Part Four of Four:
OUR HIGH CURRENT DILEMMA
"I have awakened the Dragon. Can't you see all around you the Dragon's breath? A beast of such power that if you were to see it whole and all complete in a single glance, it would burn you to cinders. The Dragon is everywhere.
"The Dragon is everything. Its scales glisten in the bark of trees. Its roar is heard in the wind. And its forked tongue strikes like lightning.
"Do nothing. Be still. Sleep. Rest in the arms of the Dragon. Dream."
-- Merlin, the magician, in Excalibur, the Legend of King Arthur
In 1974 Dr. Nancy Wertheimer began a study which would link powerline magnetism to child leukemia. After a decade of denial, by 1984 a vast body of research showed man-made magnetism adversely affects delicate biological processes: bone growth, cell communication, biocycles, white blood cells, neurochemistry, genetic replication, and immune system. Evidence implied our artificial EM is assaulting us on all fronts.
The slow yearly rise of cancer may result from our sudden increase in EM exposure in the last 50 years. Our technological society runs on EM, so there's no outlet to escape its influence. Dr. Robert Becker insists, "Our unwise use of EM produced unprecedented environmental changes. Today we swim in a sea of almost totally man-made energy. Evidence is clear EM's unrestricted use creates environments hazardous to life and results in significant abnormal physiology and function."
EM pollution is one of the 1990s most alarming issues. Says Becker, "Clearly we face a major crisis -- all the more critical because it's not recognized by agencies responsible to deal with it." This is because scientists, regulators and M.D.'s are stuck in an old chemical-mechanistic paradigm that's crumbling, to be replaced with one of life energy; something old is new again.
Fortunately a few courageous scientists took hard looks at now voluminous data on harmful EM effects. Research by this handful of dedicated watchdogs was ignored, underfinanced and undercut. Often their convictions cost them their jobs. Blindfolded, they revealed to us the Dragon.
In the 1970s these EM pioneers discovered EM's crucial role in biology; especially biorhythms, healing, neurology, genetic replication, and endocrines. The field of bioelectromagnetics is swelling with innovative studies. Becker himself discovered electric control systems that start and regulate healing. Swedish radiologist Bjorn Nordstrom demonstrated treatment of cancer with electric currents. Acupuncturists replace needles with tiny magnets taped on the skin.
So EM holds both peril and promise. This is the paradoxical nature of our dilemma. Many unanswered questions remain. Does iron in red blood cells have a magnetic function? Why does vitamin B12 contain magnetic cobalt? How do geomagnetic pulses become pineal hormones? Why do trees grow up?
Asleep with the Dragon
Throughout the 1970s utilities and military continued to deny the realities of EM research. The undeflectable researchers faced an awesome array of modern medicine, science, military, utilities, electronics industry -- and the apathy and appetite of consumers. Nuclear industry is but a big toe on this massive industrial power complex. Broduer wrote in Currents of Death, Wertheimer was "savagely discredited;" Becker, Marino and others were targets of "an apparent vendetta."
In 1984 Dr. Wertheimer began a new study -- again without funds -- of electrically heated beds. Electric heat uses high current which generates strong magnetic exposure up to eight hours a night. Ed Leeper measured five to ten milligauss (mg) six inches from electric blankets; waterbeds measured five mg. Nancy's 1979 leukemia study involved exposures of only one or two mg, so this seemed significant. But instead of cancer, Nancy studied pregnancy.
Using newspaper and hospital birth announcements in Denver, Nancy asked 1318 parents of newborns in 1982 if they used electric heat. The results were chilling: users had significantly more miscarriages in winter than summer, while non-users' reports were constant. Users miscarried most frequently from September through January.
Nancy theorized early term fetuses are more susceptible to EM, and many spontaneous abortions occur before a woman knows she is pregnant. Therefore, miscarriages of older fetuses will be reported in early winter, while late winter miscarriages of new fetuses are more likely not observed. This may account for elevated early winter rates.
Nancy's 1986 Bioelectromagnetics report speculated electric bed heat may also explain increases in childhood disability reported since 1960. However, she pointed out electric blankets create heat which, in excess, has negative effects on sperm, so magnetism may not cause the effect.
To disprove thermal effects, Nancy, again without funds, studied Eugene, Oregon homes with electric heat in bedroom ceilings -- in effect a giant electric blanket. Such heat isn't likely to create excess body temperature. Again she found more fetal loss in winter in homes with ceiling heat, with losses most frequent in early winter.
In 1985 internationally known Dr. Stanislaw Szmigielski at Poland's Center for Radiobiology, delivered a jolt with the largest ever epidemiological study of EM: a two year cancer study of Polish military. Men exposed to non-ionizing EM had nearly seven times the cancer of blood-forming organs and lymph. Thyroid tumors are over four times greater. Younger men (20 to 29) had 550 percent greater risk. Overall, exposed men are three times more likely to develop cancer.
In Feb. 1986 Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), funded by utilities, shook EM industry again with a study by Richard Phillips at Battelle Pacific Northwest Labs. From 1978 to 1981 miniature swine were exposed to 30 kv 60 hz EM. First and second generations born and raised in exposure were mated with unexposed males. Third generations had lower birth weights, and twice the birth defects.
Phillips first presented his findings in 1982 to the Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Society. Utilities took this as "a major bombshell" and delayed it four years with "excessive peer review" and revisions. In Sept. 1986 Phillips spoke to Canadian utilities on EM Health Effects. Asked if he'd buy a house by a high-voltage line, Phillips replied not even at $25,000 cheaper, due to probable health hazards. His audience was shocked.
In Nov. 1986 Dr. David Savitz struck the alarm with his replication for the NYS Powerlines Project of Wertheimer's study. Savitz studied the same Denver area as Wertheimer, but a separate time period involving other cancer cases, and took care to address criticisms of Wertheimer's methodology. He found significant association between all child cancer and man-made magnetism; children with high exposure had five times normal risk. He concluded "prolonged exposure to low-level magnetic fields may increase cancer risk in children."
Controversy hit a new plateau July 1, 1987 with release of the Powerlines Project report. In April 1987 Dr. David Carpenter of NY Dept. of Public Health previewed this bolt at EEPA's annual meeting, which includes several major utilities. In Currents of Death Paul Broduer wrote, Carpenter minced no words. Savitz found leukemia, lymphoma and brain tumors "the most common childhood cancers" are twice as likely in homes near high current lines. "The hypothesis that magnetic fields cause cancer is now established," Carpenter said, [and] suggested it wasn't ethical for EEPA to wait another ten years, since 20 percent of homes had elevated magnetic fields. Money to study this had "almost totally dried up," and most was funded by EPRI, which has a conflict of interest. He urged research funded by federal agencies "independent of partisan influence."
Despite these strong words, the Project report -- Biological Effects of Power Line Fields -- underplayed results to the public. Putting heavy spin on truth, the report declared studies showed "no effects of concern." In fact, 12 of 17 revealed significant effects. The report admitted Savitz' study "may mean 10-15 percent of all child cancer is attributable to EM fields, but more research is needed before the question can be resolved. At this time no risk assessments can be made."
On Feb. 24, 1988 the PSC ruled to continue the 10 year old electric field standard (1600 vpm) and called for an interim magnetic field standard. PSC staff had recommended 100 mg, but commissioners felt more data on existing powerline magnetism was needed. "We emphasize that magnetic fields have not been shown to be hazardous," they cautioned.
A regulatory agency had awakened to the Dragon, but the blindfold was still on.
Before 1940 mathematicians, physiologists and others from Harvard and MIT interested brain and nervous system function became the nucleus of U.S. computer design. As a result, concepts from neurophysiology were built into computers -- living systems were models for devices. >From the beginning questions were raised about the safety of these devices.
In 1977 the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) said video display terminal (VDT) radiation is too weak to detect. In 1980 NIOSH tested VDTs to find 1,400 volt and 9 mg near flyback transformers. So NIOSH changed its tune to sing, "Flyback transformers emit RF in the 15 to 125 Mhz range, but there's no occupational exposure standard for this range, and haven't been shown to cause biological harm." In the next decade VDT use rose from seven to 30 million, yet few studies looked at effects of VDT EM emanations.
In 1980 Dr. Jose Delgado of Spain exposed fertile eggs to 1.2, 12 and 120 mg magnetism pulsed at ten, 100 and 1000 hz. He used very low intensities so "thermal effects were minimal and disregarded." In May 82 The Journal of Anatomy said 100 hz at 12 mg had "a powerful effect, delaying or arresting embryogensis at a very early stage." Nearly 80 percent of eggs developed abnormally; malformed nervous systems were very common. Like Adey and Blackman, Delgado found power and frequency windows. Like Adey, Delgado was CIA funded.
In 1984 Kjell Mild of Sweden's Board of Occupational Safety and Health confirmed Delgado's findings, but with 30 instead of 80 percent. Delgado replied orienting eggs to earth's magnetic field is a crucial factor.
In 1985 Robert DeMatteo, Occupational Health and Safety coordinator for Ontario Public Employees Union, in his book Terminal Shock, reported eleven miscarriage clusters among VDT operators in the U.S. and Canada, and questioned if the cause was EM. A shocking number of VDT operators also had birth defects, premature births and other adverse pregnancies.
In Jan. 1986 Sweden's world-renowned Karolinska Institute reported weak pulsed magnetism similar to VDTs "sawtooth pulses of 10 to 150 mg -- cause congenital defects in fetuses of mice; nearly five times more at 150 mg. The report said this was "totally unexpected. We can no longer rule out that [VDT] radiation affect fetuses," and this might force Sweden to change VDT work regulations to protect pregnant women.
In 1987 Dr. Mikolajczyk at Poland's Institute of Occupational Medicine presented a study of TVs placed 12 inches above rats, the sets turned on four hours a day. Females exposed 60 days prior to mating and 16 days during pregnancy had significantly reduced fetal weights. Males exposed 35 to 50 days had greatly lower testicular weights. All exposed animals had low sodium in brain cortex, hypthalamus and midbrain, and retarded growth.
In June 1988 lightning struck again. Northern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Program, in a study of 1,583 women, found women who worked over 20 hours a week at VDTs had 80 percent higher miscarriage risk. Offspring of women who used VDTs had higher birth defect rates, but this wasn't statistically significant. The report in American Journal of Industrial Medicine stated, "Ours is the first epidemiological evidence with substantial numbers of pregnant VDT operators to suggest VDTs may increase miscarriage risk. Implications of this are as yet unkown. No biological mechanism has been postulated. Our data suggests the need for further studies."
Nevertheless, in 1988 the International Radiation Protection Assoc. insisted "no health hazards are associated with radiation [from computers or VDTs.]" But Sweden instituted strict VDT radiation limits, and U.S. VDT makers now make special shielded models for Swedish markets. In 50 years science and industry had spawned a video revolution to open EM windows into electronic universes. Computers invade the workplace as TVs entrance us at home and kids feed quarters to videogames. Even as the first computers were modeled on neurophysiology, electronic networks have become our externalized nervous system. This is our dualistic dilemma: our mechanistic fixation has blinded our insight into induction and intuition.
The video screen has replaced our third eye.
Laws of Money
Science didn't sway the utilities. Their hand was forced in court, not the lab. In 1981 Houston Lighting & Power Co. (HLPC) proposed to run a 345 kv powerline 350 feet from an elementary school, 130 feet from a middle school and 250 feet from a high school of Klein Independent School District. Concerned for possible health effects, the school board denied HLPC a right-of-way, so HLPC sued for condemnation -- and built the line.
At a Nov. 1985 trial in Harris County Court Univ. of Texas Engineering Prof. Martin Chatkoff testified for the school district that magnetism at the elementary school measured five mg, ten mg at the middle school and over 15 mg at the high school. At full capacity, HLPC's line would induce as much as 25 mg at the middle school.
Nancy Wertheimer testified children face increased cancer risk from such magnetic intensities, and it was "indefensible to expose children to that experiment." However, she admitted there's no absolute proof if and how EM causes cancer.
The jury deliberated four hours, finding HLPC "abused its discretion," and this was a "willful and unreasoning action." The school district was awarded $104,275 for damages. The jury also held HLPC acted with "reckless disregard and conscious indifference to the rights and welfare of the persons affected," and awarded $25 million in punitive damages "as example such conduct will not be tolerated." Last, the jury set $42,113,120 as the cost to move the schools to a new site.
The judge ordered HLPC to shut off and remove its line. HLPC asked the Court of Appeals to keep the line on while the case was appealed. The Court so ruled in early 1986, but Texas Supreme Court unanimously overruled to order the line shut off. Appeals Court lifted the $25 million punitive damages, since HLPC complied with Texas Property Code and wasn't guilty of trespass.
Yet, judges ruled the jury correct to find "clear and convincing evidence" of potential hazards. In 1987 HLPC spent $8 million to rerout their line.
Like industry and its allies in science and politics, Justice is blindfolded.
But Justice is a lady with intuition to sense the Dragon coiled around powerlines, spinal columns and DNA spirals. What goes around comes around
This scenario repeated with increasing frequency around the nation. In 1987 Seattle City Light proposed a 230 kv powerline in a residential neighborhood. In 1988 a grassroots effort (Citizens Against Overhead Powerlines) defeated the line. Washington State Dept. of Transportation refused to approve the line, citing long-term health effects and future litigation by damaged parties.
An informed public was mobilized; utilities took notice.
More recently, a Florida judge ruled children in Sandpiper Shore elementary school couldn't use a playground because they were exposed to an overhead powerline. A $25 million damage judgement was reached against the utility, which rerouted the wires out of the schoolyard.
In this atmosphere on June 10, 1989 Congress's Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) called for federal funding of "more research into potential EM health risks from powerlines, particularly nervous system effects and cancer." OTA noted concern for health effects "significantly impeded" efforts to expand power grids. Without answers, "this contention could go on many years and cost more than the needed research." OTA said concern focused on high voltage lines, but household wiring and appliances "could play a far greater role."
Prepared by Carnegie Mellon Univ. Engineering and Public Policy Dept., OTA's paper carefully guarded its admissions. It said, "common household 60 hz and other ELF interact with cells and organs to produce biological changes. The nature of these interactions for public health remain unclear, but there are legitimate reasons for concern." On ELF and cancer, OTA said ELF isn't known to damage chromosones, hence isn't likely to initiate cancer. Downplaying data, OFA said epidemiological studies show only "weak association."
Carnegie Mellon also wrote a public information brochure to spin a reassuring smoke screen over the evidence:
There is controversy whether epidemiological studies show any true relation between field exposure and cancer. Scientists don't yet agree whether 60 hz fields pose risk to public health and, if they do, how serious that risk is. Some argue reported findings may result from statistical problems or other causes. For example, most occupational studies didn't "control" for other known carcinogens such as smoking and workplace chemicals.
This increases chances results are coincidence rather than real association.
With scientific evidence now available, it's not possible to establish "safe field" standards; these issues will require more and better data.
The decade of denial was over. At last, 16 years late, the ELF warning first issued by Navy's 1973 science advisory panel was delivered. However, confusion continued as to the real nature of our dilemma. In reporting OTA's report, the NY Times headlined its article: "More Study Urged on Electric Effects." It should have said magnetic. The blindfold is still on.
Like a child trying to pin-the-tale-on-the-dragon, media and government began to fumble around. Soon expensive federal studies will tell us what common sense and ancient wisdom told us all along: beware the Dragon.
Laws of Nature
Carnegie Mellon's brochure concluded: "Sixty hz fields do not pose significant risk to agriculture or ecosystems." If we remember the first warnings about ELF came from farmers, children and mothers, this conclusion is highly suspect. To consider only EM effects on humans is shortsighted, egocentric -- and foolish. A macrobiotic view has many faces, embracing EM production as well as distribution.
Like our appetite for the sacred cow, electric power puts huge demands on our planet. Coal is stripmined; oil and gas drilled and pumped; nuclear fuel mined from deep rock. Each is refined and transported; each produces its own pollution, by-products and toxic wastes. Even hydropower requires dams on rivers and tidal bays. Before the first electron begins to spin magnetic spirals around powerlines, our appetite for EM causes vast ecological devastation.
Today 600,000 miles of powerlines crisscross the U.S., with thousands more planned or in construction. This entire power grid is a giant ELF antenna whose pulsating magnetic field spans the continent. How this man-made EM affects other organisms and larger ecosystems -- or Earth as a whole -- is sorely understudied and poorly understood.
At Cornell Univ. honeybees in a hive relocated into a new building became disoriented. After extensive research ruled out other causes, someone noticed the hive was next to the building's electric transformer. The bees were confused by 60 hz magnetism strong enough to interfere with homing and communication to gather nectar and pollen.
Recently ecologists noted major declines in songbirds that travel yearly between tropics and temperate zone. No one can explain this drop in migration, or increased whale and dolphin beachings. Has our globe girdling EM power grid disturbed magnetic navigation of birds and ocean animals? We lack data to reply; the question is too new to have an honest answer.
Weather's EM nature is revealed in storm fronts with lightning, thunder and winds. Each lightning bolt sends high frequency pulses echoing through the geomagnetic field. Ions of dust and salt in air supply electric seeds about which water vapor can condense into clouds, rain and weather fronts.
Yet, magnetism's role in lightning, wind, weather, and climate is unknown -- and largely unspeculated.
However, we do know both nuclear fission and fossil fuel combustion ionize air molecules to strip away free electrons. Acid rain is an electrically deficient gas. But the role of geomagnetism in acid rain, global warming, ocean currents, jet streams, and ozone holes remains unexplored.
In Whither the Trees (SOLSTICE #34) we reported the mysterious death of trees all over the globe. Dr. Wayne London, MD, of Vermont has catalogued the adverse effects of powerlines on trees and greenery. These effects are most noticeable during the fall color change; leaves near powerlines change first -- an indication of stress. Rapid decline of entire climax forests is a serious omen of ecological instability.
So, why is wood non-magnetic?
Why Trees Grow Up
The tale is told that Sir Issac Newton was snoozing under an apple tree when a fruit fell on his head to startle him from slumber. Newton's knock on his noggin inspired his Theory of Gravitation. Issac's own rude awakening made him the founding father of our modern mechanistic paradigm.
However, Newton never asked a more basic question: "How did the apple get in the tree?" What force mobilizes water and minerals to climb out of earth and assemble in orderly geometry as tree and its fruit? Why do trees grow up?
Without thinking, most people insist light makes trees grow up. But even in darkness trees know up, so phototropism doesn't effect the upthrust bud.
A clue to answer this queer query is the very shape of Issac's apple. it's not really a sphere, but a donut without a hole -- the shape of a magnetic field.
So what makes trees grow up is magnetism. A tree is a dipole antenna to focus and harness geomagnetism in soil and rock. Plants materialize this spinning vortex of magnetism. As fruit, an apple is a condensation of this energy waveform -- the donut hole becomes five ovaries in which seeds form. Forest and grassy meadow are magnetic green membrane to cover the naked earth, bringing up water to create moisture, coolness, shade -- and sugar, the common currency of biological energy.
Modern EM energy supply uses three wire circuits. The third wire is ground, and all appliances are now grounded. "Ground" signifies a common reference point of zero electric potential -- an electronic balance point. In a house the ground wire is usually attached to the water pipe. Like a tree, your household power grid is rooted in earth.
Ancient Oriental medicine understood the EM anatomy of the human body. In the Law of the Five Elements, biological energy circulates in a five step cycle. Fire is the highest energy state, but Metal and Water share low honors in the cycle. So, too, a metal water pipe anchors our EM grid on earth.
In acupuncture Kidneys control our Water energy. The first point on the kidney meridan is Bubbling Spring on the bottom of the foot next to its ball. Walking barefoot on earth is our natural way to ground our own ch'i. Wet dermis in contact with living soil helps prevent build up of static electric charge. How can insulated souls ever feel the Dragon's pulse?
Water and magnetism have a curious, intimate relationship. Ancients viewed magnetism as "invisible cosmic fluid." Mesmer said animal magnetism is a liquid streaming between cosmic poles. Even today science describes EM most often by analogy to water. One significant problem for biologists is the universal presence of water in cells and tissue.
Dismissed as mere oxygen and hydrogen, water is far from trite. It's 75 percent of our bodies, the most crucial liquid on Earth -- the universal solvent. Water sticks to itself due to weak electric attraction between hydrogen and oxygen in adjacent water molecules. These hydrogen bonds hold water together to create surface tension to allow it to form a sphere, the shape with the least surface area.
Magnetism affects water in odd ways. Normally water's pH is neutral due to its balance of acid (H+) to alkaline (OH-) ions. But south pole magnetism causes water to become slightly alkaline, while a north pole shifts pH a tad acid. This subtle shift is critical in biological systems such as cell membranes.
Decades ago Rudolph Steiner recommended special soil preparations. A minute amount of substance is stirred into a large volume of water to form a whirlpool with a hollow center. Stirring is then reversed to collapse this vortex and create a new one in the opposite direction. This reversed stirring continues for an hour, then the water is strained and sprayed on plants and soil. No one knew why this stirring was done, but biodynamic farmers attest to its effectiveness.
Water never flows in straight paths; rather, in pipes, streams, and veins, water spirals in trillions of tiny vortices. In 1976 Pat Flanagan discovered water can be magnetically charged: water spun in a vortex, as Steiner recommended, generates an EM field. A four inch vortex spun at 1000 rpm creates 10,000 volts. When reversed, the vortex implodes, and its collapsing EM is absorbed by water molecules, charging them. This can change water's surface tension by altering its hydrogen bonds, and dramatically affect ion exchange in cell membranes.
Water contains liquid crystals that retain a fixed molecular structure -- tiny icebergs of crystal water. As water cools, more crystals form until the whole mass is ice. Charging water in a vortex may increase the amount of crystalline water. Flanagan believes cells form protoplasm from water largely in this liquid crystal state. As crystal, cell water has an atomic lattice similar to semiconductors, and poses the idea cells function by electronic principles of solid state physics.
Solid State Biology
In 1941 Nobel Prize winning physicist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi said biological proteins are sufficiently organized to function as crystal lattice, and predicted semiconduction in living tissue. When he said this, solid state electronics was a lab curiosity, so he was ignored by the few biologists who studied bioelectricity. It was four decades before advanced knowledge from solid state physics was introduced into biology.
Like a tree, a cell is a waveform, too -- a dipole antenna -- the condensation of a spinning magnetic vortex. To exist, cells must resonate a full harmonic range of geomagnetic frequencies. Mitosis and meosis -- the dance of cell division -- is the pulse and polarization of a cell's EM cycles. Cell membrane is a longwave envelope of low frequencies in this cellular symphony. Braided through the vortex axis, DNA is a supercoiled antenna tuned to high frequency oscillations of short wave wisdom.
With this in mind we can envision our human body's EM architecture -- already a subject of intensive macrobiotic education. Like DNA, hair and muscle are spiral fibers, braided and supercoiled. Iron red in hemoglobin and cobalt blue in vitamin B12 are a magnetic waveform chalice to transport electrons in blood and nerve. Like quartz in Gaia's granite mantle, human bone is pizeoelectric crystal oscillating at precise resonant frequencies.
In Cross Currents Becker describes new ELF insights into paranormal healing. Doctors at Huzhong Univ. used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study Chi Gong, ancient China's magnetic healing in which the healer moves in specific formal, classic patterns, then transmits chi to a patient. Chi Gong masters "treated" a sealed glass bulb of a complex, bio-active, phosporus chemical (o-n-propyl-o-allythiophosphoramide). NMR spectra recorded before and after successive treatments show shifts indicating a structural alteration of this organic molecule. Hong Kong Univ. physics professor Dr. Jame Ma suggested Chi Gong movements match frequencies and wavelengths of hydrogen ions (H+ protons) in resonance with geomagnetism.
Magnetic healing has a solid state reality.
Internationally famous German heart and cancer specialist Hans Neiper, MD, says, "We've known for a long time cancer cells, as well as entire tumors, lose their magnetic character and become electrically static. Entire organisms -- healthy tissues and blood -- also undergo a loss of magnetism as an effect of malignancy, helped by mucilage produced by the cancer. [If] magnetism of organs and blood is lost, defenses toward cancer decrease, since cancer cells can be devoid of any magnetic behavior."
What causes cells to lose their magnetism? This question has no single or simple answer. One is that earth emits geopathological energy which causes people to become ill by draining their lifeforce. (See SOLSTICE #37 Asleep with a Vampire). In the 1930s German physicist Paul Dobler discovered water in underground veins radiates EM in a narrow band which can expose film placed in light opaque envelopes above the veins.
Other physicists repeated Dobler's work, but ignored results since "physics recognizes no such radiation."
Nor the Dragon.
EPA biologist Carl Blackman uncovered the Dragon in 1983 -- that local geomagnetism alters results of EM biological experiments. In Cross Currents Becker wrote, "Normal geomagnetism is an environmental variable of great consequence when we deal with basic living functions.
This is probably the single most important discovery of the century." Investigation of geomagnetism dates to 1600 when William Gilbert published De Magnete. A century later Edmund Halley crisscrossed the Atlantic Ocean to chart magnetic declination. In 25 years of geophysical and space exploration we learned a lot about geomagnetism. Efforts to map the field culminated in the 1980 launch of MAGSAT satellite, whose data advanced our knowledge appreciably.
Maps of the planet since 1983 reveal remarkable, unknown geomagnetic features. Geomagnetism is far from a static bar magnet's simple dipole with a uniform, regular grid of flux -- far more complex than originally suspected. For example, northern hemisphere has areas of reverse flux where south pole magnetism erupts out of the earth; below the South Atlantic is an intense inward reverse flux. A ring of null flux surrounds the earth near the equator; a 1980 map shows seven other null-flux curves. The map also shows areas where flux is more or less than expected.
Geomagnetic geometry isn't a simple Cartesian grid wound around a torus. It's more like a complex web whose three dimensional topology confounds the best mathematical models. It's also like wind -- it doesn't merely exist, but is constantly changing flow with direction and velocity -- and also weather, climate and season. It's an impossibly intricate tapestry of mobius threads woven into a spinning toroidal waveform.
Despite its success, no future MAGSAT missions are planned. Lack of funds also threatens to close magnetic observatories. Ironically, fewer observations are made today than 25 years ago. Science is still in the dark about magnetism.
And the Dragon.
Solid State Geology
Earth is metal mass spinning in a magnetic donut dipole. Outer crust and mantle conduct electricity poorly, and neither create nor screen geomagnetism. Molten iron in the outer core churns around a solid inner core. Liquid iron flows like water and conducts electricity better than copper. This geodynamo generates earth's magnetic field.
Earth is constantly buffeted by solar winds -- streaming plasma of ions beaming from sun's corona. Solar wind confines geomagnetism inside a comet shape called the magnetosphere -- a bubble filled with tenuous plasmas of various temperatures and densities. This gives form to Earth's ionosphere.
On the sun side solar winds compress the magnetosphere to about 10 earth radii and increase its magnitude. Downwind, solar winds expand the magnetosphere so it billows into a windsock-like structure called the magnetotail, which stretches over 1,000 earth radii. The magnetosphere looks like a dragon, with compact head facing the sun and long tail streaming out into stellar darkness.
At each geomagnetic pole is a great luminous oval -- a permanent feature of planetary anatomy: the aurora. Over 20 years ago we learned aurora occur when electron beams from solar winds interact with earth's magnetic envelope to bombard gases in the ionosphere. Ions and electrons deflect in opposite directions to generate electric currents; the voltage across the auroral oval is about 100 kv.
Thus earth's aurora is a giant generator to convert solar winds into a million megawatts of electric power. Transient solar events such as flares create shockwaves in solar wind. As shockwaves collide with the magnetosphere, power surges to over 10 million megawatts. Man-made EM is a kitchen match in a barnfire next to Gaia's EM energy.
Ride the Dragon
Auroral storms interfere with powerlines, radio, satellites, and defense systems. They also affect the EM structure of humans, often disrupting nuerological functions. Predicting these solar assaults on geomagnetic stability is important as humans expand into polar regions and space.
Geomagnetic storms increase in frequency with sunspots, which were first observed in 1610. In 1843 amateur solar observer Heinrich Schwabe found sunspots vary in a regular cycle. J. Rudolf Wolf, first director of Zurich Observatory, studied 150 years of sunspot records to find an average 11.1 year cycle, with wide variation in period and number (45 in 1804; 190 in 1957).
Sunspot magnetism is 2-3000 gauss -- thousands of times stronger than Earth's. In 1912 astronomer Edmund Hale said sunspots switch magnetic polarity at each minimum, so 11 years is really half of a cycle. Sunspots are but a visible aspect of a complex 22 year solar magnetic oscillation.
Recently cyclic variation was observed in total solar light output, known -- ironically -- as the solar constant. Satellite instruments reveal sun's visible and UV light, X-rays and charged particles dropped in 1980, flattened out in 1986, and began to rise in 1987. Solar activity fluctuates up to .2 percent over weeks; long term changes are about .1 percent.
The current sunspot cycle is the 22nd to be recorded by science, and is thought to be now near its peak. Based on current behavior, this cycle may be the highest sunspot number and activity ever yet recorded. This can heat and expand earth's upper atmosphere, alter the ozone layer, and perhaps influence climate. The 1990s will be a record setting decade.
But solar fire is only half our dilemma.
Spinning and Weaving
Time and magnetism have an intimate relation; a mystery of magnetism is the secret of time. Magnetism arises from spinning motion, and time is a circle marking cycles. Geomagnetism isn't only a complex tapestry; it also displays complex behavior. Geomagnetic science must not only map its three dimensional topology, but also read its ancient history. The geomagnetic tapestry constantly changes and is always in motion. Gaia's spinning web wanders and wobbles, pulsates and oscillates, spins and weaves.
For over a century geophysicists have observed a steady geomagnetic weakening. The dipole was much stronger 2,000 years ago; it's declined about one percent per decade. At that rate it will vanish in but 1,500 years. Most think this "decay" is merely inherent restlessness. Yet we can't dismiss that this portends a recurring geologic event: reversal of the geomagnetic poles.
In 1906 by French physicist Bernard Brunhes first proposed that earth's field reversed. The idea wasn't accepted until the 60's when J. S. B. Van Zijl studied ancient magnetism frozen in South African lava at their formation. Today data on reversals extends back 170 million years. There were nine reversals in the last 3.6 million years; the most recent was 730,000 years ago.
The dipole strength oscillates. For 98 percent of the time it's stable, but for 2 percent it's unstable and its shape not obvious. On rare occasions oscillations are so large the field reverses. Evidence is mounting the dipole's present dramatic drop is due to growing reverse flux under Africa. If this new feature forms, the dipole will further decline, and reversal may occur.
Scientists once thought geomagnetism fell to zero when reversing. This would destroy the ionosphere, allowing ultra-violet, X-ray and other radiation to scorch Earth's surface. But geomagnetism never drops to zero; it declines to perhaps 50 percent when a reversal occurs. The effects this would have is largely unknown.
In describing geomagnetic decline, Scientific American calls it "decay." However, society may decay, dying trees may decay, but geomagnetism merely contracts -- condensing, intensifying, exposing. Past magnetic field reversals were associated with species extinction.
Today we confront ozone holes, vanishing B12 and epidemics of tree deaths and AIDS. A native American clanmother, when told of this steady magnetic decline, said, "Our tradition tells if we don't respect Mother's gifts, she'll take them away one by one."
Sir Issac Newton with his apple is a European icon of this awareness. Issac never asked the question: "Who aimed the apple at my head?" Yet Newton believed the common sense of his time: Earth is a living creature. In his day farmers made ceremonies to the Mother at planting and harvest. Miners prayed before gouging into her underworld. Sadly, Newton was among the last scientists to believe in Gaia. What might Issac give for these few megabytes in my Apple McIntosh?
The apple is fruit -- the culmination of plant reproduction. It's five ovaries define its feminine identity. It's seeds contain DNA's coiled memories of the original instructions. It's sweetness is the gift of the Vegetable Mother. For all our technology and industry, humans still depend totally on green chlorophyll in plants to synthesize carbohydrates. We can't manufacture sugar, only refine it.
In the colorful Painted Desert of America's Southwest, Hopi Indian tradition tells that Creation had its genesis when Spider Woman wove the Web of Life around Earth. Images of magnetism as woman, womb and nest -- association of induction with intuition, water and vegetable mother -- all express the feminine nature of this form-making force.
So while Gaia withdraws her geomagnetic shield, a maximum solar maximum will lash our planet with tongues of plasma fire. The 1990s EM climate promises to be a record season for geomagnetic storms. These not only disrupt industry's EM infrastructures, but also interfere with human neurology to cause irrationality in individuals and social unrest in communities. The last high peak of sunspots was the late 60s and early 70s, a time of global social and political upheaval.
In China they say a dragon is born whenever an observation is made which doesn't fit the existing model of the universe. While science, industry, media, and government fumble blindfolded for the tale of this Dragon, a major planetary shift is underway. Most crucial is a paradigm shift in human thinking -- a kind of psychic pole shift. But there's still heavy resistance to this flow of change.
Said Becker in 1986, "Establishment science opposes the rise of this new paradigm. To make this worse, they control research money. If you propose a new idea to National Institutes of Health or National Science Foundation, your peers review it. It's unusual to support a paper that says your ideas are wrong."
But this shift will affect every aspect of humanity and Gaia. Our collective political paranoid aggressions called World War and Cold War spawned ELF and microwave technologies which now threaten our biological defenses and cell communications. Calling EM into question brings us face-to-face with the power supply of the power structure.
In Cross Currents Becker writes, "We implicitly attack the economic structure of the civilized world: use of electric power. Most significantly, we attack the strategic missile base of civilized nations, which depends on command, control, communications, and intelligence. Each aspect operates on EM, using frequencies which impinge on us all."
The icon of the Cold War was the Iron Curtain -- symbol of heavy metal polarity in global politics. Now, as the planet's north-south dipole declines, ozone, forests and species disappear to leave holes in Spider Woman's web. In the face of global warming, the east-west Iron Curtain is melting in a Cold War thaw.
In this degaussing of global politics, it is EM communication which is renting the veil. Due to phone, radio, TV, computers, and fax, the world is now a global village whose walls are tumbling. We all watched democracy triumph in eastern Europe, and be crushed in Tiananmen Square. In Greek myth, Hermes, with his winged serpent staff, was the communicator of the gods.
On Earth Day 1990, like Knights of the Round Table questing for the Holy Grail, America set off in search of Gaia. The millenium's last decade may see us ride the Dragon as change sweeps humans and Earth. The Dragon is transformation.
Out of Darkness
The new icon of our global age is the Apollo snapshot of Earth from the moon. Our whole earth logo is Gaia, cloaked in blue, green and white, seated on her throne surrounded by black endless space. Underworld and unconscious are also portrayed as dark realms. Even as in nature water and wood spring from dark soil, so in Oriental myth, out of winter's darkness, the Dragon rises from the earth in spring. Most often the Dragon is blue and green -- the colors of Gaia.
Modern society's EM appetite must burn fuel for energy. Unlimited, unrestricted use of EM now burns up forests, soil, water, ozone -- even rock -- at awesome rates. It's an addiction driven by irrational ambition and fear. What is it we fear?
In Oriental physiology the seat of fear is the kidneys, which control the Water element. Water's color is blue, but also black.
It's a great irony that out of black charcoal, black coal, black oil, black uranium ore we extract energy to create electric light. Even carbon and manganese in C & D cell batteries are black. Out of dark matter we derive light to drive back the darkness and illuminate our world. Invisible magnetism is the dark side of the EM force. Is it formless darkness we fear?
In its quest for ever more endless energy, industry hopes to harness atomic fusion to supply electrons to spin our industrial wheels -- a technological Eden powered by the same nuclear reactions which fuel the sun. To achieve this man-made heaven-on-earth, science must contain fusion plasma within a magnetic donut ring -- thus darkness provides a vessel to give birth to light.
The secret of light is its birth out of darkness. Over 3000 years ago Taoist sage Lao Tzu penned the Tao Te Ching:
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source,
but differ in name: this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.
Darkness creates light. What is it we fear?
Indeed, magnetism is the force which holds matter together. Magnetism creates a space within which opposites circle in balance, and likes do not rebel. It's the unifying force. It's love.
Magnetism is also memory. The first computer memory was tiny magnetic donuts threaded on six wires. In cell membranes protein-calcium strands wave at ELF, whispering the gossip of intercellular memories. Threaded on DNA's spiral, a donut-shaped ribesome slides along, unlocking the cell's original instructions for transcription. Creator gave women the eggs and the womb -- the holy chalice of inner guidance.
In 1900 L. Frank Baum published The Wizard of Oz, which quickly became America's favorite fantasy book. Baum studied ancient Hermetic science, but he knew America wasn't ready to meet the Dragon yet, so he disguised the ageless archetype. Dorothy began her adventure sucked up in a tornado and hurled -- unconscious -- over the rainbow. That spiral whirlwind vortex hides the Dragon, who took the lass on quite a spin.
At her journey's end Dorothy discovers she was empowered to return home all along. Closing her eyes and turning inward, she clicked her crystal slippers, chanting, "There's no space like AUM." Awakening from her inner journey, the first person she saw was, of course, her aunt EM.
Like Dorothy lost in Oz, it's time to expose the false wizard of emerald crystal technology. Like Dorothy imperiled by the hourglass, it's time to melt the wicked witch of East-West relations. Like Dorothy in ruby shoes, it's time to kick our EM addiction and home in on inner guidance. To wake up and say, "Good planets are hard to mind."
Turn-of-the-century America's best-selling tale is now our number one video sale. Now it's our turn to ride the Dragon through the spinning rainbow door at this final turn of the century and the millenium. This Dragon is no child's tale, so don't you be the donkey.
To obtain a copy of all four parts, plus eight pages of enclosures, contact Turtle EyeLand.
A sequel to this Return of the Dragon series is
To B12 or Not to B12?:
is this vaishing vitamin a magnetic hormone?
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Aurora: The Northern Lights in Mythology, History and Science, by Harald Falck-Ytter; Floris Books, 1983
Currents of Death, by Paul Brodeur, 1989; (first printed in The New Yorker magazine in June 1989)
Cross Currents: the Promise of Electromedicine, the Perials of Electropollution, by Robert O. Becker, MD; Jeremy Tarcher Press, 1990
The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life, by Robert O. Becker, MD; Morrow & Co., 1985
Secrets of the Soil, by Christopher Bird and Peter Tompkins: Harper & Row, 1989
Biological Effects of Power Line Fields: Final Report, by NYS Power Lines Project Scientific Advisory Panel, July 1987
Scientific American articles
"Reversals of the Earth's Magnetic Field," by Cox, Dalrymple & Doeli, February 1967
"The Aurora," by S. Akasofu, December 1963
"The Source of the Earth's Magnetic Field," by Carrigan & Gubbins, February 1979
"The Earth's Magnetotail," by E. Hones, March 1986
"Ancient Magnetic Reversals: Clues to the Geodynamo," by K. Hoffman, May 1988, pp 76-83
"The Evolution of Earth's Magnetic Field," by Bloxham & Gubbins, December 1989, pp 68-75
"The Dynamic Aurora," by S. Akasofu, May 1989, pp 90-97
"Our Variable Sun," by P. Foukal, February 1990, pp 34-41
"Fury on the Sun," by L. Jaroff, Time magazine, July 3, 1989, pp 46-56
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for a green and peaceful planet for the Seventh Generation
David Yarrow at Turtle EyeLand
c/o Broeckx, P.O. Box 6034, Albany, NY 12206 518-426-0563
*** The Green Dragon: pathways to the third millennium ***
Eve, the earthworm sez: If yer not forest, yer against us.