Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Autumnal Equinox

According to Infoplease:

At the autumnal equinox (Sept. 23, 2006, 12:03 A.M. EDT), the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south; this marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere

On the date of either equinox, the sun is above the equator and night and day are of approximately equal length; the word equinox is often used to refer to either of these dates.

The equinoxes are not fixed points on the celestial sphere but move westward along the ecliptic, passing through all the constellations of the zodiacin 26,000 years. This motion is called the precession of the equinoxes. The vernal equinox is a reference point in the equatorial coordinate system.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

World Peace Day

In honor of the International Day of World Peace - 21 September - I would like to post this prayer by L. Ron Hubbard - the Scientology Prayer for Total Freedom

May the author of the universe enable all men to reach an understanding of their spiritual nature.

May awareness and understanding of life expand, so that all may come to know the author of the universe.

And may others also reach this understanding which brings Total Freedom.

At this time, we think of those whose liberty is threatened; of those who have suffered imprisonment for their beliefs; of those who are enslaved or martyred, and for all those who are brutalised, trapped or attacked.

We pray that human rights will be preserved so that all people may believe and worship freely, so that freedom will once again be seen in our land.

Freedom from war, and poverty, and want; freedom to be; freedom to do and freedom to have.

Freedom to use and understand man’s potential — a potential that is God-given and Godlike.

And freedom to achieve that understanding and awareness that is Total Freedom.

May God let it be so.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Freedom Magazine Human Rights Leadership Awards

I'm an avid reader of Freedom Magazine, because I find that their research is impeccable and they go after stories that are of vital importance, but that media, tied by the money and editorial policies set by their major advertisers, won't touch.

Last night, Freedom held its annual Human Rights Leadership Awards event.

It was held at Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill. actress Anne Archer presented awards to Congressman Dan Burton (R – IN), Robert K. Goodwin, President and CEO of the Points of Light Foundation, and Lisa Thompson the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for the Salvation Army USA National Headquarters.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Joy of Learning to Help

Such a great group of happy kids! This is a photo of one of the first Scientology graduations on Kinmen Island.

The young people have just completed Scientology Volunteer Ministers training on one or more of the booklets, based on the chapters of the Scientology Handbook.

I found this at the Scientology Press Office web site.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A writer with a future

I found this great article about a winner of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest this year:

By Tracy Holmes Black Press
Sep 10 2006

Lee Beavington writes in the same environment he sleeps in – flanked by books, music, dragons and cheetahs, under an umbrella of glow-in-the-dark stars.

He laughs when he reflects on the multitude of life passions that ever-morphing environment represents - from music, dance, running and science to reading, writing, travel and philosophizing.

There's too many for one lifetime, he says.

But as he pursues them all – some concurrently, others when he gets a spare moment – there's one he's taking particular pride in these days.

His writing has finally made it onto bookstore shelves.

"To actually hold it in my hand at the bookstore... was the affirmation of a lifelong dream – to have my words in print in a bookstore," he said of L. Ron Hubbard's Writers of the Future Volume 22.

"It was an amazing feeling to have fulfilled that dream."

Beavington, 27, learned last year his sci-fi novella Evolution's End was one of 12 chosen from submissions worldwide for Hubbard's 2006 anthology. The book's touted to feature "the best new science fiction and fantasy of the year," and has been described as a roadmap showcasing the future of science fiction.

The honour also earned the Kwantlen University College biology instructor a trophy, $1,500, and a chance to rub shoulders with the likes of authors Tim Powers and Anne McCaffrey in San Diego.

Powers is a well-known science fiction/fantasy author; McCaffrey's best-known for her Dragonriders of Pern series. She's also a Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master.

Beavington sat across from McCaffrey last month during an autograph session in San Diego – held the same week as the Writers of the Future 2006 awards ceremony – to sign copies of the just-released anthology at the same time McCaffrey captivated fans.

"To be in the same line with her was pretty amazing," he said.

"There's just awe in people's eyes as they get to talk to her."

Awe and wonder are huge drivers behind the South Surrey man's passion. They're what's held him riveted since he started reading fantasy, and are what he tries to evoke in his own writing. He writes mainly science fiction and fantasy, but has dabbled over the years in everything from memoirs to fairy tales.

He's inspired by the likes of Isaac Asimov, and credits Aldous Huxley's Brave New World with expanding his perspective on virtually every aspect of life – of the world – from writing to spirituality.

"I realized you could write science fiction in all these other genres that have something deeper to them," he explained.

Just as he has too many passions for one lifetime, Beavington admits his list of story ideas has grown far beyond what he could ever put to paper. The ideas come from "all sorts of places," he said. The roots of Evolution's End, for example, come from the biology lab at Kwantlen.

The story details three explorers' discovery of single-celled organisms on a 15-billion-year-old planet, and the chilling mystery behind why it's the only lifeform there.

Travel is another inspiration. He started a novel this summer, while on a houseboat in India, inspired by the backwaters of Kerala.

"Travel gets my brain thinking in a different way," he said.

Though he's been writing for more than a decade, Beavington said his Writers of the Future win is "the beginning" for him.

"It's nice to have that recognition. It gave my confidence a boost."

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

L., Ron Hubbard - Writers of the Future

Here's a great example of how L. Ron Hubbard's love of creativity and care for artists has is a legacy that continues to help artists to this very day.

It is the Writers of the Future and Illustrators of the Future contest, which gives people new to the industry an opportunity to be read and seen:

HOLLYWOOD, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 14, 2006 -- Three out of every 10,000 manuscripts submitted to the publishing industry in the United States each year gets published. In the science fiction and fantasy genre, all publishing houses combined release only 1,800 novels annually, most of them written by established authors. So recognition seldom comes quickly to new writers, particularly in the genre of speculative fiction. Many aspiring writers facing those kinds of odds soon discover how hard it is to get published and give up on their dreams to see their novels and stories in print.

One program that has successfully helped talented new writers gain recognition and bring them to the attention of publishers is the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, see, now in its 23rd year.

Every quarter, three winners are selected by a judge's panel of leading authors of science fiction and fantasy including Anne McCaffrey, Tim Powers, Kevin J. Anderson and Robert Sawyer. With no entry fee and judging done on an anonymous basis, the criterion is strictly merit.

Besides first time publication in the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future -- the best-selling anthology series of its kind -- benefits include $30,000 in cash prizes and royalties, a writing workshop with top professionals of the genre, critiques of writing skills by well known authors as well as book signings, radio and TV interviews organized by the contest administrators to assist the new authors to get launched. Winners also form a strong community and stay in touch and support each other.

Fantasy writer Tim Powers and such other successful authors in the genre, as Orson Scott Card and Algis Budrys have conducted the workshop, which in addition to honing writing skills also covers public relations and marketing advice to help launch winner's careers. The intensive mentoring process works -- past winners of the Contest have had over 300 novels and more than 3,000 short stories published, creating sales of over 30 million books and a number of New York Times bestsellers.

This year's L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Achievement Awards Ceremony will take place August 18th at the San Diego Air & Space Museum with celebrity presenters, guests and winners from around the globe. Professionals and fans are invited to attend and can r.s.v.p. at 323/466-3310.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Scientology Volunteer Ministers India Goodwill Tour

One of my favorite series of stories on the Scientology Press office web site are the stories of the Scientology Volunteer Ministers in India.

This photo tells it all, I think -- a photo of the "free school" a Scientology Volunteer Minister set up in the slums of Calcutta.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Scientology Disaster Response Team Looks Back

Clad in their trademark yellow shirts with the “Volunteer Minister” emblem, the disaster response team of the Church of Scientology starting arriving just hours after the first World Trade Center Tower went down. According to the NY Times, they were one of most well-organized, and most evident volunteer groups at the scene of the 9/11 disaster.

In the first few days, the Ministers dug in the rubble, distributed food, and brought cold drinks to the first responders at the World Trade Center. They organized supplies of clean masks, replacement boots and hardhats. But they brought something unique to the site: a kind of spiritual first-aid, in the form of assists techniques created by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to help an individual recover more rapidly from fatigue, trauma, and injury.

“What we had to offer was crucial: the first responders’ ability to continue their search for anyone who might still be alive,” said Rev. John Carmichael, President of the Church of Scientology of New York. “We were able to help them remain alert and aware, even when the magnitude of the disaster was overwhelming. They told us, in person, in letters, and even years later, how much it meant to them to have that assistance when they needed it.”

The techniques, says Rev. Carmichael, can be as simple as directing the attention of the individual to objects in his environment, one after another, until he is able to pay attention easily to his physical surroundings. Others are a bit more complicated, but all can be learned by anyone, of any faith, from materials in the Volunteer Minister handbook.
In honor of the anniversary of 911, please permit me to pay tribute to all of the Volunteer Ministers and everyone else who gave of themselves in the weeks, months and years after 911. We will never forget.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Interesting Speech

I just found a copy of a speech by David Miscavige on the Scientology Volunteer Ministers program. He really puts it in the right perspective.

Nice Statement by Penelope Cruz

"Scientology is positive. When you read a book of Buddhism, you could apply it to your life in any way you need to, so with a book of Scientology it's the same thing.

"I think we should respect all religions."

New Scientology News Site

Here is an excerpt from the new Scientology News Site. Visit the site for tons of useful information and news.

Scientology Volunteer Ministers Take a Stand Against Crime in Fiji

L. Ron Hubbard discovered effective technology to rehabilitate criminals, which the Scientology Volunteer Ministers South Pacific Goodwill Tour is sharing with those responsible for handling crime in the nation of Fiji.

Yellow shirts mingled with blue ones on the first day of Crime Prevention Week, when the Church of Scientology Volunteer Ministers South Pacific Goodwill Tour brought their anti-crime initiative to the police.

With recidivism rates averaging between 47 - 53% and a parliamentary paper conceding last year that despite the staff/prisoner ratio being 1 to 10 the prison population exceeds capacity, government and law enforcement officials alike know they need effective solutions to combat this problem.

Having a great concern, not only for the social ramifications of a prison population that goes back into society only to wreak further harm on their fellow, but also for the lives and future of the criminals themselves, L. Ron Hubbard posed the following question:

If one sincerely hopes to rehabilitate a criminal population then this is the factor one must consider: Where did they lose their self-respect?

Noting this as the key point that needs to be addressed, he discovered technology to rehabilitate this precious commodity, and had it included in a chapter of the Scientology Handbook, the textbook used to train Scientology Volunteer Ministers: the "Honesty and Integrity" chapter of the Scientology Handbook , which has also been published as a booklet by the same name.
And when they looked at the information in the booklet, it made so much sense to them that one of the divisional commanders decided to have all his officers do the course based on this information.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Gorgeous New Site!

I love the new Scientology News web site. It is beautiful. And so easy to navigate.

I've subscribed to it and made it my homepage too!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Fifty-eight years after its adoption, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights comes to life in 30 new public service announcements.

United Nations officials, representatives of different embassies and celebrities joined actress Anne Archer and 120 delegates from 25 nations from across the globe at an international youth summit honoring human rights heroes. This event featured a new tool for teaching people what their human rights are with 30 public service announcements, each portraying a different article of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Read the press release here.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Radio Freedom has functioned in Denmark for the past 19 years. It was founded by a group of Scientologists from Copenhagen, who founded the association Active Scientologists Radio Association in 1987. It focuses on improvements in the quality of life through culture, human rights, education, health care and environmental matters. The name Radio Freedom was chosen because it means freedom to be heard and have an opportunity to present one’s views without being interrupted by a journalist, the audience of an opponent. This is the main difference between Radio Freedom and other radio stations, in that they give priority to information not sensation.