Monday, November 26, 2001
T u e s d a y ,  N o v e m b e r  2 7,  2 0 0 1
Wednesday, November 28, 2001

Marines Hit Taleban Convoy, Iraq Warned, Omar May Be No More

Excerpts from articles describing a warning to Iraq and the military actions in Afghanistan over the past couple of days:

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As U.S. Marines saw their first action and other U.S. forces suffered casualties in Afghanistan, President Bush signaled yesterday that his anti-terror campaign soon could turn to Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

The president said Saddam, defeated but not deposed during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, must allow the United Nations to inspect sites that could produce chemical or nuclear weapons.

What would happen if Saddam refused?

"He'll find out," Bush said.

In Afghanistan, more than 500 Marines secured "a forward base of operations" at an airfield near Kandahar, the Taliban's last stronghold. The apparent vanguard of a larger U.S. combat force, they called their campaign Operation Swift Freedom, and the operation swiftly flew into action:

Marine Cobra helicopter gunships joined Navy F-14 Tomcat jets in a strike on an armored column yesterday and destroyed many of the 15 tanks and other vehicles, U.S. officers said.


Afghanistan War Status, 11/27/01

The other stubborn pocket of resistance, the northern city of Kunduz, fell completely into the hands of the opposition Northern Alliance.

However, five U.S. military personnel suffered serious wounds yesterday when a U.S. bomb or rocket struck close to their position near Mazar-e-Sharif in the effort to quell a revolt by Taliban prisoners, and reports persisted that a CIA operative was dead or missing.

... U.S. warplanes scored a hit against a "leadership compound" near the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday.

"There has been an attack from the air on a leadership compound southeast of Kandahar," Rumsfeld told reporters on a flight to Washington from Tampa, Florida. "Whoever was there is gonna wish they weren't."

An official with the U.S. Central Command told CNN "two known Taliban facilities" were struck at the compound around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday (4 p.m. ET Tuesday), and that "battle damage is ongoing. We know we did strike the targets."

... Pentagon sources said the attacks were carried out by an Air Force F-16, which dropped a laser-guided bomb, and a B-1 bomber, which dropped a 2,000-pound satellite-guided bomb, or JDAM.

The sources said the strikes were ordered shortly after the United States received intelligence information that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar was inside one building.

The pilots reported "good hits" on both, the sources said. Visual imagery showed rubble where the buildings stood, according to the sources. The extent of casualties was not immediately known. ...

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Enjoyment of Music by Deaf People

Excerpts from article describing the differing ways that the brains of deaf people and hearing people process music and vibrations:

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The brain's auditory cortex helps
deaf people hear music

Scientists believe they have discovered why deaf people can enjoy listening to music and why some can perform or, like Beethoven, even compose.

Dr Dean Shibata, assistant professor of radiology at the University of Washington, has found that deaf people sense musical vibrations in the part of the brain other people use for hearing.

These musical vibrations are, he believes, likely to be "every bit as real" as actually hearing the sounds.

... "These findings suggest that the experience deaf people have when 'feeling' music is similar to the experience other people have when hearing music.

"The perception of the musical vibrations by the deaf is likely every bit as real as the equivalent sounds, since they are ultimately processed in the same part of the brain." ...

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Praying for a Miracle, a Baptist Miracle ...

... which, per the nature of the prayer, is a call to God to reveal Jesus Christ to muslims, via a clear and indisputable miracle at the end of Ramadan? Yes, the request has been issued by a southern baptist leader, with southern baptists asked to fast as well as pray on that "special" last day of Ramadan.

Excerpt from a recent article discussing that prayer request:

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The head of the Southern Baptist Convention is asking members to "pray and fast that God will miraculously reveal himself through Jesus Christ to Muslims" at the end of Ramadan, Islam's holy month. ...

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Comments: One must wonder what kind of miracle the individual issuing this request would expect. After all, when it comes to miracles, catholics own the franchise on that as they claim Jesus and Mary and Saints and God have been doing the miracle-thing throughout history.

Not too familiar with southern baptist claims of miracles, though, as their philosophy tends towards the miracle days being those that took place in the day and age the bible documents were constructed, generally speaking.

However, there are exceptions, as in the modern day, baptists claim that "god answers prayer" (implied miracles) and a particular positive event may be called a miracle when it's especially positive for their view of faith. As for life's downsides, not too many thoughts given to miracles, there, as baptists sometimes view those events as a result of human sin -or- perceive those as "god working in mysterious ways".

As for claiming christianity is supreme, that's something non-ecumenical types usually refrain from admitting to publicly. The same applies to muslims, as they usually keep their "islam is supreme" ideology behind closed doors. There are exceptions to that, though. See bin Laden and his ilk for details.


God of All Faiths?

When it comes to ecumenism, it's all a play for acceptance, with the real notions of the claimed supremacy of a particular faith promoted behind the closed doors of churches / mosques / synagogues / temples and other so-called "holy" places.

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Scientific First - The Atmosphere of an Extra-Solar Planet Explored

Excerpts from a an article regarding a milestone achievement, the analysis of the atmosphere of an extra-solar planet:

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Artist's impression of the gas-giant
planet orbiting the yellow, Sun-like star
HD 209458, 150 light-years from Earth,
the 1st extra-solar planet on which
an atmosphere has been detected

Astronomers have made the first measurement of a chemical in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting a distant star, using a technique that could help them find Earth-like bodies around other suns.

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers analysed light shining through a planet's atmosphere as it orbited a star 150 light-years away. The changes in the colour of the light proved the planet's atmosphere contained sodium.

"This is the first measurement ever of any atom in the atmosphere of an extrasolar planet," said Timothy Brown, a scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research and a co-author of the study. "This proves it is possible to do a detailed analysis of an atmosphere so far away."

... in the initial test, the researchers looked only for sodium, a chemical that shows up with two colors of light in the yellow-green portion of the spectrum. "Sodium is the spectral equivalent of skunk," Brown said. "You don't need much to detect it."

Researchers at the Space Telescope Science Institute said that new observations are planned to look for compounds such as methane, water, carbon dioxide and ozone. Discovering these compounds in a planet's atmosphere would suggest strongly that the planet had some form of life.

Brown said there was no expectation of finding evidence of life on the planet orbiting HD209458 - its thick clouds are heated to about 1093 degrees celsius. "It is undesirable real estate," said Brown. "If you visited, the change in your pocket would melt."

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