Let's Talk 2000

"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"

Christmas '96 Edition, December 1, 1996, Volume 2, Issue 20, a bi-weekly bulletin

Topics covered in this issue:

The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field: Talk from the Forum: New Millennial Sites: Contact Information

The Millennium Doctor Speaks:
"Taking the pulse of 2000 A.D."

I am devoting this issue of "Let's Talk 2000" to Christmas 2000 news, as travels will prevent me from putting out a mid-December issue.

If it is Christmas, then the Grinch can't be far away. Our first feature explores how an illegal Jewish settlement is being built on a confiscated mountain on the northern side of historic Bethlehem. On the eve of 2000, this land grab threatens to undermine the character of this anniversary city. If after reading this story and its related links, feel free to voice your opposition to the state of Israel over this "ethnic cleansing" financed with U.S. dollars. If you "Bcc:" me at talk2000@rmii.com and I will be glad to forward your letter of support to Bethlehem along with mine.

Thankfully, some have rallied around Bethlehem at this critical time. Read how Anglicans want to help restore Manger Square. This historic square, adjacent to the Church of the Nativity will be the primary staging ground for numerous events during Christ's 2,000th anniversary.

And finally, on a lighter side, check out the on-line Christmas card site. They are so good, they must have Hallmark worried. :-)

News from the Field:
"Here is the latest news on year 2000 efforts."

Bethlehem, West Bank--As the city of Bethlehem looks to celebrate the year 2000, it appears to have lost a key battle to preserve the very ground on which the angels sang, "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men."

In contradiction of international law and the Oslo Accords, the Israeli Supreme Court recently rejected a petition which would block construction of "Har Homa"--a controversial all-Jewish neighborhood of some 6,500 units on confiscated Arab land.

The Israeli "Peace Now" group issued a statement following the court ruling which condemns the planned construction on ethical grounds and warns of 'confrontations between Israeli and Palestinians' at the start of construction.

"Israel's development of the Har Homa complex will effectively co-opt Bethlehem's tourist economy," writes Jennifer Moorehead, a land researcher in Jerusalem. Moorehead says in her "Co-opting the Manger" feature that Israeli planners are "scrambling to capitalize on 'Bethlehem 2000'" at Har Homa with plans to build luxury hotels, souvenir shops and craft industries. If this new tourist complex is built within the borders of historic Bethlehem, it threatens to undermine the centuries-old Arab Christian olive-wood craft industry.

Human rights groups claim this latest state confiscation of private lands on the northern end of the Shepherd's Field are part of a larger systematic policy of discrimination against the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem, aimed at creating dwindling apartheid-like ghettos of Arab populations. Source: Bimillennial Press, talk2000@rmii.com

The International Committee for the Defense of Bethlehem invites concerned individuals to express their opposition to this confiscation of private land to construct an illegal settlement. You may write:
Prime Minister Netanyahu likud1@likud.org.il
Israeli Interior Minister Eli Suissa ask@israel-info.gov.il
London/Israeli Embassy isr-info@dircon.co.uk
Washington D.C./Israeli Embassy ask@israelemb.org
President Bill Clinton mailto:president@whitehouse.gov

Panama City (ACNS)--The Anglican Consultative Council passed a resolution today [October 19th] which endorses a proposal to help create a new town plan for Bethlehem's Manger Square. Anglicans were asked by the Palestinian National Authority to take part in this restoration of Bethlehem.

The project will focus on reconstructing and replanning Manger Square (the birthplace of Christ) by the year 2000. The first part of the project will study the costs of renovating the Square. It is hoped the study will involve the co-operation of other churches. President Bishop Samir Kafity of Jerusalem and the Middle East spoke movingly to the Council about the importance of Christian involvement in this project.

The town of Bethlehem is predominantly Christian and is an important centre for pilgrimage and tourism for the world Church. In the forthcoming months, the Anglican Church will be approaching potential donors to support this unique millennium project. An international Church support group will be shortly established to oversee this work. Source: Anglican Communion News Service

Vatican City--During an evening Advent service on November 30th, Pope John Paul II formally launched a three-year program within the Roman Catholic Church to prepare for celebrations of the year 2000.

According to Associated Press, the pope recited a prayer which began, "Lord of history, dispose our spirits to celebrate with faith the Great Jubilee of 2000, so that it might be a year of grace and mercy..."

Despite a series of health problems in recent years, the pope has repeatedly expressed his desire to lead the church into the third millennium.

In preparation for this deluge, two weeks ago the Vatican unveiled its new bimillennial logo. Designed on a computer by a 22-year-old Italian art student, the logo is compromised of five doves: red, orange, blue, green and grey. The doves embrace each other in a circle to form a globe, all surrounded by the Latin words "Jubilee, A.D. 2000."

In further anticipation of the Jubilee, Vatican City released 450,000 copies of a stamp series, entitled "Toward the Holy Year." Source: Bimillennial Press, talk2000@rmii.com

Talk from the Forum:
"Here is a recap of recent conversations"

To stretch our mind toward the new millennium, John Morse posted an article by Vernor Vinge on how computer-human interfaces might boost intelligence.

Vinge writes, "Within thirty years, wewill have the technological means to create superhuman intelligence. Shortly after, the human era will be ended." He continues: "Progress in computer hardware..."
> has followed an amazingly steady curve in the last few decades
> Based largely on this trend, I believe that the creation of
> greater than human intelligence will occur during the next thirty
> years. (Charles Platt has pointed out that AI enthusiasts
> have been making claims like this for the last thirty years. Just
> so I'm not guilty of a relative-time ambiguity, let me more
> specific: I'll be surprised if this event occurs before 2005 or
> after 2030.)

In response to Vinge's prophesy, leading millennial watcher Ted Daniels:
And here's precisely the problem with Vinge's prediction, as it is in every other. It relies on a continuation of a particular trend, but that's exactly what trendsnever (indefinitely) do....

>What are the consequences of this event? When greater-than-human
>intelligence drives progress, that progress will be much more rapid.

Progress? Is that still inevitable? Why not regress? It ought to be apparent that "progress" is a chimera. What's inevitable is change, with or without superhuman intelligence, and its desirability is open to question in every circumstance.

> In fact, there seems no reason why progress itself would not involve
> the creation of still more intelligent entities -- on a still-shorter
> time scale.

Isn't it interesting that everybody likes to think that what they're good at is what's going to save/destroy us. Vinge's specialty is intellect, and that's the ticket, he says. Joachim of Fiore, a late medieval abbot, thought that the third paradisiacal dispensation would transform the earth into a monastery. Pat Robertson, the politico-religious guru, thinks we need to be a theocracy.

New Millennial Sites:
"Here are new sites in cyberspace"

Get ready for 12 months of Christmas 2000 by browsing the 12 links of Christmas '96 arranged by the wacky folks of Netsurfer Digest.

ON-LINE CHRISTMAS CARDS: "Let a Cyber-card carry your Holiday Greeting "
Imagine your Mum, Dad or friend sitting at their deskwhen up pops a message saying they have received an on-line Christmas card. David Jones' "At Home" site provides this free service to up to eight of your friends.

Contact Information:
"Your link to the third millennium"

Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://hcol.humberc.on.ca/talk2000.htm
Talk 2000 Newsgroup: bit.listserv.2000ad-l

Subscribe to daily Talk 2000 E-mail Forum: listproc@usc.edu
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Submissions of newsworthy items: 2000ad-l@usc.edu
Publisher & editor: talk2000@rmii.com
Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
author, The Star of 2000
(719) 636-2000 Phone
Publication keywords: millennium, society, groups
LET''S TALK 2000 © 1996 Bimillennial Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
LET''S TALK 2000 is a trademark of Bimillennial Press, Inc.