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September 28, 2003

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News Clippings From Around the World

Triassic Park Work Day
We have set aside Saturday October 18, 2003 as a work day at Triassic Park in St. Peters, PA. Everyone that wants to help out is welcome to come and lean a hand. We want to put up some fence, put down some gravel, clear some brush, knock down some blocks, and pick up trash. If it rains, we will postpone it until October 25, 2003. Bring some work gloves. Come any time between 11 AM and 5 PM. See for directions. If you might be able to help you can send us an e-mail at

French Creek Mines
The Institute for Biblical and Scientific Studies, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization, still has a great opportunity to save the French Creek Mines in St. Peters, PA from destruction by land developers. The French Creek Mines are famous for their unusual mineral specimens. We want to preserve and restore the mines. The mine shaft itself would remain buried. We would like to restore the old railroad station as a museum with mineral displays from these mines. The cost of the property is $85,000. We can obtain half of this money with easement grants, but we still need to raise at least another $40,000 before the property is sold to others. There may be some that could give a donation for a tax write off to help us save the mine, or could loan us some money. If you know anyone that might be interested in helping us out financially to save the French Creek Mines, please let me know. You can contact Dr. Meyers by e-mail at Pictures of the mines are at

Religion in the News

Kenneth Hagin, 'Word of Faith' Preacher, Dies at 86
His life and beliefs.

'Rumors' about people who say they're 'spiritual but not religious' 
Yancey's latest isn't directed at Christians, but toward those who are in what he calls "the borderlands of belief" (The Tennessean, Nashville).

New Mormon aim: Reach out to blacks
It's a tricky feat. In the not-too-distant past, the Mormon faithful were routinely taught that blacks were an inferior race (Los Angeles Times).

Billions of government dollars no longer off-limits to faith-based organizations
The White House yesterday announced regulatory changes that will make it easier for religious organizations to compete for federal funds. In addition, it proposed six other rules to "level the playing field" in funding social services. See h

A Reformer's Agony
A high-caliber film shows how messy it was when Luther helped change the course of history.
Luther, reviewed by Chris Armstrong.

Science in the News

New Audio clips from Dr. Meyers with the Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies:


Divining nature's plan
A generation after his pioneering work in the Burgess Shale, Conway Morris is convinced that far from being a random, directionless process, evolution shows deep patterns, and perhaps even a purpose (U.S. News & World Report).

Fruit Odors Lure Some Flies To Evolve Into New Species (September 23, 2003)
For apple maggots, the dating scene is simple -- flies only mate on a specific host fruit. Using new technology developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University researchers have demonstrated that this fact of fly life has resulted in the emergence of two distinct races of the pest in just 150 years.

Monkeys strike for justice
Getting the short end of the stick tends to tick people off. It turns out the same is true for monkeys. Scientists report that capuchin monkeys become upset when they feel they've been treated unfairly. The findings suggest that the animals have an innate sense of justice, a trait previously thought to be unique to humans.

Doubts Over Evolution Continue to Mount as 60 Biologists Express Skepticism with Central Tenet of Darwin’s Theory.
(From Discovery Institute).

Discovery channel program to expose urban legends.


Bones of Contention
Why I still think the James bone box is likely to be authentic.
By Ben Witherington. I would strongly disagree with him. The box is genuine, but the writing on it is fake.

What Do the Stones Cry Out?
Beware of claims that archaeology disproves—or proves—the Bible is true. By Christian M. M. Brady.

Top Ten New Testament Archaeological Finds of the Past 150 Years
How do shrouds, boats, inscriptions, and other artifacts better help us understand the Christ of the Ages? By Ben Witherington III. I strongly disagree with him about the Shroud of Turin which is clearly a fake.

Listening to the Fifth Gospel
The sun-baked ruins of the Holy Land have a story to tell. By David Neff.

Why We Dig the Holy Land
If biblical archaeology is not reinvigorated, Scripture-illuminating evidence will remain buried in the Middle East. A Christianity Today Editorial by David Neff.

Faces of the Pyramid Builders.
They were not aliens or Adam.

Neanderthal hunters rivaled human skills
A new study challenges the theory that Neanderthals died out because they were greatly inferior hunters.

Earliest European Modern Humans Found (September 24, 2003)
A research team co-directed by Erik Trinkaus, professor of anthropology at Washington University in St. Louis, has dated a human jawbone from a Romanian bear hibernation cave to between 34,000 and 36,000 years ago. That makes it the earliest known modern human fossil in Europe.

Amazon was settled before Columbus' time
Excavations and maps confirm forest housed advanced society.


NASA's Galileo Space Probe Disintegrates Over Jupiter. Washington (AFP) Sep 22, 2003
NASA's Galileo space probe, which revolutionized scientists' understanding of Jupiter and its moons, made its last transmissions Sunday and then disintegrated spectacularly in Jupiter's atmosphere. National Aeronautics and Space Administration technicians in charge of Jupiter's final mission lost contact with Galileo shortly after 1940 hours GMT Sunday. However, the probe was lost almost a hour before this, as it took some 52 minutes for Galileo's transmissions to reach earth.

Distant Star Bursts Provide Key To The Origin Of Galaxies. Edinburgh - Sep 19, 2003
Revealing images produced by one of the world's most sophisticated telescopes are enabling a team of Edinburgh astronomers to see clearly for the first time how distant galaxies were formed 12 billion years ago.

Chandra Solves Mystery of Moon's Dark Side
Astronomers have found a new use for the Chandra X-ray observatory: probing the surface of the moon. New observations provide direct evidence of lunar composition. Knowing exactly what elements make up the satellite and how they are distributed will help researchers determine just how our satellite was formed. In addition, the data may clear up a decade-old debate about the dark regions of the moon.

Early Mars Was Frozen - But Habitable: Part II. Moffett Field - Sep 24, 2003 - Early Mars was cold - very cold, says Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center. But that doesn't mean it was incapable of supporting life. McKay has extensively studied life in some of the harshest environments in the world: the Antarctic dry valleys, the Arctic, and the Atacama desert.

Hubble Uncovers Smallest Moons Yet Seen Around Uranus.
Astronomers have discovered two of the smallest moons yet found around Uranus. The new moons, uncovered by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, are about 8 to 10 miles across (12 to 16 km) — about the size of San Francisco.


Old-Fashioned Cures for Common Ailments. Sept. 14 (HealthDayNews)
Some old-fashioned home remedies may work as well, or better, than commercial remedies for treating common childhood aches and pains.

Tumor-Busting Viruses
Some scientists are now genetically engineering a range of viruses that act as search-and-destroy missiles: selectively infecting and killing cancer cells while leaving healthy ones alone. This new strategy, called virotherapy, has shown promise in animal tests, and clinical trials involving human patients are now under way. Researchers are evaluating virotherapy alone and as a novel means for administering traditional chemotherapies solely to tumor cells. They are also developing methods to label viruses with radioactive or fluorescent tags in order to track the movement of the viral agents in patients.

Opening A File Card On All Life forms. Arlington - Sep 24, 2003
The National Science Foundation (NSF), in cooperation with the ALL Species Foundation, has announced an important new strategy to discover, describe and classify Earth's species. By some estimates as many as 90 percent of living species are unknown to science, and traditional approaches to discover them are unacceptably slow, scientists say.

Danger On Chromosome 15
Unstable Region Yields Genes For Prader-Willi/Angelman Syndromes And Spastic Paraplegia. While it might have given our ancestors an evolutionary advantage, an "unstable" region on human chromosome 15 is also the source of a set of inherited neurological diseases.

Genes Can Individualize Treatment For High Blood Pressure (September 25, 2003)
Genes that cause hypertension may also determine which blood pressure-lowering drugs are most effective for different people, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's 57th Annual High Blood Pressure Research Conference.

Exercise Can Reduce Prevent Diabetes For People Of Any Weight, Say Pittsburgh Researchers (September 25, 2003)
Taking a brisk half-hour walk every day can decrease a person's risk of developing diabetes regardless of their weight, report researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH) in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Trans Fatty Acids: What Are They And Why Shouldn't You Eat Them? (September 24, 2003)
Just what is the skinny on those trans fatty acids that are so bad for you? Donuts, stick margarines, French fries, cookies and other tasty snacks are loaded with them. And this summer the Food and Drug Administration decreed that as of Jan. 1, 2006, manufacturers must break the trans fats category out of the total fat listing on labels.

Earth Science

Built-In Eyeshade Offers Clue To Prehistoric Past. Edmonton - Sep 19, 2003
A new, rare fossil of a prehistoric sea creature bearing eyes like "twin towers" sheds light on how it lived more than 395 million years ago, says a University of Alberta researcher. Dr. Brian Chatterton, one of the world's leading experts on trilobites and a professor in the U of A's Faculty of Science, reports on the discovery of the only known complete specimen of a particular trilobite in this week's edition of the prestigious scientific journal Science.

Grand Canyon born on East coast
Uranium-dating reveals origin of western US sandstone. Traditionally, geologists have looked at a sandstone's grain types to discern its rocky parentage. Other clues, such as which way the wind or water that deposited the grains was flowing, pointed them in the right direction. So Dickinson and Gehrels instead scrutinized grains of zircon, a uranium-bearing mineral, in the sandstones. As soon as zircon crystallizes from molten magma, its radioactive uranium begins to decay into lead. The amount of lead in a zircon grain therefore reveals when it formed. These ages can then be matched to zircon ages from different mountain ranges. Half of the Grand Canyon samples were formed either around 1.2 billion years ago or around 500 million years ago. These ages match granite in the Appalachian Mountains. Only a quarter of the grains came from the Ancestral Rockies; the rest hark from the interior of Canada. Nature 16 September 2003.

Largest Arctic Ice Shelf Breaks Up, Draining Freshwater Lake. Quebec City - Sep 24, 2003
The largest ice shelf in the Arctic has broken, and scientists who have studied it closely say it is evidence of ongoing and accelerated climate change in the north polar region. The Ward Hunt Ice Shelf is located on the north coast of Ellesmere Island in Canada's Nunavut territory and its northernmost national park. This ancient feature of thick ice floating on the sea began forming some 4,500 years ago and has been in place for at least 3,000 years.

An Arctic mammal fauna from the Early Pliocene of North America
RICHARD H. TEDFORD AND C. RICHARD HARINGTON. The ecological affinities of the plant and beetle remains contained in the peat indicate that winter temperatures on Ellesmere Island were nearly 15 °C higher and summer temperatures 10 °C higher than they are today.

Gamma rays may have devastated life on Earth
One of the world's worst mass extinctions, 443 million years ago, may have been caused by a burst of gamma rays from space, suggests fossil evidence.

Paleontologist Offers New Theory On Dinosaur Extinction. Princeton - Sep 26, 2003
As a paleontologist, Gerta Keller has studied many aspects of the history of life on Earth. But the question capturing her attention lately is one so basic it has passed the lips of generations of 6-year-olds: What killed the dinosaurs?

Scientists: Ancient Himalayas Even Older. Sept. 22, 2003
The world's highest mountains may be almost nine times older than previously believed, Arizona geologists said. The Himalayas were thrust up when India collided with Asia 55 million years ago — and continue to build from the ongoing collision of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates. But within the tangled, tortured rocks of the gigantic mountain range are rare and tantalizing clues of what appears to have been mountains building 450 million years ago.

Northern Climate, Ecosystems Driven By Cycles Of Changing Sunlight.
Emerging geochemical and biological evidence from Alaskan lake sediment suggests that slight variations in the sun's intensity have affected sub-polar climate and ecosystems in a predictable fashion during the last 12,000 years.


A test of general relativity using radio links with the Cassini spacecraft Nature September 23, 2003


Why do Teens Drink Alcohol?

Anticonvulsant Drug Promising Therapy For Cocaine Abuse (September 23, 2003)
Research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institutes of Health, suggests that gamma vinyl-GABA (GVG)--a drug used to treat epilepsy--may prove to be an effective treatment for cocaine addiction.


First power station to harness moon opens
The first commercial subsea station to capture the energy of the tides has opened in Norway.