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September 29 2004

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NO WORD ON MOVING SIDEWALKS

Alas, our childhood fantasies of flying cars are still barely more real than a scientist's wet dream. Researchers at NASA, Boeing, and other smaller companies who are trying to develop an airplane/car hybrid say that an affordable working flying car is still a few decades away. "When you try to combine them you get the worst of both worlds: a very heavy, slow, expensive vehicle that's hard to use," said NASA scientist Mark Moore. For now, NASA has much smaller goals: within five years, they hope to create a small airplane which costs less than $100,000 and is as easy to operate as a car; within 10 years, they hope to have perfected a small plane which can also drive short distances on side roads after landing at an airport; in 15 years, their goal is a vehicle which can carry four passengers and make vertical takeoffs. After these initial prototypes, they project that it will still take many years before these vehicles are actually on the market. Predictions are that the first skycars will cost around $1 million and require a pilot's license to fly, but the eventual dream is that flying cars will cost about as much as a luxury vehicle and will be quiet, easy to fly, and easy to maintain. "It will take about 25 years to get to anything remotely "Jetsons-like," said Moore. (AP)

TOURIST TRAP BEGINS BEFORE YOU EVEN LEAVE HOME

Where P.T. Barnum might say, "there's a sucker born every minute," I say, "if you can find someone stupid enough to give you money for your hair-brained scheme you deserve it." Seems a guy out in Minneapolis is calling himself the world's first "astral travel agent" and charging folks $60 an hour for advice on the ideal vacation spot for them. Jack Dunamis says that he helps select the best holiday destination for his clients by reading their energy fields and then mentally projecting himself to the location where they want to go in order to stake it out for them before they leave home. Dunamis says his astral travels can determine which vacation spots will be most conducive for fun, adventure, and romance. He also says that his consultation will be able to reveal if the person has had any negative past life experiences at the proposed destination, and will help them avoid "negative reincarnation experiences" while on holiday. (Wireless Flash)

COME OUT OF THAT CLOSET, JIMMY

Jimmy Swaggart was forced to apologize last week for telling his congregation that he would kill any gay man who looked at him the wrong way. During a broadcast of his Jimmy Swaggart Ministries telecast, the fundamentalist preacher was telling his congregation that he had never seen a man he was romantically attracted to, and drove home the point by saying "If one ever looks at me like that, I'm going to kill him and tell God he died." Not wanting to admit that he's simply using macho posturing to hide his homoerotic urges, Jimmy rationalized his verbal attack by saying "it's a humorous statement that doesn't mean anything." But we know better ... (AP)

BUT WHO'S MORE LIKELY TO LIE ON A SURVEY?

For some unexplained reason, an advertising agency has polled Americans to discover a bunch of meaningless differences between Republicans and Democrats. According to their study, Democrats enjoy their sex lives more than Republicans (33 to 24 percent), Democrats steal more towels from hotels (35 to 26 percent), and Democrats are more likely to cheat on their partners (38 to 19 percent). (ncbuy.com)

INSTANT RAINFOREST

Scientists are baffled by a manmade rainforest that has grown in only 150 years on a small island in the Atlantic Ocean. In the early 1800s, Ascension Island was a barren volcanic wasteland with only 20 plant species and almost no trees. In 1843, the British Royal Navy decided to revitalize the island and planted thousands of trees using a random collection of seedlings from Argentina, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Today, the forest is a thriving tropical forest with its own highly complex, interactive ecosystem. According to conventional evolutionary theory, such a forest should take at least 1,000 years to evolve, and maybe shouldn't have evolved at all considering the random nature of its beginnings. (Independent UK) :

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