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Overview of the Chinese New Year

Article Summary: The first day of the first lunar month is the start of the Chinese New Year and this important celebration lasts for fifteen days. The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China and is also celebrated throughout Asia, not only in China. The Chinese zodiac, a twelve-year cycle, and the heavenly stems, a ten-year cycle, all coincide with the Chinese New Year.

chinese new year The Chinese Year is celebrated on the first day of the first lunar month and lasts for 15 days. The Chinese New Year is the major Chinese holiday and is also celebrated throughout Asia, not only in China. There are two cycles that coincide with the Chinese New Year the twelve-year animal zodiac and the ten-year heavenly stems.
The first Chinese New Year was a celebration due to the banishment of a horrid beast, Nian (translation - Year). Nian would arrive at villages on the first day of the New Year and eat all off the food and people, especially children, as it could. Villagers would leave out food hoping to make it full before it could eat anyone. It was soon discovered that red frightened Nian and red lanterns would be hung out. Soon Nian was scared off for good. This myth is considered the reason for the Chinese New Year celebrations. Traditionally the Chinese New Year uses red lanterns and firecrackers to celebrate.

The period around the Chinese New Year is known as the largest migration time in China as the New Year is a time to visit friends and relatives and many individuals travel to return home and visit with family. The day before the Chinese New Year the home will be cleaned from top to bottom to sweep away the bad luck from the preceding year and welcome in good luck. Other traditions like wearing new clothes and getting a haircut are also included in having a new start.
Specific days of the New Year have specific traditions. The first day of the New Year welcomes the deities of heaven and earth. All meals are prepared a day in advance as knives and lighting fires are considered to be bad luck. The most senior family members are visited on this day. On the second day any married women can visit their birth parents and prayers are sent up to the gods and ancestors.

The third and fourth days of the New Year are not traveling says as it is thought that individuals will argue more easily as well as being respectful to the dead particularly or any family that may have died within the past three years. The fifth day dumplings are traditionally eaten, as this say is the birthday of the Chinese god of wealth.
The seventh day is the commons man birthday and it is on this day that everyone turns one year older. Traditionally a raw fish salad is consumes. On the ninth day individuals will pray to the Jade Emperor of Heaven, as this is his birthday. Offerings of sugarcane are made and tea is drunk to honor a particular chosen individual. On the fifteenth day or last day of the New Year. Is the lantern festival where candles are lit outside homes to guide spirits home.

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Henry KH Fong
Henry Fong Feng Shui Consultant More on Feng Shui Apartment

The Sphinx

It's dead eyes look out over the ageless sands. Sands that saw a great civilization rise out of the nothingness of the desert and become one of the greatest that this world has ever seen. It is the inscrutable Sphinx, an ancient statue with the head of a man and the body of a lion. The giant statue of the Sphinx is sort of the Mona Lisa of statues. The facial expression has intrigued people for thousands of years. It is said that this great monument was built by the Egyptians around 4,500 years ago.

What is a Sphinx?

sphinx egypt It was an ancient mythical beast that symbolized the pharaoh as the incarnation of Ra who was the sun god. Lest you think that only Egypt had a sphinx let me set the record straight. The sphinx was common at the time through out the Middle East and even in Greece.The sphinx didn't always have the respect it garners today. If you look at it, you will notice that the nose is broken off. It is said that Napoleon's Grand Army used it for target practice and knocked the nose off with cannon fire. This may not be true and it may have been the Turks who pried off the nose many hundreds of years before the French Army ever came to Egypt. It is suspected that this was done for religious reasons.


Some people are sure that the Sphinx wasn't really built by the Egyptians. They claim that it is at least 10,000 years old and that the ancient Egyptians respected it and this is why the pyramids were built in the same area. But why would someone say that the Sphinx is this old? Lets start this discussion with the 'sleeping prophet', Edgar Cayce. He was the most accurate prophet of modern times. He would go into a sleep like trance and his secretary would record everything he said. In 1935, while in a trance, he began to talk about the Sphinx. He stated that a hidden cache of records was buried under the paws of the Sphinx by a civilization that had vanished. He claimed that this race had created the Sphinx over 12,500 years ago, which is much further back in the past than the accepted theory.
This isn't the only theory that dates the Sphinx back this far. Some scientists have examined the Sphinx and came to the conclusion that the statue is suffering from water damage that caused erosion. But the region has been dry for over 8,000 years. This would mean that the monument would have to be older than 8,000 years increasing the chance that Cayce could have been right.

Now here is a question for you, if some ancient race was smart enough to build the Sphinx is there any other evidence around that they could have built other things of equal or greater magnitude? To find out the answer to this we have to examine things that are older than 12,500 years., but lets make it 10,000 years because the dates are unsure.

monoliths underwater japan The Monoliths found under the water near the coast of Japan are now believed to be up to 10,000 years old. Unfortunately this is controversy on whether they are man made or created by some freak of nature they just happened to use water that carved steps, platforms, and faces. Science now believes that Stone Age people knew how to make wine, yogurt and cheese so maybe some were a lot more advanced than we previously believed. In Zambia a Manganese mine was found that was over 28,000 years old. Mysterious cement cylinders ranging from 40 to 75 inches in diameter and up to 100 inches long were found on the Isle of Pines. The cement was speckled with iron gravel and silica. The cylinders are believed to be up to 13,000 years old but their purpose hasn't been determined. Stone ovens for cooking were discovered that were over 28,000 years old. They were located in Japan and showed that people of this time were a lot more sophisticated then was ever suspected.
Even if a lost race didn't build the Sphinx, it may have been possible for some ancient peoples to have built it. I only cited a few examples of ancient technology. I could have went on to say that there are thousands of miles of ancient aqueducts under Iran that are old enough to rival the 10,000 year old date for the Sphinx. I could also have said that if you study the positions of the stars 12,500 years ago, it matches the present positions of the pyramids, making their known dates of construction suspect. I didn't mention the pyramids because there is so much overwhelming evidence to indicate that they are dated correctly. Anyone who has watched the History Channel knows this. But it does make you wonder why this coincidence occurs? Could it have been that the pyramids were partially constructed by some superior race who never finished them and the ancient Egyptians did? This might account for the fact of the alignment and perfect angles that seem to be beyond the capabilities of any ancient race. We might have just had the sphinx and several unfinished pyramids in the beginning. This would also account for the evidence showing the Egyptians built the pyramids because they would have partially built them.

The Sphinx faces due east so it can see the rising sun. It is believed that the head was altered several times and that the original head might have been that of a lion. In 1978 two passageways were found, one behind the head the other on the tail. Most of the monument was under the sand until it was completely dug out in 1925. The Sphinx is not built from quarried rock like the pyramids but carved out of the actual bedrock of the area. Sphinx means strangler. The ancient Greeks gave that name to a creature that had the head of a woman, the body of a lion and the wings of a bird. The statue is the largest ever made on site by man. The Sphinx was built along with a temple. and some other structures. The bedrock it is built out of is known as the Muqqatam Formation and is about 50 million years old. The Sphinx is 238 feet long and 66 feet high. The eyes are 6 feet high and the nose would have been almost 5 feet high. When it was built, a scale of about 22:1 was used for the lion's body but the head used a scale of about 30:1. A shaft was drilled behind the head in the 19th century. Since the statue was buried for most of its existence in sand, it was protected from erosion. Now that it is exposed, it is crumbling.

The final word on the Sphinx by Edgar Cayce was that the secret room under it would be discovered in 1998 but this fact wouldn't be shared with the world until many years later.

Kenneth J. McCormick. Ken is the webmaster of About Facts Net. This is an interesting free internet magazine. The articles are suitable for family viewing and often contain photos, video and audio. Copyright © 2005 by About Facts Net and its licensors. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to reprint this article if all links are left intact and no changes made. This means that everything including this notice must be copied.

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Near Death Experience

We have all heard of near death experiences. Is there a light that we all head for? Are there guides that appear to take us to our promised reward? Some people say that they have experienced just that. They have seen the light and were drawn out of their bodies and some met relatives who were waiting for them to take them to through the heavenly light.

Does everyone who has a near death experience see the light? Apparently not, one study of 344 patients showed that only 8% to 12 % of survivors of cardiac arrest had near death experiences. I do not understand why a study is not more precise, 8% to 12% ? I guess some of the survivors were not sure if they had near death experiences or not. Strictly speaking, near death experiences, are not recognized by any recognized religion has having to happen. Not everyone refers to the near death experience as a near death experience, but some call it an after death experience. If you define death as the soul leaving the body than this would mean that the soul would have to re-enter the body when you are revived. All this assumes that you believe in a soul.

near death

Some people who have had such experiences have awoken with new abilities that they didn't have before, others experienced horrific things that changed their lives in many cases. So you see not all the experiences were the same for everyone.

A story was reported by a local TV new network of a girl who had her chest crushed in a car accident. She stopped breathing for over three minutes. "My next experience was really lying on the ground outside of the car, and it was actually an out-of-body experience that I had," The woman stated that she was actually floating above the car and she could see everyone working on her.

The British Medical Journal Lancet states that over seven million people have reported such experiences and that after careful study it felt that they were true experiences.

There are many accounts of near death or after death experiences listed on the web. One woman states she had tried to commit suicide by taking pills and was brought to a hospital. She felt herself floating above her body and could look down and see it. She felt herself traveling through a tunnel and met a women who was dressed in white. There were many people there who, she felt, were to stay there forever. She had the feeling that these people were criminals of the worst type. She could feel intense suffering. She woke up in the hospital and from that point on she changed her life for the better.

He was an atheist, but he isn't anymore. He had a near death experience about twenty years ago that changed his life. He died in the hospital but realized that he was standing. He spoke to his wife who was in the room but she didn't answer. He then saw his body in the bed. He could hear voices calling him in the hall. He saw a hazy light but couldn't make out the shape of the people but he followed them. They began to beat him and he struggled. He was surrounded by thousands and they were tearing his flesh off and eating him. He began praying and this enraged the beings who yelled that there was no God. He realized however that they were leaving and God was driving them off. He yelled for Jesus to save him and a light appeared. He saw a being in the light who was about eight feet tall. The being healed his torn body and he was sent back to earth.

With the amount of near death experiences there are, every type of person is affected. A PhD in biology experienced this phenomena and it changed her life forever. She had an out of body experience and she says she was taken to another reality. She stated that it surprised her since her life as a scientist had not trained her for this experience. She also acquired the ability to heal when she returned. She now believes that there is really no death and we just transform from physical to spiritual and there is nothing to fear.

Another man had just recovered from a heart attack and was eating his lunch in his hospital bed when his heart stopped beating. He was shocked for over ten minutes but didn't recover and was declared dead. When the attendant from the morgue came up to get him he suddenly revived. He had been dead for over twenty minutes. When he awoke his personality was completely changed. He became very spiritual and helpful and wrote a couple of books about his experience.

Near death experience is nothing new. People were telling other people about this for thousands of years. The funny part of this is that many of the stories that were told back then were similar to the stories being told now. There is a story that is said to come from the 700s where a man who had died suddenly came back to life. He told those who were around him that he had seen a light and that a handsome man was guiding him. He said that he must now live a different life.

Is it a coincidence that so many that report of this experience report the same thing? When asked about this some neurologists were of the opinion that when one dies certain synapses in the brain fire causing the sensation of light, but this really doesn't explain the rest of the story, such as the guide, the floating, knowing what happened after you died, etc. No doubt there is something to this, but there will always be people who will reticule those who believe it. Near death experiences are sometimes treated the same as UFO abductions. As I said before, over seven million people had reported having this experience and who knows how many others had it but didn't report it. Can they all be lying, crazy or frauds?

By Kenneth J. McCormick. Ken is the webmaster of About Facts Net. This is an interesting free internet magazine. The articles are suitable for family viewing and often contain photos, video and audio. Copyright © 2005 by About Facts Net and its licensors. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to reprint this article if all links are left intact and no changes made. This means that everything including this notice must be copied.

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Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is the hot topic on many boards today. It is also the hot topic in many laboratories and software houses. The military is trying to harness it to replace humans, the game houses are trying to control it to make games more realistic and the appliance makers and homebuilders are trying to perfect it to make our lives easier. One of the great questions is, is artificial intelligence a good thing? It sure seems like it, doesn't it?

What is artificial intelligence life?

artifical intelligence life Imagine coming home from a rough day at the office and your intelligent washer and dryer have not only washed and dried your clothes, but folded them as well. You meal is waiting for you, but it was not prepared by human hands, instead your intelligent refrigerator has sent food to your oven which cooked it for you. You TV has turned itself on and switched to your favorite station, so you might enjoy your meal with your favorite program. When you are done eating, the dishes are collected by a robotic machine and put into the dishwasher. An intelligent vacuum cleaner comes out and cleans the area where you were eating so that any crumbs that might have fallen were picked up immediately.

You decide you want to talk to a few friends, so you tell your television that you want to make some phone calls and it connects you to several people at the same time creating a conference call, except you can see each person in a square on the TV. You talk for a while and then hang up. You feel like playing a game so you tell the TV and it replies," Name of Game Please and Play Human or Me?" If you decide to play a human you are immediately connected to the internet, if not, you are about to play one of the toughest opponents, the computer which is integrated into your TV. Oh look, here comes the dog, a dog you never have to feed. It is the Sony dog, a slick little robotic dog that acts much like a real dog. You play with it for a while, but you get the urge. Into the bathroom you go. The toilet will examine all your waste products and if anything is wrong it will contact your doctor right away. Now you decide to go to bed and enter a room where clouds sail over the ceiling. You lay down and a soothing voice asks "What time shall I wake you and what sounds would you like to hear?" You tell the voice (it really is part of the computer in your TV) to wake you at 7:00 am and to play ocean sounds for 10 minutes.

Does all this sound good?

Much of the above exists already. As we create smarter and smarter devices are we getting near creating life? At what point does something become aware? Can a computer ever become so smart that it is a living being? Some people think that we are nothing more than organic computers that were programmed and offer our genes as proof. One of the problems that exist today is how to tell if something is truly alive. If we were to build the perfect robot that could interact with humans without being detected as a machine, would it be considered alive? Many would say yes and many would say no. The yes people would say that because the robot can make decisions on its own that are the equivalent of decisions that a human would make than it must be alive. The no people would argue that it is simply following a program created by man and it is a machine without a soul.

If we taught an animal to react a certain way under certain conditions would this mean he was programmed and not alive? If we offer our dog a bone but only give it to him if he sits up and begs does this mean he is not alive but programmed? It seems that programming is not exclusive to life or self-awareness. Some says that computers are just a bunch of electrical circuits. I would have to remind them that without electricity the human body would be just a pile of skin, bones and organs. It seems that we have now eliminated electricity as being a reason to deny life to machines. Then there are those that say that computers are not alive because they only know what is programmed into them.

I would have to remind these people that there are dynamic programs out there that allow machines to learn on their own. After all, isn't that the way we learn, we are programmed (school) and we also learn some things on our own (dynamic programming)? Neural networks are developing that mimic the behavior of our human brains. Computer 'creatures' have been created that can learn, age, procreate and finally die. Of course these creatures are very primitive by our standards.
Life certainly is not easy to define. Webster's Dictionary states that life is "The quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body." It would seem that the Webster people considered only organic beings as being capable of life since they decided that a dead body was necessary for non-life. Yet there is a second definition by Webster that states that life is a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings. Being animate is now made a requirement for life.

Both the Soviet Union and the United States had built, during the cold war, what at the time were considered super computers that could make split second decisions on whether to launch missiles against countries which had launched missiles against them and both systems proved to be flawed. This proved that it is not so easy to teach a machine how to be able to plan for every contingency. We have advanced quite a bit from those days. Now many of us have more powerful computers on our desks then those super computers of old. At some point we are going to be able to communicate with our computers the same way we communicate with another human. When this happens, what will we have? If we can actually get an intelligent conversation out of our computer then, at least, some people may begin to wonder what we have created. Imagine that someday you want to remove a part from the computer for use somewhere else and the computer complains. Will you feel that maybe the computer is becoming self-aware?

Now here is a question that really shakes things up. If we are able someday to download the contents of a human brain into a machine, will that machine become self aware, in other words, will it be alive? Just think of it, a machine that acts just like you. This may be much more far fetched, but what if we could download the contents of an intelligent machine into a human brain, would that person cease to be human and living? We would probably still have to consider him alive since the organic functions were still operating. I guess as time goes by we are getting closer and closer to machine life and someday someone will have to decide if machine life is really life at all.
Copyright © 2004 by About Facts Net and its licensors. All rights reserved. Ken is the webmaster of About Facts Net. This is an interesting free internet magazine. The articles are suitable for family viewing and often contain photos, video and audio. Permission is granted to copy this article if it is published unchanged and all links are kept intact. That means that everything including this notice, including this notice must be copied.

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