Sunday, November 1, 2009

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Tickling the Dragon: Nuclear accidents in the US and Russia

Goto first unread Rik Clay, dot connector extraordinaire
* 12
slouching toward 2012 (super lizard woo)

Recreation of Louis Slotin's deadly hands-on experiment. Public domain government image, taken from Wikipedia.

They might know the name, but nobody ever says, "I want to be like Louis Slotin when I grow up." And with good reason. Despite being fiercely intelligent, quick thinking and brave, Slotin is famous for something that nobody really wants to be famous for---namely, dying horribly. In May 1946, Slotin, a researcher on the Manhattan Project, became the second person in history to be killed by a criticality accident, the unintentional triggering of a nuclear chain reaction.

Slotin's story made it to Hollywood, fictionalized in the movie "Fat Man and Little Boy". Not everyone got such a public legacy. As the cold war neared an end in the 1980s, scientists in the USSR began to share information with their American counterparts, and, for the first time, we learned about the Soviet Slotins. Now, their legacy will shape the way emergency personnel respond to nuclear accidents and terrorism and, hopefully, make it easier to save lives...

"Criticality accident" is just a fancy way of saying "nuclear reaction happening where and when you don't want it to". It starts with fissile material--atoms whose nuclei have a tendency to split apart. Get these materials in the way of free neutrons and a neutron can enter the nucleus of an atom and rupture it. That fission releases energy, and neutrons, which cause more nuclear fissions in nearby atoms. The chain reaction keeps going and going. It will stop on its own, but only when it's good and ready---which is, to say, when a release of energy forces the fissile material apart (think: explosion), when enough of the material has been used up so that what's left no longer throws off enough neutrons to keep the reaction going, or when heat energy produced by the reaction builds up enough that it makes the atoms--which are most unstable at room temperature--less likely to split.

It's a little scary, but these accidents are extremely rare. The Los Alamos National Laboratory Review of Criticality Accidents lists only 60, worldwide, since we started playing with this stuff in the 1940s. Most didn't kill anyone. And 38 of the 60 can't even be called completely unexpected, as they occurred in research reactors and during experiments where scientists were bringing fissile materials together to gauge the point at which criticality happens.

In fact, that's what Louis Slotin was doing, slowly lowering the top half of a neutron-reflecting shell over a sphere of fissile plutonium. Today, nobody would attempt that experiment except from a safe distance. Slotin, however, was using his bare hands to hold the shell, and had a screwdriver propped in there to keep the two halves from touching. A crowd of seven colleagues was watching him work when the screwdriver slipped out, sealing the shell and launching a reaction. I call Slotin brave and quick-thinking because, instead of freaking and running, he pulled the shell apart, probably saving his coworkers' lives. He, however, died nine days later.

Slotin's story is pretty well-known. But, in Russia, similar accidents were happening that nobody knew about for decades. Like Slotin's, some these stemmed from both unfortunate chance, and decisions by the researchers that, with 20/20 hindsight, look a little silly. Why would depend on a precariously placed screwdriver to save you from certain death? Why would you try to run through a criticality experiment after normal work hours, without key safety measures in place, and with the goal of trying to be done in time to make it to the theater that two unfortunate Russian scientists did in 1968.

Other Russian accidents, though, had little to do with the people hurt--except in that those people simply didn't have enough training for the jobs they had. In 1953, two workers at Mayak, a factory that processed fissile material for experimental and military use, were exposed to a criticality accident. But neither knew enough about nuclear fission to realize that. They knew something weird had gone down, but didn't think it was a big deal. Instead, they fixed the problem and went back to work. They finished their shift and, because Mayak had no automatic criticality alarms, nobody knew anything had gone wrong at all until two days later when one of the men collapsed at work. He survived, but only after a long illness that involved the amputation of both his legs.

Neil Wald, professor emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh's department of Environmental and Occupational Health, was one of the first Americans to learn about this, and other accidents at Mayak. He studies the impact of radiation on human health and was part of a team that began working with Soviet counterparts in the 1980s to research the accidents and use them to better understand how to help people who've been exposed.

"They actually did quite a good job of keeping the medical records," he told me. "They made the accidents state secrets, so they never threw anything away. Everything we saw, all the documents, were stamped on the back with a great big seal that said, 'State secret.'"

The goal of this collaboration is to develop a way of quickly diagnosing radiation exposure, so that emergency personnel can show up at the scene of an accident and be able to tell who needs the most medical attention the fastest. Dr. Wald says the system could be used both at nuclear facilities, and by regular EMTs responding to situations where a dirty bomb has exploded, or some other intentional nuclear exposure might have happened.

Romancing the Afghan Dragon

OpEdNews - ‎Oct 30, 2009‎
By Aetius Romulous (about the author) Page 1 of 2 page(s) Capitalism is based on the free exchange of goods between people, where each has a unique value he ...

Clinging to the dragon will not be comfortable: China

The Australian - Max Walsh - ‎Oct 30, 2009‎
It is riding the dragon, and that could be a bumpy ride. With direct portfolio investment into China restricted, the Australian dollar has become one of the ...

Black Dragon Announces New Officers

Reuters - ‎Oct 30, 2009‎
While he was CEO, Dr. Bailey set the tone for a new direction at Black Dragon. The policies and initiatives instituted by Dr. Bailey are designed to frame ...
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Virgin Mary ‘Warning To World” Draws Thousands To Irish Shrine

The Trumpet Of Gabriel: Virgin Mary Final Message, City of Churches






I read the 1994 release of this book from my local library and I liked it so much that I even purchased it.

It mainly deals with the end-times and how we are living in them now (the trumpet is to the lips, even), according to hundreds of reported apparitions, many Scriptural passages, natural catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes increasing rapidly, and more.

Much of the work mainly contains reports of apparitions from angels to very religious individuals and even to unbelievers, turning their hearts to Christ as a result. There are even relations of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Medjugorge and Fatima, as well as many others. He points out, though, that many apparitions have been known to be deceiving spirits (siting some of the known false ones), and he leaves it up to you whether to accept them as such or not.

He also goes in to how there are many deceiving spirits fooling a lot of people with psychic phenomena (he was at one time a sort of "paranormal investigator", in a scientific sense, and even interviewed Uri Geller). He even mentions how fallen angels and demons tie in to the UFO abductions and sightings. Also, this one really surprised me (I did NOT expect to see it mentioned), he mentions the connections between the beast in Revelations and the Illuminati!

Overall, I found it to be an excellent book which compiles many reports, writings, and events into an easy to understand book on just what the heck is going on in these confusing times, and with a Christian perspective.

His bibliography in the "Notes" section is wonderful, too.

Buy it, it's definitely worth the measely ten bucks.


TopWireNews (press release) - ‎Oct 31, 2009‎
EIN Presswire / The Virgin Mary, “Our Lady of Prayer”, has been appearing to multiple visionaries in Idaho, USA. There is a connection to Medjugorje, ...

A report from Sisters Aoibheann and Catriona on the latest Virgin Mary apparitions appearing in Donegal, Western Ireland, state that the thousands of faithful who had assembled were witness to one of the most extraordinary, and rare, events in human history, a message of warning issued to our race by the “celestial” beings who have long watched over our Planet and to many peoples, and religions, are called “gods”.

Though being heavily censored by the estimated 100 news organizations which accompanied the estimated 10,000 of the faithful to Donegal Shrine, Sisters Aoibheann and Catriona did confirm the “spinning of the sun” as it “swooped” towards the masses changing its colours from blue, to red, to green and then to sparkling white before “resettling” itself in its proper place in the sky causing fear to some, and “rapturous joy” to others.

Important to note about this extraordinary event is that it mirrors nearly exactly those which occurred during our World’s last cataclysmic upheaval in the 20th Century when in the midst of our Planet’s first World War in 1917 (the predecessor “event” to the much more destructive Great Depression, Great Famines and World War II), tens of thousands of the faithful gathered together in Fatima, Portugal to witness what is called the “Miracle of the Sun” and was described by one witness, Columnist Avelino de Almeida of O Século (Portugal's most influential newspaper) as such:

“Before the astonished eyes of the crowd, whose aspect was biblical as they stood bare-headed, eagerly searching the sky, the sun trembled, made sudden incredible movements outside all cosmic laws - the sun 'danced' according to the typical expression of the people...the silver sun, enveloped in the same gauzy grey light, was seen to whirl and turn in the circle of broken clouds...The light turned a beautiful blue, as if it had come through the stained-glass windows of a cathedral, and spread itself over the people who knelt with outstretched hands...people wept and prayed with uncovered heads, in the presence of a miracle they had awaited. The seconds seemed like hours, so vivid were they.

Also to note about this extraordinary event is another of its striking resemblances to Fatima, where in the 1917, three children, Lúcia Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto, were visited by the Virgin Mary in a series of “apparitions” where the “celestial” visitor bestowed upon our World the warnings of the many catastrophic horrors to come, and in 1938 reappeared in Kerrytown, near Dungloe in rural west Donegal, Ireland, to the little child daughters of the Ward family, and as we can read from the accounts of that time:

“It began in 1938 when a young girl and her sisters from Kerrytown in the Templecronas (church of St. Crones) parish were sent at night to secure outhouses for arriving guests. The young girl set about tidying up but stopped and looked at a massive wall of rock close by. The rock rose to 15 feet high. Atop the rock stood a beautiful lady dressed in white. The young girl called out to her sisters who ran over and also saw the apparition. Soon, others heard them and gathered round to witness the beautiful lady in white. Some ran for the parish priest, Father McAteer, but he dismissed them saying it was "just another ghost story."

Several days later, the apparition of the lady in white appeared at the rock again. And once again, the locals ran for the priest. He declined at first but changed his mind after a while and decided to travel to the farm to end the nonsense once and for all. He stayed at the farm for several hours but saw nothing. Convinced that his parishioners were daft, he gathered his things to leave, amidst the pleas of the young girl and her sisters and many of the locals. As he climbed onto his buggy, he looked up one more time at the massive rock. There, standing on the top of the rock was a beautiful lady dressed in white. He says in his personal account:

“Suddenly, I saw a mass of rock turn marble white. Over the Rock came a fiery golden cloud, and in front of the cloud stood a majestic lady, clothed in white...her hair hanging down on her shoulders. She looked at me with a severe look and said, "Now, will you believe!" I stretched out my arms, opened my palms, and asked for forgiveness.”

Like her previous warning in 1917 of the great cataclysms to come, the Virgin Mary’s warnings in 1938 were born out when just 10 months later, on September 1, 1939, the armies of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia invaded Poland and plunged our Planet into Total Global War, and known to the West as World War II, and to the Russians as The Great Patriotic War, and which claimed nearly 100 Million lives of our human race.

On the 13th of September, 2007, the Virgin Mary appeared again in Donegal to a group of local peoples, one of whom, Joe Coleman, wrote about by saying:

“I stood in front of the statue of Mother Mary. Colette Lumdsum stood on my left side, and Sheila Mc Carthy sat on the rock. Most of the other people were in the shelter, or at the side of it. During the first 10 minutes I noticed the face of Mary change to her Son Jesus, it then changed to Padre Pio, then back to Jesus, and then back to Mary. She was very beautiful when she appeared to this time at the rock. She was crying tears of great sadness for the children of Ireland. She asked me to me tell all the people that had come to the rock, that everybody would receive a cure on this day at the rock.”

Note: Photo top left is current Donegal Shrine; photo second left is Joe Coleman’s rendition of the Virgin Mary he witnessed.

Most interesting to note about the Virgin Mary’s reappearance at the Donegal Shrine in 2007 was its being during a time of growing threat of Total Global War, Great Famine or Cataclysmic Global Economic Collapse such as those occurring during her 1917 warning appearance at Fatima, and her 1938 warning appearance prior to World War II.

But, perhaps, no year of these appearances of the Virgin Mary in Donegal is more important than this one as in the later part of May, 2009, she was reported to have appeared before a group of visiting Sisters from England and warned them by saying, “In the land of the moving stones I will show you a sign from the sea that will soon wash upon your shores”, and which a week later saw the “creation” of what is described as one of the most “intriguing” crop circles ever to have appeared on our Planet of a giant 600 foot jellyfish in Oxfordshire, which is home to the ancient and mysterious Rollright Stones, and which after this crop circles appearance was followed in mid-June by a warning from British scientists that “dangerous and even deadly jellyfish are poised to enter British waters in bumper numbers”.

The Virgin Mary’s next appearance was in late September, 2009, when she was reported to have taken “human form” and whose visit was described by the faithful witnesses Belfast Telegraph thusly:

“It was a crazy evening. It was absolutely amazing. I am still on an emotional high. All but one person seemed to see the same thing," recalled James Boyle, from Ardara, who was at the site with his wife Margaret and children, Martin (10) and Mary (11).

“We went into the shelter facing the rock and at a few minutes to eight someone suggested we should start the rosary. We had no sooner started than someone shouted 'look up'. To the left of the cross, another cross appeared in the sky and as soon as it disappeared, another one appeared. It lasted about 10 minutes," he explained.

Then people began noticing that the white statue with its red heart had begun changing colour and form. She appeared to have a human face and her head turned and she looked at people. She looked down at the children who were at the front," he said. One woman explained how the statue began crying and she went up to dry the tears. The tears were running down from her eyes.”

So with this latest “Miracle of the Sun” on the very day, October 31st, of the ancient Celts Samhain Festival (which marks the end of the harvest, the end of the ‘lighter half’ of the year and beginning of the ‘darker half’, and in the West has been renamed Halloween, and made into All Saints Day by the Catholic Church), Sisters Aoibheann and Catriona in their report conclude that the “message of duality” being given to us from this “celestial” visitor cannot be ignored.

The “signs of the jellyfish” given by the Virgin Mary, the Sisters say, point us towards our two distinct and different lives (Most jellyfish undergo two distinct life history stages (body forms) during their life cycle.), and when coupled with her appearance on Samhain Festival day the warning given cannot be more clearer…we are all about to enter the “darker half” of this age, and unless we change into our most true “form” we cannot expect to survive.

To who will “hear” this latest message of the Virgin Mary it is not in our knowing, other than to note that she has proven, beyond all doubt, that her warnings should be heeded at all costs.

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Thousands await Knock's new Virgin Mary vision - ‎13 hours ago‎
They came from Wexford, Manchester and even India, driven on by the hope that in this rain-soaked corner of western Ireland the mother of God would appear ...

Irish turn out for apparition, defying church plea

Reuters - Andras Gergely - ‎16 hours ago‎
DUBLIN (Reuters) - Some 10000 people gathered at a Irish shrine hoping to witness an apparition of the Virgin Mary on Saturday despite pleas from an ...

10000 gather for Knock 'visitation'

Irish Times - Conor Pope - ‎19 hours ago‎
`Visionaries¿ Joe Coleman, left and Keith Henderson who predicted that an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary will take place in Knock at 3pm today. ...

7000 at shrine for 'apparition'

BBC News - ‎20 hours ago‎
A crowd of about 7000 people turned up at a County Mayo pilgrimage shrine on Saturday after being told that the Virgin Mary was to appear. ...

Thousands gathered at Knock shrine - ‎21 hours ago‎
An estimated 10000 people gathered at Knock shrine in Co Mayo in the hope of witnessing a new apparition of Our Lady. The turnout followed claims by two ...

Conflicting visions in Ireland

The Gazette (Montreal) - ‎Oct 31, 2009‎
Despite a local archbishop's criticism of claims of new apparitions at Ireland's top Roman Catholic shrine, a self-proclaimed clairvoyant said this week ...

'Visionary' predicts 50000 at Knock

Irish Times - Conor Pope - ‎Oct 30, 2009‎
A MAN who describes himself as “a visionary of our Blessed Mother” has predicted that as many as 50000 people will gather in the basilica at Knock this ...

Virgin Mary was in Ireland, but Irish Catholic Church was missing in action

Irish Central - ‎18 hours ago‎
Somewhere in Ireland right now, there are some sadly misguided Irish Catholic priests who are probably just plain dee-lighted that thousands of the faithful ...

Organizer claims he saw Our Lady and that she revealed a 'secret' message

Irish Central - Antoinette Kelly - ‎19 hours ago‎
More than 10000 people were left disappointed in Ireland Saturday as the Virgin Mary failed to appear as predicted at Knock Basilica. ...

50000 expected at Knock shrine in Ireland for Virgin Mary apparition

Irish Central - Antoinette Kelly - ‎Oct 31, 2009‎
Up to 50000 people are predicted to gather at Knock in Ireland today for an apparition by the Virgin Mary. Dubliner Joe Coleman, the man who predicted the ...

Crowds defy the Church to await a predicted visit from Our Lady

Irish Independent - ‎Oct 31, 2009‎
UP to 15000 people are preparing to defy the head of the Catholic Church in the west of Ireland today by gathering in Knock's shrine in expectation of an ...

Opportunity Knocks . . .

Irish Independent - ‎Oct 30, 2009‎
It had been years since Michael Commins had seen anything like it. The Mayo News journalist, broadcaster and sometime songwriter knows Knock as well as ...

Legacy of Knock's apparition endures over generations

Irish Independent - ‎Oct 30, 2009‎
August 21, 1879: Fifteen people claim to witness an apparition outside the south gable at the church in Knock. They stand in awe saying the rosary for two ...

Kettering professor joins debate over claims of a Virgin Mary apparition in ...

The Flint Journal - - Beata Mostafavi - ‎Oct 30, 2009‎
Will the Virgin Mary appear in the Basilica at Knock Shrine in Ireland this weekend? It's a prediction by Dubliner and ...

Archbishop dismisses Knock 'apparitions'

Catholic Herald Online - Ed West - ‎Oct 30, 2009‎
A senior Irish archbishop has told pilgrims not to look for fresh apparitions at the Marian shrine in Knock. Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam spoke out ...

Gamblers place bets on tomorrow's predicted appearance of the Virgin Mary at Knock

Mayo Advertiser - Toni Bourke - ‎Oct 30, 2009‎
Thousands of people flocked to Knock Shrine on Sunday October 11 after a Dublin clairvoyant predicted that the Virgin Mary would appear. ...

When self-fulfilling prophecies Knock

Discover Magazine - ‎Oct 29, 2009‎
A couple of weeks ago, thousands of people gathered at Knock Shrine in Ireland, gazing upward, looking for a vision of the Virgin Mary. Why? ...

Archbishop cautions against alleged visions at the Shrine of Knock

Catholic News Agency - ‎Oct 29, 2009‎
Dublin, Ireland, Oct 29, 2009 / 06:35 am (CNA).- The Archbishop of Tuam has responded to an alleged visionary who predicted that another Marian apparition ...

Virgin Mary image is news?

Kansas City Star - ‎Oct 28, 2009‎
... article in the national section of the 10/25 Star was the story of a man in Merced, Calif., who claimed to see an image of the Virgin Mary in a rock. ...

NH family wants Virgin Mary statue returned, no questions asked

NECN - ‎Oct 28, 2009‎
(NECN: Lauren Collins, Penacook, NH) - Locals in Concord, New Hampshire are wondering who stole a statue of the Virgin Mary from a young couple's garden. ...

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Uncover the Truth Behind The Freemasons - Secrets Of The Most Ancient Brotherhood known to man.

WEBWIRE – Thursday, October 29, 2009
Contact Information
Simon Gray


They are everywhere, from all corners of the world, most people probably know someone who belongs to this ancient brotherhood, but even they do not know some of the biggest secrets that only those in the upper echelon possess. There is now an opportunity to uncover mysteries that lie behind one of the most controversial and secretive organizations ever created.

Are Stones From King Arthur's Camelot In Hertford?

St. Petersberg, Florida October 28, 2009 – Many controversies have shrouded the Freemasons over the past decades, mysteries that date back to numerous centuries ago. Movies and books have been created about them and many writers have exhausted thousands of hours poring over ancient documents and listening to testimonies to unearth why Freemasonry have grown so large and how it has become extremely powerful.

Discovered from over 25,000 pages of ancient Masonic secrets and 120 rare books on Freemasonry, from the leading Freemason expert, and a Freemason himself, Simon Gray.

In his exclusive revelation, Simon Gray exposes the numerous forbidden secrets that no one was ever meant to know. A clandestine affair reserved only to those who occupy the top stratum of this olden society which would reveal not only their journals, but also their rituals and the meaning behind their symbols.

In his website,, Simon Gray stated: “As a fact, ninety nine percent of all masons will die, without ever knowing any of these secrets; they will never really know what’s going on in the top.”

Gray also added: “What I’ve discovered completely shocked me. Trust me, this is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Masonic Orders have kept this secret for years... just to keep you away from discovering the lies and myths surrounding freemasonry.”

Inside his compilation, there are over 120+ rare books, manuscripts, texts, and Masonic Journals with over 25,000 pages of never seen before materials and illustrations. Plus, there are 401 Masonic photographs, slides, posters, certificates, handbooks, postcards, speeches and catalogue pages to browse through. Many years have been spent to unravel these documents and images and this is the world’s single largest collection of rare & out of print Masonic, freemason, and Rosicrucian and knights templar books ever offered.

In the previous decades, many men have shed blood and suffered their lives because of these secrets and now they are available to the public.

Simon Gray has been a Freemason for twenty five years and has spent the last ten years compiling what could be the greatest collection of Freemason secrets.

For more information or to contact Simon Gray, visit

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Submerged Mayan Ruins Found in Guatemala Lake

from Mitch Battros - Earth Changes Media

Scuba divers are exploring the depths of a volcanic lake in Guatemala to find clues about an ancient sacred island where Mayan pilgrims flocked to worship before it was submerged by rising waters. Researchers believe the discovered area, 50 feet below the lake's surface, was once an island until a catastrophic event, like a volcanic eruption or landslide, raised water levels.

The rising lake drowned the buildings around 250 A.D., before the height of the Mayan empire, and ceramics found intact there suggest the inhabitants left in a hurry. "We have found six ceremonial monuments and four altars and without doubt there are more, which means this was an extremely important place from a spiritual point of view," lead archaeologist Sonia Medrano said in an interview.

FULL ARTICLE: http://earthchanges secure/3247. 326/article- 9162526648. php

Divers Probe Mayan Ruins Submerged in Guatemala Lake

ABC News - Sarah Grainger - ‎Oct 30, 2009‎
GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Scuba divers are exploring the depths of a volcanic lake in Guatemala to find clues about an ancient sacred ...

Moist Mayan Marvels: Sacred Site Sits Below Lake Surface

Tonic - David Bois - ‎14 hours ago‎
To safeguard a newly discovered archaeological trove from pillaging, the precise location is being ...

Scuba Diver Unearths Ancient Mayan Temple

RedOrbit - ‎18 hours ago‎
Scuba divers are investigating the bottom of a volcanic lake in Guatemala to search for clues about a prehistoric island where Mayan pilgrims traveled to ...

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The 'Third Templars'

t's a dilemma for mainstream Israelis: How to resist capitulating to Arab violence on the Temple Mount - driven by irrational fears of Zionist plots against it - while not encouraging marginal Jewish groups who feverishly yearn to make the Arabs' worst nightmares come true?

Israel's "Third Templars" don't seem to care about the consequences of stoking an apocalyptic religious war with Islamic civilization - 56 countries, 1.57 billion faithful, most of them currently on the sidelines of the Arab-Israel conflict.

Jewish tradition holds that the Mount, site of Solomon's Temple (and the Ark of the Covenant) and later the Temple built by the returnees from the Babylonian exile, retains an intrinsic holiness. Disagreements among Torah authorities over which, if any, sections of the Temple plateau may be traversed without treading on the sacred ground of the Holy of Holies date back centuries.

To this day, most ultra-Orthodox Jews avoid the area. And yet for those who consider themselves part of the Jewish collective regardless of denominational or political persuasion, the Mount embodies the civilizational core of our shared past.

In 638, Arab invaders defeated the Christian Byzantines (inheritors of the Roman Empire) for control of this land. Within 50 years they had constructed the Dome of the Rock to enshrine the holy stone Muslims believe to be the place where Abraham prepared to sacrifice… Ishmael. Subsequently, the Aksa Mosque was constructed on the southern end of the plateau.

AFTER ISRAEL captured the area from Jordan in 1967, Moshe Dayan decided to be magnanimous in victory and continue the authority of the Muslim religious trust, or Wakf, to administer the site. Jews, previously barred by Muslims from reaching the holy places, were allowed to ascend the Mount during visiting hours. In keeping with Jewish tradition and in cognizance of Muslim sensibilities, they were, however, prohibited from conducting religious services.

This seemed the perfect compromise, enabling Muslims to worship at the shrines, as was their custom, and Jews (as well as tourists of all faiths) to visit the site for silent meditation and inspiration. The Orthodox establishment of the day, running the gamut from haredi to Zionist, opposed going up to the Mount.

Now a diverse group of mostly post-Zionist settler rabbis, messianic followers of the late Lubavitcher rebbe and practicing "Third Templars" - abetted by a smattering of ultra-right-wing Knesset members - have banded together to force the "hand of God." Ostensibly, they are calling upon the Jewish masses to ascend the Mount and assert a Jewish presence there; we suspect that what many of them really want is to "disappear" the Muslim shrines, put up a Jewish temple and recommence animal sacrifices.

Therein our dilemma: Step back from the Temple Mount, and Arab intimidation wins. Assert Jewish rights, and risk heartening a band of Jewish extremists high on a toxic potion of piety and politics. That even a "moderate" Palestinian leader like Mahmoud Abbas does not accept the Temple Mount as sacred to Jews further complicates the predicament.

ONE POSSIBLE approach is for the government to explicitly remind the Wakf that its administrative role on the Mount derives from the authority vested in it by the Jewish state. Successive governments have abdicated their fiduciary responsibilities by failing to monitor Wakf treatment of Jewish visitors and, most troublingly, looking the other way as the Muslim trust carried out unauthorized excavations.

In parallel, we want to clearly hear Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu denounce as folly the actions of those agitating for a Third Temple built on the ashes of the Muslim shrines. He should disabuse anyone who imagines that the antics of these "Third Templars" have support on the sane Right.

Given the Palestinians' endemic intransigence and quick resort to violence - including, it should be stressed, via malevolent inflation of tensions on the Mount - it is easy to be dismissive of all their grievances over Jerusalem. But sometimes, more sensitivity could be applied. The Palestinians are not always wrong to complain that municipal authorities are placing unreasonable demands on them in seeking building permits while facilitating scatter-site Jewish housing (with no security value) in densely populated Arab neighborhoods.

In the final analysis, Israeli sovereignty is best manifested by providing the same level of municipal services to all taxpaying Jerusalemites - and by insisting on the same adherence to the law from all.

Where's the compromise over the Temple Mount?

Jerusalem Post - David Kirshenbaum - ‎4 hours ago‎
... who seek to change the status quo on the Temple Mount as "post-Zionists," "messianic followers" of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and "Third Templars" is false. ...
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Mystery stone found near church linked to Knights Templar

Published Date: 27 October 2009
A MYSTERIOUS carved stone has been uncovered alongside a 12th-century church associated with the Knights Templar.

The stone has been dated to the 12th century. Pictures: Kate Chandler

What appears to be the carved top of a sarcophagus was unearthed when builders were excavating and reinforcing a wall alongside the old ruined church in Temple, Midlothian.

But the inscriptions, which include symbols similar to those found in Viking monuments, in medieval graves and in West Highland Celtic carvings, have baffled archaeologists.

Crispin Phillips, who is renovating a house alongside The Old Parish Church, said: "I was on a mission to repair the wall – which was falling into the graveyard. We got near the bottom of the foundations and found something buried there.

"We found one stone carved with a cross and then another with these carvings on it."

He added: "We spent about half an hour in philosophical discussions about what we should do about it. I felt we should do something, rather than just bury it again."

Mr Phillips contacted Historic Scotland and East Lothian Council, whose archaeologists cover Midlothian.

He said the stone had been photographed and recorded but he was still unclear whether further investigations would be carried out. "One of the archaeologists who came out told us it was probably from the early 12th century," he added. "But really I'm still in limbo about what to do about it."

Historian and author John Ritchie said the stone raised many questions. "It is a crude carving, quite primitive, but I have never seen anything like it in my life," he said. "It has a whole series of symbols on it and the symbols are very interesting.

"The symbols at the bottom look like Viking sun compasses, while the dials at the top look a little bit like a Celtic cross but with notches carved on them."

Expert David Connolly, of Connolly Heritage Consultancy, said he believed the stone was from the 13th or 14th century.

"It is a significant site because it was the Templar Preceptory for Scotland," he said. "I think from the condition, it may once have been set inside the church – which was once much bigger," he added.

"He could be a Templar, he could be a Hospitaller, he could just be a knight who wanted to be buried there – but the heraldry is like nothing anyone has seen before."

He added that he hoped further study of the stone was possible in the future.

Mr Phillips said he planned to complete the rebuilding of the 17th-century graveyard wall and would build an arch into it so the half-buried carvings could still be seen by interested scholars.

However historian and author Michael Turnbull said he doubted the find was significant: "There were certainly Templars there but this might be a fake."

THE village of Temple in Midlothian takes its name from the Knights Templar, who once had their Scottish Preceptory – their headquarters – there.

The ruined chapel, which nestles in the valley at the foot of the village, is all that remains of what was once an abbey founded by the Templars on lands gifted by David I of Scotland in 1127.

Founded during the Crusades, the Templars was a religious order of knights whose mission was to protect Christians in the Holy Land.

Some say they invented international banking, with a system of credit letters used to pass funds to people fighting in the Crusades. The Templars certainly grew rich and powerful. According to some accounts they were the holders of treasures from Jerusalem.

But the organisation came under suspicion from the royalty of Europe and the Catholic Church. Templars were hunted down and burned at the stake.

Legend has it some of those fleeing persecution hid in this Midlothian village – bringing their treasure with them.

According to local legend some of this treasure still lies buried in Temple: "Twixt the oak and the elm tree/You will find buried the millions free."

'Pac-Man' markings create new mystery at former stronghold of Knights Templar

Times Online - ‎Oct 27, 2009‎
In a scene worthy of the opening of Dan Brown's next bestselling novel, workmen renovating a garden wall have stumbled on two mysteriously carved ...

Mysterious carved stone from medieval era unearthed in Scotland

Gaea Times - ‎Oct 27, 2009‎
By ANI EDINBURGH - Reports indicate that a mysterious carved stone has been uncovered alongside a 12th-century church associated with the Knights Templar in ...

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Knights Templar display in NNY

MASONIC PAPERS IN BELLEVILLE: Exhibit has copies of Vatican transcripts

Some mysteries of the Masons will be uncloaked this evening in Belleville.

The Masonic Order has always been defined by mysteries and secret rituals, and people have grown more aware of the order and its history the past few weeks with Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol," which was released last month and now sits atop the New York Times bestseller list.

In "The Lost Symbol," symbolist Robert Langdon is on a mission to find a Masonic pyramid containing a code that unlocks an ancient secret to "unfathomable power."

Mr. Brown, author of "The Da Vinci Code," portrays the Masons as benign and misunderstood in his new novel.

"Freemasons really have only one secret — and that pertains to our origins. We don't really know where we came from," said William J. Thomas, trustee of the Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library in New York City.

Some of that history may include warrior monks, and that's where two north country programs come in

Belleville Rising Light Lodge No. 637, Academy Street, will be a stop beginning at 7 tonight on the second state tour of "Processus Contra Templarios," a publication containing facsimile manuscripts relating to the trials of the Knights Templar. The public is invited. It is one of four statewide stops.

The documents also made a stop Monday in Lake Placid at the Free and Accepted Masons of New York Grand Lodge.

In 2007, documents about the heresy trial of the ancient Christian order discovered in the Vatican's secret archives were published in a limited edition of 799 copies, priced at $8,377 each. The Livingston Library has a copy and Monday's stop in Lake Placid and this evening's stop in Belleville are its first visits in the north country, according to library director Thomas M. Savini.

"Processus Contra Templarios" is Latin for "Trial Against the Templars." The documents include a 14th-century parchment showing that Pope Clement V initially absolved the Templar leaders of heresy, though he did find them guilty of immorality and planned to reform the order, according to the Vatican archives's Web site. But pressured by King Philip IV of France, Clement later reversed his decision and suppressed the order in 1312.

The Knights Templar, which ultimately disappeared because of the heresy scandal, also captivated the imagination of readers of Mr. Brown's best-seller "The Da Vinci Code," which linked the order to the legend of the Holy Grail.

"This trip represents an exciting opportunity for the Livingston Library to bring part of its collection to our patrons," said Mr. Savini. "Many of our artifacts simply cannot leave the stable environment of our Manhattan site."

Mr. Savini said that while there is no proven link that the Masons evolved from the Crusader Knights Templar, several Masonic organizations have adopted the link theme as part of their traditions.

"Such traditions are always the subject of lively discussion among our members," he said.

Based on fact or not, Mr. Savini said the Templar topic provides a storyline and discussion for some members as they focus on a leading a noble life.

"One of the best ways to do that is through the use of stories," he said.

One theory says that Templars who went underground to escape persecutions of the inquisitors in the early 14th century emerged in Scotland almost two centuries later as early modern freemasonry.

The reproductions to be displayed tonight reproduce the handwriting of medieval inquisitors, along with signs of 800 years of age, including artificial tears and mold stains. One parchment measures about 11/2 foot wide and more than 6 feet long.

A presentation by Mr. Savini and Mr. Thomas will provide an overview of the Knights Templar, describe their place in history and discuss their interest to scholars of contemporary Freemasonry. Questions also will be taken from the public.

The Livingston Masonic Library is one of only two Masonic-affiliated research facilities to acquire a copy of "Processus Contra Templarios." The other was donated to the House of the Temple, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, Washington, D.C.

The tour stopped in Chatham on Sunday and will stop in Hamilton on Wednesday.

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Gary Lachman has written a great piece for Seed Magazine titled "2013: Or, What to Do When the Apocalypse Doesn’t Arrive" - an excellent read. I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to predictions about 2012, and it seems the majority of TDG readers agree. In the article, Gary points out the long history of expectations of massive world changes, giving the 2012 hysteria some historical context:

While I’ve been lucky enough to have missed anything like the French or Russian revolution and the First World War, my own lifetime has been peppered with quite a few millennial expectations. Growing up in the 1960s, through the media I was aware of the modern Brethren of the Free Spirit in places like Greenwich Village and Haight-Ashbury. I was also aware that something called the Age of Aquarius either was on its way or had already arrived (the jury is still out on this). Linked to this was the idea that the fabled lost continent of Atlantis - which I read about in comic books and fantasy paperbacks — was due to surface sometime in 1969. Both were heralds of a coming golden age, when “peace will guide the planets and love will steer the stars.” By the early seventies such anticipations had fizzled, but in 1974 they were briefly revived when comet Kohoutek sparked new interest in apocalyptic beliefs. A Christian group called the Children of God — who, incidentally, advocated “revolutionary lovemaking” (read: promiscuity) — distributed leaflets announcing doomsday for January of that year, which my friends and I read with interest. Predictably, Kohoutek fizzled as well. That same year, the science writers John Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann published The Jupiter Effect, a bestseller predicting the devastating results (earthquakes, tidal waves, etc.) of a curious alignment of the planets on one side of the sun. When the alignment took place and nothing happened, they wrote a second book, The Jupiter Effect Reconsidered, explaining what went wrong. Not surprisingly, this sequel didn’t sell as well.

There were other millennial dates too. Remember the solar eclipse of 1999 and Y2K, the millennium bug? But the most significant millennial date so far in my lifetime surely was 1987, the year of the Harmonic Convergence — another planetary alignment — which was seen as the kickoff for the most anticipated apocalyptic event in recent years, the year 2012.

Gary also points out that the 2012 meme includes two of the major responses of civilizations to periods of crisis:

In his Study of History, an account of the rise and fall of civilizations, the historian Arnold Toynbee argues that there are two stereotypical responses to what he calls a “time of troubles,” the crisis points that make or break a civilization. One is the “archaist,” a desire to return to some previous happy time or golden age. The other is the “futurist,” an urge to accelerate time and leap into a dazzling future. That both offerings are embraced today is, I think, clear. The belief that a saving grace may come from indigenous non-Western people untouched by modernity’s sins is part of a very popular “archaic revival.” Likewise, the trans- or posthumanism that sees salvation in some form of technological marriage between man and computer is equally fashionable. The 2012 scenario seems to partake of both camps: It proposes a return to the beliefs of an ancient civilization in order to make a leap into an unimaginable future. What both strategies share, however, is a desire to escape the present.

What do you think? Is Gary on the money here, or do you think that 2012 really is going to bring world-shaking changes? Head over to Seed for the full article.

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Sunspots: End of Cycle 23/24 solar minimum?

PARTING SHOT: On its way over the sun's western limb on Oct. 31st, sunspot 1029 unleashed a C-class solar flare and a coronal mass ejection (CME). The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory photographed the billion-ton CME billowing past Mercury:

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The blast reinforces sunspot's 1029's position as the most active sunspot of 2009. Last week alone, the sunspot produced ten C-class solar flares, more than tripling the number of flares in the previous 10 months. Sunspot 1029 is a member of long-overdue Solar Cycle 24. Is it also a herald of more active times to come? Stay tuned.

No matter what conclusions one gravitates towards regarding climate change and potential solar impacts, the data is irrefutable: the sun is slowly becoming more active, according to NASA data, as well as other monitoring organizations.

The 10.7cm radio flux spiked in late September with its highest reading in 18 months; now, and this is very significant compared to the pattern since March 2008, it has spiked again, exceeding the late September number and reaching a Cycle 24 maximum of 76.9.

This is still a very low value compared to the solar maximum flux numbers, which routinely exceed 200. However, it is an upward move from the “basement” numbers of the past 19 months which have typically run between 66 and 70.

The plot included with this report shows an gradual but definite upward slope in the radio flux during the past two months; such a consistent slope more strongly suggests (more than any other time in the past two years) that the sun is merging from its deepest solar minimum since 1913.

A well-defined sunspot group emerged on October 23, ending the 20-day blank streak and also emitting a moderate (class C) solar flare. The greater intensity of the flare is also a clue to heightened magnetism within the sunspot groups.

Given that there will no doubt be more blank days in 2009 between these solar spikes, this year may move upward from its present ranking of 6th place for lack of sunspots to perhaps 2nd or 3rd place. So the Cycle 23/24 solar minimum seems headed towards the history books as of this writing.

While confidence in this claim is not 100%, it’s definitely better than even money based on the data.


On Oct. 30th, the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) near Earth tilted south, an orientation that weakens our planet's magnetic defenses against solar wind. Indeed, solar wind poured into Earth's magnetosphere and sparked an early Halloween display over Alaska:

"Bright moonlight almost outshined the auroras," says photographer Daryl Pederson. "But this flare-up was visible over the Chugach mountains in south central Alaska."

Impressive, but it can't hold a pumpkin's candle to the Halloween storms of 2003. Six years ago, a series of 17 major solar flares and coronal mass ejections buffeted Earth for weeks around All Hallows Eve. The storms caused a power outage in Sweden, blinded sensors on the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), damaged the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) spacecraft, and may have ripped away some of Mars' atmosphere. In the United States, blood-red Northern Lights startled sky watchers as far south as Florida and Texas. A movie from NASA recalls the ghoulish tale: 6 MB or 32 MB mpeg.

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World Not Ending in 2012, Says NASA

Oct. 22, 2009 -- Contrary to what you may read on the Internet, the world is not going to end in 2012. A rogue planet named Nibiru is not on a collision course with Earth. And a solar flare won't toast the planet.

It's all fiction, though the makers of the film "2012" may lead you to think otherwise.

"I don't have anything against the movie. It's the way it's been marketed and the way it exploits people's fears," NASA scientist David Morrison at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., told Discovery News.

Morrison has launched a counter-attack through his "Ask An Astrobiologist" online column, which he says has gotten more than 1,000 questions about the end of the world.

Scientific misinformation about 2012 has been ramping up for a few years, with more than 200 books and 1,000 Web sites purporting to explain various doomsday scenarios. Sony Pictures is behind a particularly viral campaign to build publicity for its upcoming apocalyptic movie "2012," which debuts on Nov. 13.

The company has set up an interlinked family of Web sites and Facebook pages to infuse a sense of reality to its fictional work.

The lead character in the film, played by actor John Cusack, for example, is the faux author of a faux book about a murder, conspiracy and disaster aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, which, coincidentally, is poised for launch on a space station construction mission the weekend the movie debuts.

The fictional fiction, named "Farewell, Atlantis," has a Web site, a Facebook page to follow "author appearances," fans and friends, a faux publisher with a faux Web site, a faux press release and endorsements from the very real son of the late Carl Sagan.

There's also a fake institute that presumably dispenses "real" science supporting the movie's claims, as well as a fake news website that distributes fake press releases about a fake aerospace company winning government contracts.

Warren Betts, owner of a California-based publicity firm that peddles real science stories tied to movies, says the type of marketing campaign Sony is executing for "2012" is nothing new.

"It's been done before," said Betts, citing the 1999 horror movie "The Blair Witch Project," a story about a group of amateur documentary film-makers who have a really bad couple of days in the woods.

"Some people went to that movie and they thought it was reality, that it was an actual documentary," Betts said.

Morrison says Sony has crossed a line with promoting "2012."

"I think people are really, really worried about the world coming to an end. Kids are contemplating suicide. Adults tell me they can't sleep and can't stop crying. There are people who are really, really scared," he said.

"People are very gullible," he added. "It a sad testimonial that you need NASA to tell you the world's not going to end."

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Asteroid Explosion over Indonesia

This has taken awhile to filter into the Western press, but an asteroid exploded over the town of Bone,Indonesia on October 8th at around 11am local time. Initially, locals called the police to report that a plane had crashed, or that an earthquake shook the ground, as reported in the Jakarta Globe. The Jakarta Post quoted Thomas Djamaluddin, head of the Lapan Center for Climate and Atmosphere Science Implementation as saying that the explosion was due to a meteorite or bit of space junk that had entered the Earth's atmosphere. As it turns out after further analysis, the explosion was due to an asteroid about 5-10 meters (15-30 feet) in diameter exploding in the air between 15 and 20 km (nine to 12 miles) above sea level. Nobody was injured as a result of the explosion, but it evidently caused quite a scare with the local population!

In a press release from the Near Earth Object (NEO) program, the explosion was detected by many International Monitoring System (IMS) infrasound stations, five of them 10,000 km (6200 miles) away, and one 18,000 km (11,100 miles) from the blast. These stations monitor seismic waves, infrasound (low frequency soundwaves), hydroacoustic, and radionuclide emissions as part of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). They are well equipped to monitor explosions of nuclear weapons, but also detect other events such as meteorite impacts and asteroid explosions, tsunamis and earthquakes.

When analyzed, the amount and intensity of low frequency sound waves created by the explosion allowed researchers Elizabeth Silber and Peter Brown of the Meteor Infrasound Group at the Univ. of Western Ontario to determine that the explosion caused by the asteroid was on the scale of 30 – 50 kilotons of TNT. To give you an idea of how powerful of an explosion this is, the bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II exploded with the force of 20 kilotons of TNT.

A video of the explosion can be seen here: Asteroid Explodes over Bone, Indonesia. The fireball – also called a bolide – created a dusty tail upon entering the atmosphere of the Earth. It is estimated that the asteroid was traveling around 72,000 km/hour (45,000 miles/hour) when it hit the atmosphere. As an asteroid enters the thick Earth atmosphere, it slows down abruptly and heats up due to the process of ablation. If this asteroid were made of metal instead of rock, it would likely have impacted the ground causing a lot of damage. Fortunately for the residents of Bone and the surrounding area, the rock broke up in a large fireball instead. There haven't been any reports of pieces that have touched down as of yet.

Asteroids of this size are predicted to impact the Earth about every 2-12 years, and the last one of this magnitude was a bolide over the Marshall Islands on February 1, 1994. That impactor was estimated to be between 4.4 and 13.5 meters. A full analysis of that event is available on the SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System.

Of course, events like this always raise the question of why the object wasn't detected before it even entered the atmosphere. The NEO program has cataloged over 600 objects in the size of 10 meters, but there are many, many more out there. The cost of a monitoring and cataloging all of the Near Earth Objects would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but more events like this may spur the political will and capital to further efforts at protecting human lives from the potential damage of meteorite impacts.

Source: Night Sky,, JPL Press Release

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