The Dead Sea Scrolls: Conjectures

Posted on May 20, 2010. Filed under: Learning and Retirement, Learning in Retirement, Retirement Learning, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

I am prompted to make these following comments resulting from my reading of the January 2010 issue of Smithsonian, “Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?” by Anthony Lawler. I will not treat the title question of who wrote the scrolls or where or when they originated…there is much information available on those questions and there is much contention on those questions. Rather, I shall make comment on the following questions:

• Do the scrolls have any significant linkage to the cult of the Essenes , an ascetic cult believed to have inhabited locations near where the scrolls were found ?
• How did the scrolls come to be deposited in caves on the western edge of the Dead Sea?

To the first question, I argue there is no evidence that the Essenes had a role to play in either the origin of the scrolls or of their deposit in the caves. The only nearby known ancient human habitat in the vicinity of the scroll caves is a hill-top excavation known as Qumran.

Some scholars believe the Qumran site contains the ruins of a perfume factory; others think it was the site of a wealthy estate or, even, a fort. From the Smithsonian: “Two millenia ago, there was a thriving commercial trade in the region; numerous settlements dotted the shore, while ships plied the sea. Springs and runoff from the steep hills were carefully

engineered to provide water for drinking and agriculture, and date palms and plants produced valuable resins used in perfume. And while the heavily salinated sea lacked fish, it provided salt and bitumen, the substance used in ancient times to seal boats and mortar bricks. Far from being a lonely and distant community of religious nonconformists, Qumran was a valuable piece of real estate—a day’s donkey ride to Jerusalem, a two-hour walk to Jericho and a stroll to docks and settlements along the sea.”

Thus, the argument that Qumran was an ascetic Essenes commune is subject to question. And when I consider the location of the caves and their accessibility…see below…I have additional reason to doubt a linkage of the Essenes to the caves and their scrolls.

To the second question, I argue that the scrolls were placed in the caves by agents of the Temple priesthood to safeguard them from the ravages of the Roman army.

From Wikipedia: “The first Jewish Revolt began in the year 66 initially because of Greek and Jewish religious tensions but grew with anti-taxation protests and attacks upon Roman citizens….By the summer of 70, the Romans had breached the walls of Jerusalem, ransacking and burning nearly the entire city. … The Temple was destroyed on 30 July 70.”

Thus, I conjecture that the priesthood, fearing for the preservation of the holy Torah and its antecedents (i.e., the historic scrolls dating back to 150 BCE), making every effort to safeguard these sacred objects from certain destruction, had them removed to a site far from Roman forces. It’s obvious they were placed with care… note the pottery containing one of the scrolls…with the thought of retrieval at some future time. I also find it relevant that one of the scrolls was scripted on copper and listed many gold and silver objects assumed taken from the Temple.

Had the priesthood not taken such measures, the fate of the holy scriptures might well have suffered the scene depicted here: Titus’ triumphal procession displaying the treasures (including the Menorah) of the Jewish Temple to the Roman people.

Finally, it is an historical irony that two millenia later, Torah scrolls were again removed from their sanctuaries; this time in advance of Nazi hordes. Someone once said, “The past is not dead; it’s here now and in the future”…some of the rescued scrolls now reside in temples in the United States. — Ellis Katz

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

This Is a Test of SAGE Class Selection

Posted on July 26, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |



In order to save money on mailing costs and also to conserve paper, SAGE is testing to see whether a new paperless system for choosing classes is possible. Participation is voluntary. Members who choose to remain with the old system will be sent class descriptions through US mail. If you decide to participate, please read the following directions thoroughly before you respond.

1. After you read the class choices below, go to the end of this class selection entry and click on COMMENTS.
2. When you click on COMMENTS, you will be taken to a screen titled Leave a Comment.
3. Type in your name and email address and list your class choices in the rectangular box.
4. Use the following format to list your choices:

First Choice example: 1 Hot Topics
Second Choice example: 2 American Moguls
Third Choice example: 3 Charles Darwin

5. Each class you select should be preceded by a 1,2, or 3 to indicate whether it is your first, second, or third choice.
6. When you finish listing your choices, click on the Submit box.
7. Your choices will automatically appear in the Comments for this SAGE Class Signup page.
8. After the Curriculum Committee organizes classes, you will receive an email telling you whether you are in the classes you have chosen.

Class Descriptions
Fall 2009
(September 14 – November 20, 2009)

Monday afternoon 1:15 – 3:15 p.m.

Great Inventions That Changed Our Lives (Coordinator: Joyce Linden)

Rube Goldberg came up with bizarre contraptions. But what devices are we thankful for? The automobile? The printing press? Electricity? Indoor plumbing? Computers? The telephone? What is your idea of a great invention and why? How has it impacted our lives?

Queen Victoria: Her life, Her Times, Her Empire (Coordinator: Wilma Helms)

Queen Victoria reigned for 63 years and 7 months – Britain’s longest reigning monarch. This was a period of dramatic change in the United Kingdom – both at home – and most particularly, abroad – from the Industrial Revolution to the expansion of empire. During her reign, the British Empire reached its zenith, becoming the foremost global power of the time. At her death, Britain had a worldwide empire on which the sun never set. Let’s study the reign of this complex woman and the Victorian Age she created.

Tuesday morning 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Hot Topics and Living History (CoordinatorL Len Reiter)

This class is open-ended. Presentations can be drawn from any qualified source (newspapers, magazines, radio, television and/or books) covering the current political or social scene and even historical events with relevancy in today’s world. Issues can be local, national, or international. Controversial topics are most welcome since they engender discussion. If you enjoy a lively, stimulating exchange of ideas, come and join us.

Historical Presidential Elections (Coordinator: Sandy Wolfson)

The election of 2008 has been hailed as an historical landmark. It would be interesting to study other presidential elections that held significant historical consequences. We will look at some of these elections, their impact on the country, their political implications, etc. Suggested elections might be 1788, 1800, 1812, 1828, 1860, 1876, 1896, 1912, 1932, 1948, 1960, and 2000.

Tuesday afternoon 1:15 – 3:15 p.m.

The Power of One in Addressing Social Problems (Coordinator TBA)

Much of the positive social change and progress in America has come about because one individual became passionate about a particular social issue and initiated efforts to address it. Sometimes these were issues that were socially unpopular or too politically intransigent for the government or any other organization to deal with; others simply needed a farsighted individual to recognize an unmet social need and initiate efforts to meet it. Some examples of these successful private efforts: The settlement house movement; establishment of free public libraries; Planned Parenthood; Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD); the American Red Cross; MEND (in Van Nuys); Children of the Night, etc. Presentations will discuss both the individual who started the organization and the history of the organization.

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain (Coordinator: Bob Snare)

The book begins with a brief history of the river from its discovery by Hernando de Soto in 1542. It continues with anecdotes of Twain’s training as a steamboat pilot, as the ‘cub’ of an experienced pilot. He describes, with great affection, the science of navigating the ever-changing Mississippi River. In the second half, the book describes Twain’s return, many years later, to travel on a steamboat from St. Louis to New Orleans. He describes the competition from railroads, the new, large cities, and his observations on greed, gullibility, tragedy, and bad architecture. He also tells some stories that are most likely tall tales. The book can be purchased on line for less than $10.

Wednesday morning 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Foreign Policy Challenges for the Obama Administratiaon (Coordinator Morris Cutler)

Participants will discuss the various foreign policy challenges facing the Obama administration throughout the world. By this time, we will have some idea of the decisions and actions his administration has taken so the group can voice some opinions, yea or nay, and why they feel as they do. This can include Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East, Central Asia, the European Union, Russia and others.

Internet Creations That Changed Our Culture (Coordinator: Reuben Allen)

The internet has had a profound influence on our culture by making it possible for people to connect with each other and the world in ways never before imagined. This study group will focus on particular internet website creations that changed the way people gain information and interact with each other. Possible topics for exploration include: Wikipedia, MySpace, eBay, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Napster, iTunes, Youtube, Politico, Linkedin, Twitter, Huffington Post

Wednesday afternoon 1:15 – 3:15 p.m.

Masterpieces of Literature (Coordinator: Coleman Logan)

The literature class will return to the beginning of the great masterpiece cycle with The Iliad using the translation by Fitzgerald. The book is readily available in bookstores or online.

The History, Geography and Psychology of Gambling (Coordinator TBA)

Gambling in all its various forms has impacted society. The compulsion to risk is also known cross-culturally. This is an opportunity to learn more about the forms and variety of expressions of this aspect of behavior. Examples could be the lottery, cards, Indian casinos, betting on races and other sports, and the increasing tendency of state and local governments to attempt to balance their budgets through gambling.

Thursday morning 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Shakespeare – King Lear and All’s Well that Ends Well (Coordinator: Ed Gilbert)

King Lear is one of the plays that attests to Shakespeare’s creative genius. An aging father foolishly restricts his legacy to those who most strongly (but not necessarily sincerely) avow love for him. In contrast, in the late comedy, All’s We’ll that Ends Well, a new wife is forced to resort to chicanery to get her foolish, high-born husband to give her the respect she deserves.

American Moguls (Coordinator: Ron Schaffer)

The careers, accomplishments and reputations of extraordinarily wealthy and powerful American capitalists such as Andrew Carnegie, Doris Duke, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Cornelius or William K. Vanderbilt, Bill Gates, Henry Huntington, Leland Stanford, William A. Clark, Bernard Madoff, J. P. Morgan, Henry Clay Frick, and Louis B. Mayer, including the monuments they left behind, how they promoted their images; their contributions to the arts and to science and technology, to techniques of management; their family lives, their political activities, their adversaries, their ideologies, and their impact on the USA.

Thursday afternoon 1:15 – 3:15 p.m.

Charles Darwin and How He Changed the World (Coordinator TBA)

This year is the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth. In this class we will study his life, his voyage on the Beagle, his method of research, how he went about developing his theory of evolutionary biology and the writing of Origin of the Species. We will explore the history of life on earth before Darwin and look at the impact of Darwinism on various religious traditions, public education, the interaction of race and human diversity and modern biology. Also, we shall consider contemporary ideas such as E. O. Wilson’s “sociobiology” (the integration of the social and biological sciences treating many aspects of human psychology and culture as products of naturally selected genes).

Really Great Essays (Coordinator: Norma Sacks)

This fall, the book that will be used is Booknotes: On American Character: People, Politics, and Conflict in American History. Editor: Brian Lamb. ISBN 139781586483425. Available online for about $15.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 19 so far )

GOING GREEN: It’s Like Joining a Religious Sect

Posted on July 10, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

I read once that an avid environmentalist behaves very much as someone who is extremely religious. Both are dedicated to certain tenets. Those of us who are this way, see Planet Earth with as much awe, devotion, love, and worry as one would have about any of the concepts of God found among people’s religions. Yes, among those of us who crank and care may be some that are like the early Christians who hid in caves to worship. You dear reader, may be one of these.

Others of us are annoying by trying to convert. You can usually discern a fellow Gaia devotee when they are hot on recycling, don’t order dead animals to eat in a restaurant, stop the waiter from filling a water glass if they know they won’t need anymore, and generally stick to commandments like these:

    1. Understand that nothing ever leaves Earth. That means when walking in the morning, it is really hard not to pick up a dirty piece of plastic bag in the gutter and hope to find a bin to leave it in. It’s like saying a prayer—something I did as a child. Picking up straws and bottle caps on the beach instead of shells, I offer another prayer, full of hope and with little certainty. Under this commandment: Compost. If you do laundry using any bleach or Tide soap, feel guilty. Buying expensive biodegradable soap is like making a contribution to a church.

    2. Don’t waste. Shop from your closet, a thrift shop, or some store that claims to have organic fabrics. If you are lucky enough to have a sunny backyard, hang laundry to dry. Non-believers really think you are crazy about this one. Telling them how good the sun-dried sheets smell is useless.

    3. Eat plants. Some friends never really want to go out to dinner with you, and do a lot of fussing about what you will be able to eat, especially if you have been rude enough to say the “dead animal” thing.

    4. Homeowners and businesses. Plant trees and drought-resistant plants. Some Planet Earth people worship privately and believe that rocks are Earth’s oldest children and trees are her strongest angels. Non-believers will not give up the beauty of green carpets of lawns draining insecticides into the water table. No, this will not change until there are laws that new homes and buildings are required to replace them with attractive, drought-resistant, native landscaping. We members use our money for tree trimming, not watering lawns. We pray for new kinds of landscaping companies and nurseries. We love the Department of Water and Power for supporting us.

    5. We have hard rules about animals. Sometimes we must hide our beliefs that coyotes and mountain lions have first rights on property, and that domestic animals are an indulgence by comparison. No one can pet a bobcat, and mountain bikers may be in trouble if they stop to fix a blown tire when a nearby cougar is roaming for a deer. But like the hated house spider, wild animals are Gaia’s true children. Cats, bless them, need to stay in houses, not hunt for songbirds, or get a hungry coyote in trouble with the neighborhood by getting eaten.

Maybe people are not Planet Earth’s favorite living thing. Maybe converting the whole world to care about biodiversity—seeing all living creatures as having equal rights—could bring about a different a kind of Armageddon: The end of Earth as it is now, replaced with an unpoisoned Earth, a thriving ocean life, and supportable populations.

I believe my sect should apply for recognition as a religion and get the tax breaks that other religions get. Of course, if we could get this status, we would also draw the usual derision that religious groups often get. And could I be called a hypocrite because I’ve collected a lot of really great logs, and I still want to have a fire in the fireplace when it rains? Maybe the rain would wash the particulates into the Hyperion sewage plant? Okay. I won’t burn those logs. They can be ground up by the Department of Sanitation along with the yard clippings for biomass. Because I do want some converts.

–Bette Simons

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Tagged for the Wrong Reasons

Posted on June 9, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

When I opened by email inbox one morning, I found a message from one of my friends. It encouraged me to join Tagged so that I could see pictures he had posted. I had heard of MySpace and Facebook as well as other social networking websites, but I was quite reluctant to join those and go searching for friends on the internet.
Because I had never heard of Tagged, I decided to do a bit of investigating on the internet to gather information about this web phenomenon. A Google search led me first to Wikipedia where I learned that in June 2009 TechCrunch ranked Tagged as the sixth most valuable social networking website in the world with a valuation of $920,000,000. Social Networking Watch ranked Tagged.com 4th, 9th, and 19th by Hitwise, Nielsen, and Comscore in December 2008.

With impressive results like those, why would I question participating in this social networking process? One statement in the Wikipedia article raised considerable doubt.

“Tagged provides a feature whereby users are invited to provide it with their email username and password, and it will then check their email address books for contacts and repeatedly send email invites to people who are not yet on Tagged, claiming that they have been ‘added as a friend’ or had photos of them tagged. This process has met some criticism in the technology press and from some users. The resemblance to a ‘virus’ has been often mentioned, including by watchdog sites like snopes.com.”

When I saw the statement referring to snopes.com, I knew I had to see what they had to say about Tagged. I had become very familiar with snopes.com when I coordinated a SAGE study group Hoaxes and Urban Legends a few years ago.
Snopes.com investigated the “Claim: E-mailed invitations from friends to join Tagged.com are a form of scam or virus.”

Snopes.com determined, “While these messages may not technically fall completely within either the ‘virus’ or ‘scam’ classifications (because they don’t furtively install malicious software on PC’s, nor is there intent to disable computers or obtain money through fraud behind them), the method by which they’re spread and their deceptiveness include elements of both classes.”

Tagged current terms of service include the following statement:

As I read those terms of service, my red flag went up. By joining this social networking site, I would open myself up to tons of spam and my address book would be used to spam all the people I know. I was truly amazed that Tagged could achieve such enormous popularity under these conditions.

After receiving three emails that photos were awaiting me from my friend if I signed up for Tagged, I drafted an email to him.

Dear Phil,

Some social networking websites may not be what you think they are. We have been receiving requests to see photos from you on Tagged or that you have added us a friend and asking us to sign up for Tagged. Be careful about giving your email address and password to anyone because they will use this information to contact people in your address book and persuade them to sign up for Tagged.

Check these two websites for more information:


Health and Joy,

Zel and Reuben Allen
Vegetarians in Paradise

By this time I had received another email from someone who had added me as a friend on Tagged. She received the same email.

My friend called me the next day and apologized profusely. He didn’t realize that he would be exposing his email list to Tagged spamming. He contacted Tagged and asked to be removed. He may have removed himself from Tagged, but I keep wondering if the people in his address book will continue receiving spam messages from Tagged.

Social Network Participants, Beware!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Ballet for Los Angeles

Posted on May 22, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

If you are one of the many people who have long wished that Los Angeles had a good resident ballet company, I would urge you to support the new Los Angeles Ballet. They were formed in 2007 and are a very strong young company. Jack and I attended all of their first season performances and their Director’s Choice program this season.

The corps de ballet is quite remarkable for a second season company, better than the last local ballet company, whose name I forget. One of the artistic directors, Colleen Neary, studied with Balanchine and is authorized to do Balanchine choreography, which is represented in each year’s repertory. The company also has done some excellent original work, including new works in previous programs.
They are performing August Bournonville’s romantic 1836 ballet La Sylphide this Saturday and Sunday (May 23 and 24) at the Freud Playhouse, UCLA and the following Saturday, May 30th, at the Alex in Glendale. The principal roles are danced by Eddie Tovar and Corina Gill, who are extremely accomplished dancers. Tickets start at $24.

Here is a chance to encourage a very strong young company and help assure Los Angeles of truly excellent ballet for years to come.
–Julia Stesney

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )

Burn Him at the Stake?

Posted on May 10, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

A few years ago I had the opportunity to read and review a book that has had a profound influence on me. Since I am the author of the review and publisher of the magazine it appeared in, I have the distinct privilege of approving its publication in this blog.


The China Study:
the Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition
Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications
For Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health

By T. Colin Campbell with Thomas M. Campbell II
Benbella Books, 2006
$16.95 Paperback

If T. Colin Campbell were living 500 years ago, he might have been burned at the stake. He would have been denounced as a heretic who dared challenge the prevailing information. Although this is the 21st Century, there are still individuals and groups who relish the thought of burning him at the stake for his views on proper human nutrition.

In the book The China Study Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, and his son Thomas M. Campbell II present information that is a definite challenge to the dairy and beef industries by revealing how dangerous their products are to human health.

What credentials does Campbell possess that give him the credibility to attack these industries that are so prominent in our society? First, he is a professor who has spent 40 years in nutrition research. Second, he was the leader of the China Study, labeled by the New York Times as “the Grand Prix of Human Epidemiology.” The study was a combined effort of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine.

The study involved 65 counties in 24 different provinces of China. Most of the counties were in rural areas where people lived in the same area all their lives and ate food produced locally. Those living in rural communities and consuming mostly plant protein had fewer chronic diseases that those who lived in communities where more animal protein is available.

In rural China 9 to 10% of total calories comes from protein, yet only 10% of that amount is derived from animal foods. In contrast the American diet features 15 to 16% of calories from protein with 80% of that from animal foods. The rural Chinese were less likely to die from the diseases of affluence (cancer, diabetes, and heart disease) than diseases of poverty (pneumonia, parasitic disease, tuberculosis, diseases associated with pregnancy, and others). Campbell says that diseases of affluence might be more appropriately named “diseases of nutritional extravagance” because they are tied into eating habits.

The dairy industry would definitely like to silence Campbell who has announced results from an earlier study he conducted in the Philippines that showed children consuming high protein diets were most likely to get liver cancer. Included in this high protein diet were milk products.

In previous experiments with rats Campbell was able to show that with a diet of 20% casein (a milk protein) rats developed carcinogenic tumors. Switching the rats to a plant-based diet resulted in a decrease in tumor growth. Switching back to the casein diet brought renewed tumor growth. He was able to conclude that animal-based foods increased tumors while plant-based foods decreased the development of tumors.
Campbell further indicts dairy products showing they are linked to Type 1 diabetes, and breast, prostate and colorectal cancers. Countries with the lowest consumption of dairy products have lower incidences of these diseases.

The data gleaned from these studies led him to conclude that many of the chronic diseases found in society result from human consumption of animal protein. “There is enough evidence now that doctors should be discussing the option of pursuing dietary change as a potential path to cancer prevention and treatment,” he writes. “There is enough evidence now that local breast cancer alliances, and prostate cancer institutions, should be discussing the possibility of providing information to Americans everywhere on how a whole foods, plant-based diet may be an incredibly effective anti-cancer medicine.”

The book is divided into four major sections: The China Study, Diseases of Affluence, The Good Nutrition Guide, and Why Haven’t You Heard This Before.

The Good Nutrition Guide emphasizes his Eight Principles of Food and Health:
• Nutrition represents the combined activities of countless food substances. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
• Vitamin supplements are not a panacea for good health.
• There are no nutrients in animal-based foods that are not better provided by plants.
• Genes do not determine diseases on their own. Genes function only by being activated, or expressed, and nutrition plays a critical role in determining which genes, good and bad, are expressed.
• Nutrition can substantially control the adverse effects of noxious chemicals.
• The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages (before diagnosis) can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages (after diagnosis).
• Nutrition that is truly beneficial for one chronic disease will support health across the board.
• Good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence. All parts are interconnected.

The Good Nutrition Guide concludes with a chapter called How to Eat that offers advice on how to transition to a healthy plant-based diet. Featured here is a chart labeled “Eat All You Want (While Getting Lots of Variety) of Any Whole, Unrefined Plant-Based Food.” The chart lists specific fruits, vegetables, legumes, mushrooms, nuts, and whole grains. It advises minimizing refined carbohydrates, added vegetable oil, and fish and avoiding meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs.

The last section of the book, “Why Haven’t You Heard This Before?” shows how government, science, medicine, corporations, and the media have concentrated on profits instead of health. Together they have created confusing information about nutrition and have stifled and attempted to destroy viewpoints that challenge the status quo.

Campbell relates how he personally was almost expelled from a committee of scientists because he dared to suggest a link between diet and cancer. In discussing the personal consequences for him, he writes “In the world of nutrition and health, scientists are not free to pursue their research wherever it leads. Coming to the ‘wrong conclusions,’ even through first-rate science, can damage your career.”

The authors show how the food industry claims nutritional benefits for their products and works diligently to protect their products from being labeled unhealthy or causing disease. By hiring research scientists as experts, the industry uses science to increase the demand for its products. These same scientists may organize workshops, become leaders of scientific groups, choose committee members and thus be in a prominent position to develop public policy and publicity. Campbell refers to this “conflict of interest” that allows industries “to exercise their influence through the side door of academia.”

Like Marion Nestle in her book Food Politics, Campbell shows how government has failed to promote health by avoiding statements that certain foods are damaging to health. “But instead of doing this the government is saying that animal products, dairy and meat, refined sugar and fat in your diet are good for you!” Not only is the government failing the people in its reports and pronouncements, it is also failing to promote research in nutrition.

“Big Medicine” is another target for criticism. The medical industry is aware of the research that suggests that chronic diseases of affluence are the result of poor nutrition and yet pays little or no attention to nutrition in the treatment. Campbell cites the work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. John McDougall who both have had successful results in treating patients through nutrition. Yet both men have experienced rejection from the medical establishment that is focused on surgery and drugs instead of nutrition as standard treatment for chronic diseases.
Instead of burning Campbell at the stake Americans should place T. Colin Campbell on a pedestal and honor him for his 40 years of research and discovery. It’s time for the nation to begin to heed his warnings about animal protein` and work to change a system that has led to the current health crisis. Campbell, a man of great integrity and scholarship, presents a message that is supported by sound research. The book cites over 750 references, many from primary sources.

Some have already attempted and will continue to try to prevent the message of this book from reaching a wide audience. And yet our society needs people like Campbell who step forward to say we need to change the system in order to safeguard the health of this nation.

The China Study is a book that should be in every home. Instead of buying one copy, purchase another to give to a friend you care about. Better yet, buy a few more to make certain the message reaches a wider audience.
–Reuben Allen

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )

Photograph 51

Posted on April 16, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

There is a very significant and compelling play currently in performance at the Fountain Theatre (located in Los Angeles on Fountain Ave just east of Normandie Ave.:

Photograph 51 — the story about Dr. Rosalind Franklin (PHD – Biochemistry)
Based on a true story and events that ultimately led to the uncovering of the “secret of life,” or in scientific jargon: the molecular structure of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and the form of the Double Helix. This ultimately provided the key factor in the complete analysis of the human genome 50 years later by J. Craig Venter and the NIH.

But the play is about the British biochemist, Rosalind Franklin, whose use of ultra high speed X-ray photography provided the image of DNA that proved the structure of the Double Helix. Unfortunately, being a woman (and a Jew!) in man’s realm at Kings College at Cambridge, she was forced to work with Maurice Wilkins — a misogynous, ego-driven colleague, who was disdainful and jealous of Franklin, who secretly passed on the photograph to Crick and Watson.
Now the most fascinating part is the British and the American scientists (Crick and Watson) were awarded the Nobel Prize (also shared by Wilkins) for this achievement without a mention of the contribution of Rosalind Franklin.

Notwithstanding my education in Biochemistry (B.S.-USC 1951), which certainly enhanced my enjoyment of the play, one doesn’t need to really understand the technology or bioscience. This script and the actors were superb, and the drama invoked made this an award-winning play. In fact, it was the recipient of the STAGE Prize (plays based on science and technology).

The play runs through mid-May. Call the box office (323) 663-1098 for tickets — I guarantee that you will enjoy every minute! –Art Turk

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )


Posted on March 24, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

I first heard of Twitter when I read the account of President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress. The article read that during the President’s address, some members of Congress were twittering. I thought to myself that why were members of Congress making birdcalls and why were they so impolite. I found out later that twittering had nothing to do with birds, but I still believed that the twittering was impolite.
Imagine this scenario. We have discovered that life such as ours exists in another galaxy. We here on earth are eager to communicate with them. We twitter our message to them and we wait eagerly for their response. Time passes and no response. Finally a message comes through as follows: ” We here on the planet Dirt were not able to decipher your message until we learned from our Museum of Antiquity that your message was written in an ancient language used by our ancestors. We trust that over the centuries you would have advanced enough to be able to read and understand our message.”
–Al Ross

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )


Posted on March 17, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Dear Susi & Reuben,

Much as I respect your work and attempts to keep up with technology, (and you have certainly helped me in the past) who has time to blog (gossip, opinions, etc.)  How can this help us?  I watch my kids and grandkids get so caught up in this web stuff and waste so much time.  I don’t want to be part of it.

We have our wonderful newsletter and we see one another week by week and we have our luncheons with our great speakers and our special projects and we can then visit with one another.   I know I am probably in a minority–but I have strong objections to our generation trying to keep up with this part of technology that, in my opinion, has very little benefit.   Look what it’s doing to our newspapers!!!

Thanks for taking the time to read this.   If there are others that feel this way, I hope you’ll consider us.   –Joan Goodstein

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...