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August 31, 2003

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Religion in the News

Do Drink the Water
Disillusioned missionary, 'Spirit-inspired' invention transform church's ministry in the Dominican Republic.

Russian Kangaroo Court Convicts American Missionary
Government keeps $48,000 intended for churches.

Ten Commandments Monument Removed From Ala. Courthouse

Old dream and new issues 40 years after rights march 
As civil rights advocates, old and new, gather this weekend to commemorate what many consider the high point of the struggle for equal rights, they are also taking stock of the movement itself — what it is today, how it got that way, and what it must say, do and become to maintain its relevance (The New York Times).

Autistic boy dies at Wis. prayer service 
An autistic 8-year-old boy died while wrapped in sheets during a prayer service held to exorcise the evil spirits that church members blamed for his condition (Associated Press).

Vatican's stargazers place faith in science 
The priests at the pope's observatory near Rome try to correct a Galileo- linked perception about the Roman Catholic Church (Associated Press).

J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, a Legendary Friendship
A new book reveals how these two famous friends conspired to bring myth and legend—and Truth—to modern readers. By Chris Armstrong.

The Least Likely Soil
Where God is more certain than death.
By Philip Yancey.

Science in the News

Wagner Free Institute of Science Fall Courses.

Course change: Ancient Graves and Modern Cemeteries. Starts Tuesday, 9/30/2003 at 7:00 PM at the University of Pennsylvania Museum.


Coming soon! Creation magazine archive: Brand new feature! Years of research and life-changing articles—from Creation magazine—at your fingertips. Every Creation article over the past six years, conveniently organized in a single, powerful database for advanced research or easy reading! (Look for several more issues very soon.) Search by author, type of article, date, etc. It’s easy to use. Check it out at  The TJ journal of creation at

The End of Evolution
Population geneticists, rummaging in DNA's ever-fascinating attic, have set dates on two important changes in the human form.

Re-evolving Evolution
Bartel, a researcher at Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, pursues a theory of early evolution called the "RNA-world hypothesis," which maintains that, in the beginning, long before DNA or protein existed, RNA performed both DNA's job of encoding information and protein's job of catalyzing replication. Because RNA replication is far simpler than protein replication, and because RNA participates in central cellular functions, researchers postulate a primitive, yet elegant, system in which RNA made RNA.  


Ancient stone circle found on remote island
An ancient stone circle which has lain buried for more than 3,000 years has been found on a remote Scottish island. The circle is the latest to have been discovered at a site widely considered as second in importance to Stonehenge.


New Findings Could Dash Hopes For Past Oceans On Mars
Tempe - Aug 26, 2003 - After a decades-long quest, scientists analyzing data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft have at last found critical evidence the spacecraft's infrared spectrometer instrument was built to search for: the presence of water-related carbonate minerals on the surface of Mars.

Mars movements spark huge rise in German "UFO sightings"  

NASA Promises Reform As Columbia Inquiry Lays Blame At Agency's Door.


Dartmouth Bioengineers Develop Humanized Yeast
Bioengineers at Dartmouth have genetically engineered yeast to produce humanized therapeutic proteins to address the manufacturing crunch currently confronting the biopharmaceutical industry. Reported in this week's issue of Science, the researchers have re-engineered the yeast P. pastoris to secrete a complex human glycoprotein--a process offering significant advantages over current production methods using mammalian cell lines, according to the researchers.

Genetics (28 Aug)
Increasingly, researchers believe that the mechanisms that govern gene activity themselves resemble a complicated non-DNA code - an intricate pattern of activity among the molecules that package and control access to the DNA. They suspect that the coordinated interplay of a number of specific enzymes is required to turn on a particular gene.

'MicroRNAs' Control Plant Shape And Structure
New discoveries about tiny genetic components called microRNAs explain why plant leaves are flat. The study may be a first step, researchers say, in revolutionizing our understanding of how plants control their morphology, or shape.

Earth Science

Methane Thought To Be Responsible For Mass Extinction
What caused the worst mass extinction in Earth's history 251 million years ago? An asteroid or comet colliding with Earth? A greenhouse effect? Volcanic eruptions in Siberia? Or an entirely different culprit? A Northwestern University chemical engineer believes the culprit may be an enormous explosion of methane (natural gas) erupting from the ocean depths.

How Lunar Tides Control The Flows Of Antarctic Ice Streams - Newcastle - Aug 26, 2003
The moon is often accused of causing lunacy, bringing on labor and transforming werewolves. Now it seems that in reality, the moon, through the tides, is responsible for the pattern of motion exhibited by ice streams in the Antarctic, according to a team of geologists from NASA, Penn State and University of Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England.

Planetary Tilt Not A Spoiler For Habitation
In B science fiction movies, a terrible force often pushes the Earth off its axis and spells disaster for all life on Earth. In reality, life would still be possible on Earth and any Earth-like planets if the axis tilt were greater than it is now, according to Penn State researchers.

Earth Has A New Look
A brand new look and understanding of the place we call home. That's what you'll get in a complete global topographic data set generated by NASA and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency.


Schizophrenia (29 Aug)
About one in a hundred people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia. Now neuroscientists may have found a gene variation that predisposes people to this brain disease. As this ScienCentral News video reports, it could lead to genetically targeted drugs for schizophrenia.

Depression (25 Aug)
Evidence is growing that a key mechanism underlying major depression--a sometimes heritable, often lifetime illness, with repeated remissions and relapses--involves dysregulation of the signaling proteins called cytokines.

Amphetamine Or Cocaine Exposure May Limit Brain Cell Changes That Normally Occur With Life Experiences
Researchers know that certain kinds of experiences, such as those involved in learning, can physically change brain structure and affect behavior. Now, new research in rats shows that exposure to stimulant drugs such as amphetamine or cocaine can impair the ability of specific brain cells to change as a consequence of experience.