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Showing posts from March, 2005

Rev. Robert Johansen on Terri Schiavo

National Review Online : "And, quite apart from the question of Terri’s therapy and care, it is entirely likely that Terri has never been properly diagnosed. Terri is usually described as being in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS), and indeed Judge Greer ruled as a finding of fact that she is PVS; but this diagnosis and finding were arrived at in a way that has many neurologists expressing surprise and dismay. I have spent the past ten days recruiting and interviewing neurologists who are willing to come forward and offer affidavits or declarations concerning new testing and examinations for Terri. In addition to the 15 neurologists’ affidavits Gibbs had in time to present in court, I have commitments from over 30 others who are willing to testify that Terri should have new and additional testing, and new examinations by unbiased neurologists. Almost 50 neurologists all say the same thing: Terri should be reevaluated, Terri should be reexamined, and there are grave doubts as to

Hobart mail carriers fear Chihuahua

Associated Press March 26, 2005 HOBART, Ind. -- A 4.5-pound Chihuahua named Bobo has landed its owner in hot water after the pint-sized canine repeatedly terrorized U.S. Postal Service workers, preventing them from delivering the mail. Mail carriers were recently unable to deliver mail to homes along a section of Guyer Street in the northwestern Indiana city because Bobo would not allow them safe passage, police said.

MIT publication retracts two stories : "A technology publication run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has retracted two stories it published on its website this year, after it was unable to verify the existence of an anonymous source cited in both stories. The articles, both written by New York-based freelance journalist Michelle Delio, were about last month's dismissal of Carly Fiorina as chief executive of computer and imaging company Hewlett-Packard Co. Jason Pontin, Technology Review's editor-in-chief, ordered the articles removed from the site after receiving a complaint from HP officials. ''HP gave me a phone call,' said Pontin. ''When I checked the sources, I could not in fact verify that the anonymous quotes were accurate. So we killed the story.'" ......In the second, titled ''Carly's Way" and published March 4, he is described as a Hungarian immigrant with the initials ''G.S." and as ''an electrical engin

Microphone responsible for shutting down Fort Worth-International Airport

Times Record News: Ap State Wire Feed : "FORT WORTH, Texas- It was Brian Teasley's custom-made microphone that was responsible for shutting down five gates in Terminal C at Dallas Fort Worth-International Airport this week. Next time, he'll ship it instead of carrying it in his baggage, he promised in a story in Saturday editions of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Teasley, a member of Dallas-based pop-rock band Polyphonic Spree, had been in Austin where the group taped an episode of 'Austin City Limits.' He was taking a flight from DFW to his home in Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday. The percussionist for the 25-member band had planned to do some recording at home, so he put the microphone in his suitcase. When his suitcase didn't show up on the baggage carousel in Birmingham, he filled out the missing-luggage paperwork and went home. He didn't know the suitcase wasn't there because it was under scrutiny at the Texas airport. A DFW terminal area and sev


inviolet's blog - April 16th, 2004 : "We've all heard it. It's spoken, written, taught everywhere: a human has five senses. This knowledge is so basic, so completely accepted, that it is absolutely beyond question. Only a few crackpots insist that there is a mystical 'sixth sense'. Because everybody knows that there are really only five. And everybody is wrong. Viz: 1. sight. 2. sound. 3. touch. 4. smell. 5. taste. 6. accelleration: every human body comes equipped with two three-dimensional accellerometers, one in each ear. Fluid in the 'semicircular canals' moves in response to accelleration (including gravity), the movement of the fluid causes tiny hairs to bend, and nerves at the base of those hairs relay the signal to the brain where it is interpreted as direct sensory data. And just as the eyes can be fooled with an optical illusion, the accellerometers can be fooled by a 'centripetal illusion': rotate in place for a minute and the

12 year-old's program kills plagiarism : "A TWELVE year old kid has put the wind up countless Kiwi students by interesting their Universities in a little plagiarism program he wrote. Nicholas Hinds, 12, who attends Otepopo School in the small town of Herbert, south of Oamaru has penned a program called Punching Plagiarism, which uses the internet search engine Google to detect if the contents of any assignment has been nicked from the Internet. Nicholas told NZAP htat the project began last year, when his teacher Karolyn Jones heard that plagiarism was becoming a major problem at the big city universities. The computer whiz kid developed a screenful of commands to generate the program. Meanwhile Massey University and the University of Otago are indicating that they are interested and want to evaluate it. Unfortunately the program works so well that it netted one plagiarism suspect – step forward 12 year-old computer Whiz kid Nicholas Hinds. His teacher Frank Lewthwaite found Nicholas had apparently b

Rockefeller University scientists take on controversial ’vibration theory’ of smell : "Two researchers at Rockefeller University have put a controversial theory of smell to the sniff test and have found no evidence to support it. They say their study, published in the April issue of Nature Neuroscience, should raise firm doubts about the validity of 'vibration theory,' which states that molecules in each substance generate a specific vibration frequency that the nose can interpret as distinct smells. The reigning theory of smell, which also is as yet unproven, is that the shape of a chemical determines how it smells - much the same way as taste works. However, at present there is no way to look at a chemical and predict what it will smell like. This is different from other sensory stimuli that are defined by simple physical properties. Color, for example, is defined by the wavelength of light. While experiments conducted in this study were not designed to confirm the 'shape theory,' the results support the theory favo

CSI Medblogs rolls up its sleeves on the Tragic Case of Bosox Fan, Victoria Snelgrove's Death

CodeBlueBlog : "If an exploding pepper ball killed Victoria Snelgrove – and let’s assume for a minute that it did – this represents death by an atrocious concatenation of coincidences, and fearfully bad luck. Bad luck is the layman's term for the statistics of event occurrence. Statistics is a branch of mathematics that the average person shuns, despite its ultimate importance in understanding why many 'unexplainable' bad and good things happen to bad and good people. Why don't we more frequently adduce statistical rationales to explain the many occurrences it might elucidate? As T.S. Eliot said 'Humankind cannot bear very much reality.' THE MECHANISM Let me say first that IF Victoria Snelgrove died as a direct result of a pepper ball striking her in the eye, then the likeliest of the unlikely explanations are: 1. As I have explained before, one proposed mechanism of death can be inferred by assuming the transmission of extraordinary pressure directed po

The Geek Guide to Kosher Machines

Wired 12.11 : "But as appliances got more high tech - gel-pad touch controls; LED screens with temperature and burner settings; digital humidity gauges - creating a Sabbath mode became more difficult. Mayer Preger, a salesman at the Manhattan Center for Kitchen and Bath, noticed a problem when fridges started using sensors instead of simple light switches. 'You can't hack the new refrigerators like you used to,' he complains. 'There's all these computer chips in them.' That's where Jonah Ottensoser comes in. He doesn't hack the fridges so much as work with manufacturers to give appliances a kosher seal of approval. A retired helicopter engineer who is himself Orthodox, Ottensoser teaches Sabbath law to technical teams at companies like General Electric, Electrolux, and Viking. His job: to guide them in building electronic brains and mechanical guts that are Sabbath-compliant. Ottensoser works for Star-K, a nonprofit that certifies food products as

Thieves take brain remote control

BBC NEWS : The gadget switches off a device in Rita Carlisle's brain A medical device which allows a woman to sleep by switching off an implant in her brain has been stolen. Rita Carlisle, 53, from Knaphill, Surrey, suffers from a condition called essential tremor. The stolen remote control gadget sends out pulses to calm the condition and can be switched off so she can rest. Ms Carlisle, who now struggles to sleep, was carrying the device and £600 cash in a handbag which was stolen in Farnborough, Hants, on 23 December. Christmas 'ruined' She said: 'I'm extremely tired, I'm getting three to four hours' sleep a night, I can't turn the machine off. 'I had my second operation on 13 December and it was my first outing after leaving hospital. 'I just wish the people who stole the machine would give it back. 'They have totally ruined Christmas and the New Year. There was £600 in my bag as well so they have had a good Christmas out of me.'

Rat Birthday Cake

RachOfTheJungle : "First, I made a regular box cake. Then I ripped chunks of it out to look like it had been partially eaten. Then, I covered the remainder of the cake in icing and decorated it all boring-like. I pinched the icing at the edges to look bitten. I made the rats out of brownies sculpted in the shape of rats. Then I covered them with rolled fondant (a kind of icing) and painted them with icing color paste. Finally, as a last touch, I made little rat turds out of brownies" : vente en ligne de Tee-shirts - RTFM Thanks boingboing

Serious EULA Protection

Ed Foster's Gripelog : "A reader attending a recent tradeshow was handed a surprising promotional giveaway by the makers of BitDefender antivirus software. It was a condom - the BitDefender Prophylactic. 'Secure your every bit,' the package said. 'When used properly, BitDefender Prophylactics prevent unauthorized/involuntary exchange of potentially hazardous biological material.' While that was amusing, the reader was even more surprised to discover that in the package, along with the actual condom, there was a long 'End User License Agreement and Disclaimer of Warranty' for the BitDefender Prophylactic. It started off: Please read the following end user license agreement carefully. If you do not agree to these terms and conditions do not install the BitDefender Prophylactic (hereafter referred to as 'the hardware' or alternatively 'BitDefender Prophylactic'). ....The EULA also takes a very hard line in terms of restricting use to


flocabulary : "Flocabulary: the first vocabulary building exercise to combine hip hop music with the most popular and challenging vocabulary words. Each Flocabulary track is packed with words that are commonly found on the SAT Verbal test What is the Flocabulatry advantage? The words are used in real-world contexts, and the definitions are right in the lyrics. Better yet, we pronounce the words for you. If you read the lyrics while you listen to the song, you increase your chances of learning the vocabulary. Listen, memorize, and learn."

Mike Davidson: How to Snatch an Expiring Domain

Mike Davidson: How to Snatch an Expiring Domain : "I recently found myself in the position of wanting to register a domain which was owned by someone else. The domain was set to expire in a week, and I figured there was a decent chance that the person who owned it wouldn’t be renewing it. Upon consulting the WhoIs registry on the current owner, I discovered the guy was a bit of a domain shark and didn’t seem to be around anymore. So I placed a backorder through GoDaddy for $18.95 thinking that was all I needed to do. During the week that followed, I learned a lot about the domain expiration process. Two and a half months and $369 later, I am the proud owner of a shiny new domain. A really really good one. This article will explain the domain expiration process and what you need to do in order to use it to your advantage."

It's not just the hormones ...

Guardian Unlimited. : "Another clue that testosterone is not the whole story here is that teenage girls, while not as violent, certainly rival boys for downright bloody-mindedness during their adolescent years. Worse, I can hear some parents say. The thing that is really irritating about teenagers (and by now you will have guessed that I have two teenage boys) is that one moment their behaviour is that of adults, while the next it is that of a not very bright three-year-old, or possibly, a retarded chimpanzee. Or an amoeba. The rapid oscillation between child and adult is one of the hallmarks of the teenager. In fact teenage brains are going through a process of maturation, and it is this maturation which many now believe to be responsible for much of the behaviour that we classically attribute to hormones. These changes are independent of hormones and are a function of age. It has only been discovered very recently that there are two main features of brain maturation tha

La France: friend of civilization, enemy of the future : Heidi Fuller-Love and her husband created a bed and breakfast in France a couple of years ago. They asked the village to make a small change to accommodate them, and all hell broke lose. "Over the next few years we suffered every kind of persecution imaginable. The neighbour's scruffy mongrel with close-set eyes was left outside to bark day and night, adolescents with mopeds revved for hours on end outside our front door, the cantonnier sprayed our roses with weed killer, fisherman tramped through our flowerbeds and horsemen tore down a part of the fence, then rode roughshod over our newly planted lawn. When we complained they said our garden was on a right of way and we had the devil's own job to prove them wrong." Apparently, this happens a lot. Our lawyer in Angoulême regaled us with a host of similar tales. 'Making people leave'' was a well-loved local blood sport, apparently. Finally, a Catholic priest helped clarify.

Carly's Way

Carly's Way : "An electronic engineer who worked as a Research Scientist at the Hewlett-Packard Imaging Systems Laboratory starting in 1975 until he resigned in 2003, G.S. thought HP represented the very best of American character -- 'a spirit of adventure and a belief in unlimited possibilities.' He charges, though, that starting in 2000 the can-do attitude was killed by management choices intended to placate nervous investors and board members rather than benefit the company and its workers over the long-term. He warns that sustained cut-backs to R&D budgets over the past half-decade may have irreversibly damaged H-P and the entire U.S. technology industry. I snuck out of Hungary in 1973, one week after I was told that if I ever wanted to advance as an engineer, I would have to join the Communist Party. Being a good party member was far more important than your skill level, and so my boss was a man who had been a pig farmer. After decades spent raising hog

The Death of Yesterday

The Observer | Magazine | Interview: Deborah Wearing : "Twenty years ago, an everyday virus destroyed Clive Wearing's brain. Now, all he can remember is music - and his wife. Here, Deborah Wearing tells Louise France how their enduring love has become the one constant in a marriage without memory "