Sophont
Saturday, November 29, 2003
 
jwz - zee dem driffen before you: "Apparently Buy Nothing Day went very well this year...

Woman knocked unconscious by trampling shoppers: Patricia VanLester had her eye on a $29 DVD player, but when the siren blared at 6 a.m. Friday announcing the start to the post-Thanksgiving sale, the 41-year-old was knocked to the ground by the frenzy of shoppers behind her. [...] Paramedics called to the store found VanLester unconscious on top of a DVD player, surrounded by shoppers seemingly oblivious to her, said Mark O'Keefe, a spokesman for EVAC Ambulance. [...]

Ellzey said Wal-Mart officials called later Friday to ask about her sister, and the store apologized and offered to put a DVD player on hold for her. 'We are very disappointed this happened,' Burk said. 'We want her to come back as a shopper.' "

 
The Calm Before The Storm: An Interview With Dr. Gilbert Levin: "One of the Principal Investigators for the NASA Viking biology team was Dr. Gilbert V. Levin who invented and built the Viking Labeled Release Experiment. His experiment tested the soil of Mars nine times at two different landing sites under different temperature regimes and environmental conditions. All his data point to microbes metabolizing a nutrient solution and giving off an indicative radioactive CO2 gas. In 1997, Levin simultaneously reported in my book MARS: THE LIVING PLANET and in an Astrobiology Proceedings paper for the SPIE, that his experiment definitely detected living organisms on the surface of Mars. He has been highly criticized by many of his peers, but certainly not all. With the recent smoking gun evidence of meandering river channels on Mars formed by liquid water, the odds that Mars once had life and still has life today have gone up significantly.

In the following conversation I talk with Dr. Levin about his early work as a Sanitary Engineer and how it got him involved with NASA and the search for life on Mar"

Friday, November 28, 2003
 
Talking Street: "A Cell Phone Walking Tour
Explore the Jewish Lower East Side with Jerry Stiller

A century ago, New York's Lower East Side became one of the most crowded and dynamic places on earth. This cell phone walking tour will take you into a world of tenements and sweatshops, radicals and capitalists, artists and gangsters "

Get the map, choose a stop, call the number and listen — it's as easy to use as an audio guide in a museum.

Anyone with a cell phone can enjoy the tour at any time. The tour is free, but your own cell phone charges still apply.

The toll-free number is 1-800-644-3545.

There are 13 stops, and each lasts about two minutes. You can visit them in any order you want, at your own pace.

 
Asimov's Message Board: "By Matt Jarpe on Saturday, November 22, 2003 - 01:10 pm:

Here's my favorite story about genetic modification. I've told it on this message board before, so I appologize in advance to those who have heard it. A few years ago there were some scientists studying an interesting class of genes, the transforming growth factor family. One of the ways they study them is to 'knock out' one gene at a time in mice. They knocked out one of them and the mice that were born looked like Arnold Schwartzenager (in his Conan days, not govenor days).

They figured out that this protein's job was to dampen down muscle growth. It was made in muscle cells and signaled to other nearby stem cells that the muscle needs in that region of the body were covered. You knock out the gene and the muscles don't know when to quit.

So, these guys publish their paper and then they start thinking, how can we make money off of this? You can't use it for body building because it has to be knocked out from conception, and nobody's ready to do that to a human. Not yet, anyway.

But there is the meat production industry. Muscle is the money making part of the cow, the rest is just life support. If you increase the proportion of the body that's muscle, you make more money (even though you have to feed the cow a lot more to get the muscle, it's still probably more efficient.) So, let's knock out myostatin (as the gene came to be called) and we'll have Schwartzeagger cows.

Well, it turns out Mother Nature, with the help of some selective breeding by cattle farmers, beat these guys to the prize. There is a breed of cattle in Europe called a Belgian Blue that is 'double muscled.' A quick gene sequence confirmed that these cows lack functional myostatin.

Funny thing is, if a myostatin knock out cow hit the market, there would be protests against Frankenfoods. Do the same thing by selective breeding and it's hey, make mine medium rare."

 
A 20-year plague | CNET News.com: "Of all the accomplishments in the annals of technology, Fred Cohen's contribution is undeniably unique: He introduced the term 'virus' to the lexicon of computers.

The University of New Haven professor used the phrase in a 1984 research paper, in which he described threats self-propagating programs pose and explored potential defenses against them. When he asked for funding from the National Science Foundation three years later to further explore countermeasures, the agency rebuffed him.

'They turned it down,' said Cohen, who is also principal analyst for research firm Burton Group. 'They said it wasn't of current interest.'"

Wednesday, November 26, 2003
 
CNN.com - Body parts found in leaking FedEx package - Nov. 9, 2003: "KIRKWOOD, Missouri (AP) -- FedEx workers discovered a shipment of two human legs and an arm when one of the boxes was found leaking at a company depot, police said.

A Las Vegas donor research company sent the limbs to a man who sells body parts to doctors for use in research projects, Kirkwood police spokeswoman Diane Scanga said. The FBI, state agencies and local police determined no laws were broken, she said.

The shipment was discovered Wednesday when one of the boxes was found leaking at a FedEx depot in nearby St. Louis. Workers learned each package contained a limb, wrapped in dry ice.

Police refused to identify the man, who was issued a warning for apparently operating an unlicensed home business.

It is against FedEx policy to ship body parts, said Howard Clabo, a spokesman for the Memphis-based company."

Tuesday, November 18, 2003
 
Inmate at women's prison is discovered to be a man: "An inmate at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women was moved to an isolation cell Monday after the prisoner said he is a man and a physical examination verified it.

Billie Jo Hawks, 43, of Battletown, had been admitted to the women's prison near Pewee Valley on Oct.22 and was housed in a dorm with female inmates. For eight months before that, Hawks was held in the women's section of the Meade County Detention Center on convictions of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance and cultivating marijuana.

Lisa Lamb, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, said she was prohibited by federal law protecting the privacy of health information from disclosing details about the physical exam of Hawks on Monday."

jaynote: I am so sure that this is exactly what the Senate and Congress had in mind when drafting the HIPPA laws.

Sunday, November 16, 2003
 
Rocket Man Blog: NOAA-N Prime Accident Investigation: "The reason the spacecraft fell over was because the 24 bolts that attached an adapter plate to the rotation fixture were not in place, and the recently completed accident investigation determined the sequence of events that led up to the failure."



 
Fast Company | The Wal-Mart You Don't Know: "Bain & Co., the global management consulting firm, is in the midst of a project that asks, How does a company have a healthy relationship with Wal-Mart? How do you avoid being sucked into the vortex? How do you maintain some standing, some leverage of your own?

Bain's first insights are obvious, if not easy. 'Year after year,' Carey, a partner at Bain & Co., says, 'for any product that is the same as what you sold them last year, Wal-Mart will say, 'Here's the price you gave me last year. Here's what I can get a competitor's product for. Here's what I can get a private-label version for. I want to see a better value that I can bring to my shopper this year. Or else I'm going to use that shelf space differently.' '"

 
The Onion | Mom Finds Out About Blog: MINNEAPOLIS, MN—In a turn of events the 30-year-old characterized as "horrifying," Kevin Widmar announced Tuesday that his mother Lillian has discovered his weblog.

"Apparently, Mom typed [Widmar's employer] Dean Healthcare into Google along with my name and, lo and behold, PlanetKevin popped up," Widmar said. "I'm so fucked."

........"God, my links alone contain unlimited fodder for Mom's neuroses," Widmar said. "She'll have access to not only my life, but the lives of all my friends who have web sites. She'll have the names of all the places in Minneapolis where we hang out, which she can—and will—look up. With the raw materials in my blog, she could actually construct an accurate picture of who I am. This is fucking serious."

"To think that I was happy that Mom was e-mailing instead of calling ever since [Widmar's sister] Karen got her online last year," he added. "I didn't see the danger."

According to Widmar, there's "no fucking chance" that Lillian will simply give the site a cursory look and never return.

"Mom loves hearing every boring detail of her kids' lives," he said. "She'd want to know what I'm eating for dinner every night, if she could. This blog is like porn for her."

"Come to think of it, why do I sometimes write about what I ate for dinner?" Widmar asked.

 
Tom's Nap Room: The Fire Down Below: "The interesting thing about this town is that it is a true ghost town. The reason it is a ghost town is even more interesting. It is directly over a mine fire.

This little town was like any town in the early sixties. A small community town. They even had a little pit outside of town where they burned their garbage. The only trouble was the pit sat directly on a vein of Anthricite coal which was exposed. The garbage fire lit the coal, and the rest is history."

 
artnet.com Magazine Reviews - A Human Masterpiece: "Cloaca, the latest work by the Belgian conceptualist Wim Delvoye (b. 1965), has just closed out its run at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MuHKA) in Antwerp. It was a room-sized installation of six glass containers connected to each other with wires, tubes and pumps. Every day, the machine received a certain amount of food.



Meat, fish, vegetables and pastries passed through a giant blender, were mixed with water, and poured into jars filled with acids and enzyme liquids. There they got the same treatment as the human stomach would supply. Electronic and mechanical units controlled the process, and after almost two days the food came out of a filtering unit as something close to genuine, human shit."

 
Power Line: Meet Capt. Harry Hornbuckle: "Wall Street Journal, 'Why you've heard of Jessica Lynch, not Zan Hornbukckle.' As the headline suggests, the story explores why certain soldiers and war stories have achieved public prominence while other at least equally deserving stories have not. However, John rightly focuses on Hornbuckle's story itself, noting that '[t]his story deserves to be told more widely..."

...When American troops were attacked on April 7 on a road to Baghdad, a battle broke out at a dot on the map Army commanders called 'Objective Curly.' Eighty U.S. soldiers, expecting little resistance, were met by 300 well-armed Iraqi and Syrian fighters. Grenades and bullets flew for eight hours. The U.S. counterattack killed an estimated 200 enemy fighters, according to the commanding officer who oversaw the battle. The American team had never trained or fought together, but all its men got out alive. The team was headed by Capt. Harry Alexander Hornbuckle, a 29-year-old staff officer who had never been in combat before. He was later awarded the Bronze Star, with a V for valor, for his efforts that day.

 
TGV Rockets Operations manual: "The purpose of this minor monograph is to establish a basic view to running a firm and create a corporate culture. Sadly, the legal environment will not allow this to be binding, but it will express how I feel about things and should be used to settle any discussion. The basic method of operations is very simple: Treat people like human beings. Sadly, simple as this idea is, almost no organization in the world is capable of doing this. Uniforms replace identity, rules replace initiative, and hierarchy dominates over creativity. The usual first sign of this kind of problem is when an organization chart is released. Whenever an org. chart appears at TGV, it�s time to short the stock."

 
Rocket Man Blog: It's Not Your (Great Grand) Fathers Airship (Two): "The HAA is going to be 25 times larger the Goodyear Blimp. The prototype airship will be about 500 feet long, 160 feet in diameter and have a volume of 5.2 million cubic feet



That is the length of 1 2/3 footballs fields, or almost 1/10 of a mile and a volume of almost 39 million gallons. In short, these things are going to be enormous. The reason they are going to be so big is because their mission is pretty demanding.
[S]ustained operations for one month at 65,000 feet while providing 10 kilowatts of power to a 4,000-pound payload. Additionally, the HAA prototype will demonstrate station-keeping and autonomous flight control capabilities.

The production HAA’s will probably be designed to fly at 100,000 ft and operate autonomously for a year over both the United States and hot spots like Iraq. The current plan is for them to compliment both satellite and airplane surveillance and an initial order of at least 22 units is currently projected."

 
Rocket Man Blog: Handcrafted Spacecraft: "Chris Hall from Spacecraft discusses how critical good soldering is in spacecraft construction. My brother has worked on satellite electrical systems and he was appalled at the lack of craftsmanship on the satellites he worked on. Good soldering is an art and must be learned thru training and practice. Unfortunately, a lot of companies do not spend the time to have their senior techs teach their junior techs how to do it properly.

However, due to a recent failure of their HII-A rocket, The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has decided to utilize the expertise of retired craftsman to teach their younger techs how to solder properly.
The craftsmen are no longer in active work but the agency asked them to offer their expertise to skilled workers so the techniques can be handed down to posterity."

jaynote: Thankx Dad, for leading the 4-H club where you taught us how to make good soldered connections, and why it was important.

 
Rocket Man Blog: $500 Hammers: "Since I work in the aerospace industry, I frequently have people ask me something like “Have you ever paid $500 for a hammer?” My usual tongue in cheek answer is “If I could get a hammer for only $500 I would be happy.” For those of you who do not work in the aerospace industry I will explain what I mean by that answer."

 
The Japan Times Online: "Spacecraft technicians tutored in art of soldering
Veteran craftsmen tapped as teachers to ward off any further chance of rocket glitches

Japan's space agency is giving special soldering iron training to technicians who manufacture parts for H-IIA rockets to help them improve the quality of their work.

The idea for the training came in January when a last-minute problem cropped up in a part for a H-IIA at a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. plant in Aichi Prefecture. The rocket was to be loaded with a satellite to gather intelligence for the government.

That led the agency to begin offering special training to technicians at 25 companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Ishikawajima-Harima Heavy Industries Co., in March.

The teachers are veteran masters of the soldering iron, a tool long used to connect electrical parts that is still considered useful in working with parts in space rockets.

The craftsmen are no longer in active work but the agency asked them to offer their expertise to skilled workers so the techniques can be handed down to posterity.

Most people consider satellites and rockets the cream of high technology, produced by high-tech equipment. Actually, most parts are handcrafted and one of a kind.

In late August, the space agency held a class in Tokyo's Akihabara district to train about 20 technicians in the technique of operating soldering irons, which seems easy but requires skill.

The knowledge that an error on their part in making rocket or satellite parts could lead to an accident made those taking the course tense.

Fujiya Matsuda, 73, a former NEC Corp. technician who in the past was named a modern-day master of soldering, was among the teachers.

The teachers praised one man for the skillful way he carried out his work, but they were critical of those who failed to properly handle the soldering irons, saying the parts they soldered could hardly be used in space."

 
SeedQuest - News: "Taiwan has scored a significant breakthrough in using genetic technology to produce rare flower colors, the Taiwan Agriculture Research Institute (TARI) under the Council of Agriculture announced yesterday.

'After years of research, we have discovered the gene that controls floral color transformation. We can now use the pigment biosynthetic gene found in the black outer skin of soybeans to create unusually colored ornamental flowers through gene transformation,' said TARI Director-General Lin Chun-yi.

The COA's major seed improvement and propagation stations around the island are now cooperating to produce these special color flowers, Lin said.

'Among them are purple and blue carnations, yellow phalaenopsis orchids and yellow flamingo flowers,' Lin said, adding that these crops will be ready for harvest very soon.

Also being bred are purple and blue flowers such as lilies, dendrobium orchids, caladiums and chrysanthemums, Lin said.

According to Lin, Australia and Japan take the lead in using genetic engineering technology to grow purple carnations, which can sell for six times the price of other carnations.

Meanwhile, Lin said, the TARI has also successfully developed a new fine-quality strain of corn known as black waxy corn. 'The new strain has a thin seed coat, a sweet aroma and dazzling colors ranging from dark purple to pink,' Lin said, adding that the new corn 'looks like a rainbow.' "

 
Fujitsu Develops Plasma Tube Technologies for 100-Inches-Plus, Flat-Screen Displays: "Fujitsu Laboratories Ltd announced the development of a new plasma tube technology to produce narrow glass tubes, measuring one meter in length and one millimeter in diameter, that emit light using the same phosphor structure as in a conventional plasma display panel (PDP).

In addition, the company has developed a technology that sandwiches an array of these plasma tubes between two electrode plates to make up a display panel. Fujitsu succeeded in producing a prototype panel using 128 plasma tubes (for a screen size of 128mm x 1m) that display moving images in color."

 
ABCNEWS.com : Woman Just Can't Shake Flock of Crows:
Years ago, school bus driver Phyllis Alverdes started feeding crows seeds and peanuts.

The birds got to know her and her car so well that now a flock follows her when she pulls into her parking space at work next to the school district bus lot. Dozens of crows come out of nowhere — even though Alverdes stopped feeding them two weeks ago.

They still want breakfast, and they want it now.

The crows may be smart, but they don't know the trouble Alverdes is in.

It turns out the crows like to peck insulation off of buses, and Alverdes was suspended from her job last week.

She's back on the job now after an investigation, although she has been directed not to park her crow-crowded car where the other bus drivers park.

She's still afraid she'll lose her job because she just can't shake the crows.

"When I come to work every day, I don't know how I can be expected to suddenly have them stop following me," she told ABCNEWS affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle.

She said she received a letter from the district directing her "to stop bringing them."

 
SHUTTLE-BIKE KIT: "SBK Engineering conceived the SHUTTLE-BIKE KIT ® as a flotation, frame and propulsion/rudder package as a simple way to convert a many kinds of bicycles into a waterbike. The whole kit fits in a the included backpack.



The ultimate goal of this project was to create an inflatable 'bicycle boat'--or a 'shuttle'-- that would be easy to carry and allow a bicyclist the opportunity to ride across the water as well as on land.

The most innovative aspect of the SHUTTLE-BIKE® is it's portability--no other pedal powered watercraft on the market is truly amphibious and is as lightweight and compact."

 
Art Books: The History of Photography: "From Library Journal
The founder of Spiratone, a company that once supplied photographic accessories, S.F. (Fred) Spira is also well known for his extensive collection of photographic equipment. This volume, which includes Spira's writings and is coauthored by his son, Jonathan, and Lorthrop, a former president of the American Photographic Historical Society, provides a history of photographic processes with a focus on consumer-oriented picture taking. It includes thorough discussions on film and camera history, color photography, photo reproduction, stereo photography, and motion pictures and an especially good chapter on digital photography. Photo illustrations are taken from the more than 20,000 objects in Spira's collection. A chapter on photography and humor seems out of place, but in general the book supplies understandable explanations of photographic devices and methods and is a good supplement to more general histories, such as Naomi Rosenblum's A World History of Photography. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries. Eric Linderman, East Cleveland P.L., OH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Book Description
A comprehensive history of photographic technique and practice, based on one of the world's foremost private collections of photographica.

S.F. Spira, founder of Spiratone, collected more than twenty thousand individual objects relating to the history of photography -- a collection of unusual substance and depth, including many items that are extremely rare and not duplicated among the holdings of any museum in the United States. Spira's collection is remarkable in that it clearly illustrates the connection between one phase in the development of photography and the next, and the complex relationships between photography and other disciplines, such as painting and scientific research.

This book's comprehensive chapters cover the prehistory of photography, the advent of dry plates and roll film, and stereo photography and the motion picture. While particular attention is given to historic technical achievements and pioneering advances in design, objects such as books, magazines, cartoons, photo-related toys, darkroom supplies, and original film add value and dimension to this scholarly but accessible volume.

About the Author
Based on S. F. Spira's own writings and collection, the book is co-authored by Eaton S. Lothrop, Jr., an eminent photo historian and author of A Century of Cameras."

 
Booknoise.net | The Flickering Mind: After decades of being beaten down by a series of curricular fads and stingy funding, schools have now been offered their biggest and most expensive promise ever—the miracle of computers and the Internet, at a cost of approximately $70 billion. As attractive as this change seems, whenever schools have tried to adopt the latest tools of electronic technology— films, radio, then television—it has caused mostly trouble. Computer technology is proving to be no exception. By now, computers have transformed nearly every corner of the academic world, from our efforts to close the gaps between rich and poor, to our hopes for school reform, to our basic methods of developing the imagination. The promise of high technology is also upsetting the balance of power in the relationships schools strike with the business community; distorting public beliefs about the demands of tomorrow’s working world; and reworking (and sometimes corrupting) the nation’s systems for researching, testing, and evaluating academic achievement. The totality of these changes have so deteriorated youngsters’ abilities to reason, to listen, to feel empathy, among many other things, that we’ve created a new culture—of the flickering mind. It is a generation teetering between two possible directions. In one, youngsters have a chance to become confident masters of the tools of their day, to better address the problems of tomorrow. Alternatively, they can also become victims of commercial novelties and narrow measures of ability, underscored by misplaced faith in standardized testing. Computers and their attendant technologies did not cause all of these problems, but they are quietly accelerating them.

To assemble the compelling tales in this book, Oppenheimer visited dozens of schools across the country—public and private, urban and rural. He consulted with experts, read volumes of studies, and came to strong and persuasive conclusions: that the essentials of learning have been almost forgotten, and that they matter much more than the novelties of technology. He argues that every time we computerize a science class or shut down a music program to pay for new hardware, we lose sight of what our priorities should be—what he calls “enlightened basics.”

 
Russian Information Agency Novosti: "15 YEARS AGO RUSSIA SENT ITS FIRST SPACE SHUTTLE 'BURAN' INTO ORBIT

MOSCOW, November 15, 2003. /RIA Novosti correspondent Alexander Kovalev/. Fifteen years ago, Russia conducted the first and only launch of a space transport shuttle 'Energia-Buran.' After making two orbital circuits in an autopilot regime, the Russian 'space plane' smoothly landed on the Yubileiny airstrip at the Baikonur space center.

'It was a tremendous event. Everybody was laughing and crying with happiness,' recalls a witness of the event, head of the Mission Control's press centre Valery Lyndin.

'Bad weather spoiled the overall impression a bit - due to low cloud cover we were not able to see the approach and landing in all their beauty,' he added.

Mr. Lyndin believes that 'the Americans would never have launched their first shuttle in such a bad weather - there was a strong side wind, with gusts of up to 17 meters per second.' According to Valery Lyndin, 'pilot Magomed Tolboyev, who monitored the Buran landing from the cockpit of his escort fighter, said that he had an impression that the shuttle was piloted by an 'ace' - such accurate were the on-board automatic controls of approach and landing.' To our great disappointment, this system is still not used in the civil aviation despite the fact that it allows landing a plane in the worst weather conditions with almost zero visibility,' Mr. Lyndin pointed out.

The plan of the second experimental flight of the 'Energia-Buran' space shuttle included its docking with space station 'Mir.' However, due to various political and economic reasons, the launch never happened.

'Until today, like many other fans of space exploration, I feel sad about it,' admitted Mr. Lyndin."

Saturday, November 15, 2003
 
NCBuy: Weird and Offbeat News Stories: "Genital Warts: The Musical

LOS ANGELES (Wireless Flash) -- The curse of genital warts doesn't seem like the greatest topic for a movie musical -- but that hasn't stopped two Los Angeles filmmakers.

Patrick Schumacker and Justin Halpern have just finished a new film, 'Genital Warts: The Musical,' that is currently playing the festival circuit.

Schumacker and Halpern wrote the sexually-transmitted song fest because, as Shumacker says, 'It's really weird to see people break out in song.'

Some of the wart-inspired ditties include, 'The Diagnosis,' 'Here Come The Genital Warts' and a romantic ballad, 'I Should've Told You.'

So far, the musical has gotten rave reviews, and Schumacker and Halpern plan to extend their 17-minute short to feature length.

Halpern says the movie is meant to open doors for the duo in Hollywood but insists he and Schumacker don't want be associated with 'Genital Warts' for the rest of their lives."

Friday, November 14, 2003
 
Eros Project: Complaint for Declaratory Judgement, Index to Court Documents: "The Eros Project Case in Federal Court

On November 6, 2003 the matter concerning 'Treaty vs. the Natural, Inherent Rights of Man' to acquire and own property was filed in Federal Court in Reno, Nevada. A Jury trial was demanded.

This is the first Space Property Law 'Action at Law' before a United States Federal Court. U.S. District Judge Howard McKibben has been assigned to the action."

 


 
Bullfighter — Stripping The Bull Out Of Business || A consulting jargon fighter from Deloitte Consulting:

Take the Bullfighter Challenge

Bullfighter

'A value-added, leverageable global knowledge repository.'

'Repurposeable, leading edge thoughtware that delivers results-driven value.'

'A future-proof asset that seamlessly empowers your mission critical enterprise communications.'

BullfighterTM could be all of these things. Except that we have no idea what any of these things are.

So, we call it our online conscience. BullfighterTM is software that runs in Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, within Microsoft Windows 2000 or XP. It works a lot like the spelling and grammar checker in those applications, but focuses on jargon and readability. Download it for free, or order a CD-ROM/book package. Then install it.

Take the BullfighterTM challenge for 30 days. That red and black bull icon on your Word and PowerPoint toolbar could change your life. Unless you believe in expressions like 'value-based paradigm shift' or in multi-syllabic sentences that run on for ages, you owe it to your loved ones and co-workers to try.

 
High Altitude Research Corporation (HARC) : Named the Liberator, HARC’s X Prize entry is based on proven technology, Space America, Inc.’s, Block I Engine heritage. The launch vehicle uses 2 LOX-Kerosene regenerativly cooled engines that are pressure-fed and lightweight. There are no rotating parts or expensive turbo-pumps. The Liberator is launched from an ocean going vessel and reaches an altitude of approximately 70 miles. Launching from sea has many advantages such as longer launch windows, lower range costs and smoother FAA/AST licensing procedures. It also reduces the risk to population centers to nearly zero.


 
SmartDisk Products:

Technical Specifications
Storage:
* 80GB or 30GB Hard Drive
* Compatible Flash Media:
CF type I, II CompactFlash, IBM Microdrive
Support for other media types (SmartMedia, Memory Stick, SD/MMC and xD) available through optional adapters - sold separately.
Display:
* LCD: 3.5” (diagonal) color TFT LCD with CCFL backlight
* TV monitor output: NTSC or PAL, Composite video
* JPEG format viewing, with hardware zoom in/out, pan/scroll, rotation support. (Some RAW format as well as GIF and BMP files can also be viewed.)
* Video: Motion JPEG picture decoding,
up to 320 x 240 x 30 frames/sec or 640 x 480 x 10 frames/sec
* Can view simple text files (*.txt)
Audio:
* Stereo analog line out or earphone jack
* Built-in speaker
* MP3 and WAV formats. Plays MP3 files encoded up to 320 kbps bit rate; can play VBR encoded files
User interface:
* Navigation disk, plus seven user interface keys
* Five audio control/transport keys, for simple MP3 jukebox operation
* Operation status indication LED
* Battery status indication LED
* Infrared remote control accessory for slide show operation
Power:
* Internal power: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery (2200 mAh capacity)
* External power: 5V output AC/DC adapter
PC connectivity:
* USB 2.0 (USB1.1 compatible)
Size and weight:
* 5.63 in X 3.62 1.26 in (143mm X 92mm X 32mm)
* 12 oz (340g)

 
FCC Deserves a Digital Thanks for Nothing (TechNews.com):
By Rob Pegoraro Sunday, November 9, 2003; Page F07

The Federal Communications Commission has figured out how to make digital television more appealing to the millions of consumers who haven't bought into it: Force manufacturers to make hardware that's less capable than what's sold today.

The FCC did this when it voted Tuesday to require consumer-electronics firms to support the "broadcast flag" -- a tiny bit of code in digital-TV (DTV) broadcasts -- by July 1, 2005, in any hardware that can receive an over-the-air digital signal. That means not only TV sets but also videotape, hard-drive and DVD recorders and even computers with digital-TV tuner cards.

 
My Way News: "After 35 years in the business of titillating and offending, pornographer Al Goldstein says his magazine can't compete anymore. The audience is just as large, he says, but the Internet has transformed the product and its delivery.

Just over a month ago, Goldstein stopped publishing Screw magazine and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, giving him a chance to cut costs, relaunch the magazine and refocus attention on his Web site.

Similar pressures are seen throughout the adult publishing field. Bob Guccione's General Media Inc., for instance, has also filed for Chapter 11 protection, although the company's trademark Penthouse magazine continues publishing while the company restructures.

On Friday, Guccione resigned as CEO of General Media's parent company, Penthouse International. He remained at the helm of the magazine, which has seen circulation decline from nearly 1 million to 565,700 over the past five years.

Goldstein said circulation woes throughout the field show 'we are an anachronism; we are dinosaurs; we are elephants going to the bone cemetery to die. ... The delivery system has changed, and we have to change with it if we want to survive."

 
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Saudis 'fear sand shortage':
Saudi Arabia has reportedly imposed strict border checks to enforce a ban on the export of sand.

There are fears that the growing demands of the construction industry could lead to a shortage in the desert kingdom.

The Arab News newspaper reports that neighbouring Bahrain needs to import large quantities of sand for reclaiming land from the sea.

Demand is also expected to grow as the process of reconstruction in Iraq gathers pace."

 
McDonald's Newspeak: Unwanted words purged from dictionaries:
In its most recent, eleventh, edition, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary included the word 'McJob', defined as 'a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement '.

McDonald's CEO has protested and called this 'an inaccurate description of restaurant employment' and 'a slap in the face to the 12 million men and women' who work in the restaurant industry. (Quoted from McDonald's Decries Webster Over 'McJob', Yahoo news, Nov 8. Note that the definition that Yahoo gives is not exactly what Merriam-Webster stated.)

Early November 10, the word 'McJobs' was listed at Merriam-Webster's own web page with examples of new words in the recent edition. A few hours later, the word had disappeared from that page.

 
Famous Dave would inherit BIA mess:
"WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Minnesota's 'Famous Dave' Anderson has never met Elouise Cobell, but he'll get to know her if he takes the helm of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA).

Cobell, a Blackfoot Indian, still lives in the house in Montana that her grandfather built for her grandmother. Besides the house, she also inherited timber, oil and other property rights the U.S. government accorded Indian landholders more than 100 years ago.

She has no idea how much her thousand acres are worth, because the money is held in government-run trust accounts. And the government, by its own admission, has a very incomplete picture.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth recently called the Indian trusts -- involving billions of dollars in at least 300,000 accounts -- 'a gold standard for mismanagement by the federal government.'

The District of Columbia judge's Sept. 25 ruling ordering a prompt accounting came in response to a lawsuit bearing Cobell's name, now a household word in Indian Country."

 
Frequently Asked Questions: Project Prevention - Children Requiring a Caring Community:
"2. How does the program work?

Addicts and alcoholics hear about Project Prevention in a variety of different ways. Many social workers, probation officers, jails, drug treatment programs, methadone clinics, and police officers refer them to our toll-free phone number (1-888-30-CRACK). They call the toll free number and either leave a phone number or a mailing address. They are then mailed the appropriate forms. They take these forms to a doctor or clinic of their choice and get long-term birth control. They mail back the forms along with proof of their drug/alcohol problem. Project prevention then verifies that they did receive a type of long-term birth control and then mails them a check for $200.

3. Some say that these people are not capable of deciding on long-term birth control?

If you can not trust someone with their reproductive choices, how can you trust them with a child?

4. Are you targeting blacks?

Definitely not. It is racist, or at least ignorant, for someone to learn about our program and assume that only black addicts will be calling us. Not all drug addicts are black.

Project Prevention targets a behavior not a racial demographic. If someone is a drug addict or alcoholic and could get pregnant, then we hope they will take our cash incentive offer and get on birth control until they get off drugs."

 
Active Canary Islands volcano to destroy New York City with 150-foot waves (in 10 years or perhaps 10,000 years) :: UnderReported.com :: Surprising stories from the media and primary sources:
Posted by: Admin on Monday, September 01, 2003 - 10:32 PM GMT

According to a September, 2001 press release from the Benfield Hazard Research Centre of the University College London:
The new research, a collaboration between Dr. Simon Day of the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at UCL and Dr. Steven Ward of the University of California, reveals the extent and size of the mega-tsunami, the consequence of a giant landslide that may be triggered by a future eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano."

 
CNN.com - Transcripts: "MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: A couple of weeks ago, loyal viewers will know that we had Danny Glover on this program. He was talking about anemia. Turns out Danny Glover's on the dole for a company that makes an anemia drug, just one of many celebrities who, as it turns out, go on television talk shows, actually paid for by the prescription drugs companies. In fact, last weekend, Kathleen Turner talked about her battle with rheumatoid arthritis on CNN as well.
It turns out there's much more to all of this story. CNN's Garrick Utley explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It appeared to be just another morning television celebrity interview, this one on CNN. Comedian Joy Behar talking about her career.

JOY BEHAR, COMEDIAN: I'm here to discuss heart disease.

UTLEY: In fact, viewers were watching a hidden commercial. Behar was paid by Bristol Myers-Squibb to promote the drug, Pravachol, which her doctor prescribed to fight her high cholesterol.

BEHAR: So he put me on Pravachol, which is a statin. And my numbers went down like 100 points in two months.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're doing better?

BEHAR: Much better. I mean, that's the way to do it."

 
Marvin Olasky: More propaganda from the Times:These days, finding New York Times lies and cover-ups is like shooting fish in a barrel, but Navy Lt. Cmdr. Mike Beidler has told me about one fish story too obnoxious to pass up.

Beidler, on his way to Iraq in January, was walking with his family toward the end of Naval Station Pier 2 in San Diego when the Times' Charlie LeDuff asked him for his view of war protesters. Beidler recalls offering a couple of sentences defending the rights of protesters and stating his hope that they offer reasonable solutions.

The article LeDuff wrote, though, had Beidler attacking a complacent United States: "It's war, Commander Beidler said, and the nation is fat. ‘No one is screaming for battery-powered cars,' he added." The journalist then turned in his article to Beidler wife, Christal: "'I'm just numb,' she said as she patted down his collar. ‘I'll cry myself to sleep, I'm sure.'"

 
Motorcycle Funerals, a dignified final ride by motorcycle sidecar hearse: " Established 2002.
Unique motorbike combination to provide dignified funerals for
motorcyclists, non-motorcyclists, sidecar enthusiasts and bikers."


 
Vote count marred by computer woes: "Lebanon -- Boone County officials are searching for an answer to the computer glitch that spewed out impossible numbers and interrupted an otherwise uneventful election process Tuesday.

'I about had a heart attack,' County Clerk Lisa Garofolo said of the breakdown that came as an eager crowd watched computer-generated vote totals being projected onto a wall of the County Courthouse rotunda.

'I'm assuming the glitch was in the software.'

A lengthy collaboration between the county's information technology director and advisers from the MicroVote software producer fixed the problem. But before that, computer readings of stored voting machine data showed far more votes than registered voters.

'It was like 144,000 votes cast,' said Garofolo, whose corrected accounting showed just 5,352 ballots from a pool of fewer than 19,000 registered voters.

'Believe me, there was nobody more shook up than I was.'"

 


 
American RadioWorks - The President Calling: "Three of America's most compelling presidents - Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon - bugged their White House offices and tapped their telephones. They left behind thousands of secretly recorded conversations, from momentous to mundane. In this documentary project, American RadioWorks eavesdrops on presidential telephone calls to hear how each man used one-on-one politics to shape history."

 
Columbiad: "Our Industrial Sounding System (ISS) is a fully portable gun launch system capable of providing low-cost sounding flights from any road accessible site on Earth. Economical glide probes are able of carrying payloads to altitudes of more than 100 km and our rocket assisted probes will carry payloads to 250 km or more. With a normal launch rate of 2 flights an hour and rapid launch rates of up to 6 flights an hour this system is capable of providing inexpensive access to space for a wide variety of research projects.

Our Industrial Sounding System is also a scale prototype for an industrial capacity satellite launching system and will be used to develop the technologies for satellite launching. Although not intended as a primary launch service, the prototype satellite launching vehicle for the ISS is designed to demonstrate all of the functions of a normal satellite launcher, and will be capable of placing small nano-satelites into low Earth orbit."

 
abc7news.com: Man Charged For Keeping Hundreds Of Rats:
Nov. 12 (BCN) — A Menlo Park man who is in county jail for keeping hundreds of live and dead rats in his home will appear in court today in Redwood City.
Robert Hollywood, 46, is accused of felony cruelty to animals for holding hundreds of rats in "deplorable conditions" all over his home in the 900 block of Colby Street in unincorporated Menlo Park, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney's office.

Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Raffaelli said the charges are based on several incidents discovered by the Peninsula Humane Society dating back to June 2002.

Hollywood was charged in October and pleaded innocent on Nov. 7. He is being held on 50,000 bail in San Mateo County Jail.

Stay current! Get abc7news.com news reports delivered right to your inbox for free.

Scott Delucchi, a spokesman with the Peninsula Humane Society, said mice and two snakes were found along with the domesticated rats.

 
ScienceDaily Magazine: Your Source For The Latest Research News: "Further evidence of the globalization of the industry comes from the fact that fish caught or raised in the U.S. -- like flounder and cod -- are shipped to China to be cut into fillets and then shipped back to U.S. markets. Anderson said it’s cheaper to do that than to have the work done here."

 
D-Nasty: "Wednesday, November 12, 2003
Eros and Thanatos in L'affair Hilton

by Bergmann Endresson
Noted Film Critic, Swede

The cold black of night is penetrated by an alien tone, played upon an inhuman scale. It pierces through the quiet slumber that is the inheritance of honest men.

As when Psyche dripped her voyeur wax upon the forbidden face of love, a sprightly nymph stirs, and all is a flutter:

'Let me get my phone.'

Paris Hilton's first line in this magnificent post modern statement is more conditioned response than free will. Like Pavlov's doggy, she is powerless to resist the cold intrusion of the technological sprawl that devours countrysides, bathrooms and budoirs with the same unyielding hunger. McLuhan promised us a Global Village, but nowhere did he say that it would be a tax haven, and on this evening the throbbing circuitry of a connected world demands the sacrifice of a media virgin. But she is not without an advisor. In this film Ms. Hilton acts opposite Rick Solomon, media mogul, giver of corporal knowledge. Yet he is more, and in a poignant moment of self-loathing which defines the entire encounter, Solomon blasphemes the very technology upon which he has built his empire:

'Fuck your phone.'

Svengali. Lothario. Luddite? Solomon's character thrusts deeply not only into technological contradiction but also into magnificently complex Neo-Purtanism, defending the sanctity of the marital bed from the light of truth and the becks and calls of the public just as he violates that very same realm with a handheld camera. It is in this union of night and photography that the film itself becomes organic, and the handheld camera an extension of Mr. Solomon's own masculinity. Autofocus indeed."

Tuesday, November 11, 2003
 
Cement Teddy Bears: "I had been thinking for a long time about making cement filled teddy bears. I wasn't exactly sure why. At first it was just a perceptual curiosity I wanted to experience, and I wanted others to experience: the idea of being handed what appeared to be a fluffy stuffed animal, only to have it go tearing through your relaxed fingers like a lead meteor.

The Christmas shopping season seemed an ideal time to get them on the shelves of Los Angeles toy stores, so late in November, members of the Los Angeles Cacophony Society gathered in my backyard to gut several dozen plush toys and replace their innards with Portland's finest.

We called them, 'Cement Cuddlers'.

Each bear wore a full-color laminated label identifying it as such complete with bar code from another toy. Inside the folded tag was the text:
Unfortunate Child, do not mistake me for a living thing, nor seek in me the warmth denied you by your parents. For beneath my plush surface lies a hardness as impervious and unforgiving as this World's own indifference to your mortal struggle. Hold on to me when you are sad, and I will weigh you down, but bear this weight throughout your years, and it will strengthen your limbs and harden your will so that one day no man dare oppose you.

The target was easy to select. Not far away was a large not-to-be-named toy store, the biggest and newest of the chain in Southern California, a massive thing like the newly christened Titanic just begging for its iceberg."

Sunday, November 09, 2003
 
WWW.50SHEKEL.COM l The Official 50 Shekel Website: "50 Shekel has emerged as the new Jewish Hip Hop artist of his generation. If you haven't already heard his spiel, you are in for a supreme kosher treat. His lyrics are hotter than homemade latkes on a Hanukah night and his rhyming comes straight from his Hebrew heart. Inspired by Hip Hop recording artist, 50 Cent's top-of-the-chart song, In Da Club, this Brooklyn raised Hebrew Homie finally found something to spiel about."

 
Distributing Music Over Telephone Lines (1909):
Wilmington, Delaware, is enjoying a novel service through the telephone exchange. Phonograph music is supplied over the wires to those subscribers who sign up for the service. Attached to the wall near the telephone is a box containing a special receiver, adapted to throw out a large volume of sound into the room. A megaphone may be attached whenever service is to be given. The box is attached to the line wires by a bridged tap from the line circuit. At the central office, the lines of musical subscribers are tapped to a manual board attended by an operator. A number of phonographs are available, and a representative assortment of records kept on hand. front view
When plugged up to a phonograph the subscriber's line is automatically made busy on the automatic switches with which the Wilmington exchange is equipped. Several lines can be connected to the same machine at the same time, if more than one happens to call for the same selection.
Each musical subscriber is supplied with a special directory giving names and numbers of records, and the call number of the music department. When it is desired to entertain a party of friends, the user calls the music department and requests that a certain number be played. He releases and proceeds to fix the megaphone in position. At the same time the music operator plugs up a free phonograph to his line, slips on the record and starts the machine. At the conclusion of the piece the connection is pulled down, unless more performances have been requested.
The rate of charge for this service is very reasonable. It is three cents, for each ordinary piece, and seven cents for grand opera. The subscriber must guarantee $18 per year.
In most cases the actual amount of music used makes that revenue greater than the regular telephone rent. "

 
Arlington Wolfe Consulting: "Are you concerned about providing for your family if the unthinkable happens? Worried that life insurance isn't enough?

Arlington Wolfe Resurrection Services offers a wide range of resurrection products designed to cater to your needs. We can bring you back to life for a few days so that you can tidy up your affairs and update your will, or for long enough to see your kids grow up and enjoy your retirement.

All Arlington Wolfe Resurrection Services products come with a complete money-back guarantee, so you can be assured of the quality of your raising from the dead."

 
TheStar.com - Arar's Syrian hell: 'I lived in a grave':
"Arar, freed by Syria in October after almost a year in jail, told a news conference yesterday of the physical and psychological torture he endured at the hands of his interrogators and the horrific conditions he lived in.

'For 10 months and 10 days I lived in a grave,' said the Syrian-born Canadian.

'My cell had no light. ... There was a vent in the ceiling, and cats and rats lived up there. The cats would urinate through the vent into my cell. Living in this dark, dirty grave was psychological torture.'

He said he was beaten with shredded electrical cables during the first two weeks of his detention "

 
New Scientist: "This week, a respected biologist was led into a Texas courtroom. He faces no fewer than 68 charges and could end up in jail for the rest of his life. Has the FBI finally caught the anthrax attacker?

No. Thomas Butler merely reported that 30 vials of plague bacteria had gone missing from his laboratory at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Many of Butler's colleagues believe the justice authorities are making an example of him as part of a wider effort to ensure that scientists take more care with material terrorists might exploit.

Whatever the outcome of the case, that effort is having repercussions that go far beyond the fate of one scientist. New Scientist has contacted more than 20 prominent figures in the US working in bioterror-related fields.

Some refused to talk, and most who did did not want to be named. Their comments paint a disturbing picture. Some scientists, for instance, are refusing to work on projects involving agents that could be exploited as bioweapons, even though the US government is providing massive funding to boost such research.

Others are considering abandoning existing work. Irreplaceable collections of microbes essential for managing and tracing outbreaks, bioterrorist or natural, are being destroyed simply because labs cannot comply with the new rules."

 
All Too Flat : Pranks : Cube: "Astor Cube Results
We couldn't have been happier! Here are a whole bunch of pictures of the Astor Place Rubik's Cube from many angles:"


Saturday, November 08, 2003
 
Wired News: Simpsons Plant Seeds of Invention: "Rob Baur of Lake Oswego, Oregon, dreamed of bringing to life his favorite The Simpsons episode, one from 1999 in which Homer grows 'tomacco,' a combination tomato-tobacco plant. Even though it tastes foul and has a brown, gooey center, the entire town becomes addicted to the fruit after one bite, and Homer gets rich.

In The Simpsons 'E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)' episode, Bart eats a tomacco fruit and claims it 'tastes like cigarrette butts.' When questioned why he continues to eat them, he replies, 'It does (taste terrible). But it's smooth and mild -- and refreshingly addictive.'By growing tomato and tobacco plants from seed and grafting them together, Rob Baur created a tomato plant with tobacco roots. The leaves and fruit of the tomato top have nicotine in them.Growing the plants side by side, Rob Baur cut their stems open and wrapped them together. When the plants fused, he severed the tomato root, leaving the tobacco root intact.

Baur grafted a tomato plant onto tobacco roots, and voil�, he had a real, live tomacco plant. The two plants can successfully become one because they come from the same plant family, which also includes eggplant and the deadly nightshade. The tomacco even bore fruit, although Baur said he believes it's poisonous because it likely contains a lethal amount of nicotine."

Thursday, November 06, 2003
 
Candle wax is rocket science: Paraffin fuels test launch: "On Oct. 18, a scorching blaze lit up the moonscape of Nevada's Black Rock Desert as a 10-foot rocket burst 16,000 feet into the air. The launch was powered by an unlikely but potentially safe and effective new rocket fuel -- candle wax"

Wednesday, November 05, 2003
 
NASA Presolicitation Notice: Music Production Services | SpaceRef - Your Space Reference: "The contractor shall produce five Enterprise specific theme songs as part of the Earth Crew Webcast Series. Tasks include writing lyrics and music; securing professional talent to perform compositions, and producing Master final recording. A sample theme song is available at http://dml.larc.nasa.gov.

4.0 Period of Performance

The period of performance shall be from contract award through June 30, 2004.

5.0 Deliverables

The contractor shall provide a sample of the theme music for the first Webcast, Earth Science, with their quote. The sample shall be a minimum of 30 seconds.

The contractor shall deliver a CD of the finished version of each theme song. Upon approval, the finished version shall include one version with singing, approximately four minutes, and up to four versions (:30 seconds, :60 seconds, 2 and 4 minutes) with and without vocals for use in TV commercials, webcasts, website, etc.

Final CD Version shall be delivered as follows:

* Earth Science November 15, 2003
* Biological and Physical Research January 15, 2004
* Space Science March 15, 2004
* Space Flight/ISS April 15, 2004
* Aerospace Technology May 15, 2004

"

Tuesday, November 04, 2003
 
Wired News: Light at the End of the Tunnel: "On this much, scientists and doctors agree: Tiny flashes of infrared light can play a role in healing wounds, building muscle, turning back the worst effects of diabetes and repairing blinded eyes. But what they can't decide on is why all these seemingly miraculous effects happen in the first place.

For more than a decade, researchers have been studying how light-emitting diodes, or LEDs -- miniscule, ultra-efficient bulbs like the ones found in digital clocks and television remotes -- might aid in the recuperative process. NASA, the Pentagon and dozens of hospitals have participated in clinical trials. Businesses have sold commercial LED zappers to nursing homes and doctors' offices. Magazines and television crews have drooled on cue. Medicare has even approved some LED therapy.

Despite all that effort, 'there's not a clear idea of how this works. There are just working hypotheses,' said Marti Jett, chief of the molecular pathology department at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research."

 
Giant Russian Water Air Tanker Still Ignored By US: "'Frankly, I'm outraged,' says Robinson. 'This has been going on over six years. The Forest Service has refused to allow this plane into this country for fire fighting. It's a modern aircraft, a four-engine jet. It covers an area the size of 12 football fields with one
10-second drop [of liquid v water or retardant]. It puts a fireline down 300 feet wide and 3,900 feet long in 10 seconds. It would have saved every community in Colorado and Arizona this year. It would have saved those 300 homes in Los Alamos two years ago.'

Robinson said that two years ago during the Cerro Grande fire near Los Alamos, EMERCOM had two planes sitting on the runway in Moscow, fully crewed, each plane having three eight-man crews, ready to take off. They had been requested by FEMA, but at the last minute, FEMA told them they weren't needed after all.

The Associated Press reported that then-District IX FEMA director Buddy Young went to the fire and publicly announced, 'You will not bring the Russian planes in here: We're not having any Russians coming here and fighting our fires.'

But in fact, Robinson pointed out, this has nothing to do with the IL-76 being Russian-made and owned.

The Canadians have their CL-215 tankers and CL-415 SuperScoopers. They developed the CL-215 v which Robinson considers superior to anything the United States has v in 1967, and they've been rebuffed by the Forest Service for 35 years.

'They have not been able to come in and compete for Forest Service contracts because they are not a private contractor association,' Robinson explains. 'They're part of the Canadian government. It's a quasi-private, public-private partnership, but the Forest Service does not want its contractors to face outside competition.'"

 
jaynote: They were playing during the Marathon on 1st ave and 62nd. They're good, worth seeing if they have a convienent gig.
BandBio: "My Brothers Banned evolved from a Thursday night community music
gathering. Born in historic Mohegan Colony, local musicians met on an open
air stage weekly to make music. The regulars often ended up playing old
time, folk, blue grass and rock favorites acoustically. When the weather
became cold, the hard core few met in a living room weekly; eventually
writing material and honing a sound that's a blend of many styles.
The banned takes influences from Gram Parsons, Uncle Tupelo,
Whiskeytown, Ramones and the Meat Puppets, finding a balanced blend
of acoustic instruments and raw energy. All band members have roots in punk
rock and then felt the gravitaional pull towards American roots traditional
music."

 
Driver on cell crashes, dies:
by Laurel J. Sweet, Sunday, November 2, 2003

A 20-year-old Abington woman driving and talking on her cellphone died yesterday after her car plowed through the front of a Cingular Wireless store in West Bridgewater, police said.

The store on Route 106 was closed at the time of the 1 a.m. crash.

Bethaney Lawton was at the wheel of her silver 1999 Mercury Cougar chatting with pal Jessica Poor when she blurted out that she was about to be in an accident.

"Jessica heard a loud crash and the cellphone went dead,'' West Bridgewater officer Daniel Desmond said.

Lawton, who was in training to be an EMT, had minutes earlier dropped off another friend, Shauna O'Neal, at her home in East Bridgewater.

 
Wired News: Aussies Do It Right: E-Voting:
"While critics in the United States grow more concerned each day about the insecurity of electronic voting machines, Australians designed a system two years ago that addressed and eased most of those concerns: They chose to make the software running their system completely open to public scrutiny.

Although a private Australian company designed the system, it was based on specifications set by independent election officials, who posted the code on the Internet for all to see and evaluate. What's more, it was accomplished from concept to product in six months. It went through a trial run in a state election in 2001.

The eVACS, or Electronic Voting and Counting System, was used in a trial in a 2001 state election in Australia.EVACS software runs on Linux and was vetted by the public before being implemented. The voting machine is a Pentium PC with a keypad and a bar-code reader.

Critics say the development process is a model for how electronic voting machines should be made in the United States.

Called eVACS, or Electronic Voting and Counting System, the system was created by a company called Software Improvements to run on Linux, an open-source operating system available on the Internet.

 
GigaOm: How Cell Phone companies are fleecing us?: October 29, 2003

Many of you are aware that come November 24, 2003 and we will be free from the shackles of phone companies, who in my opinion have run rough shod over consumers for the longest time. Given that most of these guys are on very thin ice, and are over-leveraged, they are trying to get consumers pay for the number portability. A recent study by Center for Public Integrity shows that the 10 largest wireless carriers have taken in $629 million from the consumers.

The study surveyed the 10 largest wireless carriers and found that nine of them have been charging their customers recovery fees ranging from 5 cents to $1.75 per month. AT&T was charging the highest amount, though only to about one-third of its customers, while T-Mobile charged no recovery fee. In all, CPI estimates the cost to wireless customers for number portability as $629 million thus far. CPI found a wide variance in carriers

 
Honor Indian Treaties: It's the Supreme Law for the U.S.

So why is New York preparing to break it?

The U.S. Constitution calls treaties 'the Supreme Law of the Land.' And yet New York State is about to violate U.S. treaties that have lasted over 200 years. The state plans to implement regulations that would impose sales tax on petroleum and tobacco products sold on Indian lands. These regulations would violate sacred treaties between the U.S. and Indian tribes.

Since 1794 the U.S. has acknowledged Indian independence, and the Treaty of 1842 clearly says the Seneca Nation will not be taxed by any US government. Including New York State. The state's unconstitutional action will cause over 1000 Indians and non-Indians to lose their jobs, consumer prices to rise, and businesses to close.

 
The Czar of Bizarre
Since the 1950s, Johnny Meah painted more than 2,000 circus sideshow banners. Here's his personal gallery of surreal canvases and writings on the carney and circus

 
MPR: 'Smallpox: A Musical': "'The halls are awash, with the sound of mucus. And everyday ills, are now shown the door. 'Cause deep in our hearts, what has so confused us, is fevers and pustules and festering sores,' sing hospital workers to the melody of 'The Sound of Music.'

The musical is the brainchild of Dr. Daniel Whitlock, vice president of medical affairs at St. Cloud Hospital. But these days, in addition to his administrative role, Whitlock is busy making casting calls. His eyes twinkle as he runs a hand through his silver hair.

'I thought you'd be a good one,' he says to a perspective recruit, 'because you have stage presence. And you're dynamic.'

This is a change of pace for Whitlock. Just over a month ago, his staff had to care for two school shooting victims. The emergency showed how communication is critical in a crisis situation. The play they're putting on now is whimsical, but its message is serious. After Sept. 11, 2001, the federal government pushed hard for hospitals to step up their bioterrorism preparedness. St. Cloud Hospital was chosen to lead the region in its efforts. That meant assessing pharmacological stockpiles and isolation rooms, updating equipment, and coordinating with federal agencies.

A year and a half later, Whitlock says he and his colleagues had to figure out how to convey their findings to hospital staff.

'And I'll be the first to admit, we were probably a little bit squirrelly after spending this concerted amount of time studying some very, very boring topics,' he says.

Whitlock dreaded another talking-head lecture about smallpox. Then came a 'eureka' moment.

'Somebody said, 'Why don't we put on a play?'' Whitlock recalls. 'And then somebody said, 'Why don't we make it a musical?' And somebody said, 'I can see it now: 'Smallpox: A Musical.''"

Sunday, November 02, 2003
 
SFF TECH:
{SFF is Small Form Factor, or cute little computer cases}
"the whole SFF 'scene' had exploded, since my visit to CeBit in March 2003. Most companies there were getting onto the SFF 'bandwagon' & bringing out either a barebone, case, or motherboard. There was a vast array of new stuff available - covering the entire spectrum: Expensive, cheap, stylish, horrid, quiet, noisy, unique & cloned! Some of the more minor stuff is not mentioned in this review, as this article has become a more monsterous piece of writing than I could ever have imagined."

 
The Space Review: The poor man's space program: About 100 amateurs in a dozen groups across the United States are designing and launching “near spacecraft”. These groups do not let the high cost of spacecraft construction and launch deter them. Instead, by using off-the-shelf components and simple machining techniques, these amateurs operate their own space program. Altitudes in excess of 30 kilometers are possible on these amateur near-space flights. While the costs of materials and launch are kept low, the results returned are priceless. Where else can one return images of the inky blackness of space and the curvature of the Earth’s horizon at a thousandth the cost of launching a comparable satellite into Earth orbit?

 
Barricade International Fire Protection Gel: "The 13,200-acre fire was raging out of control on August 17, 2002 and was threatening many homes. Fortunately for homeowners, the State of South Dakota had recently purchased Barricade Fire Blocking Gel for every fire department in the Black Hills region. Captain Sabo was in command of a brush truck equipped with the Barricade Quik Atak system. With the raging fire bearing down, Captain Sabo and his crew applied Barricade to the threatened homes. The crew coated six homes before they exhausted their supply of Barricade Gel and had leave the area for their own safety.

When the fire had passed, they returned to the area and discovered that every home they “barricaded” was still standing, undamaged from the fire. The one home they were unable to coat and all of the outbuildings around the homes, which also were not coated, had burned to the ground.

 
2000: The Year That Didn't Happen: "The Retrofuture is a concept based on a simple question: what happened to all that futuristic stuff which was supposed to change our lives by the year 2000? Stuff like rocket belts, flying cars, food pills and inflatable homes.

When did this stuff happen?

Back when the year 2000 still evoked images of a perfect future, there was an all-too-brief existential moment when optimism became the order of the day. This was the space age.

Before the door forever slammed shut, hundreds of unique dreams and schemes were hatched--each an elaborate attempt to reach an ideal state of being.

They all failed. But as they failed something new was born--an imaginary universe called Retrofuture, a place where implausible and unfeasible plans continue to live and thrive, where yesterday's tomorrows are still in our future."

 
PongSat Home Page: Student experiments flown to the edge of space by balloons and launched in rockets.

A PongSat is an experiment that fits inside of a ping pong ball.

These ping pong ball ‘satellites’ are flown to the edge of space by balloon or launched in sounding rockets.
The PongSats are then returned to the student.

It’s an easy and inexpensive way to get students excited about science and engineering.

There are endless possibilities for experiments that can fit inside a ping pong ball. PongSat’s can be as simple or complex as
you want them to be. Experiments can be as simple as comparing how high a ball bounces before and after being exposed to vacuum.
The PongSat can carry seeds to see if exposure to cosmic rays effect their growth. Several small inexpensive computers and other
electronic can fit inside a PongSat. These can be used to create a wide range of experiments. Whether carrying a marshmallow to
see if it puffs up in the vacuum of near space or an entire sophisticated satellite in miniature, PongSat can create motivation, drive
and passion in the classroom.

PongSats are flown at no cost to the student or school. JP Aerospace will provide flights for 4000 PongSats in 2003-4.

 
Labscam: "Labscam--A Preliminary Report
Dennis Ritchie jaynote: he is the creator of Unix
This is a brief account of an interesting practical joke we perpetrated recently. A better treatment by another author will be forthcoming, as will a video. I will tell the story in linear fashion as a straight history, instead of striving for dramatic effect.

In the fall of 1989, Rob Pike met Penn Jillette, of the comedy/magic team of Penn and Teller. The introduction and initial conversations were through e-mail, and the mutual acquaintance who started things off was Mike Hawley, now enmeshed at the Media Lab at MIT. After a series of electronic letters, Rob attended one of Penn's Friday movie nights, which was just as described by Calvin Trillin in his recent New Yorker profile of P&T. (Meet in the Times Square HoJo's. Rob wondered, `How will I know you?' and Penn said, `I have samurai hair and I'll be at the back.')

Penn's interest in visiting Bell Labs had already been piqued not only by Hawley, but also by Ron Graham (BTL mathematician/juggler), another mutual acquaintance. By the time Rob met Penn, thoughts of something more than a mere see-the-sights visit began to stir: there was the possibility of pulling off a great trick."

 
The Portland Mercuryr: Feature (12/24/02): WHERE DOES MY POOP GO?
by Katie Shimer -- The Sordid Life of Human Waste

Recently, however, I was standing down by the Willamette at Cathedral Park, staring off into space thinking about boys or shopping or nuclear attack, when I noticed one of those "Danger Sewage" signs. There was nothing pouring out of the pipe, but it prompted me to tilt my head to the side and think, "Hey where does all that shit go, anyway?"

After weeks of watching my poops swirl away into Neverland, and wondering where they ended up--and frankly, missing them a lot--I decided to quell my curiosity. I scheduled a tour of the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment plant. Knowledge is power (or at the very least a good poop story at the next kegger), and honestly, I wanted to see where the magic happens.

 
Star Trekkin (by The Firm):
"The title above is the name of a song made in 1987 by a band called 'The Firm'. On this page you can hear and read the hole song in Stereo. Also can you watch a piece of the videoclip in Realvideo. Everything of course streaming.You can shift-click (in windows) on the communicator symbol to download the song or videoclip."

 
The Paper Chase: "The most macabre was the tale of the Collyer Brothers, the hermit hoarders of Harlem. In lugubrious tones not unlike Boris Karloff's, my father described the vague aura of evil that had endowed the four-story brownstone on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 128th Street for much of the 1930's and 40's. It was there, barricaded in a sanctuary of junk, that the blind and bedridden Homer Collyer lived with his devoted younger brother, Langley, the elderly scions of an upper-class Manhattan family.

And it was there that they amassed one of the world's legendary collections of urban junk, a collection so extraordinary that their accomplishment, such as it was, came to represent the ultimate New York cautionary tale."

 
Message to Congress Embedded in Huge Space Storm: "Just as the most powerful space storm in 30 years is striking Earth, a congressional subcommittee will hear testimony today from scientists who would secure the future of space weather forecasting.

Congress has plans to ax the whole program.

On the chopping block is the Space Environment Center (SEC) in Boulder, Colorado, which predicted the major space storm that arrived Wednesday and continues to pummel the planet. In an unprecedented scenario, a second powerful storm left the Sun Wednesday afternoon and is en route.

The Senate has proposed eliminating the SEC's funding from the 2004 federal budget. Language in the House's bill would reduce the SEC's $8.3 million budget sharply. Either budget change would cripple the ability to forecast storms, expert say. And without the advance warning, satellites in space and power grids on Earth are much more vulnerable to serious damage."

 
Beacon Journal | 10/25/2003 | Weak links in U.S. grid: "Several years ago in Australia, for example, Weiss said an operator who worked for a SCADA company was fired. He then tried and failed to get a similar job with a water company.

Angered, the worker built a homemade radio transmitter, Weiss said. Knowing how SCADA worked, he got into the system and opened a sewage valve, dumping hundreds of gallons of waste onto the grounds of a Hyatt Regency hotel.

``You know when they caught him? The 46th time he did it,'' Weiss said.

In his estimation, SCADA vulnerabilities in this country could lead to ``a cyber version of Pearl Harbor.''"

 
Locus Online News: Hal Clement Dies: "Harry Clement Stubbs, who wrote science fiction as Hal Clement, died in his sleep earlier today, October 29, 2003, at his home in Milton, Massachusetts."
jaynote: I met him once at a con (lunacon? 1980's?). I asked him which of his books or stories he would like to see as a movie. He said "Needle", so I bought a copy soon after in the dealers room. A few years later the movie "The Hidden" came out, which was loosely based on his book.
He seemed like a really nice guy during the short conversation, which seems to be the universal opinion about him.


 
Airline forced to pay for dropping blue ice on boat Vessel owner wins $3,236 By JONDI GUMZ SENTINEL STAFF WRITER June 15, 2003: SANTA CRUZ — When two chunks of airplane toilet waste, euphemistically known as "blue ice," smashed through the skylight of Ray Erickson’s boat this winter, he wanted somebody to pay for repairs.

So he tracked down a probable culprit, American Airlines Flight 1950, and sued in small claims court.

He got the court decision in the mail Friday. A judge ruled that Erickson had proved his case and ordered the airline to pay him $3,236 — almost the full amount he had requested.

Mike Fergus, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, was surprised to hear of the decision Saturday.

"I’ll be darned," said Fergus, who hadn’t heard of a successful suit of this nature before.

 
ASCII by Jason Scott: "This is the official beginning of my own dedicated weblog, covering everything from essays I write about subjects I need to work out, to information about advances across my historical websites, to the occasional BBS Documentary gossip and discussion. While a number of locations have existed for this information before, I finally decided that I might as well try this out for the time being, and see if the interface is compatible with my writing and working style.

I should state for the record that Weblogs, and their counterparts in livejournals, deadjournals, bloggers, userland and what-have-you slipped quite happily under my radar; My attention was focused elsewhere, and the nature of the whole process seemed somewhat un-new to me. When describing them to people, I tended to call them 'BBSes where the only message topic is the Sysop'. This is generally true for a mass of them, but not all."

 
The Worst Place to Drop a Cellphone? Here: "Edwin Gallart, 41, of the Edenwald section of the Bronx, was aboard car 8371 of the 6:19 p.m. Harlem Line local train out of Grand Central Terminal when his cellphone fell into the toilet, officials said. When he reached into the bowl to retrieve it, his arm became trapped from hand to elbow. Minutes later, a passenger alerted a conductor, who arranged for the train to pick up a supervisor at its first stop, 125th Street.

Alas, the supervisor could not release Mr. Gallart's arm. Train operators arranged for rescue crews to meet the train a few stops later at the Fordham station, where firefighters used no less than three sets of power tools, including the jaws of life, to cut through the toilet, which was ripped from the lavatory before being sliced open.

While the train was stopped at Fordham Road, northbound local trains were rerouted, Mr. Brucker said, which left them unable to stop at the five Bronx stations after and including Fordham. Passengers wanting to get off at those stops had to go to the Mount Vernon West station in Westchester and board southbound trains.

As for the toilet, it will take about three days to repair it, said Al Cecere, the Harlem Line facilities director. The phone was not found, he added, but 'you wouldn't want to put that on your face afterwards anyway."

 
Russian Information Agency Novosti: "Experts did not discover any serious pathology in 'space-born' rats. However, they were thinner and weaker than Earth-born rats and for a while lagged behind their congeners in mental development. The situation with their mother was worse - during a five-and-a-half-day flight, the rat lost almost a quarter of its weight, and doctors noticed some hormonal and endocrine system changes in its body. 'I even wept when I saw the shape the rat was in upon the return, but she fought it through and even delivered a rather decent offspring,' recalls Mrs. Serova."
jaynote: she likes space, and she likes rats? sigh, why are all the good ones married or gay?

Saturday, November 01, 2003
 
East Bay Express | eastbayexpress.com | Music Radiohead Rorschach,An innocent fifth grader's picture is worth a thousand-word critical analysis.,By Rob Harvilla The Alternative East Bay, Oakland connection for events, event listings, music reviews, CD reviews, and all of the latest alternative news from the East Bay, Oakland area.: "When you listen to Radiohead, you're no longer actually listening to Radiohead -- you're listening to everyone's opinion about Radiohead. It's impossible to separate what you hear from what you've read. You are betrayed by what you know, and you know way too much.

Thus, in order to solicit an honest, undiluted opinion about Radiohead, you'd have to find the proverbial People Living Under Rocks. As People Living Under Rocks are unavailable, let's use fifth graders.

Specifically, Mitsi Kato's fifth-grade class at Roosevelt Elementary in San Leandro.

Mitsi has consented to a simple experiment: We will play a career-spanning selection of Radiohead songs; the kids, equipped with Sharpies and blank sheets of paper, will simply draw whatever the music suggests to them. We don't even give them the name of the band. They don't know anything about Radiohead, the mountain of criticism, the mythology. Their thoughts and interpretations are pure, unsullied, literally unique.

They are also extremely bizarre."


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