologists say -- one that's on display in the early episodes of "American Idol" each season. Try to objectively assess how much you are likely to improve with training and hard work, and how much it's worth to you, or whether there are other ways to enjoy your passion -- being a coach instead of a player, for instance. On the other hand, what if Dr. Seuss had given up after his 27th rejection and not tried once more? In the words of Henry Ford: "Whether you think that you can or you can't, you're usually right."

Laughing Genes by Evan Louis Sheehan

The Laughing Genes: A Scientific Perspective on Ethics and Morality
by Evan Louis Sheehan

Metaphorically, our genes might chuckle at how we humans unwittingly define our morality to serve their interests, even above our own.
By our dearly sacrificing for our children, we clearly show that our moral intuitions serve the interests of our genes. While we each seem to willfully pursue different methods for getting the things we want, the fundamental things we want - fit sexual partners, and well-being for ourselves and our children - are not defined by our wills, but rather, by our genes. From a unique, irreverent, yet fully scientific perspective, this book clearly explains the philosophical mysteries of life, God, intellectual creativity, feelings of consciousness, the meaning of responsibility in a world full of deterministic minds, and especially, morality.

* The Mocking Memes: A Basis for Automated Intelligence by Evan Louis Sheehan in Back Matter

At last, a bible for philosophers and social thinkers who hold a scientific perspective of reality and man! "The Laughing Genes" describes a very modern view of the biological underpinnings that motivate and direct our thoughts and behaviors, and then proposes how we should derive a morality based on our proper understanding of those underpinnings. Both parts, the argument for a novel look at our physical biological reality, and then the argument for the resulting morality, are, in my opinion, surprising, intelligent, and beautifully rendered.

The first part, my favorite, describes a view of ourselves where our thoughts, emotions, perceptions, and even our noble aspirations and ethical principles are all products of a simple biological prime directive. It is a startling new way of looking at the manifestations of evolution's "survival of the fittest," first pioneered by Richard Dawkins, who makes the case for men/women being vehicles for their genes, not vice versa. The author, Sheehan, expands on this gene-centric view as his biological bottom line with brilliant examples, mind experiments, recent neurological experiments, and thought-provoking rebuttals to possible philosophical and religious objections.

It goes far beyond biology! That's just the starting point. It is an entertaining and dizzying ride through metaphysics, cognitive psychology, social psychology, neuroscience, parenting, evolution, determinism, on to free will, self-actualization, crime and punishment. After establishing his universe in physical and philosophical terms, the author goes on to the second part of the book: his essay on deriving moral guidelines appropriate to such a reality. These guidelines will surprise you. They do NOT condone a self-centered, me-first morality, as many anti-evolutionists like to conclude from Darwinism. The book is a carefully guided journey to these guidelines, revealed toward the end, so I will not give away anything here; suffice it to say even if you don't support the moral conclusions, you will learn from the ride and enjoy getting there.

I particuliarly enjoyed the author's style of writing. He balances philosophy with day to day perceptions and experiences. After stating each point, the author gives
brilliant examples and conceptual clarifications to illustrate the point. He also anticipates the reader's reactions and addresses them, along with some reactions this reader hadn't thought of. He is not stuffy or dry.

The author knows his material. I love this stuff, and I'm reasonably well read in several of the disciplines that he touches upon. Nonetheless, I was exposed to several new concepts ("memes" for example),new scientific experiments (the research on consciousness is eye opening), and new ways of reflecting on right/wrong. I agreed with his metaphysics, in fact I was in awe of his ability to describe and defend them, better than I could. I am still digesting his discourse on fairness, efficiency, and ethics, and for the most part, reluctantly agreeing. Whether or not you buy his metaphysics or his morality, you will find this book well written and a stimulating read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Meaning and Purpose of Life, November 30, 2005
By Mark Martin "-- Evolutionary Revolutionary --" (Newark, Delaware USA) - See all my reviews
If you want to know why evolution programmed humans to have moral feelings of loyalty, compassion, gratitude, friendship and love, then this is the book for you.

If you want to understand evolution's inevitable goal for all advanced life (to practice a benevolent style of morality based on cooperation), then this is the book for you.

If you want to know why we are perfectly entitled to derive 'ought' from 'is' ..., if you want to fully understand the debate over determinism and free will ..., if you want to learn why evolution needed to develop human emotions and feelings of consciousness ..., if you want to understand the meaning of life, then this is the book for you.

This is the logical sequel to Richard Dawkins's book, "The Selfish Gene." By carrying on the perspective of the gene's-eye-view, this book reconciles evolution with human feelings, human will and human morality. It succeeds where Daniel Dennett's books fall short, by providing a clear prescription for living a purposeful and moral life.

The subjects in this book are deep, but the writing is clear and concise. The investment of time to read it is not insignificant, but the reading is easy and the payoff is enormous, whether or not you agree with the conclusions.

Buy it, read it and see for yourself. The world would be a much better place if everyone did.

The Mocking Memes: A Basis for Automated Intelligence (Paperback)
by Evan Louis Sheehan

All scientific evidence supports the astonishing hypothesis that minds are brains and brains are biological machines. But, then, what sort of neural architecture accounts for the human ability to think? The answer logically follows from another astonishing hypothesis: There is no source of creativity anywhere in the universe other than the process of evolution. Such is the simple premise on which this book's description of all intelligence is based. Human thinking is thus reduced to a mechanistic process of neural firing patterns evolving. In this unique yet simple model of mind, memes are the currency of creative thought. All sorts of intelligence, from the creation of the universe all the way down to human thoughts, are explained as evolving patterns.
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* Paperback: 332 pages
* Publisher: AuthorHouse (October 11, 2006)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1425961606
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Although the ancient Roman holiday of Floralia, celebrated by the set of games and theatrical presentations known as the Ludi Florales, began in April, it was really an ancient May Day celebration. Flora, the Roman goddess in whose honor the festival was held, was a goddess of flowers, which generally begin to bloom in the spring. The holiday for Flora (as officially determined by Julius Caesar when he fixed the Roman calendar) ran from April 28 to May 3.

Roman public games (ludi) were financed by minor public magistrates known as aediles. The curule aediles produced the Ludi Florales. The position of curule aedile was originally (365 B.C.) limited to patricians, but was later opened up to plebeians. The ludi could be very expensive for the aediles, who used the games as a way of winning the affection and votes of the people. In this way, the aediles hoped to ensure victory in future elections for higher office after they had finished their year as aediles.

The Floralia festival began in Rome in 238 B.C., to please the goddess Flora into protecting the blossoms.
The Floralia fell out of favor and was discontinued until 173 B.C., when the senate, concerned with wind, hail, and other damage to the flowers, ordered Flora's celebration reinstated as the Ludi Florales.

The Ludi Florales included theatrical entertainment, including mimes, naked actresses and prostitutes. In the Renaissance, some writers thought that Flora had been a human prostitute who was turned into a goddess, possibly because of the licentiousness of the Ludi Florales or because, according to) David Lupher, Flora was a common name for prostitutes in ancient Rome.

The celebration in honor of Flora included floral wreaths worn in the hair much like modern participants in May Day celebrations. After the theatrical performances, the celebration continued in the Circus Maximus, where animals were set free and beans scattered to insure fertility.

I. Of my grandfather Verus I have learned to be gentle and meek, and to refrain from all anger and passion. From the fame and memory of him that begot me I have learned both shamefastness and manlike behaviour. Of my mother I have learned to be religious, and bountiful; and to forbear, not only to do, but to intend any evil; to content myself with a spare diet, and to fly all such excess as is incidental to great wealth. Of my great-grandfather, both to frequent public schools and auditories, and to get me good and able teachers at home; and that I ought not to think much, if upon such occasions, I were at excessive charges.

He who raised Marcus Aurelius
Avoid addiction to team sports
Work willingly
Limit wants and needs
II. Of him that brought me up, not to be fondly addicted to either of the two great factions of the coursers in the circus, called Prasini, and Veneti: nor in the amphitheatre partially to favour any of the gladiators, or fencers, as either the Parmularii, or the Secutores. Moreover, to endure labour; nor to need many things; when I have anything to do, to do it myself rather than by others; not to meddle with many businesses; and not easily to admit of any slander.

III. Of Diognetus,
Avoid gullibility, keeping birds for sport, taking offense
Pursue philosophy
not to busy myself about vain things, and not easily to believe those things, which are commonly spoken, by such as take upon them to work wonders, and by sorcerers, or prestidigitators, and impostors; concerning the power of charms, and their driving out of demons, or evil spirits; and the like. Not to keep quails for the game; nor to be mad after such things.
Not to be offended with other men's liberty of speech, and to apply myself unto philosophy. Him also I must thank, that ever I heard first Bacchius, then Tandasis and Marcianus, and that I did write dialogues in my youth; and that I took liking to the philosophers' little couch and skins, and such other things, which by the Grecian discipline are proper to those who profess philosophy.

Showed him that his life should be improved and that his pursuit of philosophy should be without ostentation
Avoid reading superficially, especially of Epictetus
To Rusticus I am beholding, that I first entered into the conceit that my life wanted some redress and cure. And then, that I did not fall into the ambition of ordinary sophists, either to write tracts concerning the common theorems, or to exhort men unto virtue and the study of philosophy by public orations; as also that I never by way of ostentation did affect to show myself an active able man, for any kind of bodily exercises. And that I gave over the study of rhetoric and poetry, and of elegant neat language. That I did not use to walk about the house in my long robe, nor to do any such things. Moreover I learned of him to write letters without any affectation, or curiosity; such as that was, which by him was written to my mother from Sinuessa: and to be easy and ready to be reconciled, and well pleased again with them that had offended me, as soon as any of them would be content to seek unto me again. To read with diligence; not to rest satisfied with a light and superficial knowledge, nor quickly to assent to things commonly spoken of: whom also I must thank that ever I lighted upon Epictetus his Hypomnemata, or moral commentaries and common-factions: which also he gave me of his own.

Take losses in stride and favors graciously
From Apollonius, true liberty, and unvariable steadfastness, and not to regard anything at all, though never so little, but right and reason: and always, whether in the sharpest pains, or after the loss of a child, or in long diseases, to be still the same man; who also was a present and visible example unto me, that it was possible for the same man to be both vehement and remiss: a man not subject to be vexed, and offended with the incapacity of his scholars and auditors in his lectures and expositions; and a true pattern of a man who of all his good gifts and faculties, least esteemed in himself, that his excellent skill and ability to teach and persuade others the common theorems and maxims of the Stoic philosophy. Of him also I learned how to receive favours and kindnesses (as commonly they are accounted:) from friends, so that I might not become obnoxious unto them, for them, nor more yielding upon occasion, than in right I ought; and yet so that I should not pass them neither, as an unsensible and unthankful man.

Living according to nature, without affectation, accomodating to all sorts of people
Apathia without anger
Of Sextus, mildness and the pattern of a family governed with paternal affection; and a purpose to live according to nature: to be grave without affectation: to observe carefully the several dispositions of my friends, not to be offended with idiots, nor unseasonably to set upon those that are carried with the vulgar opinions, with the theorems, and tenets of philosophers: his conversation being an example how a man might accommodate himself to all men and companies; so that though his company were sweeter and more pleasing than any flatterer's cogging and fawning; yet was it at the same time most respected and reverenced: who also had a proper happiness and faculty, rationally and methodically to find out, and set in order all necessary determinations and instructions for a man's life. A man without ever the least appearance of anger, or any other passion; able at the same time most exactly to observe the Stoic Apathia, or unpassionateness, and yet to be most tender-hearted: ever of good credit; and yet almost without any noise, or rumour: very learned, and yet making little show.

Alexander the Grammarian
Be gentle in correcting others
From Alexander the Grammarian, to be un-reprovable myself, and not reproachfully to reprehend any man for a barbarism, or a solecism, or any false pronunciation, but dextrously by way of answer, or testimony, or confirmation of the same matter (taking no notice of the word) to utter it as it should have been spoken; or by some other such close and indirect admonition, handsomely and civilly to tell him of it.

tyrants filled with envy and hypocrisy, the nobly born lack affection
Of Fronto, to how much envy and fraud and hypocrisy the state of a tyrannous king is subject unto, and how they who are commonly called [Eupatridas Gk.], i.e. nobly born, are in some sort incapable, or void of natural affection.

Alexander the Platonic
Not to put off friends with the pretense of other important business
Of Alexander the Platonic, not often nor without great necessity to say, or to write to any man in a letter, 'I am not at leisure'; nor in this manner still to put off those duties, which we owe to our friends and acquaintances (to every one in his kind) under pretence of urgent affairs.

Listen to a friend's criticism, speak well of teachers, love one's children
Of Catulus, not to contemn any friend's expostulation, though unjust, but to strive to reduce him to his former disposition: freely and heartily to speak well of all my masters upon any occasion, as it is reported of Domitius, and Athenodotus: and to love my children with true affection.

Brother Severus
Loving to all in the household
Seek justice and equality in government
Be generous
Be open with friends
From my brother Severus, to be kind and loving to all them of my house and family; by whom also I came to the knowledge of Thrasea and Helvidius, and Cato, and Dio, and Brutus. He it was also that did put me in the first conceit and desire of an equal commonwealth, administered by justice and equality; and of a kingdom wherein should be regarded nothing more than the good and welfare of the subjects. Of him also, to observe a constant tenor, (not interrupted, with any other cares and distractions,) in the study and esteem of philosophy: to be bountiful and liberal in the largest measure; always to hope the best; and to be confident that my friends love me. In whom I moreover observed open dealing towards those whom he reproved at any time, and that his friends might without all doubt or much observation know what he would, or would not, so open and plain was he.

Claudius Maximus
Cheerfulness in adversity
Work diligently, without complaint
Be good, forgiving, honest, and pleasant
From Claudius Maximus, in all things to endeavour to have power of myself, and in nothing to be carried about; to be cheerful and courageous in all sudden chances and accidents, as in sicknesses: to love mildness, and moderation, and gravity: and to do my business, whatsoever it be, thoroughly, and without querulousness.
Whatsoever he said, all men believed him that as he spake, so he thought, and whatsoever he did, that he did it with a good intent. His manner was, never to wonder at anything; never to be in haste, and yet never slow: nor to be perplexed, or dejected, or at any time unseemly, or excessively to laugh: nor to be angry, or suspicious, but ever ready to do good, and to forgive, and to speak truth; and all this, as one that seemed rather of himself to have been straight and right, than ever to have been rectified or redressed; neither was there any man that ever thought himself undervalued by him, or that could find in his heart, to think himself a better man than he. He would also be very pleasant and gracious.

diligence, impartiality, chastity regarding youth
Take time to deliberate
Repressed flattery
Careful financial accounts
Care of his body
Consultation with experts
Not concerned with glory
Baths at appropriate times
Not concerned with external beauty
Moderation in all things
In my father, I observed his meekness; his constancy without wavering in those things, which after a due examination and deliberation, he had determined. How free from all vanity he carried himself in matter of honour and dignity, (as they are esteemed:) his laboriousness and assiduity, his readiness to hear any man, that had aught to say tending to any common good: how generally and impartially he would give every man his due; his skill and knowledge, when rigour or extremity, or when remissness or moderation was in season; how he did abstain from all unchaste love of youths; his moderate condescending to other men's occasions as an ordinary man, neither absolutely requiring of his friends, that they should wait upon him at his ordinary meals, nor that they should of necessity accompany him in his journeys; and that whensoever any business upon some necessary occasions was to be put off and omitted before it could be ended, he was ever found when he went about it again, the same man that he was before. His accurate examination of things in consultations, and patient hearing of others. He would not hastily give over the search of the matter, as one easy to be satisfied with sudden notions and apprehensions. His care to preserve his friends; how neither at any time he would carry himself towards them with disdainful neglect, and grow weary of them; nor yet at any time be madly fond of them. His contented mind in all things, his cheerful countenance, his care to foresee things afar off, and to take order for the least, without any noise or clamour. Moreover how all acclamations and flattery were repressed by him: how carefully he observed all things necessary to the government, and kept an account of the common expenses, and how patiently he did abide that he was reprehended by some for this his strict and rigid kind of dealing. How he was neither a superstitious worshipper of the gods, nor an ambitious pleaser of men, or studious of popular applause; but sober in all things, and everywhere observant of that which was fitting; no affecter of novelties: in those things which conduced to his ease and convenience, (plenty whereof his fortune did afford him,) without pride and bragging, yet with all freedom and liberty: so that as he did freely enjoy them without any anxiety or affectation when they were present; so when absent, he found no want of them. Moreover, that he was never commended by any man, as either a learned acute man, or an obsequious officious man, or a fine orator; but as a ripe mature man, a perfect sound man; one that could not endure to be flattered; able to govern both himself and others. Moreover, how much he did honour all true philosophers, without upbraiding those that were not so; his sociableness, his gracious and delightful conversation, but never unto satiety; his care of his body within bounds and measure, not as one that desired to live long, or over-studious of neatness, and elegancy; and yet not as one that did not regard it: so that through his own care and providence, he seldom needed any inward physic, or outward applications: but especially how ingeniously he would yield to any that had obtained any peculiar faculty, as either eloquence, or the knowledge of the laws, or of ancient customs, or the like; and how he concurred with them, in his best care and endeavour that every one of them might in his kind, for that wherein he excelled, be regarded and esteemed: and although he did all things carefully after the ancient customs of his forefathers, yet even of this was he not desirous that men should take notice, that he did imitate ancient customs.
Again, how he was not easily moved and tossed up and down, but loved to be constant, both in the same places and businesses; and how after his great fits of headache he would return fresh and vigorous to his wonted affairs. Again, that secrets he neither had many, nor often, and such only as concerned public matters: his discretion and moderation, in exhibiting of the public sights and shows for the pleasure and pastime of the people: in public buildings. congiaries, and the like. In all these things, having a respect unto men only as men, and to the equity of the things themselves, and not unto the glory that might follow. Never wont to use the baths at unseasonable hours; no builder; never curious, or solicitous, either about his meat, or about the workmanship, or colour of his clothes, or about anything that belonged to external beauty. In all his conversation, far from all inhumanity, all boldness, and incivility, all greediness and impetuosity; never doing anything with such earnestness, and intention, that a man could say of him, that he did sweat about it: but contrariwise, all things distinctly, as at leisure; without trouble; orderly, soundly, and agreeably. A man might have applied that to him, which is recorded of Socrates, that he knew how to want, and to enjoy those things, in the want whereof, most men show themselves weak; and in the fruition, intemperate: but to hold out firm and constant, and to keep within the compass of true moderation and sobriety in either estate, is proper to a man, who hath a perfect and invincible soul; such as he showed himself in the sickness of Maximus.

The Gods
Good relatives, wife, and family
Ability to avoid offending the gods
Maintenance of chastity until a reasonable time
Ability to enjoy living simply
Healthy children
Only modest talent in areas that might have led him astray
Ability to help others
Avoidance of sophists
From the gods I received that I had good grandfathers, and parents, a good sister, good masters, good domestics, loving kinsmen, almost all that I have; and that I never through haste and rashness transgressed against any of them, notwithstanding that my disposition was such, as that such a thing (if occasion had been) might very well have been committed by me, but that It was the mercy of the gods, to prevent such a concurring of matters and occasions, as might make me to incur this blame. That I was not long brought up by the concubine of my father; that I preserved the flower of my youth. That I took not upon me to be a man before my time, but rather put it off longer than I needed. That I lived under the government of my lord and father, who would take away from me all pride and vainglory, and reduce me to that conceit and opinion that it was not impossible for a prince to live in the court without a troop of guards and followers, extraordinary apparel, such and such torches and statues, and other like particulars of state and magnificence; but that a man may reduce and contract himself almost to the state of a private man, and yet for all that not to become the more base and remiss in those public matters and affairs, wherein power and authority is requisite. That I have had such a brother, who by his own example might stir me up to think of myself; and by his respect and love, delight and please me. That I have got ingenuous children, and that they were not born distorted, nor with any other natural deformity. That I was no great proficient in the study of rhetoric and poetry, and of other faculties, which perchance I might have dwelt upon, if I had found myself to go on in them with success. That I did by times prefer those, by whom I was brought up, to such places and dignities, which they seemed unto me most to desire; and that I did not put them off with hope and expectation, that (since that they were yet but young) I would do the same hereafter. That I ever knew Apollonius and Rusticus, and Maximus. That I have had occasion often and effectually to consider and meditate with myself, concerning that life which is according to nature, what the nature and manner of it is: so that as for the gods and such suggestions, helps and inspirations, as might be expected from them, nothing did hinder, but that I might have begun long before to live according to nature; or that even now that I was not yet partaker and in present possession of that life, that I myself (in that I did not observe those inward motions, and suggestions, yea and almost plain and apparent instructions and admonitions of the gods,) was the only cause of it. That my body in such a life, hath been able to hold out so long. That I never had to do with Benedicta and Theodotus, yea and afterwards when I fell into some fits of love, I was soon cured. That having been often displeased with Rusticus, I never did him anything for which afterwards I had occasion to repent. That it being so that my mother was to die young, yet she lived with me all her latter years. That as often as I had a purpose to help and succour any that either were poor, or fallen into some present necessity, I never was answered by my officers that there was not ready money enough to do it; and that I myself never had occasion to require the like succour from any other. That I have such a wife, so obedient, so loving, so ingenuous. That I had choice of fit and able men, to whom I might commit the bringing up of my children. That by dreams I have received help, as for other things, so in particular, how I might stay my casting of blood, and cure my dizziness, as that also that happened to thee in Cajeta, as unto Chryses when he prayed by the seashore. And when I did first apply myself to philosophy, that I did not fall into the hands of some sophists, or spent my time either in reading the manifold volumes of ordinary philosophers, nor in practising myself in the solution of arguments and fallacies, nor dwelt upon the studies of the meteors, and other natural curiosities. All these things without the assistance of the gods, and fortune, could not have been.

All men are the same by virtue of reason and the divine spark
In the country of the Quadi at Granua, these. Betimes in the morning say to thyself, This day I shalt have to do with an idle curious man, with an unthankful man, a railer, a crafty, false, or an envious man; an unsociable uncharitable man. All these ill qualities have happened unto them, through ignorance of that which is truly good and truly bad.
But I that understand the nature of that which is good, that it only is to be desired, and of that which is bad, that it only is truly odious and shameful: who know moreover, that this transgressor, whosoever he be, is my kinsman, not by the same blood and seed, but by participation of the same reason, and of the same divine particle; How can I either be hurt by any of those, since it is not in their power to make me incur anything that is truly reproachful? or angry, and ill affected towards him, who by nature is so near unto me? for we are all born to be fellow-workers, as the feet, the hands, and the eyelids; as the rows of the upper and under teeth: for such therefore to be in opposition, is against nature; and what is it to chafe at, and to be averse from, but to be in opposition?

Don't be distracted by books
Whatsoever I am, is either flesh, or life, or that which we commonly call the mistress and overruling part of man; reason. Away with thy books, suffer not thy mind any more to be distracted, and carried to and fro; for it will not be; but as even now ready to die, think little of thy flesh: blood, bones, and a skin; a pretty piece of knit and twisted work, consisting of nerves, veins and arteries; think no more of it, than so. And as for thy life, consider what it is; a wind; not one constant wind neither, but every moment of an hour let out, and sucked in again. The third, is thy ruling part; and here consider; Thou art an old man; suffer not that excellent part to be brought in subjection, and to become slavish: suffer it not to be drawn up and down with unreasonable and unsociable lusts and motions, as it were with wires and nerves; suffer it not any more, either to repine at anything now present, or to fear and fly anything to come, which the destiny hath appointed thee.

What comes from god is full of providence
Whatsoever proceeds from the gods immediately, that any man will grant totally depends from their divine providence. As for those things that are commonly said to happen by fortune, even those must be conceived to have dependence from nature, or from that first and general connection, and concatenation of all those things, which more apparently by the divine providence are administered and brought to pass. All things flow from thence: and whatsoever it is that is, is both necessary, and conducing to the whole (part of which thou art), and whatsoever it is that is requisite and necessary for the preservation of the general, must of necessity for every particular nature, be good and behoveful. And as for the whole, it is preserved, as by the perpetual mutation and conversion of the simple elements one into another, so also by the mutation, and alteration of things mixed and compounded. Let these things suffice thee; let them be always unto thee, as thy general rules and precepts. As for thy thirst after books, away with it with all speed, that thou die not murmuring and complaining, but truly meek and well satisfied, and from thy heart thankful unto the gods.


Born at Colonos probably 495 B.C. Died 406 B.C.


CHORUS of Mariners.
Messenger, disguised as a Merchantman.
HERACLES, appearing from the sky.

SCENE. A desert shore of the Island of Lemnos.



ODYSSEUS. This coast of sea-girt Lemnos, where we stand,
Is uninhabited, untrodden of men.
And here, O noble son of noblest sire,
Achilles-born Neoptolemus, I erewhile, --
Ordered by those who had command, -- cast forth
Trachinian Philoctetes, Poeas' son,
His foot dark-dripping with a rankling wound;
When with wild cries, that frighted holy rest,
Filling the camp, he troubled every rite,
That none might handle sacrifice, or pour
Wine-offering, but his noise disturbed our peace.
But why these words?
No moment this for talk,
Lest he discern my coming, and I lose
The scheme, wherewith I think to catch him soon.
Now most behoves thy service, to explore
This headland for a cave with double mouth,
Whose twofold aperture, on wintry days,
Gives choice of sunshine, and in summer noons
The breeze wafts slumber through the airy cell.
Then, something lower down, upon the left,
Unless 'tis dried, thine eye may note a spring.
Go near now silently, and make me know
If still he persevere, and hold this spot,
Or have roamed elsewhere, that informed of this
I may proceed with what remains to say,
And we may act in concert.

NEOPTOLEMUS. Lord Odysseus,
Thy foremost errand will not task me far.
Methinks I see the cave whereof thou speakest.

OD. Where? let me see it. Above there, or below?

NEO. Yonder, above. And yet I hear no tread.
[Neoptolemus climbs up to the cave]

OD. Look if he be not lodged in slumber there.

NEO. I find no inmate, but an empty room.

OD. What? no provision for a dwelling-place?

NEO. A bed of leaves for some one harbouring here.

OD. Nought else beneath the roof? Is all forlorn?

NEO. A cup of wood, some untaught craftsman's skill,
And, close at hand, these embers of a fire.

OD. That store is his. I read the token clear.

NEO. Oh! and these festering rags give evidence,
Steeped as with dressing some malignant sore.

OD. The man inhabits here: I know it now.
And sure he's not far off. How can he range,
Whose limb drags heavy with an ancient harm?
But he's gone, either to bring forage home,
Or where he hath found some plant of healing power.
Send therefore thine attendant to look forth,
Lest unawares he find me. All our host
Were not so fair a prize for him as I.

NEO. My man is going, and shall watch the path.
What more dost thou require of me? Speak on.

OD. Son of Achilles, know that thou art come
To serve us nobly, not with strength alone,
But, faithful to thy mission, if so be,
To do things strange, unwonted to thine ear.

NEO. What dost thou bid me?

OD. 'Tis thy duty now
To entrap the mind of Poeas' son with words.
When he shall ask thee, who and whence thou art,
Declare thy name and father. 'Tis not that
I charge thee to conceal. But for thy voyage,
'Tis homeward, leaving the Achaean host,
With perfect hatred hating them, because
They who had drawn thee with strong prayers from home,
Their hope for taking Troy, allowed thee not
Thy just demand to have thy father's arms,
But, e'er thy coming, wrongly gave them o'er
Unto Odysseus: and thereon launch forth
With boundless execration against me.
That will not pain me, but if thou reject
This counsel, thou wilt trouble all our host,
Since, if his bow shall not be ta'en, thy life
Will ne'er be crowned through Troy's discomfiture.
Now let me show, why thine approach to him
Is safe and trustful as mine cannot be
Thou didst sail forth, not to redeem thine oath,
Nor by constraint, nor with the foremost band.
All which reproaches I must bear: and he,
But seeing me, while master of his bow,
Will slay me, and my ruin will be thine.
This point then craves our cunning, to acquire
By subtle means the irresistible bow --
Thy nature was not framed, I know it well,
For speaking falsehood, or contriving harm.
Yet, since the prize of victory is so dear,
Endure it -- We'll be just another day
But now, for one brief hour, devote thyself
To serve me without shame, and then for aye
Hereafter be the pearl of righteousness.

NEO. The thing that, being named, revolts mine ear,
Son of Laërtes, I abhor to do
'Tis not my nature, no, nor, as they tell,
My father's, to work aught by craft and guile.
I'll undertake to bring him in by force,
Not by deceit. For, sure, with his one foot,
He cannot be a match for all our crew
Being sent, my lord, to serve thee, I am loth
To seem rebellious. But I rather choose
To offend with honour, than to win by wrong.

OD. Son of a valiant sire, I, too, in youth,
Had once a slow tongue and an active hand.
But since I have proved the world, I clearly see
Words and not deeds give mastery over men.

NEO. What then is thy command? To lie? No more?

OD. To entangle Philoctetes with deceit.

NEO. Why through deceit? May not persuasion fetch him?

OD. Never. And force as certainly will fail.

NEO. What lends him such assurance of defence?

OD. Arrows, the unerring harbingers of Death.

NEO. Then to go near him is a perilous thing.

OD. Unless with subtlety, as I have said.

NEO. And is not lying shameful to thy soul?

OD. Not if by lying I can save my soul.

NEO. How must one look in speaking such a word?

OD. Where gain invites, this shrinking is not good.

NEO. What gain I through his coming back to Troy?

OD. His arms alone have power to take Troy-town.

NEO. Then am not I the spoiler, as ye said?

OD. Thou without them, they without thee, are powerless.

NEO. If it be so, they must be sought and won.

OD. Yea, for in this two prizes will be thine.

NEO. What? When I learn them, I will not refuse.

OD. Wisdom and valour joined in one good name.

NEO. Shame, to the winds! Come, I will do this thing.

OD. Say, dost thou bear my bidding full in mind?

NEO. Doubt not, since once for all I have embraced it.

OD. Thou, then, await him here. I will retire,
For fear my hated presence should be known,
And take back our attendant to the ship.
And then once more, should ye appear to waste
The time unduly, I will send again
This same man hither in disguise, transformed
To the strange semblance of a merchantman;
From dark suggestion of whose crafty tongue,
Thou, O my son, shalt gather timely counsel.
Now to my ship. This charge I leave to thee.
May secret Hermes guide us to our end,
And civic Pallas, named of victory,
The sure protectress of my devious way.

CHORUS (entering).
Strange in the stranger land,
What shall I speak? What hide
From a heart suspicious of ill?
Tell me, O master mine!
Wise above all is the man,
Peerless in searching thought,
Who with the Zeus-given wand
Wieldeth a Heaven-sent power.

This unto thee, dear son,
Fraught with ancestral might,
This to thy life hath come.
Wherefore I bid thee declare,
What must I do for thy need?

NEO. Even now methinks thou longest to espy
Near ocean's marge the place where he doth lie.
Gaze without fear. But when the traveller stern,
Who from this roof is parted, shall return,
Advancing still as I the signal give,
To serve each moment's mission thou shalt strive.

CH. That, O my son, from of old
Hath been my care, to take note
What by thy beck'ning is told;
Still thy success to promote.
But for our errand to-day
Behoves thee, master, to say
Where is the hearth of his home;
Or where even now doth he roam?
O tell me, lest all unaware
He spring like a wolf from his lair
And I by surprise should be ta'en,
Where doth he move or remain,
Here lodging, or wandering away?

NEO. Thou seëst yon double doorway of his cell,
Poor habitation of the rock.

CH. 2. But tell
Where is the pain-worn wight himself abroad?

NEO. To me 'tis clear, that, in his quest for food,
Here, not far off, he trails yon furrowed path.
For, so 'tis told, this mode the sufferer hath
Of sustenance, oh hardness! bringing low
Wild creatures with wing'd arrows from his bow;
Nor findeth healer for his troublous woe.

CH. I feel his misery.
With no companion eye,
Far from all human care,
He pines with fell disease;
Each want he hourly sees
Awakening new despair.
How can he bear it still?
O cruel Heavens! O pain
Of that afflicted mortal train
Whose life sharp sorrows fill!

Born in a princely hall,
Highest, perchance, of all,
Now lies he comfortless
Alone in deep distress,
'Mongst rough and dappled brutes,
With pangs and hunger worn;
While from far distance shoots,
On airy pinion borne,
The unbridled Echo, still replying
To his most bitter crying.

NEO. At nought of this I marvel -- for if I
Judge rightly, there assailed him from on high
That former plague through Chrysa's cruel sting[1]:
And if to-day he suffer anything
With none to soothe, it must be from the will
Of some great God, so caring to fulfil
The word of prophecy, lest he should bend
On Troy the shaft no mortal may forfend,
Before the arrival of Troy's destined hour,
When she must fall, o'er-mastered by their power.

CH. 1. Hush, my son!

NEO. Why so?

CH. 1. A sound
Gendered of some mortal woe,
Started from the neighbouring ground.
Here, or there? Ah! now I know.
Hark! 'tis the voice of one in pain,
Travelling hardly, the deep strain
Of human anguish, all too clear,
That smites my heart, that wounds mine ear.

CH. 2. From far it peals. But thou, my son!

NEO. What?

CH. 2. Think again.

He moveth nigh:
He holds the region: not with tone
Of piping shepherd's rural minstrelsy,
But belloweth his far cry,
Stumbling perchance with mortal pain,
Or else in wild amaze,
As he our ship surveys
Unwonted on the inhospitable main.

Enter Philoctetes.

What men are ye that to this desert shore,
Harbourless, uninhabited, are come
On shipboard? Of what country or what race
Shall I pronounce ye? For your outward garb
Is Grecian, ever dearest to this heart
That hungers now to hear your voices' tune.
Ah! do not fear me, do not shrink away
From my wild looks: but, pitying one so poor,
Forlorn and desolate in nameless woe,
Speak, if with friendly purpose ye are come.
Oh answer! 'Tis not meet that I should lose
This kindness from your lips, or ye from mine.

NEO. Then know this first, O stranger, as thou wouldest,
That we are Greeks.

PHI. O dear, dear name! Ah me!
In all these years, once, only once, I hear it!
My son, what fairest gale hath wafted thee?
What need hath brought thee to the shore? What mission?
Declare all this, that I may know thee well.

NEO. The sea-girt Scyros is my native home.
Thitherward I make voyage: -- Achilles' son,
Named Neoptolemus. -- I have told thee all.

PHI. Dear is that shore to me, dear is thy father
O ancient Lycomedes' foster-child,
Whence cam'st thou hither? How didst thou set forth?

NEO. From Troy we made our course in sailing hither.

PHI. How? Sure thou wast not with us, when at first
We launched our vessels on the Troyward way?

NEO. Hadst thou a share in that adventurous toil?

PHI. And know'st thou not whom thou behold'st in me,
Young boy?

NEO. How should I know him whom I ne'er
Set eye on?

PHI. Hast not even heard my name,
Nor echoing rumour of my ruinous woe?

NEO. Nay, I know nought of all thy questioning.

PHI. How full of griefs am I, how Heaven-abhorred,
When of my piteous state no faintest sound
Hath reached my home, or any Grecian land!
But they, who pitilessly cast me forth,
Keep silence and are glad, while this my plague
Blooms ever, and is strengthened more and more.
Boy, great Achilles' offspring, in this form
Thou seest the man, of whom, methinks, erewhile
Thou hast been told, to whom the Hercúlean bow
Descended, Philoctetes, Poeas' son;
Whom the two generals and the Ithacan king
Cast out thus shamefully forlorn, afflicted
With the fierce malady and desperate wound
Made by the cruel basilisk's murderous tooth.
With this for company they left me, child!
Exposed upon this shore, deserted, lone.
From seaward Chrysa came they with their fleet
And touched at Lemnos. I had fallen to rest
From the long tossing, in a shadowy cave
On yonder cliff by the shore. Gladly they saw,
And left me, having set forth for my need,
Poor man, some scanty rags, and a thin store
Of provender. Such food be theirs, I pray!
Imagine, O my son, when they were gone,
What wakening, what arising, then was mine;
What weeping, what lamenting of my woe!
When I beheld the ships, wherewith I sailed,
Gone, one and all! and no man in the place,
None to bestead me, none to comfort me
In my sore sickness.
And where'er I looked,
Nought but distress was present with me still.
No lack of that, for one thing! -- Ah! my son,
Time passed, and there I found myself alone
Within my narrow lodging, forced to serve
Each pressing need. For body's sustenance
This bow supplied me with sufficient store,
Wounding the feathered doves, and when the shaft,
From the tight string, had struck, myself, ay me!
Dragging this foot, would crawl to my swift prey.
Then water must be fetched, and in sharp frost
Wood must be found and broken, -- all by me.
Nor would fire come unbidden, but with flint
From flints striking dim sparks, I hammered forth
The struggling flame that keeps the life in me.
For houseroom with the single help of fire
Gives all I need, save healing for my sore.
Now learn, my son, the nature of this isle.
No mariner puts in here willingly.
For it hath neither moorage, nor sea-port,
For traffic or kind shelter or good cheer.
Not hitherward do prudent men make voyage.
Perchance one may have touched against his will.
Many strange things may happen in long time.
These, when they come, in words have pitied me,
And given me food, or raiment, in compassion.
But none is willing, when I speak thereof,
To take me safely home. Wherefore I pine
Now this tenth year, in famine and distress,
Feeding the hunger of my ravenous plague.
Such deeds, my son, the Atridae, and the might
Of sage Odysseus, have performed on me.
Wherefore may all the Olympian gods, one day,
Plague them with stern requital for my wrong!

CH. Methinks my feeling for thee, Poeas' child,
Is like that of thy former visitants.

NEO. I, too, a witness to confirm his words,
Know them for verities, since I have found
The Atridae and Odysseus evil men.

PHI. Art thou, too, wroth with the all-pestilent sons
Of Atreus? Have they given thee cause to grieve?

NEO. Would that my hand might ease the wrath I feel!
Then Sparta and Mycenae should be ware
That Scyros too breeds valiant sons for war.

PHI. Brave youth! I love thee. Tell me the great cause
Why thou inveighest against them with such heat?

NEO. O son of Poeas, hardly shall I tell
What outrage I endured when I had come;
Yet I will speak it. When the fate of death
O'ertook Achilles --

PHI. Out, alas! no more!
Hold, till thou first hast made me clearly know,
Is Peleus' offspring dead?

NEO. Alas! he is,
Slain by no mortal, felled by Phoebus' shaft:
So men reported --

PHI. Well, right princely was he!
And princely is he who slew him. Shall I mourn
Him first, or wait till I have heard thy tale?

NEO. Methinks thou hast thyself enough to mourn,
Without the burden of another's woe.

PHI. Well spoken. Then renew thine own complaint,
And tell once more wherein they insulted thee.

NEO. There came to fetch me, in a gallant ship,
Odysseus and the fosterer of my sire[2],
Saying, whether soothly, or in idle show,
That, since my father perished, it was known
None else but I should take Troy's citadel.

Such words from them, my friend, thou may'st believe,
Held me not long from making voyage with speed,
Chiefly through longing for my father's corse,
To see him yet unburied, -- for I ne'er
Had seen him[3]. Then, besides, 'twas a fair cause,
If, by my going, I should vanquish Troy.
One day I had sailed, and on the second came
To sad Sigeum with wind-favoured speed,
When straightway all the host, surrounding me
As I set foot on shore, saluted me,
And swore the dead Achilles was in life,
Their eyes being witness, when they looked on me.
He lay there in his shroud: but I, unhappy,
Soon ending lamentation for the dead,
Went near to those Atridae, as to friends,
To obtain my father's armour and all else
That had been his. And then, -- alas the while,
That men should be so hard! -- they spake this word:
'Seed of Achilles, thou may'st freely take
All else thy father owned, but for those arms,
Another wields them now, Laërtes' son.'
Tears rushed into mine eyes, and in hot wrath
I straightway rose, and bitterly outspake:
'O miscreant! What? And have ye dared to give
Mine arms to some man else, unknown to me?'
Then said Odysseus, for he chanced to be near,
'Yea, child, and justly have they given me these.
I saved them and their master in the field.'
Then in fierce anger all at once I launched
All terms of execration at his head,
Bating no word, being maddened by the thought
That I should lose this heirloom, -- and to him!
He, at this pass, though not of wrathful mood,
Stung by such utterance, made rejoinder thus:
'Thou wast not with us here, but wrongfully
Didst bide afar. And, since thou mak'st so bold,
I tell thee, never shalt thou, as thou sayest,
Sail with these arms to Scyros.' -- Thus reviled,
With such an evil echo in mine ear,
I voyage homeward, robbed of mine own right
By that vile offset of an evil tree[4].
Yet less I blame him than the men in power.
For every multitude, be it army or state,
Takes tone from those who rule it, and all taint
Of disobedience from bad counsel springs.
I have spoken. May the Atridae's enemy
Be dear to Heaven, as he is loved by me!

CH. Mother of mightiest Zeus,
Feeder of all that live,
Who from thy mountainous breast
Rivers of gold dost give!
To thee, O Earth, I cried that shameful day,
When insolence from Atreus' sons went forth
Full on our lord: when they bestowed away
His father's arms to crown Odysseus' worth;
Thou, whom bull-slaughtering lions yoked bear,
O mighty mother, hear!

PHI. Your coming is commended by a grief
That makes you kindly welcome.
For I feel
A chord that vibrates to your voice, and tells,
Thus have Odysseus and the Atridae wrought.
Full well I know, Odysseus' poisoned tongue
Shrinks from no mischief nor no guileful word
That leads to bad achievement in the end.
This moves not my main marvel, but if one
Saw this and bore it, -- Aias of the shield.

NEO. Ah, friend, he was no more. Had he but lived,
This robbery had ne'er been wrought on me.

PHI. What? Is he too departed?

NEO. He is dead.
The light no more beholds him.

PHI. Oh! alas!
But Tydeus' offspring, and the rascal birth
Laërtes bought of Sisyphus, they live:
I know it. For their death were to be wished.

NEO. Yea, be assured, they live and flourish high
Exalted in the host of Argive men.

PHI. And Nestor, my old friend, good aged man,
Is he yet living? Oft he would prevent
Their evils, by the wisdom of his thought.

NEO. He too is now in trouble, having lost
Antilochus, the comfort of his age.

PHI. There, there! In one brief word thou hast revealed
The mournful case of twain, whom I would last
Have chosen to hear of as undone. Ah me!
Where must one look? when these are dead, and he,
Odysseus, lives, -- and in a time like this,
That craves their presence, and his death for theirs.

NEO. He wrestles cleverly; but, O my friend,
Even ablest wits are ofttimes snared at last.

PHI. Tell me, I pray, what was become of him,
Patroclus, whom thy father loved so well?

NEO. He, too, was gone. I'll teach thee in a word
One truth for all. War doth not willingly
Snatch off the wicked, but still takes the good.

PHI. True! and to prove thy saying, I will inquire
The fate of a poor dastard, of mean worth,
But ever shrewd and nimble with his tongue.

NEO. Whom but Odysseus canst thou mean by this?

PHI. I meant not him. But there was one Thersites,
Who ne'er made conscience to stint speech, where all
Cried 'Silence!' Is he living, dost thou know?

NEO. I saw him not, but knew he was alive.

PHI. He must be: for no evil yet was crushed.
The Heavens will ever shield it. 'Tis their sport
To turn back all things rancorous and malign
From going down to the grave, and send instead
The good and true. Oh, how shall we commend
Such dealings, how defend them? When I praise
Things god-like, I find evil in the Gods.

NEO. I, O thou child of a Trachinian sire,
Henceforth will take good care, from far away
To look on Troy and Atreus' children twain.
Yea, where the trickster lords it o'er the just,
And goodness languishes and rascals rule,
-- Such courses I will nevermore endure.
But rock-bound Scyros henceforth shall suffice
To yield me full contentment in my home.
Now, to my vessel! And thou, Poeas' child,
Farewell, right heartily farewell!
May Heaven
Grant thy desire, and rid thee of thy plague!
Let us be going, that when God shall give
Fair voyage, that moment we may launch away.

PHI. My son, are ye now setting forth?

NEO. Our time
Bids us go near and look to sail erelong.

PHI. Now, by thy father, by thy mother, -- nay,
By all thy love e'er cherished in thy home,
Suppliant I beg thee, leave me not thus lone,
Forlorn in all my misery which thou seest,
In all thou hast heard of here surrounding me!
Stow me with other freightage. Full of care,
I know, and burdensome the charge may prove.
Yet venture! Surely to the noble mind
All shame is hateful and all kindness blest.
And shame would be thy meed, didst thou fail here
But, doing this, thou shalt have glorious fame,
When I return alive to Oeta's vale.
Come, 'tis the labour not of one whole day.
So thou durst take me, fling me where thou wilt
O' the ship, in hold, prow, stern, or wheresoe'er
I least may trouble those on board with me.
Ah! by great Zeus, the suppliant's friend, comply,
My son, be softened! See, where I am fall'n
Thus on my knees before thee, though so weak,
Crippled and powerless. Ah! forsake me not
Thus far from human footstep. Take me, take me!
If only to thy home, or to the town
Of old Chalcodon[5] in Euboea. -- From thence
I have not far to Oeta, and the ridge
Of Trachis, and Spercheius' lordly flood.
So thou shalt bless my father with my sight.
And yet long since I fear he may be gone.
For oft I sent him suppliant prayers by men
Who touched this isle, entreating him to fetch
And bear me safely home with his own crew.
But either he is dead, or else, methinks,
It well may be, my messengers made light
Of my concerns, and hastened onward home.
But now in thee I find both messenger
And convoy, thou wilt pity me and save.
For, well thou knowest, danger never sleeps,
And fear of dark reverse is always nigh.
Mortals, when free, should look where mischief lurks,
And in their happiest hour consider well
Their life, lest ruin unsuspected come.

CH. Pity him, O my king!
Many a crushing woe
He telleth, such as I pray
None of my friends may know.
And if, dear master, thou mislikest sore
Yon cruel-hearted lordly pair, I would,
Turning their plan of evil to his good,
On swift ship bear him to his native shore,
Meeting his heart's desire; and free thy path
From fear of heavenly wrath.

NEO. Thou mak'st small scruple here; but be advised:
Lest, when this plague on board shall weary thee,
Thy voice should alter from this liberal tone.

CH. No, truly! Fear not thou shalt ever have
Just cause to utter such reproach on me.

NEO. Then sure 'twere shame, should I more backward prove
Than thou, to labour for the stranger's need.
Come, if thou wilt, let us make voyage, and he,
Let him set forth with speed. Our ship shall take him.
He shall not be refused. Only may Heaven
Lead safely hence and to our destined port!

PHI. O morning full of brightness! Kindest friend,
Sweet mariners, how can I make you feel,
In act, how dearly from my heart I love you!
Ye have won my soul. Let us be gone, my son, --
First having said farewell to this poor cave,
My homeless dwelling-place, that thou may'st know,
How barely I have lived, how firm my heart!

Methinks another could not have endured
The very sight of what I bore. But I
Through strong necessity have conquered pain.

CH. Stay: let us understand. There come two men
A stranger, with a shipmate of thy crew.
When ye have heard them, ye may then go in.

[Enter Messenger, disguised as a merchantman].

MERCHANTMAN. Son of Achilles, my companion here,
Who with two more remained to guard thy ship,
Agreed to help me find thee where thou wert,
Since unexpectedly, through fortune's will,
I meet thee, mooring by the self-same shore.
For like a merchantman, with no great sail,
Making my course from Ilion to my home,
Grape-clustered Peparethos, when I heard
The mariners declare that one and all
Were of thy crew, I would not launch again,
Without a word, till we had told our news. --
Methinks thou knowest nought of thine own case,
What new devices of the Argive chiefs
Surround thee; nor devices only now,
But active deeds, no longer unperformed.

NEO. Well, stranger, for the kindness thou hast shown, --
Else were I base, -- my heart must thank thee still.
But tell me what thou meanest, that I may learn
What new-laid plot thou bring'st me from the camp.

MER. Old Phoenix, Acamas and Demophon
Are gone in thy pursuit with ships and men.

NEO. To bring me back with reasons or perforce?

MER. I know not. What I heard, I am here to tell.

NEO. How? And is this in act? Are they set forth
To please the Atridae, Phoenix and the rest?

MER. The thing is not to do, but doing now.

NEO. What kept Odysseus back, if this be so,
From going himself? Had he some cause for fear?

MER. He and the son of Tydeus, when our ship
Hoist sail, were gone to fetch another man.

NEO. For whom could he himself be sailing forth?

MER. For some one, -- but first tell me, whispering low
Whate'er thou speakest, -- who is this I see?

NEO. (speaking aloud).
This, sir, is Philoctetes the renowned.

MER. (aside to Neoptolemus).
Without more question, snatch thyself away
And sail forth from this land.

PHI. What saith he, boy?
Through what dark traffic is the mariner
Betraying me with whispering in thine ear?

NEO. I have not caught it, but whate'er he speaks
He must speak openly to us and thee.

MER. Seed of Achilles, let me not offend
The army by my words! Full many a boon,
Being poor, I reap from them for service done.

NEO. The Atridae are my foes; the man you see
Is my fast friend, because he hates them sore.
Then, if you come in kindness, you must hide
Nothing from him or me of all thou hast heard.

MER. Look what thou doest, my son!

NEO. I mark it well.

MER. Thou shalt be answerable.

NEO. Content: but speak.

MER. Then hear me. These two men whom I have named,
Diomedes and Odysseus, are set forth
Engaged on oath to bring this man by force
If reasons fail. The Achaeans every one
Have heard this plainly from Odysseus' mouth.
He was the louder and more confident.

NEO. Say, for what cause, after so long a time,
Can Atreus' sons have turned their thoughts on him,
Whom long they had cast forth? What passing touch
Of conscience moved them, or what stroke from Heaven,
Whose wrath requites all wicked deeds of men?

MER. Methinks thou hast not heard what I will now
Unfold to thee. There was a princely seer,
A son of Priam, Helenus by name,
Whom he for whom no word is bad enough,
Crafty Odysseus, sallying forth alone
One night, had taken, and in bonds displayed
'Fore all the Achaeans, a right noble prey.
He, 'mid his other prophecies, foretold
No Grecian force should sack Troy's citadel,
Till with fair reasons they had brought this man
From Lemnos isle, his lonely dwelling-place.
When thus the prophet spake, Laërtes' son
Straight undertook to fetch this man, and show him
To all the camp: -- he hoped, with fair consent:
But else, perforce. -- And, if he failed in this,
Whoever would might smite him on the head.
My tale is told, dear youth. I counsel speed
To thee and to the friend for whom thou carest.

PHI. Ah me, unhappy! has that rascal knave
Sworn to fetch me with reasons to their camp?
As likely might his reasons bring me back,
Like his begetter, from the house of death.

MER. You talk of what I know not. I will go
Shipward. May God be with you for all good. [Exit]

PHI. Is not this terrible, Laërtes' son
Should ever think to bring me with soft words
And show me from his deck to all their host?
No! Sooner will I listen to the tongue
Of the curs'd basilisk that thus hath maim'd me.
Ay, but he'll venture anything in word
Or deed. And now I know he will be here.

Come, O my son, let us be gone, while seas
And winds divide us from Odysseus' ship.
Let us depart. Sure timely haste brings rest
And quiet slumber when the toil is done.

NEO. Shall we not sail when this south-western wind
Hath fallen, that now is adverse to our course?

PHI. All winds are fair to him who flies from woe.

NEO. Nay, but this head-wind hinders them no less.

PHI. No head-wind hinders pirates on their way,
When violence and rapine lead them on.

NEO. Well, then, let us be going, if you will;
When you have taken from within the cave
What most you need and value.

PHI. Though my all
Be little, there is that I may not lose.

NEO. What can there be that we have not on board?

PHI. A leaf I have found, wherewith I still the rage
Of my sore plague, and lull it quite to rest.

NEO. Well, bring it forth. -- What? Is there something more?

PHI. If any of these arrows here are fallen,
I would not leave them for a casual prey.

NEO. How? Do I see thee with the marvellous bow?

PHI. Here in my hand. The world hath only one.

NEO. And may one touch and handle it, and gaze
With reverence, as on a thing from Heaven?

PHI. Thou mayest, my son. This and whate'er of mine
May stead thee, 'tis thy privilege to enjoy.

NEO. In very truth I long for it, but so,
That longing waits on leave. Am I permitted?

PHI. Thou art, my son, -- and well thou speakest, -- thou art.
Thou, that hast given me light and life, the joy
Of seeing Mount Oeta and my father's home,
With all I love there, and his aged head, --
Thou that hast raised me far above my foes
Who triumphed! Thou may'st take it in thine hand,
And, -- when thou hast given it back to me, -- may'st vaunt
Alone of mortals for thine excellence
To have held this in thy touch. I, too, at first,
Received it as a boon for kindness done.

NEO. Well, go within.

PHI. Nay, I must take thee too.
My sickness craves thee for its comforter.
[Philoctetes & Neoptolemus go into
the cave]

In fable I have heard,
Though sight hath ne'er confirmed the word,
How he who attempted once the couch supreme,
To a whirling wheel by Zeus the all-ruler bound,
Tied head and heel, careering ever round,
Atones his impious unsubstantial dream.
Of no man else, through eye or ear,
Have I discerned a fate more full of fear
Than yonder sufferer's of the cureless wound:

Who did no violence, defrauded none: --
A just man, had he dwelt among the just
Unworthily behold him thrust
Alone to hear the billows roar
That break around a rugged shore!
How could he live, whose life was thus consumed with moan?

Where neighbour there was none:
No arm to stay him wandering lone,
Unevenly, with stumbling steps and sore;
No friend in need, no kind inhabitant,
To minister to his importunate want,
No heart whereto his pangs he might deplore.
None who, whene'er the gory flow
Was rushing hot, might healing herbs bestow,
Or cull from teeming Earth some genial plant
To allay the anguish of malignant pain
And soothe the sharpness of his poignant woe.
Like infant whom the nurse lets go,
With tottering movement here and there,
He crawled for comfort, whensoe'er
His soul-devouring plague relaxed its cruel strain.

Not fed with foison of all-teeming Earth
Whence we sustain us, ever-toiling men,
But only now and then
With wingèd things, by his wing'd shafts brought low,
He stayed his hunger from his bow.
Poor soul, that never through ten years of dearth
Had pleasure from the fruitage of the vine,
But seeking to some standing pool,
Nor clear nor cool,
Foul water heaved to head for lack of heartening wine.

But now, consorted with the hero's child,
He winneth greatness and a joyful change;
Over the water wild
Borne by a friendly bark beneath the range
Of Oeta, where Spercheius fills
Wide channels winding among lovely hills
Haunted of Melian nymphs, till he espies
The roof-tree of his father's hall,
And high o'er all
Shines the bronze shield of him, whose home is in the skies[6].
[Neoptolemus comes out of the cave, followed
by Philoctetes in pain]

NEO. Prithee, come on! Why dost thou stand aghast,
Voiceless, and thus astonied in thine air?

PHI. Oh! oh!

NEO. What?

PHI. Nothing. Come my son, fear nought.

NEO. Is pain upon thee? Hath thy trouble come?

PHI. No pain, no pain! 'Tis past; I am easy now.
Ye heavenly powers!

NEO. Why dost thou groan aloud,
And cry to Heaven?

PHI. To come and save. Kind Heaven!
Oh, oh!

NEO. What is 't? Why silent? Wilt not speak?
I see thy misery.

PHI. Oh! I am lost, my son!
I cannot hide it from you. Oh! it shoots,
It pierces. Oh unhappy! Oh! my woe!
I am lost, my son, I am devoured. Oh me!
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Pain! pain! Oh pain! oh pain!
Child, if a sword be to thine hand, smite hard,
Shear off my foot! heed not my life! Quick, come!

NEO. What hath so suddenly arisen, that thus
Thou mak'st ado and groanest o'er thyself?

PHI. Thou knowest.

NEO. What know I?

PHI. O! thou knowest, my son!

NEO. I know not.

PHI. How? Not know? Ah me! Pain, pain!

NEO. Thy plague is a sore burden, heavy and sore.

PHI. Sore? 'Tis unutterable. Have pity on me!

NEO. What shall I do?

PHI. Do not in fear forsake me.
This wandering evil comes in force again,
Hungry as ere it fed.

NEO. O hapless one!
Thrice hapless in thy manifold distress!
What wilt thou? Shall I raise thee on mine arm?

PHI. Nay, but receiving from my hand the bow,
As late thou didst desire me, keep it safe
And guard it, till the fury of my pain
Pass over me and cease. For when 'tis spent,
Slumber will seize me, else it ne'er would end.
I must sleep undisturbed. But if meanwhile
They come, -- by Heaven I charge thee, in no wise,
Willingly nor perforce, let them have this!
Else thou wilt be the slayer of us both;
Of me thy suppliant, and of thyself.

NEO. Fear not my care. No hand shall hold these arms
But thine and mine. Give, and Heaven bless the deed!

PHI. I give them; there, my son! But look to Heaven
And pray no envy smite thee, nor such bane
In having them, as fell on me and him
Who bore them formerly.

NEO. O grant it, Gods!
And grant us fair and happy voyage, where'er
Our course is shaped and righteous Heaven shall guide.

PHI. Ah! but I fear, my son, thy prayer is vain:
For welling yet again from depths within,
This gory ooze is dripping. It will come!
I know it will. O, foot, torn helpless thing,
What wilt thou do to me? Ah! ah! It comes,
It is at hand. 'Tis here! Woe's me, undone!
I have shown you all. Stay near me. Go not far:
Ah! ah!
O island king, I would this agony
Might cleave thy bosom through and through! Woe, woe!
Woe! Ah! ye two commanders of the host,
Agamemnon, Menelaüs, O that ye,
Another ten years' durance in my room
Might nurse this malady! O Death, Death, Death!
I call thee daily -- wilt thou never come?
Will it not be? -- My son, thou noble boy,
If thou art noble, take and burn me there
Aloft in yon all-worshipped Lemnian fire!
Yea, when the bow thou keep'st was my reward,
I did like service for the child of Heaven.
How now, my son?
What say'st? Art silent? Where -- where art thou, boy?

NEO. My heart is full, and groaning o'er thy woes.

PHI. Nay, yet have comfort. This affliction oft
Goes no less swiftly than it came. I pray thee,
Stand fast and leave me not alone!

NEO. Fear nought.
We will not stir.

PHI. Wilt thou remain?

NEO. Be sure of it.

PHI. I'll not degrade thee with an oath, my son.

NEO. Rest satisfied. I may not go without thee.

PHI. Thy hand, to pledge me that!

NEO. There, I will stay.

PHI. Now, now, aloft!

NEO. Where mean'st thou?

PHI. Yonder aloft!

NEO. Whither? Thou rav'st. Why starest thou at the sky?

PHI. Now, let me go.

NEO. Where?

PHI. Let me go, I say!

NEO. I will not.

PHI. You will kill me. Let me go!

NEO. Well, thou know'st best I hold thee not.

PHI. O Earth,
I die. receive me to thy breast! This pain
Subdues me utterly, I cannot stand.

NEO. Methinks he will be fast in slumber soon
That head sinks backward, and a clammy sweat
Bathes all his limbs, while from his foot hath burst
A vein, dark bleeding. Let us leave him, friends,
In quietness, till he hath fallen to sleep.

Lord of the happiest life,
Sleep, thou that know'st not strife,
That know'st not grief,
Still wafting sure relief,
Come, saviour now!
Thy healing balm is spread
Over this pain worn head,
Quench not the beam that gives calm to his brow.

Look, O my lord, to thy path,
Either to go or to stay
How is my thought to proceed?
What is our cause for delay?
Look! Opportunity's power,
Fitting the task to the hour,
Giveth the race to the swift.

NEO. He hears not. But I see that to have ta'en
His bow without him were a bootless gain
He must sail with us. So the god hath said
Heaven hath decreed this garland for his head:
And to have failed with falsehood were a meed
Of shameful soilure for a shameless deed.

CH. God shall determine the end --
But for thine answer, friend,
Waft soft words low!
All sick men's sleep, we know,
Hath open eye;
Their quickly ruffling mind
Quivers in lightest wind,
Sleepless in slumber new danger to spy.

Think, O my lord, of thy path,
Secretly look forth afar,
What wilt thou do for thy need?
How with the wise wilt thou care?
If toward the nameless thy heart
Chooseth this merciful part,
Huge are the dangers that drift.

The wind is fair, my son, the wind is fair,
The man is dark and helpless, stretched in night.
(O kind, warm sleep that calmest human care!)
Powerless of hand and foot and ear and sight,
Blind, as one lying in the house of death.
(Think well if here thou utterest timely breath.)
This, O my son, is all my thought can find,
Best are the toils that without frightening bind.

NEO. Hush! One word more were madness. He revives.
His eye hath motion. He uplifts his head.

PHI. Fair daylight following sleep, and ye, dear friends,
Faithful beyond all hope in tending me!
I never could have dreamed that thou, dear youth,
Couldst thus have borne my sufferings and stood near
So full of pity to relieve my pain.
Not so the worthy generals of the host; --
This princely patience was not theirs to show.
Only thy noble nature, nobly sprung,
Made light of all the trouble, though oppressed
With fetid odours and unceasing cries.

And now, since this my plague would seem to yield
Some pause and brief forgetfulness of pain,
With thine own hand, my son, upraise me here,
And set me on my feet, that, when my strength
After exhaustion shall return again,
We may move shoreward and launch forth with speed.

NEO. I feel unhoped-for gladness when I see
Thy painless gaze, and hear thy living breath,
For thine appearance and surroundings both
Were deathlike. But arise! Or, if thou wilt,
These men shall raise thee. For they will not shrink
From toil which thou and I at once enjoin.

PHI. Right, right, my son! But lift me thine own self,
As I am sure thou meanest. Let these be,
Lest they be burdened with the noisome smell
Before the time. Enough for them to bear
The trouble on board.

NEO. I will; stand up, endure!

PHI. Fear not. Old habit will enable me.

NEO. O me!
What shall I do? Now 'tis my turn to exclaim!

PHI. What canst thou mean? What change is here, my son?

NEO. I know not how to shift the troublous word.
'Tis hopeless.

PHI. What is hopeless? Speak not so,
Dear child!

NEO. But so my wretched lot hath fallen.

PHI. Ah! Can it be, the offence of my disease
Hath moved thee not to take me now on board?

NEO. All is offence to one who hath forced himself
From the true bent to an unbecoming deed.

PHI. Nought misbecoming to thyself or sire
Doest thou or speak'st, befriending a good man.

NEO. My baseness will appear. That wrings my soul.

PHI. Not in thy deeds. But for thy words, I fear me!

NEO. O Heaven! Must double vileness then be mine
Both shameful silence and most shameful speech?

PHI. Or my discernment is at fault, or thou
Mean'st to betray me and make voyage without me.

NEO. Nay, not without thee, there is my distress!
Lest I convey thee to thy bitter grief.

PHI. How? How, dear youth? I do not understand.

NEO. Here I unveil it. Thou art to sail to Troy,
To join the chieftains and the Achaean host.

PHI. What do I hear? Ah!

NEO. Grieve not till you learn.

PHI. Learn what? What wilt thou make of me? What mean'st thou?

NEO. First to release thee from this plague, and then
With thee to go and take the realm of Troy.

PHI. And is this thine intent?

NEO. 'Tis so ordained
Unchangeably. Be not dismayed! 'Tis so.

PHI. Me miserable! I am betrayed, undone!
What guile is here? My bow! give back my bow!

NEO. I may not. Interest, and duty too,
Force me to obey commandment.

PHI. O thou fire,
Thou terror of the world! Dark instrument
Of ever-hateful guile! -- What hast thou done?
How thou hast cheated me! Art not ashamed
To look on him that sued to thee for shelter?
O heart of stone, thou hast stolen my life away
With yonder bow! -- Ah, yet I beg of thee,
Give it me back, my son, I entreat thee, give!
By all thy father worshipped, rob me not
Of life! -- Ah me! Now he will speak no more,
But turns away, obdúrate to retain it.
O ye, my comrades in this wilderness,
Rude creatures of the rocks, O promontories,
Creeks, precipices of the hills, to you
And your familiar presence I complain
Of this foul trespass of Achilles' son.
Sworn to convey me home, to Troy he bears me.
And under pledge of his right hand hath ta'en
And holds from me perforce my wondrous bow,
The sacred gift of Zeus-born Heracles,
Thinking to wave it midst the Achaean host
Triumphantly for his. In conquering me
He vaunts as of some valorous feat, and knows not
He is spoiling a mere corse, an empty dream,
The shadow of a vapour. In my strength
He ne'er had vanquished me. Even as I am,
He could not, but by guile. Now, all forlorn,
I am abused, deceived. What must I do?
Nay, give it me. Nay, yet be thy true self!
Thou art silent. I am lost. O misery!
Rude face of rock, back I return to thee
And thy twin gateway, robbed of arms and food,
To wither in thy cave companionless: --
No more with these mine arrows to destroy
Or flying bird or mountain-roving beast.
But, all unhappy! I myself must be
The feast of those on whom I fed, the chase
Of that I hunted, and shall dearly pay
In bloody quittance for their death, through one
Who seemed all ignorant of sinful guile.
Perish, -- not till I am certain if thy heart
Will change once more, -- if not, my curse on thee!

CH. What shall we do, my lord? We wait thy word
Or to sail now, or yield to his desire.

NEO. My heart is pressed with a strange pity for him,
Not now beginning, but long since begun.

PHI. Ay, pity me, my son! by all above,
Make not thy name a scorn by wronging me!

NEO. O! I am troubled sore. What must I do?
Would I had never left mine island home!

PHI. Thou art not base, but seemest to have learnt
Some baseness from base men. Now, as 'tis meet,
Be better guided -- leave me mine arms, and go.

NEO. (to Chorus).
What shall we do?

Enter Odysseus.

ODYSSEUS. What art thou doing, knave?
Give me that bow, and haste thee back again.

PHI. Alas! What do I hear? Odysseus' voice?

OD. Be sure of that, Odysseus, whom thou seest.

PHI. Oh, I am bought and sold, undone! 'Twas he
That kidnapped me, and robbed me of my bow.

OD. Yea. I deny it not. Be sure, 'twas I.

PHI. Give back, my son, the bow; release it!

OD. That,
Though he desire it, he shall never do.
Thou too shalt march along, or these shall force thee.

PHI. They force me! O thou boldest of bad men!
They force me?

OD. If thou com'st not willingly.

PHI. O Lemnian earth and thou almighty flame,
Hephaestos' workmanship, shall this be borne,
That he by force must drag me from your care?

OD. 'Tis Zeus, I tell thee, monarch of this isle,
Who thus hath willed. I am his minister.

PHI. Wretch, what vile words thy wit hath power to say!
The gods are liars when invoked by thee.

OD. Nay, 'tis their truth compels thee to this voyage.

PHI. I will not have it so.

OD. I will. Thou shalt.

PHI. Woe for my wretchedness! My father, then,
Begat no freeman, but a slave in me.

OD. Nay, but the peer of noblest men, with whom
Thou art to take and ravage Troy with might.

PHI. Never, -- though I must suffer direst woe, --
While this steep Lemnian ground is mine to tread!

OD. What now is thine intent?

PHI. Down from the crag
This head shall plunge and stain the crag beneath.

OD. (to the Attendants.)
Ay, seize and bind him. Baffle him in this.

PHI. Poor hands, for lack of your beloved string,
Caught by this craven! O corrupted soul!
How thou hast undermined me, having taken
To screen thy quest this youth to me unknown,
Far worthier of my friendship than of thine,
Who knew no better than to obey command.
Even now 'tis manifest he burns within
With pain for his own error and my wrong.
But, though unwilling and mapt for ill,
Thy crafty, mean, and cranny spying soul
Too well hath lessoned him in sinful lore.
Now thou hast bound me, O thou wretch, and thinkest
To take me from this coast, where thou didst cast me
Outlawed and desolate, a corpse 'mongst men.
I curse thee now, as ofttimes in the past:
But since Heaven yields me nought but bitterness,
Thou livest and art blithe, while 'tis my pain
To live on in my misery, laughed to scorn
By thee and Atreus' sons, those generals twain
Whom thou art serving in this chase. But thou
With strong compulsion and deceit was driven
Troyward, whilst I, poor victim, of free will
Took my seven ships and sailed there, yet was thrown
Far from all honour, -- as thou sayest, by them,
But, as they turn the tale, by thee. -- And now
Why fetch me hence and take me? To what end?
I am nothing, dead to you this many a year.
How, O thou Heaven-abhorred! am I not now
Lame and of evil smell? how shall ye vaunt
Before the gods drink-offering or the fat
Of victims, if I sail among your crew?
For this, as ye professed, was the chief cause
Why ye disowned me. Perish! -- So ye shall,
For the wrong done me, if the Heavens be just.
And that they are, I know. Else had ye ne'er
Sailed on this errand for an outcast wretch,
Had they not pricked your heart with thoughts of me.

Oh, if ye pity me, chastising powers,
And thou, the Genius of my land, revenge,
Revenge this crime on all their heads at once!
My life is pitiable; but if I saw
Their ruin, I would think me well and strong.

CH. How full of bitterness is his resolve,
Wrathfully spoken with unbending will!

OD. I might speak long in answer, did the time
Give scope, but now one thing is mine to say.
I am known to vary with the varying need;
And when 'tis tried, who can be just and good,
My peer will not be found for piety.
But though on all occasions covetous
Of victory, this once I yield to thee,
And willingly. Unhand him there. Let go!
Leave him to stay. What further use of thee,
When we have ta'en these arms? Have we not Teucer,
Skilled in this mystery? Yea, I may boast
Myself thine equal both in strength and aim
To wield them. Fare thee well, then! Thou art free
To roam thy barren isle. We need thee not.
Let us be going! And perchance thy gift
May bring thy destined glory to my brow.

PHI. What shall I do? Alas, shalt thou be seen
Graced with mine arms amongst Achaean men?

OD. No more! I am going.

PHI. O Achilles' child!
Wilt thou, too, vanish? Must I lose thy voice?

OD. Come on, and look not, noble though thou be,
Lest thou undo our fortune.

PHI. Mariners,
Must ye, too, leave me thus disconsolate?
Will ye not pity me?

CH. Our captain's here.
Whate'er he saith to thee, that we too speak.

NEO. My chief will call me weakling, soft of heart;
But go not yet, since our friend bids you stay.
Till we have prayed, and all be ready on board.
Meanwhile, perchance, he may conceive some thought
That favours our design. We two will start;
And ye, be swift to speed forth at our call. [Exit]


PHI. O cavern of the hollow rock,
Frosty and stifling in the seasons' change!
How I seem fated never more to range
From thy sad covert, that hath felt the shock
Of pain on pain, steeped with my wretchedness.
Now thou wilt be my comforter in death!
Grief haunted harbour, choked with my distress!
Tell me, what hope is mine of daily food,
Who will be careful for my good?
I fail. Ye cowering creatures of the sky,
Oh, as ye fly,
Snatch me, borne upward on the blast's sharp breath!

CH. 1. Thou child of misery!
No mightier power hath this decreed,
But thine own will and deed
Hath bound thee thus in grief,
Since, when kind Heaven had sent relief
And shown the path of wisdom firm and sure,
Thou still hast chosen this evil to endure.

PHI. O hapless life, sore bruised with pain!
No more with living mortal may I dwell,
But ever pining in this desert cell
With lonely grief, all famished must remain
And perish; for what food is mine to share,
When this strong arm no longer wields my bow,
Whose fleet shafts flew to smite the birds of air
I was o'erthrown by words, words dark and blind,
Low-creeping from a traitorous mind!
O might I see him, whose unrighteous thought
This ruin wrought,
Plagued for no less a period with like woe!

CH. 2. Not by our craft thou art caught,
But Destiny divine hath wrought
The net that holds thee bound.
Aim not at us the sound
Of thy dread curse with dire disaster fraught.
On others let that light! 'Tis our true care
Thou should'st not scorn our love in thy despair.

PHI. Now, seated by the shore
Of heaving ocean hoar,
He mocks me, waving high
The sole support of my precarious being,
The bow which none e'er held but I.
O treasure of my heart, torn from this hand,
That loved thy touch, -- if thou canst understand,
How sad must be thy look in seeing
Thy master destined now no more,
Like Heracles of yore,
To wield thee with an archer's might!
But in the grasp of an all-scheming wight,
O bitter change! thou art plied;
And swaying ever by his side,
Shalt view his life of dark malignity,
Teeming with guileful shames, like those he wrought on me.

CH. 3. Nobly to speak for the right
Is manly and strong;
But not with an envious blight
To envenom the tongue;
He to serve all his friends of the fleet,
One obeying a many-voiced word,
Through the minist'ring craft of our lord
Hath but done what was meet.

PHI. Come, legions of the wild,
Of aspect fierce or mild,
Fowl from the fields of air,
And beasts that roam with bright untroubled gaze,
No longer bounding from my lair
Fly mine approach! Now freely without fear
Ye may surround my covert and come near,
Treading the savage rock-strewn ways.
The might I had is no more mine,
Stolen with those arms divine.
This fort hath no man to defend.
Come satisfy your vengeful jaws, and rend
These quivering tainted limbs!
Already hovering death bedims
My fainting sense. Who thus can live on air,
Tasting no gift of earth that breathing mortals share?

CH. 4. Ah! do not shrink from thy friend,
If love thou reverest,
But know 'tis for thee to forfend
The fate which thou fearest.
The lot thou hast here to deplore,
Is sad evermore to maintain,
And hardship in sickness is sore,
But sorest in pain.

PHI. Kindest of all that e'er before
Have trod this shore,
Again thou mind'st me of mine ancient woe!
Why wilt thou ruin me? What wouldst thou do?

CH. 5. How mean'st thou?

PHI. If to Troy, of me abhorred
Thou e'er hast hoped to lead me with thy lord.

CH. 6. So I judge best.

PHI. Begone at once, begone!

CH. 7. Sweet is that word, and swiftly shall be done!
Let us be gone, each to his place on board.
[The Chorus make as if they were going]

PHI. Nay, by dear Zeus, to whom all suppliants moan
Leave me not yet!

CH. 8. Keep measure in thy word.

PHI. Stay, by Heaven, stay!

CH. 9. What wilt thou say?

PHI. O misery! O cruel power
That rul'st this hour!
I am destroyed. Ah me!
O poor torn limb, what shall I do with thee
Through all my days to be?
Ah, strangers, come, return, return!

CH. 10. What new command are we to learn
Crossing thy former mind?

PHI. Ah! yet be kind.
Reprove not him, whose tongue, with grief distraught,
Obeys not, in dark storms, the helm of thought!

CH. 11. Come, poor friend, the way we call.

PHI. Never, learn it once for all!
Not though he, whom Heaven obeys,
Blast me with fierce lightning's blaze!
Perish Troy, and all your host,
That have chosen, to their cost,
To despise and cast me forth,
Since my wound obscured my worth!
Ah, but, strangers, if your sense
Hath o'er-mastered this offence,
Yield but one thing to my prayer!

CH. 12. What wouldst thou have?

PHI. Some weapon bare,
Axe or sword or sharpened dart,
Bring it to content my heart.

CH. 13. What is thy new intent?

PHI. To sever point by point
This body, joint from joint.
On bloody death my mind is bent.

CH. 14. Wherefore?

PHI. To see my father's face.

CH. 15. Where upon earth?

PHI. He hath no place
Where sun doth shine, but in the halls of night.
O native country, land of my delight,
Would I were blest one moment with thy sight!
Why did I leave thy sacred dew
And loose my vessels from thy shore,
To join the hateful Danaän crew
And lend them succour? Oh, I am no more!

Long since thou hadst seen me nearing yonder ship,
Had I not spied Odysseus and the son
Of great Achilles hastening to our side.

OD. Wilt thou not tell me why thou art hurrying
This backward journey with reverted speed?

NEO. To undo what I have wrongly done to-day.

OD. Thy words appal me. What is wrongly done?

NEO. When in obeying thee and all the host --

OD. Thou didst what deed that misbecame thy life?

NEO. I conquered with base stratagem and fraud --

OD. Whom? What new plan is rising in thy mind?

NEO. Not new. But to the child of Poeas here --

OD. What wilt thou do? I quake with strange alarm.

NEO. From whom I took these weapons, back again -- --

OD. O Heaven! thou wilt not give them! Mean'st thou this?

NEO. Yea, for I have them through base sinful means.

OD. I pray thee, speak'st thou thus to anger me?

NEO. If the truth anger thee, the truth is said.

OD. Achilles' son! What word is fallen from thee?

NEO. Must the same syllables be thrice thrown forth?

OD. Once was too much. Would they had ne'er been said!

NEO. Enough. Thou hast heard my purpose clearly told.

OD. I know what power shall thwart thee in the deed.

NEO. Whose will shall hinder me?

OD. The Achaean host
And I among them.

NEO. Thou'rt sharp-witted, sure!
But little wit or wisdom show'st thou here.

OD. Neither thy words nor thy design is wise.

NEO. But if 'tis righteous, that is better far.

OD. How righteous, to release what thou hast ta'en
By my device?

NEO. I sinned a shameful sin,
And I will do mine utmost to retrieve it.

OD. How? Fear'st thou not the Achaeans in this act?

NEO. In doing right I fear not them nor thee.

OD. I call thy power in question.

NEO. Then I'll fight,
Not with Troy's legions, but with thee.

OD. Come on!
Let fortune arbitrate.

NEO. Thou seest my hand
Feeling the hilt.

OD. And me thou soon shalt see
Doing the like and dallying not! -- And yet
I will not touch thee, but will go and tell
The army, that shall wreak this on thy head. [Exit]

NEO. Thou show'st discretion: which if thou preserve,
Thou may'st maintain a path exempt from pain.
Ho! son of Poeas, Philoctetes, come
And leave thy habitation in the rock.

PHI. What noise again is troubling my poor cave?
Why do ye summon me? What crave ye, sirs?
Ha! 'tis some knavery. Are ye come to add
Some monster evil to my mountainous woe?

NEO. Fear not, but hearken to what now I speak.

PHI. I needs must fear thee, whose fair words erewhile
Brought me to bitter fortune.

NEO. May not men
Repent and change?

PHI. Such wast thou in thy talk,
When thou didst rob me of my bow, -- so bright
Without, so black within.

NEO. Ah, but not now,
Assure thee! Only let me hear thy will,
Is 't constant to remain here and endure,
Or to make voyage with us?

PHI. Stop, speak no more!
Idle and vain will all thine utterance be.

NEO. Thou art so resolved?

PHI. More firmly than I say.

NEO. I would I might have brought thee to my mind,
But since my words are out of tune, I have done.

PHI. Thou wert best. No word of thine can touch my soul
Or win me to thy love, who by deceit
Hast reft my life away. And then thou com'st
To school me, -- of noblest father, basest son!
Perish, the Atridae first of all, and then
Laërtes' child, and thou!

NEO. Curse me no more,
But take this hallowed weapon from my hand.

PHI. What words are these? Am I again deceived?

NEO. No, by the holiest name of Zeus on high!

PHI. O voice of gladness, if thy speech be true!

NEO. The deed shall prove it. Only reach thy hand,
And be again sole master of thy bow. [Odysseus appears]

OD. But I make protest, in the sight of Heaven,
For Atreus' sons, and all the Achaean host.

PHI. Dear son, whose voice disturbs us? Do I hear

OD. Ay, and thou behold'st him nigh,
And he shall force thee to the Trojan plain,
Howe'er Achilles' offspring make or mar.

PHI. This shaft shall bear thee sorrow for that boast.

NEO. Let it not fly, by Heaven!

PHI. Dear child, let go
Mine arm!

NEO. I will not. [Exit Odysseus]

PHI. Ah! Why hast thou robbed
My bow of bringing down mine enemy?

NEO. This were ignoble both for thee and me.

PHI. One thing is manifest, the first o' the host
Lying forerunners of the Achaean band,
Are brave with words, but cowards with the steel.

NEO. Well, now the bow is thine. Thou hast no cause
For blame or anger any more 'gainst me.

PHI. None. Thou hast proved thy birthright, dearest boy.
Not from the loins of Sisyphus thou earnest,
But from Achilles, who in life was held
Noblest of men alive, and now o' the dead.

NEO. It gladdens me that thou shouldst speak in praise
Both of my sire and me. But hear me tell
The boon for which I sue thee. -- Mortal men
Must bear such evils as high Heaven ordains;
But those afflicted by self-chosen ills,
Like thine to-day, receive not from just men
Or kind indulgence or compassionate thought.
And thou art restive grown, and wilt not hearken,
But though one counsel thee with kind'st intent,
Wilt take him for a dark malignant foe.
Yet, calling Zeus to witness for my soul,
Once more I will speak. Know this, and mark it well:
Thou bear'st this sickness by a heavenly doom,
Through coming near to Chrysa's sentinel,
The lurking snake, that guards the sky-roofed fold[7].
And from this plague thou ne'er shall find reprieve
While the same Sun god rears him from the east
And droops to west again, till thou be come
Of thine own willing mind to Troia's plain,
Where our physicians, sons of Phoebus' child[8],
Shall soothe thee from thy sore, and thou with me
And with this bow shalt take Troy's citadel.
How do I know this? I will tell thee straight
We have a Trojan captive, Helenus,
Both prince and prophet, who hath clearly told
This must be so, yea, and ere harvest time
This year, great Troy must fall, else if his words
Be falsified, who will may slay the seer.
Now, since thou know'st of this, yield thy consent;
For glorious is the gain, being singled forth
From all the Greeks as noblest, first to come
To healing hands, and then to win renown
Unrivalled, vanquishing all tearful Troy.

PHI. Oh how I hate my life! Why must it keep
This breathing form from sinking to the shades?
How can I prove a rebel to his mind
Who thus exhorts me with affectionate heart?
And yet, oh misery! must I give way?
Then how could I endure the light of heaven?
With whom could I exchange a word? Ay me!
Eyes that have seen each act of my sad life,
How could ye bear it, to behold the sons
Of Atreus, my destroyers, comrades now
And friends! Laërtes' wicked son, my friend!
And less I feel the grief of former wrong
Than shudder with expectance of fresh harm
They yet may work on me. For when the mind
Hath once been mother of an evil brood,
It nurses nought but evils. Yea, at thee
I marvel. Thou should'st ne'er return to Troy,
Nor suffer me to go, when thou remember'st
What insult they have done thee, ravishing
Thy father's rights from thee. And wilt thou then
Sail to befriend them, pressing me in aid?
Nay, do not, son; but, even as thou hast sworn,
Convey me home, and thou, in Scyros dwelling,
Leave to their evil doom those evil men.
So thou shalt win a twofold gratitude
From me and from my father, and not seem,
Helping vile men, to be as vile as they.

NEO. 'Tis fairly spoken. Yet I would that thou
Relying on my word and on Heaven's aid,
Would'st voyage forth from Lemnos with thy friend.

PHI. Mean'st thou to Troy, and to the hateful sons
Of Atreus, me, with this distressful limb?

NEO. Nay, but to those that will relieve the pain
Of thy torn foot and heal thee of thy plague.

PHI. Thy words are horrible. What mean'st thou, boy?

NEO. The act I deem the noblest for us both.

PHI. Wilt thou speak so? Where is thy fear of Heaven?

NEO. Why should I fear, when I see certain gain?

PHI. Gain for the sons of Atreus, or for me?

NEO. Methinks a friend should give thee friendly counsel.

PHI. Friendly, to hand me over to my foes?

NEO. Ah, be not hardened in thy misery!

PHI. I know thou wilt ruin me by what thou speakest.

NEO. Not I. The case is dark to thee, I see.

PHI. I know the Atreidae cast me on this rock.

NEO. But how, if they should save thee afterward?

PHI. They ne'er shall make me see Troy with my will.

NEO. Hard is my fortune, then, if by no sleight
Of reasoning I can draw thee to my mind.
For me, 'twere easiest to end speech, that thou
Might'st live on as thou livest in hopeless pain.

PHI. Then leave me to my fate! -- But thou hast touched
My right hand with thine own, and given consent
To bear me to my home. Do this, dear son!
And do not linger to take thought of Troy.
Enough that name hath echoed in my groans.

NEO. If thou wilt, let us be going.

PHI. Nobly hast thou said the word.

NEO. Lean thy steps on mine.

PHI. As firmly as my foot will strength afford.

NEO. Ah! but how shall I escape Achaean anger?

PHI. Do not care!

NEO. Ah! but should they spoil my country!

PHI. I to shield thee will be there.

NEO. How to shield me, how to aid me?

PHI. With the shafts of Heracles
I will scare them.

NEO. Give thy blessing to this isle, and come in peace.

HERACLES appears from above.

HERACLES. First, son of Poeas, wait till thou hast heard
The voice of Heracles, and weighed his word.
Him thou beholdest from the Heavenly seat
Come down, for thee leaving the blest retreat,
To tell thee all high Zeus intends, and stay
Thy purpose in the journey of to-day.
Then hear me, first how after my long toils
By strange adventure I have found and won
Immortal glory, which thine eyes perceive;
And the like lot, I tell thee, shall be thine,
After these pains to rise to glorious fame.
Sailing with this thy comrade to Troy-town,
First thou shalt heal thee from thy grievous sore,
And then, being singled forth from all the host
As noblest, thou shalt conquer with that bow
Paris, prime author of these years of harm,
And capture Troy, and bear back to thy hall
The choicest guerdon, for thy valour's meed,
To Oeta's vale and thine own father's home.
But every prize thou tak'st be sure thou bear
Unto my pyre, in memory of my bow.
This word, Achilles' offspring, is for thee
No less. For, as thou could'st not without him,
So, without thee, he cannot conquer Troy.
Then, like twin lions hunting the same hill,
Guard thou him, and he thee! and I will send
Asclepius Troyward to relieve thy pain.
For Ilion now a second time must fall
Before the Herculean bow. But, take good heed,
Midst all your spoil to hold the gods in awe.
For our great Father counteth piety
Far above all. This follows men in death,
And fails them not when they resign their breath.

PHI. Thou whom I have longed to see,
Thy dear voice is law to me.

NEO. I obey with gladdened heart.

HER. Lose no time: at once depart!
Bright occasion and fair wind
Urge your vessel from behind.

PHI. Come, let me bless the region ere I go.
Poor house, sad comrade of my watch, farewell!
Ye nymphs of meadows where soft waters flow
Thou ocean headland, pealing thy deep knell,
Where oft within my cavern as I lay
My hair was moist with dashing south-wind's spray,
And ofttimes came from Hermes' foreland high
Sad replication of my storm-vext cry;
Ye fountains and thou Lycian water sweet, --
I never thought to leave you, yet my feet
Are turning from your paths, -- we part for aye.
Farewell! and waft me kindly on my way,
O Lemnian earth enclosed by circling seas,
To sail, where mighty Fate my course decrees,
And friendly voices point me, and the will
Of that heroic power, who doth this act fulfil.

CH. Come now all in one strong band;
Then, ere loosing from the land,
Pray we to the nymphs of sea
Kind protectresses to be,
Till we touch the Trojan strand.

* * * * *

In the midst of surgery for a deviated septum, Catey Merriman's muscles began to go rigid and her temperature soared. As the surgical team realized she was reacting to the anesthesia, they halted the procedure, injected a powerful muscle relaxant and packed her body in ice. The Niskayuna, N.Y., teacher woke up in the hospital's critical-care unit and asked herself, "Did I die?"
Anesthetics can trigger malignant hyperthermia, a rare but deadly disorder, in susceptible patients.

Ms. Merriman didn't die, but she easily could have, had the medical team not acted quickly to reverse the onset of malignant hyperthermia, a rare but potentially deadly disorder. Malignant hyperthermia is caused by an inherited genetic mutation that triggers an uncontrolled rise of calcium levels in muscle cells when a patient inhales certain commonly used anesthetics. A patient's body temperature can jump to 108 degrees in minutes, followed by cardiac arrest and death.

The Malignant Hyperthermia Association of the United States, a nonprofit group started by patients, operates a 24-hour hot line to help medical professionals identify and treat malignant hyperthermia. The association fields about 650 calls a year, including one from the staff treating Ms. Merriman three years ago, according to anesthesiologist Henry Rosenberg, the group's president.
Dr. Rosenberg, director of medical education at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J., says incidents are likely underreported, and he estimates that there are about 1,000 cases a year.

Malignant hyperthermia can occur in any health-care setting. But the recent death of teen Stephanie Kuleba in a Boca Raton, Fla., surgical center where she was undergoing elective breast surgery has put a spotlight on the many doctors' offices and surgical centers where a growing number of surgical procedures are performed. Anesthesia administered in a hospital setting is considered safe because of the round-the-clock presence of trained anesthesiology professionals. In offices and surgery centers, there may not always be an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist with graduate training who can recognize and respond to danger signs.

"As we've made anesthesia safer, one result is the attitude that it must be so easy even a caveman can do it," says Roger Moore, president-elect of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. "There are thousands of things that can go wrong that need the vigilance and training of an anesthesiology professional."

Patients undergoing procedures outside of hospitals may also face higher risk of complications from surgical infections, blood clots and blood-pressure problems that may require emergency transfers to hospitals. Studies show that the highest number of incidents occur with cosmetic-surgery patients, such as those undergoing liposuction in doctors' offices.
Several have died after excess fluids were pumped into surgical sites or when they had a bad reaction to overdoses of the local anesthetic lidocaine.

Currently, 24 states have regulations aimed at protecting patients undergoing medical procedures in an office setting, and more are considering such measures. A spokeswoman for the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, which represents outpatient centers, says patients should talk with representatives of a surgery center to learn about the quality standards in place and any other licensing or certification criteria that might apply.

Researchers are still studying malignant hyperthermia, and there are no precise statistics on the number of episodes world-wide. But recent studies indicate that as many as 1 in 3,000 people may have the genetic mutation that predisposes them to a malignant-hyperthermia reaction under inhaled anesthesia. Since the disorder was first identified more than three decades ago, death rates have fallen to less than 5% from more than 80%, thanks largely to the introduction of dantrolene, the muscle relaxant that can quickly stop the uncontrolled release of calcium cells.

But while virtually all hospitals have an adequate supply of dantrolene on hand, medical safety experts say doctors' offices and surgical centers often don't. The reason often given by doctors and surgical centers is the cost of the drug, which has a three-year shelf life. But Dr. Rosenberg says that isn't a good excuse: The cost of an adequate supply to treat an episode is about $2,500, which is a relatively inexpensive insurance policy against disaster.

Keith Metz, a member of the board of the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association, says that if inhalation anesthetics are being used, the most important questions for patients to ask are whether the center has an attending anesthesiologist and an adequate supply of dantrolene on hand -- and whether staffers know how to use it. Dantrolene can require preparing and administering as many as 36 vials in quick sequence. Dr. Metz, an anesthesiologist at a surgical center in Southfield Hills, Mich., says he has seen a case of malignant hyperthermia only once in his career. Still, he says, "It's the same as saying we are unlikely to have a fire, but it's important to have a fire extinguisher around."

Because inhaled anesthetics that trigger malignant hyperthermia are cheap, effective and easy to use -- including on children -- they are the drugs of choice in many surgeries. Uses range from ear-tube insertions, wisdom-teeth removal and elective cosmetic surgery to even more complex procedures like open-heart surgery. Drugs that trigger malignant hyperthermia include potent inhalation agents like halothane, isoflurane and sevoflurane, and older drugs like ether. Susceptible patients should be sedated instead with intravenous drugs such as propofol, barbiturates and benzodiazapenes, and short-acting narcotics like fentanyl.

Arizona's state medical board earlier this year banned physicians in office-based surgery centers from using any drug that could trigger malignant hyperthermia.

The Malignant Hyperthermia Association urges patients who have ever had a family member experience complications during anesthesia to discuss their own risks before surgery. The group offers detailed information on risks, prevention and treatment on its Web site,

Those with muscular dystrophy in the family may be at risk. Indeed, Ms. Merriman's father had had the disease, and she says she informed the hospital of this before her surgery. Researchers also are studying whether there is a relationship between malignant hyperthermia and sudden deaths in young athletes and soldiers linked to heat stroke. Dr. Rosenberg says susceptible patients may have no problem under anesthesia in one surgery but may still be at risk in a future procedure. And patients can have a reaction after surgery in the recovery room, so close monitoring is important.

The most accurate test to determine predisposition to malignant hyperthermia is a specialized muscle biopsy that analyzes the response of a piece of muscle taken from the thigh to a triggering anesthetic. But it is available in only a handful of centers and can cost more than $6,000.
A genetic test is available that can be performed on a blood sample, but its accuracy still needs to be improved, Dr. Rosenberg says. Those who do have the genetic disorder or may be at risk because of family history should wear medical-identification bracelets. Teens and young adults, and especially highly athletic men and women, tend to be more vulnerable, perhaps because of their stage of muscle development or hormone levels.

Tom Kuleba, whose daughter Stephanie, a high-school cheerleader, died last month, says he had never heard of malignant hyperthermia and knew of no family history of problems with anesthesia. The surgery was performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with an anesthesiologist present, and though dantrolene was administered, among the questions raised is the adequacy of the dose. The death is still being investigated by the state medical board. The family has started a Web site,, to educate consumers about the risks of anesthesia, especially in outpatient surgical centers. "We need to raise awareness so no other parent has to suffer the horrific loss of a child," says Mr. Kuleba.

A Tambor-class submarine,
was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named for the lake herring.

Her keel was laid down by the Electric Boat Company in Groton, Connecticut. She was launched on 31 January 1941 sponsored by Mrs. Wilson Brown, wife of Rear Admiral Wilson Brown, Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy, and commissioned on 30 June 1941 with Lieutenant Willard A. Saunders in command.

Attached to the Atlantic Fleet Grayback conducted her shakedown cruise in Long Island Sound out of Newport, New London, and New York City. In company with Grampus (SS-207) she departed New London, Connecticut, on 8 September for patrol duty in the Caribbean Sea and Chesapeake Bay; then arrived Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 30 November for overhaul. With the United States's entry into the war, Grayback sailed for Pearl Harbor on 8 February.

Grayback’s first war patrol from 15 February to 10 April took her along the coast of Saipan and Guam. There she participated in a deadly four-day game of hide-and-seek with an enemy submarine; the enemy I-boat fired two torpedoes at Grayback on the morning of 22 February, then continued to trail her across the Pacific. Grayback spotted the enemy conning tower a couple of times, and the Japanese ship broached once; but the Grayback could not get into position to attack. After four nerve-wracking days, Grayback shook the other sub and continued on patrol. First blood for her came on 17 March as she sank a 3291-ton cargo ship off Port Lloyd.

Grayback’s second war patrol met with a dearth of targets although she even took the unusual and risky measure of patrolling surfaced during the day. On 22 June she arrived at Fremantle, Australia, which was to remain her home base for most of the war. Her third and fourth war patrols, in the South China Sea and St. George's Passage were equally frustrating as Grayback was hampered by bright moonlight, shallow and treacherous water, and enemy patrol craft. Despite these hazards, she damaged several freighters and also got in a shot at another Japanese submarine. However, the very presence of Grayback and her sister ships in these waters—the threat they presented to shipping and the number of enemy escorts they tied up—was an important factor in the successful conclusion of the Guadalcanal campaign, America's first offensive campaign in the Pacific war.

The fifth war patrol began as Grayback sailed from Australia on 7 December 1942. Only a week out of port, Pharmacist's Mate Harry B. Roby was called upon to perform an emergency appendectomy, the second to be done on a patrolling submarine. With Grayback running silent and steady a hundred feet beneath the surface, the untutored Roby successfully removed the infected appendix, and his patient was back standing watch by the end of the patrol. Then 20 December, Grayback enjoyed "a Jap appetizer for Christmas dinner," as she battle surfaced to sink four landing barges with her deck guns. Four days later she was again fired on by an enemy submarine but maneuvered to avoid the torpedoes. On 3 January 1943 she gained her revenge by sending to the bottom I-18, one of the 25 Japanese submarines chalked up by the Pacific submarines.

On 5 January Grayback served as beacon ship for the bombardment of Munda Bay and also indulged in some hair-raising rescue work. Lying off Munda early in the morning of 5 January, she received word that six survivors of a crashed B-25 Mitchell bomber were holed up on the island. Grayback sent ashore two men, then submerged at dawn to avoid enemy aircraft. The submariners located the downed aviators, three of whom were injured, and hid out with them in the jungle.
As night fell, Grayback surfaced offshore and by coded light signals directed the small boat "home safe" with the rescued aviators. For this episode skipper Edward C. Stephan received the Navy Cross.

Grayback continued on patrol, torpedoing and damaging several Japanese ships. On 17 January she attacked a destroyer escorting a large maru, hoping to disable the escort and then sink the freighter with her deck guns. However, the destroyer evaded the torpedoes and dropped 19 depth charges on Grayback. One blew a gasket on a manhole cover, and the submarine, leaking seriously, was ordered back to Brisbane where she arrived 23 February.

On her sixth war patrol from 16 February to 4 April 1943, Grayback again had a run of bad luck and returned empty-handed from the Bismarck Islands-Solomon Islands area. Her newly installed SJ radar had failed to function; and although she had taken several shots at marus, none were sunk.

The seventh patrol was more successful. Departing Brisbane on 25 April, Grayback intercepted a convoy whose position had been radioed to her by Albacore (SS-218) on 11 May. In a night surface attack Grayback fired a spread of six torpedoes at the seven freighters and their three escorts. The three escorts charged and she had to go deep to elude the attacking enemy. She was credited with the sinking of cargo ship Yodogawa Maru. On 16 May she torpedoed and seriously damaged a destroyer. The following day Grayback intercepted four marus with one escort and sank freighter England Maru and damaged two others before she was forced to dive. She arrived Pearl Harbor on 30 May, then proceeded to San Francisco, California, for a much needed overhaul.

Arriving Pearl Harbor on 12 September 1943, Grayback prepared for her eighth war patrol. Sailing 26 September with Shad (SS-235), she rendezvoused with Cero (SS-225) at Midway Island to form the first of the Submarine Force's highly successful wolf packs. The three submarines under Captain "Swede" Momsen in Cero, cruised the China Sea and returned to base with claims of 38,000 tons sunk and 3300 damaged. Grayback accounted for two ships, a passenger-cargo vessel torpedoed 14 October and a former light cruiser, Awata Maru, torpedoed after an end-around run on a fast convoy 22 October. Wolf pack tactics came into play 2 October as Grayback closed a convoy already attacked by Shad and administered the coup de grace to a 9000-ton transport listing from two of Shad’s torpedoes. The submarines had now expended all torpedoes, and on 10 November they returned to Midway.

With almost a quarter of her crew untested in battle Grayback departed Pearl Harbor for the East China Sea on 2 December for her ninth war patrol. Within five days of her first contact with Japanese ships, she had expended all her torpedoes in a brilliant series of attacks which netted four ships for a total of over 10,000 tons. On the night of 18 December to 19 December Grayback wreaked havoc on a convoy of four freighters and three escorts. She sent freighter Gyokurei Maru and escort Numakaze to the bottom and damaged several others in surface attack. Two nights later, 20 December to 21 December, she spotted another convoy of six ships; and, after an end-around run she fired a spread of nine torpedoes into the heart of the Japanese formation. This first attack sunk one freighter and damaged another before Grayback dived to elude depth charges. Three hours later she surfaced and sank a second freighter. After an unsuccessful attack the following night had exhausted her torpedo supply, Grayback headed home. Undaunted by lack of torpedoes, the submarine battle surfaced 27 December and sank a good-sized fishing boat with deck guns before reaching Pearl Harbor on 4 January 1944.

Grayback’s tenth patrol, her most successful in terms of tonnage sunk, was also to be her last. She sailed from Pearl Harbor on 28 January 1944, for the East China Sea. On 24 February Grayback radioed that she had sunk two cargo ships 19 February and had damaged two others.
On 25 February she transmitted her second and final report. That morning she had sunk tanker Toshin Maru and severely damaged another. With only two torpedoes remaining, she was ordered home from patrol. Due to reach Midway on 7 March, Grayback did not arrive. On 30 March ComSubPac listed her as missing and presumed lost with all hands.

From captured Japanese records the submarine's last few days can be pieced together. Heading home through the East China Sea, on 27 February Grayback used her last two torpedoes to sink the freighter Ceylon Maru. That same day, a Japanese carrier-based plane spotted a submarine on the surface in the East China Sea and attacked. According to Japanese reports the submarine "exploded and sank immediately," but antisubmarine craft were called in to depth-charge the area, clearly marked by a trail of air bubbles, until at last a heavy oil slick swelled to the surface. Grayback had ended her last patrol, one which cost the enemy some 21,594 tons of shipping.

Grayback ranked 20th among all submarines in total tonnage sunk with 63,835 tons and 24th in number of ships sunk with 14. The submarine and crew had received two Navy Unit Commendations for their seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth war patrols.

Grayback received eight battle stars for World War II service.

USS Grayback (SS/SSG/APSS/LPSS-574), the lead ship of her class of submarine, was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the grayback, a small herring of great commercial importance in the Great Lakes.
Grayback (SSG-574), underway, circa 1960.
Grayback (SSG-574), underway, circa 1960.
Career USN Jack
Ordered: 10 March 1951
Laid down: 1 July 1954
Launched: 2 July 1957
Commissioned: 7 March 1958
Decommissioned: 16 June 1984
Fate: sunk as a target near Subic Bay on 13 April 1986
Stricken: 16 January 1984
General characteristics
Displacement: 1740 tons light, 2768 tons full
Length: 83.2 m (273 ft), later extended to 317 ft 7 in (97 m)
Beam: 27 ft 2 in (8.3 m)
Draft: 19 ft (5.8 m)
Speed: 14 knot (26 km/h)
Complement: 87 officers and men
Armament: eight torpedo tubes, one Regulus launcher
Motto: De Profundis Futurus

Her keel was laid down on 1 July 1954 by the Mare Island Naval Shipyard of Vallejo, California. She was launched on 2 July 1957 sponsored by Mrs. John A. Moore, widow of the last skipper of the first Grayback, and commissioned at Mare Island on 7 March 1958 with Lieutenant Commander Hugh G. Nott in command. Grayback was initially designated as an attack submarine, but was converted to a Regulus guided missile submarine (SSG-574) in 1958.

The first of the Navy's guided missile submarines to carry the Regulus II sea-to surface missiles, Grayback conducted tests and shakedown along the West Coast. While operating out of Port Hueneme, California, in September 1958 she carried out the first successful launching of a Regulus II missile from a submarine, which pointed the way to a revolutionary advance in the power of navies to attack land bases. Departing San Diego, California, on 30 October, Grayback arrived at Pearl Harbor on 8 November for a month of exercises and maneuvers before returning to Mare Island for her "10,000 mile checkup."

On 9 February 1959, Grayback departed Mare Island to make Pearl Harbor her permanent home base, reaching Hawaii 7 March via Port Hueneme, California, Long Beach, California, and Mazatlan, Mexico. After a series of exercises there, she cruised to Dutch Harbor, Unmak Island, Sequam Island, and Kodiak, Alaska, for further missile exercises from 3 July to 31 July. This was followed by the first of her nine deterrent missile strike missions, from 21 September to 12 November. Grayback's first patrol terminated at Yokosuka, Japan, as did two others. She returned to Pearl Harbor 8 December.

On 22 February 1960, Grayback modified her missile launching system and simplified her complex electrical circuits. After this, she again took up deterrent missile strike missions. Over the next 21⁄2 years she completed seven missions for a total of nearly 18 months at sea, much of this time submerged. In addition to Yokosuka, both Adak, Alaska, and Pearl Harbor also served as termination points for these patrols. On her nine patrols she spent more than 20 months at sea and logged well over 130,000 miles (209,000 km) on deterrent missile strike missions.

That schedule took its toll. On 27 August 1963, while snorkeling to recharge batteries, Grayback was buffeted by particularly strong seas.
The buffeting caused the After Main Battery breaker to short, starting a fire in the berthing compartment. One seaman failed to evacuate the compartment and was overcome by smoke and fumes. Main propulsion was lost for a short time, but was restored, and Grayback was able return to Pearl Harbor under her own power. Repairs took two weeks.

As more and more Polaris missile submarines became operational, they assumed the deterrent functions previously assigned to Grayback and her sister ships. The Regulus missile program ended in 1964 and Grayback was withdrawn from active service. She decommissioned at Mare Island Naval Shipyard, California, on 25 May 1964.

A second conversion began at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in November 1967. The conversion was originally estimated at US$15.2 million but grew to over US$30 million. She was re-classified from a guided missile submarine to an amphibious transport submarine with hull classification symbol LPSS on 30 August 1968. (The Naval Vessel Registry entry for Grayback shows that at one point she was classified as a "plain" transport submarine, an APSS. Crew memoirs indicated that they were never aware of it. Presumably, while this classification was "official," it may have lasted only days.) The conversion heightened her sail by ten feet, added two auxiliary tanks to the forward end of the engine room (increasing the length of the boat by 12 feet), and, most significantly, converted the missile chambers to carry 67 embarked troops and SEAL Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs), including a decompression chamber in the starboard hangar.

Grayback was decommissioned for the second time on 15 January 1984 at Subic Bay Naval Station in the Republic of the Philippines. After decommissioning, Grayback was sunk as a target on 13 April 1986 in the South China Sea.

Born Ludmila Babková, she studied acting at Prague Conservatory and got her first movie role in a Czech film at the age of 17. Her mother appeared in several theater plays and her younger sister, Zorka Janů, was also a movie actress. Lida Baarova's first love affair was with the film director Karel Lamač. She was renowned for her beauty, with Czech movie director, Otakar Vávra commenting that, "Her beauty likely infatuated every man she met." After being discovered by talent scouts for the German movie studios, Lídá Baarova left Prague for Berlin.

In Berlin she met Gustav Fröhlich, an actor in the German cinema, and starred in several films with him. In 1935, following her successful appearance in the German film Barcarole, she received several job offers from the Hollywood studios. She turned them down, but later regretted it and told her biographer, Josef Škvorecký:
Baarova and Gustav Fröhlich cheerfully speak with Goebbels during a party in 1936.
Baarova and Gustav Fröhlich cheerfully speak with Goebbels during a party in 1936.

"I could have been as famous as Marlene Dietrich."

After her engagement to Gustav Fröhlich, she and her fiancé moved to the Schwanenwerder peninsula on the outskirts of Berlin, where their house on the (later named) Karl-Marx-Straße 8 was close to the residence of Joseph Goebbels on Inselstraße 8. Joseph Goebbels was a minister in Chancellor Hitler's administration, with a decisive voice in German movie production. Lída Baarová met Joseph Goebbels while working for Ufa films. They started an affair that lasted for over a year and caused her breakup with Gustav Fröhlich.

After Goebbels' wife Magda learned about this affair, she complained to Adolf Hitler. Hitler, who himself was not immune to Baarová's beauty, was the godfather of Goebbels' children, and sympathetic towards Magda; he asked Goebbels to end the affair. Goebbels offered his resignation instead. He wanted to divorce his wife, marry Lída Baarová, and leave Germany with his Liduška, (Czech diminutive of Lída, connoting love), as he affectionatedly called her, for Japan. However, Hitler did not accept his resignation. On October 15, 1938, Joseph Goebbels attempted suicide.

Shortly afterwards, Lída Baarová received a call from the German police that she was a persona non grata and was given consilium abeundi to leave Germany.
She went to Prague and, in 1941, to Italy, where she starred in such movies as Grazia (1943), La Fornarina (1944), Vivere ancora (1945), and others. After American troops occupied Italy, she returned to Prague, where she dated her old friend Hans Albers, another of Germany's movie idols. In April of 1945, Lída Baarová left Prague for Germany, to join Albers in his country house on the shores of Lake Starnberg. On the way, she was taken into custody by the American military police, imprisoned in Munich, and later extradited to Czechoslovakia.

In Czechoslovakia, Baarová faced a death sentence for her work with the Germans during the war, but she was able to prove that she worked in Germany before the war and received only a prison sentence. In prison, she was often visited by Jan Kopecký who, like many others, was infatuated with her. Kopecký was a close relative of a prominent politician in the post-war government of Czechoslovakia who arranged Lída's release from prison. Jan Kopecký and Lída Baarová were married in 1949 and formed an itinerant troupe playing marionettes before they escaped to Austria. From there, Kopecký immigrated to Argentina, leaving Lída behind to recuperate in the sanatorium of Dr. Lundwall.

In Austria, Lída attempted a comeback, but Anton Walbrook, who was persecuted during the war for his sexual orientation, withdrew from a film where he was cast with her. To escape the resulting negative media, she left for Argentina, where she lived in extreme poverty. She decided to return to Italy. Her husband stayed in Argentina and they were divorced in 1956. Back in Italy, she appeared in several films, including Fellini's I Vitelloni (1953), where she played the wife of a rich merchant. In 1958, she moved to Salzburg, where she performed in a theater. In 1970, she married Kurt Lundwall, a physician 20 years her senior. In the same year, Rainer Werner Fassbinder gave her a part in The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant.

In the 1990s Lída Baarová reappeared on the cultural scene of the Czech Republic. She published her autobiography and a movie, Lída Baarová's Bittersweet Memories, appeared in 1995 and won an award at the 1996 Art Film Festival in Trenčianske Teplice, Slovakia.
Lída Baarová's headstone at Prague's Strašnice cemetery.
Lída Baarová's headstone at Prague's Strašnice cemetery.

Lída Baarová suffered from Parkinson's disease and died in 2000 in Salzburg, while living alone on the estate she inherited after the death of her second husband, Dr. Lundwall. If she ever felt guilt about her past,and after all many women have had affairs with married men, she rigorously suppressed it. "There's no doubt that Goebbels was an interesting character," she observed in 1997, "a charming and intelligent man and a very good storyteller. You could guarantee that he would keep a party going with his little asides and jokes.

Her ashes were interred in Prague's Strašnice cemetery, where she rests with her parents and sister Zorka Janů.


* Sladké hořkosti Lídy Baarové (Lída Baarová's Bittersweet Memories, 1995)
* The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1970)
* Il Cielo brucia (The Sky Burns, 1957)
* Retorno a la verdad (The Truth Will Set You Free, 1957)
* El Batallón de las sombras (The Forgotten Ones, 1957)
* Rapsodia de sangre (Ecstasy, 1957)
* Todos somos necesarios (We All Matter, 1956)
* Viaje de novios (Honeymoon, 1956)
* La Mestiza (The Mestiza, 1956)
* Miedo (The Fear, 1956)

* Gli innocenti pagano (What Price Innocence? 1953)
* Pietà per chi cade (Compassion, 1953)
* I Vitelloni (The Loafers, 1953)
* La vendetta di una pazza (Revenge of a Crazy Girl, 1952)
* Carne inquieta (Restless, 1952)
* Gli amanti di Ravello (The Lovers of Ravello, 1950)
* La Bisarca (1950)

* Vivere ancora (Still Alive, 1944)
* L' Ippocampo (The Sea-Horse, 1944)
* Il Cappello da prete (Priest's Hat, 1944)
* Ti conosco, mascherina! (Masked Girl, Recognized!, 1943)
* Grazia (The Charming Beauty, 1943)

* Turbína (Turbine, 1941)
* Paličova dcera (Arsonist's Daughter, 1941)
* Za tichých nocí (In the Still of the Night, 1941)
* Dívka v modrém (Girl in Blue, 1940)
* Život je krásný (Life Is Beautiful, 1940)
* Artur a Leontýna (Arthur and Leontine, 1940)

* Ohnivé léto (Fiery Summer, 1939)
* Die Geliebte (Love of my Life, 1939)
* Männer müssen so sein (Men Are That Way, 1939)
* Maskovaná milenka (Masked Paramour, 1939)

* Liebeslegende (Love Story, 1938)
* Der Spieler - Roman eines Schwindlers (Gambler's Story, 1938)
* Die Fledermaus (The Bat, 1937)
* Die Kronzeugin (The Chief Witness, 1937)
* Panenství (Virginity, 1937)
* Lidé na kře (People on the Floating Ice, 1937)
* Patrioten (Patriots, 1937)
* Unter Ausschluss der Öffentlichkeit (Private Show, 1937)

* Komediantská princezna (Gypsy Princess, 1936)
* Švadlenka (The Seamstress, 1936)
* Die Stunde der Versuchung (The Hour of Temptation, 1936)
* Verräter (Traitor, 1936)

* Barcarole (Boatman's Song, 1935)
* Leutnant Bobby, der Teufelskerl, (Lieutenant Bobby, the Daredevil, 1935)
* Einer zuviel an Bord (The Fifth-Wheel, 1935)

* Grandhotel Nevada, (Grand Hotel Nevada, 1934)
* Dokud máš maminku (As Long as your Mother is Alive, 1934)
* Zlatá Kateřina (Golden Kate, 1934)
* Na růžích ustláno (Easy Life, 1934)
* Pán na roztrhání (A Popular Guy, 1934)
* Pokušení paní Antonie (Antonia's Temptation, 1934)

* Její lékař (The Physician, 1933)
* Sedmá velmoc (The Seventh Superpower, 1933)
* Okénko (The Window, 1933)
* Madla z cihelny (The Brickmaker's Daughter, 1933)
* Jsem děvče s čertem v těle (Funky Girl, 1933)

* Funebrák (The Undertaker, 1932)
* Malostranští mušketýři (Prague's Musketeers, 1932)
* Růžové kombiné (The Pink Slip, 1932)
* Šenkýřka u divoké krásky (Waitress at the Wild Beauty's Bar, 1932)
* Lelíček ve službách Sherlocka Holmese (Lelíček in Sherlock Holmes' Service, 1932)
* Zapadlí vlastenci (Forgotten Patriots, 1932)

* Kariéra Pavla Čamrdy (Pavel Čamrda's Career, 1931)
* Obraceni Ferdyše Pištory (Conversion of Fred Pištora, 1931)

Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence by Gary Lynch and Richard Granger (Palgrave Macmillan, $26.95)

“Sometimes I think my head is so big because it is so full of dreams,” says John Merrick in the play The Elephant Man. He might have been speaking for the Boskops, an almost forgotten group of early humans who lived in southern Africa between 30,000 and 10,000 years ago.
Judging from fossil remains, scientists say the Boskops were similar to modern humans but had small, childlike faces and huge melon heads that held brains about 30 percent larger than our own.

That’s what fascinates psychiatrist Gary Lynch and cognitive scientist Richard Granger. “Just as we’re smarter than apes, they were probably smarter than us,” they speculate. More insightful and self-reflective than modern humans, with fantastic memories and a penchant for dreaming, the Boskops may have had “an internal mental life literally beyond anything we can imagine.” Lynch and Granger base their characterization on our current understanding of how the human brain works, describing in detail its physiology and structure and comparing it with the brains of other primates. They also explore what the Boskops’ big brains tell us about evolution (why didn’t they survive?) and about the future of human intelligence (can we engineer bigger brains?). These are questions, one suspects, that even the smallest-brained Boskop would have approved of.

When Lisa Kelly learned she had leukemia in late 2006, her doctor advised her to seek urgent care at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. But the nonprofit hospital refused to accept Mrs. Kelly's limited insurance. It asked for $105,000 in cash before it would admit her.

Sitting in the hospital's business office, Mrs. Kelly says she told M.D. Anderson's representatives that she had some money to pay for treatment, but couldn't get all the cash they asked for that day. "Are they going to send me home?" she recalls thinking. "Am I going to die?"
A growing trend in the hospital industry means cancer patients like Lisa Kelly are being asked to pay cash upfront before receiving treatment.

Hospitals are adopting a policy to improve their finances: making medical care contingent on upfront payments. Typically, hospitals have billed people after they receive care. But now, pointing to their burgeoning bad-debt and charity-care costs, hospitals are asking patients for money before they get treated.

Hospitals say they have turned to the practice because of a spike in patients who don't pay their bills. Uncompensated care cost the hospital industry $31.2 billion in 2006, up 44% from $21.6 billion in 2000, according to the American Hospital Association.

The bad debt is driven by a larger number of Americans who are uninsured or who don't have enough insurance to cover medical costs if catastrophe strikes. Even among those with adequate insurance, deductibles and co-payments are growing so big that insured patients also have trouble paying hospitals.

• The Issue: Hospitals are asking patients for payment before receiving treatment.
• The Background: Hospitals say the practice is needed because of an increase in the number of people not paying their bills.
• The Bottom Line: While hospitals provide care to the poor, uninsured and underinsured people are likely to be hardest hit.

Letting bad debt balloon unchecked would threaten hospitals' finances and their ability to provide care, says Richard Umbdenstock, president of the American Hospital Association. Hospitals would rather discuss costs with patients upfront, he says. "After, when it's an ugly surprise or becomes contentious, it doesn't work for anybody."

M.D. Anderson says it went to a new upfront-collection system for initial visits in 2005 after its unpaid patient bills jumped by $18 million to $52 million that year. The hospital said its increasing bad-debt load threatened its mission to cure cancer, a goal on which it spends hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

The change had the desired effect: The hospital's bad debt fell to $33 million the following year.

Asking patients to pay after they've received treatment is "like asking someone to pay for the car after they've driven off the lot," says John Tietjen, vice president for patient financial services at M.D. Anderson. "The time that the patient is most receptive is before the care is delivered."

M.D. Anderson says it provides assistance or free care to poor patients who can't afford treatment. It says it acted appropriately in Mrs. Kelly's case because she wasn't indigent, but underinsured.
The hospital says it wouldn't accept her insurance because the payout, a maximum of $37,000 a year, would be less than 30% of the estimated costs of her care.

Tenet Healthcare and HCA, two big, for-profit hospital chains, say they have also been asking patients for upfront payments before admitting them. While the practice has received little notice, some patient advocates and health-care experts find it harder to justify at nonprofit hospitals, given their benevolent mission and improving financial fortunes.

An Ohio State University study found net income per bed nearly tripled at nonprofit hospitals to $146,273 in 2005 from $50,669 in 2000. According to the American Hospital Directory, 77% of nonprofit hospitals are in the black, compared with 61% of for-profit hospitals. Nonprofit hospitals are exempt from taxes and are supposed to channel the income they generate back into their operations. Many have used their growing surpluses to reward their executives with rich pay packages, build new wings and accumulate large cash reserves.

M.D. Anderson, which is part of the University of Texas, is a nonprofit institution exempt from taxes. In 2007, it recorded net income of $310 million, bringing its cash, investments and endowment to nearly $1.9 billion.

"When you have that much money in the till and that much profit, it's kind of hard to say no" to sick patients by asking for money upfront, says Uwe Reinhardt, a health-care economist at Princeton University, who thinks all hospitals should pay taxes. Nonprofit organizations "shouldn't behave this way," he says.

It isn't clear how many of the nation's 2,033 nonprofit hospitals require upfront payments. A voluntary 2006 survey by the Internal Revenue Service found 14% of 481 nonprofit hospitals required patients to pay or make an arrangement to pay before being admitted. It was the first time the agency asked that question.

Nataline Sarkisyan, a 17-year-old cancer patient who died in December waiting for a liver transplant, drew national attention when former presidential candidate John Edwards lambasted her health insurer for refusing to pay for the operation. But what went largely unnoticed is that Ms. Sarkisyan's hospital, UCLA Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital that is part of the University of California system, refused to do the procedure after the insurance denial unless the family paid it $75,000 upfront, according to the family's lawyer, Tamar Arminak.

The family got that money together, but then the hospital demanded $300,000 to cover costs of caring for Nataline after surgery, Ms. Arminak says.

UCLA says it can't comment on the case because the family hasn't given its consent.

A spokeswoman says UCLA doesn't have a specific policy regarding upfront payments, but works with patients on a case-by-case basis.

Federal law requires hospitals to treat emergencies, such as heart attacks or injuries from accidents. But the law doesn't cover conditions that aren't immediately life-threatening.

At the American Cancer Society, which runs call centers to help patients navigate financial problems, more people are saying they're being asked for large upfront payments by hospitals that they can't afford. "My greatest concern is that there are substantial numbers of people who need cancer care" who don't get it, "usually for financial reasons," says Otis Brawley, chief medical officer.

Mrs. Kelly's ordeal began in 2006, when she started bruising easily and was often tired. Her husband, Sam, nagged her to see a doctor.

A specialist in Lake Jackson, a town 50 miles from Houston, diagnosed Mrs. Kelly with acute leukemia, a cancer of the blood that can quickly turn fatal. The small cancer center in Lake Jackson refers acute leukemia patients to M.D. Anderson.

When Mrs. Kelly called M.D. Anderson to make an appointment, the hospital told her it wouldn't accept her insurance, a type called limited-benefit.

"When an insurer is going to pay the small amounts, we don't feel financially able to assume the risk," says M.D. Anderson's Mr. Tietjen.

An estimated one million Americans have limited-benefit plans. Usually less expensive than traditional plans, such insurance is popular among people like Mrs. Kelly who don't have health insurance through an employer.

Mrs. Kelly, 52, signed up for AARP's Medical Advantage plan, underwritten by UnitedHealth Group Inc., three years ago after she quit her job as a school-bus driver to help care for her mother. Her husband was retired after a career as a heavy-equipment operator. She says that at the time, she hardly ever went to the doctor. "I just thought I needed some kind of insurance policy because you never know what's going to happen," says Mrs. Kelly. She paid premiums of $185 a month.

A spokeswoman for UnitedHealth, one of the country's largest marketers of limited-benefit plans, says the plan is "meant to be a bridge or a gap filler." She says UnitedHealth has reimbursed Mrs. Kelly $38,478.36 for her medical costs. Because the hospital wouldn't accept her insurance, Mrs. Kelly paid bills herself, and submitted them to her insurer to get reimbursed.

See documents related to Mrs. Kelly's case.
• Mrs. Kelly's certificate of coverage1 through the AARP.
• Mrs. Kelly's May 2007 bill2 from M.D. Anderson.
• One of the letters Ms. Wallack sent3 on behalf of Mrs. Kelly, questioning some of M.D. Anderson's charges
• The hospital's response4
• Letter from M.D. Anderson5 to Mrs. Kelly, regarding a refund for a misbilled item
• Collection notice6 sent to Mrs. Kelly
• Letter from M.D. Anderson7 offering a 10% discount for paying the balance in full by April 30.

M.D. Anderson viewed Mrs. Kelly as uninsured and told her she could get an appointment only if she brought a certified check for $45,000.
The Kellys live comfortably, but didn't have that kind of cash on hand. They own an apartment building and a rental house that generate about $11,000 a month before taxes and maintenance costs. They also earn interest income of about $35,000 a year from two retirement accounts funded by inheritances left by Mrs. Kelly's mother and Mr. Kelly's father.

Mr. Kelly arranged to borrow the money from his father's trust, which was in probate proceedings. Mrs. Kelly says she told the hospital she had money for treatment, but didn't realize how high her medical costs would get.

The Kellys arrived at M.D. Anderson with a check for $45,000 on Dec. 6, 2006. After having blood drawn and a bone-marrow biopsy, the hospital oncologist wanted to admit Mrs. Kelly right away.

But the hospital demanded an additional $60,000 on the spot. It told her the $45,000 had paid for the lab tests, and it needed the additional cash as a down payment for her actual treatment.

In the hospital business office, Mrs. Kelly says she was crying, exhausted and confused.

The hospital eventually lowered its demand to $30,000. Mr. Kelly lost his cool. "What part don't you understand?" he recalls saying. "We don't have any more money today. Are you going to admit her or not?" The hospital says it was trying to work with Mrs. Kelly, to find an amount she could pay.

Mrs. Kelly was granted an "override" and admitted at 7 p.m.

After eight days, she emerged from the hospital. Chemotherapy would continue for more than a year, as would requests for upfront payments. At times, she arrived at the hospital and learned her appointment was "blocked." That meant she needed to go to the business office first and make a payment.

One day, Mrs. Kelly says, nurses wouldn't change the chemotherapy bag in her pump until her husband made a new payment. She says she sat for an hour hooked up to a pump that beeped that it was out of medicine, until he returned with proof of payment.

A hospital spokesperson says "it is very difficult to imagine that a nursing staff would allow a patient to sit with a beeping pump until a receipt is presented." The hospital regrets if patients are inconvenienced by blocked appointments, she says, but it "is a necessary process to keep patients informed of their mounting bills and to continue dialog about financial obligations." She says appointments aren't blocked for patients who require urgent care.

Once, Mrs. Kelly says she was on an exam table awaiting her doctor, when he walked in with a representative from the business office. After arguing about money, she says the representative suggested moving her to another facility.

But the cancer center in Lake Jackson wouldn't take her back because it didn't have a blood bank or an infectious-disease specialist. "It risks a person's life by doing that [type of chemotherapy] at a small institution," says Emerardo Falcon Jr., of the Brazosport Cancer Center in Lake Jackson.

Ron Walters, an M.D. Anderson physician who gets involved in financial decisions about patients, says Mrs. Kelly's subsequent chemotherapy could have been handled locally. He says he is sorry if she was offended that the payment representative accompanied the doctor into the exam room, but it was an example of "a coordinated teamwork approach."

On TV one night, Mrs. Kelly saw a news segment about people who try to get patients' bills reduced. She contacted Holly Wallack, who is part of a group that works on contingency to reduce patients' bills; she keeps one-third of what she saves clients.

Ms. Wallack began firing off complaints to M.D. Anderson. She said Mrs. Kelly had been billed more than $360 for blood tests that most insurers pay $20 or less for, and up to $120 for saline pouches that cost less than $2 at retail.

On one bill, Mrs. Kelly was charged $20 for a pair of latex gloves. On another itemized bill, Ms. Wallack found this: CTH SIL 2M 7FX 25CM CLAMP A4356, for $314.
It turned out to be a penis clamp, used to control incontinence.

M.D. Anderson's prices are reasonable compared with other hospitals, Mr. Tietjen says. The $20 price for the latex gloves, for example, takes into account the costs of acquiring and storing gloves, ones that are ripped and not used and ones used for patients who don't pay at all, he says. The charge for the penis clamp was a "clerical error" he says; a different type of catheter was used, but the hospital waived the charge. The hospital didn't reduce or waive other charges on Mrs. Kelly's bills.

Mrs. Kelly is continuing her treatment at M.D. Anderson. In February, a new, more comprehensive insurance plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield that she has switched to started paying most of her new M.D. Anderson bills. But she is still personally responsible for $145,155.65 in bills incurred before February. She is paying $2,000 a month toward those. Last week, she learned that after being in remission for more than a year, her leukemia has returned.

M.D. Anderson is giving Blue Cross Blue Shield a 25% discount on the new bills. This month, the hospital offered Mrs. Kelly a 10% discount on her balance, but only if she pays $130,640.08 by this Wednesday, April 30. She is still hoping to get a bigger discount, though numerous requests have been denied. The hospital says it gives commercial insurers a bigger discount because they bring volume and they are less risky than people who pay on their own.

The hospital has urged Mrs. Kelly to sell assets. But she worries about losing her family's income and retirement savings. Mrs. Kelly says she wants to pay, but, suspicious of the charges she's seen, she says, "I want to pay what's fair."

"Basic Instinct" director Paul Verhoeven has written a book that contradicts biblical teaching by suggesting that Jesus might have been fathered by a Roman soldier who raped Mary.

An Amsterdam publishing house said Wednesday it will publish the Dutch filmmaker's biography of Jesus, "Jesus of Nazareth: A Realistic Portrait," in September.

Verhoeven is best known as the director of blockbuster films including "Basic Instinct" and "RoboCop," but he is also a member of "Jesus Seminar," a group of scholars and authors that seeks to establish historical facts about Jesus.

Marianna Sterk of the publishing house J.M. Meulenhoff said the book includes several ideas that run contrary to Christian faith, including the suggestion that Jesus could be the son of a Roman soldier who raped Mary during a Jewish uprising against Roman rule in 4 B.C.

The book also claims that Judas Iscariot was not responsible for Jesus' betrayal, she said.

The movie director's claims were greeted with some skepticism among those who have dedicated their careers to studying the life of Jesus. One issue is that there is very little information about the life of Jesus outside of the Gospels.
The Gospels as understood by Christians for nearly 2,000 years do not support Verhoeven's ideas.

William Portier, a professor of religious studies at the University of Dayton, in Ohio, said the Jesus Seminar is known for making provocative claims, but "they are real scholars — you have to deal with them."

However, he said Verhoeven's ideas sounded "pretty out there."

John Dominic Crossan, a Jesus Seminar founder, agreed. He said that while Verhoeven was a member in good standing, there is little evidence for the view that Jesus was illegitimate.

Crossan said the claim is first reported in a polemic written in the second century against the Book of Matthew, intended for a Jewish audience.

"It's an obvious first retort to claims that Mary was a virgin," Crossan said. "If you wanted to do a hatchet job on Jesus' reputation, this would be the way."

The most likely scenario for people who don't accept that Jesus was literally the son of God and had no human father is simply that he was the son of Joseph, Crossan said.

Sterk said the book will be translated into English in 2009. Verhoeven hopes it will be a springboard for him to raise interest in making a film along the same lines, she said.

Verhoeven, 69, has dreamed of making a movie about Jesus' life for decades, she said.

Asked whether it would be difficult to follow Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" and Martin Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ," she said Verhoeven knows he may be somewhat late to market.

"He is painfully aware of that," she said. "However, he has quite a different angle."

With a unanimous Senate vote Thursday, Congress is poised to clear landmark legislation barring insurers and employers from discriminating based on a person's genetic makeup, a move many employers dislike but one that could accelerate both genetic testing and research on personalized medicine.

After more than a decade of deliberation, the Senate cleared the bill 95-0 Thursday. The same bill is expected to sail through the House early next week -- just as a similar measure did a year ago -- and on to President Bush, who is expected to sign it.

The legislation would bar insurance companies from denying health coverage or charging higher premiums based on a person's genetic information. It would also bar employers from using genetic information to make hiring, firing and other job-placement decisions.
It applies to people who have genes that carry the risk of disease, but not to those who already have the disease.

"Since no one is born with perfect genes, each one of us is a potential victim of genetic discrimination," said Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D., N.Y.), a microbiologist, who has introduced the bill each term since 1995. "By prohibiting the improper use of genetic information, this bill encourages Americans to undergo the testing necessary for early treatment and prevention of genetic-based diseases."

"This is tremendous news for patients and researchers," said Daniel W. Jones, president of the American Heart Association. "We are now one step closer to realizing genetics' full potential in fighting heart disease and stroke.
Americans will be relieved to know that they will not be denied employment or basic health care because of their genetic makeup."

But some employer groups aren't happy, even with some changes aimed at limiting lawsuits. Among other things, the bill requires individuals who want to sue an employer to first get approval from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents three million businesses, sees the legislation as "more paperwork, more expense and more litigation," as Michael Eastman, the group's executive director of labor policy, put it. He posited that human-resources offices might run into difficulties if an employee requests time off to care for a relative with a genetic ailment.

In addition, Mr. Eastman said, the bill doesn't pre-empt about 35 state laws addressing genetic discrimination, still leaving a patchwork of rules nationwide that businesses must follow.

Neil Trautwein, a vice president at the National Retail Federation, also expressed concerns about increased litigation, saying employees contemplating age- or gender-bias lawsuits could easily include genetic discrimination. "The kitchen sink is thrown at employers," he said.

Health plans have largely supported the legislation. Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive of the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans, said, "While the legislation gives patients the peace of mind to know that their genetic information can't be misused, it promotes informed health-care decision-making."

Aetna Inc., the country's third-largest health insurer in terms of medical-plan members, said the legislation would have little effect on its own underwriting policies. It established a policy in 2002 not to use genetic testing in underwriting and to cover genetic testing that would inform a patient's treatment decision.

Individuals who seek to buy health insurance on their own are subject to eligibility decisions and rates based on pre-existing health conditions. While this legislation would bar health insurers from using individuals' genetic risk of disease for these purposes, it doesn't change the larger practice of using pre-existing health conditions in such coverage decisions.

A survey by Johns Hopkins University's Genetics and Public Policy Center last year found 92% of the adults surveyed were concerned that genetic information could be used against them. Just 24% said they trusted health insurers with such information, and only 16% trusted their employers.

Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, said individualized disease-prevention programs aren't "going to happen if people are afraid to get the information in the first place."
Dr. Collins suggested the legislation, by allaying patients' fears, could boost participation in research trials.

The legislation, which has been under intense negotiation for weeks, was held up by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.), who lifted his hold on the bill earlier this week after lawmakers agreed to a "firewall" so that companies couldn't be sued twice, both as employers and insurers.

This case was first reported by the Associated Press, Johannesburg, S. Africa, Sept.17, 1965, and first published in the United States by NICAP. The first information was related by UFO investigator and writer Richard Hall. This case, though not heavy in detail, features a vehicle encounter, UFO landing, and physical traces, along with official secrecy.

The events occurred as Constable John Lockem and Koos de Klerek were doing routine patrol on the Pretoria-Bronkhorstspruit road. It was just past midnight when to their utter amazement, the lights on their police van lit up an object ahead of them on the road. Sitting right on the highway was a disc-shaped object. The object was not anything they had seen before.

With the object lit up from their headlights, it appeared to be of a copper color, and was about 30 feet in diameter. After only a few seconds, the UFO began to rise above the road, and quickly sped away, throwing flames from double tubes of some type on the bottom. The two men must have been in awe, wondering from where the strange, unknown object had come from, and where it was going. Later as the men reported their unusual encounter, Constable Lockem stated: "Its lift-off was quicker than anything I have ever seen." Flames from the asphalt road had shot up into the air about 3 feet, according to the witnesses. The heat was so intense that the fire lasted for a time, even after the object had zoomed away.

Further investigation indicated that parts of the road had caved in, as if from a heavy object resting on it. The gravel had been separated from the tar in an area severely burned about six feet in diameter, indicating the center underneath of the UFO. An official investigation into the incident was carried out by Lt. Col. J.B. Brits, District Commandant of Pretoria North.

In an interview for a local newspaper, Brits told reporters that the case of the UFO landing was considered "as being of a highly secret nature and an inquiry is being conducted in top circles." Samples of the damaged road material were taken by a scientific agency for analysis, but the results were never released to the public. Because of the location of the event, and its age, it is unlikely that more information will be forthcoming. The case remains unexplained.

SDI: Our guest for tonight has degrees from Harvard in government, law and divinity. He established the Christic Institute in Washington D.C., and has been legal counsel on many high profile cases... Cases such as Karen Silkwood for example -- Iran-Contra, the American Sanctuary Movement, the Pentagon papers, Three Mile Island and Watergate. He has gained access to many restricted government files. Danny has represented John Mack, chairman of the Harvard Department of Clinical Psychology, after Harvard tried to fire him after he published "Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens."
Mack tried to publish an article on his research in the New England Journal of Medicine, but the editorial board wouldn't even consider it, so he wrote the book. Daniel Sheehan, funded by Laurance Rockefeller, resolved the case against John Mack very quickly. Daniel Sheehan has said that many members of the human family are not properly prepared for open contact with extraterrestrials. In May he appeared with many UFO-related witnesses with the Disclosure Project at a Washington Press Conference. Joining us from his home in California is lawyer Daniel Sheehan... (A short segment ensued where Steven Bassett, held over from the hour before, says hello to Sheehan and thanks him for the work that he has done over the last year to advance the Disclosure process.) [The interview began with a short clip of Sheehan recounting his experience of seeing classified materials in the basement of a building of the Library of Congress in 1977.]

SDI: Dan Sheehan. You have been a busy man since you were last on this program which was back in October, many months ago.

DS: Yes I remember.

SDI: That was a clip that we played from your last appearance with us. Were the documents that they showed you . . . were they identified in any way? Were there classification marks on them?

DS: No, no. As I had mentioned they were in a set of boxes, which were sort of like shoe box-sized boxes, kind of off-khaki green color. There were many, many of them in this room. What I did is I just started going through one at a time. I was looking at the photographs. The photographs didn't have any classification markings on them. They were in these little metal containers, almost like little film canisters. They didn't have any classification stamps or documents on them. All I know is this is where I was told to go by Marcia Smith. When I got there they knew that I was coming. They checked my identification, and cleared me into the room. They didn't ask for any special verification, whether I had special classified status or anything. So I just went in and took advantage of the opportunity.

SDI: Daniel take us back to how this all started. You're obviously out for the truth, the facts. You are, because of who you are, in a position to gain some access, gain some information, credibility, to allow this information and these hidden documents to come forward. Tell us how this all started for those of us who are really not familiar, so we can discuss it and take it from there.

DS: Well it started with - interestingly enough - I have mentioned it before, that I was actually having dinner with Rosemary Chalk who was the Secretary of the National Academy of Science in Washington D.C. I happened to know her. I was General Counsel at the Jesuit National Headquarters, Office of National Social ministry. We went to church together, and I had talked to her at church, with a number of other people. She invited me to dinner at her home, in Washington D.C. I was there. This was in late 1976, sometime and I was having dinner with her - I've explained this all a dozen times now. She was telling me that based on the cases I had worked on up to that time that she assumed that I must have been just a born lawyer - that I'd always wanted to be a lawyer my whole life - that I must have been thinking of this since I was a kid. I told her actually no. I was actually wanting to be an astronaut, and that I was an applicant to the United States Academy in 1963 when I was a senior in high school. I had actually been one of the finalists in New York State to be appointed to the Air Force Academy, so I could go there and join the astronaut program. It's a long story, but Senator Jacob Javits ended up giving the appointment to someone else. He told me to go get the appointment from my Congressman. My Congressman, Carlton King, had given the appointment to the son of the mayor of Glen's Falls, the biggest city in my county. So I was sort of flabbergasted by all this, and offended at it, so I decided, because I was not going to get into the Air Force Academy, I should become a lawyer, thinking that I would just have to do a little fine tuning to keep things like this unfair act from happening again or taking place in the future.
Turned out that it was a much longer duty than I thought it was going to be. Ended up spending the next thirty years of my life full time involved in social justice litigations. So I explained this to her, and she was kind of flabbergasted that I really wanted to be an astronaut. She asked me why I wanted to be an astronaut, and I said that I thought that the most one exciting single event that was going on in our lifetime was the reaching out into outer space, with the potential contact with extraterrestrial civilizations. She was very surprised by this, and she said "Gees, there's a person who I should introduce you to. She's a friend of mine." She said, "Her name is Marcia Smith, and she is the director of the Science and Technology Division of the Library of Congress' Congressional Research Service. She's been working on a number of projects, and doing research on UFO stuff and extraterrestrial intelligence." So it was Rosemary Chalk who introduced me to Marcia. Sometime, there after, I met Marcia. Marcia told me that she had been asked by the Science and Technology Committee of the Library of Congress to undertake an evaluation of two separate issues. One was the potential existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. The second was the evaluation of the data on these phenomena of UFOs. I was pleasantly surprised to find that in her official capacity as director of the Official Congressional Research Service, that she had been asked by the United States Congress to do this investigation. This went on for some period of time. I made inquiries about how this thing got started. Who was it that wanted to have this thing done? It turned out that President Carter, then in 1977, when he had actually come into office . . . it turned out that President Carter had had a sighting when he was still governor of Georgia. He and a number of other people had seen a UFO and he had written an official report and asked that it be investigated. So it turned out that when he came to the Presidency, he had actually asked to have the information regarding the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence and the UFO phenomena sent to him. This procedure of asking the United States Congress - The Science and Technology Committee of the House of Representatives to have the Science and Technology Division of the Library of Congress Congressional Research Service gather all this information together, and make a determination about what information was going to be released to the public, and how much was going to be made available to Congress could be made in that context. So it was in that context that I was talking to Marcia Smith, and Marcia asked me whether as General Counsel to the United States Jesuit Headquarters, there at their National Office in Washington D.C., whether or not I could get access to the section of the Vatican library in Rome that would contain this information - any information that the church had on extraterrestrial intelligence and the UFO phenomenon. I was very pleased to try to do that. So I asked Father Bill Davis, who was the Director of the National Office at that time (1977) if I could follow that process of trying to get that information from the Vatican. He gave me his official approval, so I undertook that process, but much to my surprise in fact, and much to the surprise of Father Davis I might add, we were refused access to that particular portion of the Vatican Library. So I sent back a second letter to the Jesuit who was the head of the Vatican library, and explained to him that this was an official request that had come from the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress - that it had come from the Congress of the United States, and that the President himself had wanted to get this information. So I thought that would get us the information, but I received a second response from the Vatican Library saying no - the Jesuit National Headquarters would not be provided with this information. So I had to regretfully report that back to Marcia Smith letting her know that I was not able to get it. So I hadn't heard from Marcia in a while, and she called me and told me that the United States Congress had cut, in half I believe, the funding for the SETI program, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence project at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, and wanted to know if I, in my capacity as the General Counsel for the Jesuit Headquarters Office of Social Ministry that dealt with public policy, she asked if I would be willing to join a group of former astronauts, and some other people to go and meet with a number of key congressmen to lobby them - to ask them to reinstate these funds for SETI. I was more than happy to do that.
Again I got permission from Father Bill Davis, and he consented to this, so I participated with them. Shortly after the full funding was reinstated for the SETI project I was then asked. Marcia called me from the Library of Congress, telling me that the scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in the SETI program, wanted to have me give them a seminar out at JPL talking about the potential theological religious implications of potential contact with extraterrestrial civilizations. I was delighted to do that, so I said to Marcia "Look if I am going to be doing this, which I am totally delighted to do, I would like to be able to get access to some of the data that you might have available in the course of your doing this investigation for the Science and Technology Committee in Congress. So she said, "Well what would you like to see?" It didn't take me a second to tell her what I wanted. I would like to see the classified sections of the Project Blue Book. Well, she said that she didn't know whether the Air Force and the Department of Defense would agree to release these to the Library of Congress, but she would try. So she contacted them and shortly thereafter she called me and she said, much to her surprise, "They have agreed to do this." So she gave me a particular date and time and told me that I should go over to the new building at the Library of Congress, which was on the other side of Independence Avenue. I had mentioned before, when asked about this, this building had not even been opened yet. There were no people in it. I went over there, I believe it was on a Saturday morning and brought my identification. I went to the door, and there was an Executive Protective Service officer at the front door of the library. I showed him my identification. He was a little puzzled because there was nobody in the building; no offices had been opened yet. I showed him my identification, and he made a call. A little bit to his surprise he said, "Yes, you are expected." So I went in, and he told me what room I was expected to go to. I went down the hall, and went downstairs into the basement looking for this room. I found this place, and there was a room and these two security officers there at the door, and there was actually a third, plainclothed, sitting at a desk to the right of them. As I came in there I showed them all my identification, and they checked some documentation that they had, and said "Yes. I was supposed to be here." As I started to go in, the man sitting at the desk told me I had to leave my briefcase there. I wouldn't be allowed to take any notes. It turned out I had a yellow pad under my arm, so I set the briefcase down, gave it to him, and I went into the room. I was in there for some time.
There were a bunch of documents there. There was actually a film machine. It was like a little reel-to-reel-kind of a film machine there. I don't know if it was 35mm, or whatever those things were -- so there was actually some little films there. I looked at some of the films and they were like the classic films that you have seen, sort of far distant shots of strange moving vehicles. So I decided I wasn't making much headway on this, so I began to look into these little boxes, that had these canisters there. There was one of these overhead filmstrip machines that was sitting in the room. I began to take these little canisters out, and open them up, and put the filmstrips in and look through these things. I don't know how many I had gone through. I had gone through several, or at least a few of these boxes, when I hit upon this one canister that had film and pictures. I started going through, turning the little crank and there it was.
Again I have told people about this a number of times. There were these photographs of unmistakable -- of a UFO sitting on the ground. It had crashed, apparently. It had hit into this field and had dug up, kind of plowed this kind of trough through this field. It was wedged into the side of this bank. There was snow all around the picture. The vehicle was wedged into the side of this mud-like embankment -- kind of up at an angle. There were Air Force personnel. As I cranked the little handle, and looked at additional photos, these Air Force people were taking pictures. In the photograph they were taking photographs of this vehicle. One of the photos actually had the Air Force personnel with this big long tape measure measuring this thing. You could see that they had these parkas on, with little fur around their hoods. You could see that they had the little name tags on their jacket. They were clearly U.S. Air Force personnel. I was kind-of in this strange state saying: "Here it is!" So I turned the crank for more pictures, and I could see on the side of this craft these, like, little insignias - little symbols. So I turned ahead a couple of pictures to see if there was a closer picture. Sure enough, there was. One of the photos had kind of a close-up picture of these symbols. So what I did is -- I was getting nervous -- I looked around, and the guys weren't watching or anything. They were outside of the room, so I took the yellow pad, and I flipped it open to the little grey cardboard backing and I flipped it under the screen. I shrank the size of the picture to the exact same size as the back of the yellow pad, and traced the actual symbols out in detail, verbatim of what was there. Then I said, like, I'm going to leave. That's it. I've got this, and I don't want to push my luck on this thing... (Commercial break)

SDI: Danny, a long row you have been hoeing there. You said that over in '76 when you were at a friend's place for dinner, culminating in this recent sit-down, in a yet-to-be occupied basement of a building in Washington, to be privy to some very interesting, if not incredible, documentation and pictures -- what have you. Now, we are going to ask you some questions and move on from there in terms of what you saw, and what can be accomplished by this revelation. You were still finishing the story when we broke for the news.

DS: It's just that once I had copied these out -- I have thought about this a lot of times since that time because it was a little peculiar since I was there -- I was authorized to be there. I had been cleared into the place, even though they told me I couldn't take any notes or anything. Once I had actually seen these pictures, and actually chosen to copy down and trace these symbols from this craft, I just decided that I should get out of there. So I got up, closed the little pad, and I put the film back in the canister. I put all the boxes back where they were, and put the yellow pad under my arm, and just walked out. As I came through the door, I went over to get my briefcase up, and the man at the little desk that was sitting there pointed to the yellow pad under my arm, and he said, "What's that that you've got there?" I said,"That's the yellow pad that I had with me." He said, "Let me see that." He reached out and I handed it to him. He flipped through the yellow pages, and never looked at the back, never looked at the inside cardboard backing, and handed it back to me.

So, I just put it under my arm, got my briefcase and walked out of there. I went right back to Jesuit National Headquarters, and told Father Bill Davis about this, and asked to convene a meeting of the 54 heads of the national Religious Organizations through the Washington Inter-religious Staff Council to ask for a special retreat for the churches to discuss potential issues that the Democratic and Republican parties had not yet taken positions on. It was a general session, and I raised the issue with them to see if they would agree to start looking into and authorize a major official investigation of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence and the potential secreting of information by the Executive Branch of the United States Government of the existence of this phenomena. They basically didn't want to do it, and so I was kind of kicking myself.
So, then I went and gave the presentation to the SETI people at JPL -- big three-hour seminar discussing the potential theological implications of contact with extraterrestrial civilizations. I know that the reports came out -- that Marcia Smith in the Library of Congress prepared two separate reports. One was specifically restricted to the issue of extraterrestrial intelligence, and the other one was on the phenomena of the UFOs. So I actually saw copies of these that Marcia showed me that she had completed, and that was that.

SD; There is obviously a desire from inside to get this information out, to get some real concrete action here -- some headway made, otherwise you wouldn't have been sitting there in that basement.

DS: It would seem that something had happened, and that's why I was surprised a little bit with President Carter in the presidency, having reportedly seen one of these, this report having been prepared, submitted to the Science and Technology Committee of the Library of Congress, that something didn't happen. Of course, you will recall that it was a peculiar type of presidency with President Carter. He was very much under siege by extreme conservative forces that were actually inside his National Security Council. Donald P. Greg, for example, was in his NSC. He apparently was regularly reporting secret meetings that they were having all the way to Bill Casey, who was the head of the Republican campaign to try and oust Carter from the Presidency to the point, as you know, of intervening in the efforts that President Carter was making to negotiate for the release of the American hostages from Iran. So it was a terribly disruptive period of time. Gary Sick, who was in the NSC for President Carter at the time, has written a book called "The October Surprise." It actually delineates his conclusions, as an official member of the NSC, that the efforts of the entire Carter administration were being sabotaged by extreme conservative elements that were still in the government that wanted him out of there. It was very difficult apparently for President Carter during that period of time. The only estimate that I can have, is that any idea that he ever had of releasing information about this ended up getting swamped through the gas shortages, the difficulties he had with the hostages, and a whole series of other national security problems. just kept him from doing this.

SDI: If we can go back to the room in the basement. You said on your way in, there were a couple of security people there. Were they military security? Were they Wackenhut? What were they?

DS: I didn't ask them for their credentials! As I recall they were civilians. They guy that was at the chair and the desk. He was in civilian clothes. The other two guys . . . they had extreme military bearing, but they were in private clothes -- in suits and ties, but I got the impression that they were military. The other fellow gave off the vibes of a civilian.

SD; The other question of course is what became of the yellow pad with the cardboard backing?

DS: Oh, I still have that. SDI: You do?

DS: Oh yes.

SDI: Has anyone analyzed that? Have you had anyone take a look at that?

DS: Well actually, no. I've got it in all my Jesuit Headquarters files. I have them all in file drawers that are in the basement of the garage.

SDI: What would be the chances of doing a scan of or reproduction of...

DS: Well, I'm obviously going to have to do that one of these days. You know when I got asked to give a presentation to MUFON, I figured it was just important to tell people about this. I guess I should have realized the potential importance of the data. There should come a time when I should dig these documents out, and make them available, which I am going to have to do.

SDI: Actually, it's extremely interesting because there are people who contribute to this program who claim they have seen what they believe are alien symbols, and there have been reports of other symbols that have been seen on objects in the sky, and it would be interesting to compare what they've seen and what you managed to bring out of that room with you.

DS: Yes. It's true. You see I had expected frankly that by this time that I would have been asked by our community -- the UFO community -- would have been interested in having a major professional investigation undertaken. So, I always said to myself, when that time comes, then I know it would be politically time to bring this forth and to integrate this into a major professional investigation. Much to my surprise, it still hasn't happened.

SDI: So in the world that is UFO investigation you have been waiting for the proper vehicle to come forward, but perhaps, shall we say, a little frustrated with the mechanics of the UFO world out there -- it's treatment of what you have done, and how this is all going to play itself out in a factual or respectable manner?

DS: Well, it's a difficult issue. As you know I think that there are real efforts under way now by members of the post-war generation, now that we are past the cold war. Even though it was 10 years ago, it seems like it happened just yesterday, that we are in this new era. It seems to me that we now have an opportunity in this particular area of public policy, to become much more sophisticated in this public policy arena to come together, very importantly, I've raised this twice now in presentations that I've made. This extraordinary inclination that seems to be present in this particular community of attacking, and setting upon each other, over various minutia of their various reports. I think that what I want to do is participate in gathering people together, to come together to discuss these things in an intelligent way, to combine our forces and our resources to really focus on a concentrated professional investigation. This is what our Christic Institute set about doing in the area of nuclear power, with the Karen Silkwood case, in the areas dealing with the clan and the Nazis, in the case we did in Greensboro, in regards to the Contra military funding, in South America, in the Iran-Contra case. It is something that when a public policy really comes to maturity, they eventually come to realize that there needs to be this kind of coalition force in disciplined attention, verifying in detail, through a professional investigation, the data that we need to move forward. I'm (unintelligible) the conference that we are going to be having down in Irvine here on the 20th and 21th and 22nd of July for MUFON may well play a major role in bringing people together to focus our resources on such an investigation.

SDI: Ya, that would be good if that would happen. The two reports that you say Marcia Smith had produced and done for Jimmy Carter. You said you saw one, or you said you had seen both?

DS: I saw both of them.

SDI: Were they yet classified?

DS: I don't know. People have asked me that. There wasn't any classified designation on them when I saw them, or when Marcia showed them to me.

SDI: What would you say the odds were for an eager beaver researcher to be able to get their hands on either one of those reports via the Freedom of Information Act there in the states?

DS: I don't know. It would depend upon whether or not they were classified. If they were classified, that's one of the twenty-two grounds on the basis of which the freedom of Information Act will not give you material.

SDI: But I can't see them not being classified, in view of the content, and what you said you saw.

DS: Well, it's not clear. Again, I just don't know. We couldn't tell what it is that was going on at that time. That was right at the time when we were filing the Karen Silkwood case. I had just filed the Karen Silkwood case in November of 1976, and was in the midst of all kinds of preliminary hearings and depositions and such. While I was extremely interested in this, I couldn't tell what was really happening. I was waiting for the President to say something -- to do something, but he got kind of swept up in all those other affairs I mentioned earlier.

SDI: In that room back in Washington, obviously there were other things that you saw. This one particular picture of a plowed furrow in a field, and an object stuck in an embankment, and hieroglyphics. Beyond that, anything else that you took out of that room that was significant in terms of its impact on you?

DS: No, no. I realized that there was probably going to be a limited amount of time that I was going to get to be there, so I first started looking through some of the reels that had documentation on them. I started to say to myself, "Look, if I start trying to look through these documents, I'm going to run out of time." So I was trying to find some key photographs. So that's why I went looking into the canisters looking for a canister that had photographs in it. That's how I happened to come to that particular canister.

SDI: Danny, explain this for me if you would. Amuse me I guess. I am a layman, not a lawyer. Lawyers think differently, and are used to long periods of waiting. If I had come across something like that in a basement in Washington, and done my little sketch, I'd be talking to everyone and anybody about what I had seen. Now explain it away to me, that I'm just a lawyer, I think differently, and things take a long time.
Why would you have just not gone public with that?

DS: Well that is interesting. That's a perfectly logical question. At the time when I was in Washington D.C. the thing that I realized, being the general counsel for the Jesuit Headquarters, is that you actually bring information to the proper authority and try to make the legal system work the way it is supposed to work. It took quite some time for me to realize that really it was necessary to go out to the people, and have the people mobilize, rise up against the major institution, and try to force them to do what they were doing. I had come into Washington in 1975, and I was still operating in 1976 and 1977 very much under the idea that we can get these legal institutions to work. Since we had the new President, and I understood that the President knew about this stuff, that he had actually seen one, and that he was going to get copies of this report, that I was anticipating that it was going to start to work. When I was working on the Karen Silkwood case, I was out in Oklahoma most of the time doing depositions regularly, running professional investigators in the field -- into a major confrontation with the Central Intelligence Agency over the potential smuggling of plutonium out of these facilities -- I got kind of swept up in all of that stuff, and I was really very much buried in much of that stuff for the next couple of years. I was surprised frankly, that nothing came out of the White House and the Executive Branch. Basically the time sort of passed for that sort of key piece of information to come out. I was waiting for some stuff to happen. I talked to people about it -- informally when I would see them. That's one of the reasons when people contacted me to talk to John Mack about representing him, I immediately agreed to do that. SDI: Daniel, you obviously carry with you a great deal of credibility -- the cases you have been involved with, the whole Silkwood thing, incredible. Hollywood movies and so forth have come from what you have worked on. Given who you have talked to, what you have been privy to in the way of statements from individuals, documents, pictures, the information that came to you as a result of people trusting your credibility, what do you believe?

DS: (pause) Interesting. Actually, I believe that we are going to have a major private professional investigation sponsored by the UFO community that I am going to get to play a fairly major part in -- I hope. Therefore, I need to remain open to what exactly is going on. I did make a presentation to the International UFO Congress at Laughlin [March 2000] setting forth what I thought were seven or eight different potential explanations for the various phenomena that are going on, and rather than saying that I came to the conclusion that any one of them was true, to the exclusion of others, I believed that some percentage of incidents that have been reported are probably attributable to different phenomena. I laid that out for them at the Congress, as a preliminary view of what were the areas that I thought really needed to be investigated -- what potentials really needed to be looked at with potential explanations for various aspects of this phenomena. Now that having been said, in general, what I believe, I believe that a substantial portion of the very up-close sightings, where you get to see a vehicle that's absolutely clear, that it isn't just a mistaken light of some sort. I think that a substantial plurality of these are in fact vehicles from an extraterrestrial civilization, and I believe that they probably have a means of transporting themselves, which in fact exceeds the speed of light, and for that reason they would appear to be almost other-dimensional. Because when they come out of that mode of transport they appear to sort of materialize and dematerialize from that realm. So what some people think makes these beings extra-dimensional beings, my opinion is that some of them are in fact extraterrestrial. The report that Marcia showed me on extraterrestrial phenomena actually stated that it was the conclusion of the Library of Congress, Science and Technology Division, that from two to six, at least, other highly-intelligent, technologically-developed civilizations exist right within our own galaxy. Now they based this upon the Drake's equation, in working out various probabilities. They are increasing every day now that we discover that other star systems outside of our own star system -- where planets exist. We have discovered evidence of water in other solar systems now.
I think that it's clear that these civilizations exist, and the only question is a fact question: Whether or not they have been capable of developing a mode of transportation that exceeds the speed of light. I believe that they have.

SDI: That is fascinating information that we have here on our desk this evening for this radio program. The House Space Science committee, information coming and statements being made among the advances and discoveries -- at least fifty planets have been found in orbit around distant sun-like stars in the last five years -- and researchers now believe those systems may be common throughout the system. Finding planets was considered an essential step to finding life of course, and that is being done.

DS: I was with my two sons, the night before last, and I said, "It's just amazing. You can tell your great-grandchildren that you were alive right at the time when they discovered other planets outside of our solar system. Now that's just an extraordinary step for human beings to take. My son said to me, "Well, that will probably be dwarfed by the fact that we will probably establish contact with a whole extraterrestrial civilization." I said, "Ya, you're probably right. That's probably true." The big discoveries we are making here each . . . (Part of line missing) SDI: Can you stay for ten to fifteen minutes after the news?

DS: Ya. My wife has agreed to stand by to wait to go out to dinner tonight. So I have agreed to do that.

SDI: We'll just keep you for another ten or fifteen minutes. Good stuff. Dan how did you get hooked-up with the Disclosure Project?

DS: Well, I just got called by Steven Greer, and he asked if I would participate in it and I have been trying over the last year or so to make myself available to each of the major groups that have been involved in the UFO issue, such as the International UFO Congress, MUFON, Steven Greer's group, Dr. John Mack, and others on a kind of an equal basis, so that I can demonstrate I am open to talking to people from all points of view, and actually establish a level of confidence in our relationships together.

We can try and draw the people together, and share information, and work together in a common investigation.

SDI: Daniel, perhaps this is the development that we have been waiting for without many of us realizing that that is it. We have been hoping for some critical mass to occur, so that this can become publicly legitimate and properly researched and uncovered as it were. I think to date it has been the hopes of many that there would be enough sightings, that there would be video footage, that there would be enough multiple personal experiences, that someone would have to admit to this. The kind of critical mass that seems to be coming to the fore now is the critical mass that well-noted, well-respected, learned individuals who are now saying, "I am stepping into this arena." People such as yourself. That kind of critical mass is very, very exciting to hear -- someone such as you say what you said before we broke for news: "I believe this is real." That is incredibly exciting.

DS: I think that also the ability of people in our generation, our post-war generation, to actually conduct ourselves in a responsible and civil manner towards each other, even though different people have different points of view. To avoid being scurrilous and antagonistic towards each other is also part of the coming-of-age that really entitles a movement of this sort to receive the type of respect that is going to be necessary in order to get people in high positions of responsibility, both civilian and military, to come forward and to be willing to participate. I have heard many people say, "I don't want to go near that, because they are going to chew you up and kill you." They are not talking about any secret government official. are talking about the people in the movement itself. I am hoping that this can in fact be a very important crossing that we make together, and avoid picking on each other's points of view, and try to share different perspectives, to that we can come to a collective of what is really going on here.

SDI: You are very diplomatic but the bottom line is that the UFO community as a whole has a nasty habit of eating it's young and stabbing each other in the back.

DS: Well I just think that what we have to do is that we come to participate. We have to be aware of the fact that this is a risk that we all take when we come into this area, but if we are able to smile and kind of pass aside those kinds of shots taken, and be civil and be respectful of everyone, and try and get people to come together at a common event such as this big MUFON gathering on July 19, 20, 21, and 22nd down in Irvine. If people will come to those things, and say, look, we are all here and we've got five, six, or eight of the top major participants in these investigations. Why don't we try an form some kind of common coalition here, without anyone being the chief of the thing? Why don't we try and work together? I think that this type of collegial decision making, where we take responsibility for ourselves -- not be dependant upon some military authority, government official, or even the President of the United States to come forward and spoon feed us this information, is the type of responsibility that may well be what is essential for us to demonstrate the type of worthiness that is necessary in order to be prepared for this information.

SDI: Excellent point. So in summation, for your moments here with us this evening, what next? Other than the Irvine symposium.

DS: Well, I hope that what we will do is come to an insight, that we pool our resources together and actually sponsor -- I pointed out before when I was on the Art Bell show -- a tribunal which we can actually bring forth and marshal our evidence. Put it forward in a way that is admissible, with present rules of federal civil procedure, that we act responsibly in this way, that we try to do this in a way that will encourage people who have opposing points of view, to those that are held by the UFO community in general, to come forward to try and represent the other side in a responsible and respectful way, and that we can subject the various witnesses to cross-examination and to testing of their evidence. We can then bring on federal judges who will sit in judgment of this. We can empanel a real jury, who can participate in listening to this information, that it can be broadcast over radio and television, or web cast over the Internet so that people can witness this type of major event, so that we can bring the information forward in the most responsible and careful way that we can, and then watch the jury deliberate. We can actually have cameras, live cameras in the room to see regular citizens deliberating on the respectability of the respective witnesses, the different pieces of evidence, and see what kind of conclusion that we can come to here.

SDI: Yes, if we are still not being told, or the information is not forthcoming then what do we accomplish with all that? Those that hold the details, hold the evidence, military, government, whatever, even despite that sort of arena.

DS: Well we have experience that in the past, as you know, the government withheld the information about the dangers of nuclear power, it withheld the information about Watergate, it withheld the information about Iran-Contra. You know the entire Iran-Contra hearings were brought -- the government official hearings -- about only because we as citizens mobilized and prepared this information and brought it forward in a completely comprehensive way. They were finding themselves getting behind the power curve, so they had to respond. You know Ed Meese, the Attorney General, under Ronald Reagan. The only reason he ever asked for the appointment of a special prosecutor was because it was getting out of control. I think that is what we really need to do, kind of a citizens initiative utilizing the standard rules of federal civil procedures in a kind of sophistication that we have learned as a collective community to utilize. That is the exact type of procedure that we need to undertake. If the government chooses to try to respond to it in some way, then that is fine. We will provide a forum for them, to come forward and participate in such a process. It is very much like Harvard Law School when I began at Harvard in 1967. We as a studentry organized the Joint Student Faculty Committee at Harvard Law School. There was no faculty on it, because they wouldn't gain to participate in it, in the kind of sharing of authority to make decisions. Yet, after two full years of holding meetings, the faculty at Harvard found it absolutely essential that they come forward and participate, because they were losing their authority and power. So I think we need to have sort of a citizens diplomacy program coming forward, where we take responsibility for these decisions ourselves. You know, the fact of the matter is, there are images where five hundred or six hundred Jewish people would sit there with two German soldiers holding guns on them, and leading them into a German prison camp. If people would only rise up, and take control of their own lives we cannot be coerced like this. What I think we need to do is mobilize people; utilize the training that our two-post war generations are the most widely educated educations in the history of our human family. We don't have to sit back and wait for someone like the king, or the pope, or someone like this to tell us this information.
We can get this information ourselves, if we are willing to take the responsibility ourselves.

SDI: The time to move forward and take advantage of the inevitable critical mass situation.

DS: Right. Absolutely.

President Jimmy Carter was the first President of the United States of America to have officially reported the UFO he saw to the authorities. He was also the President who said that if elected he would see that UFO-Alien Full Disclosure would take place. That the American public would be told the truth about everything was one of the campaign cries of Jimmy Carter. Carter made a promise he could not or would not be able to keep.

After Carter won the White House, he paid a visit to the then-CIA Director, George Bush. Carter had an interest in UFOs ever since experiencing his first sighting sometime in 1969 while standing outside a Lion's Club in Georgia. His campaign speeches promising to unravel the government's long held cover-up was the "Parting of the Red Sea" for Ufologists not only in America but around the world. Here was the one guy who would open up the "Promised Land" and lead them into Full Disclosure.

Carter wanted the U.S. Government's UFO secret documents declassified. George Bush more or less told Carter that the President of the United States did not have the need to know the information contained in those documents. Can you even begin to imagine that? What lends even more mind-blowing credibility to this alleged event between Carter and Bush is the credibility of the allegation maker: Daniel Sheehan.

Daniel Sheehan was born in1946 and graduated from Harvard Law School. There, he was co-founder of the Harvard Civil Rights and Civil Liberty Law Review.
He went on to work for the American Civil Liberties Union and became general counsel for a host of entities including The Disclosure Project-a group dedicated to getting the U.S. Government to allow full and unfettered access to what the Feds know about the UFO-Alien phenomenon.

According to Sheehan, Bush Senior, who was the CIA Director, refused Carter's request for disclosure of the UFO documents, even to the President of the United States, because it was generally believed in the halls and corridors of the secret, black-ops government that Carter would then turn the truth over to the American people.

Director of a California think tank, Sheehan's credentials are impeccable. Sheehan's career is a litany of high-profile cases like, "legal counsel team for the New York Times' Pentagon Papers case, defense of the Berrigan brothers, going after the Kerr-McGee nuclear plant (Karen Silkwood), Three-Mile Island, Iran-Contra. At the Disclosure Conference, Sheehan says the Bush-Carter story was relayed to him in 1977 by Marcia Smith of the Congressional Research Service, part of the Library of Congress."

Sheehan's interest in this phenomenon came about when Sheehan met Marcia Smith through a mutual acquaintance.

Smith told Sheehan that she was involved in a research project for the Science and Technology Committee of the Library of Congress that would address the issues of the potential existence of extraterrestrial intelligence and make an evaluation of the data on the phenomena of UFOs. When Sheehan queried Smith as to who exactly wanted this study done, her answer was none other than Jimmy Carter.

This all was with a view to investigate exactly what could or could not be turned over to the general public, according to Daniel Sheehan.

Smith asked Sheehan if he could, since he was the then-General Counsel to United States Jesuit Headquarters at their National Office in Washington D.C., get access to the records on the UFO-Alien issue contained in the Vatican. Though Sheehan made repeated attempts to gain access to the Vatican's documents through official channels, he was refused each time.

This makes one wonder just why, if all there is to this UFO-Alien issue is weather balloons, flocks of geese, and swamp gas, would the Vatican (or any government on the earth, for that matter) have top-secret, and highly unattainable records pertaining to a nonexistent issue?

After telling Marcia Smith of his roadblock with the Vatican Library, she asked if he could help with a team that was lobbying Congressional leader to reinstate funds for the SETI (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) program. Sheehan indicated to Smith that he was glad to help out. Smith also later asked him if he could help out with an investigation into "the potential theological religious implications of potential contact with extraterrestrial civilizations."

This again begs the question that if there's nothing at all to this phenomenon, then why this study?

Sheehan agreed to Smith's request but insisted he have access to the documents pertaining to this issue that she had garnered for an investigation she did for the Science and Technology Committee in Congress. When asked what exactly Sheehan wanted to see, he indicated he wanted access to "the classified sections of the Project Blue Book."

Astoundingly, Daniel was granted access.

He was not allowed to take notes, photos, or carry anything into the room containing the documents or out with him when he left the Library of Congress where the documents were stored. After proceeding through multiple layers of security, he was shown to the room with microfiche machines. Before entering, he was told he could not take his briefcase with him. Almost absent-mindedly, he had a yellow legal pad under his arm that wasn't confiscated before he entered the room. He proceeded through small canisters of film. It didn't take long to find proof.

He discovered photos of what appeared to be a disc-shaped craft. It had crashed.

"It had hit into this field and had dug up, kind of plowed this kind of trough through this field. It was wedged into the side of this bank. There was snow all around the picture. The vehicle was wedged into the side of this mud-like embankment -- kind of up at an angle."

The men taking photos were unmistakably, in Sheehan's mind, American Air Force personnel.

As Sheehan continued to review the film, he discovered a close-up of the craft that revealed symbols or glyphs written on the craft. He thought it was an insignia. He wanted to record what he saw, but remembered he was not allowed to take notes. He knew it was likely his legal pad would be discovered when he left the room and the guards would examine it to see if he had taken notes. However, since he wanted those insignias, he had to find a way to record them. He decided to arrange the cardboard backing of his legal pad in such a way against the microfiche screen so he could trace the symbols. he left the top-secret document room, he was searched. His pad was taken and flipped through for notes. Finding none, and not noticing the traced symbols on the cardboard backing of the yellow pad, it was returned to him by the guards and Sheehan left.

Sheehan not only revealed to Marcia Smith what he had found but he also revealed the information to his boss at the Jesuit National Headquarters. Meetings and conventions were convened on the issue. Reports were written. President Carter saw at least one of the reports made by Marcia Smith, which included information from Daniel Sheehan's discoveries.

Sheehan still has the yellow notepad with the symbols but says no analysis has been done on the symbols.

Oh, are you wondering about the reports Marcia Smith finished after Daniel Sheehan's discovery and what they said? Well, Sheehan read them and according to Sheehan:

"The one report that Marcia showed me on extraterrestrial phenomena actually stated that it was the conclusion of the Library of Congress, Science and Technology Division, that from two to six, at least, other highly-intelligent, technologically-developed civilizations exist right within our own galaxy." [sources]

"The second report," says Sheehan, "they had drawings of different shapes of UFOs that have been sighted," continued Sheehan. "They didn't site any particular cases, but they said that they believed there was a significant number of instances where the official United States Air Force investigations were unable to discount the possibility that one or more of these vehicles was actually from one of these extraterrestrial civilizations. They put this together, and sent it over to the President. I ended up seeing a copy of it."

The Carter Administration, though not bringing about Full Disclosure, had a very busy four years of UFO phenomena. I can't help but wonder if he had had another term in office, what could have come of all of this?

If you're sitting in front of a computer, it's easy to look up information on the Web. It's almost as easy if you have a sophisticated cellphone with a decent Web browser and you're in a place with a good Internet connection where it's possible to type.

But what if you only have a standard cellphone with a lousy Web browser -- or even the best Web-browsing phone, but it lacks a fast data connection? What if you're speeding down the road in a car, where typing is dangerous?
Walt Mossberg says ChaCha, a free mobile search service that answers queries over your cellphone via calls or texts, does "a pretty good job." The service performed well when asked about sports, nutrition and even shopping, he says.

Now, there's a way to get your questions answered despite those hurdles. It's a free cellphone service that lets you ask any question answerable via a Web search, using any cellphone, by simply making a voice call. It's called ChaCha, and I've been testing it out.

To use ChaCha, you just dial 800-2chacha (800-224-2242) and state your question. In a few minutes, you'll get an answer via text message.
In one test, I asked ChaCha who was the winning pitcher in the previous night's Red Sox victory against the Yankees. In a few minutes, I received a text message with the correct answer: Daisuke Matsuzaka.

ChaCha requires no registration and works on any cellphone carrier. It needs no special codes or key words. You just state your question as if you were asking a friend. If you prefer to type your question, you can text it to "ChaCha," or 242242. Though ChaCha itself charges no fees, your phone carrier may charge for the minutes you use, or for the text messages.

The service works by routing your questions to one of 10,000 hired "guides" -- students, stay-at-home parents, retirees and others -- who look up the questions on the Web and reply. They get paid 20 cents per answer.

Naturally, these guides vary as to their speed and accuracy. If you don't like the answers they give you, or you want related information, you can call back or reply to the text message with a follow-up question.
For instance, after learning which pitcher had won for Boston, I asked who lost the game for New York. I was quickly informed it was Phil Hughes.

Overall, I liked ChaCha. In most cases, I received fast, accurate, useful answers. But it has two weaknesses. One is that the low-paid, part-time guides can provide inconsistent service. When I asked for the best Mexican restaurant in D.C., for example, ChaCha came up with a choice that few locals would cite.

The other is that, unlike many other cellphone information services, ChaCha doesn't automatically know your location. So, unless you include a location in your query, it's clueless about questions such as "Where's the nearest drugstore?"

ChaCha is hardly the only information service for cellphones. Google offers a text-message service where you can ask questions on a wide variety of topics, and a voice-based service that locates businesses near your location. Microsoft's TellMe subsidiary just introduced a voice-based service that answers location-specific questions about businesses, weather, traffic and movies, and displays the answers on the screens of BlackBerrys.

But these competitors are more limited than ChaCha in key respects. Google's broader mobile-search service, Google SMS, requires that questions be sent via text message using special key words. Its voice service, Goog411, finds only local businesses. TellMe's new service is limited to location-based information and works only on certain phones.

I tested ChaCha using three very different phones: a cheap, bare-bones Samsung flip phone from Sprint; a midrange Motorola Razr from Verizon; and an Apple iPhone running on AT&T. I asked questions via voice and text from various locations, including my car, where I used a hands-free microphone.

I asked about sports, TV shows, journalism, history, weather, nutrition, demographics and shopping. ChaCha handled most of these inquiries correctly and was able to fix most of its errors after I asked follow-up questions. For each question, it sends two text messages: one restating your query and saying it's working on it, and the second containing the answer.

Each ChaCha answer is accompanied by a Web link. If your phone has a decent browser, you can go to that link to learn who the guide was, and what his or her Web-site source was.

ChaCha gave me the weekend weather forecast in Boston, the date of death of Abigail Adams and the cast of the TV show "Brothers & Sisters." It provided Peyton Manning's salary and the sodium content of a McDonald's quarter pounder.
Its most impressive performance came when it correctly answered an obscure historical question: "When was the Gaspee burned?" The Gaspee was a British tax-collection ship burned in Rhode Island in 1772 in what is often considered the first act of war of the American Revolution.

Afar, Ethiopia
The Afar region, a low-lying spot in northern Ethiopia, is home to two important anthropological discoveries: the famous hominid fossil Lucy and the world’s oldest stone tools. But it has several other distinctive features. Located near the meeting point of three tectonic plates (the African, Arabian, and Indian plates), the area is seismically active, with near-continuous earthquakes that can split the earth’s crust, opening long rifts. According to recent reports, a large fissure has appeared in Afar that will eventually separate the Horn of Africa from the rest of the continent. There are also volcanoes. Rising from below sea level, Erta Ale, the most active volcano in Ethiopia, erupted several times in 2005, reportedly displacing about 50,000 nomads. The Afar depression happens to be one of the hottest inhabited places on earth, especially from May to August, when temperatures can reach a dangerous 113 degrees F.

1 Drink up: It takes three months for a recycled aluminum can to make its way back onto the shelf in reincarnated form.

2 Or build a bridge: In 2002 researchers from Rutgers University built a 42-foot-long bridge over a river using plastic beams made from polystyrene cups and polyethylene milk jugs.

3 Or construct a boat: During World War I, enough metal was salvaged from corset stays to build two warships.

4 On April 27 the boat Earthrace will begin an attempt to break the maritime around-the-world speed record. It will use biofuel, some of which comes from liposuctioned human fat.

5 No fat here: During Britain’s 2007 Recycle Now week, svelte models strutted down Brighton beach wearing swimsuits made from steel cans.

6 These boots were made for flooring: Nike gathers old athletic shoes and turns them into raw material for “sports surfaces” like tennis courts and running tracks.

7 Meanwhile, in China, more than 1 million unsold copies of British singer-songwriter Robbie Williams’s latest CD will be used to resurface roads.

8 Last year Chinese hair salons caused a stir by unlawfully recycling used condoms, possibly donated by local nightclubs, into hair ties.

9 Elsewhere in Asia, an enterprising dental technician established the Japan Denture Recycle Association in 2006 to cash in on the precious metals in discarded choppers.
Proceeds go to Unicef.

10 Each year Americans junk more than 80 million dollars’ worth of copper, gold, silver, palladium, and platinum in the form of retired cell phones.

11 Cell phones, laptops, and, um, personal massage devices: New British laws mandate that old electronic appliances—including sex toys—cannot be dumped. They must be recycled with other so-called e-waste.

12 E-waste is for the birds: An Australian nut orchard converts the shells of vintage Macintosh computers into houses for pest-eating birds.

13 Humans need houses too: When Luiz Bispo built his house in a Rio de Janeiro slum out of construction waste last year, city authorities threatened to destroy it. Now the house—which floats atop a junk-filled river on a base of plastic bottles—is being touted as an icon of sustainable development.

14 Cities have long been gold mines for recyclers: Beginning in ancient times, tanners collected human urine to use in turning animal skins into leather.

15 In the Middle Ages, urine was also used to make saltpeter, an essential component of gunpowder.

16 Cities get recycled too: Masonry from Roman settlements made a handy source of stone for medieval church builders.

17 But enough is enough: In 1821 Turkish soldiers surrounded Greek forces holed up in the Parthenon and started stripping lead from temple columns to make bullets. The horrified Greeks promptly sent the enemy a fresh supply of ammunition to discourage further recycling.

18 Using every part: There are now sheep-poo air fresheners. Sterilized sheep droppings are turned into packets stuffed with grass- or daffodil-scented material.

19 Green to the end: The Doggone Project in Mannheim, Germany, can recycle deceased pets into fertilizer.

20 You, too: Ecopods, a British company, sells stylish coffins made from hardened recycled paper, available in a range of colors including indigo and silver leaf.

Years ago, I profiled a theater designer who had just created 200 sumptuous costumes from garbage bags. Green, rose, black, white, sky blue, and see-through—the plastic was pliable and it pleated, flounced, puffed, fluffed, and glowed with reflected light. The title of that long-ago theater production was 33 Scenes on the Possibility of Human Happiness. From trash to the sublime, plastic was cheap, durable, endlessly protean, and astonishingly beautiful. Christo would agree.

How could that loveliness be linked to what seems its ugly opposite: the contortions and distortions that chemicals in plastic may have bequeathed us? The stunted testicles in fish and alligators; girls blooming breasts and pubic hair at an eerily young age; the steadily rising numbers of human males born with abnormal urethras; climbing rates of testicular and breast cancer; declining sperm counts. Not to mention the death of wildlife, particularly seabirds that mistakenly feast on discarded plastic. Those garbage-bag ball gowns are now married in my mind with a photo of a Laysan albatross whose belly, slashed open by biologists, was jammed with 306 pieces of plastic flotsam—a surreal bird version of a junkyard.

The most pressing question about plas–tic, though, may be whether daily exposure alters the health and fertility of our children and perhaps even our children’s children. It turns out that the hormonelike chemicals in plastic may remodel our cells and tissue during key stages of development, both in the womb and in early childhood. When pregnant mice are exposed to chemicals in plastic, the mammary and prostate tissue of their developing embryos proliferates abnormally, and sensitivity to hormones is forever turned up.
Perhaps most disturbing is the significant increase in chromosomal abnormalities in the eggs forming in those embryos. Those are the eggs that will make the next generation. Thus, if the worst-case scenario proves true, early exposure to plastic can reshape not just our children but their children, too.

Present in everyday items like panty hose and perfume, computers and catheters, baby rattles and billiard balls, plastics are so ubiquitous we seldom give them a second thought. Yet they pose problems both familiar and unfamiliar. Some of the public health issues are as familiar as those posed by tobacco, lead, DDT, and asbestos—all hazards that were understood, monitored, and regulated only after decades of research and advocacy. Plastic presents new kinds of concerns because it requires a radically different paradigm of toxicity. Whereas lead exposure can be quantified by the drop in a child’s IQ and asbestos exposure can eventually be tallied by mesothelioma incidence, the typical standards of toxicology do not apply to the chemicals in plastic. If plastic harms, it does so by stealth: by mimicking our own hormones, by scrambling signals during development, by stimulating our own pathways excessively. And it may have that power at astonishingly low exposure levels, amounts that by typical toxicological measures look just fine. With plastic, less may be more, and a little may be a lot.

At the center of the Pacific Ocean in a windless, fishless oceanic desert twice the size of Texas, a swirling mass of plastic waste converges into a gyre containing an estimated six pounds of nonbiodegradable plastic for every pound of plankton. Called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it is an indelible mark of human domination of the planet. But plastic has also left its mark in us. Plastic’s chemical co-travelers make their way into our urine, saliva, semen, and breast milk. Two in particular stand out: bisphenol A (or BPA, used in polycarbonates and resins) and phthalates (used to make plastic soft and pliable). Both upset the way certain hormones function in the body, earning them the designation endocrine disrupters. They are both now the subject of fierce scientific and public scrutiny. Figuring out whether plastics are toxic to people at current levels of exposure is complex. To take one example: Do rodents metabolize BPA differently from humans, and are rodents therefore more sensitive to it? Are mouse studies reliable indicators of what is happening to humans?

If there is one point on which many scientists agree, it is the risk to the developing fetus and the young child. “At least a dozen studies have shown the effects of phthalates on human reproduction,” says University of Rochester epidemiologist and biostatistician Shanna Swan, the lead author of a much-cited study that showed higher exposure to some phthalates in mothers correlates with reduced “anogenital distance” in newborn boys. Biologists recognize a reduction in the length between the anus and the sex organ as an external marker of feminization, easily measured because it is typically twice as long in males as in females.

The evidence on phthalates is strong enough for the European Union to have banned them in children’s toys, and last October California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation, to take effect in 2009, setting stringent limits on the concentrations of phthalates in child-care products for children under age 3. The ban focuses on soft baby books, soft rattles, plastic bath ducks, and teething rings. Several other states are considering similar legislation.

BPA, in turn, is becoming this year’s poster child for all our doubts and fears about the safety of plastic. New research highlighting the possible dangers of BPA has received tremendous media coverage. In mice, at least, BPA exposure at crucial stages of development induces observable changes (such as breast or prostate abnormalities) that last a lifetime.
The research may be confusing to a layperson, yet some consensus has been reached: Last November a panel sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) determined that there was at least “some concern” about BPA’s effect on the fetal and infant brain. Around the same time, the Centers for Disease Control reported that researchers there had found BPA—the United States produces 6 billion pounds of it yearly—in 93 percent of urine samples from 2,500 Americans aged 6 to 85. Children under age 12 had the highest concentrations.

What is not known is whether infants and children under 6 are even more heavily exposed, since they have not yet been studied (for phthalates, Swan says, levels are definitely higher in children than in adults). This, at least, has been measured: Infants fed canned formula heated in a polycarbonate bottle—one source of BPA—can consume more than 20 micrograms of the chemical a day. Animal studies show effects of BPA at much lower concentrations.

To shift public understanding on this issue is staggeringly difficult, especially given that exposure to plastic is not a matter of individual lifestyle. Unlike tobacco and lead paint, plastics are so useful we can hardly manage a day without them. Biologist Frederick vom Saal of the University of Missouri likens the issue to another colossal environmental threat. “This is the global warming of biology and human health,” he says.

Last summer, a panel of 38 researchers headed by vom Saal published a report in Reproductive Toxicology warning that BPA (much like the synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol, or DES) is a potential chemical time bomb that may lead to multiple problems, including a higher risk of cancer, especially if exposure occurs in the womb or an infant’s early life and on an unrelenting daily basis.

Two weeks after the report came out, an NIH panel came to a different conclusion: Although public exposure to BPA could pose some risk to the brain development of babies and children, there was “negligible concern” about reproductive effects in adults.
This was the first official federal report on BPA, and the chemical industry took it as good news: An August 2007 statement by the American Chemistry Council claims that “BPA is not a risk to human health at the extremely low levels to which consumers might be exposed.” Criticism of the report began even before its publication and has dogged it ever since. In January the NIH agreed to a thorough review of the report. This NIH decision came in response to claims from scientists and public health advocates that members of the panel worked for the chemical industry and cherry-picked the data in favor of industry-funded studies, which did not test low-dose exposure to BPA. A new panel has been convened, and its findings are expected in June.

Chemicals like BPA pose a challenge for conventional toxicology, vom Saal says. To determine what level of a toxin is safe, researchers take a dose that has no observed toxicological effect in an animal and divide it by 10 once (to account for the differences between species) and then again (to account for variations among humans’ ability to handle toxins); for pesticides, the dose is then divided by 10 a third time (to allow for the extraordinary sensitivity of babies and children).
Although this is somewhat arbitrary, it generally gives enough room to provide protection. The first studies of BPA toxicity in the 1980s tested rats at high levels of exposure (50 milligrams of BPA per kilogram of body weight per day). Lower levels were not tested; BPA was deemed safe.

But the modus operandi of hormone-mimicking chemicals is different from that of typical toxins. In fact, they are not toxins in the strict sense of the word because they behave like ordinary hormonal signals. “It turns out we are, to a very intriguing degree, programmed by phenomenally small amounts of hormones in terms of our behavior, our core physiology, our neuroendocrine system, and our ability to metabolize drugs,” vom Saal says. “The brain along with the reproductive system and every other cell in your body is exquisitely sensitive to exceedingly small changes in estrogen and other sex hormones, and the fact that the environment is full of chemicals that can activate estrogen receptors means this phenomenally sensitive system is being perturbed constantly by environmental factors.”

At key stages of development, a seemingly infinitesimal dose of an estrogenic chemical such as BPA or phthalates may be life-altering. This is most evident in fetuses. When BPA hits cell receptors, it is as powerful as estradiol, the most potent estrogen in humans. “Our cells are built to take a single molecular-binding event,” vom Saal says, “and turn that into a huge, highly amplified outcome. We’ve studied doses of BPA between 2 and 20 micrograms per kilogram of body weight—the lowest dose ever tested before was 2,500 times higher—and it scrambles the male reproductive system in mice.”

In other research, by reproductive biologist Patricia Hunt of Washington State University, female mice exposed to low amounts of BPA in the womb—amounts deemed “environmentally relevant”—had high levels of genetic errors in the eggs they produced. Worse still, the genetic errors in those eggs led to chromosome abnormalities in 40 percent of the next generation’s eggs. That is 20 times the incidence of such abnormalities in unexposed mice. How might this relate to human risk? According to commentators reviewing Hunt’s work in PLoS Genetics, the answers will be hard to tease out: Nearly one in five human pregnancies ends in miscarriage, half of which are due to chromosomal abnormalities. Abnormalities in a woman’s eggs increase as she ages, and more women are having children at a later age. “A proper study of this problem,” they wrote, “would require assessing the woman’s level of chemical exposure now and maintaining those data for two to three decades,” tracking the abnormalities in her children and grandchildren.

Another troubling animal study comes from Randy Jirtle, a Duke University geneticist, who found that BPA permanently reprogrammed a gene in pups of mice fed BPA-laced food. Jirtle is well known for his work on mice that carry the agouti gene, which is highly vulnerable to environmental influences. In this study, he exposed lean, brown-furred female mice to 50 milligrams of BPA per kilogram of body weight daily, and the next generation was transformed: More of them were fat, with blond fur. “If I were a pregnant woman, I would try hard to avoid exposure to BPA,” Jirtle says.

Phthalate studies show similarly dramatic effects. When pregnant rats are exposed to high doses of phthalates, their male offspring are born with deformed genitalia. In 2005 Shanna Swan published the first study that looked for evidence of an obvious effect among boys. In 134 boys aged 2 months to 30 months, she found that sons whose mothers had higher levels of certain phthalates in their urine had a shorter distance between the anus and the penis. These boys were also likelier to have smaller penises and incompletely descended testicles.
About one-quarter of American women have the higher phthalate levels she found in her study. This was particularly evident among women working in poorly ventilated nail salons, where one especially harmful phthalate, DBP, is released.

Chemicals leaching out of plastics may reshape not only your children but your children’s children.

In a recent study, Swan found that “we could predict the anogenital distance in babies just by knowing which phthalates a mother was exposed to and how much.” Those with the highest exposure to phthalates gave birth to boys with the shortest anogenital distance.

Phthalate exposure does not come just from moms. A new study gives evidence that infants and toddlers exposed to lotions, shampoos, and powders with phthalates may have up to four times as much of it in their urine as those whose parents do not use the products. The study, just published in Pediatrics by Sheela Sathyanarayana of the University of Washington, looked at 163 children between the ages of 2 months and 28 months between the years 2000 and 2005. The results were alarming, not least because manufacturers are not required to list phthalates as ingredients on labels.

So what are the long-term consequences of exposure to plastics? Teasing out the answers is difficult, in part because early exposure can have effects observed only much later in life. One of the scientists at work on the problem is Danish researcher Niels Skakkebaek of Copenhagen University Hospital, who has been documenting reproductive problems in men for more than two decades. His research in the 1970s showed links between testicular cancer in adults and abnormalities in genital development. He suspected that clues to the disorder lay in early life, when the reproductive organs are still developing. An especially crucial time is around 3 months or earlier, when boy babies experience a surge of testosterone. To see if phthalate exposure might influence this developmental period, Skakkebaek and his colleagues investigated how the amount of phthalates in breast milk correlated with a baby’s hormonal profile. In a study of 65 infants published in 2006, they discovered that the higher the level of phthalates, the greater the evidence of anti-androgenic hormonal activity.

Whatever the impact of plastics exposure, the effects are not easy to isolate. There are no babies rendered obviously deformed, as with thalidomide. There are no children robbed of mental agility, as with lead exposure. There is no clear-cut evidence of lung cancer, as with tobacco. As Swan admits: “The baby boys in our study were not freaks. They did not look abnormal. We’re talking about small changes you won’t find unless you look carefully.”

“Nobody knows what to do with the information,” says Tufts University environmentalist Sheldon Krimsky, author of Hormonal Chaos: The Scientific and Social Origins of the Environmental Endo–crine Hypothesis. “This is a highly contested arena with no standards for consensus. And because, for instance, BPA is not put into food but leaches into food from containers, it doesn’t qualify for the Delaney clause, which mandates that if an additive causes cancer in any amount in two species, we can’t put it in the food supply.”

Back in the 1940s when plastics were being developed, no one suspected that chemicals leaching out of these marvelous materials could have insidious biological effects. What industrial chemists did know was that by tinkering with a highly reactive molecule called a phenol they were able to devise countless synthetic chemicals for use in new materials. Only through subsequent studies has it been shown that the estrogen receptor has a particular affinity for a characteristic molecular component of phenols. “I’d say 99.9 percent of what turn out to be chemical estrogens have a phenolic hydroxyl group on the molecule, and any of those can bind to the estrogen receptor, ” says Wade Welshons, a University of Missouri cell biologist and endocrinologist who has spent his career studying estrogen. Moreover, “almost everything that binds to the estrogen receptor turns it on in some way. I’ve run across only two chemicals that fully antagonize, or switch off, the receptor.”

Despite this new insight, regulation of synthetic estrogens as a class seems far off. BPA alone is “worth at least a million dollars every hour,” Welshons says. “And that figure is conservative. I’m surprised the chemical industry hasn’t tried to blow up our labs.”

In 1989 little was known about synthetic chemicals in everyday plastics and how they mimicked estrogens. Ana Soto, professor of cellular biology at Tufts University School of Medicine, and her colleagues were studying the effects of estrogen on a breast cancer cell line. “Suddenly all the cancer cells were proliferating maximally, whether they were being grown in a medium with estrogen or not,” Soto recalls. “We thought that somebody must have opened a bottle of the female hormone estradiol in the wrong place. We scrubbed the whole room, we bought new batches of everything, and the cells kept proliferating. So we began one by one to replace and substitute our equipment, and we finally found the contamination in tubes storing a component of the medium. The tube manufacturer had changed its formula, with the best intention of rendering the tubes more impact resistant. They said the new chemical was a trade secret. So we analyzed it ourselves, and it turned out to be nonylphenol. We injected the chemical into rats and demonstrated that it makes the epithelial lining of the uterus proliferate—a sign of its being an estrogen.” Nonylphenol is also a component in some detergents and other products, and its presence in British streams has been linked to the feminization of fish.

In 1998 another synthetic estrogen leached from animal cages and bottles in a different lab—this was the now-infamous BPA. Patricia Hunt (then working at Case Western Reserve University) was studying the endocrine environment of the aging ovary in mice. Suddenly, as in Soto’s lab, “our control data went nuts,” Hunt says. “We saw chromosomal abnormalities that would lead to pregnancy loss and birth defects. It turned out that all of our cages and water bottles were contaminated by the BPA in the polycarbonate plastic, which was being sterilized at high temperatures. We set about proving this contamination was coming from the water bottles and cages.” They published that work in 2003. In 2007 Hunt and her colleagues published a paper in PLoS Genetics demonstrating that BPA exposure in utero disrupts the earliest stages of egg development. The fetuses of pregnant mice exposed to low doses of BPA, Hunt says, had “gross aberrations. We were stunned to see the effects of this estrogenic substance.”

For Hunt, this accident was particularly poignant: She calls it the second of two “lightning strikes” in her life. She is a DES daughter who had multiple abnormal Pap smears in her youth and is also a breast cancer survivor (cancer runs in her family, but there is also evidence that DES daughters get more breast cancer). “It’s very ironic,” Hunt explains. “BPA was studied as a synthetic estrogen in the 1930s and abandoned in favor of DES, which was more potent. Yet both of them found their way into my life. A lot of the abnormalities turning up in DES sons and daughters can be reproduced in mouse experiments. And that’s one reason I’m concerned about BPA.
The effects we see in our mice are pretty significant,” Hunt says.

Hunt’s research on BPA and the fetal ovary shows that “one exposure can hit three different generations. It hits the mom, crosses the placenta, and affects the fetus, but it also affects that fetal ovary that is busy producing the eggs that will make the next generation. So the mom’s exposure is impacting the genetic quality of her grandchildren. We’re dealing here with multigenerational changes.”

Through studies like these, Jirtle says, “we’re beginning to understand how a molecule present at the very earliest stages after fertilization can in effect be remembered into your twenties and thirties and maybe give rise to diseases. You can’t do toxicology anymore without that insight.”

While chemists, biologists, geneticists, and toxicologists are piecing together the puzzle, some consumers have concluded they should simply try to limit exposure to plastics in their own lives. “But how do you do that?” asks Soto, who herself uses glass containers at home. “For instance, the milk you’re drinking was pumped through plastic tubes. And you can’t store milk in permeable paper cartons—they have plastic linings. Even if you try, you don’t know whether you’re limiting your exposure by 5 percent or 95 percent.” BPA has been found in drinking water, in 41.2 percent of 139 streams sampled in 30 states, even in house dust. Even if we could regulate BPA to levels that were safe, Soto cautions, “zero plus zero plus zero is actually not zero. By that I mean you can take 10 estrogenic chemicals at doses that on their own don’t have an effect, but if you add them together, you end up with problems. BPA is only one of many estrogenic chemicals in our environment.”

Krimsky favors legislation based on an entirely new way of thinking. “We should base legislation on two rules,” he explains. “One, if a synthetic chemical accumulates in your body and is not metabolized, let’s ban it unless we need it for survival. Why? On the precautionary notion that it can’t be good for the body to be a storage site for junk chemicals with no known physiological purpose. Two, if a chemical is biologically active and interacts with our receptors, it’s probably not good. Ban it. Maybe it’s OK in very small doses, but it’s going to take you 50 or 100 years to figure out those doses, if you can even do it. We put a human being in prison for life based on circumstantial evidence. Yet we’re looking for more than circumstantial evidence in order to ban these chemicals.”

Hunt and other scientists hope their research will catch the attention of the public even more so than industry or policymakers. “I’m struck by how fast companies respond to consumer demand,” Hunt says. “When our study broke in 2003 and the media came calling, I kept saying that what concerns me the most are baby bottles. They’re polycarbonate, and it doesn’t stand up well. I got a call from a baby bottle manufacturer one day, and he said, ‘What’s going on? We’re getting all these calls from consumers.’ And I was amazed to see how rapidly new polymers came on the market for baby bottles.” Indeed, sales of glass and non-polycarbonate baby bottles are rising.
In turn, when consumers are charged for plastic bags at the supermarket, they tend to bring their own. Ireland’s “plastax,” launched in 2002, has resulted in a 90 percent voluntary reduction in plastic bag use. Finally, corn-based, biodegradable plastics are beginning to surface, and though these polymers are not yet as durable as current plastics, the technology is advancing.

“We have no choice,” Soto says. “If reproduction is being affected, the survival of the species is compromised. Sooner or later we have to regulate it. And what constitutes proof? In the 1950s a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer was 1 in 22; today it’s 1 in 7. A threefold increase cannot be genetic, it is most likely environmental, and many of us believe it is due to endocrine disrupters. To know whether fetal exposure to BPA is producing breast cancer in humans, you have to collect blood from the mother and the newborn, bank it, and follow that cohort for many, many decades. One generation of researchers can’t do it. This is painful, and the public should know about it.”

Determining the long-term consequences is difficult, because early exposure can have effects observed only much later in life.

How do I love thee, plastic? Let me count the ways. I wake up and glance at my plastic digital cable box to check the time. I go to the bathroom to use my plastic toothbrush, shaking a bit of my “nontoxic” tooth powder from a plastic bottle. I fill the plastic container of my Waterpik with mouthwash from another plastic bottle. I step into the shower—my lacy white curtain is protected by a plastic liner, and my chlorine-free shower water comes to me through a plastic-encased filter.

Ah, but in the kitchen I am a bit freer of you, plastic. When I learned that my plastic bowls, dishes, and containers could leach harmful chemicals—especially the ones with that sneaky, practically invisible little recycling triangle embossed with the number 7—I bought Pyrex. My soft-boiled eggs are served up in a Pyrex glass dish. A moment of rebellion against thee, plastic! But the microwave in which I heat water for tea is made of plastic as well as metal. And the refrigerator shelf on which I store my eggs is plastic.

The coaster on my desk, on which I place my steaming, oh-so-healthy green tea, is plastic. The 22-inch liquid-crystal computer monitor that seems to be the fulcrum of my entire existence is made of plastic.
My keyboard, my mouse, my computer speakers, the CD cases for my music collection, my polycarbonate reading glasses, the remote control for my stereo, my telephone—all plastic. The sun shines through my window onto a riot of green plants in … plastic pots. (I could switch to ceramic, but it’s so heavy and hard to heft when I want to water them.) And I’ve been up for only an hour.

The second USS Thresher (SSN-593) was the lead ship of her class of nuclear-powered attack submarines in the United States Navy. Her loss at sea during deep-diving tests in 1963 is often considered a watershed event in the implementation of the rigorous submarine safety program SUBSAFE.

The contract to build Thresher was awarded to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on 15 January 1958, and her keel was laid on 28 May 1958. She was launched on 9 July 1960, was sponsored by Mrs. Frederick B. Warder (wife of the famous Pacific War skipper), and was commissioned on 3 August 1961, with Commander Dean L. Axene in command.

Thresher conducted lengthy sea trials in the western Atlantic and Caribbean Sea areas in 1961 and 1962. These tests provided a thorough evaluation of her many new and complex technological features and weapons. Following these trials, she took part in Nuclear Submarine Exercise (NUSUBEX) 3-61 off the northeastern coast of the United States from September 18 to September 24, 1961.

On October 18 Thresher headed south along the East Coast. While in port at San Juan, Puerto Rico on 2 November 1961, her reactor was shut down and the diesel generator was used to carry the "hotel" electrical loads. Several hours later the generator broke down, and the electrical load was then carried by the battery. The generator could not be quickly repaired, so the captain ordered the reactor restarted. However, the battery charge was depleted before the reactor went critical. With no electrical power for ventilation, temperatures in the machinery spaces reached 60 °C (140 °F), and the boat was partially evacuated. Cavalla (SS-244) arrived the next morning and provided power from her diesels, enabling Thresher to restart her reactor.

Thresher conducted further trials and fired test torpedoes before returning to Portsmouth on November 29. The boat remained in port through the end of the year, and spent the first two months of 1962 evaluating her sonar and Submarine Rocket (SUBROC) systems. In March, the submarine participated in NUSUBEX 2-62 (an exercise designed to improve the tactical capabilities of nuclear submarines) and in antisubmarine warfare training with Task Group ALPHA.

Off Charleston, SC, Thresher undertook operations observed by the Naval Antisubmarine Warfare Council before she returned briefly to New England waters, after which she proceeded to Florida for more SUBROC tests. However, while moored at Port Canaveral, Florida, the submarine was accidentally struck by a tug which damaged one of her ballast tanks. After repairs at Groton, Connecticut, by the Electric Boat Company, Thresher went south for more tests and trials off Key West, Florida, then returned northward and remained in dockyard for refurbishment through the early spring of 1963.

On April 9, 1963, after the completion of this work, Thresher, now commanded by Lieutenant Commander John Wesley Harvey, began post-overhaul trials. Accompanied by the submarine rescue ship USS Skylark (ASR-20), she sailed to an area some 350 kilometers (220 statute miles or 190 nautical miles) east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and on the morning of April 10 started deep-diving tests.
As Thresher neared her test depth, Skylark received garbled communications over underwater telephone indicating "... minor difficulties, have positive up-angle, attempting to blow." When Skylark's queries as to if Thresher were under control were answered only by the ominous sound of compartments collapsing, surface observers gradually realized Thresher had sunk. All 129 officers, crewmen and military and civilian technicians aboard her were killed.

After an extensive underwater search using the bathyscaphe Trieste, oceanographic ship Mizar and other ships, Thresher’s remains were located on the sea floor, some 8,400 feet (2560 m) below the surface, in six major sections. The majority of the debris is in an area of about 134,000 m² (160,000 yd²). The major sections are the sail, sonar dome, bow section, engineering spaces section, operations spaces section, and the stern planes.

Deep sea photography, recovered artifacts, and an evaluation of her design and operational history permitted a Court of Inquiry to conclude Thresher had probably suffered the failure of a weld in a salt water piping system, which relied heavily on silver brazing instead of welding; earlier tests using ultrasound equipment found potential problems with about 14% of the tested brazed joints, most of which were determined not to pose a risk significant enough to require a repair. High-pressure water spraying from a broken pipe joint may have shorted out one of the many electrical panels, which in turn caused a shutdown ("scram") of the reactor, with a subsequent loss of propulsion. The inability to blow the ballast tanks was later attributed to excessive moisture in Threshers high-pressure air flasks, which froze and plugged its own flowpath while passing through the valves. This was later simulated in dock-side tests on the Thresher's sister ship, USS Tinosa (SSN-606). During a test to simulate blowing ballast at or near test depth, ice formed on strainers installed in valves; the flow of air lasted only a few seconds. (Air driers were later retrofitted to the high pressure air compressors, beginning with Tinosa, to permit the emergency blow system to operate properly.)

Unlike diesel submarines, nuclear subs relied on speed and deck angle (that is, driving the ship towards the surface) rather than deballasting to surface. Ballast tanks were almost never blown at depth; this could cause the ship to rocket to the surface out of control. Normal procedure was to drive the ship to periscope depth, raise the periscope to verify the area was clear, then blow the tanks and surface the ship.

At the time, reactor-plant operating procedures precluded a rapid reactor restart following a scram, or even the ability to use steam remaining in the secondary system to "drive" the ship to the surface. After a scram, standard procedure was to isolate the main steam system, cutting off the flow of steam to the turbines providing propulsion and electricity. This was done to prevent an over-rapid cool-down of the reactor. Thresher's Reactor Control Officer, Lt. Raymond McCoole, was not at his station in the maneuvering room, or indeed on the ship, during the fatal dive. McCoole was at home caring for his wife who had been injured in a freak household accident — he had been all but ordered ashore by a sympathetic Commander Harvey. McCoole's trainee Jim Henry, fresh from nuclear power school, probably followed standard operating procedures and gave the order to isolate the steam system after the scram, even though Thresher was at or slightly below her maximum depth and was taking on water. Once closed, the large steam system isolation valves could not be reopened quickly. In later life, McCoole was sure he would have delayed shutting the valves, thus allowing the ship to "answer bells" and drive herself to the surface, despite the flooding in the engineering spaces. Admiral Rickover later changed the procedure, allowing steam to be withdrawn from the secondary system in limited quantities for several minutes following a scram.

There was much (covert) criticism of Rickover's training after Thresher went down, the argument being his "nukes" were so well conditioned to protect the nuclear plant they would have shut the main steam stop valves by rote — depriving the ship of needed propulsion — even at great depths and with the ship clearly in jeopardy. Nothing enraged Rickover more than this argument. Common sense, he argued, would prove this to be untrue.

It's more likely that the engine room crew was simply overwhelmed by the flooding casualty, or took too long to contain it. In a dockside simulation of flooding in the engineroom, held before Thresher sailed, it took the watch in charge 20 minutes to isolate a simulated leak in the auxiliary seawater system. At test depth, taking on water, and with the reactor shut down, Thresher would not have had anything like 20 minutes to recover.
Even after isolating a short-circuit in the reactor controls it would have taken nearly 10 minutes to restart the plant.

Thresher imploded (that is, one or more of her compartments collapsed inwards in a fraction of a second) at a depth somewhere between 1,300 and 2,000 feet (400 and 600m). All on board were killed nearly instantly (1 or 2 seconds at most).

Over the next several years, the Navy implemented the SUBSAFE program to correct design and construction problems on all submarines (nuclear and diesel-electric) in service, under construction, and in planning. During the formal inquiry, it was discovered record-keeping at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard was far from adequate. For example, no one could determine the whereabouts of hull weld X-rays made of Thresher's sister ship Tinosa, nearing completion at Portsmouth, or, indeed, whether they had been made at all. It was also determined Thresher 's engine room layout was awkward, in fact dangerous, as there were no centrally-located isolation valves for the main and auxiliary seawater systems. Most subs were subsequently equipped or retrofitted with flood control levers, which allowed the Engineer Officer of the Watch in the maneuvering room to remotely close isolation valves in the seawater systems from a central panel, a task necessarily performed by hand on Thresher. Hand-power valves might not even have been accessible during a flooding casualty: at such depths, the blast of water from even a small leak (a "water spike") can dent metal cabinets, rip insulation from cables, and even cut a man in half. (Water pressure at 1,000 feet (300 m) is about 450 psi (3,100 kPa).)

SUBSAFE would prove itself to be a crucial part of the Navy's safe operation of nuclear submarines, but was disregarded just a few years later in a rush to get another nuclear sub, Scorpion ready for service as part of yet another program meant to increase nuclear submarine availability. The subsequent loss of Scorpion reaffirmed the need for SUBSAFE and apart from Scorpion, the U.S. Navy has suffered no further losses of nuclear submarines.

The Navy has periodically monitored the environmental conditions of the site since the sinking and reported the results in an annual public report on environmental monitoring for U.S. Naval nuclear-powered ships. These reports provide specifics on the environmental sampling of sediment, water, and marine life which were taken to ascertain whether the submarine has had a significant effect on the deep ocean environment. The reports also explain the methodology for conducting deep sea monitoring from both surface vessels and submersibles. The monitoring data confirms that there has been no significant effect on the environment. Nuclear fuel in the submarine remains intact.

U.S. submarine classes are generally known by the hull number of the lead ship of the class - for instance, Los Angeles-class boats are called 688s because the hull number of USS Los Angeles was SSN-688. The Thresher-class boats should thus be called 593s, but since Thresher's sinking they have been referred to as 594s (Permit class).

* 07:47: Thresher begins its descent to the test depth of 1,300 feet (400 m).
* 07:52: Thresher levels off at 400 feet (120 m), contacts the surface, and the crew inspects the ship for leaks. None is found.
* 08:09: Commander Harvey reports reaching half the test depth.
* 08:25: Thresher reaches 1,000 feet (300 m).
* 09:02: Thresher is cruising at just a few knots (subs normally moved slowly and cautiously at great depths, lest a sudden jam of the diving planes send the ship below test depth in a matter of seconds.) The boat is descending in slow circles, and announces to Skylark she is turning to "Corpen [course] 090." At this point, transmission quality from the Thresher begins to noticeably degrade, possibly as a result of thermoclines.
* 09:09: It is believed a brazed pipe-joint ruptures in the engine room. The crew would have attempted to stop the leak; at the same time, the engine room would be filling with a cloud of mist. Under the circumstances, Commander Harvey's likely decision would have been to order full speed, full rise on the sail planes, and blowing main ballast in order to surface.
Due to Joule-Thomson effect, the pressurized air rapidly expanding in the pipes cools down, condensing moisture and depositing it on strainers installed in the system to protect the moving parts of the valves; in only a few seconds the moisture freezes, clogging the strainers and blocking the air flow, halting the effort to blow ballast. Water leaking from the broken pipe most likely causes short circuits leading to an automatic shutdown of the ship's reactor, causing a loss of propulsion. The logical action at this point would have been for Harvey to order propulsion shifted to a battery-powered backup system. As soon as the flooding was contained, the engine room crew would have begun to restart the reactor, an operation that would be expected to take at least 7 minutes.
* 09:12: Skylark pages Thresher on the underwater telephone: "Gertrude check, K [over]." With no immediate response (although Skylark is still unaware of the conditions aboard Thresher), the signal "K" is repeated twice.
* 09:13: Harvey reports status via underwater telephone. The transmission is garbled, though some words are recognizable: "[We are] experiencing minor difficulty, have positive up-angle, attempting to blow." The submarine, growing heavier from water flooding the engine room, continues its descent, probably tail-first. Another attempt to empty the ballast tanks is performed, again failing due to the formation of ice. Officers on the Skylark could hear the hiss of compressed air over the loudspeaker at this point.
* 09:14: Skylark acknowledges with a brisk, "Roger, out," awaiting further updates from the SSN. A follow-up message, "No contacts in area," is sent to reassure Thresher she can surface quickly, without fear of collision, if required.
* 09:15: Skylark queries Thresher about her intentions: "My course 270 degrees. Interrogative range and bearing from you." There is no response, and Skylark's captain, Lieutenant Commander Hecker, sends his own gertrude message to the submarine, "Are you in control?"
* 09:16: Skylark picks up a garbled transmission from Thresher, transcribed in the ship's log as "900 N." [The meaning of this message is unclear, and was not discussed at the enquiry; it may have indicated the submarine's depth and course, or it may have referred to a Navy "event number" (1000 indicating loss of submarine), with the "N" signifying a negative response to the query from Skylark, "Are you in control?"]
* 09:17: A second transmission is received, with the partially recognizable phrase "exceeding test depth...." The leak from the broken pipe grows with increased pressure.
* 09:18: Skylark detects a high-energy low-frequency noise with characteristics of an implosion.
* 09:20: Skylark continues to page Thresher, repeatedly calling for a radio check, a smoke bomb, or some other indication of the boat's condition.
* 11:04: Skylark attempts to transmit a message to COMSUBLANT (Commander, Submarines, Atlantic Fleet): "Unable to communicate with Thresher since 0917R. Have been calling by UQC voice and CW, QHB, CW every minute. Explosive signals every 10 minutes with no success. Last transmission received was garbled. Indicated Thresher was approaching test depth.... Conducting expanding search." Radio problems meant that COMSUBLANT did not receive and respond to this message until 12:45. Hecker initiated "Event SUBMISS [loss of a submarine]" procedures at 11:21, and continued to repeatedly hail the Thresher until after 17:00.

On April 11, at a news conference at 10:30, the Navy officially declared the ship as lost.

* Just outside the main gate of the Naval Weapons Station, Seal Beach, California, a Thresher-Scorpion Memorial honors the crews of the two submarines. [2]
* In Carpentersville, IL the Dundee Township Park District named a swimming facility in honor of Thresher.
* In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, there is a stone memorial with a plaque honoring all who were lost on the Thresher.
It is located outside the USS Albacore museum.
* A Joint Resolution was introduced in 2001 calling for the erection of a memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, but this proposal has yet to be adopted.[3]
* On April 12, 1963, President John Kennedy issued an Executive Order (No. 11104) paying tribute to the crew of Thresher by flying flags at half-staff. [4]
* The musician Phil Ochs composed a song detailing the vessel's demise. Pete Seeger also composed a song inspired by the vessel.
* The Thresher's hull number, 593, can be seen on the sailfin of the fictional USS Wayne in the movie The Spy Who Loved Me.

Sometime in August 2011, a boxy space probe called Dawn will settle into orbit around one of the most underrated and overlooked objects in the solar system, a giant oblong asteroid named Vesta. After lingering for almost 10 months of study, Dawn will depart for Ceres, the biggest asteroid of all. Ceres is so large that it was recently promoted to the rank of dwarf planet, putting it on a par with Pluto and highlighting its status as a key planetary missing link.

Vesta and Ceres are the big enchiladas of the asteroid belt, a loose collection of rubble left over from the earliest days of the solar system. They are interesting because they’re like time capsules. “These two bodies are building blocks,” says Chris Russell, the principal investigator for the Dawn mission. It was asteroids like these that “came together to make the rest of the planets. It might have taken millions of Vestas and Cereses to make Earth. We want to understand how the building blocks were different from one another and how they came together to build the planets. Vesta and Ceres represent an important stage in the history of the solar system.”

Vesta and Ceres, along with the rest of the material in the aster–oid belt, would have coalesced into a planet too, were it not for Jupiter’s powerfully disruptive gravity. Ceres is 585 miles wide and contains more than a quarter of all the mass in the asteroid belt. It was the first asteroid discovered, spotted by Italian astron–omer Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801.
Vesta, the second-largest asteroid, was discovered six years later. For a few years, both were regarded as bona fide planets, but scientists soon discovered many more small bodies in similar orbits. In the mid-1800s these objects were reclassified as “asteroids” and largely dismissed as bit players. It has taken a century and a half to shift that view.

Although Vesta is just under one-third the mass of Ceres, in some ways we know it much more intimately. Vesta’s composition closely matches that of a group of common meteorites that have been found on Earth, called HED meteorites; these are literally chips off Vesta’s block. Blurry but tantalizing images from the Hubble Space Telescope suggest where those space rocks came from: A massive crater dominates Vesta’s southern hemisphere, testifying to a powerful collision that gouged out nearly 1 percent of its volume a billion years ago. From studies of the HED meteor–ites and from measurements of light reflected off the asteroid’s surface, scientists have concluded that Vesta has a very planetlike nickel-iron core. And its surface is basaltic—largely formed by lava flows from below.

Ceres, by contrast, is a far more mysterious body that could yield more profound discoveries. Its dark surface (Ceres reflects just one-fourth as much light as Vesta) indicates a water-rich interior; some researchers even speculate that it could have a mile-deep ocean under a frozen surface. Water raises the possibility of life, which automatically elevates asteroids in the cosmic pecking order. It also implies that Ceres is the largest intact piece of the raw material that built Earth into the wet, living world it is today. But without close-up observations, these ideas remain hypothetical.

“We have no meteorites, nothing that’s associated with Ceres,” says Tom McCord, a longtime asteroid hunter and an investigator on the Dawn mission.
“Its surface looks like clay, which is the result of an interaction between water and rock. Where do you get clay on Earth? In riverbeds! Why would the surface of this asteroid be like the clay we see on Earth when we look at riverbeds? That is a mystery to us.”

Russell has spent much of the past 15 years fighting to get the crucial close-up of these two forgotten miniplanets. When a Delta II rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral (video) shortly after sunrise last September 27 and shoved Dawn onto its 3.2-billion-mile journey, he finally let out a deep sigh of relief; for a long time it had not been clear that NASA could muster the money and the technology to make the mission happen.

To conduct meaningful studies of both Vesta and Ceres, Dawn will be the first spacecraft to orbit two extraterrestrial bodies in a row, a major engineering challenge. Entering and leaving orbits require a lot of energy—too much energy, in fact, for a conventional rocket. What makes Dawn’s mission possible is a type of propulsion known as an ion engine.

Ion engines work by stripping electrons from the atoms of an inert gas such as xenon, making them positively charged. A negatively electrified grid at the back of the engine attracts the ions, accelerating them backward. The ions fly past the grid and out the back of the rocket, pushing the rocket forward. A typical ion engine provides 10 times the specific impulse of a conventional solid-fuel booster (specific impulse can be thought of as a spaceship’s miles-per-gallon rating). In gaining fuel efficiency, ion engines sacrifice thrust, the ability to deliver strong acceleration. On Earth they are useless because they are too weak to get off the ground. But in space they can slowly but steadily—and very efficiently—build up to extremely high velocities.

Russell got interested in ion engines in 1992, when he met Scott Benson, an engineer at NASA’s Lewis Research Center in Cleveland (now the Glenn Research Center), who had recently begun experimenting with ion propulsion. In fact, NASA had explored the technology as far back as the 1960s but lost interest as the agency’s focus shifted to the space shuttle; ion engines had been developed only to make minor adjustments in the paths of Earth-orbiting satellites
When NASA started its New Millennium program in the 1990s to develop innovative spaceflight technologies, research on ion thrusters began again, this time in earnest. “One of the features of ion propulsion is that it essentially allows you to fly on a smaller launch vehicle, at lower cost, to destinations that would require a larger vehicle with chemical propulsion,” says Benson. At first Russell’s instinct was to use ion propulsion to go back to the moon. As a postgraduate researcher on the Apollo program, he had developed instrumentation for the command module that measured the lunar magnetic field. With Benson he spent two years on a sequel of sorts, a lunar orbiter that used an ion engine, but the idea was passed over. . next worked up a proposal to go to Vesta but again failed to win backing from NASA. Russell suspects that ion propulsion was deemed too risky—it had never been used on a space probe. He tried to be philosophical: “Each time you lose,” he says, “you learn something.”

The challenge was to turn an engine intended for occasional use on a satellite into a trustworthy interplanetary thruster. Deep Space 1, an engineering test mission launched by NASA in 1998, demonstrated that an ion engine could be used to move around the solar system. “That excited people,” Russell says. “That was a winner.” In December 2001, NASA gave Dawn a green light.

“Dawn really reflects a big departure from what we used to do in planetary exploration,” Russell adds. “The way we’re probing these bodies is very cost-effective.” NASA considered the cost of exploring both Vesta and Ceres with chemical rockets and concluded that it would have required two missions at $750 million each, as opposed to Dawn’s sub-$500 million price tag. “We’re saving a billion dollars compared with what it would have cost us to do it any other way,” Russell says.

In Russell’s proposal, Dawn used the same basic engine design as Deep Space 1 but needed a larger xenon fuel tank and other changes to ensure the system would survive its eight-year mission. Making these alterations nearly doomed the project, forcing it way over its $373 million budget. “The design parameters of Dawn were ambitious,” says Tom Jones, a former shuttle astronaut and now a consultant to NASA. “No probe had ever gone to one body, slowed down and achieved orbit, and then turned around and gone to a second body. . puts a lot of stress on an engine, and you have to make it reliable.”

By October 2005 Dawn was $73 million over budget. That, combined with concerns over the fuel tank’s design and the mission’s management, prompted NASA to pull the plug, canceling the project altogether in March 2006. NASA was also scrambling for funds to cover President George W. Bush’s moon program. Despite having already spent hundreds of millions of dollars, administrators may have been willing to scrap Dawn to avoid spending any more. Russell insists the project’s technical troubles were nothing out of the ordinary for such a complicated mission, and that NASA’s decision to cancel the project was foolhardy. “I don’t have any logical reason for why they did that,” he says. “To throw away the roughly $300 million that had been invested was crazy. Why not just finish off the project and get a return on this investment?” Fortunately, NASA’s chief administrator, Michael Griffin, allowed an appeal, and the mission was reinstated.

Now journeying outward, Dawn is following a flight plan unlike that of a conventional spacecraft. To set course for Vesta, a chemical rocket would burn for a few minutes near Earth, putting it on a path that intersected Vesta’s orbit, and then burn again to enter that orbit. Dawn’s ion engine, by contrast, has to accelerate the spacecraft continuously for months on end, spiraling outward until its trajectory matches Vesta’s orbit. The thrust from each of Dawn’s three ion engines is minuscule, a force equivalent to that of the weight of a piece of paper resting on the palm of your hand. But an engine will be firing during 90 percent of the trip, building up a speed as high as that attained by any chemical rocket.

A Mars flyby in February 2009 will help things along, giving Dawn a gravitational kick. In August 2011 it will begin slowing down as it approaches and then settles into orbit about Vesta. The craft will fire up its engines again in May 2012 to set course for Ceres. It will arrive in February 2015, once again slowing down to enter orbit and snap photos.

Taking snapshots will be a major part of its mission, because Dawn is not exactly a flying lab bristling with instruments. It has only three—part of the trade-off necessary to keep its weight and cost under control. A camera will create detailed maps of the two asteroids, with a resolution of about 225 feet for Vesta and 400 feet for Ceres. . spectrometer will measure the light absorbed by the asteroids’ surfaces, which will tell much about their composition. And a gamma ray and neutron detector will measure cosmic radiation bouncing off the surface of the asteroids. (It will be able to scan several yards below Ceres’ surface, searching for ice or liquid water.) In addition, variations in Dawn’s radio signal will be monitored to provide information about the gravitational pull—hence the internal structure—of the asteroids.

During the years of proposals and rejections, Russell had plenty of time to think about what Dawn might find when it finally reached its mystery worlds. His interests naturally led him to McCord, another asteroid hunter, who had gotten into the business indirectly. At Caltech in the 1960s, McCord helped develop instruments for remote spectrometry—analyzing the light coming off planets and stars. The first thing McCord and his colleagues trained their new instruments on was the moon, but soon they began measuring everything in sight. They worked their way through the planets and down to the asteroids, and eventually Vesta found itself in their crosshairs.

“It doesn’t sound like exploration, but that’s the way it really works,” McCord says. “You’ve got an instrument and you just go out and do everything you can with it. New data are power in science, and if you can measure something 10 times better than somebody else can, you’re going to learn a lot of exciting things.”

McCord didn’t get around to looking at Vesta until the early 1970s, and even then he didn’t give it much thought until his team got around to processing the data. “I was in the lab one day and one of the guys pulled the Vesta spectrum out of the computer, which we had observed a week or a month before,” he says. “And my God, it had one of the most beautiful absorption features you ever saw on a planetary object.” The data indicated that Vesta was basaltic, which suggested that Vesta’s rocks had been heated to melting at some point and then cooled. The discovery also established that the HED meteorites and Vesta shared the same composition.

McCord and his researchers also looked at Ceres but didn’t get far. Ceres was darker and murkier, and it didn’t have the clearly identifiable spectrum of Vesta. McCord’s grad students set to work on the data and came up with some preliminary findings: Ceres was a carbonaceous chondrite (a type of asteroid composed of water locked in minerals and carbon-based materials), and it had not been thermally altered. In other words, it had never melted and cooled, as Vesta had. . posed more questions than it answered. How did a large asteroid evolve and retain significant amounts of water? Nobody had any theories to explain it, and the researchers dropped the subject.

When the Dawn mission was approved, much of the focus was on Vesta. “You’re human, so you’re generally interested in things you know about,” Russell admits. “If you don’t have any information, you don’t have that thing to grab your interest.” That attitude began to shift in 2002, when McCord took a sabbatical to Nantes, on France’s west coast. “I got to thinking about Ceres, and I learned that the people who had been doing the most careful orbit and mass determinations were at the University of Bordeaux, a two-hour drive to the south.” McCord went down and learned that researchers there had been able to make accurate estimates of Ceres’ density. Pure water has a density of 1 (measured in grams per cubic centimeter). A conventional dry asteroid, made of silicates with some iron mixed in, would have a density of 3 or 3.5; Vesta’s is thought to be in this range. Ceres has a density only slightly higher than 2. That means there is a lot of water in the mix.

McCord found the work of Christophe Sotin and his graduate students at the University of Nantes even more intriguing. Sotin had developed a computer model of how Saturn’s biggest moon, Titan, could have formed without its liquids boiling off. Although Titan is chemically very different from Ceres, it too contains a lot of water. Perhaps, thought McCord, some version of Sotin’s model could explain how Ceres could have formed with its water intact. “We began to see that it was easy for Ceres in the early, early history to have created a liquid ocean,” McCord says.

Here’s how the theory goes: In the early solar system, dust particles glommed together to form bigger dust particles, which formed pebbles, then rocks, and so forth, until they combined into an object up to several hundred miles in diameter. The original dust particles were made largely of silicates mixed with other materials, including water and aluminum 26, a radioactive isotope with a half-life of about 700,000 years. .’s just long enough to make a big difference in how an asteroid evolves. Vesta and most other asteroids, the theory goes, accreted quickly and accumulated a lot of aluminum 26 that had not yet decayed. The aluminum 26 produced so much heat inside the asteroid that any water evaporated into space. Ceres, by contrast, accreted more slowly, so by the time it formed, the aluminum 26 had already mostly burned itself out. As a result, Ceres retained most of its water—and a memory of the solar system’s original composition.

These findings ignited McCord’s interest in Ceres, to the point where “I kept demanding we go to Ceres first,” he says. Russell sympathizes. “If we had to pick which was the most interesting, Ceres or Vesta, it’s not clear which one would win,” he says.

The argument is moot: Vesta is closer than Ceres, and therefore it must be Dawn’s first stop. But Ceres may make the bigger headlines. Vesta seems like Mercury or the moon, writ on a smaller scale. Ceres is unique. Imaging of the surface may reveal whether there is indeed an ocean beneath an icy crust. Observing the surface should allow scientists to glean some idea of how the interior behaves—if there’s volcanic activity that could provide the heat to sustain life, for instance. Dawn’s spectrometer will be able to detect the presence of organic molecules.

Unfortunately, Dawn isn’t equipped to search for past or (dare we dream?) present life on Ceres. That would require penetrating the surface and taking and analyzing samples. “To detect life, you need a pretty sophisticated lab on the surface or in the interior or wherever the environment is,” McCord says. “That’s technically a major challenge and virtually impossible—nobody’s willing to spend the amount of money to do that.”

For now, at least. After Dawn’s visit, attitudes might change.

No one expects a 3-year-old who loves to dress like a princess to swear like a sailor.

But early exposure is not so uncommon. Who's to blame? Well, there's a pretty apt quote from a 1970 Pogo cartoon: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

The "us" are parents. . few weeks ago, I put a question out to hundreds of mothers on a local list-serv asking for anecdotes about the first time they heard their children use inappropriate words.

Many responses were similar to mom Julia Gordon of Silver Spring, Md. She was in her car, in a hurry and trying to park.

"The parking lot was crazy," says Gordon, a lawyer and mother of a four-year-old daughter. When someone sped into a parking space she had been waiting for, Gordon said under her breath, "He totally screwed me."

And a few minutes later, she heard her daughter parrot back the same phrase.

"I have to admit I did laugh at first," says Gordon. "Then I immediately stopped and told her, 'We don't say that word!'"

The Worst Swear Word of All

Psychologists say it's no surprise that children mimic words and phrases.

"That's just language learning. These words have no special status as taboo words," says Paul Bloom, Ph.D., of Yale University. "Learning they're taboo words is a later step."

Bloom explains that children are using words to communicate instinctively. They don't yet have the judgment to take a step back and think about whether a word is appropriate for a given situation.

Bloom remembers one day when his son Max, then 6, came home from school.

Max asked in a hushed voice: "Dad, do you know what the worst swear word of all is?"

His son then went on to explain that "damn" must be the worst. When Bloom asked why, his son said, "I listen to my babysitter talk on the phone, and she uses the 'f' word, and the 's' word, but she never says 'damn!'"

A study by the Parents Television Council found that about once an hour children watching popular children's networks will hear mild curse words such as "stupid," "loser" and "butt." The scope and frequency can rise immeasurably with exposure to adult programs and popular music.

As an experiment with his children, Bloom and his wife tried their hand at creating their own family curse words.

"So one of them was 'flep,'" says Bloom. Whenever someone would bang their foot or hurt their toe, they'd scream "flep" as if it were an obscenity.

The experiment was very short-lived.

"It was a total failure," says Bloom. "The children looked at us as if we were crazy."

The story gives one of Bloom's mentors, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, a chuckle.

"Children are far more influenced by peers," says Pinker. "That's why kids of immigrants end up with the accent of their peer group rather than their parents."

Particularly once they've entered elementary school.

When it comes to choosing words, our society has a bent toward novelty. Pinker explains we're forever coming up with new ways to express that things are "good" or "bad." He says there's always a little "semantic inflation" going on.

For instance, if members of Generation X hear a song they like, they may say, "It's awesome." A teen of today may say, "It's bitchin'." If the song is lousy, they may say, "It sucks."

"When I was a kid and you said something sucks," says Pinker, "it was pretty clear what sexual act they were referring back to." But today kids have no idea. The term is just part of their common language.

Frequent use, over time, has stripped away the original connotation. Pinker says the evolution of "sucks" is similar to that of "jerk" or "sucker."

"There is an assumption that 'sucks' was a reference to oral sex," explains Jesse Sheidlower, editor-at-large of the Oxford English Dictionary. . scholars debate this, but Sheidlower says perception is what matters.

"Suck" may sound edgy or obnoxious to middle-aged ears, but parents may be at a loss to explain why it's a bad word, especially to an 8- or 9-year-old. "It brings up a conversation you might not want to have right now," says Sheidlower.

Not everyone's on the same page about what constitutes offensive language. The boundaries of what's acceptable vary from community to community and family to family.

Some moms listen for attitude and intention in their children's words. Chevy Chase, Md., resident Sarah Pekkanen is the mother of two boys, ages 6 and 8, and she has found her dividing line.

"I would be much quicker to jump on my kid for saying an unkind thing," says Pekkanen, "even if he used perfect language to do so."

Pekkanen says a borderline phrase like, "it sucks," isn't as offensive if it's not intended to insult anyone.

A clear message about respect may be more fruitful than trying to police every word. By the time kids enter the teen world, swearing is almost a rite-of-passage.

"It's hard sometimes," says pediatrician Monika Walters. "As parents, you worry that they're going to grow up and be vagrants or a menace to society."

When parents like this come to see her or pull her aside after an office appointment, worried about vulgar words they spotted in their teens' text messages, she asks them to remember how they talked when they were 15.

Walters says if offensive language is part of a pattern of aggressive behavior, there's a problem. . in most cases, it's just the way teens salt their language.

"Obscenity is a sure ticket to adulthood," says Paul Bloom.

Or at least a way for teenagers to perceive that they sound older.

Bloom says he doesn't want to control the words his children choose to use with their friends. "That's part of growing up," he says.

Another part of growing up is knowing how to speak with adults and in formal situations. "So we'd like our children to grow up knowing when it's appropriate to use these words," Bloom says.

As most parents come to recognize, teaching good judgment is not a one-time event; it's a process.

Piaśnica Wielka (German: Groß Piasnitz; Kashubian: Wiôlgô Piôsznica) is a village in Poland in Puck rural commune, Puck County, Pomeranian Voivodeship.

In the forest next to the village during World War II, German Schutzstaffel executed about 12,000 people, mainly Polish and Kashubiann intelligentsia from Gdańsk Pomerania. Among the victims were approximately 1,200 mentally ill persons from local hospitals.

The mass executions began in October 1939 and lasted until April 1940. An exhumation of mass graves was carried after World War II in 1946. Out of total number of 35 graves, 30 were localised of which 26 were exhumed.
Only 305 bodies (in two mass graves) were found, the rest of the bodies was burnt by Germans in August-September 1944. Forced prisoners from Stutthof concentration camp were used to cover up the tracks and were later executed.

After World War I
o 1919: Treaty of Versailles, most of West Prussia (including Pomerelia or Gdańsk-Pomerania) becomes part of the Second Polish Republic
o 1939: Nazi Germany annexes the territories lost in 1919
o 1945: Soviet capture, Oder-Neisse line becomes new border between Poland and Germany, the historical duchy / province of Pomerania ceases to exist
o 1945/46: Pomeranian population form Farther and Eastern Hither Pomerania, except for Polish and Kashubs, is expelled to post-war Germany, as well as the German population of all other "German territories under Polish and Soviet control". The area is resettled and rebuilt by Polish who were expelled from Polish settlement areas annexed by the Soviets. Hither Pomerania without the Stettin/Szczeczin area and Wollin/Wolin was fused with Mecklenburg to form the (East-) German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the former Farther Pomeranian area is roughly represented by Polish West Pomerania

20,000 years ago the territory of present-day Pomerania was covered with ice, which did not start to recede until the late period of the Old Stone Age or Paleolithic some 10,000 years BC, when the Scandinavian glacier receded to the north. Various archaeological cultures developed in the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Iron Age.

Initially at least part of Pomerania was dominated by Baltic tribes. Since around 500BC and before 500 AD Pomerania was dominated by East Germanic tribes including several tribes of Goths, who according to archeological evidence and their own tradition have come from Scandinavia. Goths and Rugians are recorded by Roman historians in the areas of Pomerania in 98 AD. The Veneti, non-Germanic tribe, which later assimilated with Slavs, are recorded by Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder around Vistula in first century AD. By the 7th century Slavic tribes (Wends) such as the Pomeranians settled the area.

Pomerania was first conquered by the Polish duke Mieszko I in the second half of the 10th century.

Pagan uprisings in 1005 and 1038 resulted in independancy for Western Pomerania and Pomerelia, respectively. Regained by Poland in 1116/1121, the Polish could not hold the Pomeranian duchy longer than 1135, whereas Pomerelia after the 1138 partition of Poland among the sons of Boleslaus Wrymouth became a part of the Polish seniorat (see Map of Poland before the fragmentation period) which was declared fief of the Holy Roman Empire in 1156.

The Western part, the Duchy of Pomerania, was declared part of the Holy Roman Empire (1181). After a brief period of Danish rule (1168/1186-1227), it remained part of Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation until 1806.

The Eastern part, Pomerelia, which was directly part of Kingdom of Poland, was disputed by Brandenburg and conquered by the Teutonic Knights in 1309, becoming part of the Teutonic Order state. After the rebellion of the Prussian Confederation, it was then annexed by the Kingdom of Poland in 1466 as a province with considerable autonomy. This part of Pomerelia and Prussia was centuries later referred to as "Royal Prussia". In the Union of Lublin of 1569 the province agreed[citation needed] to sacrifice part of its autonomy to join the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as the new entity to unify lands of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

Since ~1200, a steady influx of German settlers had been arriving in Pomerania. One of the first recorded German settler came to Stettin (Szczecin) in 1187. Some rural parts of Pomerania were however still predominantly Slavic in character before the advent of Protestantism. Later though the duchy of Pomerania became German by ethnicity, language and culture, whereas Pomerelia still preserved a Slavic character.

In 1425, conflict with Brandenburg about the rule of the Uckermark and Pomerania resulted in a war of Brandenburg against Pomerania,
The total number of Kashubians varies depending on one's definition. A common estimate is that over 300,000 people in Poland are of the Kashubian ethnicity. The most extreme estimates are as low as 50,000 or as high as 500,000

In the Polish census of 2002, only 5,100 people declared Kashubian nationality, although 51,000 declared Kashubian as their native language. Most Kashubians declare Polish nationality and Kashubian ethnicity, and are considered both Polish and Kashubian. However, on the 2002 census there was no option to declare one nationality and a different ethnicity, or more than one nationality. Some claim that the census was misleading and inaccurate, or even falsified.

Kashubians are the direct descendants of an early Slavic tribe of Pomeranians who took their name from the land in which settled, Pomerania (from Polish Pomorze, "the land along the sea").
It is believed that the ancestors of Kashubians came into the region between the Odra and Vistula Rivers during the Migration Period. The oldest known mention of the name dates from the 13th century (a seal of Duke Barnim I of Pomerania), when they ruled areas around Szczecin (Kashubian: Szczecëno).

Another early mention of the Kashubians from the 13th century saw the Dukes of Pomerania including "Duke of Kashubia" in their titles. From the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, after the Thirty Years' War, parts of West Pomerania fell under Swedish rule, and the Swedish kings titled themselves "Dukes of Kashubia" from 1648 to the 1720s.

The Landtag parliament of the Kingdom of Prussia in Königsberg changed the official church language from Polish to German in 1843, but this decision was soon repealed. In 1858 Kashubians emigrated to Upper Canada and created the settlement of Wilno, in Renfrew County, Ontario, which still exists today. Kaszub immigrants founded St. Josaphat parish in Chicago's Lincoln Park community in the late 19th century. In the 1870s a fishing village was established in Jones Island in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by Kashubian and German immigrants. The two groups did not hold deeds to the land, however, and the government of Milwaukee evicted them as squatters in the 1940s, with the area soon after turned into industrial park.

Many Pomeranians in the former Duchy of Pomerania, most of them Lutheran Protestants (including the Slovincians), were Germanised between the 14th and 19th centuries in the wake of the Prussian political program of Germanisation. Some communities in Pomerelia (Eastern Pomerania) have survived and today regard themselves as Kashubians in modern Poland, although others were expelled by Poland's Communist government as "Germans" after World War II. Most Kashubians in Eastern Pomerania, unlike Slovincians and Pomeranian Slavic Wends, remain Roman Catholic. During the Treaty of Versailles, Kaszub activist Antoni Abraham in agitating for Cassubia's integration into Poland issued his famous quote Nie ma Kaszub bez Polonii a bez Kaszub Polski" which translates into English as- There is no Cassubia without Poland, and no Poland without Cassubia.

During the Second World War thousands of Kashubians were mass murdered by German forces, particularly those of higher education. The main place of executions was Piaśnica.

About 50,000 Kashubians speak Kashubian, a West Slavic language belonging to the Lechitic group of languages in northern Poland. Many Polish linguists formerly considered Kashubian to be a Polish dialect, though most now believe it is a separate Slavic language.

There are other traditional Slavic ethnic groups inhabiting Pomerania, such as the Kociewiacy, Borowiacy, Krajniacy and others. These dialects tend to fall between Kashubian and the Polish dialects of Greater Poland and Mazovia. This might indicate that they are not only descendants of ancient Pomeranians, but also of settlers who arrived to Pomerania from Greater Poland and Masovia in the Middle Ages.
However, this is only one possible explanation.

The earliest surviving example of written Kashubian is Martin Luther's 1643 Protestant catechism (with new editions in 1752 and 1828). Scientific interest in the Kashubian language was sparked by Mrongovius (publications in 1823, 1828) and the Russian linguist Hilferding (1859, 1862), later followed by Biskupski (1883, 1891), Bronisch (1896, 1898), Mikkola (1897), Nitsch (1903). Important works are S. Ramult's, Słownik jezyka pomorskiego, czyli kaszubskiego, 1893, and F. Lorentz, Slovinzische Grammatik, 1903, Slovinzische Texte, 1905, and Slovinzisches Wörterbuch, 1908.

The first activist of the Kashubian/East Pomeranian national movement was Florian Ceynowa. Among his accomplishments, he documented the Kashubian alphabet and grammar by 1879 and published a collection of ethnographic-historic stories of the life of the Kashubians (Skórb kaszébsko-slovjnckjé mòvé, 1866-1868). Another early writer in Kashubian was Hieronim Derdowski. The Young Kashubian movement followed, led by author Aleksander Majkowski, who wrote for the paper "Zrzësz Kaszëbskô" as part of the "Zrzëszincë" group. The group would contribute significantly to the development of the Kashubian literary language.

In 2005, Kashubian was for the first time made an official subject on the Polish matura exam (roughly equivalent to the English A-Level and French Baccalaureat). Despite an initial uptake of only 23 students,[citation needed] this development was seen as an important step in the official recognition and establishment of the language.

Today, in some towns and villages in northern Poland Kashubian is the second language spoken after Polish, and it is taught in regional schools.

Kashubian presently enjoys legal protection in Poland as an official minority language.

Disputes with Brandenburg continued. These were partially agreed at the Conference of Juterbog (1527) between Joachim I Nestor, Elector of Brandenburg, and the Duke of Pomerania. As the Protestant Reformation gathered pace, Pomerania also converted to Lutheranism, but the process was slower than in Brandenburg.

In 1637 the last of the Dukes of Pomerania, Boguslaw XIV, died without direct male successor. During the Thirty Years' War, King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden occupied Pomerania. In the negotiations between France, Brandenburg, and Sweden following the Northern War the Brandenburg diplomats Joachim Friedrich von Blumenthal and his son Christoph Caspar obtained the rights of succession for Brandenburg, though the argument with Sweden, especially over Hither Pomerania, continued to the end of the 17th century and beyond, until the Treaty of Stockholm in 1720.

Prussian noblemen began to acquire estates in Pomerania, while Pomeranian noblemen were integrated into Prussian society. Thus originally Wendish noble families such as the von Lettows, von Strelows, von Peglows, von Zitzewitzes and von Krockows intermarried with German families from Brandenburg such as the von Blumenthals, who possessed great estates at Quackenburg, Varzin, Dubberzin, Schlönwitz and elsewhere. By the nineteenth century Pomerania was mostly Germanised, and was a popular place of retirement for the well-to-do such as Bismarck, who bought Varzin.

After the first World War, Pomerelia (as West Prussia and Danzig (Gdansk)) came to Poland.
After the defeat of Germany in World War II in 1945, the Potsdam Conference placed most of Pomerania under Polish administration. The German population of the transferred territories fled, was expelled, or lost their lives. Some Germans were retained by Soviet authorities to do forced labour in the Soviet exclaves for a number of years after 1945. The now Polish parts of Pomerania were resettled with Poles.

October 31, 2006, fear is born with the launch of FEARnet, the worlds’ premiere destination for horror. The first multi-platform horror network, FEARnet will debut on demand, online and on mobile devices. Featuring the largest library of horror films, FEARnet will deliver fans uninterrupted FEAR 24/7

On Demand:

FEARnet ON DEMAND features approximately 200 titles a year with more than 70 hours of programming a month

* Programming: features the largest library of horror, thriller and suspense films includes short and long-form original films from slashers to psychological thrillers and “J-Horror”, a special section devoted to Japanese horror
* Spanish Programming: more than 10 hours of Spanish language programming a month
* High-definition: more than 25 hours a month


Explore the world of the macabre in’s video-rich environment packed with free movies, interactive community features and fresh original content

* Video: offers nine free feature-length films and 200 shorts for free streaming and more than 50 downloadable movies to buy or rent a month. With’s integrated video player, fans can simultaneously watch streaming video and chat or post to the community or read about its cast and crew without leaving the film
* Horror A-Z: enter the “Web of Fear” with this interactive database that allows users to explore all things horror and links film stars, movies, directors, producers
* News and Reviews: offers fans the latest industry happenings, interviews and film reviews
* Community: become a true FEARnet “victim” as you create a profile and chat with other fans in a user-focused community section

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

From the lofty deck of the Hiva Oa Hanakee Pearl Lodge, the only hotel on the remote South Pacific island of Hiva Oa, the view is of lush forest, crashing cobalt sea and, if it is morning, a very misty Mount Temetiu. Below and for miles beyond, nature runs wild: steep cliffs and deep valleys covered with luxuriant tropical vegetation. No reefs surround the island, allowing the sea to pile wildly onto the sandy, rocky shoreline. The only thing missing is ... people. Which is a good thing when you’re contemplating the idea of paradise, which I happened to be doing on a recent morning, my legs dangling in an infinity pool that seemed to spill into Hanakee Bay.

Oddly, the Marquesas were among the first South Pacific islands to be settled, and from their shores departed some of the greatest navigators of all time, those who went on to discover the rest of the so-called Polynesian triangle (Tahiti-Hawaii-Easter Island). The farthest Polynesian islands from Tahiti — 900 miles — the Marquesas have long been known as Te Henua Enata (Land of Men). Giant banyan trees cover steep slopes and hide the oldest tikis in French Polynesia, long-preceding their bigger siblings on Easter Island.

Also hidden beneath the thick overgrowth are stone remnants of houses built on high platforms, stone temples and ceremonial grounds where games were played and sacrifices made. Simultaneously lush, remote and breathtaking, it was these same scenes that lured such famous paradise seekers as Paul Gauguin, Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson and Thor Heyerdahl.

Only six of the 10 Marquesas are populated — Nuku Hiva, Ua Pou, Ua Huku, Hiva Oa, Tahuata and Fatu Hiva. Each is a paradise for hikers, bikers, surfers and canyoneers. Narrow dirt trails crisscross the islands, used mostly by hunters on horseback tracking wild pigs. The only sounds in the jungle are birdcalls and the distant roar of waterfalls, deep in the otherwise quiet, eerie lushness. Sand beaches ring the islands, though few roads lead to them.

The small number of Polynesians who do live here populate the river valleys, leaving the interiors mostly to wild horses, cattle and goats. Bird life is rich; the waters teem with lobsters, small fish and sharks. Hotter and drier than Tahiti, their very remoteness has preserved the Marquesas in a day and age when a few islands in French Polynesia risk being over-visited. A couple of the islands can be reached by Air Tahiti several times a week, a few by cargo boat and passing cruise ships every couple of weeks and increasingly by private sailboats. They are hardly off limits, but you have to want to get there.

Sitting in a wooden deck chair on a recent morning, Gérard Bourgogne, a former concert flutist and part-time computer hacker, and now general manager of the 14-bungalow Hiva-Oa Hanakee Pearl Lodge, thought out loud as we admired the view: “Crossword puzzle champions would find this place perfect. So would adventure caperers. What about advertising it to infertile couples looking for the ultimate romantic hideaway? I can see the advertisement: ‘No better place in the world to truly relax!’ Why not yoga instructors and their classes? They should all come!”

While the lack of people is good for misanthropes like myself, it’s obviously tough on innkeepers.

Thanks to Paul Gauguin’s tempestuous relationship with the island, Hiva Oa may be the best known of the Marquesas. Or maybe now it is Nuka Hiva, thanks to having been host of the fourth season of “Survivor.” It is the biggest of the islands, formed by two volcanoes resting on top of each another, and in 1842 was the first island to be spied from a whaler by Herman Melville, who wrote it was “a country that no description could fit the beauty.”

Several jagged volcanic peaks mark the diamond-shaped Ua Pou, its tiny offshore islets home to millions of seabirds. It is also home to the chain’s most active artist colony, mostly wood carvers and bone necklace makers. Ua Huku is crescent-shaped, home to more goats and wild horses than people (just 575). Fatu Hiva is the southernmost in the chain. Thor Heyerdahl lived here for about a year (1937-38) and wrote a book about his experience; today the local women still make umuhei — aromatic bouquets, which they wear in their hair as aphrodisiacs — and scented necklaces made from sandalwood.

Hiva Oa was once home to 130,000; today fewer than 1,900 people are scattered through the deep valleys and in a half-dozen small villages scattered around its perimeter. Houses are of painted wood and the landscape is as primitive as it was 1,200 years ago. A long, crescent-shaped beach fronts the biggest town of Atuona, which hasn’t changed much since Gauguin built his House of Pleasure in its center.

On a hot, dry morning I follow the beach past Atuona and walk four miles to Taaoa, where a sizable tohua (temple) has been restored. Eight-foot-tall marae and tiki made from basalt still hide in the lush forest, mostly hidden. At one time 12,000 people lived in this valley, thus the elaborate temple and sacrificial grounds. This day the sounds are of crowing cocks and a road crew’s jackhammer. Human sacrifice has been replaced by worship in a mix of Roman Catholic, Protestant, Mormon and Jehovah’s Witness churches.

If one single thing is responsible for French Polynesia’s enduring reputation as paradise, it is the paintings of Gauguin, who moved to Hiva Oa in 1901 after wearing out his welcome on several other Polynesian islands.

Louis J. Sheehan
Filled with grace and mystery, they were mostly of an imagined place, a paradise that did not exist, featuring languorous women smiling into the distance, horses grazing in vanilla groves and baskets overflowing with breadfruit and bananas. A short walk from either the beach or the stone temple into the heart of Atuona delivers me to the doorstep of one of history’s most infamous paradise seekers.

The two-story, A-frame house is constructed from woven bamboo. Carved around its wooden door frame are erotic figures and the words “Be Mysterious” and “Be in Love.” The name of the house is carved above its entrance: Maison de Jouir. House of Pleasure, Sexual Pleasure.

A dozen wide steps lead up to the second level, the one big room where Paul Gauguin (locally known as Koke) lived and painted. A large window looks out over an open well; Gauguin kept a bamboo rod with a fishing line nearby, to raise and lower cups of cold water from the well to add to his absinthe. Gone are the pornographic photos he kept on the walls, and his collection of walking sticks with carved phallic heads. It was here he gave grand fetes, fed by cases of wine and bonbons bought from passing cargo boats.

Gauguin is buried on a hillside above the house, in a small field that looks over the ocean. It is a scene depicted in some of his last paintings. To his headstone is chained a copy of one of his carved statues, called Oviri, or Savage. He was not popular here when he died; in fact he was readying to serve a three-month sentence for libeling a local policeman.

Hiva Oa was Gauguin’s last gasp and things did not go well for him here. Never one to win friends easily, during the years he lived here he openly mocked the Catholic missionaries in a remote French colony governed by the church. He died in his House of Pleasure with a bad heart, failing eyes, morphine-addicted, leprous and syphilitic and soon to become one of the world’s greatest and best-known artists. To his ultimate chagrin, the fame part came mostly posthumously.

Two days later, thanks to the modern convenience of small aircraft, I found myself hiking remote trails on Nuka Hiva. Each morning I set out from the center of the main town of Taiohae, having asked directions from various locals the night before. I found it difficult to find a consensus when it came to simple questions like, “How far is it?” For example, the morning I decided to follow a trail to the far side of the island and a small community at Taipivai, I was told it would take all day to reach the white sand beaches at Controller Bay. It takes about four hours.

Outfitters and the government on Nuka Hiva have committed to cutting a trail system across the island in recent years, in part due to the economic kick in the pants the “Survivor” show brought to the island. The trails exist thanks to decades of wild pig, horse and hunter’s traffic; the idea — fomented by a local tour company called Marquises Rando — is to expand them into more accessible walkways without using much modern technology. Why introduce cement and steel when acacia or coconut tree trunks tied together work just as well as bridges, and volcanic rocks are perfect for bordering footpaths? The idea is to open up the mountains to visitors, creating options from six-hour round-trip walks to two-day treks with camps in between.

The diversity of walks is incredible. One morning I hire a small boat to carry me to a trailhead that leads to the Ahuii waterfall, which plunges 1,100 feet from high in the dense jungle. It’s a two-hour walk that involves a couple of thigh-high river crossings and ends with a swim in the eel-laden pool beneath the falls, and passes a handful of crumbling, thousand-year-old stone platforms along the way. On the opposite side of the island, just up from the beach is the Hikokua tohua where a dozen tikis watch over a grass-covered field once used for games and human sacrifices. Near the beach the biggest modern-day landmark is a sizable beige church and a restaurant big enough to feed the one hundred-plus passengers who arrive by cruise boat every few weeks for a lobster feast.

My last hike on Nuka Hiva is up and over a steep, 600-foot-tall pass from the village of Taipivai to a sand beach at Anaho, past stands of wild vanilla and fields of wild horses. The white beach is studded with smooth black boulders, a rare reef slowing the crashing of waves making it perfect for a swim. A solitary man lives in a fishing shack and waves me over to sample some dried fish and coconut milk.

A half-dozen big dogs lie in the shade of palms, several wooden fishing boats and a plastic kayak sit overturned.

As we talk, hiding from the midday sun, I ask for his definition of paradise. Without pause he says simply: “Wherever I am. And on most days, I am right here!”

Options traders took bullish positions in several potash companies Wednesday after the major producers announced a deal to sell their product, a potassium compound used in fertilizer, to a Chinese company for more than triple last year's price.

Trading in Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan jumped to an all-time high, with market players picking up 67,000 call contracts that allow them to buy the stock and 45,000 put contracts that allow them to sell, according to Track Data.

Several traders took bets that Potash Corp. stock will climb an additional 2% before Friday, when April options expire. They congregated around April $200 calls, which are priced at $2.65 and make money if Potash Corp. goes above $202.65.

Potash Corp. rose 7.5% to $198.26 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, after making dramatic gains over the past several months. At this time last year, the company's shares were trading around $60.

Options traders also expected more long-term increases in Potash Corp. They picked up large volumes of May $190 calls that are priced at $18.50 and make money if Potash Corp. climbs above $208.50 by next month.

Traders also took big positions in Potash Corp. put contracts, which imply bearish sentiments. Those market players could be "long" on the underlying stock and buying the puts to protect themselves against downward moves, said Paul Foster, a strategist with That, or traders think the stock has rallied too high and is poised for a decline.

Potash Corp. and two other companies that produce potash -- a term covering several potassium compounds used in fertilizer -- announced Wednesday that they had struck a deal with China's Sinofert Holdings Ltd. to sell their product for $576 a ton, a $400-a-ton increase over the 2007 price. They secured a higher price as global food demands rise and potash supplies tighten.

"To get a major Chinese importer to agree to a tripling of the price says that these companies are in the catbird seat," said Rebecca Engmann Darst, an equity options analyst with Interactive Brokers. "They're sitting on a product that is richly desired."

Options traders also pounced on Mosaic Co. and Agrium Inc., two other major potash producers.

In Mosaic, they picked up April $135 call contracts that are priced at $3.40 and make money if Mosaic shares rise to $138.40 before Friday. Mosaic ended Wednesday's session at $136.82, up 7.2%.

In Agrium, traders congregated around April $90 calls that are priced at 80 cents and make money if Agrium climbs above $90.80. Agrium closed at $87.12, up 10%.

He was old, aloof and tough. During a brawl with another rabbit, Bongo lost a dime-size piece of his ear. His first home is unknown. His second was an animal shelter in rural Pennsylvania that reached rabbit overload and transferred him to another shelter here called Animal Friends.

Animal Friends takes abused, neglected and unwanted animals and tries to find them families. That can be challenging. Who wants a banged-up old rabbit? Or elderly cats and dogs that have thinning fur, missing teeth, cataracts and arthritic hips?

"A lot of folks aren't willing to adopt an older animal," says Ann Cadman, health and wellness coordinator at the shelter. "I had one woman say, 'Why would I want a used animal?' "

Ms. Cadman, who has adopted several elderly dogs, says they are affectionate and attentive. she needed a way to persuade other people to adopt old animals, of which there are many at the shelter.

Some have been left by people who move, want a younger pet, or are overwhelmed by age-related maladies. A good number of the older rabbits were bought as Easter bunnies for small children. Months pass. The novelty wears off, and the cuddly little critters turn into rabbits, weighing up to 25 pounds if they are Flemish, that can bite if they don't want to be held. Animal Friends is a no-kill shelter, so once an animal arrives, it stays there or in foster care until it is adopted.

Ms. Cadman had an idea: Form an exclusive society for people who adopt older pets, by which she means dogs more than five years old and cats over six. Rabbits are considered old at three.

Members would get discounts on pet jewelry and apparel at the shelter boutique. They would be honored with a proclamation suitable for framing, and they are invited to coffee klatches.

Ms. Cadman decided to call the group the Red Collar Society, after the well-known Red Hat Society, in which women over 50 glory in being middle-aged. "Both societies see age as something to celebrate," says Ms. Cadman.

Ms. Cadman's Red Collar Society appears to be effective. Since it was formed last April, more than 300 older cats, dogs and rabbits have been adopted from the shelter.

Members say older pets have distinct advantages. They are loving, calm, don't nip or insist on playing fetch. They don't gnaw as much on furniture and are good at visiting hospitals, nursing homes and elementary schools. Children with reading problems, for instance, will read aloud to Jazz, a seven-year-old black poodle, because he listens quietly and uncritically.

Maureen Pfeifer joined the Red Collar Society after adopting Erma, a Dalmatian somewhere between eight and 10 years old. Erma had a cloudy eye, bad teeth, a heart murmur and a tumor. A family had taken her but brought her back because she had too many things wrong with her.

"I always started with puppies and wanted another dog," says Ms. Pfeifer, who also has a seven-year-old dog that is in better health but getting creaky. "I love the idea of not having to house train. Erma knows basic commands already. It's really a lot easier."

Older animals available for adoption are advertised in the shelter newsletter, as well as in other local publications. Featured recently was T-Bone, a white seven-year-old cat originally from Egypt who responds to whistles just like a dog would, and Chester, a five-year-old coonhound who has a pleasing temperament and likes treats.

Wayne Croushore saw a picture of Bongo the rabbit and thought he might be good company for his other rabbit, Perkins, Perky for short. Mr. Croushore, 77 years old, adopted Bongo last year and became a Red Collar Society member. The retired insurance consultant has had pets all his life, including beagle puppies, which are cute but need housebreaking and obedience school. A few years ago, Mr. Croushore discovered rabbits and liked them as pets. "They're kind of like scotch, an acquired taste," he says.

Far more interesting than he imagined, they growl when they are unhappy. Some cry and grind their teeth. Their personalities vary. Perky is just that. Bongo is rakish -- tough, aggressive and independent, like a one-legged pirate, Mr. Croushore says. Buddy, his first rabbit, who has since died, came up the steps at 11 every night to have his ears scratched. Buddy's ashes are in a white ceramic dish on a shelf in Mr. Croushore's basement.

The key to making these relationships work is education. There's a class at Animal Friends on geriatric cats taught by a feline-massage therapist.

Red Collar members can attend monthly programs on bonding and estate planning. Mr. Croushore has arranged for Bongo and Perkins to be taken care of by Animal Friends if they outlive him.

There are downsides. Elderly pets can have expensive medical problems, such as strokes and failing vision. Glaucoma drops can cost $90. Older pets need to be taken out more at night. Aging rabbits need dental work. Geriatric pets need low-impact exercise. Fat and calories need to be watched in their diets. Older animals can become disoriented. An Australian study published in the Journal of Small Animal Practice reported that 28% of cats aged 11 to 14 develop at least one geriatric-onset behavioral problem, such as forgetfulness. This rises to over half of cats 15 years of age and older.

Mary Soukup, a retired teacher, provides foster care to the sickest older animals at Animal Friends, nursing them until they can be adopted. She often cares for dogs showing signs of dementia. She watches for telltale symptoms, such as going into a corner and being unable to get out. She is an unofficial Red Collar Society member because she hasn't officially adopted a pet, but she takes care of many. She currently has two: Bagel the beagle, a 12-year-old with arthritis, and 16-year-old Hercules, a Yorkshire terrier, who is blind.

She and the two dogs attended a recent coffee klatch. Over refreshments, Ms. Soukup and other owners traded tips. A fish-oil tablet, good for the heart and coat, is eagerly gobbled up by dogs if it is wrapped in salami. Pets at the social gathering traded stares and sniffs.

Old pets can learn new tricks, some society members say. Katie Tontala points to her 11-year-old cat, Karma, whom she adopted last year.

Karma is deaf and thus can't hear a can being opened; most cats know that the sound means dinner is served. Ms. Tontala taught Karma sign language. She puts her fingers to her mouth and taps her lips. Karma comes.

The failure of diplomacy to stop Iran’s nuclear program became obvious this week, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed the installation of 6,000 new centrifuges at the country’s main uranium enrichment complex. His announcement was accompanied by the now customary assertion that outsiders can do nothing to stop Iran from fulfilling its nuclear destiny.

Once, not so long ago, this kind of boast would elicit clear American declarations that Iran would never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Everything, President Bush would say ominously, is on the table. This time he has been quiet. I wish I believed that it is the quiet before a storm of laser-guided action. It seems more likely that it is the abashed silence of an American president whose bluff has been called in front of the entire world.

Washington’s performance should concern anyone who cares about long-term American influence in the Islamic world. But for Israel (and Israel’s supporters), this is an urgent problem. It is Israel, after all, that has been set by the Iranian leadership as the target for annihilation.

In response to the news from Iran, some supporters of Israel have started to suggest that the failed efforts at prevention be replaced by assured American deterrence: any Iranian nuclear attack on Israel would be treated as an attack on the United States. Charles Krauthammer, a Washington Post columnist, recently referred to this as “the Holocaust doctrine.”

From Israel’s perspective, the thought is tempting — but it’s not realistic.

In 1981, Israeli planes destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak. The world’s reaction was harshly critical. Even the Reagan administration, usually a close ally, denounced the operation.

Prime Minister Menachem Begin was undaunted by the fury. At a press conference in Jerusalem he announced that he felt obligated to do anything in his power to stop Israel’s enemies from getting their hands on means of mass killing.

Begin mentioned the Holocaust; it was never far from his mind. But his primary focus was strategic, not historical. Israel was no different from any other country. It would bear the ultimate responsibility for its own security.

Begin was right. Here’s why:

First, in exchange for assistance, Washington would naturally (and rightly) demand a very strong say in Israeli policies. A misstep, after all, could embroil it in a nuclear exchange. Within a very short time, Israel’s sovereignty and autonomy would come to resemble Minnesota’s. is not a bad thing if your country happens to border Iowa. It works less well in Israel’s neighborhood.

I’m not questioning American friendship. But even friendship has practical limits. Presidents change and policies change. George W. Bush, the greatest friend Israel has had in the White House, hasn’t been able to keep a (relatively easier) commitment to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. It is a good thing that Israel didn’t build its deterrence on that commitment.

What’s more, it is fair to say that Israel is not a weak country. It has developed a powerful set of strategic options. In the best case, it would be able to act on its own to degrade and retard the Iranian nuclear program as it did in Iraq (and, more recently, Syria). In a worse case, if the Iranians do get the bomb, Iranian leaders might be deterred by rational considerations. If so, Israel’s own arsenal — and its manifest willingness to respond to a nuclear attack — ought to suffice.

If, on the other hand, the Iranian leadership simply can’t resist the itch to “wipe Israel off the map” — or to make such a thing appear imminent — then it would be up to Israel to make its own calculations. What is the price of 100,000 dead in Tel Aviv? Or twice that? The cost to Iran would certainly be ghastly. It would be wrong for Israel to expect other nations to shoulder this moral and geopolitical responsibility.

Don’t misunderstand. It would be a noble thing for the United States to support Israel’s efforts to stop an Iranian bomb or, if it comes to that, to back Israel’s response to an attack. But no country can rely on the kindness of others.

Next month Israel celebrates its 60th Independence Day. Sovereignty comes with a price. Israel’s willingness to pay it is the only Holocaust doctrine that it can really rely on.

When the idea for a new drug-delivery company called BIND Biosciences Inc. started percolating in a lab here four years ago, venture capitalists quickly offered to invest.

One moneyman, though, had an inside track: Terry McGuire, a partner with nearby Polaris Venture Partners. Mr. McGuire was familiar with BIND's nano-particle technology to treat tumors and heart disease. He's also a friend, and frequent business partner, of Robert Langer, the decorated scientist who runs the Massachusetts Institute of Technology lab. That relationship often gives Polaris first dibs on cutting-edge medical technology developed there.

Together, Messrs. McGuire and Langer have launched 13 companies over the past 15 years and become a model for other venture capitalists scrambling to commercialize new drug and medical-device research. Dr. Langer, 59 years old, holds more than 600 patents and supplies the science; Mr. McGuire, 52, fine-tunes the business. Some of Mr. McGuire's work with Mr. Langer was described in a 2005 Harvard Business School case study called, "The Langer Lab: Commercializing Science."

"I don't think either one of them would have been as successful without the other," says Andrey Zarur, a bioscience investor with Kodiak Venture Partners who is familiar with Dr. Langer's lab.

Other serial "academic entrepreneurs" have teamed up with VCs to launch bioscience companies. They include Harvard professor George Whitesides, who helped start biotech giant Genzyme Corp. and drug company Theravance Inc., and Stanford ophthalmologist Mark Blumenkranz, whose research helped launch OptiMedica Corp., which is developing new technology to treat eye disease. Dr. Blumenkranz joined with venture capitalist Brook Byers on OptiMedica, and "we're working on another project together," says Mr. Byers, a partner at venture firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.
But few venture capitalists have been as successful as Mr. McGuire in cultivating one scientist as a source of deals.

Hooking up with a prolific university inventor is important in bioscience investing because most health-related start-ups, unlike information-technology companies, are born in academia. The technology is complex, and investors say they prefer to work with a longtime partner they can trust.

Mr. McGuire first sought out Dr. Langer, a wiry chemical engineer, in the early 1990s after hearing about his research into drug delivery and "regenerative medicine," or techniques to rebuild human tissue and organs. One early big hit came in 1997, when they co-founded, with another Langer protege, Advanced Inhalation Research Inc. The company, which devised a novel way to deliver large-molecule drugs via the lungs, was sold for $113 million in stock 18 months later; Polaris made nearly 10 times its money, and Dr. Langer profited as a significant shareholder of AIR.

Since then, the two have teamed up on other drug-related start-ups like Pulmatrix Inc., which is developing inhalable aerosols for respiratory disease, and Tempo Pharmaceuticals Inc., which uses nanotechnology to create new drugs. Of the 13 investments, two companies went public and three were acquired.

Dr. Langer has a knack for understanding which lab projects can be commercialized and which are better left to scientific journals, Mr. McGuire says. Researchers who have worked for Dr. Langer say he is a talented manager who hires smart graduate students and gives them leeway to pursue their interests, whether they lie in stem-cell research, tissue generation or drug delivery.

Mr. McGuire, meanwhile, helps the scientist-entrepreneurs in Dr. Langer's lab develop business plans, target potential markets and recruit managers. He also helps them negotiate partnerships with bigger companies and sometimes lends them spare offices at Polaris's headquarters.

Polaris is often the first place Dr. Langer and his researchers turn when they're considering starting a company. Sometimes, "when we end up doing deals, it's a 20-second phone call," Dr. Langer says.

Proteges of the men now collaborate as well. BIND began with research by Omid Farokhzad, a researcher in Dr. Langer's lab who was trying to engineer nano-particles to deliver drugs to specific sites in the body. He sought advice from Amir Nashat, a Polaris partner who had also worked in Dr. Langer's lab. Mr. Nashat met Polaris's Mr. McGuire through Dr. Langer.

Then Mr. McGuire stepped in, helping Mr. Farokhzad negotiate a license for his technology from MIT. Mr. McGuire also helped the company find a lawyer and recruited BIND's chief executive, Glenn Batchelder. "Before there was even a company, we tried to be helpful," Mr. McGuire says.

BIND spurned an investment offer from another venture-capital firm and, last year, took $2.5 million in funding from Polaris and Flagship Ventures, of Cambridge. In November, it raised another $16 million. BIND now has 21 employees, and a partnership with a big pharmaceutical company, which it declined to name.

The policy alternatives in the post-housing-bubble world are painfully unpleasant. In my view, the least bad option is for the Federal Reserve to print money to help stabilize housing prices and financial markets. Yes, use reflation to soften the pain for Main Street and Wall Street. If instead we let housing prices fall another 25%-30% – as predicted by the Case-Shiller Home Price Index – it's almost certain that Washington will end up nationalizing the mortgage business.

So far, the Fed's lending programs have not provided adequate liquidity to financial markets: Reserves supplied to the banking system have grown at a tiny 0.6% annual rate since December. That's because the reserves the Fed is injecting by lending are effectively pulled out or "sterilized" by its sales of Treasury securities. The Fed has been selling these securities to keep the fed funds rate at the level targeted by its Federal Open Market Committee directives.

Congress and the Treasury have proposed voluntary measures to help mortgage borrowers, but the impact on mortgage availability has been nil. As average house prices plummet – declining at a 23% annual rate over the three months ending in January – lenders are sharply curtailing access to mortgage-based, home-equity loans. The 15% of U.S. mortgage holders with negative equity in their homes have no access to credit, and 20% with marginal equity have limited access at best. Overall access to credit is contracting: Ask Americans trying to utilize home-equity lines or arrange student loans.

Meanwhile, the collapse of house prices and the attendant damage to credit markets have become so severe that the Fed has been forced to create new policy measures at a fast clip, including the radical decision to take $30 billion worth of Bear Stearns' risky mortgages onto its own balance sheet, and to open the discount window to investment banks.

The bottom line is this: The Fed could have watched a run on investment banks quickly turn into a run on commercial banks, or protected the creditors of investment banks (like the depositors of commercial banks) at the expense of Bear Stearns' shareholders. The Fed wisely chose the second alternative.

Still, the Fed's intervention has done no more than buy a respite from the crisis in the financial markets. The monetary easing I'm recommending can occur by having the Fed print money to purchase mortgages directly, or purchase Treasury securities directly. The latter is probably more desirable because it adds higher-quality assets to the Fed's balance sheet. The Bank of Japan was also forced to reflate by printing money in 2001, after two years of a zero interest-rate policy failed to lift the economy out of a prolonged recession that had moved Japan to the brink of a deflationary crisis.

Fed reflation – to slow the fall in home prices and alleviate the distress for households and lenders – carries many risks. But the alternative is to struggle with a patchwork of inadequate efforts to shore up mortgage markets, while the Fed sticks to its current tactic of pegging the fed funds rate without increasing the money supply. This, I would submit, is even more risky. It risks a severe recession that will only intensify the drive for reregulation of financial and mortgage markets after the election.

Printing money is a radical step that enables the Fed to stop pegging the federal-funds rate and start increasing market liquidity directly. In any event, there is substantial evidence that the fed funds rate has been well above the equilibrium level. One piece of evidence is the accelerating deterioration in credit markets and the real economy that ensued even while the Fed cut the rate. Even more compelling, consider the sharp widening of the gap between the fed funds rate and the yield on three-month Treasury bills.

That gap, usually close to zero, measures the intensity of demand for riskless assets relative to the Fed's target rate in the interbank market. At the time of the Bear Stearns crisis on March 16, the fed funds rate was an extraordinary 250 basis points above yields on three-month Treasurys. This corresponded to a "10 sigma," or ten-times-the-typical deviation from the mean event. Statistically, 2 or 3 sigma is a very unusual event suggesting, in this case, an unusually strong preference for riskless T-bills. Four or 5 sigma represents a serious risky event, and 10 sigma is an outright panic. Based on this gap criterion, the August 2007 crisis onset was a 5-sigma event, while the October 1998 LTCM crisis and the 1987 stock market crash were each 4-sigma events. This suggests that even at those earlier times of crisis there was less fear as expressed by a run into riskless Treasurys.
Louis J Sheehan
Ominously, after dipping close to 5 sigma after the Bear Stearns crisis, the gap has crept back above 6 sigma.

The Fed should announce its intention to add to its holding of Treasury securities in order to provide additional liquidity. It should cease pegging the fed funds rate while this policy is in effect. While there is no guarantee, direct injection of money holds some promise of alleviating the worst of the credit crisis. This means that, after the election, Congress will not feel justified in nationalizing mortgage markets.

While there is a substantial risk that inflation may rise for a time – this would be the policy goal – monetization is more easily reversible than nationalization of the mortgage market. Meanwhile, Fed officials concerned about inflation should rethink their view that it is impossible to identify an asset bubble before it bursts.

The postbubble period has yielded some very unattractive policy alternatives. They clearly underscore the rationale for having the Fed target asset prices – in a world where asset markets affect the real economy more than the real economy affects asset markets.

Most discussions about the rising cost of health care emphasize the need to get more people insured. The assumption seems to be that insurance – rather than the service delivered by doctor to patient – is the important commodity.

But perhaps the solution to much of what currently plagues us in health care – rising costs and bureaucracy, diminishing levels of service – rests on a radically different approach: fewer people insured.

You don't need to be an economist to understand that any middleman interposed between seller and buyer raises the price of a given service or product. Some intermediaries justify this by providing benefits, such as salesmanship, advertising or transport. Others offer physical facilities, such as warehouses. A third group, organized crime, utilizes fear and intimidation to muscle its way into the provider-consumer chain, raking in hefty profits and bloating cost, without providing any benefit at all.

The health insurance model is closest to the parasitic relationship imposed by the Mafia and the like. Insurance companies provide nothing other than an ambiguous, shifty notion of "protection." But even the Mafia doesn't stick its nose into the process; once the monthly skim is set, Don Whoever stays out of the picture, but for occasional "cost of doing business" increases. When insurance companies insinuate themselves into the system, their first step is figuring out how to increase the skim by harming the people they are allegedly protecting through reduced service.

Insurance is all about betting against negative consequences and the insurance business model is unique in that profits depend upon goods and services not being provided. Using actuarial tables, insurers place their bets. Sometimes even the canniest MIT grads can't help: Property and casualty insurers have collapsed in the wake of natural disasters.

Health insurers have taken steps to avoid that level of surprise: Once they affix themselves to the host – in this case dual hosts, both doctor and patient – they systematically suck the lifeblood out of the supply chain with obstructive strategies. For that reason, the consequences of any insurance-based health-care model, be it privately run, or a government entitlement, are painfully easy to predict. There will be progressively draconian rationing using denial of authorization and steadily rising co-payments on the patient end; massive paperwork and other bureaucratic hurdles, and steadily diminishing fee-recovery on the doctor end.

Some of us are old enough to remember visiting the doctor and paying him/her directly by check or cash. You had a pretty good idea going in what the service was going to cost. And because the doctor had to look you in the eye – and didn't need to share a rising chunk of his profits with an insurer – the cost was likely to be reasonable. The same went for hospitals: no $20 aspirins due to insurance-company delay tactics and other shenanigans. Few physicians became millionaires, but they lived comfortably, took responsibility for their own business model, and enjoyed their work more.

Several years ago, I suffered a sports injury that necessitated an MRI. The "fee" for a 20-minute procedure was over $3,000. My insurance company refused to pay, so I informed the radiologist that I'd be footing the bill myself. Immediately, the "fee" was cut by two thirds. And the doctor was tickled to get it.

A few highly technical and complex procedures that need to amortize the purchase of extremely expensive hardware will be out of reach for any but the wealthiest patient. For that extremely limited category, insurance might work. A small percentage of indigent individuals won't be able to afford even low-cost procedures. For them, government-funded county facilities are the answer, because any decent society takes care of the weakest among us. But a hefty proportion of health-care services – office visits, minor surgeries – would be affordable to most Americans if the slice of the health-care dollar that currently ends up in the coffers of insurance companies was eliminated.

When I was in practice as a psychologist, I discussed fees up front with prospective patients, prior to their initial visit. People appreciated knowing what to expect and my bad debt rate was less than 1%. That allowed me to keep my charges reasonable and, on occasion, to lower them for less fortunate patients.
And I loved my job because I was free to concentrate on what I went to school for: helping people, rather than filling out incomprehensible forms designed to discourage me from filing them in the first place.

Physicians and other providers need to liberate themselves from the Faustian bargain they've cut with the Mephistophelian suits who now run their professional lives. Because many doctors are loath to talk about money, they allowed themselves to perpetuate the fantasy that "insurance is paying." It isn't. There is no free lunch and no free physical exam.

If substantial numbers of health-care providers shook off the insurance monkey on their back, en masse, and the supply of providers was substantially increased by opening more medical schools, the result would be a more honest, cost-effective system benefiting everyone. Except the insurance companies.

On a recent balmy Sunday, John and Cindy McCain hosted the national press corps at their ranch here. Mrs. McCain's touches were evident -- the ceiling fans hung from tree branches, the art of their children displayed on the cabin's walls, the Budweiser beer tap from her family's business.
Dogs she has adopted ran about.
Cindy McCain regularly introduces her husband at events, but often retreats when her duties are done.

Showing off his barbecue skills, Sen. McCain pulled sizzling ribs off the grill and dispensed them on the sweeping porch. Mrs. McCain, in skinny jeans with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, stood nearby and just smiled.

The 53-year-old wife of Sen. McCain doesn't seek the limelight. While the picture-perfect Mrs. McCain regularly introduces her husband at campaign events, she often retreats after her duties are done, donning her fully loaded iPod and typing away on her silver BlackBerry.

"The campaign gets to be a little too much for me," she said in an interview. "I take some time off occasionally...and then I get back out."

As the wife of the expected Republican nominee, Mrs. McCain will face intensifying scrutiny. Both of Sen. McCain's potential opponents have high-profile spouses who have assumed very public roles in the campaigns -- and have at times undergone fierce criticism and media attention.

The pressure already has begun. Recently, Mrs. McCain faced the press with Sen. McCain to deny news reports that her husband of 28 years had an affair with a lobbyist.

Although she says she wants to be a "traditional" first lady, Mrs. McCain has led a life that by any measure has been untraditional.

She heads one of the nation's largest beer distributorships, an Anheuser-Busch Cos. franchise inherited from her father. She has sported "MS BUD" on her license plate, and from the campaign trail she uses her BlackBerry and cellphone to oversee this region's rollout of Bud Lite Lime and to expand her corporate empire.

Last month, while Sen. McCain was touring Europe and Iraq to show his foreign-policy credentials, Mrs. McCain flew into postwar Kosovo on a mission to clear land mines. It was the latest of several trips she has made in recent years as part of a detonation team. She also supports the charity arranging the trips by serving on its board and making donations.

"Cindy is a private person with her own stresses and commitments -- apart from her public role in John's campaign," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close friend of the McCains. "She juggles bowling balls."

Sen. McCain, 71, calls his wife "a real trooper." After knee-replacement surgery following a fall in a grocery store a few months ago, Mrs. McCain, always meticulously dressed and coiffed even on crutches, quickly hit the trail. "Sometimes when we get in bed at night, I hear her groan" from the pain, the senator said in an interview.

When John McCain met his future wife, Cindy Hensley was a 24-year-old only child on vacation with her parents. In Phoenix, she had been her high school's rodeo queen, sporting a cowboy hat complete with a crown. After earning education degrees at the University of Southern California (which Sen. McCain has called "University of Spoiled Children"), she became a special-needs teacher.

She also got involved in the beer distributorship started by her father. Art Pearce, who worked at his own family's company, a Coors distributor in Phoenix, frequently ran into her at industry events. "You could tell by her air that she was very proud of her family's business," Mr. Pearce said.

Her focus shifted as soon as she met John McCain, a dashing Navy officer in his dress whites, at a cocktail party in Hawaii, where she was vacationing with her parents. They had "instant chemistry," Mrs. McCain has said. She didn't know he had been a prisoner of war in Vietnam for five years. She has said that they both lied about their ages: He said he was four years younger; she said she was three years older.

At the time, Sen. McCain was separated from his first wife, with whom he had a daughter. He had adopted his wife's two sons. After a divorce, he married Cindy Hensley in 1980.
Having signed a prenuptial agreement that her assets would remain separate, he left the Navy to join her father's business, Hensley & Co., as a public-relations manager for $50,000 a year. His young wife brought home much more from company distributions.

Her family provided some of the funding when he ran for Congress in 1982. After his election, the couple began a commuter marriage, with Mrs. McCain staying in Phoenix to raise their growing family.

"We really feel that one of the smartest things we ever did was have our kids grow up in Arizona," Sen. McCain said recently on the trail. "It's very tough to be a relative of a politician in Washington, because of the fishbowl effect." Although the commuter marriage continues to this day, Sen. McCain said the family took two vacations together every year and Mrs. McCain "is the one that always made that happen."

In 2000, when Mrs. McCain's father died, she inherited the beer distributorship. Hensley's chief executive, Bob Delgado, said he sat down with Mrs. McCain to ask what she wanted to do with the business. He expected her to put it up for sale.

"I want the employees and their families to know that I will take care of them the way my dad has," she recalls telling Mr. Delgado. "I'm not going to sell just because he died." Mrs. McCain said she wanted the company her father built from scratch to go to her children someday, Mr. Delgado said.

Mrs. McCain assumed her father's position as chairman. She began focusing on strategic issues and big-budget items, leaving day-to-day operations to Mr. Delgado and Chief Financial Officer Andy McCain, her stepson.

"I have good people in place...I trust them and I love them," Mrs. McCain said, adding that she speaks to Mr. Delgado almost daily. "I'm the ultimate person who makes the large decisions; major changes, growth decisions."

Since James Hensley's death eight years ago, the distributorship has nearly doubled, holding a significant portion of the Phoenix-area market share. It has 700 employees and annual revenue of about $300 million. Mrs. McCain has approved the buyout of another distributorship, helping bring sales last year to 23 million cases of beer.

Mrs. McCain (who can tell a beer's freshness by tasting it, according to her daughter Meghan) declines to say what percentage of the company she owns or its value. Industry experts estimate her stake at about $100 million.

She owns a private jet, which Sen. McCain's campaign pays to use on the trail.

She started the Hensley Family Foundation, largely committed to children's causes, to which Sen. McCain donates some of his speaking fees and book proceeds.

In 1991, Sen. McCain became embroiled in the "Keating Five" scandal, in which five senators were probed for ties with a thrift executive. The Arizona lawmaker wasn't charged with any ethics violation.

That same year, Mrs. McCain underwent two back surgeries, and she said she became addicted to painkillers. She resorted to stealing some drugs from a medical charity she had started and using others' names for prescriptions, according to news reports at the time.

"I was trying to be the perfect woman," Mrs. McCain said in interviews at the time. "That was the darkest period of my life."

The Drug Enforcement Administration began an investigation of Mrs. McCain in 1994, but she avoided prosecution by paying a fine, performing community service in a soup kitchen and joining Narcotics Anonymous. She had to close her medical charity.

"Cindy faced up to her addiction," Sen. McCain said.

Since coming clean, "I've never been secretive about it at all, because [talking about addiction] is part of the recovery process," Mrs. McCain said. "It's part of my life; it has made me a better person and certainly made me a better mother."

The past year has been particularly stressful because their 19-year-old son, Jimmy, did a tour of duty in Iraq. Their son Jack also is in the military, attending the Naval Academy, as did his father, grandfather and great grandfather. Meghan, a recent Columbia University graduate, travels and blogs for the campaign, while the younger daughter, Bridget, attends high school.

One day, Mrs. McCain answered her son Jimmy's call from Iraq as the campaign bus pulled up to a town hall where the McCains were scheduled to appear. The phone line suddenly went dead; she grew teary. Two minutes later, she stepped onto the stage and calmly introduced her husband.

In 1991, Mrs. McCain came across a girl in an orphanage in Bangladesh. Mother Teresa implored Mrs. McCain to take the baby with a severe cleft palate; the senator's wife did so without first telling her husband. The couple adopted the girl, named her Bridget, and has seen her through some dozen operations to repair her cleft palate and resolve other medical problems.

When Bridget drops into the campaign, Mrs. McCain goes out of her way to point her out. "I want to make sure everyone knows she's a part of us, too," she said. (The dark-skinned child was the subject of a "dirty trick" during Mr. McCain's presidential run in 2000, when unknown operatives spread the rumor that Bridget was the product of an affair.)

These days, Mrs. McCain is active in charities specializing in war-ravaged and developing countries. This summer, Mrs. McCain will join an overseas mission of Operation Smile, a charity she has long supported that travels the world to perform corrective surgery on children's faces.

Her reticence about the spotlight is why she surprised some friends and advisers recently by wading into a controversy involving Michelle Obama. The wife of Sen. Barack Obama had commented that her husband's run for the presidency made her proud of her country for the first time in her life. Mrs. McCain declared on the stump that she always has been, "and always will be, proud of my country."

"It wasn't planned," Mrs. McCain said. "It wasn't about my stepping out on my own, but I do have opinions." However, she's more likely to keep them to herself.

"My husband's the candidate," she said. "I'm not."

Static in the global TV-set business is forcing some big players to re-tune their game.

On Monday, Philips Electronics NV blamed a profit dip on its floundering TV operations -- just days after saying it would restructure its North American television business. Earlier this month, Sony Corp. replaced its top TV executive following failed efforts to turn around its unprofitable television unit. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., the maker of Panasonic products, recently reorganized a part of its U.S. business to better respond to intensifying price competition.

But one upstart, Irvine, Calif.-based Vizio Inc., has largely surfed past the industry's woes. single focus: churning out low-priced flat-panel TVs.

Vizio is a fraction the size of Sony and Samsung Electronics Co., both leading brands in the U.S. flat-panel market. Yet Vizio shipped 12.4% of North America's liquid-crystal display, or LCD, TVs in the last quarter of 2007. That's just behind Sony's 12.5% share and Samsung's 14.2%, according to research firm iSuppli Corp. Overall, Vizio's sales have multiplied to just under $2 billion last year, up from $700 million in 2006 and $142 million in 2005, according to the closely held company.

The California company's success illustrates the rise of a new business model in the fast-changing TV industry. Big Korean and Japanese consumer-electronics makers spent huge sums developing and marketing their own technology, creating a high barrier to entry for newcomers. They also built many key components in-house, including the all-important LCD and plasma display panels.

But panel technology is becoming ever more commoditized, meaning big brands aren't the only ones controlling the field. The shift has allowed nimble players like Vizio, which handles the design and marketing, to hook up with contract manufacturers and produce their own cheap TVs. At the same time, discount retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are increasing their sales in the electronics category, slashing prices in the process.

By late last year -- after a spate of holiday promotions -- the average flat-panel TV cost just $920, down 24% from 2006, according to DisplaySearch.

Vizio chief executive William Wang was prescient. A native of Taiwan and a former marketer of computer monitors, he was struck by a 2002 ad for a $10,000 Philips flat-panel TV. He sensed an opportunity. Rather than sell the sleek sets as luxury items, he figured he could make flat-panel TVs that were affordable to average consumers.

Back then, the computer-monitor business had largely transitioned from clunky cathode-ray tubes to flat panels. Mr. Wang knew many of the parts in flat computer screens were used in flat-panel TVs. Tapping his computer contacts in Taiwan, he calculated he could get enough parts to qualify for a bulk discount and use them to make inexpensive TVs.

To fund the effort, Mr. Wang borrowed money from friends and family. He also mortgaged his home in Newport Beach, Calif., eventually raising $600,000. While he wanted to name the new company "W" after himself, he settled for "V" after learning that a hotel chain had claimed the letter. V launched in October of 2002.

In January 2003, Mr. Wang met with executives at Costco Wholesale Corp. in Issaquah, Wash. He pitched them on a 46-inch plasma flat-panel TV for $3,800 -- half the price of competitors' sets. During the meeting, Mr. Wang said he wanted to become the next Sony in five years, says Tim Farmer, Costco's vice president of merchandising for consumer electronics. The Costco executives laughed, Mr. Farmer recalls.

Nonetheless, the Costco team was impressed enough with V that they decided to give Mr. Wang a chance, says Mr. Farmer. By February 2003, Costco was stocking V's TVs in 10 of its warehouses. A month later, it expanded the line to all 320 of its U.S. warehouses. That store count has since grown to 385. Today, Costco says Vizio is one of its largest TV suppliers.

"Vizio has always supplied my projections, and I've never been shorted product," says Mr. Farmer.

For Gabe Billings, a 33-year-old stay-at-home dad, price was the main concern when he purchased a 37-inch Vizio from Costco this month. Mr. Billings, of Eugene, Ore., says he isn't so brand conscious when it comes to TVs.
"I didn't see any point in spending hundreds of dollars more for something I won't be able to tell the difference, once I get home," says Mr. Billings. He says he spent $749 for the Vizio, versus the roughly $1,100 charged for bigger-name models.

Much of Vizio's success stems from the cozy relationship that Mr. Wang has forged with Taipei-based AmTran Technology Co. AmTran is a contract manufacturer that for years built computer monitors and TVs for companies like Sharp Corp. and Sony. Unlike with those customers, however, AmTran owns a 23% stake in Vizio.

The arrangement gets Vizio preferential treatment. AmTran sometimes swallows shipping costs and pushes component suppliers to ensure Vizio's products are high quality and on time. AmTran now gets about 80% of its revenue from Vizio. In turn, Vizio sources as many as 85% of its TVs from AmTran, according to research firm DisplaySearch.

"Unlike many PC companies who try to make their money by trying to squeezing the vendor, we try to work with our vendor," says Mr. Wang, 44 years old. Scottie Chiu, AmTran's chief financial officer, doesn't dispute that his company gives Vizio preferential treatment.

Other TV upstarts are pursuing similar strategies. Syntax-Brillian Corp., the Tempe, Ariz., seller of the low-cost Olevia brand of TVs, works with electronics manufacturer Taiwan Kolin Co., which bought a 12.5% stake in the TV maker in 2006. Flat-panel TV maker Westinghouse Digital Electronics LLC of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., says it works closely with Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp., Taiwan's second-largest maker of LCD panels.

Sony and others, such as Matsushita, say they aren't fazed by their much smaller rivals. Stan Glasgow, president and chief operating officer for Sony Electronics, says Vizio's lack of in-house manufacturing and development resources will hold the company back. "Vizio doesn't have the kind of resources and money to lock up [flat panel] supply," he says. "I think they're in trouble."

Mr. Wang sees no disadvantage to not owning factories. So far, Vizio has largely made products based on existing technology, although the CEO does have ambitions to dream up new products. "R&D is the key for innovation, not manufacturing," he says.

Born in Taiwan in 1963 and raised in Hawaii, Mr. Wang studied electrical engineering at the University of Southern California. He returned to Taiwan in the 1980s to work for Tatung Co., which made computer monitors for International Business Machines Corp. While at Tatung, Mr. Wang met and befriended Alpha Wu, the future founder of AmTran, who was then a founding executive at a Taiwanese monitor maker.

By 2004, Mr. Wang had changed his six-person company's name to Vizio. He also decided he needed another round of funding, of about $2 million. He targeted manufacturing partners since he wanted to tie suppliers to the success of the brand.

AmTran, the 3,000-employee manufacturer that his friend Mr. Wu founded in 1994, was a natural choice. But AmTran was hurting. The company reported 2004 earnings of $4.1 million on revenue of $428 million and a profit margin of just 0.9%. In 2005, it had a loss.

Mr. Wang suggested to Mr. Wu that AmTran invest in Vizio because its TVs were gaining traction in U.S. retail stores. By then, Vizio was producing $18 million a year in revenue and was profitable, he says. In April 2004, AmTran bought an 8% stake in Vizio for about $1 million, say the companies. (AmTran declined to make Mr. Wu available for comment.) That same month, Mr. Wang sold an additional 8% of Vizio to an affiliate of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the world's biggest contract manufacturer of electronics.

Vizio's move was both bold and unique, because the company wasn't just outsourcing its manufacturing as many companies do, but it was also creating an equity partnership with a major supplier.
Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire
AmTran CFO Mr. Chiu says the company hoped the Vizio relationship would blossom into a strategic partnership, but "nobody knew" whether such close cooperation with a customer would work. Suppliers are typically reluctant to do too much business with a single customer, because it risks disaster if the relationship fails.

Vizio soon leveraged its new manufacturing clout to increase its number of television models to five from two. It also broadened its distribution into retailers such as Wal-Mart's Sam's Club division and BJ's Wholesale Club Inc.

In 2006, Vizio says sales of its TVs jumped fivefold, to 700,000 sets from a year earlier. That June, AmTran bought an additional 15% of Vizio's shares from the company's departing CFO, who was moving back to Taiwan, both companies say. They declined to reveal how much the additional stake cost.

The alliance helped AmTran turn a corner. According to the company, revenues last year rose to $2.1 billion, up more than double from $959 million in 2006 and nearly five times its 2005 revenue. Earnings were $31.5 million in 2006, compared with a net loss in 2005. Mr. Chiu, the AmTran CFO, says business is hard to predict this year, given the shaky U.S. economy, but he expects revenue to grow by at least 30%.

The synergies continue to benefit both companies. In a brand-boosting coup, Vizio last July snared National Football League star LaDainian Tomlinson as a pitchman. The San Diego Chargers running back has endorsed Vizio's sets through television ads and appearances on shows such as Dr. Phil.

Last October, a Vizio official showed Seong Ohm, senior vice president of merchandising technology for Sam's Club, some new products. Ms. Ohm says she wanted a TV that female customers could relate to, especially something that could blend into a kitchen scheme. She got a peek at a prototype of a white, 20-inch flat-panel TV. Ms. Ohm liked the design so much, she says she asked Vizio to get 20,000 of the TVs to Sam's Club by early March. The sets have since arrived in the U.S. and are featured in Sam's Club's Spring catalog for $348.78 apiece.

Still, some hurdles loom. Vizio may face a shortage of LCD panels. Neither Vizio nor AmTran produce the flat panels themselves, and the companies that make them may hoard them to sell under their own brands. AmTran's Mr. Chiu says the supply of LCD panels in the midsize range -- 32 inches -- could become "tight" in the second half of 2008 if U.S. demand holds up. But he says AmTran hopes to secure enough supply by leveraging its sizable purchases of large-size panels.

Mr. Wang says Vizio plans to further diversify its product portfolio into TVs made from plasma panels and may also expand into Blu-ray DVD players. But he has tempered his earlier ambitions about quickly becoming the new Sony.

"We still have a long way to go," he says. "Our goal is to be the next Sony in 20 or 30 years."
Switch on a laptop or cellphone and you've used coltan, a mineral imbedded in electronic hardware; most of it is exported from Africa by criminals. Buy a cheap pack of cigarettes on a street corner and you may have fed a mob of black marketeers that stretches into Indian reservations or, in Europe, deep into the bloody misery of the Balkans. Wander outside the normal channels for caviar or tax-free migrant labor and you will have made bands of brigands ever more prosperous. And organized crime is the only winner from drugs, prostitutes and other illicit offerings not to be found at Wal-Mart or Costco.

The funeral of a gunned-down Japanese yakuza mafia boss in 1988. Gang warfare has subsided in recent years

As Misha Glenny shows in "McMafia," a vividly recounted journey through a dozen of the world's most potent gangs, cartels and transnational mafias, there is hardly any society or economic subculture that is not affected by global criminal networks.
Naturally, criminal markets are not new, but in the late 1980s criminal business activity dramatically flourished with the collapse of communism, the loosening of authoritarian controls across the globe and, not least, the advent of anarchy in parts of Russia and the former Eastern bloc. Mr. Glenny's purpose is to describe the rise of this "shadow economy." He estimates that criminal business now amounts to 20% of global GDP.

The book's title, though clever, is misleading: The world's organized criminals are no homogenized franchise in the McDonald's mold. From place to place and region to region, they take all sorts of shapes and serve all sorts of purposes. In the Ukrainian port of Odessa, a "heroic gangster" named Karabas takes a tithe -- literally 10% -- from the local businesses in exchange for protection from outside criminal enterprises, until he's gunned down. ("Any firm, and there were a lot of them, considered it an honor to be under Karabas's protection," one business owner tells Mr. Glenny.) In Japan, yakuza syndicates eschew actual violence ("the credible threat of violence" is preferable, Mr. Glenny observes) as the mafia pursues its interests in everything from trafficking women to operating as "a de facto legal system" in resolving disputes over such matters as bankruptcy declarations, insurance claims and real-estate transactions. In India, gangs merge with sectarian politics -- "the gang wars of Bombay that exploded with renewed violence in the 1990s were in part a proxy conflict between the intelligence agencies of India and Pakistan," Mr. Glenny writes. But such mergers often self-destruct, he observes, in feuds worthy of Jacobean revenge tragedies. Meanwhile in Nigeria, the talented theatricality of Web-savvy fraudsters fuels "advance fee" scams over the Internet -- you probably have a few requests to help get money out of Africa in your inbox right now. A popular Nigerian song lauds such scams with the refrain: "White man! I go chop your dollar."

Nevertheless, common themes emerge. Organized crime usually steps in to replace state failure: It protects businesses and enforces contracts. Many syndicates move on to corner a monopoly in the supply of some illegal or highly taxed product or service. The two most lucrative fields are arms and drugs. Then come diamonds, energy, cigarettes, stolen cars and the trafficking of women. In one particularly harrowing episode, a duped woman from Moldova tells Mr. Glenny how a girlfriend called her up to tell her of a dream job abroad. She had no idea that a gun was being held to her friend's head. After a nightmarish journey that included the murder of a would-be escapee, the woman was forced under the Israeli border fence to work as a slave in the red-light district of Tel Aviv. Brothels throughout the world are supplied with workers in similar fashion.

Organizations follow patterns too. Criminal masterminds are rare, although Mr. Glenny finds one "merchant of death" in South Africa who buys a whole airport to supply arms to the continent's warring militias. Some mafias are based on families, as in Italy, tight-knit but vulnerable to blood feuds. Most are complex, self-perpetuating organisms, nurturing founding myths and forming shifting alliances with one another.

In later stages, some groups internationalize, seeking to launder money in "washing machines" like the Caribbean island of Aruba or the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai. Then comes the purchase of political influence. It is sometimes professionally done. Indeed, mafias like the Colombian cocaine cartels, which can turn a profit of $4 billion to $8 billion a year, begin to look like "good capitalists and entrepreneurs" -- micro-managing, looking into economies of scale, juggling supply and demand, and wielding MBAs.

Individuals in this underworld, Mr. Glenny finds, can be "fascinating characters of great intelligence, vitality, courage, wit and spirit." He tries and fails to avoid warming to a suave former Indian mobster who tells him that blowing the head off a victim makes him feel like a cricketer when he "hits the ball for six." One reason for such routinization of criminality is that people sometimes have no choice when a country or society collapses around them.

Far too often the criminal world overlaps with the one we think of as legal. If the elites in the West are so clean, why don't they shut down offshore banking centers? If Western countries really want to help backward countries mired in drug production, why don't they open up their own unfairly protected agricultural markets? If Americans want to smoke so many hundreds of billions of dollars worth of weed, are the peaceful-sounding Canadians of British Columbia evil to supply a good chunk of it? Or, as Mr. Glenny suggests, is it American drug prohibition itself that is spawning mafias, injustice and harm?

Mr. Glenny hops around the globe, noting everything from "the sewers of Nigeria's kleptocracy" to the "silent cacaphony of virtual chatter" in the parallel webs of Brazilian cybercrime. A book with such a wide scope inevitably raises more questions than it answers.
The lack of historical comparisons and sourcing details leaves one wondering whether today's criminality is really, except for scale, much different from that of the past. But complacent foreign-affairs analysts have too long ignored the role of organized crime in guiding politics and perpetuating conflicts.

Mr. Glenny hopes that clearer-headed democracies can turn back the tide, but successes like the fight against "blood diamonds" are rare: It took government sanctions, a plucky NGO and an international publicity campaign to strangle the market for gems extracted in African war zones and sold to buy guns and supplies. The U.S. war on drugs has failed, he argues: Illicit drug prices have halved in the past decade as consumption and production have risen. In turn, he believes, this failure dooms the U.S. war against terrorism, "a primitive, small species" feeding in the same sea of criminality. He does, however, urge all to be brave. "Sharks only move in for the kill," a Russian mobster confides in him, "when they can taste the fear of their victims."

The drug maker Merck drafted dozens of research studies for a best-selling drug, then lined up prestigious doctors to put their names on the reports before publication, according to an article to be published Wednesday in a leading medical journal.

The article, based on documents unearthed in lawsuits over the pain drug Vioxx, provides a rare, detailed look in the industry practice of ghostwriting medical research studies that are then published in academic journals.

The article cited one draft of a Vioxx research study that was still in want of a big-name researcher, identifying the lead writer only as “External author?”

Vioxx was a best-selling drug before Merck took it off the market in 2004 over evidence linking it to heart attacks. Last fall, the company agreed to a $4.85 billion settlement to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits filed by former Vioxx patients or their families.

The lead author of Wednesday’s article, Dr. Joseph S. Ross of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said a close look at the Merck documents raised broad questions about the validity of much of the drug industry’s published research, because the ghostwriting practice appears to be widespread.

“It almost calls into question all legitimate research that’s been conducted by the pharmaceutical industry with the academic physician,” said Dr. Ross, whose article, written with colleagues, was published Wednesday in JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association. and posted Tuesday on the journal’s Web site.

Merck acknowledged on Tuesday that it sometimes hired outside medical writers to draft research reports before handing them over to the doctors whose names eventually appear on the publication. But the company disputed the article’s conclusion that the authors do little of the actual research or analysis.

The final work is the product of the doctor and “accurately reflects his or her opinion,” said a Merck lawyer, James C. Fitzpatrick.

And at least one of the doctors whose published research was questioned in Wednesday’s article, Dr. Steven H. Ferris, a New York University psychiatry professor, said the notion that the article bearing his name was ghostwritten was “simply false.” He said it was “egregious” that Dr. Ross and his colleagues had done no research besides mining the Merck documents and reading the published journal articles.

In an editorial, JAMA said the analysis showed that Merck had apparently manipulated dozens of publications to promote Vioxx.

“It is clear that at least some of the authors played little direct roles in the study or review, yet still allowed themselves to be named as authors,” the editorial said.

The editorial called upon medical journal editors to require each author to report his or her specific contributions to articles. “Journal editors also bear some of the responsibility for enabling companies to manipulate publications,” the editorial said.

JAMA itself published one of the Vioxx studies that was cited in Dr. Ross’s article.

In that case, in 2002, a Merck scientist was listed as the lead author. But Dr. Catherine D. DeAngelis, JAMA’s editor, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday that, even so, it was dishonest because the authors did not fully disclose the role of a ghostwriter.

“I consider that being scammed,” Dr. DeAngelis said. “But is that as serious as allowing someone to have a review article written by a for-profit company and solicited and paid for by a for-profit company and asking you to put your name on it after it was all done?”

Although the role of pharmaceutical companies in influencing medical journal articles has been questioned before, the Merck documents provided the most comprehensive look at the practice yet, according to one of the study’s four authors, Dr. David S. Egilman, a clinical associate medical professor at Brown University.

In the Vioxx lawsuits, millions of Merck documents were supplied to plaintiffs. Those documents were available to Dr. Egilman and Dr. Ross because they had served as consultants to plaintiffs’ lawyers in some of those suits.

Combing through the documents, Dr. Ross and his colleagues unearthed internal Merck e-mail messages and documents about 96 journal publications, which included review articles and reports of clinical studies. While the Ross team said it was not necessarily raising questions about all 96 articles, it said that in many cases there was scant evidence that the recruited authors made substantive contributions.

One paper involved a study of Vioxx as a possible deterrent to Alzheimer’s progression.

The draft of the paper, dated August 2003, identified the lead writer as “External author?” But when it was published in 2005 in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, the lead author was listed as Dr. Leon J. Thal, a well-known Alzheimer’s researcher at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Thal was killed in an airplane crash last year.

The second author listed on the published Alzheimer’s paper, whose name had not been on the draft, was Dr. Ferris, the New York University professor. Dr. Ferris, reached by telephone Tuesday, said he had played an active role in the research and he was substantially involved in helping shape the final draft.

“It’s simply false that we didn’t contribute to the final publication,” Dr. Ferris said.

A third author, also not named on the initial draft, was Dr. Louis Kirby, currently the medical director for the company Provista Life Sciences. In an e-mail message on Tuesday, Dr. Kirby said that as a clinical investigator for the study he had enrolled more patients, 109, than any of the other researchers. He also said he made revisions to the final document.

“The fact that the draft was written by a Merck employee for later discussion by all the authors does not in and of itself constitute ghostwriting,” Dr. Kirby’s e-mail message said.

The current editor of the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, Dr. James H. Meador-Woodruff, the chairman of psychiatry at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, said he was not the editor in 2005 but planned to investigate the accusations. “Currently, we have in place prohibitions against this,” Dr. Meador-Woodruff said.

While most of what is now Niger has been subsumed into the inhospitable Sahara desert in the last two thousand years, five thousand years ago the north of the country was fertile grasslands. Populations of pastoralists have left paintings of abundant wildlife, domesticated animals, chariots, and a complex culture that dates back to at least 10,000 BCE.

One of the first empires in what is now Niger was the Songhai Empire. During recent centuries, the nomadic Tuareg formed large confederations, pushed southward, and, siding with various Hausa states, clashed with the Fulani Empire of Sokoto, which had gained control of much of the Hausa territory in the late 18th century.
The Kaouar escarpment, forming and oasis in the Ténéré desert.

In the 19th century, contact with the West began when the first European explorers—notably Mungo Park (British) and Heinrich Barth (German)—explored the area, searching for the source of the Niger River. Although French efforts at "pacification" began before 1900, dissident ethnic groups, especially the desert Tuareg, were not fully subdued until 1922, when Niger became a French colony.

Niger's colonial history and development parallel that of other French West African territories. France administered its West African colonies through a governor general in Dakar, Senegal, and governors in the individual territories, including Niger. In addition to conferring French citizenship on the inhabitants of the territories, the 1946 French constitution provided for decentralization of power and limited participation in political life for local advisory assemblies.

A further revision in the organization of overseas territories occurred with the passage of the Overseas Reform Act (Loi Cadre) of July 23, 1956, followed by reorganizing measures enacted by the French Parliament early in 1957. In addition to removing voting inequalities, these laws provided for creation of governmental organs, assuring individual territories a large measure of self-government. After the establishment of the Fifth French Republic on December 4, 1958, Niger became an autonomous state within the French Community. Following full independence on August 3, 1960, however, membership was allowed to lapse.

Niger is a landlocked nation in West Africa located along the border between the Sahara and Sub-Saharan regions. Its geographic coordinates are latitude 16°N and longitude 8°E. Its area is 1,267,000 square kilometres (489,000 sq mi) of which 300 square kilometres (115 sq mi) is water. This makes Niger slightly less than twice the size of the U.S. state of Texas, and the world's twenty-second largest country (after Chad). Niger is comparable in size to Angola.

Niger borders seven countries on all sides and has a total of 5,697 kilometres (3,540 mi) of borders. The longest border is Nigeria to the south (1,497 km; 930 mi). This is followed by Chad to the east, at 1,175 kilometres (730 mi), Algeria to the north-northwest (956 km; 594 mi), and Mali at 821 kilometres (510 mi). Niger also has small borders in its far southwest frontier with Burkina Faso at 628 kilometres (390 mi) and Benin at 266 kilometres (165 mi) and to the north-northeast (Libya at 354 kilometres (220 mi).

Niger's subtropical climate is mainly very hot and dry, with much desert area. In the extreme south there is a tropical climate on the edges of the Niger River basin. The terrain is predominantly desert plains and sand dunes, with flat to rolling savannah in the south and hills in the north.

The lowest point is the Niger River, with an elevation of 200 metres (722 ft). The highest point is Monts Bagzane at 2,022 metres (6,634 ft).

For its first fourteen years as an independent state, Niger was run by a single-party civilian regime under the presidency of Hamani Diori. In 1974, a combination of devastating drought and accusations of rampant corruption resulted in a coup d'état that overthrew the Diori regime. Col. Seyni Kountché and a small military group ruled the country until Kountché's death in 1987. He was succeeded by his Chief of Staff, Col. Ali Saibou, who released political prisoners, liberalized some of Niger's laws and policies, and promulgated a new constitution. However, President Saibou's efforts to control political reforms failed in the face of union and student demands to institute a multi-party democratic system. The Saibou regime acquiesced to these demands by the end of 1990. New political parties and civic associations sprang up, and a national peace conference was convened in July 1991 to prepare the way for the adoption of a new constitution and the holding of free and fair elections. The debate was often contentious and accusatory, but under the leadership of Prof. André Salifou, the conference developed consensus on the modalities of a transition government.
A transition government was installed in November 1991 to manage the affairs of state until the institutions of the Third Republic were put into place in April 1993. While the economy deteriorated over the course of the transition, certain accomplishments stand out, including the successful conduct of a constitutional referendum; the adoption of key legislation such as the electoral and rural codes; and the holding of several free, fair, and non-violent nationwide elections. Freedom of the press flourished with the appearance of several new independent newspapers.

The results of the January 1995 parliamentary election meant cohabitation between a rival president and prime minister; this led to governmental paralysis, which provided Col. Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara a rationale to overthrow the Third Republic in January 1996. While leading a military authority that ran the government (Conseil de Salut National) during a 6-month transition period, Baré enlisted specialists to draft a new constitution for a Fourth Republic announced in May 1996. Baré organized a presidential election in July 1996. While voting was still going on, he replaced the electoral commission. The new commission declared him the winner after the polls closed. His party won 57% of parliament seats in a flawed legislative election in November 1996. When his efforts to justify his coup and subsequent questionable elections failed to convince donors to restore multilateral and bilateral economic assistance, a desperate Baré ignored an international embargo against Libya and sought Libyan funds to aid Niger's economy. In repeated violations of basic civil liberties by the regime, opposition leaders were imprisoned; journalists often arrested, and deported by an unofficial militia composed of police and military; and independent media offices were looted and burned.

As part of an initiative started under the 1991 national conference, however, the government signed peace accords in April 1995 with all, meaning Tuareg and Toubou groups that had been in rebellion since 1990. The Tuareg claimed they lacked attention and resources from the central government. The government agreed to absorb some former rebels into the military and, with French assistance, help others return to a productive civilian life.
Mamadou Tandja, President of the Republic of Niger.
Mamadou Tandja, President of the Republic of Niger.

On April 9, 1999, Baré was killed in a coup led by Maj. Daouda Malam Wanké, who established a transitional National Reconciliation Council to oversee the drafting of a constitution for a Fifth Republic with a French style semi-presidential system. In votes that international observers found to be generally free and fair, the Nigerien electorate approved the new constitution in July 1999 and held legislative and presidential elections in October and November 1999. Heading a coalition of the National Movement for a Developing Society (MNSD) and the Democratic and Social Convention (CDS), Mamadou Tandja won the election.

Niger's new constitution was approved in July 1999. It restored the semi-presidential system of government of the December 1992 constitution (Third Republic) in which the president of the republic, elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term, and a prime minister named by the president share executive power. As a reflection of Niger's increasing population, the unicameral National Assembly was expanded in 2004 to 113 deputies elected for a 5 year term under a majority system of representation. Political parties must attain at least 5% of the vote in order to gain a seat in the legislature.

The constitution also provides for the popular election of municipal and local officials, and the first-ever successful municipal elections took place on July 24, 2004. The National Assembly passed in June 2002 a series of decentralization bills. As a first step, administrative powers will be distributed among 265 communes (local councils); in later stages, regions and departments will be established as decentralized entities. A new electoral code was adopted to reflect the decentralization context. The country is currently divided into 8 regions, which are subdivided into 36 districts (departments). The chief administrator (Governor) in each department is appointed by the government and functions primarily as the local agent of the central authorities.

The current legislature elected in December 2004 contains seven political parties.
President Mamadou Tandja was re-elected in December 2004 and reappointed Hama Amadou as Prime Minister. Mahamane Ousmane, the head of the CDS, was re-elected President of the National Assembly (parliament) by his peers. The new second term government of the Fifth Republic took office on December 30, 2002. In August 2002, serious unrest within the military occurred in Niamey, Diffa, and Nguigmi, but the government was able to restore order within several days.

In June 2007, Seyni Oumarou was nominated as the new Prime Minister after Hama Amadou was democratically forced out of office by the National Assembly through a motion of no confidence.

Departments, arrondissements, and communes
Administrative subdivisions of the Republic of Niger, post 1992.
Administrative subdivisions of the Republic of Niger, post 1992.

Main articles: Departments of Niger, Arrondissements of Niger, and Communes of Niger

Niger is divided into 7 departments and one capital district. The departments are subdivided into 36 arrondissements and further subdivided into 129 communes.

Niger pursues a moderate foreign policy and maintains friendly relations with the West and the Islamic world as well as nonaligned countries. It belongs to the United Nations and its main specialized agencies and in 1980-81 served on the UN Security Council. Niger maintains a special relationship with France and enjoys close relations with its West African neighbors. It is a charter member of the African Union and the West African Monetary Union and also belongs to the Niger River and Lake Chad Basin Commissions, the Economic Community of West African States, the Non-Aligned Movement, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The westernmost regions of Niger are joined with contiguous regions Mali and Burkina Faso under the Liptako-Gourma Authority.

The border dispute with Benin, inherited from colonial times and concerning inter alia Lete Island in the River Niger was finally solved by the ICJ in 2005 to Niger's advantage.

The Niger Armed Forces total 12,000 personnel with approximately 3,700 gendarmes, 300 air force, and 6,000 army personnel. The air force has four operational transport aircraft. The armed forces include general staff and battalion task force organizations consisting of two paratroop units, four light armored units, and nine motorized infantry units located in Tahoua, Agadez, Dirkou, Zinder, Nguigmi, N'Gourti, and Madewela. Since January 2003, Niger has deployed a company of troops to Côte d’Ivoire as part of the ECOWAS stabilization force. In 1991, Niger sent four hundred military personnel to join the American-led allied forces against Iraq during the Gulf War.

Niger's defense budget is modest, accounting for about 1.6% of government expenditures. France provides the largest share of military assistance to Niger. Morocco, Algeria, China, and Libya have also provided military assistance. Approximately 15 French military advisers are in Niger. Many Nigerien military personnel receive training in France, and the Nigerien Armed Forces are equipped mainly with material either given by or purchased in France. In the past, U.S. assistance focused on training pilots and aviation support personnel, professional military education for staff officers, and initial specialty training for junior officers.
A small foreign military assistance program was initiated in 1983. A U.S. Defense Attaché office opened in June 1985 and assumed Security Assistance Office responsibilities in 1987. The office closed in 1996 following a coup d'état. A U.S. Defense Attaché office reopened in July 2000. The United States provided transportation and logistical assistance to Nigerien troops deployed to Cote d’Ivoire in 2003. Additionally, the U.S. provided initial equipment training on vehicles and communications gear to a select contingent of Nigerien soldiers as part of the Department of State Pan Sahel Initiative.

The economy of Niger centers on subsistence crops, livestock, and some of the world's largest uranium deposits. Drought cycles, desertification, a 2.9% population growth rate, and the drop in world demand for uranium have undercut the economy.

Niger shares a common currency, the CFA franc, and a common central bank, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), with seven other members of the West African Monetary Union.

In December 2000, Niger qualified for enhanced debt relief under the International Monetary Fund program for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and concluded an agreement with the Fund for Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Debt relief provided under the enhanced HIPC initiative significantly reduces Niger's annual debt service obligations, freeing funds for expenditures on basic health care, primary education, HIV/AIDS prevention, rural infrastructure, and other programs geared at poverty reduction. In December 2005, it was announced that Niger had received 100% multilateral debt relief from the IMF, which translates into the forgiveness of approximately $86 million USD in debts to the IMF, excluding the remaining assistance under HIPC. Nearly half of the government's budget is derived from foreign donor resources. Future growth may be sustained by exploitation of oil, gold, coal, and other mineral resources. Uranium prices have recovered somewhat in the last few years. A drought and locust infestation in 2005 led to food shortages for as many as 2.5 million Nigeriens.

The fertile south of Niger near the Niger river.
The fertile south of Niger near the Niger river.

Niger's agricultural and livestock sectors are the mainstay of all but 18% of the population. Fourteen percent of Niger's GDP is generated by livestock production—camels, goats, sheep, and cattle—said to support 29% of the population. The 15% of Niger's land that is arable is found mainly along its southern borders with Nigeria, Benin and Burkina Faso. Rainfall varies and when insufficient, Niger has difficulty feeding its population and must rely on grain purchases and food aid to meet food requirements. Although the rains in 2000 were not good, the three following years brought relatively plentiful and well-distributed rainfall, resulting in good harvests. Millet, sorghum, and cassava are Niger's principal rain-fed subsistence crops. Cowpeas and onions are grown for commercial export, as are limited quantities of garlic, peppers, gum arabic, and sesame seeds.

Uranium is Niger's largest export. Foreign exchange earnings from livestock, although difficult to quantify, are second. Actual exports far exceed official statistics, which often fail to detect large herds of animals informally crossing into Nigeria. Some hides and skins are exported, and some are transformed into handicrafts.

The persistent uranium price slump has brought lower revenues for Niger's uranium sector, although uranium still provides 72% of national export proceeds. The nation enjoyed substantial export earnings and rapid economic growth during the 1960s and 1970s after the opening of two large uranium mines near the northern town of Arlit. When the uranium-led boom ended in the early 1980s, however, the economy stagnated, and new investment since then has been limited. Niger's two uranium mines—SOMAIR's open pit mine and COMINAK's underground mine—are owned by a French-led consortium and operated by French interests. However, as of 2007, many licences have been given to other companies from countries such as Canada and Australia in order to exploit new deposits.

Exploitable deposits of gold are known to exist in Niger in the region between the Niger River and the border with Burkina Faso. On October 5, 2004, President Tandja announced the official opening of the Samira Hill Gold Mine in the region of Tera and the first Nigerien gold ingot was presented to him. This marked a historical moment for Niger as the Samira Hill Gold Mine represents the first commercial gold production in the country. Samira Hill is owned by a company called SML (Societe des Mines du Liptako) which is a joint venture between a Moroccan company, Societe Semafo, and a Canadian company, Etruscan Resources. Both companies own 80% (40% - 40%) of SML and the Government of Niger 20%. The first year’s production is predicted to be 135,000 troy ounces (4,200 kg; 9,260 lb avoirdupois) of gold at a cash value of USD 177 per ounce ($5.70/g).
The mine reserves for the Samira Hill mine total 10,073,626 tons at an average grade of 2.21 grams per ton from which 618,000 troy ounces (19,200 kg; 42,400 lb) will be recovered over a 6 year mine life. SML believes to have a number of significant gold deposits within what is now recognized as the gold belt known as the "Samira Horizon", which is located between Gotheye and Ouallam.

Substantial deposits of phosphates, coal, iron, limestone, and gypsum also have been found in Niger. Niger has oil potential. In 1992, the Djado permit was awarded to Hunt Oil, and in 2003 the Tenere permit was awarded to the China National Petroleum Company. An ExxonMobil-Petronas joint venture now holds the sole rights to the Agadem block, north of Lake Chad, and oil exploration is ongoing. The parastatal SONICHAR (Societe Nigerienne de Charbon) in Tchirozerine (north of Agadez) extracts coal from an open pit and fuels an electricity generating plant that supplies energy to the uranium mines. There are additional coal deposits to the south and west that are of a higher quality and may be exploitable.

The economic competitiveness created by the January 1994 devaluation of the Communaute Financiere Africaine (CFA) franc contributed to an annual average economic growth of 3.5% throughout the mid-1990s. But the economy stagnated due to the sharp reduction in foreign aid in 1999 (which gradually resumed in 2000) and poor rains in 2000. Reflecting the importance of the agricultural sector, the return of good rains was the primary factor underlying economic growth of 5.1% in 2000, 3.1% in 2001, 6.0% in 2002, and 3.0% in 2003.

In recent years, the Government of Niger drafted revisions to the investment code (1997 and 2000), petroleum code (1992), and mining code (1993), all with attractive terms for investors.
The present government actively seeks foreign private investment and considers it key to restoring economic growth and development. With the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), it has undertaken a concerted effort to revitalize the private sector.

The importance of external support for Niger's development is demonstrated by the fact that about 45% of the government's FY 2002 budget, including 80% of its capital budget, derived from donor resources. The most important donors in Niger are France, the European Union, the World Bank, the IMF, and UN agencies—UNDP, UNICEF, FAO, WFP, and UNFPA. Other donors include the United States, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, China, Italy, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Denmark, Canada, and Saudi Arabia. While the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) does not have an office in Niger, the United States is a major donor, contributing on average $8 million each year to Niger’s development increasing to $12 million in FY 2004. The United States also is a major partner in policy coordination in food security, education, water management and HIV/AIDS sectors.

In January 2000, Niger's newly elected government inherited serious financial and economic problems, including a virtually empty treasury, past-due salaries (11 months of arrears) and scholarship payments, increased debt, reduced revenue performance, and lower public investment. In December 2000, Niger qualified for enhanced debt relief under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program for Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and concluded an agreement with the Fund on a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). In January 2001, Niger reached its decision point and subsequently reached its completion point in 2004. Total relief from all of Niger's creditors is worth about $890 million, corresponding to about $520 million in net present value (NPV) terms, which is equivalent to 53.5% of Niger’s total debt outstanding as of 2000.

The debt relief provided under the enhanced HIPC initiative significantly reduces Niger's annual debt service obligations, freeing about $40 million per year over the coming years for expenditures on basic health care, primary education, HIV/AIDS prevention, rural infrastructure, and other programs geared at poverty reduction. The overall impact on Niger's budget is substantial. Debt service as a percentage of government revenue will be slashed from nearly 44% in 1999 to 10.9% in 2003 and average 4.3% during 2010-19. The debt relief cuts debt service as a percentage of export revenue from more than 23% to 8.4% in 2003, and decreases it to about 5% in later years.

In addition to strengthening the budgetary process and public finances, the Government of Niger has embarked on an ambitious program to privatize 12 state-owned companies. To date, seven have been fully privatized, including the water and telephone utilities, with the remainder to be privatized in 2005. A newly installed multisectoral regulatory agency will help ensure free and fair competition among the newly privatized companies and their private sector competitors. In its effort to consolidate macroeconomic stability under the PRGF, the government is also taking actions to reduce corruption, and as the result of a participatory process encompassing civil society, has devised a Poverty Reduction Strategy Plan that focuses on improving health, primary education, rural infrastructure, agricultural production, environmental protection, and judicial reform.

Privatization and liberalization have however also been the subject of strong criticism. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, for instance, has noted that privatization affects the poorest and most vulnerable members of Niger's society. See his reports on Niger at

Also, the obligations to creditor institutions and governments has locked Niger in to a process of trade liberalization that might be harmful for small farmers and in particular women, as noted by a recent report by 3D → Trade - Human Rights - Equitable Economy, on Agriculture trade liberalization and women's rights

The largest ethnic groups in Niger are the Hausa, who also constitute the major ethnic group in northern Nigeria, the Djerma-Songhai, who also are found in parts of Mali. Both groups, along with the Gourmantche, are sedentary farmers who live in the arable, southern tier of the country.
The remainder of Nigeriens are nomadic or semi-nomadic livestock-raising peoples—Fulani, Tuareg, Kanuri, Arabs, and Toubou. With rapidly growing populations and the consequent competition for meager natural resources, lifestyles of agriculturalists and livestock herders have come increasingly into conflict in Niger in recent years.

Niger's high infant mortality rate is comparable to levels recorded in neighboring countries. However, the child mortality rate (deaths among children between the ages of 1 and 4) is exceptionally high (248 per 1,000) due to generally poor health conditions and inadequate nutrition for most of the country's children. According to the organization Save the Children, Niger has the world's highest infant mortality rate [1]. Nonetheless, Niger has the highest fertility rate in the world (7.2 births per woman); this means that nearly half (49%) of the Nigerien population is under age 15. Between 1996 and 2003, primary school attendance was around 30% [2], including 36% of males and only 25% of females. Additional education occurs through madrassas.

The majority of Niger's population practises Islam: 80%[1], while 15% practises Animism, and 5% practise Protestant and Catholic Christianity.

Niger began developing diverse media in the late 1990s. Niamey boasts scores of newspapers and magazines, many of which are fiercely critical of the government.

Radio is the most important medium, as television sets are beyond the buying power of many of the rural poor, and illiteracy prevents print media from becoming a mass medium. In addition to the national and regional radio services of the state broadcaster ORTN, there are four privately owned radio networks which total more than 100 stations. Three of them—the Anfani Group, Sarounia and Tenere—are urban based commercial format FM networks in the major towns. There is also a network of over 80 community radio stations spread across all seven regions of the country, governed by the Comité de Pilotage de Radios de Proximité (CPRP), a civil society organisation. The independent sector radio networks are collectively estimated by CPRP officials to cover some 7.6 million people, or about 73% of the population (2005).

Aside from Nigerien radio stations, the BBC's Hausa service is listened to on FM repeaters across wide parts of the country, particularly in the south, close to the border with Nigeria. Radio France Internationale also rebroadcasts in French through some of the commercial stations, via satellite.

Tenere also runs a national independent television station of the same name.

Despite relative freedom at the national level, Nigerien journalists say they are often pressured by local authorities. The state ORTN network depends financially on the government, partly through an addition to electricity bills and partly through direct subsidy.

The sector is governed by the Conseil Supérieur de Communications, established as an independent body in the late 1990s, headed by Maryam Keita, a former TV presenter at ORTN.

In this aging manufacturing region, where old-line industries like paper factories are falling away, health care has emerged as the employer of last resort.

Between 1998 and 2007, the Bangor metropolitan area (pop. 150,000) lost about 3,700 jobs in manufacturing, but gained 3,500 jobs in health care. For many residents in Bangor, the hospital is replacing the mill as the passport to the middle class. For others, it means lower wages and fewer opportunities to advance.
[Go to interactive map]1

This trend extends nationally, and it could help blunt the effects of the faltering U.S. economy. Demand for health care tends to stay strong during recessions. Cash-strapped consumers are more likely to cut back on new appliances or cars than emergency-room visits.

Indeed, while the number of manufacturing jobs nationwide fell by 48,000 in March and by 310,000 over the past 12 months, health-care employment rose by 23,000 last month and is up 363,000 jobs on the year, according to the government's most recent data.

The loss of jobs in manufacturing and the adverse consequences for the middle class are recurring themes in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, especially in the run-up to Pennsylvania's crucial primary on April 22. Both Barack Obama and
Hillary Clinton are promising to take steps, including changes to tax and trade policies, to revitalize manufacturing. At a forum on manufacturing in Pittsburgh on Monday, each candidate charged the other with being insufficiently serious about the downsides of a free-trade pact and unsympathetic to the anxieties of American workers.

Yet health care is more likely to be an economic driver in many towns and cities -- especially if a Democrat is elected president. Sens. Obama and Clinton support overhauling the nation's health-care system to cover millions of people who are uninsured -- and that could increase health-care spending, which now accounts for 16% of the gross domestic product.

Growth in health care is fueling local economies across the country, as medical facilities replace factories. In Duluth, Minn., 20% of the jobs are in health care, compared with 14% a decade ago. In the Canton, Ohio, area, which lost the maker of Hoover vacuum cleaners and dozens of other manufacturers, the health-care industry is expanding rapidly. A similar story is unfolding in Anderson, Ind., once a major producer of cars and car parts.

There are downsides to health care's ever-increasing role. A community that relies on health jobs can end up with a weaker economy, one overly dependent on government programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Greater inequality is a risk, too. In health care and other service industries, there tends to be a wider income gap between what the highest- and lowest-paid workers earn than there is in manufacturing. Surgeons can have salaries in the high six figures, while personal-care attendants often make little more than minimum wage.

In the late 1980s, according to calculations by the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, liberal think tanks in Washington, incomes of Maine families in the best-off fifth of earners made 5.4 times as much as those on the bottom, on average. By the mid 2000s, average incomes of the best off were 6.3 times those at the bottom. Most states saw even greater widening of income disparities.

Of course, the U.S. has been moving away from manufacturing and toward a service economy for decades. The country has thrived in this period, with gains in productivity allowing for growth in nonfactory jobs from accountants to massage therapists.

The shift to medicine is evident throughout Bangor. At Eastern Maine Community College, which has long offered classes in such traditional crafts as welding and pipe fitting, the most popular programs these days are nursing and medical radiography. The school now offers six health-related degrees, double the number a decade ago, and many courses are oversubscribed. Last year, the college had 261 applications for the 32 slots in its nursing program.

More health-care workers means more diversity for this almost all-white city. At Thistles, an Argentine restaurant in Bangor, owner Santiago Rave says that 10 or so Latin doctors new to the area regularly patronize his restaurant. Monthly "Tango Tuesdays" are popular events.

In 1990, 16% of the jobs in the Bangor area were in manufacturing, while 12% were in health care. In 2007, 6% of the jobs were in manufacturing and 20% in health care. Without the shift, Bangor's unemployment rate, which averaged 5.1% last year, would almost certainly be higher. There are other benefits: The move from manufacturing has helped cut Maine's on-the-job injury rate in half since 1990.

The health-care boom has also upset the economic balance in this sprawling, largely rural state. When manufacturing drove the economy, well-paying factory jobs were spread throughout Maine's rural and urban counties. But higher-paying health-care jobs are concentrated in urban areas.
Bangor's Eastern Maine Medical Center, the city's biggest hospital and largest employer, offers sophisticated cancer treatment, open-heart surgery and other specialized care. Jobs are available not only for doctors but also for highly trained nurses, and X-ray and laboratory technicians.

Rural areas have a larger share of lower-paying health-care jobs such as nursing assistants and personal-care attendants. In 2005, the average health-care wage in Maine's rural counties was $26,841 a year, $10,000 less than in the urban counties. Statewide, the average wage for all jobs was $32,393.

"The rural areas have clearly lagged way behind the more urban areas in the number and types of higher-wage health-care jobs," says Charles Colgan, a professor of Public Policy and Management in the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.

A few months after graduating from high school in 1974, Steve Arsenault, a resident of Millinocket, about 70 miles north of Bangor, followed his father to work at the Great Northern Paper Co. paper mill. "It was such an easy way to make good money that it was like a magnet that reached out and grabbed you," he says.

Mr. Arsenault, now 51 years old, started off as a temporary worker, spending eight-hour days transferring 4-foot logs from a conveyor belt. He worked his way up to better jobs, and by 2001 was making $21 an hour working on a machine that made glossy paper for catalogs.

In the summer of 2002, as the company began laying off workers, Mr. Arsenault says he was told he would soon be out of a job, so he finished the week and quit. A few months later, he started taking classes at the local community college, and eventually became a certified surgical technologist.

Today, Mr. Arsenault works at a hospital in Lincoln, about 50 miles north of Bangor, setting up the operating room and handing instruments to surgeons during surgery. He makes about $16 an hour, $5 less than in his last year at the mill.

"I really don't think I'll ever set foot again in the paper industry again," he says. "The uncertainty of any manufacturing -- I want to be able to know that you're going to have a job."

Bangor, located in south-central Maine, owes its existence to its natural harbor on the Penobscot River. It has been praised for its beauty by writers including Henry David Thoreau. More recently, it helped inspire the fictional town of "Derry" in stories by Stephen King. Today, truckers often stop at Dysart's, just outside of town, for baked beans and grapefruit-size biscuits.

By the mid-1800s, the city billed itself as the lumber capital of the world. "The time may soon arrive when the three great cities of North America -- Bangor, New York, and San Francisco -- shall be representatives of the wealth, population, intelligence, and enterprise of the eastern, central, and western divisions of our country," said Bangor resident Oliver Frost in 1869.

That didn't happen. Maine's timber industry went into decline around the turn of the century, as Americans moved West and started harvesting forests in Oregon and Idaho.

Manufacturing picked up some of the slack. In a 1950 brochure, the city boasted of having 74 different firms that manufactured paper, wood products, textiles and other items. Many of the grand houses that line State Street, across from the Eastern Maine Medical Center, were built by lumber barons. Today, many are owned by doctors.

From its roots as a port and industrial hub, Bangor has grown into northern Maine's retail center, with large retailers including Home Depot and Macy's. Over the past two decades, the medical center has expanded, and several assisted-living facilities have opened.

A battered strip mall near the Bangor International Airport has been transformed into a "medical mall" with dialysis and rehabilitation centers. The Eastern Maine Medical Center says it has secured a small part of the $52 million it needs to build a new cancer center in Brewer across the river. Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, the umbrella organization that runs the medical center, is one of the three main sponsors of Bangor's annual American Folk Festival.

Some new manufacturers are popping up: The Eastern Fine Paper mill, which was located in Brewer and closed four years ago, has been taken over by Cianbro Corp., based in nearby Pittsfield. That company plans to build ready-to-assemble pieces of oil refineries that will be shipped to Texas. http://Louis2J2Sheehan2Esquire.US
But overall, health care is poised to continue outpacing manufacturing.

One concern about the health-care industry is its heavy reliance on government money. In Maine hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid together accounted for 59% of gross patient revenues in 2006, according to the American Hospital Association. Nationally, those two government programs accounted for 55% of gross patient revenues.

That could leave the state vulnerable as the government and employers try to pare health-care costs. Faced with a budget crunch, Maine legislators cut $46 million out of the state's Medicaid budget for the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years. Because of the cuts, the state will lose an additional $92 million in federal matching funds. The Maine Department of Labor estimates that about 5,000 jobs could be adversely affected by those cuts.

Health care also requires more training in order to advance. Unlike in manufacturing, where workers could start right out of high school and ride a seniority escalator to better wages and benefits, health-care workers primarily move up the ladder through education.

While some former factory workers find new opportunities in health care, the switch doesn't work for everyone. In 1980, just out of high school, Randy Tompkins started working in a shoe factory. A few years later, he switched to Eastern Fine Paper and worked there for 19 years, until the mill shut down.

A new father with a mortgage, Mr. Tompkins was anxious to find work and decided to look for a health-care job. "You can't seem to go around any corner and not see something health-care related: a hospital, a nursing home, a doctor's office," he says.

After six months of classes at Eastern Maine Community College, he became a certified nursing assistant, a job that paid just $7.75 an hour, half of what he was making at the mill, and with no benefits. He eventually was accepted in the school's registered-nursing program, but says he couldn't maintain a C average. Now, Mr. Tompkins is looking for a new career: This fall he plans to start taking classes in computer integrated machining.

Instead of getting through security by submitting to pat downs at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, travelers can now choose a more hands-off approach: walking through a full-body screening machine that can peer right through a person’s outfit.

The device was originally created by engineer Doug McMakin and his team at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a means of virtually frisking terrorists. The technology uses radio waves to produce 3-D scans of passengers’ bodies, the same way radar captures images of planets’ surfaces. As passengers stand still with their hands up, two rotating antennas send out radio waves. The waves bounce off the skin and are collected by a receiver.
Metals, plastics, and liquids between the skin and the receiver show up in images that are sent to security officials in another room.

McMakin’s system has already made a splash with another crowd: clothing retailers. Machines have been placed at Fashion Bug stores and outlets around the country. The screener, named Intellifit, rests inside a virtual dressing room, a seven-foot-diameter circular enclosure placed in the middle of the store. The device allows customers to get instant printouts of their jeans sizes. Before we see more of this technology—in the mall or at security centers—the companies using it may want to alleviate worries from privacy advocates. “Those images reveal not only our private body parts but also intimate medical details like colostomy bags,” Barry Steinhardt of the American Civil Liberties Union says.

McMakin responds that he has no issue with being scanned by the system. He is working on weapons detectors as automatic and accurate as metal detectors. That way, the only thing flashing will be the red and green lights on the screening machine.

Will switching from fossil fuels to biofuels really reduce greenhouse gases? We take a close look at two big, controversial studies that examine carbon emissions from the ecosystems torn down to produce biofuels.

Throughout the Amazonian rain forest and the savanna of Brazil, enormous swaths of land are being converted to farms for growing soybeans and sugarcane—all for use in creating biofuels. The tropical rain forest and peatland of Indonesia and Malaysia and the grasslands of the United States are also being converted to biofuel crops. It is a disturbing trend, says Joseph Fargione, regional science director at the Nature Conservancy, who conducted the first of the two studies examined here. With his colleagues Fargione took a close look at how the areas being transformed into farmland have acted as carbon dioxide storage systems. Trees, grass, and other flora take in the gas, Fargione says, incorporating the carbon into their structures. But when the land is converted for agriculture, the plants are cut down, burned, or processed, and the stored carbon is eventually released back into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases. Using numbers from nearly 50 previous studies, Fargione’s team calculated the amount of carbon stored in these landscapes and the up-front carbon cost for each acre of land converted to produce biofuels.

In the second study, Timothy Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton University, looked at a future scenario in which the United States substantially increases its production of corn-based ethanol, a move that would decrease domestic crops for food and feedstock. These feed crops have to be grown somewhere, however, and the worldwide land conversions necessary to make up for lost U.S. crops would release carbon dioxide. To show the effect of such changes, Searchinger and his colleagues simulated the worldwide land-use changes necessary to offset the production of 56 billion liters of ethanol in the United States (the amount of ethanol projected to be processed in 2016, based on current tax credits and conservative estimates of oil prices).

Louis J. Sheehan
Using an economic model created at Iowa State University, the researchers projected how much land farmers around the world would have to convert to feed-crop production, and where they would do it. From this the researchers were able to estimate the total greenhouse emissions due to land conversion.

Both studies found that changes in land use related to biofuel production would be a significant source of greenhouse gases in the future. Fargione reported that, overall, biofuels would cause higher total emissions for tens to hundreds of years. Some ecosystems had surprisingly high emissions—grasslands in the United States converted to corn farms would increase carbon dioxide for 93 years.

Searchinger’s outlook is bleaker: He estimates that the rise in corn-based ethanol production in the United States would increase greenhouse gases, relative to what our current, fossil-fuel-based economy produces, for 167 years.

“Any biofuel that causes clearing of natural ecosystems is likely to increase global warming,” Fargione says. But not all bio–fuels are alike. For one, sugarcane ethanol, produced in Brazil, stands out to both researchers as the most efficient source studied, in terms of emissions. As long as there is land conversion, though, biofuels do not diminish carbon dioxide emissions. made from sources that do not require land conversion, such as corn stover (the parts of corn plants left over after the ears are harvested), animal waste, damaged trees, algae, and food waste are promising alternatives.

• Plants and soils contain almost three times as much carbon as the atmosphere.
• About 20 percent of total current carbon emissions comes from land-use change.
• In 2004, 74 million acres of U.S. land were devoted to corn for livestock feed as well as food crops. By 2016 about 43 percent of that area will be used to harvest corn for ethanol.
• 27 percent of new palm oil plantations in Indonesia are created on land that began as tropical rain forest; 1.5 percent of these lands are being deforested each year.
• In 2006 the United States produced 250 million gallons of biodiesel. Total production capacity is already 1.4 billion gallons a year and is expected to more than double with new plants and expansion of existing ones.
• 2006 ethanol capacity was 4.4 billion gallons, with an expected increase of 2.1 billion gallons with current construction and expansion projects.
• U.S. gasoline consumption is 389 million gallons per day, or about 142 billion gallons per year.

Bruce Dale, a biofuels researcher at Michigan State University, says there is a huge amount of uncertainty when basing predictions on an inherently complex economic model. Additionally, he asserts that the United States should not be responsible for “anything but its own environmental profile” and that to take into account world land changes is unreasonable.
Nathanael Greene of the Natural Resources Defense Council responds that it is appropriate to incorporate economic models into life-cycle emissions analyses such as these. In contrast to Dale, he says that land-use changes in other nations should not be left out of calculations of biofuel impacts, since such indirect effects are commonly incorporated into environmental regulations.

Using agricultural waste rather than actual agriculture to create biofuels removes the need for land conversion—much of the stuff is just lying around—and produces more fuel than corn:

In the case of corn stover (the leaves and stalks remaining in the field after corn is harvested), 250 million dry tons are produced each year and are rarely utilized, other than to feed grazing cattle immediately after a harvest. Scientists believe that some stover should remain in the field to prevent soil erosion, but that still leaves about 40 to 50 percent to be used in making biofuels. An efficient way to break down cellulose into ethanol is necessary to reduce the cost of processing corn stover on a commercial scale. Last February, the Department of Energy selected six companies to receive funding towards building ethanol plants—scheduled to be operational within the next three years—that will utilize new technology for processing corn stover as well as other types of agricultural waste.

In contrast to corn stover, wood waste has limited potential due to the high cost associated with collection and transportation (in the case of wood left over from timber harvesting) and competing uses (in the case of mill residues, which are currently used for mulch, particle board, and to power other facilities).

Many farms have already developed methods of converting the billions of tons of animal waste produced each year into methane for electrical and heat energy; beginning in March, 1,200 households in California will be powered by cow manure. Still, using animal waste to create biofuels is not yet feasible on the national level because transporting it is unrealistic. It's in areas where there are lots of cattle (and the large amounts of manure they inevitably give back to the world) that companies are best equipped to divert animal waste from contaminating the air (via methane, CO2, and ammonia gases) and water towards fueling ethanol production.
Louis J Sheehan
One example is Panda Ethanol, which is building the largest biomass plant in the United States in Hereford, Texas, where it will use the waste of 3.5 million grazing cattle to fuel the production of approximately 115 million gallons of ethanol per year.
Louis J. Sheehan Esquire

In the United States, 96 billion pounds of food is wasted each year and much of it ends up in landfills where it emits greenhouse gases. Through anaerobic digestion—the bacterial breakdown of organic materials—food waste can be converted into biofuel. In California, Onsite Power Systems, Inc. has begun commercial production of an anaerobic digester system that uses a special design to create the optimal environment for bacteria and ultimately more efficient and cost-effective conversion of food waste to biogases (hydrogen and methane). These biogases can be used in cars or to heat homes.

Algae may be the most promising biofuel. Not only does algae use carbon dioxide to grow (and could potentially use CO2 from power plants to create biofuel), but it can grow anywhere and does not require a large area to propagate. Some species are made of up to 50% of their body weight in oil which can be extracted and processed to create biodiesel. Currently, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is collaborating with Chevron to develop more cost-effective processes for growing and harvesting large quantities of the green fuel.

if you're looking for a picture of how the Latin language evolved or a history of Rome with a difference, you should read Ostler's Ad Infinitum - A Biography of Latin. Although there is an immense amount of material in its 382 pages, it is mostly easy to read and you can skip to sections that interest you. Even so, be sure to read the preface and the best section, Part I.

Although you could probably read it without any familiarity with non-English languages, you may find it hard to understand, so my recommendation is that you read it only if you ever studied Latin or the Romance languages.

* Thorough history of Latin and the Roman Empire
* Copious examples and details
* Provides welcome context for obscure and even somewhat familiar topics/names


* Sometimes confusing (see next)
* Uses technical linguistic concepts
* Seems to rush through towards the end especially compared with the start
* Requires some Latin, but why would you read it if you had none?

* Nicholas Ostler studied Greek, Latin, and more at Oxford and received his Ph.D. in linguistics at MIT under Noam Chomsky.
* The book is a Western Civ course focusing on the language -- Latin and its daughters.
* Shows the effect of major events/movements, like Christianity, Islam, and the printing press, on Latin's dominance.
* Appendix 1 explains Latin mottoes used as chapter titles. App. 2 lists Etruscan borrowings in Latin. Both are interesting.
* The 3rd appendix, sound change, has good information, but is hard to follow and could use actual modern language examples.

Ad Infinitum - A Biography of Latin, by Nicholas Ostler
Just as Rome came to dominate Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa, so the language of the Romans became universal. As Nicholas Ostler shows in Ad Infinitum - A Biography of Latin, the process was basically the same for politics as for language. Time passed; the originally Asian-based Christianity gained a foothold in the Empire, but still Latin remained dominant. Several factors led to the emergence of the Romance languages out of Latin, but still Latin was the lingua Franca.
Even when it lost out in most areas, it kept a toehold in botany, and even when Latin came to be associated with the oppressive bourgeosie and other elites, Latin endured, coming up in odd places, like the Internet, where there is a Latin version of Wikipedia, and in an even odder place, Finland (host of weekly Latin radio broadcasts), where neither Latin nor any Latinate language was ever the national language.

While this is the survey that Nicholas Ostler presents and embellishes with details from many disciplines, I was unclear about his conclusion. Yes Latin is used in certain limited places, like semantics (referring to categories of relationship and color), the Internet, and Finnish radio, but he also calls it a language that has survived 2500 years and is now a language of the past "sic transit gloria mundi 'so the glory of the world must pass.'" I find this mixed message confusing and/or depressing.

There's no other major item most of us own that is as confusing, unpredictable and unreliable as our personal computers. Everybody has questions about them, and we aim to help.

Here are a few questions about computers I've received recently from people like you, and my answers. I have edited and restated the questions a bit, for readability.

Q: We are connected to Comcast cable and use no antennas. Will we need one of the government-subsidized converter boxes next February?

A: Not if you are using a cable set-top box, like the vast majority of cable customers. If you are one of the minority of cable households whose TVs use an internal cable tuner, you may need a converter box. To be sure, contact your cable company or TV manufacturer.

Q: In your laptop buying guide last week, you recommended buying a machine equipped for the "n" type Wi-Fi of wireless router. I was under the impression that this has not yet been standardized. Is that wrong?

A: The engineering committee that has been debating the standard for years has not yet completed its work, but the market has simply moved ahead on its own. This new, faster version of Wi-Fi is being built into routers, computers and other devices by nearly every major manufacturer. In my limited tests, I have found no compatibility problems, and it is backwards compatible with the older "g" and "b" standards.

Q: Is the Mac immune to viruses? If not, do you have a recommendation of the type of antivirus software one should procure and load onto a Mac?

A: No personal computer or personal computer operating system of which I am aware is "immune" to viruses, spyware or other malicious software. That includes the Macintosh and its operating system, Mac OS X Leopard. Hackers have demonstrated the ability to invade the Mac. However, there are only a handful of viruses or other malicious programs for the Macintosh that have successfully spread beyond the lab. And these have harmed only a small number of actual users.

Of the well over 100,000 known viruses, spyware programs and other malicious software applications that are about in public, all but this handful are written to run on Microsoft Windows, and cannot operate on the Macintosh OS. For that reason, I don't believe Macintosh owners need security software, unless they install and run Windows on their computers. If they do run Windows, Mac owners are well advised to purchase and install Windows security software to protect the Windows portion of the machine.

Having said that, I do not mean that Mac owners should be blind to security threats that don't involve viruses or spyware.
Louis J. Sheehan, Esquire
Just like Windows users, Mac users can succumb to what is called "social engineering" -- scams and schemes that operate via email and Web sites that are often authored by crooks but made to look official. So, like Windows users, they must be on their guard.

The Creative Energy Behind ADHD

While many viewers get emotional watching Ty Pennington deliver remodeled homes to deserving families on "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," his mom, Yvonne Pennington, cries for different reasons. After being told years ago that her unruly son was the worst kid in his school, she says, "my tears come from the joy, at how far he has come."

That's because Mr. Pennington has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Some 7.8% of children ages 4 to 17 have been told by a doctor or other health professional that they have or might have ADHD, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. The behavior disorder, which often causes children to struggle mightily in school and in life, can be "impairing," says Mark Wolraich, lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics' clinical guidelines on diagnosing ADHD.

Many frazzled parents of hyperactive kids are looking for the silver lining. Clearly, ADHD didn't cripple such noteworthy sufferers as JetBlue founder David Neeleman or Kinko's founder Paul Orfalea. How can you tell whether all that splintered energy will help your own child succeed? And how can you help channel all that mental voltage productively? As a parent of two children with ADHD, I've often wondered about these things. I asked a few famous ADHD sufferers and their parents for answers.

Look for the creativity. Mr. Neeleman's family refused to regard his hyperactivity as an impairment. "We always thought ADD was a plus," says his father, Gary, a retired media executive. He advises "looking at the kid as somebody who has a different way of looking at things, and maybe a more creative way." Then, "put your arms around them and say, 'Boy, you're sure smart. You can handle this.' "

Parental support couldn't smooth out all the bumps for David. Through school, he says, "I just thought I was stupid." Adolescence was a fog of watching "Gilligan's Island" reruns. But as an adult, he was able to see opportunities others missed. He is credited with inventing electronic airline ticketing, he founded two airlines and is working on a third start-up in Brazil. He still has trouble sustaining a conversation for more than a few minutes, must delegate administrative tasks and ultimately got fired as JetBlue's CEO after service foul-ups. But he continues to focus on new ideas. "If you're doing something you love," he says, "you'll be the best."

Similarly, retailing entrepreneur Cynthia Gerdes, who also has ADHD, was treated by her parents as "the creative one" in her family, she says. Ms. Gerdes was encouraged to express herself as a child. As an adult, she created a Minneapolis toy-store chain, Creative Kidstuff, that grew to $12 million in sales before she sold out last year.

Emphasize the positive. Ty Pennington says the negative messages from school can be overwhelming for a child with ADHD; "You're constantly the one who is sent to the principal's office, constantly in trouble." Yvonne Pennington adds, "I thought I was the worst mother in the world." Asked as a small child to work at his desk, Ty would "wear it" instead, she says, separating the chair from the desk, popping the connecting assembly over his shoulders, and running around the room screaming. "He was h- on wheels," she sighs.

Both say life improved after Yvonne started using behavior-modification techniques to reward Ty when he did something right. Also, Ty says his life turned after he started medication in his teens and gained maturity and the freedom to develop his creativity. Now, as a TV host, he gets paid for the kind of behaviors that got him in trouble in school. And Yvonne, now an Atlanta psychologist, has a busy practice training others in "positive parenting."

Never despair. Mr. Orfalea's mother came home in tears after he was expelled from school for the fourth time; a school official told her he'd do well to become an unskilled laborer, says the Kinko's founder, who also has dyslexia.
But she didn't allow it to shape her regard for Paul. "My mother had a good saying: 'Look at your five fingers. All five are different for a reason. School wants to make you all the same,' " he says.

Her support instilled his faith in himself. When he got the idea, while waiting in line for a copy machine in college, to start his own copying business, he trusted it in the face of criticism from others. The company he opened in a storefront, named for his kinky red hair, later grew to the 1,200-store giant that was acquired in 2004 by FedEx.

The University of Bristol has a press release out yesterday reporting that a Sumerian clay tablet provides an account of an impact event at Köfels, Austria.

I call bullshit. Here’s why, starting with some background information.

Köfels does not have a crater; it has what looks like a giant landslide, about half a kilometer thick and five kilometers in diameter. In the mid 20th-century, the impact hypothesis was raised to explain the formation. Apparently there is a lot of glass in the formation, which some geologists think could have been formed when rock melted in the landslide, and others think is more plausibly from an impact. There’s no doubt that other impact events have created quite a bit of glass. The age of the Köfels glass has been measured using radiometric methods, so we know the glass was formed between 8,000 years to 16,000 years ago.

Perhaps the strongest evidence for an impact origin of the Köfels structure is the reported presence of planar deformation features in quartz taken from the site. PDFs, as they are called, are microscopic features of silicate (e.g., quartz, feldspar) grains, and they are basically very thin planes of glass arranged in parallel sets that have particular orientations with respect to the containing crystal’s structure. They are utterly diagnostic of impact events - no other geologic event can form them, not even highly energetic volcanic eruptions.

The presence of shocked quartz - quartz with PDFs - means that this quartz, at some time, was in the neighborhood of an impact event. If the big landslide-looking formation at Köfels was formed by impact, then the shocked quartz could have been formed then. Or it could be from an older impact, and was transported by later geologic events, such as huge landslides. The shocked quartz will survive a lot longer than an impact crater, given the way the Earth covers such structures up relatively quickly, so this may well have happened. However the shocked quartz got where it is found today, we know that it was formed when a meteoritic body impacted the ground. Shocked quartz does not form from a meteoritic airburst - a meteorite that explodes before impact - it requires a ground impact.

Science marches on, and the impact hypothesis to explain the origin of the Köfels formation fell out of favor as we discovered more and more about impacts.
The main problem was the lack of parallels between the Köfels features and other known astroblemes - namely, there is no crater at Köfels, and there darn well ought to be if there is 8-16 kiloyear-old glass and shocked quartz from an impact event at the site. Here’s a picture of a smaller impact that is five times that age:

Currently, the consensus of scientific opinion is that Köfels is not from an impact. It is not listed in the Earth Impact Database, not even as a possible impact site. Googling “Köfels impact” turns up a zillion outlets parroting the Bristol press release, but there’s almost nothing else about it on the net.

So, where does this Sumerian tablet come in?

The researchers say the tablet dates from 700 BCE, or about 3,000 years ago. They hypothesize it is a copy of an earlier work:

With modern computer programmes that can simulate trajectories and reconstruct the night sky thousands of years ago the researchers have established what the Planisphere tablet refers to. It is a copy of the night notebook of a Sumerian astronomer as he records the events in the sky before dawn on the 29 June 3123 BC (Julian calendar).

I happen to have some software that can do that. Starry Night, Skymap Pro, or Stellarium, among numerable others, can do the job. So this isn’t rocket science. Anyone know where I can get a high-quality photograph of the tablet that I can use to test their hypothesis from my own reseources?

But a better question might be:

Assuming that the original source is a “night notebook” of a Sumerian astronomer, why is it being copied by a scribe 2,423 years later? No reason is given for this remarkable act in the press release, at least. Already it sounds a little fishy to me.

The press release continues:

Half the tablet records planet positions and cloud cover, the same as any other night….

Wait a second. Do we really know that half the tablet records conditions “the same as any other night?” Because if we do, that means we have a bunch of other examples of this genre of tablet to compare this tablet to. And if so, that’s fine, but then why does the press release say this:

A cuneiform clay tablet that has puzzled scholars for over 150 years has been translated for the first time.

They can either have their cake, or eat it: Either the tablet was mysterious and untranslated; or we can’t really know that this tablet is a typical nightly astronomical report of sky conditions, just like any other.

The problems continue:

…but the other half of the tablet records an object large enough for its shape to be noted even though it is still in space. The astronomers made an accurate note of its trajectory relative to the stars, which to an error better than one degree is consistent with an impact at Köfels.

Okay, I guess - something 500 kilometers away and 1 kilometer in diameter will be a tenth of a degree across, which is just about big enough to determine shape; and it could have been closer and still been in outside the atmosphere.
And it is possible to record a trajectory to better than a degree using naked-eye methods.

It is also possible to integrate a bunch of orbits that intersect with Köfels, and it is plausible to believe that some of those orbits might be consistent with the observation of a celestial object that is hypothesized to be recorded in this copy of a hypothesized tablet that existed 5,000 years ago, and it is plausible to believe that some of these orbits would have the object out of Earth’s atmosphere when it was observable over Sumeria.

But really, this is beginning to look a bit like a house of cards, yes? Let’s read on.

The observation suggests the asteroid is over a kilometre in diameter and the original orbit about the Sun was an Aten type, a class of asteroid that orbit close to the earth, that is resonant with the Earth’s orbit.

The bit about the Aten asteroids being resonant is just wrong. Many are resonant, some more strongly than others; but Aten asteroids are defined as those with a semi-major axis of less than one astronomical unit. An AU is, in lay terms, the average distance between the sun and the Earth. A semi-major axis is simply the distance of the long axis of an ellipse, divided by two. Almost all Atens have orbits that cross Earth’s orbit - in other words, most Atens get both closer to the sun than Earth, and farther away from it, depending on what part of its orbit it is in. That’s all - you don’t need the asteroid to be in a resonant orbit to be an Aten.

And a resonant orbit certainly doesn’t lead to a craterless impact, as I initially read the following as claiming:

This trajectory explains why there is no crater at Köfels. The in coming angle was very low (six degrees) and means the asteroid clipped a mountain called Gamskogel above the town of Längenfeld, 11 kilometres from Köfels, and this caused the asteroid to explode before it reached its final impact point. As it travelled down the valley it became a fireball, around five kilometres in diameter (the size of the landslide). When it hit Köfels it created enormous pressures that pulverised the rock and caused the landslide but because it was no longer a solid object it did not create a classic impact crater.


This is just preposterous.

First, you’re going to find plenty of evidence of the impact at Gamskogel if this were true. Any impact significant enough to badly disrupt an asteroid-type impactor, which is what the researchers hypothesize, is going to take out a big chunk of the mountain, cause all sorts of fracturing, landslides, and other highly noticeable effects. The physics of impact are such that, if the impact were truly strong enough to liquify or vaporize a >1 km asteroid, the mountain would have been converted into a crater - much like we see countless times on the moon.

Test of hypothesis number one: Is there a huge crater on the mountain, or has the mountain been obliterated by a huge crater?

The impact of an asteroid with a mountain will result in the classical shock wave in the impact medium and create an ejecta blanket. If the impact hypothesis is true, we should see planar deformation features on the mountain and ejecta more or less symmetrically around it.

Test of hypothesis number two: Is there shocked quartz on the mountain?

Test of hypothesis number three: Is there an ejecta blanket around the mountain?

Next, why would an impactor become a fireball? We all know that meteors in the process of burning up are hot, but they are not, literally, fireballs2. The researchers claim that that an asteroidal-type meteorite, after clipping the mountain, was “not a solid object” - but why? And how? How do you get an asteroidal impactor hitting so solidly that it vaporized it, but so softly that it doesn’t shock quartz or create a crater?

Sorry, but you just can’t.

You don’t solve any problems by breaking up an impactor into a million pieces - it still impacts. So you end up with a bunch of smaller craters - the total energy is the same.
Here’s an example of either a binary impactor, or disrupted impactor, on the Earth:

Clearwater Lakes

and an example on the Moon:


Supposing you can disrupt a 1-km asteroid impactor into pieces no larger than molecular size. What happens then? You still get craters:


That’s a microcrater in glass, too small to be seen by eye.

Maybe the press release is saying that the low angle of impact, supposedly of only six degrees, would not result in the formation of a crater. But that’s wrong too. Highly oblique impacts - thought to be considerably shallower than 6° - produce elongated craters:

Elongate Crater

So, there’s gonna be a crater, or two, or a billion, no matter what you do to the impactor3. Just because the asteroid “clips” a mountaintop on its way to its final resting place doesn’t mean there will be no crater. There will be one, or many, period.

Test of hypothesis number four: Go find the crater(s).

Test of hypothesis number five: Go find fragments of the impactor. There will be some, even if the main impactor vaporizes.

Let’s read on:

Mark Hempsell, discussing the Köfels event, said: “Another conclusion can be made from the trajectory. The back plume from the explosion (the mushroom cloud) would be bent over the Mediterranean Sea re-entering the atmosphere over the Levant, Sinai, and Northern Egypt.

“The ground heating though very short would be enough to ignite any flammable material – including human hair and clothes. It is probable more people died under the plume than in the Alps due to the impact blast.“

Ok, so there’s no crater because the impactor “wasn’t solid,” but there was enough ejecta - which only comes from craters - to kill people, and cover an area thousands of miles around, including northern Egypt and the Levant, where we should be able to go today and find - ummm, ejecta.

Test of hypothesis number six: Let’s go find ejecta, or evidence of widespread burns, in strata that we can date, using, e.g., pottery shards, to around 3100 BC in multiple archaeological digs in both Egypt and in the Levant. The strata should be iridium-enriched compared to terrestrial facies, ought to include shock products if the impact were powerful enough to spread material over that wide an area, and ought contain impact glass.

Ok, we’re done. Just to sum up, here’s why we can be pretty sure this press release promotes a wrong conclusion.

The researchers hypothesize:

* That Sumerians made regular celestial observations (probably true);
* One of them observed a large body very close to Earth before it had entered the atmosphere (very improbable - whereas seeing a very bright meteor is not only probable, but certain, if you keep looking)
* They recorded the trajectory to an accuracy of +/- one degree or less (plausible)
* The tablet they recorded this on was reproduced by a scribe 2,423 years later (possible, but why?)
* Even though apparently no other nights’ observations were similarly copied (why not? There would have been TONS of interesting stuff, and just as correlated with significant happenings on Earth - not by causation, but by coincidence)
Louis J. Sheehan Esquire

* And this tablet has never been translated before (I’ll stipulate that this is true even though I don’t really know)
* Two researchers - one a space infrastructure engineer, the other a rocket engine engineer, and neither linguists - translated it (huh? how?)
* And the tablet records an impactor (maybe)
* even though the impact glass found at the site is 8,000 to 16,000 years old (not 5,000 years old as the hypothesis says)
* And the impactor was a >1 km Aten asteroid (seriously, people, it requires several hours or days of precise, modern astronomical observations to determine if an asteroid is an Aten - you need either triangulated observations over a short time, or observations over a longer period of time, to extract that kind of data from the observations they say the Sumerians recorded)
* And that impactor landed at Köfels (maybe, but you need triangulated observations of incoming impactors to really determine where and if a possible impactor landed, because you can’t tell celestial distances or radial velocities - motion toward or away from you - by just looking)
* But not before “clipping” a mountain (oh, come ON! can we say “ad hoc hypothesis?”)
* Which turned it into something other than a solid (I’ve heard of shock melting, but turning an entire 1 km impacting asteroid into a liquid with a glancing blow with a mountain is beyond the pale, and turning it all into gas would be even more ludicrous)
* Which then created no craters when it landed (it still should have)
* But which did distribute ejecta all over the eastern Mediterranean (you don’t get ejecta without a crater)
* Which ejecta has not been found anywhere in the eastern Mediterranean (ouch)

I’ll add one more thing: This “research” hasn’t cleared peer review - the authors are trying to sell a direct-to-paperback book for $25 (USD). The press release says it is being published by Alcin Academics, but I can’t find them on the web and I can’t find any other book they’ve published. A quick look at the Amazon page for the book shows that the real publisher is WritersPrintshop - a self-publishing company. I’m thinking if this were a plausible hypothesis supported in a well-written book, they’d have gotten a real publisher to release it.

I’m not buying it - the book or the zany hypothesis. If anyone wants to change my mind, send me a copy of the book, and I’ll read it and reconsider.

Oh - and one more thing: Shame, shame on you, PhysOrg for credulously running this ridiculous story but ignoring the asteroid names announced last week.

Sources for Köfels background information:

* Graham, Bevan and Hutchison, “Catalogue of Meteorites”, 4th Edition, (1985)
* Kurat, Richter; Meteoritics, vol.4, p.192, 1969
* Störzer et al.; Meteoritics, vol.6, p.319, 1971

Update: I’ve been pointed to some additional references regarding the Köfels formation, which somewhat changes what I’ve written above. First, shocked quartz, with PDFs, have not been found at Köfels as some have claimed; quartz with lamellar deformation features typical of tectonic processes were found instead. Also, the Köfels formation was not a single landslide, but a result of several landslides at different times.
These are both further blows to the already discredited impact hypothesis for the origins of the Köfels formation, and casts even more doubt onto the conclusions that Sumerians observed a greater than 1 km wide Aten asteroid that impacted at Köfels.

It is a phone call that women dread. Something is not quite right on the mammogram: come back for another one. But don’t worry, the script goes, most repeat tests wind up normal.

Still, most women know someone who has breast cancer, and even the calmest, most rational minds may think the worst when summoned back to the clinic.

At many centers, these nerve-racking calls are on the rise, at least temporarily — the price of progress as more and more radiologists switch from traditional X-ray film to digital mammograms, in which the X-ray images are displayed on a computer monitor.

Problems can arise during the transition period, while doctors learn to interpret digital mammograms and compare them to patients’ previous X-ray films. Comparing past and present to look for changes is an essential part of reading mammograms. But the digital and film versions can sometimes be hard to reconcile, and radiologists who are retraining their eyes and minds may be more likely to play it safe by requesting additional X-rays — and sometimes ultrasound exams and even biopsies — in women who turn out not to have breast cancer.

Digital is growing fast. In the United States, 32 percent of mammography clinics now have at least one digital machine, up from only 10 percent two years ago. Eventually, film will be phased out.

The rush to digital is occurring in part because for certain women — younger ones and others with dense breast tissue — it is better than film at finding tumors. Digital is especially good at picking up tiny calcium deposits, or calcifications, which are sometimes — but by no means always — a sign of cancer. In the long run, radiologists say, digital technology will make mammograms more accurate for many women.

There have been no studies yet to measure what happens during the transition period, but many radiologists say they do find themselves calling more women back. About 35.8 million mammograms a year are done in the United States, including those for screening and follow-ups for problems. The National Cancer Institute recommends mammograms every year or two for most women over 40 (women at high risk may be advised to start earlier). Mammography is not perfect — it can miss tumors — but even its critics say it has helped to lower death rates from breast cancer, which is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, after lung cancer.

There are about 178,000 new cases of breast cancer each year in the United States, and 40,000 deaths.

Of 10 radiologists interviewed for this article, eight said that during the transition from film to digital, recall rates went up in women who were ultimately found to have nothing wrong. Normally a recall rate of 10 percent or less is considered desirable.
But during the transition period at their clinics, the doctors estimated that callbacks of women who turned out to be healthy increased by a few percentage points to as many as 10. Only one radiologist reported no problems: Dr. Etta D. Pisano, a professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at the University of North Carolina.

“I don’t believe it,” Dr. Pisano said. “I question that there’s a problem with the transition.”

But Dr. Mary Mahoney, a professor of radiology and the director of breast imaging at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, said, “I am living through the pain of this transition period on a daily basis.”

Dr. Mahoney’s center recently opened an entirely digital clinic for breast cancer screening.

“Our whole group is kind of pulling our hair out some days,” she said. “You struggle and you struggle. It’s just so much harder. These are really experienced, qualified radiologists who are wringing their hands. It’s where the increase in callbacks and biopsies is coming into play. It happens every day. Many times we’re able to bring the woman back, do additional views and feel comfortable we can follow that area.”

Regarding the higher callback rates, Dr. Mahoney said: “I know it’s not a small thing, the anxiety. Patients are practically in tears because they’re so worried. But I think in the long run it’s going to be to everybody’s benefit.”

Dr. Margarita Zuley, the director of breast imaging at Magee-Women’s Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said it could take six months to a year to learn to interpret the new images.

Lecturing in Manhattan recently about the transition to digital, Dr. Zuley told an audience of radiologists: “When you first start out, you may feel a little anxious and recall more patients because everything looks like a cancer to you. It’s O.K. Just bring the patients back. It’s part of the learning curve.”

Regarding higher recall rates during the transition, Dr. Zuley said: “Everybody sort of knows it, but it’s anecdotal. There are no numbers.”

Meanwhile, patients or their insurers are paying for the extra tests. Fees for mammograms vary around the country. A clinic in Manhattan recently billed an insurer $387 for a digital mammogram and then $336 for extra images of one breast — needed because of confusion between the old films and the new digital pictures — and was paid about half of those fees. Fees for film-based mammograms are usually $45 to $120 less.

Nancy Liber, a radiologic technologist at Dr. Mahoney’s center, was called back by her own colleagues at the center after her mammogram last month.

“I thought exactly what every woman does,” Ms. Liber said. “Immediately you panic and think, ‘Oh my gosh, what if something is really wrong?’ ”

She found herself worrying about what would happen if she became ill and unable to take care of her children. She did not even tell her husband what had happened until after the second test, which turned out normal. The concerns were due entirely to the difference between film and digital images. the stressful experience, Ms. Liber said that from what she had seen in her work, digital mammograms were the way to go.

“The inconvenience it may cause is worth it,” she said. But, she added, “I definitely know what these women are going through.”

Radiologists say one of digital’s advantages is that it lets them adjust features like contrast and magnification, and see things that were blurry or maybe even invisible on film. In the long run, doctors say, the increased clarity of digital mammograms may lead to fewer callbacks of healthy women — but it takes time to learn the ropes.

Dr. Constance D. Lehman, the director of breast imaging and a professor of radiology at the University of Washington, said she was not sure whether more women were called back during the transition. But describing the two technologies, she said, “In some areas it’s like comparing apples and oranges.”

When looking at a woman’s first digital image, Dr. Lehman said, radiologists must ask themselves whether a seeming change in the breast is truly new, or was it there all along but just not visible with earlier techniques.

Once a woman has had enough digital mammograms, the comparisons should be easier, radiologists say. But the first few may raise questions because when radiologists compare, they often go back to images from two or three years before. And in some clinics that have a mixture of film and digital machines, if a woman is switched between the two types from year to year, ambiguities may crop up again and again.

Many women do not know the difference between film and digital, or notice which is being used, and clinics may or may not inform them of potential problems during the changeover.

Digital mammography got a boost from a large study in 2005 that showed it was better than film at finding tumors in women under 50, or women of any age who had dense breasts, meaning a lot of glandular and connective tissue in proportion to fat.

A buzz grew around digital after the study. Some radiologists use the technology as a selling point, and others feel they must follow suit. Now there is such a demand for digital machines that there is a six-month wait for certain types, Dr. Zuley said, even though they cost $350,000 to $600,000, about three to five times as much as units that use film.

Dr. Leonard M. Glassman, who practices at Washington Radiology Associates, said that his practice in the Washington, D.C., area, which performs 85,000 mammograms a year, converted to digital about two years ago.

“There’s an increase in the rate of things you think are abnormal for about three months, and then you get used to it,” Dr. Glassman said. “You take more extra pictures, of things that six months later you would dismiss.

It happened probably 5 to 10 percent of the time right at the beginning, so it’s a significant amount, and then it tails off.”

When questions first arise, Dr. Glassman said, he does not warn women that the imaging may be the culprit because he cannot be sure what the problem is until he sees the second set of X-rays.

“At the end I tell patients, ‘You were a victim of technology,’ ” he said. “They give me a blank stare. I say: ‘Your last one was film; this one was digital. They look different, and we just didn’t know that.’ ”

Rising a million miles from the surface of the sun, the highest solar prominence ever recorded was observed by Mt. Wilson Observatory scientists on March 20, the Carnegie Institution of Washington has announced.

Reports of measurements made by Dr. Edison Pettit on photographs of the prominence indicate that a gigantic mass of erupting calcium and hydrogen gas rose nearly vertically from the sun that morning at speeds first of 40 miles per second, then 80 miles per second, and when last noted, 124 miles per second.

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