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Showing posts from October, 2004


Medpundit : "But yesterday's patient was the tipping point. Mr. B. is an elderly academic. You would know that just by looking at him. He carries an NPR tote bag, and reads Snail Magazine. He's a jazz afficionado, and travels to France every year to share that love with others. He speaks very carefully in a very p.c. manner. He happened to be in my office on September 11, 2001, and I very clearly remember him fretting about the effect of globalization and modernity on the world. A Kerry voter if ever there was one. Or, at least so I thought. But he has developed one of those diseases that forces a person to re-assess his life. Yesterday, he was explaining to me how his disease had made him re-examine his core beliefs, many of which he had suppressed for many years to succeed in academia. And in the midst of a discussion (or really a soliloquy, he's a professor, after all) about God and man and reason, he suddenly digressed to Vietnam, saying, in effect, it was foolish

The Bleat

LILEKS (James) : "All you need to know about Arafat was that he insisted on wearing a pistol when he addressed the UN General Assembly. And all you need to know about the UN, I suppose, is that they let him. He’s not dead as I write this, unless of course he is. Right now Drudge has the AHH-OOOGAH WOAW WOAW WOAW HOLY CRAP flashing light up about Russians moving the missing Iraqi weapons to Syria. Who could imagine those three names mentioned in the same sentence? Perhaps “Today Russia, Syria and Iraq announced plans for a global custard franchise,” or “Surprising many long-time observers, Russia has joined with Syria and Iraq to develop a new generation of cheap, bitter cigarette where all the tobacco dribbles out one end before you even get the chance to light it.” But arms smuggling? In defiance of the UN? I’ll believe it when I see it in the New York Times."

The Hypo-Allergenic Cat

Allerca will produce the world's first hypoallergenic cats, and we expect the birth of these first special kittens in early 2007. The cat allergen is a potent protein secreted by the cat’s skin and salivary glands. Removal of the allergen will not harm the cats in any way. The resulting hypoallergenic cats will improve the health and quality of life for millions of cat-allergy sufferers. While some breeds of cats have been promoted as having less allergen than others, scientists that have tested this hypothesis have shown that all cats, regardless of breed, produce allergen. Allerca will produce the first cats that will not affect human allergies. The first breed of hypoallergenic cat produced will be the British Shorthair, known to be friendly, playful and affectionate. Other popular breeds will follow soon. Priced at $3,500, the cost of an ALLERCA kitten is similar or less than some of the more exotic cat breeds available today. The interest in the ALLERCA hypoall

Men talk to Google not girlfriends : Study reveals many men need to get out more Robert Jaques, 22 Oct 2004 Men talk to their search engines more than their girlfriends, work colleagues or even their families, research has claimed. A poll conducted by MSN Search found that search engines are the first port of call for nearly half of men seeking advice. Family are consulted by a third, while partners are the sounding board of choice for only one in four men. In comparison, the study into gender search patterns reveals that women still opt for more traditional advice options, with one in three rating family as their number one choice for help and information. Women were found to be far more likely than men to rely on the internet as a first port of call for health concerns, with almost two thirds regularly using it to look up medical conditions that concern them, compared with only 41 per cent of men. Male search vanity apparently knows no bounds. Almost a third of men admit to searc

Scientists find way to make us slaves

Times Online : "However, experiments conducted on rhesus monkeys have shown for the first time that animal behaviour can be permanently altered, turning the subjects from aggressive to “compliant” creatures. The scientists did so by blocking the effects of a gene in the brain called D2, which cut off the link between the monkeys’ motivation and perceived reward. Humans have an identical gene. The project was led by Barry Richmond, a government neurobiologist at America’s National Institute of Mental Health, who has detailed the findings in the journal Nature Neuroscience this month. The work shows how the monkeys could be made to work enthusiastically for long periods without the need for a “treat”. The experiments involved getting monkeys to operate levers in response to colour changes on screens in front of them. Normally they work hardest and fastest with the fewest mistakes if they think a reward for the “work” is imminent. However, Richmond’s team found that th

Space Politics: Debate notes : "If Bush is reelected, there is a good chance that his space policy could kick off a chain of events that will result in the permanent settlement of space. Mars, Moon, Asteroids, L5, whatever your space fetish is. I don't see any of the terrible things he has done having detrimental implications for more than a couple generations. However settlement of space would be a new epoch of human existence. Kerry, even if he is able to reverse Bush's bad policies and mistakes, has given every indication that he will kill the Moon/Mars push and kill our reach out of LEO. We will continue to be a one-planet species for the undetermined future. This could set us back 30 years a-la shuttle or 300 years depending on what chain of events occur. It could literally set us back as a civilization. With regards to the distant long term (hundreds and thousands of years), voting for Bush now might make the difference between life as we know it being stagnant or practic

An American in London : "Here is the background scenario:  Exactly one month ago today, I was traveling on a London bus when a well-dressed woman boarded with her equally-respectable son in his school uniform. Ahead of her was an elderly American woman, who said, ‘I beg your pardon, I didn’t mean to bang into you.’ This prompted a tirade from the Englishwoman -- let’s call her Lady E -- that resembled a verbal assault by a brownshirt against a hapless Jewish pedestrian in 1933. The American -- call her Mrs. A -- sat down and cowered as the tirade continued: ‘I rejoice every time I hear of another American soldier dying! You people all deserve to die in another 9/11. You are destroying the world.’ Mrs A fought back: ‘I personally am NOT destroying the world.’ This only provoked Lady E more, and as the bus driver and passengers laughed, she screamed into the American’s face ‘I wish every one of you would leave this country and not set foot in it ever again,’ and Mrs A began to wince,

How Not to Teach Math by Matthew Clavel : "New York’s chancellor Klein’s plan doesn’t compute. | 7 March 2003 It wasn’t working. We’d gone through six straight wrong answers, and now the kids were tired of feeling lost. It was only October, and already my fourth-grade public school class in the South Bronx was demoralized. Day after day of going over strange, seemingly disconnected math lessons had squelched my students’ interest in the subject. Then, quietly, 10-year-old David spoke up. “Mr. Clavel, no one understands this stuff.” He looked up at me with a defeated expression; other children nodded pleadingly. We had clearly reached a crossroads. How would Mr. Clavel, a young teacher, inexperienced but trying hard, react to David’s statement—so obvious to everyone in the class that it didn’t even require seconding? “Look,” I began, sighing deeply. “Math isn’t half as hard as you all probably think right now.” A few kids seemed relieved—at least I wasn’t just denying their problem. “There a

The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates

Yahoo! News : "The legend goes like this: One fateful day in the summer of 1980, three buttoned-down IBMers called on a band of hippie programmers at Digital Research Inc. located in Pacific Grove, Calif. They hoped to discuss licensing DRI's industry-leading operating system, CP/M. Instead, DRI founder Gary Kildall blew off IBM to gallivant around in his airplane, and the frustrated IBMers turned to Gates for their operating system. This anecdote has been told so often that techies need only be reminded of 'the day Gary Kildall went flying' to recall the rest. While he's revered for his technical innovations, many believe Kildall made one of the biggest mistakes in the history of commerce. But what if that's not what happened? What if IBM and Microsoft deprived Kildall not only of untold riches but also of the credit for a seminal role in the PC revolution? That's the thesis of a chapter about Kildall in They Made America, a serious coffee table histo

Endangered species: US programmers : "Say goodbye to the American software programmer. Once the symbols of hope as the nation shifted from manufacturing to service jobs, programmers today are an endangered species. They face a challenge similar to that which shrank the ranks of steelworkers and autoworkers a quarter century ago: competition from foreigners. Some experts think they'll become extinct within the next few years, forced into unemployment or new careers by a combination of offshoring of their work to India and other low-wage countries and the arrival of skilled immigrants taking their jobs. Not everybody agrees programmers will disappear completely. But even the optimists believe that many basic programming jobs will go to foreign nations, leaving behind jobs for Americans to lead and manage software projects. The evidence is already mounting that many computer jobs are endangered, prompting concern about the future of the nation's high-tech industries. Since the dotcom bust

Genesis crash linked to upside-down design

New Scientist : "Sensors to detect deceleration on NASA's Genesis space capsule were installed correctly but had been designed upside down, resulting in the failure to deploy the capsule’s parachutes. The design flaw is the prime suspect for why the capsule, carrying precious solar wind ions, crashed in Utah on 8 September, according to a NASA investigation board. The sensors were a key element in a domino-like series of events designed to release the parachutes. When the capsule - which blazed into the atmosphere at 11 kilometres per second - decelerated by three times the force of gravity (3 Gs), the sensors should have made contact with a spring. 'It's like smashing on the brakes in your car - you feel yourself being pushed forward,' says NASA spokesperson Don Savage. The contact should have continued as the capsule peaked at a deceleration of about 30 Gs. Then, when the capsule’s deceleration fell back through 3 Gs, the contact would have been broken,

The Art, she no spell too good

AP Wire | 10/08/2004 | Misspelled library art do-over a no go : "SAN FRANCISCO - The artist who misspelled the names of famous people in world history on a large ceramic mosaic outside Livermore's new library can spell one word with ease: N-O. That's Maria Alquilar's new position on fixing the typos. She had planned to fly to California and put the missing 'n' back in Einstein and remove the extra 'a' in Michelangelo, among other fixes. But after receiving a barrage of what she called 'vile hate mail,' Alquilar said Livermore is off her travel itinerary and there'll be no changes by her artistic hand. 'No, I will not return to Livermore for any reason,' Alquilar, of Miami, told The Associated Press in an e-mail. 'There seems to be so much hatred within certain people. They continuously look for a scapegoat. I guess I am the sacrificial goat.' She previously told officials in Livermore, about 40 miles east of San Fran

Can Ferrets REALLY Watch The Matrix?

SciScoop : "'The basic findings are exciting enough, but you can't help but speculate on what they might mean in a deeper context,' says Weliky. 'It's one thing to say a ferret's understanding of reality is being reproduced inside his brain, but there's nothing to say that our understanding of the world is accurate. In a way, our neural structure imposes a certain structure on the outside world, and all we know is that at least one other mammalian brain seems to impose the same structure. Either that or The Matrix freaked out the ferrets the way it did everyone else.'"

Space Experience session

RocketForge :: A Blog for the Space Age : "Joe Horsting (Intrepid Digital Design Studios) is talking about MMORPGs. Nothing new here for those who know what MMORPGs are. The absolutely funniest thing just happened. Joe was making assertions about costs to deploy a game and John Carmack asked for details and then disagreed with his cost estimates (they were really talking about two vastly different market segments). But Joe had no idea who he was talking to. He asked, slightly incredulously, 'So what part of the gaming industry do you work in?' The room immediately fell completely apart. The biggest 'lol' I've seen in a while. You have to feel sorry for the guy, but that was just damn funny."

GDI Scan Tutorial

GDI Scan Tutorial : "GDI Scan Tutorial and how to fix the GDI JPEG Vulnerability Table of Contents What is the GDI Jpeg Vulnerability What is GDI Scan How to use GDI Scan How do I interpret the results Conclusion "