Archive for March, 2006

some cool cartoons

March 31, 2006

3.jpg12.jpg14.jpg20.jpg23.jpg34.jpg31.jpg24.jpg its funny..

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What is the solution for the present situation in Nepal?

March 31, 2006

Nepal's situation is deteroriating day by day. Don't you think it should change?

Harvard’s Paper on Israel Drew From Neo-Nazi Sites

March 30, 2006

BY MEGHAN CLYNE – Staff Reporter of the Sun
March 24, 2006
WASHINGTON – A prominent Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, is alleging that the authors of a Harvard Kennedy School paper about the "Israel lobby," one of which is the Kennedy School's academic dean, culled sections of the paper from neo-Nazi and other anti-Israel hate Web sites.

"What we're discovering first of all is that the quotes that they use are not only wrenched out of context, but they are the common quotes that appear on hate sites," Mr. Dershowitz, who is identified in the paper as part of the "lobby," told The New York Sun yesterday.

"The wrenching out of context is done by the hate sites,and then [the authors] cite them to the original sources, in order to disguise the fact that they've gotten them from hate sites."

The paper, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," was written by the Kennedy School's Stephen Walt and a political science professor and the codirector of the Program on International Security Policy at the University of Chicago, John Mearsheimer, and published by the Kennedy School.

In the 83-page "working paper," the professors suggest that a vast network of journalists, think tanks, lobbyists, and largely Jewish officials have seized the foreign policy debate and manipulated America to invade Iraq.

The paper has drawn sharp criticism from prominent Harvard faculty, Harvard students, and a member of Congress, with many critics alleging that the document is riddled with factual inaccuracies and suffers from bias and faulty research.

According to Mr. Dershowitz, one of the paper's most prominent critics, Messrs. Mearsheimer and Walt not only demonstrated "shallowness" in their analysis,but also based that analysis on quotes and viewpoints widely available on the Web sites of hate groups.

The paper, the law professor said, was "simply a compilation of hateful paragraphs lifted from other sources and given academic imprimatur." Mr. Dershowitz said that he and his research assistants were currently working on a comparative chart showing the parallelism between parts of the Walt-Mearsheimer paper and quotes available on neo-Nazi Web sites.

While Mr. Dershowitz stressed that the comparison project was a "work in progress," one particularly noticeable example of the authors' alleged culling from hate sites was found in the Walt-Mearsheimer paper's use of a quote from a former executive editor of the New York Times, Max Frankel.

Under the section "Manipulating the Media," on pages 19 and 20 of the paper, Messrs. Walt and Mearsheimer write: "In his memoirs, for example, former Times executive editor Max Frankel acknowledged the impact his own pro-Israel attitude had on his editorial choices. In his words: 'I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert.' He goes on: 'Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognized, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective.'" The footnote cites Mr. Frankel's 560-page book, "The Times of My Life and My Life with the Times," published in 1999.

Yet the Frankel quote used by Messrs. Mearsheimer and Walt, Mr. Dershowitz said, is nearly identical to the quote used by a neo-Nazi Web site in its own take on Jewish press influence, "Jewish Influence in the Mass Media." The document, posted on Holywar.org, quotes more extensively from the same section in Mr. Frankel's memoir.

"Here's Max Frankel [for years the Executive Editor of the New York Times] and his thoughts about Israel in his work," the document proclaims. "'I was much more deeply devoted to Israel than I dared to assert. … Fortified by my knowledge of Israel and my friendships there, I myself wrote most of our Middle East commentaries. As more Arab than Jewish readers recognized, I wrote them from a pro-Israel perspective….'" Holywar.org also cites Mr. Frankel's memoir.

"He quotes Max Frankel, as if he read the whole 500 pages of Max Frankel?" Mr. Dershowitz said. "I promise you they did not read Max Frankel's whole book," the law professor said of the paper's authors. "How do I know that? We found the same exact quote on various hate sites."According to Mr. Dershowitz, other parts of the Walt-Mearsheimer paper bear striking similarities to postings on other anti-Jewish Web sites, including Nukeisrael.org, which purports to be the Web site of the "National Socialist Movement Northwest."

"They didn't do direct research, they didn't do primary research," Mr. Dershowitz said of the paper's authors. "They're just taking ideas that already existed out there in hate sites – in the work of Chomsky, in the work of Buchanan, and in the work of David Duke – and they're claiming it as their scholarship."

Phone and e-mail requests from the Sun for comment about the ongoing "lobby" paper situation to Messrs.Walt and Mearsheimer since Tuesday have not been returned.

Meanwhile, concern over the paper is continuing to mount at the Kennedy School, where a professor told the Sun yesterday that the faculty are buzzing with questions about whether a Harvard investigation will be launched into the paper's "poor scholarship," "in the same way poor scholarly work and plagiarism have generated past investigations and, on occasion, the stripping of tenure."

The professor also told the Sun that one of the Kennedy School's most prominent faculty members, David Gergen, had been contacting prominent Jewish donors to allay concerns about the furor generated by the Walt-Mearsheimer paper.

Last night Mr. Gergen told the Sun that he had "been in conversations, at my own initiative, with a number of people on the outside, including some of our benefactors."

"Because obviously there are some people out there who are concerned," Mr. Gergen continued. "People read the newspapers, they watch the blogs, and they call and say 'What's going on at the Kennedy School? What's going on at Harvard,'" he added.

Still, the professor said he had "been very impressed with how supportive and understanding people are, about the situation, and about recognizing the importance of academic freedom even as they disagree with the contents of the article."

Lost Buddha Boy Reappears, Then Vanishes Again

March 30, 2006

By THOMAS BELL – The Daily Telegraph
March 21, 2006

KATHMANDU, Nepal – The mystery surrounding the disappearance of Nepal's 15-year-old "Buddha Boy" has deepened, after he briefly appeared to supporters then vanished again.

Footage apparently shot on Sunday shows the would-be Buddha, Ram Bomjon, meeting members of the committee which manages his hugely popular, and profitable, pilgrimage site.

They are the first pictures to show him away from the pipal tree where he meditated, supposedly without food or water, for 10 months. The phenomenon resembled an episode in the life of the original Buddha who was born in Nepal around 543 B.C.E.

Ram is shown with unkempt hair but looking healthy. The committee's president, Bed Bahadur Lama, said Ram left his meditation place 10 days ago because of the noise made by pilgrims. The circumstances in which seven committee members shot the video two miles from where he meditated were not clear.

The organizing committee is the principal source for many of the claims. During Ram's 10-month vigil no visitor has seen him eat or drink, but the attraction was closed to noncommittee members at night.

The committee has prevented a medical team from conducting an examination of the teenager.

The chief official in the district, Santaraj Subedi, said yesterday that the bank account, which he had insisted the committee open, had been frozen after Ram's disappearance. It contained more than $875,000. Mr. Subedi is urgently trying to track down Ram.

cute ones

March 30, 2006

cutepuppies.jpgcuteKitten5.jpg

Nepal’s Maoist leader Prachanda spoke out with BBC

March 30, 2006

On Monday, Nepal's Maoist movement marks its 10th year of insurgency in the Himalayan kingdom.

The Maoist rebel leader Prachanda

Nepal's Maoist rebel leader Prachanda spoke exclusively to the BBC

In a rare move, the rebel leader, Prachanda, spoke out about the conflict that has claimed some 13,000 lives – and the possible exile or execution of Nepal's King Gyanendra.

It was difficult to believe that the man sitting modestly in the corner was Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known under his nom-de-guerre of Prachanda ("The Fierce One").

This is a man whose face, until a few weeks ago, was known only through a single photograph, taken in rural Nepal in 2001.

In that photo his forehead is creased in a frown of concentration.

The 52-year-old man I met, with his speckled beard, was mild-mannered, shy, joking, laughing nervously – more humorous than intimidating and without the overt charisma of some revolutionary leaders.

He looked more like a popular uncle than a communist who has been underground since 1981 and waging war for a decade.

His number two, Baburam Bhattarai, with a cloth cap and eagle eyes, and flanking Prachanda, looked much more revolutionary.

But once seated in front of the camera, Prachanda grew more intense, periodically thrusting forward his tensely hunched shoulders as he spoke.

It was as if the words were inside him, waiting to be forcefully expelled.

Towards violence or peace?

This former agriculture student, born in the idyllic Annapurna region of Nepal, is the undisputed leader of Nepal's Maoists, Supreme Commander of their army.

Despite their apparent closeness during the interview, a year ago he expelled Dr Bhattarai and his wife from the party for accusing Prachanda of being power-hungry. It took months for him to be reinstated.

Nepali Maoist rebels

The rebels are unlikely to abandon their violent practices

His war has taken some 13,000 lives.

More people have in fact been killed by the government side, but the Maoists have ruthlessly pinpointed and executed people.

Much of the Maoists' behaviour nowadays is pragmatic rather than ideological and suggests they may be preparing to move towards peace.

An agreement they recently signed with mainstream parties opposed to King Gyanendra reflects this, and so did many of Prachanda's remarks.

For instance, his statements that the Maoists now accept multi-party democracy; that they are unlikely to try to take Kathmandu by force; that a future government involving them could work with America, and that if there can be elections to a constituent assembly, the Maoists are ready to "call off the war".

Most notably of all, that if that assembly so decided, Nepal could "theoretically" remain a monarchy.

Democracy versus monarchy

But at other times, pent-up rage seemed to come to the fore – most notably when Prachanda said the king might face a future of exile or even trial at what he called a People's Court, leading to possible execution.

Many Nepalis, whatever their political view of the monarch, regard him as an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.

King Gyanendra

Prachanda warns King Gyanendra could face exile or execution

Nepal has in any case abolished capital punishment.

Before the king seized political power a year ago, the Maoists used to say they would only talk to the palace, as the centre of real power.

Now, by contrast, Prachanda gives the impression that his party has totally given up on the idea of reconciling with the monarch, at the same time talking with ever-growing warmth of the opposition parties – despite the Maoists killing many of their cadres in recent years.

He also said that any permanent unilateral ceasefire, building on their recently expired temporary one, would under present conditions amount to surrender.

Prachanda made it clear, too, that his party is a long way from abandoning its violent practices.

Yes, he was "saddened" by the war's death toll and by what he called the "accidental" death of children through bombs planted by the Maoists.

Yes, the Maoists were "investigating" the shooting of a municipal election candidate and the killing of a taxi driver during a Maoist general shutdown.

But another election candidate had been an "informer", he insisted, liable to be tried by a Maoist court and possibly "executed".

The same applied to villagers whom the Maoists deemed to be helping the army.

The interview gave some interesting insights into the Maoists' current thinking.

Some regional analysts have speculated on growing ties between Nepal's Maoists and India's ones, the "Naxalites" fighting for communism in impoverished states such as Andhra Pradesh.

Prachanda said that although there were ideological ties, his party did not believe in exporting revolution, despite its affiliation with the Revolutionary International Movement – an umbrella body dedicated to spreading communism.

A poor village woman with a gun feels her life as a woman has been elevated

Prachanda, Nepali rebel leader

"Ideologically we want to move the global revolution forward but in practical terms we do not believe one country's army should go to another country and fight for it."

And Prachanda's vision of a future Nepal is one he says is already being built, eroding class, caste and gender barriers.

It is also puritanical, outlawing alcohol, gambling, and "vulgar literature" from India and the US.

And militarised: "A poor village woman with a gun feels her life as a woman has been elevated".

A family affair

Prachanda, like Baburam Bhattarai, is a revolutionary to the core. At one point he said to Dr Bhattarai that he wished we would ask some ideological questions.

Prachanda told us his son, Prakash Dahal, and three daughters were all in the movement, as was his wife, Sarita, whom he had met through the party.

Dr Bhattarai told us that his wife, Hisila Yami, news of whom remains sketchy, has, like him, been rehabilitated and is in an advisory role to the Central Committee. But they would not reveal much more.

Periodically, Nepali journalists go and interview Prachanda's widowed 77-year-old father, Muktiram Dahal, who lives near the famous Chitwan national park.

Mr Dahal, who has not met Prachanda for 11 years, urges him to lay down his arms.

His son does not yet seem ready for that, and his rhetoric is still fiery.

But maybe he is inching closer to it.

The little Buddha of Bara

March 30, 2006

Braving the cold wave in the Terai that has already claimed dozens this winter, Ram Bahadur Bomjon, known as the Buddha Boy, is continuing his meditation wearing just a thin cloth. Eight months have already passed since he began his "deep meditation" but the confusion whether he has really not eaten or drunk anything during this period is still unresolved. It has been claimed that the 16-yr-old has not drunk even a single drop of water since he began his meditation on May 17, last year.

'The biting cold has had no effect whatsoever on him so far," says priest Prem Lama, who is also Bomjon's maternal uncle and the only person having close access to Bomjon, "He, however, looks thinner." "He had short hair and a muscular physique when he sat under the Banyan tree," says Resham KC, who has been capturing the meditating "Buddha Boy" in his movie camera for the last eight months, "(Now) his hair has grown down to the tip of his nose and his body has thinned." "Had it not been for a godly power, this biting cold would have already killed the boy," says 72-yr-old Babulal Syangtan who arrived at the meditation site for the seventh time with rations and other daily necessities enough for 100 days. People from different walks of life started pouring into the meditation site since last October after Bomjon got publicity as the re-incarnation of the Buddha. Millions have visited the site so far. The locals have also formed a committe- the "Om Namobuddha Tapoban Protection Conservation Committee"- headed by one Bed Bahadur Thing for the management of the meditation site in the Bara jungle. Thing says the committee had to be formed for the protection of the meditating boy as he himself said before beginning his mediation that he needed to meditate for six years to reach Buddhahood. "We had to come forward to provide protection as some miscreants tried to disturb him by making noises and poking him with a stick," explains Thing. A local conundrum The meditating boy became a headache for the local administration after tens of thousands of people started thronging the meditation site. Security sources say a large portion of the money and other offerings made at the meditation site and the amount collected from selling Bomjon's pictures, CDs and biography goes to the Maoists. "We have received information that 75 percent of this income reaches Maoist hands," claimed a security official on the condition of anonymity, "This is the main reason why the general public is discouraged from visiting the meditation site." However, Thing, who claims that the committee has not given a single penny to the Maoists, says both the security forces and the Maoists have been asked to accept the meditation area as a zone of peace. The district administration has not accepted the letter from the locals to register the committee. A joint meeting of the district administration, security bodies and representatives of the committee held at the Zonal Administration Office on November 18, last year, had decided to screen the meditating boy and stop visitors from seeing him. Before this, the District Administration Office of Bara had ordered the committee to furnish its income-expenditure details. Chief District Officer (CDO) of Bara, Shanta Raj Subedi says the district administration had to take this decision as settlement and business activities are prohibited in the jungle area. CDO Subedi also complains that the committee violated the decision and lifted the screen around Bomjon and also did not furnish the income-expenditure details and the name list of the volunteers working on the meditation site. Chairman of the committee, Thing, however, explains that he had to remove the screen because of the mounting pressure from the visitors. "We could not keep him (Bomjon) behind the screen after thousands of devotees insisted on its removal," Thing said. Medical observations An eight-member team of health workers headed by the district hospital's Medical Superintendent Ram Lakhan Shah had observed the meditating boy for half an hour on November 14, 2005. The medical team that made the observation from a distance of five metres concluded that there was no doubt that Bomjon was alive and suggested that they needed to observe him for at least a week to reach any comprehensive conclusion. During the half hour observation the medical team noticed Bomjon breath three times, swallow his saliva once and move his eyelashes. "Even if he eats at night, it is extraordinary to continuously meditate in the same position for 12 hours a day," Dr Shah said. One reason for Bomjon's ability to meditate for long periods could be due to yoga, he guessed, adding, "He needs to be thoroughly examined since his case has thrown up a challenge to medical science." A member of the team, Dr Raj Dev Kushwaha said, "Just by examining the glucose level in his blood, it can be easily found out whether he has eaten or not." However, any physical examination of Bomjon is not acceptable to the committee. "We will not allow, at any cost, any examination that involves touching or piercing since it will disturb him," Thing argues. The district administration on November 16, 2005 had written to the Royal Nepal Academy for Science and Technology (RONAST) and the Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) to carry out Bomjon's medical examinations. Indeed the LDT and the Tribhuvan University Institute of Medicine did carry out an observation at the site. "Perhaps because they too could not come up with a comprehensive report; there was no response," says CDO Subedi. Two months back, a seven-member team headed by a Rimpoche from Pharping Monastery also observed Bomjon. A highly experienced Yoga practitioner himself with six years of meditation experience, the Rimpoche had said back then that Bomjon could not be taken as a Buddha, adding meditation was nothing extraordinary in Buddhism. "His body must be scientifically examined to know whether he has eaten or not," he said. Mystery continues The crowds started flocking into the area after the committee began a special Puja by lighting 100 thousand candles during the last Dashain festival, while claiming that Bomjon had not drunk even a single drop of water after starting his meditation. Thing also claims that the news of Bomjon's "godly power" began to spread after two dumb people started speaking after visiting the meditation site. Bomjon's mother says that her son has become a god. "He never touched any meat or fish, nor did he drink any alcohol. He was so different from others," she says, "He never fought with anyone and was peaceful by nature." The hubbub surrounding the meditation site starts seven kilometres away at the Mahendra Highway. Even if the number of pilgrims and observers has thinned out, microbuses have not stopped operating from the highway to the meditation site. Private jeeps, cars and motorcycles still aim north from the highway to the Charkose Jhadee (jungle). The meditation site is seven kilometres inside the Charkose Jhadee, located to the north of the Mahendra Highway, which is a kilometre west of Nijgadh of Bara.The meditation site has been cordoned off with ropes. The first cordon is 25 metres away from the actual place where Bomjon sits while the second cordon lies 50 metres away. It was only when people watching from beyond the second cordon started doubting that Bomjon was a human being did the committee allow for five people at a time to move to and observe from the first cordon. Each person is only allowed thirty seconds to observe Bomjon.

According to Prem Lama, Ratnapur VDC born Bomjon began studying Buddhism for five years after attending the local primary school till class five. He then spent some time in Lumbini and Dehradun (India), spending one more year studying Buddhism and returned home last January. He began his mediation after spending a further four months studying Buddhism at home.

don’t be a passive reader

March 29, 2006

post something here, if you have time to share. It, certainly, helps others

Do your own cloning

March 29, 2006

Follow this link if tou want to try out this cool stuff

http://library.thinkquest.org/24355/data/interactions/createclone.html

Human cloning: Has it been done already?

March 29, 2006

Recent advancements in science, especially in the field of genetics, have sparked much controversy about the ethical nature of human cloning. I believe the question that should be asked concerning human cloning, however, is not whether or not it is morally or ethically right, but has it been done already? David M. Rorvik, in his book In His Image: The Cloning of a Man says it has, back in 1976. However, Rorvik gives no evidence or proof in this controversial best seller and even fabricates the names of those involved to hide their identities. His book, released as a non-fiction title in 1978 started a large debate about the new technologies of genetics, mostly of recombinant DNA research, and stirred up ethical issues about human cloning still going on today. His book even brought upon a lawsuit by an Oxford University geneticist only a few months after it was published claiming the book was a hoax (Broad 902). With the recent advancements in cloning technology, including the cloning of Dolly, the first successful known mammalian clone (which used similar methods explained by Rorvik in his book), the subject matter of Rorvik's book becomes even more convincing and the ethical indications even more controversial. Even if Rorvik's book was a hoax, it still brings many issues concerning human cloning into question and makes a point about scientific advancement. I believe that In His Image: The Cloning of a Man was a true story and that a human clone, over 20 years old by now, is walking on this planet somewhere.

In His Image: The Cloning of a Man, by David M. Rorvik, tells the story of a millionaire businessman (code-named "Max") who wanted a cloned heir of himself. Rorvik's story begins when he receives a phone call from Max, asking him to find a team of scientists willing and able to try and clone a human (Rorvik, In His… 43). At first, Rorvik was undecided about the offer, but after much consideration, he finally decided to help Max. He soon comprised a list of several possible geneticists for the job, and after only a few months, Rorvik met "Darwin" (77). Darwin, a very distinguished geneticist, although very interested in the proposal, was also very indecisive about whether to partake in it. After much convincing by Max, however, Darwin decided to give it a try, and in April 1974, the research began (83). The site for the research and experimentation was a tropical island, where Max owned land and a local hospital. Rorvik made two trips to Darwin's lab, the first of which in December 1974 (112) and the last in the summer of 1975 (173). He went on these trips to observe Darwin and his research and check on the progress Darwin was making toward cloning Max. Around mid-March 1976, Rorvik got word that Darwin might have accomplished the goal at hand. After many unsuccessful tries, Darwin finally got the surrogate mother (code-named "Sparrow") pregnant (189). Nine months later, in a small hospital in California, Sparrow gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby boy, and an identical copy of Max (205).

Even before Rorvik's book came out, the scientific community was calling it a "hoax." In an article published in the journal Science on March 24, 1978 (about a week before Rorvik's book was published), writer Barbara Culliton said, "the scientific community has said what it thinks about Rorvik's claim. Simply put, no one believes it" (1316). Rorvik, however, expected that this would be the case. In the afterword of his book, Rorvik states: "I entertain absolutely no expectation that anyone, scientist or layman, will accept this book as proof of the events described herein. … I hope, however, that many readers will be persuaded of the possibility, even the probability, of what I have described" (Rorvik, In His… 208). He then goes on to say that there will still be many people who doubt his story for either personal beliefs or because, if true, it would create a public panic which would turn people against more experimentation in genetic engineering (Rorvik, In His… 208). Culliton, in her article for Science, gives many other reasons why the scientific community did not believe Rorvik's story. One reason was that the scientist involved would not want to remain anonymous. He would want to publish his research as soon as he found out that it worked, something a normal scientist would do. Another reason given is that no one in any related field heard about the successful experiment. If the cloning truly happened, word would get out to at least a few scientists in genetics. Could something like human cloning stay secret for that long a time? Would it not be hard for something that big, with a considerable number of people knowing about it, to stay a secret for almost two years? A more technical reason for why scientists highly disputed the validity of Rorvik's book was that no one, at that time, had ever cloned a mammal (Culliton 1316). Back in the early 1960's, F.C. Steward and colleagues at Cornell University successfully cloned a carrot, the first successful cloning of anything. A few years later, in the late 1960's, cloning extended to animals when Dr. J.B. Gurdon of Oxford University successfully cloned the African clawed frog (Rorvik, In His… 48). However, no scientist had ever reported any successful cloning of a mammal back when Rorvik released his controversial book. At that time, efforts were being made to clone a mouse, but no reports were successful. It was very hard for the scientific community to believe that someone had made the jump in cloning from frog to human (Culliton 1316).

Rorvik's book was so controversial that Oxford University geneticist J. Derek Bromhall sued Rorvik and his publisher, charging that the book was a lie, only a few months after it was published. Bromhall not only called the book a hoax, but also charged that Rorvik used the cloning technique that he developed for use in rabbits and used his name in the book without his permission. The proceedings took three years, but finally on February 2, 1981, a U.S. District Court judge in Philadelphia ruled that Rorvik's book was a "fraud and a hoax" (Broad 902). Rorvik's attorney, however, made an appeal to the ruling shortly after (Broad 902). One year later, on April 7, 1982, the litigation was ended in an out-of-court settlement. The publishing company of Rorvik's book decided that it would be cheaper to settle than to continue litigation (Rorvik, "One of…"). "Rorvik, however, has always posited that the case was 'without merit' and he has never wavered in his defense of the book. 'I did not contribute to the settlement in any way, nor did I alter my position in any way,' he says" (Rorvik, "One of…").

Nearly twenty years later, David Rorvik is still defending his book, and still claiming it is true. In an article written by himself in Omni Magazine in 1997, he once again defends his position. And with the recent advancements in genetics like the cloning of Dolly the sheep in 1997, I believe Rorvik and his book deserve a second look and a second chance. In his article for Omni, Rorvik says that not only was human cloning possible in the late 1970's, but it was accomplished. Rorvik states that "when my book appeared in 1978, the overwhelming majority of 'knowledgeable' scientists declared it had to be a hoax because mammalian cloning was unequivocally impossible" (Rorvik, "One of…"). In fact, even before his book came out, he received a lot of criticism from the scientific community. Rorvik said that many people criticized his book before it came out because they assumed that he was using microsurgery to clone a human, a technique that was found impossible in cloning mammals. However, in his book, Rorvik describes a form of fusion used in cloning, which made it possible to work with human eggs that were a thousand times smaller than frog eggs. It was this same procedure that was used by Scottish researchers in July of 1997 to clone the first mammal, a sheep. This amazing achievement, before thought to be impossible, was done using unusually simple techniques (Weiss). In fact, the procedure used by these Scottish scientists was almost exactly the same as Rorvik illustrates in 1978. Rorvik explains in Omni:

Now scientists and science writers are all exclaiming over how shockingly simple mammalian cloning has turned out to be. The Scottish researchers succeeded precisely because they abandoned some higher-tech methodologies and concentrated instead on a common sense approach that focused, in particular, on the synchrony issue. … This was an issue I stated time and again in my book. (Rorvik, "One of…")

Rorvik also states that scientists now believe that mammalian cloning can be done using a relatively small budget, just like Darwin and crew were able to do in his story (Rorvik, "One of…").

So what does all of this information amount to? I think that in light of these new advancements in genetics, Rorvik's book should be taken a bit more seriously, if not taken for fact. Alyson Zamkoff, writing for Omni, says the following about Rorvik's claim:

Is it believable? Yes, especially given the recent cloning headlines. The technology for cloning is now a reality. If humans can create atomic bombs in secret, it certainly stands to reason that they might likewise create clones. For those with enough money and ego, the incentive would be high. (Zamkoff)

It is very believable indeed. In fact, human cloning was even believable by some scientists back in the 1970's. In 1968, noted Cal Tech biologist Dr. Sinsheimer predicted that in ten years, a human clone would probably be possible (Rorvik, In His… 49). This would place the first successful human cloning experiment around 1978. Rorvik said it was done in December 1976, not too far off. Also, in an article in the journal Science in 1978, writer Barbara Culliton said the following about Rorvik's book: "Could it possibly be true? More than a dozen knowledgeable researchers queried by Science say 'No,' although most agree that human cloning is theoretically possible" (1314). So if human cloning is theoretically possible, what makes Rorvik's story so unbelievable? Is it just the shear shock of the story, the fact that somebody actually cloned a human, which makes it so unbelievable? I think that people just don't want to believe that some scientist out there actually did it, that some scientist successfully cloned a human being. Another scientist claiming human cloning was possible back in the 1970's was Dr. Landrum Shettles. Shettles, who had worked with Rorvik before, writing a book with him, said he did not believe that Rorvik's book was a hoax. He was quoted saying, "I trust David implicitly" (Ebon 84). If this noted scientist could believe Rorvik back then, why can't any one believe him today? Even after the recent advancements in science that have taken place within the last couple of years, scientists and science writers still claim Rorvik's book as a hoax and a work of fiction. After the successful cloning of Dolly the sheep, Rick Weiss, a writer for the Washington Post, wrote the following about the prospect for human cloning: "The researchers acknowledged … that there was no reason in principle why the surprisingly simple technique they used could not be applied to human cells" (Weiss). This was the same simple technique stated by Rorvik in his book! So, if this technique could be used, in theory, to clone humans today, why couldn't it be used twenty years ago to clone Max? I think that it not only could have been used, but it was used.

Let us for a second assume that Rorvik's book was a hoax, devised entirely through his mind. At the time In His Image was published, David Rorvik was a very well respected science journalist and writer. He was a free-lance writer at the time, but had worked for Time Magazine a few years back. It would be very unlikely that as a young, respected writer, Rorvik would write a false story, passing it off as true. He would just have too much to lose by doing this, risking his career and reputation as a distinguished science writer ("1978:…"). What would he have to gain in writing a fictional story about cloning, then claiming it was true? A few writers have suggestions. Martin Ebon writes that "even if the book is neither fiction or nonfiction, Rorvik may well achieve what is at least partly his aim: dramatization of the challenges of genetic engineering" (94). So Ebon is saying that Rorvik wrote this book to scare the public and to hopefully put some doubts in people's minds about the recent advancements in genetics. Why, though, would someone like Rorvik want to do that? His job is a free-lance science writer. His main specialty is in the advancements going on in the field of genetics. Why would he want to scare the public into thinking that these recent advancements are all bad? He would then be out of a job. Barbara Culliton has a similar suggestion to why Rorvik wrote In His Image:

If In His Image is fiction, why would Rorvik want to pass it off as truth? He offers a clue: 'It is my hope that this first successful cloning of a human being will alert the public to the far more promising and also far more perilous developments already occurring in the realm of genetic engineering.' Rorvik may see his book as some kind of political statement. (1316)

Once again I have to ask, why would he do that? In my opinion, it does not make any sense that Rorvik would make up a story about cloning, and then try to pass it off as truth. It makes more sense that Rorvik would write a true story about human cloning, only the scientific community and the public were just not ready for something like it and threw the claim away as an obvious "hoax."

Although Rorvik's story looks even more convincing today, the fact still remains that he has not backed up his story with any evidence or physical proof. He swore to keep the names of the people involved anonymous and out of the public spotlight. Unless these people decide to unveil themselves and prove Rorvik's story as truth, there will always be skepticism to the validity of his story. Without proof, the scientific community can not accept Rorvik's claim and must find his book as only a work of fiction. Despite these facts, however, I believe that Rorvik's story should be taken a bit more seriously, especially today, after Dolly the sheep was cloned using the same techniques as Rorvik explained in his book. Could that just be a weird coincidence? I find it hard to believe that Rorvik, only a science writer, could guess a possible way to clone humans and mammals and guess correctly. I think that the scientific community, instead of just forcing the book to be a work of fiction, should consider that Rorvik might actually be telling the truth, even though he cannot present any evidence. If scientists looked at the book this way, they could possibly learn from it, and, if need be, make sure that human cloning experiments do not happen again. Just ignoring the book is not going to help any one. If the book is looked at as possible truth, then this could lead to many advancements in genetics and much discussion over whether human cloning should be done again.