Tuesday, January 13, 2009

'Boy, 6, Misses Bus, Takes Mom's Car Instead'

10-Mile Trip to Va. School Ends With Crash but Without Injury

The word "miracle" can be overused. But when a 6-year-old boy drives a Ford Taurus for more than 10 miles, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic, slams into a utility pole and no one gets hurt, well, maybe miracle is appropriate.

That's what happened on Virginia's Northern Neck on Monday morning, when the first-grader missed his school bus and decided to drive his mom's car to elementary school so he wouldn't miss breakfast and PE, authorities said yesterday.

The boy's parents were arrested and charged with felony child endangerment.

Sgt. Thomas A. Cunningham Jr. of the Virginia State Police said the boy is not particularly tall for his age and was "possibly standing" while driving the Taurus. Wilkins said the child had an idea about how to start, propel and steer the car from playing video games.

Once he got going, the boy navigated his way along Route 200 (Dupont Highway), across a bridge spanning the Great Wicomico River and then turned west on Northumberland Highway, which is about 140 miles from Washington. He made it through two intersections, Wilkins said, and then was "doing a pretty great rate of speed" as he passed cars on the two-lane road while not wearing a seat belt.

The boy had gone 10.4 miles, the sheriff said, and was about a mile and a half from his school in Heathsville when he decided to cross the double line and pass again. But this time, he saw a tractor-trailer coming toward him in the other lane.

He quickly whipped the car back into his lane, but, unlike in video games, the car swerved out of control, skidded into an embankment and then struck a utility pole on the rear passenger side.

Briney said he unzipped the boy's coat to check for injuries, found none and zipped it back up -- and the boy turned and walked away. "I said, 'Where are you going?' " Briney said. "He said: 'My school's right over there. I'm late.'

"He was just bound and determined," Wilkins said, "he did not want to miss breakfast and PE." The sheriff said the boy told him that he had trained on video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Monster Truck Jam.

By Tom Jackman, Washington Post Staff Writer, January 7, 2009

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hooked on classics

Every Saturday afternoon, a dozen students meet at the canteen of Renmin University of China in Beijing. They do not come for food or tea as others do. Instead, they gather for a Chinese classic, called The Book of Odes. Undistracted by noise and the smell of food, they spend four hours reading, debating and sharing views on the ancient poetry, which dates back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476BC). The students are pursuing their major, Chinese Classics, a two-year labor of love.

Ji Baocheng, president of Renmin University, says the rediscovery of Chinese Classics has become "necessary to restoring China's cultural confidence".

The school set up a four-year bachelor's degree and two-year master's degree in 2005, and has enrolled around 130 undergraduates and 30 graduates to date.
"As opposed to Chinese language learning, the Chinese Classics is a combination of Chinese literature, history and philosophy as an integrated whole,"
says Chen Junchan, a senior student at the school.

When she was young, Liu Fang's parents asked her to recite Chinese classical poems. By primary school, she had already read A Dream of the Red Chamber, the most popular Chinese classic novel, almost 20 times. At secondary school, Liu started to compose her own poems.

Like Liu, many of the students in the school were nurtured on Chinese literature or traditional art.

One of the features of the course is a series of reading courses analyzing about 20 traditional classics, including Lao-Ztu, Chuang-Ztu, Mencius, The Odes of Chu, Yimutology, The History of the Han Dynasty and poetry of different dynasties, all of which were written by China's most distinguished writers, philosophers or historians. In the past, they were the required reading for Chinese scholars.

"The students must be patient and know the original readings by heart," says Deputy Dean Sun Jiazhou.

However, it is not easy to either teach or learn these works. Liang Tao, an associate professor of the history of ideology, considers it a long-term mission. "Every classic book deserves lifelong digestion and can be increasingly internalized into one's personal wisdom."

The students also come up with different methods to digest the classics. Wu Qinli, a senior, for instance, joined Yi Dan Xue Tang, a Beijing-based organization dedicated to the sharing and spreading of traditional Chinese culture. One of its modes is reading classics aloud in the morning. "Breathing fresh air and learning through reading is a wonderful experience," says Wu.

The school emphasizes self-study. For the History of China's Historiography, the class divides into groups, and each is asked to prepare a group presentation.

Chen Junchan's group was responsible for introducing three types of historical works. For a whole week, they spent hours each night reading the materials sentence by sentence and discussing every detail. "We seemed to act like the ancient scholars, the only difference was that we did not put on long gowns," she says.

The students also leave the classroom to walk. This year the school initiated a program called "learning by traveling", as there is a Chinese saying, "Knowledge comes from thousands of books and ten thousands of miles".

In June and July, the senior students visited the provinces of Shandong, Zhejiang, Hunan and Jiangxi, traditional places of culture where scholars studied or lived, like Qufu, the home of Confucius.

Students regard it as an effective combination of knowledge and practice. "I couldn't help pondering philosophical questions in places where ancient scholars had stood. It was fantastic," says 21-year-old Chen Chanzhi.

They also composed a host of poems and essays based on their reflections during the journey.

No matter what they do after graduation, the lessons of Chinese Classics have already influenced on their personal development. As Yuan Lei, a senior student, says: "What we actually harvest is sincerity, goodness and tolerance."

Source: People's Daily Online, December 04, 2007.

Anthology of Chinese Literature: Volume I: From Early Times to the Fourteenth Century (Anthology of Chinese Literature)

Legendary prophetess never afraid of death

One winter night a knight in shining armor appeared in a village. He entered a house and uttered:
The world is on the threshold of disaster. Millions of people will die. And you will stand here and prophesy. Do not be afraid! I’ll tell you what you should say.”
This phantom visited 30-year-old Vangelia Pandeva Dimitrova in January, 1941.

Just like this Vanga started making predictions.

Vanga was known in Bulgaria and abroad, she helped many people from different countries. Her house in Rupite at the joint border of Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece is believed to be a source of incredible cosmic energy. This energy must have fed the human phenomenon of Vanga.

Her father was conscripted into the Bulgarian Army during World War I, and her mother died when Vanga was quite young. The family was living a hard life after the war. Her father had an animal farm, and Vanga had to drive the milk-can.

A terrible storm occurred one day. The sky was dark and strong wind blew. Lumps of mud, leaves and branches created an enormous vortex. The storm lifted 12-year-old Vanga up and threw her in the field. She was found after a long search. Her eyes were covered with sand. Afterwards, she began to lose sight. No healing gave results. Vanga prayed to God. Soon she became blind but acquired another vision.

Vanga started making predictions when she was 16. She helped her father to find a sheep stolen from his flock. She provided a detailed description of a yard where the animal was being hidden by the thieves.

Vanga had dreamed about some distressing events even before the knight appeared. All these events unfortunately came true.

During World War II Vanga attracted more believers — a number of people visiting her, hoping to get a hint about whether their relatives are alive, or seeking for the place where they died. She advised people how to protect themselves on the battlefields, how to cure themselves with herbs, clay and beeswax, where to find lost things.

Long before world-wide fame Vanga was put in prison because she predicted Stalin’s death. But in a year set at liberty – Stalin died. Though, she entrusted such important data as leaders’ obits and global disasters only to a limited group of people. She did not want to scare anyone.

When her brother Vasil joined a partisan party, Vanga cried and begged him not to go, telling him that he would be cruelly killed at the age of 23. But Vasil did not believe her. In October of the same year he surrendered. He was terribly tortured and then shot down. It was very difficult for her to know the destiny and have no means to resist it.

Vanga was not afraid of death. She said that there is no death:
"I have told you that after death the body decomposes like anything living, but a part of the body – the soul, or something I don’t know how to call, does not decompose. But what remains from a man is his soul. It does not decompose and continues to develop to reach higher states. This is the eternity of soul.”
Vanga believed that people are born for good works. Bad works never escape punishment. She always tried to do good for people.

© 2007 «PRAVDA.Ru», translated by Ksenia Sedyakina.

Predicting the Future

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Half-Evolved Turtles

Millions of people are taught in schools and textbooks all over the world that the fossil record furnishes scientific proof of evolution. But, where are there fossils of half-evolved dinosaurs or other creatures?

Fully Formed

The fossil record contains fossils of only complete and fully-formed species. There are no fossils of partially-evolved species to indicate that a gradual process of evolution ever occurred. Even among evolutionists there are diametrically different interpretations and reconstructions of the fossils used to support human evolution from a supposed ape-like ancestry. In fact, all of the fossils, with their fancy scientific names, that have been used to support human evolution have eventually been found to be either hoaxes, non-human, or human, but not both human and non-human.

Lying Bones

Yet, many modern school textbooks continue to use these long disproved fossils as evidence for human evolution. Evolutionists once reconstructed an image of a half-ape and half-man (known as The Nebraska Man) creature from a single tooth. Later they discovered that the tooth belonged to an extinct species of pig. The "Nebraska Man" was used as a major piece of evidence in the famous Scopes Trial in support of Darwin's evolutionary theory.

Scattered Bones

At times evolutionists have used various bones gathered from many yards of each other and classify them as belonging to the same creature (even when there's no proof). They then reconstruct from these bones whatever will support their hypotheses. The fossil case "Lucy" is an excellent example of this. Scientists have only forty percent of the bones for Lucy. The bones were found yards from each other, some were found even a mile or more away. The knee joint (the main evidence used) was found two hundred feet below ground from the rest of the bones. Many of the leading scientists doubt that the bones all belong to the same species or individual. And, some of the key bones are crushed. Yet, from all of this evolutionists have reconstructed a drawing of an ape-man creature (in full color) for display in textbooks and museums. Many experts are not convinced that Lucy was an ape-man because they're not convinced all of the bones belong to the same individual or even the same species. Many leading authorities have said that "Lucy" is really an extinct ape, but not an ape-man. Those scientists who are convinced that Lucy was an ape-man are the ones that receive all the attention from the mainstream media.

No Partially-Evolved Species

Even if evolution takes millions and millions of years, we should still be able to see some stages of its process. But, we simply don't observe any partially-evolved fish, frogs, lizards, birds, dogs, cats among us. Every species of plant and animal is complete and fully-formed.

Another problem is how could partially-evolved plant and animal species survive over millions of years if their vital organs and tissues were still in the process of evolving? How, for example, were animals breathing, eating, and reproducing if their respiratory, digestive, and reproductive organs were still incomplete and evolving? How were species fighting off possibly life-threatening germs if their immune system hadn't fully evolved yet?

Scientist Dr. Walt Brown, in his fantastic book "In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood",makes this point by saying "All species appear fully developed, not partially developed. They show design. There are no examples of half-developed feathers, eyes, skin, tubes (arteries, veins, intestines, etc.), or any of thousands of other vital organs. Tubes that are not 100% complete are a liability; so are partially developed organs and some body parts. For example, if a leg of a reptile were to evolve into a wing of a bird, it would become a bad leg long before it became a good wing."

A lizard with half-evolved legs and wings can't run or fly away from its predators. How would it survive? Why would it be preserved by natural selection? Imagine such a species surviving in such a miserable state over many millions of years waiting for fully-formed wings to evolve.

No Transitional Links

Some evolutionists cite the fossil of an ancient bird known to have claws as an example of a transitional link. However, there are two species of birds living today in South America that have claws on their wings, but even evolutionists today do not claim that these birds are transitional links from a reptilian ancestry. These claws are complete, as everything else on the birds.

Recently it was thought they had discovered fossils of dinosaurs with feathers until they found out that the so-called feathers were really scales which only had the appearance of feathers. Scientists theorize the scales took upon a feather-like appreance during some brief stage of decomposition before being fossilized. Even if they were feathers, this still wouldn't be any kind of evidence to support macro-evolution unless they can show a series of fossils having part-scale/part-feather structures as evidence that the scales had really evolved into feathers.

Common Designer

Many times, evolutionists use similarities of traits shared by different forms of life as a basis for claiming a transitional link. But, the problem for evolutionists is that all the traits which they cite are complete and fully-formed. And evolutionists are not consistent. The duck-billed platypus, for example, has traits belonging to both mammals and birds but even evolutionists won't go so far as to claim that the duck-billed platypus is a transitional link between birds and mammals.

Evolutionists claim that the genetic and biological similarities between species is evidence of common ancestry. However, that is only one interpretation. Another possibility is that the comparative similarities are due to a common designer who designed similar functions for similar purposes in all of the various species and forms of life. Neither position can be scientifically proved.

Punctuated Equilibrium

In fact, it is precisely because of these problems that more and more modern evolutionists are adopting a new theory known as Punctuated Equilibrium which says that plant and animal species evolved suddenly from one kind to another and that is why we don't see evidence of partially-evolved species in the fossil record. Of course, we have to accept their word on blind faith because there is no way to prove or disprove what they are saying. These evolutionists claim that something like massive bombardment of radiation resulted in mega mutations in species which produced "instantaneous" changes from one life form to another. The nature and issue of mutations will be discussed later and the reader will see why such an argument is not viable.

Natural Selection

Although Darwin was partially correct by showing that natural selection occurs in nature, the problem is that natural selection itself is not a creative force. Natural selection is a passive process in nature. Natural selection can only "select" from biological variations that are possible and which have survival value. Natural selection itself does not produce any biological traits or variations.

The early grooves in the human embryo that appear to look like gills are really the early stages in the formation of the face, throat, and neck regions. The so-called "tailbone" is the early formation of the coccyx and spinal column which, because of the rate of growth being faster than the rest of the body at this stage, appears to look like a tail. The coccyx has already been proven to be useful in providing support for the pelvic muscles.

Abortion clinics have been known to console their patients by telling them that what they're terminating isn't really a human being yet but is only a guppie or tadpole.

Single Cell

But, didn't we all start off from a single cell in our mother's womb? Yes, but that single cell from which we developed had all of the genetic information to develop into a full human being. Other single cells, such as bacteria and amoeba, from which evolutionists say we and all other forms of life had evolved don't have the genetic information to develop into humans or other species.

Biological variations are determined by the DNA or genetic code of species. The DNA molecule is actually a molecular string of various nucleic acids which are arranged in a sequence just like the letters in a sentence. It is this sequence in DNA that tells cells in the body how to construct various tissues and organs.

Mutations Harmful

The common belief among evolutionists is that random mutations in the genetic code produced by random environmental forces such as radiation, over time, will produce entirely new genetic sequences or genes for entirely new traits which natural selection can act upon resulting in entirely new biological kinds or forms of life . Evolutionists consider mutations to be a form of natural genetic engineering.

However, the very nature of mutations precludes such a possibility. Mutations are accidental changes in the sequential structure of the genetic code caused by various random environmental forces such as radiation and toxic chemicals.

Almost all true mutations are harmful, which is what one would normally expect from accidents. Even if a good mutation occurred for every good one there will be thousands of harmful ones with the net result over time being disastrous for the species.

Most biological variations, however, occur as a result of new combinations of previously existing genes - not because of mutations, which are rare in nature.

Mutations simply produce new varieties of already existing traits. For example, mutations in the gene for human hair may change the gene so that another type of human hair develops, but the mutations won't change the gene so that feathers or wings develop.

Sometimes mutations may trigger the duplication of already existing traits (i.e. an extra finger, toe, or even an entire head, even in another area of the body!). But mutations have no ability to produce entirely new traits or characteristics.

Furthermore, only those mutations produced in the genes of reproductive cells, such as sperm in the male and ovum (or egg cell) in the female, are passed on to offspring. Mutations and any changes produced in other body cells are not transmitted. For example, if a woman were to lose a finger it would not result in her baby being born with a missing finger. Similarly, even if an ape ever learned to walk upright, it could not pass this characteristic on to its descendants. Thus, modern biology has disproved the once-held theory that acquired characteristics from the environment can be transmitted into the genetic code of offspring.

Science cannot prove we're here by creation, but neither can science prove we're here by chance or macro-evolution. No one has observed either. They are both accepted on faith. The issue is which faith, Darwinian macro-evolutionary theory or creation, has better scientific support.

For more, see . .

--an article by scientist and biochemist Dr. Duane T. Gish "A Few Reasons An Evolutionary Origin of Life Is Impossible".

--articles by scientists at Institute for Creation Research in San Diego, California.

The author, Babu G. Ranganathan, has an B.A. with academic concentrations in Bible and Biology from Bob Jones University. He has been recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis Who's Who In The East.

© 1999-2006. «PRAVDA.Ru».

Dog brings home part of mammoth

2007/10/04

A miniature dachshund out for a walk on a beach found a bone which turned out to be part of a woolly mammoth's leg.

Daisy spotted the fossilized remains sticking out of a beach near the low tide mark, reports the Daily Mirror.

Her owner Dennis Smith said:
"Daisy just stood staring at it so I went over to see what it was. She looked quite pleased with herself."
The retired turf salesman, 69, from Witham, Essex, showed the 13ins find to a geologist who identified it as part of a two million year old giant woolly mammoth.

The 8 lb section of leg is believed to have lain hidden at Dunwich, Suffolk, for centuries until uncovered by storms.

Woolly mammoths were 14ft tall and weighed up to eight tons. They died out 11,000 years ago.

The Great Unknown