News Notes

Zip Dobyns

The San Diego Union-Tribune on September 15, 1998 featured an interview with Kary Mullis, a winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in chemistry who lives in La Jolla, CA. Mullis challenges many conventional scientific theories in a new book called Dancing Naked in the Mind Field. He is quoted as saying: “there is no convincing evidence that fossil fuel emissions and human activity are causing global warming.” “There is no good case proving human involvement in the destruction of Earth’s ozone layer which shields life from damaging ultraviolet radiation from the sun.” “It still has not been proved that the human immunodeficiency virus HIV is the cause of the AIDS health disaster.” “Some 90 percent of money spent on space and physics activities should be directed to searching for asteroids and comets, one of which inevitably is on a collision course with Earth.” “Astrology has some scientific basis and probably has done more than psychiatry to help people understand their lives.” The interviewer also comments that Mullis holds open the possibility, based on his own experience, of alien visits to Earth and ESP phenomena. Astrologers may want to buy his book of essays if only for his positive statements about astrology.

Another article from the same newspaper for which, unfortunately, I lack the date, is a column by Ed Blonz Ph.D. about cooking oils. Blonz writes regularly on nutrition for the weekly food section. In this article, he describes the misinformation about fats which led to fast-food restaurants changing from saturated fats to vegetable oils in their frying. Saturated fats are more stable so even with repeated use, there is less breakdown which produces harmful byproducts that destroy vitamins, irritate the stomach, inhibit enzymes, create mutagens etc. Also, with saturated fats, less fat is absorbed into the food during frying. When the fast food restaurants were pressured into changing to vegetable oils for their frying, to make the oils more stable though still not as effective as the previously used oils, the restaurants had to use hydrogenated oils which are now being linked to heart problems and cancer. Blonz says we were better off using beef tallow and coconut and palm oil. My addition: a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, in this case simplistically assuming that saturated is bad and vegetable is good. As noted in a previous issue of The Mutable Dilemma, coconut oil has been found to provide a component that protects the immune system and whose other main source is in human mothers’ milk. The research which condemned coconut oil used hydrogenated oil and denied the animal subjects fatty acids which are necessary for life. Then the researchers blamed the coconuts.

The September 1998 issue of Second Opinion, a newsletter by William Douglass M.D. quotes researchers at Case Western Reserve University who say that green tea kills cancer cells in samples of skin, lymph system, and prostate tissue while leaving healthy cells unharmed. Apparently green tea persuades cancer cells to commit suicide. Dr. Douglass advises 4 cups a day for protection against cancer.

Dr. Williams in his September 1998 newsletter Alternatives describes a new product developed in Japan which is composed of an extract from the outer shell of rice bran combined with extracts from three different mushrooms. Instead of shutting down the immune system to stop symptoms, the normal action of drugs, this product boosts the immune system so it can handle physical problems. The product is called MGN-3 and is just becoming available after years of testing. It has shown success in treating both cancer and AIDS by increasing the activity of “natural killer” cells in the immune system. For additional information, the U.S. company handling it is CompassionNet at P.O. Box 710, Saddle River, NJ 07458 at (800) 510-2010.

As usual, the more scientists investigate any area in nature, the more complexity they find. The August 22, 1998 issue of Science News offers an article about recent work with ice cores from the northern and southern hemispheres. During the last ice age, the two hemispheres were often out of step with each other, sometimes even moving in opposite directions. Researchers are trying to figure out why the climate seemed to swing from very cold to mild about every 3.000 years during the last ice age, and why temperatures in the south often rose a thousand years or more ahead of those in the north. As Kary Mullis suggested in his interview with the SD paper (first item in News Notes), we are a long way from understanding the real causes of "global warming.”

The ComputerLink section which appears on Tuesdays in The San Diego Union-Tribune has been carrying a series of articles on what is being called the “millennium bug,” or the Y2K problem. The August 16, 1998 and other issues of the newspaper carried some lurid reports about a few computer experts who have become “survivalists.” This term was previously applied to conspiracy buffs who feared the increasing power of the government and endorsed wild theories such as United Nations armies taking over the U.S. and enforcing martial law. Some of them retreated to the back woods of Montana, Idaho, Arizona, etc. The new breed have a different reason for performing some of the same actions. They are buying property in the country, installing solar power or generators, and stocking food, some of them even buying weapons and trying to hide behind walls or underground, preparing for a crisis when the world’s economic system collapses in January 2000.

I discussed this problem in a previous issue of The Mutable Dilemma, including an analysis of the horoscope for the beginning of income tax withholding in the U.S., since that was the only timed chart I had for the Internal Revenue System and some reports claim that it is less ready for 2000 that many other government departments. Social Security is said to be “fully compliant,” that is, already able to handle dates beyond 2000. I have read that at least in the U.S., planes are not threatened since the FAA computers are currently able to handle dates to 2008. The State Department is said to be one of the least ready, but consequences in its affairs might be less critical or life-threatening than hospitals losing power in the midst of surgery and with patients on life support systems if utility companies fail.

We won’t really know how ready our government departments and businesses are until the time comes. I have calculated charts for a dozen or more businesses which logically could be affected, but have not had time to study them in depth. Energy and utility companies are obvious examples since they are heavily computerized. The big oil companies have off-shore drilling rigs which are run by automatic computers which might not handle the new century. If major crises occur, insurance companies would be hit by lawsuits in our litigious society. One report claims that literally thousands of computer programmers in Bangalore, India have been hired by U.S. companies to work on the problem of re-writing programs to handle four-digit numbers rather than the two digits used by older programs. A report by the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) released on September 4, 1998 estimated that the Federal price tag for fixing the Y2K problem could be $5.4 billion or higher. The OMB said that about half of the government’s 7,343 mission-critical computers have been fixed, replaced, or were originally unaffected. The Defense Department’s costs were estimated to be the highest—just under $2 billion. In spite of this rather dismal report, most “experts” feel that the U.S. is in better shape than most other countries in the world, with Canada and England and perhaps the other English-speaking countries also in better shape than the less-developed world.

For readers who have access to the Internet, astrologer Donna Cunningham has a web site dealing with the problem, including suggestions for preparation. She lists storing a two-month supply of food, water, battery-operated radios and flashlights, non-electric can openers, first aid supplies and extra medicines used regularly, etc. She also suggests that astrologers check their own and family members’ charts for the important time, to see whether there is any need for alarm. My addition is the reminder that a chart shows one’s state of mind. Those who read the doomsayers and who tend to be worriers may show a crisis in their charts, but nothing may happen. For those who want to see Donna’s full message, go to:

Sara Klein Ridgley has provided additional web sites dealing with Y2K.

I have not checked any of Sara’s listings yet. I was given web addresses for Gary North writing about Y2K, but they did not work. It may be just as well, since I have seen material by Gary North in the past, and my impression is that he is a professional doomsayer who has cried wolf too often. Wired is a major computer magazine and I think more reliable. I subscribe to it, but often do not have time to read it.

P.S. Fiji, which is close to the International Date Line so it is one of the first in line to get to January 1, 2000, is hoping to make a profit by transmitting a view of the world as the millennium bug moves around the globe. That is, IF their computers and transmitters do not die first.

Anyone interested in the Y2K challenge should get the October 1998 issue of Discover magazine. This issue includes a variety of articles focused on money, but the one that is relevant to our topic is by Robert Kunzig and is called Euroland or Bust. Anyone worried about what will happen in the U.S. on January 1, 2000 will discover that problems in the U.S. look infinitesimal compared to Europe. On January 1, 1999, 11 countries become part of “Euroland” and start using a new currency to be called the “euro” which will eventually replace all of their national currencies. The shift to the new money, the euro becoming legal tender, will happen first in computer transactions. Capital markets and banks will use the new money, which will have a fixed value in relationship to each of the national currencies instead of the latter fluctuating in relationship to each other as has been the case. But the banks won’t know the relationships until they are declared at 2 P.M. on December 31, 1998! Bank workers will be working, not partying, on that New Years Eve. On January 1, 2002, actual bills and coins will be in the hands of consumers and theoretically, the old national currencies will become worthless about six months later.

Financiers expect a flood of investments to come into Europe since the financial stability is expected to be positive for the general economy. Investors are supposed to like having just one exchange rate instead of 11, and U.S. pension funds are expected to be part of the flood. But the European banks and businesses face a nightmare in making the change. Can you imagine the chaos as banks try to change all varieties of national currencies into the new money? Technicians will be rushing to change the thousands of vending machines and automatic tellers. In France, where the author did most of his investigation, besides having its software switched to the euro version, each machine will need new cartridges for the euro bills, which aren’t the same size as francs, and the bill-gripping rollers will have to be adjusted because euros will be printed on heavier paper. During the three year interval while new bills are being printed and new coins produced, money managers will have to keep their accounts in both their old and the new money. Plus, for the first six months of 2002, all businesses must be prepared to handle both the old and the new money.

A few examples hint at the magnitude of the problems. The program at Crédit Agricole, one of the world’s leading money changers, is only able to multiply when converting French francs to U.S. dollars, since francs are roughly 6 francs to the dollar. But new programs must be written that can also divide since there will be around 1.1 dollars to the euro. That single company, Crédit Agricole, uses tens of thousands of computer programs and they estimate they have 17 million customers. It is estimated that they are 3.2 million vending machines in the European Union, and 7 million other machines that accept money such as parking meters and pay phones. Paper bills will be identical throughout “Euroland,” but coins will be made by each country with personally chosen symbols, so, beginning in 2002, there will be 88 different coins: 8 denominations for 11 countries. And, when the conversion is over, the businesses which change one national currency into another will have a lot less business, though Great Britain, Denmark, and Sweden have postponed joining the party, Greece could not meet the financial requirements, Switzerland remains a loner financially, and eastern Europe is still waiting in the wings. At least the preceding portrait may comfort some in the U.S. whose problems seem small in comparison, though it will undoubtedly reinforce the worries of others.

As regular readers know, my primary interest in astrology is its ability to help people understand themselves in order to change ineffective habits and improve their lives. My secondary interest has always been mundane (world) astrology—the effort to figure out what is going on in the world. I mostly test the asteroids in the latter area, putting them into event and various cycle charts. I am just starting to devote time to a more serious investigation of financial astrology, though I have been getting several newsletters from financial astrologers for some years. For anyone interested, Carol Mull publishes The Astro-Investor newsletter for $45 a year, at Mull Publications, P.O. Box 11133, Indianapolis, IN 46201-0133. Ray Merriman publishes SOS Stock Market Report for $150 a year and MMA Cycles Report for $249 a year, at P.O. Box 250012, West Bloomfield, MI 48325. Tim Bost publishes Financial Cycles for $55 a year at P.O. Box 1657, Sarasota, FL 34230-1657. There are many others, including one by Grace Morris and one by Arch Crawford, but the three above are the ones I receive in exchange for The Mutable Dilemma and Asteroid-World. There are also several computer programs available to facilitate work in financial astrology. I recently acquired two of these and will be discussing them when I have had more time to work with them. In the meantime, they look very exciting. Alphee Lavoie with Bill Meridian and Sergei Tarasov produce Financial Trader for Windows, and Jeanne Long with some help from Mark Pottenger, her son Thomas, and others, produces The Galactic Stock Trader, while her husband Robert Krausz produces The Fibonacci Trader. These are truly impressive programs which are going to take time to digest.

Let’s end with a little humor from an astrologer who is waking up a lot a people with her unique and exciting approach to the field. Caroline Casey calls her philosophy Visionary Activism. Whether speaking or writing, she expresses her insights in phrases that spark like lightning in a dark sky. An article in the September-October 1998 issue of New Age Magazine includes extensive quotations from her 1998 book, Making the Gods Work for You. A sample follows.

“Entertain the possibility that you are an undercover agent parachuting down to this beautiful planet in its time of need. Astrology is a language that catalyzes your memory of your mission. Each of us has some crucial task that will not only transform us personally, but also transform the entire culture.”

“Some styles of spiritual practice arise from the premise that the world is merely a seductive illusion to be transcended through detachment. There is not a lot of room for humor in this goal-oriented, solo, M.B.A. approach to enlightenment. ‘Down to Gehenna, or up to the throne, he travels the fastest who travels alone,’ wrote Rudyard Kipling, speaking for those who value speed and expediency. But is it the most interesting fun possible? Visionary Activism holds that life is to be embraced as an ally—to be transformed rather than transcended. We want to become completely involved in shaping reality for the greater good of all our relations. For us life enthusiasts, astrology defines the task of being fully human as discerning the pattern of evolutionary intelligence—the liveliest possibility at any moment—and aligning with that.”

Caroline defines “all our relations” in the Lakota way to include all creation; a magical kinship that includes bugs, microbes, rocks, animals, plants, planets. Her perspective “weds spiritual magic and compassionate social activism to create Visionary Activist Astrology.” “Vision by itself can be too ungrounded, detached, or narcissistic. On the other hand, activism by itself is too dreary to be effective.” Caroline says that the future is neither fixed nor broken, and that our actions tip the fulcrum toward “the life or death of innumerable communities of creatures living on this planet.” From what I have read of ancient and current traditional astrology, few individuals had the understanding Caroline credits to them, but I agree with her description of heavenly patterns as “the visible end of the spectrum of order that suffused all creation. Astrology was the philosophical exploration of the meaning and instructions of these patterns.” As I have put it, astrology shows the state of the “cosmic mind” at any place and time. We enter the earth realm when our habits from the past “fit” that (current-local) state, so the sky is a mirror for our own state of mind. Hopefully, self-understanding and growth produce constructive changes in our habits.

William James wrote that he decided to assert his freedom of will by choosing to believe in it. Caroline writes: “I remember a moment when I decided that whether or not the world was magic, it was better to live as if it were. There is no future in nihilism. When I run into friends who have become bitter basement Bohemian bureaucrats on the brink of alienated breakdown, I say, ‘You know, your beliefs are not really supporting you—why don’t you entertain some other, more fun possibilities?’”

As Caroline notes, every culture has produced its own version of astrology. “In a feudal class system, life was predictable, so its astrology was predictive. Today, we are engaged in an experiment of becoming unpredictable individuals. Hence, our astrology teaches us how to cultivate unique options of adaptive response.” Unfortunately, in my opinion, a lot of astrology today is still trying to guess past, present, and future life details, instead of describing psychological principles which offer a multitude of possible details depending on our choices.

Caroline describes leaving a philosophy class after the professor asserted that “philosophy has nothing to do with how you live your life.” According to Caroline, we have to find a discipline, a relationship, or a life to which we are devoted or the magic won’t happen. Through astrology, we can see the order that runs through all creation, the interconnection of everything, in Bohm’s words, reality as “a single, unbroken wholeness in flowing movement.” Though I write of astrology symbolizing psychological drives rather than “indwelling planetary gods,” our visions are complementary and the readers whose fire and water outweigh their earth will love Caroline’s evocation of magic, myth, and mystery.

Copyright © 1998 Los Angeles Community Church of Religious Science, Inc.

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