News Notes

Zip Dobyns

The most exciting news in this issue (to me, that is), is personal. We have decided to sell our church building which is near the airport and to buy a few acres for a retreat center in the country near San Diego. The 5th Ave address will continue to be the Los Angeles Center for our church and all mail should be addressed here, rather than to 86th Place or to the P.O. Box. Once the decision was made to look for a place in the country, we debated looking north, to northern California or Oregon, where land would be cheaper and water more plentiful. But the climate would also be less desirable (from our point of view) and I wanted to stay within a reasonable distance from an airport, so I thought I would try southern California first. I started out willing to consider any area in southern California where we could have a little land (I wanted more fruit trees than I could cram into a city yard), our own well (I wanted reliable water for the garden), and a house with room for (or room to build) a huge library. Both my brother (James Pottenger) and I have too many books and magazines and I have run out of space at 5th Ave.

I found our prospective new place in less than 48 hours after the time I walked into the office of a real estate agent in Escondido. My friend Julie was with me, and we started out with a sheaf of listings from the agent’s computer, ranging from Fallbrook in the north to Jamul in the south and east as far as Julian. We only found and inspected two places in the balance of that first afternoon, but we explored a lot of unmarked back roads in the process. We camped that night at one of the Thousand Trails Preserves which I had not yet seen. I joined NACO about three years ago and later added Thousand Trails, so I can camp and use the facilities at almost 80 camps without additional cost beyond the yearly membership fee. The next morning, Julie and I drove back to look for a listing near Julian, but after looking at pictures of it in a local real estate office, we passed it up and went on to look around Alpine. We never found a listing that sounded possible in that area, so went on to Jamul to check one. At the real estate agent in Jamul where we got directions for one I had seen in an ad sent by a San Diego friend, Julie picked up that company’s booklet of listings. When we finally found the advertised place (looking for places in the country is not like looking in town with a good map), it wasn’t right so we drove on farther on highway 94 until it was time to come back to San Diego for the evening memorial service for Neil Michelsen. After the service, I stayed in Maritha and Rique’s home in San Diego and read the little booklet which Julie had picked up in Jamul. And there was our place.

The next morning, I called the Escondido broker who was helping us. She called the Jamul broker, and the latter went with Maritha and me to see the place. I knew it was the one even before I saw it, but the visit confirmed it. Our 5th Ave house was also the fifth to be considered when we had to move in the fall of 1973, and my conviction that it was right was equally intense when I first saw this one. It has 13 acres, a seasonal stream (which runs in the winter) with big old oak trees along it, a very nice though small house to which we will add a big library and another guest room and bath, a mobile home with two bedrooms, a solar-heated hot water tank with a propane back-up tank for the rare days which stay overcast, a workshop and storage building, a small orchard of fruit trees already set up with drip irrigation to conserve water, and a hill that is taller than any in the immediate vicinity so we will be able to see the whole sky with Mark’s two telescopes, far enough from city lights to have good viewing conditions. From the top of the hill on really clear days, you can even get a glimpse of the ocean which is about 40 miles away. Jamul is about ten miles away but it is very tiny. La Mesa which is really a good sized suburb of San Diego is about 25 miles and San Diego about 35 miles away, so I can actually teach astrology classes at ACS if I want. But the crowning touch was discovering that my favorite Thousand Trails Preserve, Pio Pico, was less than seven miles away. Swimming has always been my favorite exercise, and Pio Pico has a pool for adults only (the kids have their own) which is maintained at a temperature of over 80 degrees.

As you can imagine, we have lots of plans for the new center. I may put a yurt or teepee or tent by the stream under the oak trees so I can sleep within range of the sound of the running water when it runs. One of my fondest memories is of the brief time that I lived by the ocean and slept with the sound of the surf. We plan to add a big screened porch to the house, and one end of the library will be my computer room. The small bedroom in the house is slated to be the gym. We will put some kind of gazebo on top of the hill with mounts for the telescopes. A little more fencing is needed to completely surround the place, and we will pave the driveway in from the paved road. The address is on Honey Springs Road, which is paved, and just 3+ miles off of highway 94.

If the church building in Los Angeles sells promptly, we hope to take occupancy of the new place by fall and to start the additions to the house. Jim would move down immediately but his books and some furniture will probably have to be stored until the addition is finished. I rarely write about family charts, but I will just say that on the day when I first saw the place and the next day when I brought Jim back to see it, transiting asteroid James was on natal James in Jim’s chart. He had a James return that weekend! The only asteroid with one of my names is Herrick, my middle name at birth. I have a Herrick return in early 1991, by which time I hope to have a house warming party with the major addition to the house completed. Isn’t life amazing? I plan to have small seminars there, mostly for advanced work for only 5 to 10 guests, but we may also have astronomy classes taught by Mark including actually looking at the sky which most astrologers only see in books. Mark can also teach computer literacy for astrologers. I will still spend at least one week a month at 5th Ave., to attend the ISAR board meeting on the second Sunday, to see a few private clients, and to get The Mutable Dilemma and Asteroid-World photocopied. Our problem Minolta copier is working provided we never run it more than a half hour for the two-sided copying, but it needs expert servicing often and could never leave town. But it is a dream come true for me to be able to go back to living in the country most of the time. I lived on five acres outside of Tucson, Arizona for over twenty years, but the climate of southern California is so superior, especially near the coast, that I wouldn’t trade with anyone. Mark suggested calling the new center Imum Coeli or CCRS IC, the Latin name for the fourth house cusp which symbolizes home and real estate. I think it means literally “the bottom of the sky,” which seems pretty appropriate.

Continuing with other odds and ends from a variety of publications, the June 1990 issue of Discovery has an interesting article on “cosmoids.” Two astronomers, Maurice Dubin and Robert Soberman, think they have discovered a new class of tiny comets which could damage or destroy some of our spacecraft. Dubin and Soberman suggest that some of the tiny comets may be as large as ten feet across, but that most of them are as small as marbles. Theoretically, they explain the streaks and flashes of light seen by telescopes on Pioneer 10 and 11 more than 15 years ago, and they may account for the origin of “zodiacal light”, a pale glow in the plane of the solar system, and for the persistence of the planetary rings which may be constantly replenished by these little objects streaming in from the comet cloud which surrounds the solar system.

The June 9-15, 1990 issue of The Economist has an interesting article about computers that are being programmed to handle “fuzzy logic.” The article points out that classical logic has been around at least since Aristotle, but that its demand for narrow precision keeps it from dealing with much of the world which is full of paradoxes. Mathematics deals in precisely defined “sets” but it is not easy to define the set of balding men. Fuzzy theory allows shades of gray and applying it to computers means they have to learn terms like “mostly,” “somewhat,” and “often.” But it can be done. In Sendai, Japan, a fuzzy controller is now running the trains so smoothly that passengers need never hang from straps, and the system will soon be running the whole Tokyo subway. Several cameras now use fuzzy logic to focus automatically. A washing machine made by Matsushita Electric uses fuzziness to decide how dirty a load is by measuring the amount of grease in the water so it can add an appropriate amount of detergent. A Matsushita vacuum cleaner rates carpet fuzz by its fuzziness. Economists are now applying the theories to economic forecasting. How now the DOW, which just hit another high?

A column in a weekly Los Angeles business newspaper (which I unfortunately neglected to date) offers an attack on the famous “global warming” theory. The author of the column points out that Stephen Schneider who works for our government as a climatologist and who has written a book and lectures everywhere on the threat of the “greenhouse effect,” is the same “expert” who was predicting a “new ice age” just twenty years ago. In a November 1989 interview for Discover Magazine, Schneider was quoted as saying “... we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements with little mention of any doubts one might have.” In contrast to Schneider’s hyperbole, MIT researchers have surveyed the world’s ocean temperatures and they say there has been little or no warming during the last 100 years. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOA) came to the same conclusion, saying “there has been no warming trend in the 49 contiguous states over the past century.” The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution also reports “absolutely no hard evidence” of any enhanced greenhouse effect. The author of the column suggests that the media needs to take a harder look at some of the “scientific” reports which we taxpayers are supporting. In spite of the lack of evidence, the majority of scientists today accept the likelihood of global warming. But I’m personally enough of a skeptic to wait until I see less theory and more evidence.

The Los Angeles Times on May 28, 1990 had an interesting science article on recent techniques for analysis of ancient blood samples. A Canberra, Australia scientists named Thomas Loy had developed a technique for lifting minute splotches of blood off stone tools and bones. The blood can be analyzed to identify both the species of animals and the dates of the artifacts, and eventually it is hoped that the genetic material in the blood will provide insights into human evolution. Loy introduced his technique in 1983 and he has worked with blood deposits in Canada and in Turkey. Blood from a variety of animals was identified on the Canadian tools, with the younger ones also showing some human blood. Have humans become more destructive against their own kind over the years? The site in Turkey had both human and animal blood on a large stone slab near the entrance of a building which contained more than 90 human skulls. It is possible that human as well as animal sacrifice was practiced there, but human bodies might have been just placed in the building after death from other causes. The village proved to be one of the earliest known farming settlements, dating back more than 10,000 years and showing surprisingly complex cultural practices. Some of the blood on the stone slab proved to be from an extinct species of cattle. Loy has also dated blood from Iraq to some time between 75,000 and 125,000 years ago, and found that the blood was similar to modern humans rather than Neanderthals who are supposed to have become extinct about 35,000 years ago. Eventually, scientists hope to determine more exactly the relationship between Neanderthals and modern Homo Sapiens, and to specify by the antibodies in ancient blood the ailments of people who died thousands of years ago.

From science we shift to the psychic world. I went back for a visit to Mr. X in early May and he offered some more predictions, many of which he had actually prepared for me six months earlier, but I had been too busy to go during the winter. Several of his fall predictions have already happened, including the fall of the Gandhi government in India. He expects continued violence in India. He also thinks Margaret Thatcher of Great Britain will fall before the end of 1990, but we will have to wait and see on that forecast. He sees a mixed picture in the south Pacific, with Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea doing well with lush food production and prosperity in the next century, but expects war in Indonesia and poverty in the Philippines. In a vision, Mr. X saw Corazon Aquino dead while the Statue of Liberty stood with hands folded. That may mean that the U.S. will not intervene to help her during the next coup attempt. The picture was also grim for much of Africa, including famine and plague and government changes in Chad, Congo, Nigeria, Ghana, Zaire, and Kenya. Mr. X predicted a black government in South Africa by March 1991 which seems early to me. He also sees Egypt disturbed by hunger and strife and possibly attacked by Israel. January 26, February 24, and June 13 are listed as important dates for Egypt.

In the western hemisphere, inflation is seen as haunting many countries, including Mexico and Brazil. Drugs also continue to be a serious problem. In his vision, Mr. X saw drugs portrayed as snakes and they were attacking Bush and trying to gobble up the U.S. Mr. X saw the snakes associated with many countries; Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, Haiti, Ecuador, Cuba, El Salvador. In 1992, he sees U.S. troops sent to El Salvador, Colombia and possibly Cuba, and the snakes (drugs) going home to other countries. But he thinks that the drug cartel may make an assassination attempt against Bush on September 7, 1990. Earthquakes may occur in unlikely places like Texas (extending into Mexico) and New York, but Mr. X also suggested a quake or a new volcano in the Lake Elsinore region of southern California.

In the Far East, Mr. X expected Japan’s stock market to begin its serious problems in late 1989 and to culminate with a crash in mid-May 1990. Actually, the Japanese market lost heavily during the first four months of 1990 but it seems to have stabilized somewhat in late May and so far in June. Mr. X also thinks that Japan is due for a large earthquake soon, but on the positive side that it will discover a cure for AIDS by 1996. The illness is spreading there now. A takeover of an island by China is predicted, but the timing was not given. North and South Korea are seen uniting in 1991. But eventually, Mr. X predicts that the world will get disgusted by the U.S. power plays and the United Nations will move to the Orient.

Mr. X expects increased hunger in Europe and Russia, with the latter returning the Kurile Islands to Japan unless hunger interferes. France is expected to be better off. Mr, X sees the whole world moving toward a World Bank and a cashless society with everyone having a credit card and their pay telexed to the World Bank. He was given a date of March 17, 1991 for a universal dollar.

Farther ahead, Mr. X sees a kind of oriental anti-Christ controlling Asia and leading China to invade Russia in 1996, then Western Europe in 1998, and finally the U.S. through Alaska. At that point, I get dubious. The west still has the preponderant military power despite the wealth of Japan. China and North Korea are a threat to their own people and to Hong Kong and possibly other poor countries of Southeast Asia, but I doubt that they would mount military adventures outside of that part of the world. Orientals do own a lot of U.S. businesses and property and are buying more, but the British and Dutch actually own more. Still, only time will tell. I will keep you posted.

Copyright © 1990 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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