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Showing posts from January, 2005

Insurgents vs booze

Paul Boutin : Number of people killed in Iraq on election day: 35 (source: The New York Times, 1/31/05) Average number of Americans killed daily by drunk drivers: 47 (source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2003 data)

Germany Forcing Unemployed Women into Legalized Prostitution : "BERLIN, January 31, 2005 ( - News agencies around the world are carrying the story of a young German woman, a qualified information technologist, who has been told that she faces suspension of her government relief benefits if she refuses to take a ‘job’ as a prostitute in a Berlin brothel. The unemployed woman, who has not been named, had indicated her willingness to take jobs outside her field and has worked in a cafĂ©. Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported that the woman, who has not been named, received a phone call offering her an interview for a job. She did not realize the ‘job’ was prostitution in a brothel until she telephoned. After the woman refused, she was told by the job centre that her benefits would be cut off if she did not go into prostitution. Germany’s unemployment rate has reached the highest levels since reunification in 1990 and its welfare laws have recently been reformed. The new welfare regulations and the legalization

Panel predicted Sept. 11-style attack -- in 1977

suntimes : "BY FRANK BASS AND RANDY HERSCHAFT WASHINGTON -- Nearly three decades before the Sept. 11 attacks, a high-level government panel developed plans to protect the nation against terrorist acts ranging from radiological ''dirty bombs'' to airline missile attacks, according to declassified documents obtained by the Associated Press. ''Unless governments take basic precautions, we will continue to stand at the edge of an awful abyss,'' Robert Kupperman, chief scientist for the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, wrote in a 1977 report that summarized nearly five years of work by the Cabinet Committee to Combat Terrorism. The group was formed in September 1972 by President Nixon after Palestinian commandos slaughtered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games. The committee involved people as diverse as Henry Kissinger to a young Rudolph Giuliani, the once-secret documents show. Task force met once ''It is vital tha

Dr. Sanity: Challenger - A Flight Surgeon Remembers

Dr. Sanity: Challenger - A Flight Surgeon Remembers : The next 12 hours were something of a blur. I had read about mass hysteria in textbooks, but that description was far too mild for what I found when I reached the place the crew called home prior to a launch. All the members of the immediate and extended family were there. Women were screaming; babies crying. People thronged around me, wanting to know if the crew had parachuted to safety. I was stunned that they had not yet grasped what had happened. One family member was certain that a rescue plane would find the crew in the ocean somewhere. Several people fainted. I needed help to medically manage the 30 or more family members who were there, but George Abbey, the dictatorial head of Flight Crew Ops would not permit me to call in any other doctor. He was in full damage control mode, and wouldn't permit any TVs or radios to be turned on either. Certainly, no phone calls. I needed to hospitalize one person, who had become disori

Victorian author had future off to a tee News : by CLAIRE SMITH A FORGOTTEN Victorian text, written by a little-known Scottish author, accurately predicted the invention of flat-screen televisions, bullet trains and digital watches. Written in 1892 and published under a pseudonym, the science-fiction work set in 2000 describes many modern inventions and social changes with uncanny accuracy. Very little is known about the author, Jay McCullough, who is believed to have been from St Andrews and who wrote only one other book, a golf instruction manual. The rare text - published under the pseudonym J.A.C.K. - goes under the hammer this weekend at Edinburgh auctioneers Lyon and Turnbull. Entitled Golf in the Year 2000 or What Are We Coming To, it follows the tale of avid 19th-century golfer Alexander J Gibson, who falls into a deep sleep on 24 March 1892 and wakes up Rip Van Winkle-style on 25 March 2000 to find a world transformed. Television, superfast trains, digital watches and female emanc

Women Who Think

Dynamist Blog : "The flap over Larry Summers' bravely analytical comments on why women might be scarce at the top of math and science scholarship demonstrates that political correctness is alive and well and, even more depressing, that a remarkable number of scientifically talented women are incapable of understanding plain English or the difference between general statistical patterns and individual data points. It's been a long time since female scientists did so much to advance the stereotype of women as hysterically incapable of rational analysis."

MacInTouch Home Page

MacInTouch Home Page : "Doug McLean pointed out a possible alternative to AppleCare: I just read the fine print for my Visa card and discovered the 'Performance Guarantee' that, for a fee, will extend the manufacturer's warranty for items bought with the card. For about $180, my PowerBook repairs can be covered for four years, compared to $349 for three years of AppleCare. Of course, you don't get the one-stop phone assistance and 'peace of mind'.   The phone operators says that the insurance can be bought anytime during the first two years (which are covered automatically by 'Extended Warranty'), and that failed batteries are covered.   Has anyone used this as an alternative to AppleCare, and what was your experience?"

Is Heaven Populated Chiefly by the Souls of Embryos?

Harvesting stem cells without tears : "As far as I know, bioconservatives like Robert George do not advocate the rescue of naturally conceived unimplanted embryos. But why not? In right-to-life terms, normal unimplanted embryos are the moral equivalents of a 30-year-old mother of three children. Of course, culturally we do not mourn the deaths of these millions of embryos as we would the death of a child—and reasonably so, because we do in fact know that these embryos are not people. Try this thought experiment. A fire breaks out in a fertility clinic and you have a choice: You can save a three-year-old child or a Petri dish containing 10 seven-day old embryos. Which do you choose to rescue?"


Current Chaos Manor mail : "There are some basic facts which always seem to be overlooked:  Greenland was inhabited by the Vikings. Any climate discussion needs to take this into account. There are theories about ocean currents and such, but the fact remains that Greenland was inhabited, Vineland was inhabitable, and Europe was warmer and had better climate. We have had much colder periods. Alexander Hamilton dragged the guns of Ticonderoga across the frozen Hudson River to General Washington on Manhattan Island in 1776. I don't have the exact date of the last year the Hudson was frozen that solid, but it was certainly before CO2 caused any great warming. Any discussion that doesn't at least account for such data is advocacy not science. As to who are the 'real scientists' the facts here haven't changed much. Everyone since Arrhenius has understood that increasing CO2 levels will cause some warming. Arrhenius did some calculations on the back of an

Missplacing the Remote

mock_the_stupid: : This BBC News story is about how a woman lost her only remote control for her BRAIN! The remote controls a tremor contol brain implant, which needs to be turned off so that she can sleep. It was in her handbag when the bag was stolen. One would think since everyone involved from the surgeon, to the Medtronics salesman, to the woman herself, has experianced the frustration of a lost television remote, they would have a few spares on hand, but it appears not to be the case. I'm sure that Harry Benson would be laughing about this.


SETH LLOYD : Quantum Mechanical Engineer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology I believe in science. Unlike mathematical theorems, scientific results can't be proved.They can only be tested again and again, until only a fool would not believe them. I cannot prove that electrons exist, but I believe fervently in their existence. And if you don't believe in them, I have a high voltage cattle prod I'm willing to apply as an argument on their behalf. Electrons speak for themselves.

City's mesh network nets criminals

[IP] : "The police department is also using the Wi-Fi connection to transmit police reports and ticket information so that when a traffic ticket is issued, the data is sent directly into the city's computer system, bypassing a manual process that is prone to errors. But Drake said the most effective element of the program has been the IP surveillance cameras. They pan over 350 degrees and zoom in and out. They are shielded behind bullet proof casings and are remotely controlled from headquarters. The cameras can shoot between five and 10 frames per second, and are set up to provide a clear enough picture of a criminal's face that a perpetrator can be positively identified in court. The images are captured to a hard drive and archived for 72 hours. Rather than use the more popular MPEG digital video format, the city instead uses the Motion JPEG format. Drake said courts have thrown out MPEG images because they combine frames for a composite image. Motion JPEG,