Pro Factoids - Vol.5 No.3

Man-made space object No. 25,761 came crashing to Earth September 1. Its fiery death was seen from eastern Oregon to Colorado. The North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado had been tracking the object, an auxiliary motor of a Russian satellite, for several days before it fell back to Earth.

This was not sufficient evidence, however, for Peter Davenport from the National UFO Reporting Center or for talk-show host Art Bell. According to the Oregonian, September 24, Davenport and Bell are convinced that F-15 fighter planes out of Portland scrambled UFOs that night. "They are lying to us," Davenport told the Oregonian. His evidence? F-15 fighters from the 142nd Fighter Wing were flying over Oregon that night; he received reports of multiple objects in formation and changing directions; and over a five-day period including September 1 there were multiple reports of UFOs from Australia to the US.
The military denies scrambling any UFOs but says Russia launched nine satel-lites between August 18 and September 6-all with boosters that fell back to Earth. Rocket debris from US, India and Europe has also recently re-entered Earth's atmosphere.

According to the Oregonian, the rain of space debris is expected to get heavier as the solar wind picks up as the sun reaches the peak of its 11-year cycle. The winds increase the friction on space objects, bringing more of them down. Sky-watchers are advised to watch for falling objects-and for an increase in UFO reports.

The 1999 crop circle season has ended. The new feature this year was the emergence of circles with a three-dimensional appearance when viewed from the air. Since circle-watchers now routinely photograph and videotape the circles from small aircraft, this was a timely development.

Many of this year's circles can be seen at Included with each picture is a written description of the circle. For example, the Sun Serpent design, spotted on June 12, is described by Benjamin Compson as messy, with plants laying in varying directions. The serpent's head, however, was patterned and neatly created. Compson concludes the head was made first and hoaxers then added the body. "The head of the serpent felt as if it was real as I experienced a headache and an electric feeling which I didn't feel in the rest of the formation," he writes.

The April 1999 issue of Photonic Spectra, offers this gem. A design engineer for a laser manufacturer was asked to build a chiropractic laser device for "irradiating subdermal muscle injuries." The engineer, though not convinced the device would be effective, proceeded to assist the customer. First he asked whether the light should be infrared or visible. They settled on visible light, a 670 nm laser diode. The engineer built four. The customer returned a few weeks later with a problem. "One of the devices, while working wonderfully, had an IR laser in it and he wanted to be able to see the beam." The engineer inspected and removed a defective 670 nm diode, replacing it with a working 670 nm diode. Sadly, the chiropractor left satisfied but none the wiser.

Robert Park's "What's New" column at on the American Physical Society page, put it best saying, "True vertebrae fossils first appear in the Middle Ordovician some 500 million years ago. It's not clear just when the spine began to disappear among presidential wannabes, but little trace seems to remain."

Reuters news service reported August 26 that a spokesperson for Vice President Al Gore responded to a question about teaching evolution by saying, "The Vice President favors the teaching of evolution in public schools. Obviously that decision should and will be made at the local level, and localities should be free to teach creationism as well." The staff member later called Reuters back to clarify the statement saying, "The Vice President supports the right of school boards to teach creationism within the context of religious courses, and not science courses."

According to Reuters, presidential candidate George Bush had said earlier that he supports teaching creationism alongside evolution. Forbes and McCain both said the decision should be left to local authorities. Gary Bauer told NBC, "Polling data shows Americans want both ideas exposed to children. I think that makes a lot of sense." And Pat Buchanan said he didn't object to school children learning about evolution, as long as it was taught as just a theory, but he supported teaching that God created the universe. "What I do object to is to teach Darwin's theory of evolution of human beings from animals without divine intervention. I don't believe in that and I adamantly object to that," Buchanan told Reuters.
Parks reports that when candidates were asked about evolution for the Iowa straw-poll, which came shortly after the Kansas Board of Education ruling, "They all came out boldly for leaving it up to local school boards."

Bush: "I believe children should be exposed to different theories about how the world started."

Forbes: "In terms of evolution, there's a huge debate now."

Dole: "I'm a person of strong faith-we must restore discipline to our schools."

Bauer: "I personally believe my children were not descended from apes, that they were in fact created by God...There is a growing body of scientific evidence for a divine intervention that created man."

Quayle: "Absolutely. I do [believe in creation]. Sure."

Bradley is said to have supported local control, but his staff said that he wouldn't support the Kansas ruling if he lived there.

Parks also reports that a Kansas City Star poll showed 45% of Kansans "accept a literal interpretation of the Bible, which puts the age of the Earth at about 6,000 years" and 81% said dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. Most all respondents said they believe in God, but asked if they supported the Board of Education's decision to eliminate the teaching of evolution, 52% said no, 32% agreed, and 16% were unsure.

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