March 15, 2001

Miscellaneous Subjects #67: Giant Crystals Found + HIGH voltage power cables have been officially linked to cancer + ACTION ALERT on US CAMPAIGN FINANCE by Alliance for Democracy/Clean Money-Clean Elections Campaign + Concerns, criticism follow climate forecasts + The Quiet Campaign for Genetically Engineered Humans + The Ones Who Care

Hello everyone

Lots of food for thought in this compilation and a suggested action.

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

P.S. Give a look at and check the picture of the absolutely astoundingly giant 30 to 50 feet tall solid selenite crystals found in a 150 degrees hot cave, 1,300 feet below the earth’s surface in the spring of 2000, near Naica, Chihuahua, Mexico. No other such cave has been discovered on Earth so far.

This was recommended by Terry Beyers


Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001
From: Michael Dean <>
Subject: "Matthew, tell me about heaven."


Your glowing report on "Matthew, tell me about heaven", by Suzy Ward, reminded me of something a friend told me a few years ago:

He and his his wife were in their sitting room one evening when their 7-year-old son came in and asked if he could go into the nursery to see his little 2-year-old sister. They said, "Okay. But if she's asleep, please don't wake her up."

Their son went out and closed the door. My friend and his wife heard what happened next on the baby-alarm speakers on their bookshelf: They heard their son quietly enter the nursery, go over to his sister's cot.

"Wake up," he whispered. His little sister murmured in her sleep.

"Tell me about the angels," said the boy, "I'm beginning to forget..."

Love and thoughts and thanks, as ever, from London

Michael. :-D

From: "Leigh"
Subject: Fw: HIGH voltage power cables have been officially linked to cancer
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001

Graham Bennett wrote:

Hi everyone. The following article was sent to me by Neal. Unfortunately, for anyone who understands a little about electromagnetic fields, you will appreciate that undergrounding the cables will not solve the problem, since ionisation is not the cause of the health problems which go way beyond leukaemia to include birth defects and a number of other disorders which occur at all ages.

The fields radiating from an electric power line have two components:

* an electric field which is easily stopped by even small sheilding such as house walls (some people with a steel roof can earth their roof to provide protection in most but not all cases), and secondly,

* a magnetic field which cannot be sheilded in any way shape or form, not even by solid lead. Magnetic fields, at best, can only be focussed into a smaller more intense area (the exact principle used in a transformer's iron core).

Thus undergrounding the cables would reduce the electrical component of the fields (as well as any ionisation which might be occurring in air), but not affect the magnetic field component. The only protection against this is distance. Magnetic field strength reduces according to the square of the distance from it. For example, the field strength at 2 metres is 4 times less than at 1 metre, the field strength at 10 metres is 100 times less than at 1 metre, etc.


Top scientists establish link Pylons are cancer risk - official

Jonathan Leake
Science Editor
March 4, 2001

HIGH voltage power cables have been officially linked to cancer for the first time. A study shows that children living near them run a small but significant increased risk of falling victim to the disease.

Sir Richard Doll, the epidemiologist who discovered the link between smoking and lung cancer in the 1960s, will this week warn that children living near electricity power lines are at an increased risk from leukaemia.

He is also expected to say that there may be a link with adult cancers but that this is unproven. His work was commissioned by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), the government's radiation watchdog.

Doll is chairman of its Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (Agnir). He has spent months analysing the results of studies on cancer among people living near power cables. It is the first time a British government body has accepted the link between cancer and power lines.

It raises the possibility of multi-million-pound claims by families who have blamed their children's illnesses on the cables. It could also reopen campaigns by local groups to have power lines buried underground or moved away from homes.

Professor Colin Blakemore, a member of Doll's group, said: "The evidence is that there is a slightly elevated risk of cancer near to power lines. We are going to acknowledge that evidence exists indicating an association between power lines and cancer."

Blakemore said the mechanism was uncertain but could be due to the high voltage lines emitting charged particles called ions which may then be inhaled.



Alliance for Democracy/Clean Money-Clean Elections Campaign


“Keep the Caps or Kill the Bill!”

Walk with Granny D
Send Bottle Caps to Your U.S. Senators

If you’re concerned about the anti-democratic impact of big money in politics, political bribery, and campaign finance corruption on the environment, our health care system, U.S. foreign and military policies, the drug crisis, the prison epidemic, and a host of other vital issues including our democracy itself — this is your chance. A two-week debate in the U.S. Senate, focusing on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, is scheduled to start on either March 19th or 26th. This promises to be the longest, most intense debate on campaign finance reform in a quarter century.

The centerpiece of the McCain-Feingold bill is a complete ban on all “soft” (i.e., unregulated) money in federal elections. We’re told by our friends in Washington, D.C. to expect that a long list of weakening, ‘poison pill’ amendments will be offered during the debate. The most damaging amendments will be ones to raise the amount of “hard” (i.e., regulated) money that individuals and PACs can contribute to candidates' campaigns and political parties.

But legislation that raises the existing hard money caps would be de-form, not reform, because it would undermine whatever positive effect comes of eliminating soft money. Instead of moving us forward, it would maintain the current level of inequality and disenfranchisement that is inherent in today’s system of privately financed campaigns. Beating back such legislative proposals will be difficult, so it is important for us all to register our opposition to these amendments with our U.S. Senators as early (and as often! and in as many ways!) as possible.

Send a message to the Senate and save the bill from killer compromises -- by sending a bottle cap (metal or plastic) to both of your Senators, asking them to hold the line and not increase the caps on hard money contributions. If we combine our voices to sing in unison, our message will be heard.


If you can get to Washington, D.C.
1) WALK WITH GRANNY D IN WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 14th-April 2nd)

Wherever you live

CLIP - To get the rest of this info please contact the organization below or visit their website:

For more information, see the Alliance for Democracy web site at, or send an email to or contact the office directly: 781-894-1179

Ph: 781-894-1179, Fax: 781-894-0279

Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001
From: Mark Graffis <>
Subject: Concerns, criticism follow climate forecasts

By JOAN LOWY, Scripps Howard News Service

(March 8, 2001 - - Environmental forecasts are increasingly sounding a drumbeat of disaster: The earth is warming up faster than predicted, drinking water is becoming scarce in much of the world, deserts are expanding and there are fewer fish to eat in the boundless oceans.

"U.N. Scientists Warn of Climate Armageddon," screamed The Scotsman, a leading Edinburgh newspaper, after a United Nations report last month forecast dramatic and potentially disastrous climate changes before the end of the century.

The report, by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said temperatures may increase by 2.5 to 10.5 degrees in this century - much faster than previously estimated. Possible consequences include the mass death of forests, widespread coastal flooding as a result of sea level rises and more severe storms, the disappearance of countless animal and plant species, farmland turned into desert, the destruction of coral reefs and Pacific and Caribbean islands sinking beneath the sea.

The 1,000-page report was especially noteworthy because of the authority behind it - 700 of the world's leading scientists participated in its production.

Some critics say most of the dire trends, particularly climate change, have been exaggerated by environmentalists. Other problems, they say, can be fixed by eliminating government subsidies that encourage waste and replacing them with market incentives that encourage protection of valuable resources such as fish stocks and fresh water.

But climate change is just one of a number of global environmental trends that are ringing alarms:

A report endorsed by 150 of the world's top marine scientists and released at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco last month called for the creation of a worldwide network of no-fishing zones, saying it may be the last, best hope of replenishing the Earth's depleted fish stocks and saving species.

The International Food Policy Research Institute and the World Resources Institute, two prominent environmental think tanks, reported last month that the planet may be unable to feed the 1.5 billion people expected to be added to the globe over the next 20 years because farming practices have degraded soils, parched aquifers, polluted waters and caused the loss of animal and plant species.

The Worldwatch Institute, an environmental think tank in Washington, D.C., in its "State of the World 2001" report in January, said that the world has reached a "dangerous crossroads."

"Signs of accelerated ecological decline have coincided with a loss of political momentum on environmental issues as evidenced by the recent breakdown in international climate talks," Worldwatch said.

A report from the Population Information Program at Johns Hopkins University's School of Public Health, also in January, was similarly dire: "In the past decade in every environmental sector conditions have either failed to improve or they are worsening ... Without practicing sustainable development, humanity faces a deteriorating environment and may even invite ecological disaster."

Even the CIA has joined the chorus. In an evaluation of national security threats released in December, the intelligence agency forecast that within 15 years nearly half the world's population - 3 billion people - will live in "water stressed" regions, heightening the possibility of regional conflict over water. The situation will be especially severe in the Middle East, parts of Africa, northern China, and South Asia.

China experienced water riots last summer and some experts believe the situation could eventually lead to internal instability and political chaos if allowed to continue unchecked.

Exacerbating most of these trends is population growth. The U.N. Population Program last week increased its forecast for 2050 to 9.3 billion people. The world passed the 6 billion milestone in 1999 and is gaining 78 million people annually, the equivalent of adding a city the size of Philadelphia every week.

"There is kind of a momentum built into this," said Don Hinrichsen, author of the Johns Hopkins study and a consultant to the U.N. "It's like trying to stop a moving freight train."

Is this an environmental apocalypse that will happen soon or mere alarmism on the part of Chicken Little scientists? Some world leaders are taking the forecasts very seriously.

"We would be irresponsible to treat these predictions as scare mongering," British Prime Minister Tony Blair told a World Wildlife Fund conference in London on Tuesday. "They represent the considered opinions of some of the world's best scientists. We cannot afford to ignore them."

Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji unveiled China's first "green" five-year plan this week. Among other things, the plan calls for Chinese industries to recycle 60 percent of the water they use by 2005 and the planting of a 2,800-mile belt of trees to hold back the rapidly encroaching Gobi Desert.

But there has also been a lack of progress in many areas. International climate change negotiations were suspended in November after the United States and European countries could not resolve key issues on implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, a global warming reduction treaty signed by the United States and dozens of other nations in Japan in 1997 but never ratified by Congress. Negotiations are scheduled to resume in Bonn, Germany, in July.

Not everyone thinks the world is in such peril.

"These are examples of economic mismanagement," said Jerry Taylor, director of natural resource programs at the libertarian Cato Institute. "They are not examples of some underlying apocalypse that we can't escape from."

Environmentalists, Taylor said, also ignore positive global trends, such as improved living standards, greater longevity, and advances in technology.

"Ever since the '60s and the '70s we've been warned about population bombs and food running out and ecological apocalypse ... and it never happened," Taylor said.

One reason some earlier forecasts failed to come true is that governments and the public took action first, environmentalists said. And the data and knowledge available to scientists has increased exponentially in recent years.

Some scientists worry that they have done the public a disservice by being too quiet about their findings.

In a speech to the American Meteorological Society in Albuquerque, N.M., in January, paleoclimatologist Jonathan Overpeck, who studies ancient weather patterns for clues to the future, said research now under way appears to show that effects of climate change can occur abruptly, in a matter of a handful of years, rather than the gradual increase anticipated in the U.N. report.

Further, there is reason to believe that even a small amount of warming could lead to potentially catastrophic increases in sea level, said Overpeck, director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth at the University of Arizona.

"These problems that humankind is causing could be unprecedented in their impacts on society," Overpeck said. "Because the stakes are so high, we have to work harder to make sure society understands what is going on."


Despite Opposition in Party, Bush to Seek Emissions Cuts


From: "MorningStar" <>
Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001

"Hitler did not have this technology. Do you want to be a natural or a GenRich."

- Dave

The Quiet Campaign for Genetically Engineered Humans

by Richard Hayes

We are fast approaching the most consequential technological threshold in all of human history: the ability to directly manipulate the genes we pass on to our children.

Development and use of these technologies would irrevocably change the nature of human life and human society.

It would destabilize human biological identity and function. It would put into play a wholly unprecedented set of social, psychological and political forces that would feed back upon themselves with impacts quite beyond our ability to imagine, much less control.

These technologies are being developed and promoted by an influential network of scientists who see themselves ushering in a new epoch for human life on Earth. They look forward to the day when parents can quite literally assemble their children from genes listed in a catalog. They celebrate a future in which our common humanity is lost as a genetically enhanced elite increasingly acquires the attributes of a separate species.

There is little public awareness of the full implications of the new human genetic engineering (HGE) technologies or of the campaign to promote them. There are few popular institutions and no social or political movements critically that are addressing the immense challenges these technologies pose.

The Science

While some applications of HGE are benign and hold great potential for preventing disease and alleviating human suffering, other applications could open the door to a human future more horrific than our worst nightmares.

Two very different applications of genetic engineering must be distinguished.

One application changes the genes in cells in your body other than your egg and sperm cells. Such changes are not passed to any children you may have.

Applications of this sort are currently in clinical trials and are generally considered socially acceptable. The technical term for this application is "somatic" genetic engineering (after the Greek "soma" for "body").

The other application of genetic engineering changes the genes in eggs, sperm, or very early embryos. This affects not only any children you might have, but also all succeeding generations.

It opens the door to the reconfiguration of the human species.

The technical term for this application is "germline" genetic engineering (because eggs and sperm are the "germinal" or "germline" cells).

Many advocates of germline engineering say it is needed to allow couples to avoid passing on genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia. This is simply not true.

Far less consequential methods (such as pre-natal and pre-implantation screening) already exist to accomplish this same goal. Germline manipulation is necessary only if you wish to "enhance" your children with genes they wouldn't be able to get from you or your partner.

The History

The ability to directly manipulate plant and genes was developed during the late 1970's. Proposals to begin human gene manipulation were put forth in the early 1980's and aroused much controversy.

A small number of researchers argued in favor of germline manipulation, but the majority of scientists and others opposed it. In 1983, a letter signed by 53 religious leaders declared that genetic engineering of the human germline "represents a fundamental threat to the preservation of the human species as we know it, and should be opposed with the same courage and conviction as we now oppose the threat of nuclear extinction."

In 1985, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) approved somatic gene therapy trials, but said that it would not accept proposals for germline manipulation "at present." That ambiguous decision did little to discourage advocates of germline engineering, who knew that somatic experiments were the critical first step toward HGE experiments.

Following the first approved clinical attempts at somatic gene therapy in 1990, advocates of germline engineering began writing advocacy pieces in medical, ethical, legal and other journals to build broader support.

By the mid- and late-1990s, the progress of the federally funded Human Genome Project in locating all 80,000-plus human genes fueled speculation about eventual applications, including germline engineering.

In 1996, scientists cloned the first genetic duplicate of an adult mammal (the sheep "Dolly").

In 1999, researchers mastered the techniques for disassembling human embryos and keeping embryonic cells alive in laboratory cultures. These developments made it possible, for the first time, to imagine a procedure whereby the human germline could be engineered in a commercially practicable manner.

HGE advocates were further encouraged by the social, cultural and political conditions of the late 1990s -- a period characterized by technological enthusiasm, distrust of government regulation, the spread of consumerist/competitive/libertarian values, and the perceived weakened ability of national governments to enforce laws and treaties, as a result of globalization.

In March 1998, Gregory Stock, director of the Program on Medicine, Technology and Society at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), organized a symposium on "Engineering the Human Germline." It was attended by nearly 1,000 people and received front-page coverage in The New York Times and The Washington Post. All the speakers were avid proponents of germline engineering.

Four months later, one of the symposium's key participants, HGE pioneer W. French Anderson, submitted a draft proposal to the NIH to begin somatic gene transfer experiments on human fetuses. He acknowledged that this procedure would have a "relatively high" potential for "inadvertent gene transfer to the germline."

Anderson's proposal was widely acknowledged to be strategically crafted so that approval could be construed as acceptance of germline modification, at least in some circumstances. Anderson hopes to receive permission to begin clinical trials by 2003.

The New Ideology

Advocacy of germline engineering and techno-eugenics (i.e., technologically enabled human genetic manipulation and selection) is an integral element of a newly emerging socio-political ideology.

This ideology is gaining acceptance among scientific, high-tech, media and policy elites. A key foundational text is the book Remaking Eden: How Cloning and Beyond Will Change the Human Family, by Princeton University molecular biologist Lee Silver.

Silver looks forward to a future in which the health, appearance, personality, cognitive ability, sensory capacity and the lifespan of our children all become artifacts of genetic manipulation. Silver acknowledges that financial constraints will limit their widespread adoption, so that over time society will segregate into the "GenRich" and the "Naturals".

In Silver's vision of the future:

"The GenRich -- who account for ten percent of the American population -- all carry synthetic genes. All aspects of the economy, the media, the entertainment industry, and the knowledge industry are controlled by members of the GenRich class ...

Naturals work as low-paid service providers or as laborers. [Eventually] the GenRich class and the Natural class will become entirely separate species with no ability to crossbreed, and with as much romantic interest in each other as a current human would have for a chimpanzee.

Many think that it is inherently unfair for some people to have access to technologies that can provide advantages while others, less well-off, are forced to depend on chance alone, [but] American society adheres to the principle that personal liberty and personal fortune are the primary determinants of what individuals are allowed and able to do.

Indeed, in a society that values individual freedom above all else, it is hard to find any legitimate basis for restricting the use of repro-genetics. I will argue that the use of reprogenetic technologies is inevitable. Whether we like it or not, the global marketplace will reign supreme."

The Environment

HGE enthusiasts typically anticipate a future in which genetic technology permeates, transforms and reconfigures all sectors of the natural world -- plants, animals, humans and ecosystems. Many look forward to what they call the "Singularity" -- that point in the next few decades when any distinction between the natural and the technological has been completely dissolved.

Many couple their enthusiasm for genetic engineering with an explicit disparagement of environmentalist values. Nobel Laureate James Watson, for example, has complained that "ever since we achieved a breakthrough in the area of recombinant DNA in 1973, left-wing nuts and environmental kooks have been screaming that we will create some kind of Frankenstein bug or Andromeda strain that will destroy us all."

Gregory Stock has stated: "Even if half the world's species were lost, enormous diversity would still remain. When those in the distant future look back on this period of history, they will likely see it not as the era when the natural environment was impoverished, but as the age when a plethora of new forms -- some biological, some technological, some a combination of the two -- burst onto the scene.

We best serve ourselves, as well as future generations, by focusing on the short-term consequences of our actions rather than our vague notions about the needs of the distant future."

It is difficult to see how a society that accepts the techno-eugenic re-engineering of the human species will maintain any sense of humility, reverence and respect regarding the rest of the natural world.

Promoting the 'Post-Human' Future

Supporters of human germline engineering and cloning have established institutes to spread their vision. In addition to Stock's program at UCLA, the Los Angeles-based Extropy Institute holds workshops on how to organize politically to advance the "post-human" agenda, including sessions on how to talk to the press and public about human genetic modification in ways that build support and diffuse opposition.

In 1999, the Maryland-based Human Biodiversity Institute presented a seminar on the prospects for genetically modified humans at a Hudson Institute retreat attended by former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Meanwhile, the biotech industry is actively developing the technologies that would make it possible to offer human germline engineering on a commercial basis.

This work is almost completely unregulated. Geron Corporation of Menlo Park, California holds patents on human embryo manipulation and cloning techniques.

Advanced Cell Technologies of Worcester, Massachusetts, announced in 1999 that it had created a human/bovine embryo by implanting the nucleus of a human cell into the egg of a cow. No laws exist that would have prevented this trans-species embryo from being implanted in a woman's uterus in an attempt to bring a baby to term. Such a child would have contained a small but significant proportion of cow genes.

Chromos Molecular Systems, Inc., in British Columbia, is developing artificial human chromosomes that would enable the engineering of multiple complex traits. People whose germlines were engineered with artificial chromosomes, and who wanted to pass complete sets of these to their children intact, would only be able to mate with others carrying the same artificial chromosomes.

This condition, called "reproductive isolation," is the primary criteria that biologists use to classify a population as a separate species.

Where is the Opposition?

Given the enormity of what is at stake and the fact that advocates of the new techno-eugenics are hardly coy about their intentions, it is remarkable that organized opposition has been all but absent. Why is this?

One reason is that the most critical technologies have been developed only within the last three years or so -- there simply hasn't been time for people to fully understand their implications and respond. Further, the prospect of re-designing the human species is beyond anything that humanity has ever before had to confront. People have trouble taking this seriously -- it seems fantastical and beyond the limits of what anyone would actually do or that society would allow.

In addition, attitudes concerning human genetic engineering don't fit neatly along the familiar ideological axes of right/left or conservative/liberal. The additional axis of libertarian/communitarian attitudes is needed to fully categorize currently contending socio-politico commitments.

The libertarian right and libertarian left tend to consider human genetic modification as a property right or as an individual right, respectively. By contrast, the communitarian right and communitarian left tend to be strongly opposed -- the former typically for reasons grounded in religious beliefs and the latter out of concern for human dignity, social equity and solidarity.

Finally, although people sense that the new genetic technologies are likely to introduce profound social and political challenges, they also associate these technologies with the promise of miracle cures. Before any sentiment in favor of banning certain uses of genetic technology can take root, people will have to understand that this would not foreclose means of preventing or curing genetic diseases.

What Is to be Done?

The core policies that humanity will need to adopt are straightforward: we will need global bans on altering the genes we pass to our children and on creating human clones. We'll also need effective, accountable systems for regulating those HGE technologies (such as somatic genetic manipulation) that have desirable applications but could be dangerously abused.

Many countries, including France, Germany and India, already have banned both germline engineering and cloning. The Council of Europe is working to have these banned in all 41 of its member countries.

The United Nations and UNESCO have called for a global ban on human cloning and a World Health Organization study has called for a global ban on germline engineering. The base of any effective global movement to bring the new human genetic technologies under societal control will, as always, be strong activist civil society organizations. Among the most important of these are the environmental and Green organizations.

In 1999, Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder and Physicians for Social Responsibility Executive Director Robert Musil circulated a statement that declared:

"We believe that certain activities in the area of genetics and cloning should be prohibited because they violate basic environmental and ethical principles.

We believe that germline manipulations, for their ability to change whole generations, not just individuals, go far beyond the boundaries of human scientific and ethical understanding and are too dangerous for human civilization to pursue.

Being a product of scientific design and manipulation as opposed to natural chance will fundamentally change the place of the individual in society and would profoundly alter the relationship of human beings to the natural world."

The next few years will be critical. Advocates of the techno-eugenic future are racing to create designer babies and human clones before people realize what is happening and what is at stake. They believe that once humanity is presented with such fait accompli, resistance will crumble and the new epoch will have been launched.

It is imperative that those who value the beauty, vitality and wonder of the natural world begin organizing now to ensure that human beings do not become technological artifacts.

Earth Island Journal - Spring 2001

From: "Gerda Wout" <>
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001

Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss World contest.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for Best Actor and Actress.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They're the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Now here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
6. Name a half dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.


The lesson? The people who make a difference in your life aren't the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They're the ones who care.

- Unknown