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  • Eric Krieg
    I thought the following is cute: ==================================== Were too late! It?s already been here. Mulder, I hope you know what you?re doing. Look,
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 10, 1999
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      I thought the following is cute:

      ====================================

      Were too late! It?s already been here.

      Mulder, I hope you know what you?re doing.

      Look, Scully, just like the other homes: Douglas fir, truncated, mounted,
      transformed into a shrine; halls decked with boughs of holly; stockings hung by
      the chimney with care.

      You really think someone?s been here?

      Someone, or someTHING

      Mulder, over here -- it?s a fruitcake.

      Don?t touch it! Those things can be lethal.

      It?s O.K. There?s a note attached: ?Gonna find out who?s naughty and nice.?

      It?s judging them, Scully. It?s making a list.

      Who? What are you talking about?

      Ancient mythology tells of an obese humanoid entity who could travel at great
      speed in a craft powered by antlered servants. Once each year, near the winter
      solstice, this creature is said to descend from the heavens to rewards its
      followers and punish disbelievers with jagged chunks of anthracite.

      But that?s legend Mulder -- a story told by parents to frighten children.
      Surely you don?t believe it?

      Something was here tonight, Scully. Check out the bite marks on this
      gingerbread man. Whatever tore through this plate of cookies was massive --
      and in a hurry.

      It left crumbs everywhere. And look, Mulder, this milk glass has been
      completely drained.

      It gorged itself, Scully. It fed without remorse.

      But why would they leave it milk and cookies?

      Appeasement. Tonight is the Eve, and nothing can stop its wilding.

      But if this thing does exist, how did it get in? The doors and windows were
      locked. There?s no sign of forced entry.

      Unless I miss my guess, it came through the fireplace.

      Wait a minute, Mulder. If you?re saying some huge creature landed on the roof
      and came down this chimney, you?re crazy. The flue is barely six inches wide.
      Nothing could get down there.

      But what if it could alter its shape, move in all directions at once?
      You mean, like a bowl full of jelly?

      Exactly. Scully, I?ve never told anyone this, but when I was a child my home
      was visited. I saw the creature. It had long white shanks of fur surrounding
      its ruddy, misshapen head. Its bloated torso was red and white. I?ll never
      forget the horror. I turned away, and when I looked back it had somehow taken
      on the facial features of my father.

      Impossible.

      I know what I saw. And that night it read my mind. It brought me a Mr. Potato
      head, Scully. IT KNEW THAT I WANTED A MR. POTATO HEAD!

      I?m sorry, Mulder, but you?re asking me to disregard the laws of physics. You
      want me to believe in some super-natural being who soars across the skies and
      brigs gifts to good little girls and boys.
      Listen to what you?re saying. Do you understand the repercussions? If this
      gets out, they?ll close the X-files.

      Scully, listen to me: It knows when you?re sleeping. It knows when you?re
      awake.

      But we have no proof.

      Last year, on this exact data, SETI radio telescopes detected bogeys in the
      airspace over twenty-seven states. The White House ordered a Condition Red.

      But that was a meteor shower.

      Officially. Two days ago, eight prized Scandinavian reindeer vanished from the
      National Zoo, in Washington D.C. Nobody -- not even the zookeeper -- was told
      about it. The government doesn?t want people to know about project Kringle.
      They fear that if this thing is proved to exist the public will stop spending
      half its annual income in a holiday shopping frenzy. Retail markets will
      collapse. Scully, they cannot let the world believe this creature lives.
      There?s too much at stake. They?ll do whatever it takes to insure another
      silent night.

      Mulder, I --

      Sh-h-h. Do you hear what I hear?

      On the roof. It sounds like .... a clatter.

      The truth is up there. Let?s see what?s the matter.E
      --

      ======================================

      Eric Krieg eric@...

      http://www.phact.org/e/more.htm

      PS: I close with the latest from CSICOP:

      Skeptical Inquirer Electronic Digest 12-10-99

      Visit the CSICOP and Skeptical Inquirer Magazine website at
      http://www.csicop.org Receiving over 200,000 hits per year, the CSICOP site
      was rated one of the top ten science sites by HOMEPC magazine.

      In this week's SI DIGEST:
      --PREVIEW: Skeptical Inquirer Jan./Feb. 2000
      --Center for Inquiry West to Cash in on the Apocalypse
      --NY TIMES on Global Cooling
      --Scientific American "End of the Millennium" Special Issue
      --NPR on Doomsday Predictions, Mars Mission, Science Funding

      PREVIEW: SKEPTICAL INQUIRER JAN/FEB 2000

      Arriving to subscribers and in bookstores in the next several weeks:

      ARTICLES

      The Ten Outstanding Skeptics of the Twentieth Century

      Two Paranormalisms or Two and Half? An Empirical Exploration
      Erich Goode

      Most researchers have found an inverse negative correlation between
      religious traditionalism and paranormal beliefs. It is possible that the two
      dimensions share a great deal more in common than previous surveys suggest.
      A new study supports that view.

      Anna Eva Fay: The Mentalist Who Baffled Sir William Crookes
      Massimo Polidoro

      The Pseudoscience of Oxygen Therapy
      John M. Allen

      Confessions of a (Former) Graphologist
      Robert J. Tripician

      COLUMNS

      Notes of a Fringe Watcher
      The Second Coming of Jesus
      Martin Gardner

      Investigative Files
      Canada's Mysterious Maritimes
      Joe Nickell

      Commentary
      The Congressional Censure of a Research Paper
      Kenneth K. Berry and Jason Berry

      CENTER FOR INQUIRY WEST TO CASH IN ON THE APOCALYPSE

      For Immediate Release
      Contact James Underdown at 310-306-2847

      SCIENCE PUTS ITS MONEY WHERE ITS MOUTH IS...

      LOS ANGELES, CA--In an unprecedented move for a not-for profit organization,
      the Center for Inquiry-West in Los Angeles is offering $.10 on the dollar for
      cars, houses, and other valuables to people who believe that the world will
      end on January 1, 2000.

      "Scientifically, there is no reason to believe that the planet earth will
      behave any differently on January 1st, 2000, than on any other
      day--regardless of what the so-called prophets say. We are giving those who
      do believe such nonsense a chance to quickly cash-in and enjoy their last
      days with some extra funds," says James Underdown, Executive Director, Center
      for Inquiry West. "If people really believe in the apocalypse, they should
      have no hesitation to sell their belongings. They won't need them if the
      world ends, will they?"

      The Center for Inquiry-West will consider any available property and stands
      by with ready cash to act on the proposal. Our confidence is in logic,
      reason, and science.

      How confident are those who think the end is near?

      The Center for Inquiry-West serves as the Los Angeles-area bureau for Skeptic
      al Inquirer magazine, and sponsors lectures and activities that promote
      science, reason, and critical thinking. Visit the Center for Inquiry-West at
      http://www.cfiwest.org

      NY TIMES ON GLOBAL COOLING

      On Tuesday, Dec. 7, the NY TIMES highlighted the prospect of global cooling
      brought about by a disruption of ocean currents. Some skeptics might be
      familiar with the topic as it was a feature presentation by University of
      Washington Professor William Calvin at the 1998 World Skeptics Congress in
      Heidelberg, Germany.

      For more on the topic, visit Calvin's webpage at
      http://www.williamcalvin.com/atlantic/index.htm, and read a World Skeptics
      Congress summary at http://www.csicop.org/si/9811/conference2.html.

      For the full NY TIMES article go to:

      http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/120799sci-environ-climate.html

      By William K. Stevens
      Evidence continues to accumulate that the frozen world of the Arctic and
      sub-Arctic is thawing, and the findings are spotlighting two increasingly
      important questions: Can what is happening in the Great White North touch off
      sudden shifts in climate that will transform weather and disrupt life
      throughout the Northern Hemisphere? Is the Arctic a key to the way in which
      global warming might be translated into region-by-region climatic changes?
      The answers, many experts believe, may depend on how much fresh water flows
      into the North Atlantic Ocean as a result of melting Arctic ice and the
      runoff from an increase in Northern Hemisphere precipitation that some
      scientists say is already resulting from global warming. The theory behind
      this view holds that the climate of the North Atlantic region, including
      Europe and eastern North America, is controlled by great ocean currents that
      transport heat northward from the tropics. This oceanic conveyor belt is set
      in motion when saltier, and therefore heavier, surface water sinks to the
      deep ocean in the vicinity of southern Greenland. It is replaced by warm
      water from the tropics that warms the North Atlantic region. Without it, the
      relatively mild climate of England, for instance, might be as cold as that of
      northern Canada. The worry is that a great influx of fresh water from the
      thawing Arctic might dilute the salty current and so either halt or weaken
      the heat-bearing conveyor belt. This could result in a sudden, long-term drop
      in the North Atlantic region's temperature, a climatic disruption that would
      probably reverberate around the hemisphere by altering large-scale
      atmospheric circulation.

      SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN "END OF THE MILLENNIUM" SPECIAL ISSUE

      The December 1999 Scientific American "End of the Millennium" Special Issue
      features essays on the future of science by CSICOP fellows John Maddox,
      Steven Weinberg, and Jill Tarter.

      Go to http://www.sciam.com/1999/1299issue/1299quicksummary.html

      "What Science Will Know in 2050"

      Today's top scientific authorities speculate on the great questions that
      further research will answer within the next five decades

      The Unexpected Science to Come
      Sir John Maddox
      The most important discoveries of the next 50 years are likely to be ones of
      which we cannot now even conceive.

      A Unified Physics by 2050?
      Steven Weinberg
      Experiments should let particle physicists complete the Standard Model, but
      a unified theory of all forces may require radically new ideas.

      Exploring Our Universe and Others
      Martin Rees
      In the 21st century cosmologists will unravel the mystery of our universe�s
      birth--and perhaps prove the existence of other universes as well.

      Deciphering the Code of Life
      Francis S. Collins and Karin G. Jegalian
      With a complete catalogue of all the genes in hand, biologists will spend
      the next decades answering the most intriguing questions about life.

      The End of Nature versus Nurture
      Frans B. M. de Waal
      Arguments about whether our behavior is shaped more by genetics or
      environment ought to yield to a more enlightened view.

      The Human Impact on Climate
      Thomas R. Karl and Kevin E. Trenberth
      The magnitude of our species� effect on climate could be clear by 2050, but
      only if nations commit to long-term monitoring now.

      Can Human Aging Be Postponed?
      Michael R. Rose
      No single elixir or treatment will do the trick. Antiaging therapies of the
      future will need to counter many destructive biochemical processes at once to
      maintain youthfulness.

      How the Brain Creates the Mind
      Antonio R. Damasio
      The origin of the conscious mind might seem eternally mysterious, but a
      better understanding of the brain�s workings should explain it.

      Is There Life Elsewhere in the Universe?
      Jill C. Tarter and Christopher F. Chyba
      Scientists� search for life beyond Earth has been less thorough than is
      commonly thought--but that is about to change.

      Rise of the Robots
      Hans Moravec
      By 2050 robotic �brains� based on computers that execute 100 trillion
      instructions per second will rival human intelligence.

      NPR ON DOOMSDAY PREDICTIONS, MARS MISSION, SCIENCE FUNDING

      From NPR's Morning Edition, Wed. Dec. 8:

      Doomsday Predictions -- NPR's Barbara Bradley reports on some of the
      millennial doomsday scenarios that are portrayed on television, in movies and
      in popular music. The idea is that the world will undergo a cataclysmic event
      at the turn of the millennium. (7:20)

      To listen to the segment on RealAudio go to
      http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnpd01fm.cfm?PrgDate=12/08/1999&PrgID=3
      ----

      From NPR's Science Friday, Dec. 3:

      HOUR ONE: Mars Landing

      GUESTS:
      MARSHA PRESLEY
      Member of the Deep Space-2 Mars Microprobes Science Team
      Faculty Research Associate, Department of Geology
      Arizona State University
      Phoenix, Arizona

      JIM BELL
      Assistant Professor, Department of Astronomy
      Cornell University
      Ithaca, New York

      RICK KASUDA
      Lockheed Martin Astronautics
      Denver, Colorado

      Right now, an intrepid explorer is nearing the end of a 470-million-mile
      space odyssey. Mars Polar Lander is scheduled to arrive at the red planet on
      Friday, after eleven long months of travel. Scientists hope it will answer
      questions about the soil, weather, and water on Mars. In this hour, we'll
      take a look at this latest Mars mission.

      HOUR TWO: Science Funding- A Conversation
      With Rita Colwell and Harold Varmus

      GUESTS:
      RITA COLWELL
      Director
      National Science Foundation
      Arlington, Virginia

      HAROLD VARMUS
      Director
      National Institutes of Health
      Bethesda, Maryland

      This year, the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of
      Health together will distribute close to $20 billion in research money. In
      this hour, we'll talk with the heads of these two powerful scientific
      institutions about their institutions' goals and the future of science
      funding.

      To listen to the show on Real Audio go to:
      http://search.npr.org/cf/cmn/cmnpd01fm.cfm?PrgDate=12/03/1999&PrgID=5



      --30--

      SI Electronic Digest is the biweekly e-mail news update of the Committee for
      the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP.)

      Visit http://www.csicop.org/.

      Rated one of the Top Ten Science sites on the Web by HOMEPC magazine.

      The Digest is written and edited by Matthew Nisbet and Barry Karr. SI Digest
      is distributed directly via e-mail to over 3000 readers worldwide, and is
      sent from CSICOP headquarters at the Center for Inquiry-International,
      Amherst NY, USA.

      To subscribe for free to the SI DIGEST, go to:
      http://www.csicop.org/list/

      PERMISSION IS GRANTED TO REPRINT OR REPOST ON THE WEB.
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      PLEASE FORWARD TO YOUR FRIENDS.

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      SINISBET@... (716-636-1425 x217)

      CSICOP publishes the bimonthly SKEPTICAL INQUIRER, The Magazine for Science
      and Reason. The Nov/Dec. 1999 issue features articles on Carl Sagan, the
      Physics behind amazing feats, famous curses, and the Star of Bethlehem.

      To subscribe at the $17.95 introductory Internet price, go to:
      http://www.csicop.org/si/subscribe/

      --30--
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