News Notes

Zip Dobyns

Is Icarus a “former” comet and does it have a twin? The elongated orbit of Icarus has led astronomers to suspect that it might be a burned-out comet, but recent (1991) calculations by Yeomans suggest that it is still doing some out-gassing since it has a small but consistent variation in its orbit. I had strongly suspected that Icarus was performing astrologically like a comet with its “fire” nature. From the beginning of my work with it, it seemed like a mini-Sun or at least a “Sun-seeker,” with Leo attributes but often carried to excess. I have previously written that in the limited study of comets I have done, they all seemed “fiery,” with some like Mars, some (including Halley) like the Sun, and some (including Chiron) like Jupiter.

The Minor Planet Bulletin of April-June 1992 discusses the comet theory for Icarus and also describes the Earth-crossing minor planet which is still known by its original designation 1991 RC. New asteroids are not named until their orbits have been firmly calculated. Originally, they carry the year of discovery and letters indicating the order of discovery during that year. 1991 RC was discovered in September 1991 by Robert McNaught in Australia. Its orbit was quickly recognized by Brian Marsden, the asteroid expert, to be very similar to Icarus. The Bulletin article discusses the possibility that Icarus and 1991 RC are the remaining fragments from the break-up of a larger comet. But calculations carried back about 11,000 years found that their orbits and inclinations to the ecliptic were only similar during the last few centuries. The current (and still tentative) theory suggests that Icarus, 1991 RC, and many much smaller fragments now classed as a meteor shower may have originated from the same much larger comet in the past.

The June 1992 issue of Sky and Telescope has a lengthy article on the color confusion associated with the star Sirius. Some, though not all, ancient writers described Sirius as reddish even though it is clearly now white with a trace of blue. Roger Ceragioli, author of the article, is a classical scholar trained in Greek and Roman culture. Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, located in the constellation of Canis Major, known as the “dog” star and associated with the hot “dog days” of summer. It was widely used in the ancient world to forecast the future, especially by noting its appearance at heliacal rising, when it rose just ahead of the Sun. A star (or the Moon) seen through earth’s atmosphere when it is just above the horizon will be seen as reddish. Sirius was sometimes associated with the Sun and pictured with radiating rays. But it was a “bad-omen” star, mostly thought to bring fevers, bloodshed, the rage of war, rabies, fire, and other dangers which were also connected to Mars who was visibly red. The author concludes that the descriptions of Sirius as red were due mostly to cultural associations and to a lesser extent to observations of it through earth’s atmosphere.

Stories of possible unknown animal species, like UFO reports, mostly appear in offbeat magazines such as Fate, though there is a scientific term for such studies: crypto-zoology. However, the June 27-July 3, 1992 issue of The Economist, a very main-line financial publication, describes what sounds like a local version of the Himalayan Yeti, also known as the “abominable snowman” or “Bigfoot.” The creature is locally called an Almasty and is reported living in the Caucasus Mountains. Almasties are described as about 6 1/2 feet tall, with dark-skinned bodies covered with coarse, long, reddish-brown hair, and walking on two legs. Hundreds of local people claim to have seen them though an expedition by the Soviet Academy of Sciences in 1958 failed to find any. If they are actually a surviving species of great ape, their numbers may be dwindling, since reports of sightings are now rare. A Franco-Russian expedition led by a 72 year old French woman surgeon and mountaineer is currently about to go in search of an Almasty. A journalist-film producer will accompany the scientists to record their adventures.

An increasing amount of information has been appearing lately describing human claims that they have been abducted by aliens from U.F.O.s (unidentified flying objects). One source is a small booklet analyzing three national surveys conducted by the Roper Organization between July and September 1991. Based on standard projections from sampling techniques, the Roper surveys estimate that as many as hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of American men, women and children may have experienced UFO abductions or related phenomena. One suggested figure is 2% of the population. I suspect that some of the “related phenomena” experienced may have nothing to do with UFOs. They sound much like relatively common psychic experiences but the academic investigators have probably had little experience with psi. The professional therapists (both medical and psychological) who have been working with self-claimed “victims” are taking the claims quite seriously. And they do have more than oral reports. In many cases, the victims have been left with inexplicable physical scars on their bodies. Authors of the booklet include a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and two Ph.D. professors at eastern and Midwestern universities. I did not solicit the booklet, and think it must have been sent to members of one of my psychological organizations. Its purpose is to alert the psychological community to prevent therapists from automatically dismissing as delusional any clients who describe such experiences.

The June 1992 issue of Fate magazine carries its usual article on UFOs by Jerome Clark, and this current one features material on abductions. For those with “strong stomachs” who want to pursue the subject, Clark cites a new book by David M. Jacobs, Secret Life: Firsthand Accounts of UFO Abductions, published by Simon and Schuster. Jacobs, who published an earlier book on UFOS and is one of the authors of the booklet mentioned above, is a professor of history at Temple University. His current book reports on his work with 39 abductees from the Philadelphia area. Jacobs describes a series of procedures experienced by the abducted individuals which suggested a standard, structured approach by the aliens. The latter were almost always described as little gray beings who displayed little emotion, communicated minimally and telepathically, and treated their subjects in a detached, clinical manner. A larger but mostly similar being was sometimes seen to be in control over the “little grays.” According to the reports Jacobs received from victims, children as well as adults were subjected to horrifying sexual abuse. Clark does not go into the details but refers readers to the book if they want to investigate further. The aliens seemed to be involved in some kind of breeding program and to only be interested in human physiology and such health issues as smoking which would impact childbearing for women. Do you suppose the humans on earth could stop fighting each other if they were faced by a potential threat from aliens who are presumably coming from outside our solar system???

A recently acquired book on crop circles offers a less ominous picture of possible UFO phenomena. The book is called Crop Circles—Harbingers of World Change. It was edited by Alick Bartholomew and published in England where much of this strange, relatively new phenomenon has been occurring. The circles are formed by the bending (rarely the breaking) of grain. The “designs” started as simple circles but they have become incredibly complex in the last year or two. They usually appear overnight, and though two unemployed painters in England have tried to take credit for producing them, their claims are ridiculous in view of the fact that thousands of circles have now been formed and that they have appeared in other countries including Europe, Canada, the U.S., Russia, Japan, and Australia. As many as 20 a night have appeared in widely separated areas. UFOs have been witnessed in the vicinity of some of the circles, and many in England are near megalithic remains such as the well-known Stonehenge. They seem to appear in a new country when local interest is aroused by some kind of publicity. This fact sounds suspiciously like copycatting by humans except that most of the circles are beyond the power of humans to produce in the dark in a few hours. A few poorly done designs have been hoaxes.

Scientists at first tried to explain the phenomena as caused by some type of atmospheric vortex (electrically charged wind funnels) which bent the ripening grain into circles, but the complicated shapes that have appeared in 1990-1 quickly trashed that theory. Dowsers claim that they sense a psychic or earth energy which forms the designs. The great variety of precise designs certainly points to some kind of intelligence rather than a random natural phenomena, but the mechanism wielded by that intelligence and the reason for the creations remain a mystery. Both the “new agers” and the traditional shaman who have become involved agree that the circles are just the latest “wake-up” call to materialistic humans to push them into realizing that life is more than physical matter-energy. Most of the writers in the crop circle book see the phenomena as another force pushing us toward a change of consciousness.

Shifting gears to the area of health, the July 15, 1992 issue of an economic newsletter called Bottom Line includes a fine interview with Dr. Dean Ornish, a San Francisco physician. I may have mentioned the work of Ornish in earlier issues of The Mutable Dilemma or Asteroid-World, but this current interview provides an excellent survey of his theories and procedures. The title of the article, Isolation and your Heart, will resonate with astrologers who know that the association of the physical heart and love is not just a romantic notion. The Sun, Leo and the fifth house symbolize our ability to love and be loved as well as our ambition to do more in the world and to be acknowledged for it. Ornish has demonstrated that diet and exercise can be very helpful in reversing serious heart problems, but he also pinpoints the importance of emotional and spiritual factors in human lives. He says “A number of studies have shown that people who feel isolated have three to five times the mortality not only from heart disease, but from ALL causes of death when compared with those who have a greater sense of intimacy and community. Isolation generally leads to chronic stress and emotional pain.” p. 11

Ornish works with group therapy, teaching yoga, visualization and meditation to help manage stress, and teaching communication skills to help people become comfortable talking about what is going on in their lives and to open their hearts to each other. People learn to heal their isolation by developing a support group, and to quiet their minds and bodies enough to experience an inner sense of well-being.

My favorite newsletter on non-traditional methods for maintaining health is Alternatives from P.O. Box 829, Ingram, TX 78025. The author, Dr. David G. Williams, describes research from around the world which is ahead of the standard allopathic practices of our AMA. For example, he has been writing for months about the use of shark cartilage as a benign method for the treatment of cancer. Dr. William Lane, the primary developer of the treatment, has a book describing his work called Sharks Don’t Get Cancer which is available from Cartilage Consultants, Suite 100, 206 Main St., Milburn, NJ 07041 for $14.95 postpaid. Dr. Lane had a typical contact with the medical establishment when members of the National Cancer Institute met with him to discuss possible cooperative research efforts. After several meetings and conferences, when research support and funding seemed likely, all interest suddenly vanished. Readers can draw their own conclusions.

The current June 1992 issue of Alternatives is largely devoted to a thorough coverage of the potential benefits of an inexpensive remedy known as hydrogen peroxide though its scientific description would be H2O2. Hundreds of research reports continue to be printed which demonstrate the value of the substance which is simply water with an added atom of oxygen. Along with a variety of other benefits, the extra oxygen aids the immune system. Dr. Williams lists 43 physical problems which have been helped by H2O2, from allergies and Alzheimer’s to warts and yeast infections. In addition to many infectious illnesses, the list includes problems like cancer, diabetes, liver cirrhosis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, periodontal disease, ulcers, etc. Many new “miracle” drugs and nutritional supplements like Coenzyme Q10 actually do more expensively what H2O2 does for pennies; they add oxygen to the system.

The important fact to remember is that the 3% hydrogen peroxide which is available from drugstores and markets is NOT suitable for human ingestion. It can be used with baking soda for brushing one’s teeth and as an aid to plants and animals, with an ounce added to a quart of non-chlorinated water. But only a 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide is recommended for internal human use. Dr. Williams gives some mail order sources for the 35% grade and a suggested schedule of self-treatment with the usual warning to check with your own doctor before self-medicating. Only a few drops are used, much diluted in water or juice. If not diluted, it can be dangerous, even fatal to children!!! If concentrations are drunk which are higher than 10%, they can cause neurological reactions and damage to the upper gastrointestinal tract! Care must even be taken in handling the higher concentration H2O2 since direct contact with the skin will cause burns. But Dr. Williams feels that millions of people can benefit from proper use of the substance, so it is worth the care needed to handle it properly. He recommends keeping a small amount of the prepared diluted solution in the refrigerator and storing the rest in the freezer. Individuals who have had transplants should not use H2O2 since it stimulates the immune system and might cause them to reject the organ.

The July-August 1992 issue of Health also has a couple of interesting tidbits. Careful studies in Switzerland of the effects on the body of alcohol intake have shown that it reduces the body’s ability to burn fat by about one third. The researchers who carried out the study theorize that the liver is so busy processing the alcohol that it is unable to carry out normal fat metabolism. For dieters who want to go on drinking, just cutting calories doesn’t help. Only cutting fat intake can avoid an overload on the liver.

All aficionados of Mexican food know that a frequent response is a runny nose. Researchers in Baltimore have finally taken the hint and produced a nasal spray using capsaicin, the chemical that produces the heat in hot peppers. Nasal sprays using steroids or antihistamines can help people whose stuffy noses are due to allergies, but the pepper spray seems to also help people who react to smoke, perfumes, and even changes in the temperature or weather. After a bit of a burning sensation along with tearing eyes and running noses, the test sniffers were clear and dry without any apparent damage.

Copyright © 1992 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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