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11-20-2004, 05:25 AM
Do you read the news? Maybe we can post some of the interesting ones we come across here.


11-20-2004, 05:44 AM
wow, on the side though there was a meteor shower tonight, of course i missed it all because of the time zone thingy.... shoot... maybe ill catch it tomorrow...

11-20-2004, 07:19 AM
Hey Jester, are you familiar with anime, by any chance? *stares at that funky picture of a crying ball*

11-20-2004, 05:18 PM
welll i had a freind obsessed with it but the closest i get is classic disney movies, titan AE, Final Fantasy and princess monoke... not real fond... as for the crying ball, I needed something that emphasized how i felt for missing the meteor shower.

11-20-2004, 11:29 PM
here we go:
>.< >_< T.T ;-; -.- o.o o.o;;; x.x O.o o_O

ahem... :p

11-21-2004, 06:53 AM
Well deserved? :p


11-22-2004, 11:31 AM
If you don't know what to make for dinner tonight...


11-22-2004, 06:05 PM
here we go:
>.< >_< T.T ;-; -.- o.o o.o;;; x.x O.o o_O

ahem... :p

hey what does this mean?

11-23-2004, 11:35 AM

11-23-2004, 07:27 PM
i was just going to post that exact article

here's a different one http://www.sptimes.com/2004/11/24/Floridian/We_re_doomed_without_.shtml

11-23-2004, 10:54 PM
I usually get a good laugh out of the following daily ad from my newspaper, from its dark trivia to strange news.

11-24-2004, 12:00 PM

11-24-2004, 03:20 PM

what do you think about this whole deal... try not to get tooo political just interested in what othe rpeople have to say.

11-24-2004, 03:45 PM
I say... WAY TO GO!

11-24-2004, 03:50 PM

what do you think about this whole deal... try not to get tooo political just interested in what othe rpeople have to say.

Wow, in my opinion, that requires one black heart to endorse in such a game. Re-creating a fictional assassination may not seem as bad, but after a real one, I can, by no means, call moral.

11-24-2004, 05:23 PM
I am not sure if I agree with the perceived 'heroics' of the Kennedy family stated in the article. Before or after JFK, who, no doubt, was a President loved dearly by the majority of people, we have hardly seen any of them doing considerable public service. And how much of the tragedies that are considered to be following the family is really tragic?? Hitting a tree while playing daredevil ski-football or flying planes at night while barely qualified to do so... How many of ordinary people would be doing such things??

I don't want to be disrespectful. I am sorry that those people died when they did, still so young.

Having said this, I agree with the article that turning an unlucky and sad event as JFK's assassination into a video game is sheer disrespect and insensitivity.

PS: Would we react in the same way if it was about another historical figure's assassination, say Julius Caeasar's? And why?

11-24-2004, 11:59 PM

11-25-2004, 12:14 AM
lawdy, lawdy. mmMmmm.

(if you're waiting for a translation: lordy, lordy.)

11-25-2004, 11:20 PM
*still waiting for translation* :p

11-26-2004, 01:52 AM
..lol....funny stuff Jay.

How many places in the world would allow this (news article) raffle to take place?? Uhhh.....only in Texas?

11-26-2004, 01:55 AM
I would like to think not many... please.

11-26-2004, 05:39 AM


11-29-2004, 08:19 AM

11-29-2004, 05:57 PM
WOW wow WOW...
that is so cool...

11-29-2004, 06:00 PM
Awwww, sweet :)

11-29-2004, 06:54 PM
What with all of the 'pirates' on the forum, when I came across the following link, I felt obligated to share it (Stan, hold your head high).

11-29-2004, 10:45 PM
....lol.....gotta get some pirate underpants.....

......most watched movies? 'Gone with the wind' may never be surpassed. The actual number of people viewing this movie as a percentage of the given population at the time of release (1940 A.D.) renders this record unbeatable.

11-30-2004, 07:34 PM

i like sna miguel as a name, its a beer too... and ten children, five of which are named george, wow... I kinda like Apple and Hazel...

12-01-2004, 01:03 AM
What will the world think of next?

12-01-2004, 01:10 AM

12-01-2004, 09:21 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/bristol/4056747.stm some things never change?? ;)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_west/4054763.stm :eek2:

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=573&ncid=757&e=1&u=/nm/20041130/od_nm/life_korea_umbilical_dc :sick:

12-01-2004, 06:12 PM
wow cool on the umbilical cord thingy

12-02-2004, 08:39 AM
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/4059997.stm :rolleyes:

12-04-2004, 02:51 AM

12-04-2004, 03:49 PM
When moving on to serious and really amazing news:
The lost manuscript of Rachmaninov's 2nd symphony is found (http://www.gramophone.co.uk/newsMainTemplate.asp?storyID=2233&newssectionID=1) :eek2:

12-06-2004, 01:58 PM
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=573&ncid=757&e=1&u=/nm/20041206/od_nm/odd_china_suicide_dc :eek2:

12-08-2004, 01:37 AM
*sigh, no explanation needed:

12-08-2004, 08:44 AM
*sigh, no explanation needed:

I don't want to think what is next! :rolleyes:

12-08-2004, 01:13 PM


12-09-2004, 11:58 AM
Concussions Kept Tintin Forever Young -- Study (Yahoo - Oddly Enough)

58 minutes ago Oddly Enough - Reuters

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Comic book hero Tintin never aged during his 50-year career because the repeated blows he took to the head triggered a growth hormone deficiency, according to an analysis in the Christmas edition of a Canadian medical journal.

Claude Cyr, a professor of medicine at Quebec's Sherbrooke University, said a study of the 23 hugely popular Tintin books showed the intrepid Belgian reporter suffered 50 significant losses of consciousness during his many adventures.

"We hypothesize that Tintin has growth hormone deficiency and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (a disorder of the pituitary gland) from repeated trauma. This could explain his delayed statural growth, delayed onset of puberty and lack of libido," Cyr wrote.

His article was in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, which has a tradition of publishing studies into the ailments of fictional characters in its Christmas edition.

Tintin was created by Belgium's Georges Remi under the pen name Herge. The teenage character first appeared in 1929 and despite the passing of almost five decades was as fresh-faced as ever in the pages of the last book to feature him, which appeared in 1976.

Cyr, who wrote the study with the help of his two young sons, noted that Tintin had been knocked out 43 times by serious blows to the head.

"We identified the cause of the trauma, the length of loss of consciousness (calculated by the number of cartoon frames before Tintin returns to normal activity) and the apparent severity of the trauma (indicated by the number of objects e.g., stars, candles revolving above Tintin's head)," he said.

Among the main reasons for Tintin's injuries were blows from a club, bullet wounds, explosions, car accidents, chloroform poisoning and falls.

"Unfortunately, no brain imaging was performed," Cyr lamented.

Tintin traveled all over the world with his white terrier Snowy as he battled foes as varied as drug dealers, Incan priests, slave traders and the Abominable Snowman. The books have been translated into 60 languages and have sold 200 million copies.

In 2000 the Canadian Medical Association Journal caused something of an uproar by revealing that Winnie the Pooh's continuous search for honey was caused by obsessive compulsive disorder, Piglet needed anti-panic medication, while Eeyore was massively depressed.

Another study surmised that Beatrix Potter's ever energetic Squirrel Nutkin character was in fact autistic.


12-10-2004, 01:44 PM
Warning: Christmas Parties Can Damage Your Health

Fri Dec 10, 9:38 AM ET Oddly Enough - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - Don't dance on tables at the office Christmas party and resist the temptation to photocopy body parts in a drunken attempt to amuse colleagues.

That is the message from Britain's Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), which joined trade unions on Friday to issue guidelines on how to host a safe and successful office party.

"Resist the temptation to photocopy parts of your anatomy," RoSPA and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said. "If the copier breaks, you'll have Christmas with glass in painful places."

"Dancing on desks could do them and you a lot of damage," they said. "Likewise, the boardroom table is meant for weighty documents, not overweight executives."

Candles, flaming Christmas puddings and cigarettes should be avoided at all costs.

Stepladders, not swivel chairs, should be used to hang tinsel and mistletoe, which should not be hung near sources of heat.

"Keep a close eye on those who may drink too much," the organizations advised. "Alcohol makes some people aggressive rather than friendly. The party will be spoiled if it ends in a punch-up or harassment complaint."

RoSPA and the TUC were condemned by some as killjoys but said they were only trying to help.

"We are not being party poopers," RoSPA Occupational Safety Adviser Roger Bibbings said.

"Some sensible safety precautions will allow people to have a great office celebration without having to call in the emergency services."



12-12-2004, 04:54 AM
Romeos to come unstuck in Verona

Many notes are written on sweet wrappings and stuck on with gum
Verona's authorities are slapping a ban on Romeos leaving written love notes near a balcony made famous by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
They say the scribbled messages are being fixed on by chewing gum - making a mess of the 13th century walls.

Lovers will be urged to post their notes by text or online - to be flashed on a screen being erected instead.

"It seemed the best solution to us," said a tourism official, adding it would appeal to young people.

Tourists in the northern Italian city of Verona make a point of visiting Juliet's house, in reality a former inn.

The tiny marble balcony and courtyard has become the place where, in William Shakespeare's 16th century play, Romeo declares his love for Juliet.


"This house is the stuff of legends. It has an effect on people - not just our younger visitors," said Francesca Tamellini, responsible for tourism at Verona city council.

But romantics compelled to leave their own prose at the site has caused unforeseen problems for the authorities.

Many of the notes have been stuck on with chewing gum, which is destroying the ancient building.

"It is time to clean the building, because people aren't just writing on the walls of the entrance arch, they are sticking notes on the wall with gum," Ms Tamellini was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.

"It has become really ugly."

She said they want people to send text messages, which will flash up on a giant glass screen to be put up in the courtyard, possibly by next summer.

"It seemed the best solution to us. It will appeal to young people, who are the first to want to send their messages," she said.


12-13-2004, 03:17 AM
Scher, aren't you tired ?

12-13-2004, 03:19 AM


12-13-2004, 03:23 AM
Parents 'strike' over idle children

Cat and Harlan Barnard's story has struck a nerve across the US
A mother and father say they have gone on strike over their children's lack of help around the house.
Cat and Harlan Barnard have pitched a tent in the front drive of their Florida home and erected signs, one of which says: "Parents on Strike!".

They say they will stay there until Benjamin, 17, and Kit, 12, start to do their share of the household chores.

The stand-off, in Enterprise, Florida, is being monitored by the police, welfare officers and teachers.

Mrs Barnard said she and her 56-year-old husband, a government social services worker, had tried everything to get their children to act more responsibly.

They tried smiley-face charts, withholding allowances and even sought help from a psychologist.

"We've tried reverse psychology, upside down psychology, spiral psychology and nothing has motivated them for any length of time," said Mrs Barnard, 45.

She said the final straw came when her son failed to offer to help her mow the lawn one Sunday, even though she should have been resting following a medical operation.

"I had already made the decision to do it [strike] then, but I had absolutely no motherly guilt about it," she was quoted by the Associated Press news agency as saying.

Media interest

Since Monday, the parents have slept on airbeds in their tent and eaten barbecue meals, only going inside to use the shower.

The children have frozen meals to keep them going inside the house.

The parents say they will stay outside until their children change
Officers from the sheriff's department have called at the home three times to check on the situation but have not tried to intervene.

One of Kit's teachers also stopped by, concerned after hearing that her parents had left home.

The Barnards' story has been picked up by the media across the US, and they have been inundated with interview requests.

One woman shouted "Good for you! You should put the kids outside!" as she drove past their home, the AP reported.

But others are less supportive. "One woman said I should be ashamed for creating emotional stress on my children," Mrs Barnard said.

"I told her, 'Well, they've been doing it to me for years.'"

The action appears to have angered Ben, who described the strike and ensuing press attention as "extremely inconvenient".

But his sister, Kit, said she understood. "I guess we don't help out as much as we could. I'm going to change."


12-13-2004, 03:27 AM
posting these....stuffs..

12-13-2004, 03:27 AM
Not really... Are you tired of reading them?

12-13-2004, 03:34 AM
Well, would it matters

12-13-2004, 03:38 AM
[Portage Daily Register, 10-28-04]

Karen Stolzmann, 44, was arrested in October in Portage, Wis., and charged with possession of stolen property, specifically, her long-dead boyfriend's ashes, which police say she dug up more than 10 years ago, perhaps to taunt his family, with whom she never got along. Other items that had been buried with him were found in her possession, and authorities speculate that the beer the family buried as tribute had long since been drunk by Stolzmann. (The couple reportedly had a stormy relationship, and the family believes she provoked his suicide.)

12-13-2004, 03:44 AM
Sub> If you are tired of it or if you are not interested, feel free not to open this thread :)

Basil> Talk about long lasting revenge... (I liked your previous avatars better :blush:)

12-13-2004, 03:49 AM
A journal study by Maastricht University in The Netherlands concluded that even the air quality alongside major highways is not as dangerous as the air inside the typical church (with candles, incense and poor ventilation).

Scher, what's wrong with this one? Do you know what it's from?

12-13-2004, 03:50 AM
Oh Scher, don't get me wrong. I never mentioned (not even once) that I don't like this thread. Wasn't I just asking?

12-13-2004, 03:59 AM
[Northwest Cable News (Seattle)-AP, 11-9-04]

A Junction City, Ore., high school student was arrested after he and a pal allegedly distributed a DVD they had made, complete with rap-music sound track, of them beating up a classmate they had selected at random.

12-13-2004, 08:38 PM
wow there are some sick people in the world (from previous post by basil)

hey parents??? would you go on strike against your children?

12-14-2004, 01:31 PM
Google to scan famous libraries

Google is the world's most popular search engine
The libraries of five of the world's most important academic institutions are to be digitised by Google.
Scanned pages from books in the public domain will then be made available for search and reading online.

The full libraries of Michigan and Stanford universities, as well as archives at Harvard, Oxford and the New York Public Library are included.

Online pages from scanned books will not have adverts but will have links to online store Amazon, Google said.

Lengthy project

"The goal of the project is to unlock the wealth of information that is offline and bring it online," said Susan Wojcicki, director of product management at Google.

This is the day the world changes

John Wilkin, University of Michigan
There will also be links to public libraries so that the books can be borrowed. Google will not be paid for providing for the links.

It will take six years to digitise the full collection at Michigan, which contains seven million volumes.

Users will only have access to extracts and bibliographies of copyrighted works.

The New York library is allowing Google to include a small portion of books no longer covered by copyright.

Thousands of Oxford's rare books will be made available online
Harvard is limiting its participation to 40,000 books, while Oxford wants Google to scan books originally published in the 19th Century and held in the Bodleian Library.

A spokeswoman for Oxford University said the digitised books would include novels, poetry, political tracts and art books.

"Important works that are out of print or only available in a few libraries around the world will be made available to everyone," she said.

About one million books will be scanned by Google, less than 15% of the total collection held in the Bodleian.

"We hope that Oxford's contribution to this project will be of scholarly use, as well as general interest, to people around the world," said Reg Carr, director of Oxford University Library Services.

Impact on libraries

"It's a significant opportunity to bring our material to the rest of the world," said Paul LeClerc, president of the New York Public Library.

"It could solve an old problem: If people can't get to us, how can we get to them?"

"This is the day the world changes," said John Wilkin, a University of Michigan librarian working with Google.

"It will be disruptive because some people will worry that this is the beginning of the end of libraries.

"But this is something we have to do to revitalise the profession and make it more meaningful."


12-15-2004, 05:49 AM
Singapore heads school test table

School pupils in Singapore lead the world in maths and science, the latest international report suggests.
Of 360,000 pupils aged 10 and 14 in more than 40 countries in the TIMSS study, those in Singapore had the best average scores in both subjects.

England's pupils did well in science but in the older age group too few schools took part, so their results are in a footnote in the report.

Scotland, the other UK nation involved, fared less well in both subjects.

Four-yearly tests

This is the second time in two weeks that England has failed to figure in major international rankings because of low participation.

The UK as a whole was left out of the PISA rankings last week because not enough schools in England could be persuaded to take part.

The latest analysis is from the four-yearly Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).

It was organised by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement and co-ordinated by researchers at Boston College in the US.

This is the third TIMSS report, involving pupils typically aged 14 ("eighth grade") in 46 countries and typically aged 10 ("fourth grade") in 25 countries.

Tests were tailored to each participating country's curriculum, main language and culture.

The researchers said Singapore students at both grade levels were easily the top performers in maths and among the best in science, with the highest average scores.

Those from South Korea, Chinese Taipei and the Hong Kong region of China also performed very well across the two subject areas.

Trends over time

Because this 2003 round of testing was the third that has been done, the researchers were able to identify trends since 1995.

In mathematics, at the eighth grade, countries with significant increases in achievement included South Korea, Hong Kong, Latvia, the United States and Lithuania.

A number of countries had declined, including Japan, Belgium (Flemish), Russia, the Slovak Republic, Sweden, Bulgaria, Norway and Cyprus.

At the fourth grade, countries showing significant gains between 1995 and 2003 included Hong Kong, Latvia, England, Cyprus, New Zealand and Slovenia.

Only the Netherlands and Norway had significant decreases in achievement.

England's Schools Minister, Stephen Twigg, said: "The fact that our pupils have made bigger progress in maths than any other country highlights how our numeracy strategy has brought real dividends, and is testament to the hard work of teachers and pupils."

In science, countries that showed significant improvement at the eighth grade included South Korea, Hong Kong, the US, Australia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Latvia.

Countries with significant decreases included Sweden, the Slovak Republic, Belgium (Flemish), Norway, Bulgaria, Iran and Cyprus.

At the fourth grade, many countries showed significant improvement, including Singapore, Hong Kong, England, Hungary, Latvia, New Zealand, Slovenia, Cyprus and Iran.

Performance in Japan, Scotland and Norway declined.

The best performer in this TIMSS report, Singapore, was not in the PISA study, reported last week.

Finland, which outperformed other countries in PISA's maths, science and reading tests, did not take part in TIMSS.


12-15-2004, 06:55 AM
What next??? :eek:

A Wingman in Action: Here's How It Works

Tue Dec 14, 3:00 PM ET U.S. National - AP

By The Associated Press

So what's a wingperson's role? Gabe Fischbarg, a New York lawyer who wrote the book "The Guide to Picking Up Girls," says it goes something like this:

_ Step One: The wingman or wingwoman is someone who's comfortable talking to strangers and helps find a way to strike up a conversation and introduce his or her friend.

_ Step Two: If the potential love interest is with friends, the wingperson helps keep those friends occupied so there's a chance for the friend to make a love connection.

_ Step Three: The wingperson also does everything possible to make the friend who's trying to score look brilliant, funny and enticing.

"In other words, it's always easier if someone else says nice things about you. If you do it, it sounds like you're bragging," says Fischbarg, whose book dedicates an entire chapter to the topic of wingmen.

He says it's OK for wingpeople to make themselves look silly so their friends can shine. But they should avoid telling embarrassing stories about their friends.


12-16-2004, 01:18 AM
Dude, you can't be serious!

Linguist deconstructs the word, sees many meaningsThe Associated Press

Updated: 9:59 a.m. ET Dec. 8, 2004PITTSBURGH - Dude, you’ve got to read this.

A linguist from the University of Pittsburgh has published a scholarly paper
deconstructing and deciphering the word “dude,” contending it is much more than a catchall for lazy, inarticulate surfers, skaters, slackers and teenagers.

An admitted dude-user during his college years, Scott Kiesling said the four-letter word has many uses: in greetings (“What’s up, dude?”); as an exclamation (“Whoa, Dude!”); commiseration (“Dude, I’m so sorry.”); to one-up someone (“That’s so lame, dude.”); as well as agreement, surprise and disgust (“Dude.”).

Kiesling says in the fall edition of American Speech that the word derives its power from something he calls cool solidarity — an effortless kinship that’s not too intimate.

Cool solidarity is especially important to young men who are under social pressure to be close with other young men, but not enough to be suspected as gay.

In other words: Close, dude, but not that close.

“It’s like man or buddy, there is often this male-male addressed term that says, ’I’m your friend but not much more than your friend,”’ said Kiesling, whose research focuses on language and masculinity.

Decoding the lingo
To decode the word’s meaning, Kiesling listened to conversations with fraternity members he taped in 1993. He also had undergraduate students in sociolinguistics classes in 2001 and 2002 write down the first 20 times they heard “dude” and who said it during a three-day period.

He found the word taps into nonconformity and a new American image of leisurely success.

Dude, whatcha think?

Anecdotally, men were the predominant users of the word, but women sometimes call each other dudes.

Less frequently, men will call women dudes and vice versa. But that comes with some rules, according to self-reporting from students in a 2002 language and gender class included in the paper.

“Men report that they use dude with women with whom they are close friends, but not with women with whom they are intimate,” according to the study.

His students also reported that they were least likely to use the word with parents, bosses and professors.

Historically, dude originally meant “old rags” — a “dudesman” was a scarecrow. In the late 1800s, a “dude” was akin to a “dandy,” a meticulously dressed man, especially out West. It became “cool” in the 1930s and 1940s, according to Kiesling. Dude began its rise in the teenage lexicon with the 1981 movie “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

“Dude” also shows no signs of disappearing as more and more of our culture becomes youth-centered, said Mary Bucholtz, an associate professor of linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“I have seen middle-aged men using ’dude’ with each other,” she said.


12-16-2004, 01:22 AM
How weird.

12-16-2004, 05:56 AM
Well I don't think it's weird at all. I mean people do almost everything to get instant happiness these days.

12-16-2004, 10:06 PM
Extreme theft.

12-17-2004, 01:02 AM
what would anyone do with those medals???

12-17-2004, 10:32 AM

The type of sandwich people choose to eat can reveal their "inner" self, according to a new survey.

The findings suggest the popular BLT indicates a hard-working, self-motivated individual who holds traditional family values.

A tuna and cucumber sandwich suggests a caring and giving individual.

The BLT was the top choice for those men surveyed while the tuna and cucumber was the top choice for women.

Few people enjoyed tucking into an egg mayonnaise sandwich - although it was the favourite of the older generation.

Psychologist Donna Dawson said it tended to be chosen by someone who is traditional and conservative and would never take unnecessary risks.

The chicken and bacon sandwich was more popular and the most favoured among youngsters.

"It tends to be chosen by people with healthy life appetites, who expend a lot of energy during their daily routine," Ms Dawson said.

The classic 70s favourite - the prawn cocktail sandwich - was one of the least favoured sandwiches with only 8%.

A product manager at office products firm Avery Dennison said: "They say you are what you eat and this research clearly indicates key personality types."


I am a tuna and cucumber person :D

12-17-2004, 11:13 AM
What about salami sandwiches?

12-17-2004, 11:25 AM
The survey was conducted in the UK... I am afraid the sandwich range is limited to the ones mentioned in the article :eek:

*tries to remind self why she is living in the UK*
Horrid weather, milky tea and without imagnation sandwiches... Oh yeah! :rolleyes:

12-17-2004, 11:42 AM
I've never even heard of a tuna and cucumber sammich!!

12-17-2004, 11:52 AM
Tuna mixed with mayo (and some spices if you are preparing it at home) and cucumber slices... Believe me, beats the egg mayo or the prawn...

12-17-2004, 02:33 PM
I'm Not Touching It, YOU Touch It! :rolleyes:

Fri Dec 17,10:22 AM ET Oddly Enough - Reuters

BOGOTA, Colombia (Reuters) - Colombian police seized 292 voodoo dolls but were reluctant to inspect the black, hand-sized talismans for fear of witchcraft.

"Witches don't exist, but if they do, they do," Highway Police Capt. Gerson Fajardo explained in a local newspaper interview published on Thursday.

Transporting or selling the dolls is not against the law in Colombia. But police intelligence officer Rolando Silva, described by El Tiempo newspaper as an expert in witchcraft, nonetheless defended their seizure in the central province of Quindio.

"It was a measure to protect the moral conduct and the good habits of the people," he said.

The cargo, marked "various merchandise," also included 192 packages labeled magic dust and instructions on how to cast spells.


12-18-2004, 06:17 AM
So good to see that the health system has enough time and money for this :rolleyes:

Gollum gets a health check

Thu Dec 16, 7:37 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - Gollum, the creepy character in "Lord of the Rings" with the dual personality and eerie voice, suffered from a schizoid personality disorder, according to a group of medical students.

Thirty students at University College London were asked to explain the odd behaviour the character displayed in the films based on the J.R.R. Tolkien trilogy.

The students noted his solitary habits, spiteful behaviour, odd interests, difficulty in forming friendships, emotional changeability, nervousness and paranoia.

"He fulfils seven of the nine criteria for schizoid personality disorder, and, if we must label Gollum's problems, we believe this is the most likely diagnosis," Dr Elizabeth Sampson, who headed the research team, said in the British Medical Journal on Friday.

His two personalities -- Gollum and Smeagol -- convinced some students it was a case of schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder.

But schizophrenia was ruled out because delusions were not in keeping with Gollum's culture. The interaction between the two personalities shows Gollum is aware of both Smeagol and Gollum at the same time, which is inconsistent with multiple personality disorder, in which one is usually suppressed.

His bulging eyes and weight loss also suggests a thyroid problem, they added.


12-18-2004, 06:59 AM
Er...what's strange with this news?
Well, everybody knows that Gollum is a schizo, (btw, does speaking of yourself in plural mean that you're a schizo?!??!) but if it's now scientifically proved, then fine.

(so says a person who has discussed on topics like "Table-manners at Middle-Earth", "Torturing on Middle-Eath" "Hygien on Mddle-Earth" and so on.)

12-18-2004, 07:01 AM
(btw, does speaking of yourself in plural mean that you're a schizo?!??!)

It doesn't exactly say it but does not rule it out either! :p

12-19-2004, 05:29 AM
Mathematicians crochet chaos

Mathematicians have made a crochet model of chaos - and are challenging anyone else to repeat the effort.

Dr Hinke Osinga and Professor Bernd Krauskopf, of Bristol University's engineering mathematics department, used 25,511 crochet stitches to represent the Lorenz equations.

The equations describe the nature of chaotic systems - such as the weather or a turbulent river.

The academics are offering a bottle of champagne to anyone who cares to follow the pattern published in the journal Mathematics Intelligencer.

Floating leaves

The idea for the Lorenz manifold model came to the couple during the Christmas break two years ago.

Dr Osinga, who learnt to crochet when she was seven, was relaxing by crocheting some hexagonal lace motifs.

Prof Krauskopf asked her: "Why don't you crochet something useful?"

Eighty-five hours of work and some supporting steel wire later, they had something almost a metre across which looks not unlike a big Christmas decoration - which is what they are using it as.

Dr Osinga, said: "Imagine a leaf floating in a turbulent river and consider how it passes either to the left or to the right around a rock somewhere downstream.

"Those special leaves that end up clinging to the rock must have followed a very unique path in the water.

"Each stitch in the crochet pattern represents a single point - a leaf - that ends up at the rock."

The more serious side to the work was developing a computer model to describe complex surfaces.

( http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/4099615.stm) Please go to the page and enlarge the image!!! :)


12-21-2004, 01:34 PM
You call this thing chaos?
It can only mean that you haven't seen Our living when We have not been cleaning for some time.
This thing there is Perfect Order compared to Our room.

On the News bit:
We think that there was some kind of news that Harry Potter sixth book is now complete. Or smth. If you're interested, search the net.

12-21-2004, 01:53 PM
You call this thing chaos?
It can only mean that you haven't seen Our living when We have not been cleaning for some time.
This thing there is Perfect Order compared to Our room.

On the News bit:
We think that there was some kind of news that Harry Potter sixth book is now complete. Or smth. If you're interested, search the net.

Heh, Tal! Maybe you can start crocheting a model of your living room as well;just to put those scientists into shame! :D

Also regarding the 6th Potter book:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/4113663.stm :)

12-23-2004, 06:15 AM
Are we not alone afterall? :eek:

Mystery Martian 'Carwash' Helps Space Buggy

Wed Dec 22,10:40 AM ET Oddly Enough - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - An unexplained phenomenon akin to a space-borne car wash has boosted the performance of one of the two U.S. rovers probing the surface of Mars, New Scientist magazine said Tuesday.

It said something -- or someone -- had regularly cleaned layers of dust from the solar panels of the Mars Opportunity vehicle while it was closed down during the Martian night.

The cleaning had boosted the panels' power output close to their maximum 900 watt-hours per day after at one stage dropping to 500 watt-hours because of the heavy Martian dirt.

By contrast, the power output of the solar panels of Mars Spirit -- on a different part of the Red Planet -- had dropped to just 400 watt-hours a day, clogged by the heavy dust.

"These exciting and unexplained cleaning events have kept Opportunity in really great shape," the magazine quoted NASA (news - web sites) rover team leader Jim Erickson as saying.


An interesting article about language development:


12-23-2004, 08:55 AM
No, it's not martians.
We did it yesterday. We kinda got bored and went up and cleansed the thingy up there with cloth and spit.
So, no martians up there.

Sorry to disappoint you.

12-23-2004, 09:08 AM
Tal> Next time you are bored, make your way towards my house as well along with your cloth, please but no spit please! I will provide the water and window cleaner! :D

12-23-2004, 09:19 AM
*looks up his calendar'
Hmm, it seems like that next time We will be bored in *calculates on fingers* exactly 343,42 years. I'd be happy to step by then.

12-23-2004, 09:22 AM
*puts her hoover and mop away for the next 34,342 years*
Suits me! :p

12-23-2004, 01:29 PM
Yet another reason to read books!!! :D

Bookstores Rated New York's Best Pickup Spot

2 hours, 18 minutes ago Oddly Enough - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Looking for a New Year's Eve date? Check under fiction at your local bookstore.

According to a survey of 1,003 New Yorkers aged 25 to 35 released by American Express on Wednesday, the bookstore chain Barnes & Noble has the best singles scene in the city.

Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said she was not surprised.

"We've actually had requests from people who have met in our stores ... asking if they could be married in our stores," she said. The chain has hosted a number of weddings, she added.

Among the survey's other findings: 42 percent of those polled said they thought the best way to ring in the New Year was "at home, enjoying a quiet evening for two."


12-24-2004, 08:43 AM
Giant cockroach among jungle find

A "monster" cockroach and other new insects have been discovered in the jungles of Borneo, scientists say.
An expedition of caves and cliffs, led by the Nature Conservancy, also said it saw previously unknown fish and plants.

"In just five weeks, the expedition team discovered numerous new species previously unknown to science," the conservancy's Scott Stanley said.

"Who knows what else is out there?" he added, calling for the area surveyed in East Kalimantan to be preserved.

"If something is not done soon to protect these areas, dozens of species could disappear before anyone knew they ever existed."

Borneo is one of the world's richest regions, in terms of biodiversity, but the area had no special status that might have protected it against illegal mining or logging.

The team of scientists explored four "karst" systems of limestone caves, cliffs and sinkholes in the Sangkulirang Peninsula, about 1,200km (750 miles) north-west of Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.

At 10cm (4in) long, the newly-discovered cockroach is believed to be the largest in the world.

As well as the "monster" cockroach, the scientists reported a new "micro-crab", a pure-white 6.5cm-long millipede, two new species of begonia, two new species of snail and several new types of fish, the conservancy said.


12-24-2004, 10:50 PM
Interesting . . .

12-28-2004, 06:23 AM
Happy holidays everyone... :(

Death toll in Asian disaster nears 28,000

COLOMBO (AFP) - The confirmed death toll from the massive earthquake and tidal waves that devastated much of Asia's coastline approached 28,000, with officials warning the figure was likely to rise steeply.

In Sri Lanka more than 12,200 people, including at least 70 foreigners, were killed in Sunday's disaster.

More than 8,500 people were reported killed in India with many more victims expected, officials said.

Among them were about 4,000 in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, close to the epicentre of the quake, where thousands were missing after five villages were swept away, an official said.

Around 4,500 were killed in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the former French colony of Pondicherry, officials said.

In Indonesia, nearly 5,800 people were killed as the country took the full force of the huge earthquake and tidal waves that swallowed entire coastal villages.

The vice president has warned the toll could reach as high as 25,000 once the true scale of the catastrophe becomes clear.

Nearly 1,000 people were killed, among them more than 700 foreign tourists, in southern Thailand, the deputy interior minister said.

Officials have said they expect the real toll to be twice as large.

In Malaysia 60 people, including many elderly and children, were killed, officials said.

At least 56 people were killed in Myanmar and the toll was expected to rise substantially.

At least 52 people including two British holidaymakers were killed while another 68 were missing in the tourist paradise of Maldives, officials said.

In Bangladesh a father and child were killed after a tourist boat capsized from large waves, local officials said.

Fatalities also occurred on the east coast of Africa where 100 fishermen were declared dead in Somalia and 10 in Tanzania.

The US Geological Survey said the earthquake west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra measured 9.0 on the Richter scale -- making it the largest quake worldwide in four decades.

Death toll:

Sri Lanka: 12,271
India: 8,523
Indonesia: 5,774
Thailand: 990
Malaysia: 60
Myanmar: 56
Maldives: 52
Bangladesh: 2
Somalia 100
Tanzania 10

Total: 27,838


12-29-2004, 04:40 AM
Awful disaster indeed. I already collecting some used clothes to be given to the red cross for consolidation and some money as well. That's the best thing I could do at the moment I suppose. But I read news today and the things that are really needed there in the "disaster scene" at the moment, are body bags for dead corpse, gloves (to prevent from herpes infection), candles for light, and clean water.

12-29-2004, 06:51 AM

More than 69,000 people have now been confirmed dead across southern Asia following Sunday's tidal wave disaster, as the World Health Organisation warns that disease could double that number.

Rescue workers are uncovering more and more bodies.

Half of those killed across Asia were in Indonesia.

The north-eastern province of Aceh has been almost completely destroyed. Soldiers have found 3,400 bodies there so far.

Some 32,000 people are confirmed dead in the country, but its vice president said the number could quickly rise to 40,000.

Sri Lanka says 22,500 people are confirmed killed.

Among the British victims is film director Lord Attenborough's 14-year-old granddaughter Lucy.

The world's biggest aid operation is getting into full swing.

Dozens of countries have promised millions of pounds so far but billions are thought to be needed.

Britain has pledged £15m, the United States £18m.

The first supplies are just getting through to the areas hit hardest.

The disaster was caused by an underwater earthquake off Sunmatra measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale, which caused huge tidal waves known as a tsunamis.


12-30-2004, 12:25 AM
Father sells off kids' presents

A Texas father is auctioning off the video game systems he had bought his sons for Christmas, saying they do not deserve the expensive presents.
The 41-year-old man from Pasadena said he had bought three Nintendo DS systems - one for each son.

But fed up with their misbehaviour, he has posted the items on the eBay auction website.

"No kidding," the eBay posting says. "Three undeserving boys have crossed the line."

The man told the Houston Chronicle newspaper that he and his wife were at their wits' end.

The boys - aged nine, 11, and 15 - would not stop fighting, swearing and making obscene gestures, he said.

He defended the decision to auction off the three systems, together with three games, by saying: "Teaching accountability is NEVER EVER EVER wrong."

By late morning on Christmas day the bid for the items had reached $740, and the reserve price had been met.

A new Nintendo DS system on its own retails for about $150 in the US.

The sale ends on Monday.


12-30-2004, 08:27 AM
Quake May Have Made Earth Wobble

Wed Dec 29,10:14 AM ET Oddly Enough - Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The deadly Asian earthquake may have permanently accelerated the Earth's rotation -- shortening days by a fraction of a second -- and caused the planet to wobble on its axis, U.S. scientists said on Tuesday.

Richard Gross, a geophysicist with NASA (news - web sites)'s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, theorized that a shift of mass toward the Earth's center during the quake on Sunday caused the planet to spin 3 microseconds, or one millionth of a second, faster and to tilt about an inch (2.5 cm) on its axis.

When one huge tectonic plate beneath the Indian Ocean was forced below the edge of another "it had the effect of making the Earth more compact and spinning faster," Gross said.

Gross said changes predicted by his model probably are too minuscule to be detected by a global positioning satellite network that routinely measures changes in Earth's spin, but said the data may reveal a slight wobble.

The Earth's poles travel a circular path that normally varies by about 33 feet, so an added wobble of an inch (2.5 cm) is unlikely to cause long-term effects, he said.

"That continual motion is just used to changing," Gross said. "The rotation is not actually that precise. The Earth does slow down and change its rate of rotation."

When those tiny variations accumulate, planetary scientists must add a "leap second" to the end of a year, something that has not been done in many years, Gross said.

Scientists have long theorized that changes on the Earth's surface such as tide and groundwater shifts and weather could affect its spin but they have not had precise measurements to prove it, Caltech seismologist Hiroo Kanamori said.

"Even for a very large event, the effect is very small," Kanamori said. "It's very difficult to change the rotation rate substantially."


12-30-2004, 02:47 PM
Awful disaster indeed. I already collecting some used clothes to be given to the red cross for consolidation and some money as well. That's the best thing I could do at the moment I suppose. But I read news today and the things that are really needed there in the "disaster scene" at the moment, are body bags for dead corpse, gloves (to prevent from herpes infection), candles for light, and clean water.

Subby....You live in this stricken region of the world don't you? Hope you and yours are safe my friend.

I just received an email from two of my close friends currently spending a few months in Thailand. Their small island was heavily damaged, including the resort where they are residing, but on the day the wave hit they were on the opposite end of the island, sunning themselves on an isolated beach, alone with only a few local fisherman for company. They spent the rest of that day (the waves hit at 11:35--ish am) and night high up a mountain.

01-02-2005, 03:09 AM
On a lighter note . . .

Grady C. Wallace, 36, of Covington, faces charges of first-degree criminal mischief after police said he went to the store’s footwear section just before 6 p.m. Nov. 29 and urinated across dozens of athletic shoes on a display rack. According to a Covington police report, the incident was caught on a store surveillance tape, which showed Wallace “urinating on the shoes in a manner as to urinate on as many shoes as he could.” The report stated that 14 pairs of Rawlings shoes valued at $19.99 each, eight pairs of $54.99 Reeboks, six pairs of $34.99 Reeboks and three pairs of $29.99 Skechers athletic shoes would have to be destroyed as a result of being soaked in urine. Store officials put the damage at $1,019.69. Covington Assistant Police Chief Lt. Col. Mike Kraft said it remains unclear what was behind Wallace’s behavior, which occurred in plain view of other customers and store personnel.

01-04-2005, 10:42 AM
ok, EEEWWWW, hehe

01-04-2005, 10:57 AM
:rolleyes: There is always one...

Cambodia Saved from Tsunami by Astrologer?

Mon Jan 3, 9:15 AM ET Oddly Enough - Reuters

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (Reuters) - Former Cambodian king Norodom Sihanouk says an astrologer warned him that an "ultra-catastrophic cataclysm" would strike, but that his country would be spared if proper rituals were conducted.

"My wife and I decided to spend several thousand dollars to organize these ceremonies so our country and our people could be spared such a catastrophe," Sihanouk, who abdicated last year, wrote on his Web site at www.norodomsihanouk.info.

Cambodia was unscathed by the 30-foot tsunami waves generated by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake under the sea off Indonesia's Sumatra island on Dec.26. The waves rolled through the Indian Ocean, devastating coastal communities and killing more than 126,000 people.

Sihanouk offered his deepest condolences to the families of the dead and said he would give "a very humble and extremely modest" contribution of $15,000 to international relief efforts for each of the stricken countries.

Indonesia was the worst hit along with Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.


01-06-2005, 01:35 PM
Tortoise Adopts Stray Hippo at Sanctuary

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A 120-year-old giant tortoise living in a Kenyan sanctuary has become inseparable from a baby hippo rescued by game wardens, officials said on Thursday.

The year-old hippo calf christened Owen was rescued last month, suffering from dehydration after being separated from his herd in a river that drains into the Indian Ocean.

"When we released Owen into the enclosure, he lumbered to the tortoise which has a dark gray color similar to grown up hippos," Sabine Baer, rehabilitation and ecosystems manager at the park, told Reuters.

She said the hippo's chances of survival in another herd were very slim, predicting that a dominant male would have killed him.

However, Owen's relationship with the Aldabran tortoise named Mzee, Swahili for old man, may end soon. The sanctuary plans to place Owen with Cleo, a lonely female hippo.



It's a Boy as China Marks 1.3 Billionth Person

BEIJING (Reuters) - China named the first baby born at a Beijing hospital Thursday as the 1.3 billionth person of the world's most populous nation, more than two decades after a one-child policy was introduced to keep its numbers in check.

China's population exploded after the late Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong exhorted the people to multiply in the 1950s to make the country strong. But China put the brakes on growth with the tough one-child rule and is now worried about finding jobs for the masses and caring for the elderly.

The baby boy was born at 12:02 a.m. at the Beijing Hospital of Gynecology and Obstetrics and weighed 3.66 kg (eight lb).

"I am the happiest guy in the world and my boy will be blessed all his life," the official Xinhua news agency quoted the newborn's father, 37-year-old Air China employee Zhang Tong, as saying.

But the birth was not such good news for China's family planners.

"1.3 billion is a vast number. It will put great pressure on the economy, society, resources and the environment," the China Daily quoted Wang Guoqiang, deputy director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, as saying.

Demographers credited the government's one-child policy for delaying China's population hitting the 1.3 billion mark.


But in a rare admission of official flaws, the China Daily said the one-child policy may have gone wrong at times.

"Admittedly, the family planning policy has gone awry in some places," it said in an editorial said without elaborating. "But the policy should continue to be endorsed."

Human rights groups have accused overzealous Chinese family planners of forcing women to abort, in some case in the ninth month of pregnancy, or undergo hysterectomies.

A hefty fine is slapped on urban residents with more than one child. Rural folk and members of ethnic minority groups can have a maximum of two children.

While the rules have helped China curb its birth rate from more than 33 births per 1,000 population in 1970 to less than eight per 1,000 per year three decades later, the country faces new demographic challenges over how to support an aging population.

Demographers say the most immediate issue is not how to support China's graying masses -- which they point out won't hit numbers comparable to Europe's until about 2020 -- but how to employ them.

China is expected to add eight million to its population each year, the U.N. Population Fund says, and has no plans to ease the one-child policy despite concerns of low urban birth rates.

The rules on family size have also created a gender imbalance, with about 117 boys for 100 girls, as a cultural preference for sons prompts couples, usually in rural areas, to abort girls.

The birth rate is highest in the largely rural, impoverished west, while it is lowest in booming Shanghai.

"The government has to deal with the unbalanced structure of the population that is still very large," demographer Zhai Zhenwu said.

At the end of 2003, the total world population stood at 6.27 billion people, according to the World Bank (news - web sites).

India, the world's second-most populous nation, has just over 1 billion people and could overtake China by 2035 if current trends continue, according to India's census office.


01-07-2005, 06:18 AM

The number of people killed in the tsunami disaster has soared to 159,445.

The increase comes after Indonesia announced that its death toll had jumped by almost 20,000 people to 113,306.

But with more than tens of thousands still missing, the total is expected to continue climbing.

The increase comes as Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw arrived in Phuket to see the extent of the devastation in Thailand.

Mr Straw said the number of Britons confirmed dead was now 49, with 391 "very likely" victims. Most of them perished in Thailand.



01-07-2005, 02:04 PM
Anyone from Houston?

And the Fattest City Is...

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Houston tops a U.S. magazine's annual fattest cities list for the fourth time in five years, with four other Texas cities waddling into the top 25.

Fast food restaurants -- Houston has twice the national per capita average -- are partly to blame for the dishonor, Men's Fitness editor-in-chief Neal Boulton said.

"Americans ... work long hours, don't take vacations, and when you're faced with the worst nutritional choices, you indulge in those," he said.

High humidity, poor air quality and some of the nation's longest commute times also helped Texas' most populous city unseat Detroit, the 2004 heavyweight champion, the magazine said.

Houston Mayor Bill White, who has worked with a major grocer to promote healthy food and the city's public schools superintendent to improve lunch menus, called the survey "mostly voodoo and fraud."

"On the other hand, it calls attention to real issues the mayor is trying to address," his spokesman, Frank Michel, said.

The magazine said it looked at factors such as the number and types of restaurants, park space, air quality, weather and the number of health clubs.

Philadelphia, Detroit, Memphis, Tennessee, and Chicago followed Houston on the seventh edition of the fat list. Texas cities Dallas, San Antonio, Fort Worth and El Paso were in the top 14, which Boulton said was no surprise.

"It's pure big indulgence, just living big, and that's part of the culture," said Boulton.

Seattle ranked as the fittest city, followed by Honolulu, Hawaii, Colorado Springs, Colorado, San Francisco and Denver.

Austin was the only Texas city on the fit list. The state capital ranked 19th out of 25.


01-10-2005, 09:58 AM
Never fool with this guy's stomach, I guess:

01-10-2005, 10:51 AM

Leave it to Mississippi.

01-10-2005, 05:15 PM
Only in America ;)

Man auctions ad space on forehead

A 20-year-old US man is selling advertising space on his forehead to the highest bidder on website eBay.
Andrew Fisher, from Omaha, Nebraska, said he would have a non-permanent logo or brand name tattooed on his head for 30 days.

"The way I see it I'm selling something I already own; after 30 days I get it back," he told the BBC Today programme.

Mr Fisher has received 39 bids so far, with the largest bid currently at more than $322 (£171).

"The winner will be able to send me a tattoo or have me go to a tattoo parlour and get a temporary ink tattoo on my forehead and this will be something they choose, a company name or domain name, perhaps their logo," he told the Radio 4 programme.

On the online auction, Mr Fisher describes himself as an "average American Joe, give or take".

His sales pitch adds: "Take advantage of this radical advertising campaign and become a part of history."

Mr Fisher said that while he would accept any brand name or logo, "I wouldn't go around with a swastika or anything racial".

He added: "I wouldn't go around with 666, the mark of the beast.

"Other than that I wouldn't promote anything socially unacceptable such as adult websites or stores."

He said he would use the money to pay college - he is planning to study graphic design.

The entrepreneur said his mother was initially surprised by his decision but following all the media attention she felt he was "thinking outside the box".


01-11-2005, 11:48 AM
Stay thin by sleeping more?

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A study has found that people who sleep less tend to be fat, and experts said it's time to find if more sleep will fight obesity.

"We've put so much emphasis on diet and exercise that we've failed to recognize the value of good sleep," said Fred Turek, a physician at Northwestern University.

"In fact society emphasizes just the opposite," in work places where billed hours are crucial and long work days are common, he added.

Monday's study from Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk covered 1,000 people and found that total sleep time decreased as body mass index -- a measure of weight based on height -- increased.

Men slept an average of 27 minutes less than women and overweight and obese patients slept less than patients with normal weights, it said. In general the fatter subjects slept about 1.8 hours a week less than those with normal weights.

"Americans experience insufficient sleep and corpulent bodies. Clinicians are aware of the burden of obesity on patients," the study said.


"Our findings suggest that major extensions of sleep time may not be necessary, as an extra 20 minutes of sleep per night seems to be associated with a lower body mass index," it added.

"We caution that this study does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between restricted sleep and obesity (but) investigations demonstrating success in weight loss via extensions of sleep would help greatly to establish such a relationship."

The study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine (news - web sites) along with an editorial by Turek and Northwestern colleague Joseph Bass commenting on it and related research.

In an interview with Reuters, Turek said some studies have shown sleep deprivation causes declines in an appetite suppressing protein hormone called leptin, and increases in another hormone that causes a craving for food. In addition neuropeptides in the brain governing sleep and obesity appear to overlap, he said.

"It is now critical to determine the importance of lack of sufficient sleep during the early formative years in putting our youth on a trajectory toward obesity ... a trajectory that could be altered if sleep loss is indeed playing a role in this epidemic," the editorial said.

Obesity has been rising dramatically in developed countries and reached epidemic levels in the United States, it added, leading to a variety of health problems.

"In recent years, a new and unexpected 'obesity villain' has emerged, first from laboratory studies and now ... in population-based studies: insufficient sleep," it said.

"However, while there is a growing awareness among some sleep, metabolic, cardiovascular, and diabetes researchers that insufficient sleep could be leading to a cascade of disorders, few in the general medicine profession or in the lay public have yet made the connection


01-12-2005, 08:04 PM

I posted this in the Random Thought topic as well ... it's an assortment of short video clips of the tsunami :(

01-13-2005, 09:25 AM
Windows worm travels with Tetris

The version of Tetris is recognisable and just as playable
Users are being warned about a Windows virus that poses as the hugely popular Tetris game.
The Cellery worm installs a playable version of the classic falling blocks game on PCs that it has infected.

While users play the game, the worm spends its time using the machine to search for new victims to infect on nearby networks.

The risk of infection by Cellery is thought to be very low as few copies of the worm have been found in the wild.

Protect yourself

The Cellery worm does not spread via e-mail like many other viruses. Instead it browses computer networks for PCs that have not shut off all the insecure ways they connect to other machines.

When it infects a machine, Cellery installs a version of Tetris that users can play. As the game starts up the worm also starts a music file to accompany it.

At the same time the virus starts scouring networks for other vulnerable machines.

The virus does no damage to machines but could heavily infected networks could slow down as scanning traffic builds. Productivity may suffer too if users spend time playing Tetris.

PCs running Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, and XP could be vulnerable to the worm.

"If your company has a culture of allowing games to be played in the office, your staff may believe this is simply a new game that has been installed - rather than something that should cause concern," said Graham Cluley, spokesman for anti-virus firm Sophos.

So far the number of people infected by Cellery is thought to be very small and the risks of further infection is very low.

Sophos urged users and companies to update their anti-virus software to keep themselves protected.


01-14-2005, 11:29 AM
Judge Rejects School Board Evolution Stand

ATLANTA (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday ordered a Georgia school district to remove stickers challenging the theory of evolution from its textbooks on the grounds that they violated the U.S. Constitution.

In a ruling issued in Atlanta, U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said Cobb County's school board had violated the constitutional ban on the separation of church and state when it put the disclaimers on biology books in 2002.

The stickers read: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

"We are pleased. The law was pretty clear," said Maggie Garrett, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites), which sued the board on behalf of a group of parents who were opposed to the disclaimers.

The ACLU argued that the school board had demonstrated a clear bias about the material, effectively pushing the teaching of creationism and discriminating against non-Christians and followers of a number of other religions.

Creationism refers to the belief that life was created by God. Evolution, which is accepted by most scientists, contends that life developed from more primitive forms and was dictated by natural selection.

The U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) ruled in 1987 that creationism could not be taught in public schools alongside evolution.

The Georgia school board, which introduced the stickers at the behest of hundreds of parents, many of them religious conservatives, contended that the stickers only advised students to keep an open mind.

The board's lawyer was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

The federal ruling came about two months after the re-election of President Bush (news - web sites), who won the overwhelming support of religious conservatives with his stands against gay marriage and abortion.

The Cobb County case also evoked memories of the 1925 "Monkey Trial" of John Scopes, a Tennessee biology teacher who was found guilty of illegally teaching evolution.


01-15-2005, 05:30 AM
US military pondered love not war

The US military investigated building a "gay bomb", which would make enemy soldiers "sexually irresistible" to each other, government papers say.
Other weapons that never saw the light of day include one to make soldiers obvious by their bad breath.

The US defence department considered various non-lethal chemicals meant to disrupt enemy discipline and morale.

The 1994 plans were for a six-year project costing $7.5m, but they were never pursued.

The US Air Force Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio, sought Pentagon funding for research into what it called "harassing, annoying and 'bad guy'-identifying chemicals".

The plans were obtained under the US Freedom of Information by the Sunshine Project, a group which monitors research into chemical and biological weapons.

The plan for a so-called "love bomb" envisaged an aphrodisiac chemical that would provoke widespread homosexual behaviour among troops, causing what the military called a "distasteful but completely non-lethal" blow to morale.

Scientists also reportedly considered a "sting me/attack me" chemical weapon to attract swarms of enraged wasps or angry rats towards enemy troops.

A substance to make the skin unbearably sensitive to sunlight was also pondered.

Another idea was to develop a chemical causing "severe and lasting halitosis", so that enemy forces would be obvious even when they tried to blend in with civilians.

In a variation on that idea, researchers pondered a "Who? Me?" bomb, which would simulate flatulence in enemy ranks.

Indeed, a "Who? Me?" device had been under consideration since 1945, the government papers say.

However, researchers concluded that the premise for such a device was fatally flawed because "people in many areas of the world do not find faecal odour offensive, since they smell it on a regular basis".

Captain Dan McSweeney of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate at the Pentagon said the defence department receives "literally hundreds" of project ideas, but that "none of the systems described in that [1994] proposal have been developed".

He told the BBC: "It's important to point out that only those proposals which are deemed appropriate, based on stringent human effects, legal, and international treaty reviews are considered fordevelopment or acquisition."


01-15-2005, 01:39 PM
i heard about this yesterday on public radio - why oh why isn't this done more? :) what a lovely planet this could be...civilized warfare...

01-16-2005, 02:17 PM
Woman jailed for haunting house

An Austrian man who came to believe his estate was haunted has found relief after a court jailed the ghost. Echoing footsteps in hallways and slamming doors late at night had made the owner increasingly jittery.

He called in the police, who captured a 42-year-old Polish woman on video, masquerading as a ghost over a period of weeks, making mysterious noises.

She was jailed for four months. Her husband was employed by the owner, and some unexplained grievance haunted her.

She was convicted on nuisance charges, Austrian television reported.

But it was unclear what had motivated her to begin her campaign of ghostly disquiet at her husband's employer's property.


01-16-2005, 09:57 PM
An issue of over-sensitivity:

01-17-2005, 02:14 PM
Toothache man finds nail in skull

A Colorado man who went to the dentist complaining of toothache found he had a 4-inch (10cm) nail in his skull. Patrick Lawler had been suffering pain and blurry vision since a nailgun backfired on him at work, AP news agency reported.

The machine sent a nail through a nearby piece of wood - but little did Mr Lawler realise another nail had shot into the roof of his mouth.

The nail was embedded 4cm into his brain - barely missing his right eye.

Six days after his 6 January work accident, Mr Lawler decided to visit the dental clinic where his wife Katerina works because painkillers and ice failed to stop the pain.

"We all are friends, so I thought the [dentists] were joking... then the doctor came out and said, 'There's really a nail,'" Mrs Lawler said, according to AP.

"Patrick just broke down. I mean, he had been eating ice cream to help the swelling."

Mr Lawler remains in hospital following a four-hour operation to remove the nail.

Mrs Lawler says her husband is thankful despite having no medical insurance and being faced with hospital bills of at least $80,000.

"The doctors said, 'If you're going to have a nail in the brain, that's the way you want it to be,'" she said.

"He's the luckiest guy, ever."

Doctors at the hospital said it was the second time a patient had failed to notice a nailgun had fired a nail into their heads.


01-18-2005, 01:34 PM
Untidy beds may keep us healthy

Failing to make your bed in the morning may actually help keep you healthy, scientists believe. Research suggests that while an unmade bed may look scruffy it is also unappealing to house dust mites thought to cause asthma and other allergies.

A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the warm, dry conditions found in an unmade bed.

The average bed could be home to up to 1.5 million house dust mites.

The bugs, which are less than a millimetre long, feed on scales of human skin and produce allergens which are easily inhaled during sleep.

The warm, damp conditions created in an occupied bed are ideal for the creatures, but they are less likely to thrive when moisture is in shorter supply.

'Small glands'

The scientists developed a computer model to track how changes in the home can reduce numbers of dust mites in beds.

Researcher Dr Stephen Pretlove said: "We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body.

"Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die."

In the next stage of their research, the scientists are putting mite pockets into beds in 36 houses around the United Kingdom to test their computer model and will investigate how people's daily routines affect mite populations.

Building features such as heating, ventilation and insulation will also be altered to monitor how the mites cope.

Dr Pretlove said the research had the potential to reduce the £700m spent treating mite-induced illnesses each year in the UK.

"Our findings could help building designers create healthy homes and healthcare workers point out environments most at risk from mites."

Dr Matt Hallsworth, of the charity Asthma UK, said: 'House-dust mite allergen can be an important trigger for many people with asthma, but is notoriously difficult to avoid."

Professor Andrew Wardlaw, of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology, agreed.

He said: "Mites are very important in asthma and allergy and it would be good if ways were found to modifiy the home so that mite concentrations were reduced.

"It is true that mites need humid conditions to thrive and cannot survive in very dry ( desert like) conditions.

"However, most homes in the UK are sufficiently humid for the mites to do well and I find it hard to believe that simply not making your bed would have any impact on the overall humidity."


01-18-2005, 09:08 PM
For you Southerners on the forum, I have nothing against you, but . . . well, just follow the link:

01-19-2005, 09:04 PM
Once lived Nostradamus, then Aleister Crowley and Edgar Cayce, then the golfer:

01-20-2005, 05:43 AM
'I don't like Monday 24 January'

Misery is expected to peak on Monday, as 24 January has been pinpointed as the worst day of the year. January has been long regarded as the darkest of months, but a formula from a part-time tutor at Cardiff University shows it gets even worse this Monday.

Foul weather, debt, fading Christmas memories, failed resolutions and a lack of motivation conspire to depress, Cliff Arnalls found.

GPs say exercise and reading up on depression are ways to beat the blues.

"Yes, we do see lots of people with depression and anxiety in the winter months. "The message is it's not a terrible disorder, people do get better," Royal College of General Practictioners spokesman Dr Alan Cohen said.


"Exercise and bibliotherapy - reading a number of books to allow people to understand their own symptoms and how to control them," were initial treatments, he said.

The formula for the day of misery reads 1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA.
Where W is weather, D is debt - minus the money (d) due on January's pay day - and T is the time since Christmas.

Q is the period since the failure to quit a bad habit, M stands for general motivational levels and NA is the need to take action and do something about it.

GPs say exercise will boost spirits

Dr Arnalls calculated the effects of cold, wet and dark January weather after the cosiness of Christmas coupled with extra spending in the sales.

He found 24 January was especially dangerous, coming a whole month after Christmas festivities.

Any energy from the holiday had worn off by the third week of January, he said.

By Monday, most people will have fallen off the wagon or abandoned the nicotine patches as they fail to keep New Year's resolutions.

That compounds a sense of failure and knocks confidence needed to get through January.

The fact that the most depressing day fell on a Monday was not planned but a coincidence, he said.


01-20-2005, 07:24 PM
Geez, I have an exam on Monday, shush, hehe, kinda need to pass it ;), very optimisting expectations indeed :p

01-21-2005, 10:34 AM
This Has to Be Homer Simpson...

16 minutes ago Oddly Enough - Reuters

PRAGUE (Reuters) - A Czech man is being taken to court after he hid in a restaurant washroom until the employees had left and then hooked up beer kegs directly to his mouth.

Cleaning staff found him drunk and lying on the floor of the bar at the restaurant in the city of Brno, about 200km (120 miles) east of Prague, the CTK news agency reported on Thursday.

"He had broken the door of the cooling mechanism ... and detached the hoses leading from the keg, squashed them in his mouth and literally filled himself up with beer," CTK quoted a police official as saying.

The man will be charged with damaging property because he caused 8,000 crown ($340) damage to the beer cooling box.


01-21-2005, 04:32 PM
hehehehehehehe, sounds like your average Czech beer-scout, hehe

01-21-2005, 08:19 PM
:lol: :lol: That's truly great among these news clips.

01-22-2005, 08:44 PM
i suppose Sponge Bob (http://www.nbc10.com/entertainment/4115885/detail.html) should dress more conservatively?

01-22-2005, 09:41 PM
no, he's fine its the ******* fundamentalists that are the problem (sorry if i insult anyone with that but come on, tolerance, the twenty first century, enter it!)

01-22-2005, 09:58 PM
I guess fundamentalists might be a bit better if you put it that way Jester. It's not about 'tolerating', if you (generally speaking kinda 'you') don't like something, tolerating it won't solve it, you either accept it or not. Imagine what it has to make the people in question feel when they think 'how cool, we're tolerated here, how generous of them'.
lol, think I better shut up before I get all worked up :)

01-23-2005, 03:53 PM
yeah i thought that too, i dont want this thread to be closed but hey i get your drift.

01-23-2005, 05:30 PM
look at the beautiful kitty by the Southerner's news post!

01-24-2005, 02:08 PM
2 Many Txt Msgs Bad 4 Yr Health, Italian Docs Say

Mon Jan 24,10:01 AM ET Oddly Enough - Reuters

ROME (Reuters) - Excessive text messaging may be bad for you, or at least for your fingers.

That's what some Italian doctors think. They are telling people, particularly the young, that furious typing on mobile phones could lead to acute tendonitis.

Italian newspapers La Repubblica and Il Messaggero dedicated about half a page each to the problem Monday. A 13-year-old girl in the northern Italian city of Savona needed treatment from an orthopedic specialist after typing at least 100 short message services (SMSs) a day.

She was prescribed anti-inflammatory medicine and ordered to rest her hands.

According to a recent study conducted for children's rights group Telefono Azzurro, some 37 percent of Italian children are "cell phone addicts." Irritability and mood swings were other symptoms linked to very frequent cell phone use among the young.

The message is clear: MayB U shd stop B4 its 2 L8.


01-25-2005, 05:36 AM
China fears Everest is shrinking
By Louisa Lim
BBC News, Beijing

China is to re-measure the world's tallest peak, Mount Everest, because of fears it may be shrinking. A recent survey found the summit had dropped by 1.3 metres (4 ft) because of global warming.

The height of the mountain, which lies on the border between China and Nepal, has long been a subject of controversy.

It was first measured in 1954 by an Indian surveyor, who used an optical instrument called a theodolite and calculated Everest to be 8,848m tall.

But in 1999, American scientists re-measured the mountain using global positioning satellite technology.

They - and the National Geographic Society - concluded that the peak was two metres higher.

But now global warming is melting glaciers on the world's highest mountain, apparently causing it to shrink.

Chinese scientists will map Everest in March to check estimates that it is more than a metre shorter than before.

No matter how big it really is, Mount Everest's height is unlikely to stay constant.

The movement of the earth's tectonic plates is forcing the Himalayas upwards, reportedly causing Everest to grow by about a centimetre every year.


01-25-2005, 09:49 AM
'Alexander,' 'Catwoman' Lead Bad Pix Nominations

By Arthur Spiegelman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - This could be the year in which Alexander the Great conquers Catwoman and President Bush (news - web sites) wins a prize as worst actor.

Nominations for the 25th annual Razzies, which honor the worst films of the year, were announced on Monday with "Catwoman," the Halle Berry box office bomb, besting "Alexander," Oliver Stone's much maligned tale of the bleached blond conqueror, by seven nominations to six.

In addition, the president made the list for worst actor for his film clip appearances in "Fahrenheit 9/11," a movie he might well consider the worst of the year. Also nominated for their appearances in the politically-charged film about the Iraq (news - web sites) war were Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites) and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

The Razzies are a traditional spoof award made at Oscar time by the non-profit Golden Raspberry Award Foundation. The group's prizes are given out on Feb. 26, the day before the Oscars (news - web sites). Never has one of its films gone on to win an Oscar.

"Catwoman" and "Alexander" were nominated for Worst Picture, a category which also drew "SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2," Ben Affleck's career-eroding "Surviving Christmas," and "White Chicks," the Wayans brothers dress-up, gender-bending comedy that left critics cold.

Bush was nominated for worst actor along with Affleck for "Surviving Christmas" and "Jersey Girl," Vin Diesel for "Chronicles of Riddick," Colin Farrell for "Alexander." Ben Stiller was nominated for "Along Came Polly," "Anchorman," "Dodgeball," "Envy" and "Starsky & Hutch."

Halle Berry was nominated for worst actress for "Catwoman," Hilary Duff for "Cinderella Story" and "Raise Your Voice," Angelina Jolie for "Alexander" and "Taking Lives," Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen for "New York Minute" and Shawn and Marlon Wayans in their incarnation as the Wayans sisters in "White Chicks."

The nominations for worst screen couple include: Ben Affleck and either Jennifer Lopez or Liv Tyler in "Jersey Girl," Halle Berry and either Benjamin Bratt or Sharon Stone in "Catwoman, George W. Bush and either Rice or his pet goat in "Fahrenheit 9/11," the Olsen twins in "New York Minute," the Wayans Brothers, in or out of drag, in "White Chicks."

Worst supporting actress were Carmen Electra for "Starsky & Hutch," Jennifer Lopez for "Jersey Girl," Rice for "Fahrenheit 9/11," Britney Spears for her cameo role in that same movie and Sharon Stone for "Catwoman."

Val Kilmer was nominated for worst supporting actor for "Alexander." Also nominated were California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (news - web sites) for "Around The World in 80 Days," Rumsfeld for "Fahrenheit 9/11," Jon Voight for SuperBabies: Baby Geniuses 2" and Lambert Wilson for "Catwoman."

"Catwoman" led with seven nominations to six for Alexander, five for "Fahrenheit 9/11," five "White Chicks," and four for "SuperBabies."


01-25-2005, 10:41 AM
'Aviator' Gets 11 Academy Award Nods


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - The Howard Hughes epic "The Aviator" led Academy Awards (news - web sites) contenders with 11 nominations Tuesday, including best picture, plus acting honors for Leonardo DiCaprio (news), Cate Blanchett (news) and Alan Alda (news) and a directing slot for Martin Scorsese.

The boxing saga "Million Dollar Baby" and the J.M. Barrie tale "Finding Neverland" followed with seven nominations each, among them best picture and acting nominations for Clint Eastwood (news), Morgan Freeman (news), Hilary Swank and Johnny Depp (news).

Eastwood also got a directing nomination for "Million Dollar Baby."

The other best-picture nominees were the Ray Charles portrait "Ray" and the buddy comedy "Sideways."

Along with Eastwood, Jamie Foxx (news) also scored two nominations, as best actor for the title role in "Ray" and supporting actor as a taxi driver whose cab is hijacked by a hit man in "Collateral."

Foxx's dead-on emulation of Charles has made him the front-runner in the lead-actor category.

Starring as aviation trailblazer and Hollywood rebel Hughes, DiCaprio also was nominated for best actor. He and Foxx will compete against Depp as "Peter Pan" playwright Barrie in "Finding Neverland"; Eastwood as a cantankerous boxing trainer in "Million Dollar Baby"; and Don Cheadle for "Hotel Rwanda," starring as hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, who sheltered refugees from the Rwandan genocide.

The best-actress category presents a rematch of the 1999 showdown, when underdog Swank won the Oscar for "Boys Don't Cry" over Annette Bening (news), who had been the front-runner for "American Beauty."

This time, Swank was nominated as a bullheaded boxing champ whose life takes a cruel twist in "Million Dollar Baby." Bening was chosen for "Being Julia," in which she plays an aging 1930s stage diva exacting wickedly comic revenge on the men in her life and a young rival.

Both actresses won Golden Globes for the roles, Swank for best dramatic actress, Bening for actress in a musical or comedy.

Also nominated for the best-actress Oscar were Catalina Sandino Moreno as a Colombian woman imperiled when she signs on to smuggle heroin in "Maria Full of Grace"; Imelda Staunton as a saintly housekeeper in 1950s Britain who performs illegal abortions on the side in "Vera Drake"; and Kate Winslet as a woman who has had memories of her ex-boyfriend erased in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind."

Joining Eastwood and Scorsese among directing nominees are Taylor Hackford for "Ray"; Mike Leigh for "Vera Drake"; and Alexander Payne for "Sideways."

Scorsese, arguably the most prominent modern filmmaker who has never won an Oscar, also has never delivered a best-picture winner. Considered a nominal best-picture favorite, "The Aviator" offers him a shot to finally triumph on Oscar night, though Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" is a formidable competitor.

"The Aviator" won the Golden Globe for best-dramatic film, but Eastwood beat out Scorsese for the directing prize at the Globes. Eastwood is a past Oscar winner for best-picture and director with 1992's "Unforgiven."

Along with Foxx in "Collateral," Alda was nominated for supporting actor as a senator tussling with Hughes in "The Aviator" while Freeman was picked as a worldly-wise ex-boxer in "Million Dollar Baby." The other nominees: Thomas Haden Church as a bridegroom out for a final fling in "Sideways"; Clive Owen as a coarse lover in "Closer."

For supporting actress, academy voters picked Blanchett, who plays Katharine Hepburn (news) in "The Aviator"; Laura Linney as the title character's sexually adventurous wife in "Kinsey"; Virginia Madsen as a deceived lover in "Sideways"; Sophie Okonedo as innkeeper Rusesabagina's wife in "Hotel Rwanda"; Natalie Portman as a gutsy stripper in "Closer."

It was the best year ever for black performers, who had five of the 20 acting nominations. The most previously was three, including the 2001 Oscars (news - web sites) when Halle Berry (news) and Denzel Washington both won the lead acting prizes.

"Sideways" star Paul Giamatti (news) was overlooked for a nomination, a surprise given that he had been a contender for most previous film honors. Liam Neeson, who had the title role in "Kinsey," also missed out, as did the movie, which had considered a best-picture contender.

Mel Gibson (news)'s religious blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ" missed out on main categories, but did pick up nominations for cinematography, makeup and original score.

Michael Moore's gamble to hold his hit film "Fahrenheit 9/11" out of the documentary category — to boost its best-picture prospects — backfired. The movie was shut out across the board.

Moore won the documentary prize two years ago for "Bowling for Columbine."

Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me," which hilariously chronicles his monthlong feed frenzy on an all-McDonald's diet, was among the documentary nominees.

Also nominated was "Born into Brothels," "The Story of the Weeping Camel," "Tupac: Resurrection," and "Twist of Faith."

With its epic scope and dazzling re-creation of early Hollywood, Scorsese's "The Aviator" could claim the inside track as front-runner for best picture. The film won the Golden Globe for best dramatic picture.

Yet unlike last year, when "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" went in as the odds-on favorite and swept all 11 of its categories come Oscar night, the outcome is more uncertain this time.

"The Aviator" could finally bring Scorsese the best-picture and directing wins that have eluded him during his distinguished career. But Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" is a heavyweight opponent that could spoil Scorsese's chances.

The fairy-tale comedy "Shrek 2" and the superhero adventure "The Incredibles" will duke it out for the animated feature film Oscar, along with the undersea romp "Shark Tale."

Nominated for foreign-language film were Sweden's "As It Is in Heaven," France's "The Chorus," Germany's "Downfall," Spain's "The Sea Inside" and South Africa's "Yesterday."

Nominees in most categories are chosen by specific branches of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (news - web sites), such as directors, actors and writers. The full academy membership of about 5,800 is eligible to vote in all categories for the Oscars themselves.

ABC will broadcast the Oscars live Feb. 27 from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre. Chris Rock is the show's host, the first time since 1996 that either Billy Crystal (news), Whoopi Goldberg (news) or Steve Martin has not been master of ceremonies.


01-26-2005, 03:15 PM
Tobacco spit catches truck thief

A US man who stole a lorry was arrested after he choked on the truck driver's tobacco spit which he mistook for a drink.

The 26-year-old man stole the lorry, which had been left with the engine running, from a shopping centre in Vancouver, Washington.

He mistook the absent driver's tobacco-spit cup for a soft drink and took a swig, reports the Columbian.

The thief started choking and had to stop and call 911 for medical help, according to a Vancouver police department report.

Meanwhile, the driver, who had left the truck to wash his hands, had returned to see someone driving off and called police who quickly caught up with the man.

oops! :goof: no idea what the link is about!

01-26-2005, 05:42 PM
LOL... what's that linky? 'be sure to respond' nudge? *giggles*

01-26-2005, 09:25 PM
i want to see "Born into Brothels."

01-27-2005, 12:17 PM
State Senator Wants Cockfights, with Gloves

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma senator hopes to revive cockfighting in the state by putting tiny boxing gloves on the roosters instead of razors.

The Oklahoma legislature outlawed the blood sport in 2002 because of its cruelty to the roosters, which are slashed and pecked to death while human spectators bet on the outcome.

But State Sen. Frank Shurden, a Democrat from Henryetta and a long-time defender of cockfighting, said the ban had wiped out a $100-million business.

To try to revive it, he has proposed that roosters wear little boxing gloves attached to their spurs, as well as lightweight, chicken-sized vests configured with electronic sensors to record hits and help keep score.

"It's like the fencing that you see on the Olympics, you know, where they have little balls on the ends of the swords and the fencers wear vests," said Shurden. "That's the same application that would be applied to the roosters."

Janet Halliburton, president of the Oklahoma Coalition Against Cockfighting, which led the drive for the 2002 law, said Shurden is really seeking to loosen the ban.

"What this is going to do is make a platform for him to continually try to amend the existing ban," Halliburton told The Oklahoman newspaper.

The State Senate will consider Shurden's proposal next month


01-27-2005, 05:48 PM

caught me by surprise!

01-28-2005, 05:43 AM
Turin shroud 'older than thought'

The Shroud of Turin is much older than suggested by radiocarbon dating carried out in the 1980s, according to a new study in a peer-reviewed journal. A research paper published in Thermochimica Acta suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old.

The author dismisses 1988 carbon-14 dating tests which concluded that the linen sheet was a medieval fake.

The shroud, which bears the faint image of a blood-covered man, is believed by some to be Christ's burial cloth.

Raymond Rogers says his research and chemical tests show the material used in the 1988 radiocarbon analysis was cut from a medieval patch woven into the shroud to repair fire damage.

This was responsible for an invalid date being assigned to the original shroud cloth, he argues. "The radiocarbon sample has completely different chemical properties than the main part of the shroud relic," said Mr Rogers, who is a retired chemist from Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, US.

Fire damage

He says he was originally dubious of untested claims that the 1988 sample was taken from a re-weave.

"It was embarrassing to have to agree with them," Mr Rogers told the BBC News website.

The 4m-long linen sheet was damaged in several fires since its existence was first recorded in France in 1357, including a church blaze in 1532.

It is said to have been restored by nuns who patched the holes and stitched the shroud to a reinforcing material known as the Holland cloth.

"[The radiocarbon sample] has obvious painting medium, a dye and a mordant that doesn't show anywhere else," Mr Rogers explained. "This stuff was manipulated - it was coloured on purpose."

In the study, he analysed and compared the sample used in the 1988 tests with other samples from the famous cloth.

In addition to the discovery of dye, microchemical tests - which use tiny quantites of materials - provided a way to date the shroud.

These tests revealed the presence of a chemical called vanillin in the radiocarbon sample and in the Holland cloth, but not the rest of the shroud.

Vanillin is produced by the thermal decomposition of lignin, a chemical compound found in plant material such as flax. Levels of vanillin in material such as linen fall over time.

'Older date'

"The fact that vanillin cannot be detected in the lignin on shroud fibres, Dead Sea scrolls linen and other very old linens indicates that the shroud is quite old," Mr Rogers writes.

"A determination of the kinetics of vanillin loss suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old."

In the 1988 study, scientists from three universities concluded that the cloth dated from some time between 1260 and 1390. This ruled it out as the possible burial cloth that wrapped the body of Christ.

That led to the then Cardinal of Turin, Anastasio Alberto Ballestrero, admitting the garment was a hoax.

Michael Minor, vice-president of the American Shroud of Turin Association for Research commented: "This is the most significant news about the Shroud of Turin since the C-14 dating was announced in 1988.

"The C-14 dating isn't being disputed. But [the new research] is saying that they dated the rewoven area."

But since the announcement of the results, several attempts have been made to challenge the authenticity of these tests.

"The sample tested was dyed using technology that began to appear in Italy about the time the crusaders' last bastion fell to the Mameluke Turks in AD 1291," said Mr Rogers.

"The radiocarbon sample cannot be older than about AD 1290, agreeing with the age determined in 1988. However, the shroud itself is actually much older."

Some now hope the Vatican will give approval for samples of the shroud to be re-tested.

But, says Mr Minor, "the church is very hesitant, very reluctant for that to be done, because they've been given so many conflicting opinions".


01-28-2005, 05:48 AM
A new family in the neighbourhood :eek:

Shed skin sparks hunt for snake

The shed skin and two eggs of a snake have been found in a residential street in East Sussex, leading to fears that a python could be on the loose.
They were found in a back garden in Leicester Villas in Hove, three months after notices went up alerting the public that a snake had gone missing.

The posters about the missing pregnant Burmese python that had escaped from a home nearby were thought to be a hoax.

Snake expert Jeremy Adams, who saw the skin, said: "My hunch is it is dead."

The assistant keeper of natural sciences at the Booth Museum, in Brighton, said he believed the cold winter weather would have killed the python.

He added that he could not confirm if it was the skin of a Burmese python, or when it might have been shed.

Burmese pythons feed on rats, mice and small animals, and can reach more than 20ft in length in the warm.


02-01-2005, 12:42 PM
The Cop Without a Clue...

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A Swedish police officer has confessed he robbed a bank and later investigated the crime himself, telling reporters at the time police had no clues.

A court in the central town of Bollnas Monday officially charged the 36-year-old for the armed robbery on Dec. 17, court documents said Tuesday, adding he had pleaded guilty.

The amount of money stolen was not disclosed but was described as sizeable. An hour after the crime the police officer returned to the bank as a leading police investigator handling the case.

Colleagues became suspicious when he bought a new car in mid-January, paying 219,000 Swedish crowns ($31,400) in cash using banknotes from the robbery, the court said.


02-02-2005, 09:22 AM
Listen to music to help you sleep

Forget counting sheep, next time you are having trouble dropping off to sleep try putting on a jazz CD. Researchers have shown just 45 minutes of relaxing music before bedtime can make for a restful night.

The Taiwanese researchers studied the sleeping patterns of 60 elderly people with sleep problems. They told the Journal of Advanced Nursing, how the technique was easy to learn and lacked the side-effects of other treatments.

The study participants were either given a choice of music to listen to before going to sleep or nothing at all.

The music group were able to choose from six tapes that featured soft, slow music - around 60-80 beats per minute - such as jazz, folk or orchestral pieces.

Listening to music caused physical changes that aided restful sleep, including a lower heart and respiratory rate, the researchers found.

Sweet dreams

The people in the music group reported a 35% improvement in their sleep, including better and longer night-time sleep and less dysfunction during the day.

Lead author Professor Hui-Ling Lai, of the Buddhist Tzu-Chi General Hospital and the University of Taiwan, said: "The music group reported a 26% overall improvement in the first week and this figure continued to rise as they mastered the technique of relaxing into sedative music."

Professor Jim Horne, from the Sleep Research Centre at Loughborough University, said: "If anyone is a bit agitated before they go to bed then anything that can help calm them down and relax is a good thing.

"Some say making sure older people sleep less in the afternoon and get plenty of exposure to daylight can help them get a better night's sleep."


02-03-2005, 08:12 AM
Japan snaps up 'lucky' Kit Kats :brow:

Students in Japan have reportedly caused sales of Kit Kat bars to soar, by adopting them as lucky charms. The name of the chocolate bar resembles a Japanese expression - "kitto katsu" - used by students to wish each other luck before exams. The phrase has been translated roughly as: "I hope you will win."

Kit Kat has introduced a range of flavours designed for the famously sweet-toothed Japanese market, including green tea flavour. Other variations include passion fruit, white chocolate, and lemon cheesecake.

Determined pupils

The multinational food company Nestle, which makes the bar, said it had noticed a surge in demand.

"We're finding that parents are buying them for their children for exam days," Yuko Iwasaki, a spokesman for Nestle Japan, told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"But also some determined pupils are buying Kit Kats for themselves as a sort of reminder that they are really going to give these exams their best shot," he added.

The Kit Kat was invented by Britain's Rowntree confectionery company back in 1935, but until 1937 was called the Chocolate Crisp.

The Kit Kat name is thought to derive from a club of the same name in 1920s London.

It has long been the most popular chocolate bar in the UK.


02-03-2005, 02:57 PM
wow, gramma http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/02/03/cheating.confession.ap/index.html

leonardo: from rome to the u.s. via europe anyone going to rome this month? http://www.npr.org/templates/topics/topic.php?topicId=1008

02-04-2005, 10:25 AM

02-05-2005, 02:44 PM
Science and technology learns, but all still remains a tragedy:

02-06-2005, 02:26 PM
Couple celebrate 100th grandchild

Filip and Randi Bekkevold have 18 children (photo: Kent Inge Olsen)
A Norwegian couple have been celebrating the birth of their 100th grandchild this week.
Randi and Filip Bekkevold of Saltnes, 40 miles (70 km) south of Oslo, celebrated the milestone with granddaughter Mathilde Sofie's arrival.

The couple have 18 children and their 100 grandchildren have produced 18 great-grandchildren, according to the Norwegian NRK website.

The couple say it is the size of their family that keeps them young.

All but three of the 100 grandchildren live nearby and the Bekkevolds say they know them all well and "are well in control of who's who".

The couple say they no longer give individual birthday and Christmas presents. Instead, they give each family a shared present once the youngest member reaches 15 years old.

NRK says the Bekkevolds hold a family party each summer, when they have to hire a sports ground. Family activities include football, trampolining, tug-of-war and a barbecue.

Filip, 77, and Randi, 71, are members of an international Christian fellowship founded in the early 19th Century in Norway, where it is known as "Smith's Friends".

Large families are said to be important to members.


02-06-2005, 07:28 PM
Ah, "when you do it eBay!"

02-06-2005, 11:36 PM
http://www.superbowl.com/ http://www.superbowl.com/gamecenter/recap/[email protected]
we lost the super bowl; i hope my town manages this gracefully. congrats, patriots and fans.

btw, i did call my relatives in boston! my cousin was actually rooting for both teams, how nice is that? :) he even predicted new england would "just" win by a field goal!

02-07-2005, 05:48 AM
Japan fears polite speech on wane

Shop assistants should speak differently to customers
Japanese people need help to brush up on their polite language, a government panel has proposed. A report for the Agency for Cultural Affairs said 'keigo' - honorific Japanese - was being widely misused.

Keigo is a complicated form of the language which involves different conjugations of regular nouns and verbs, or different words entirely.

It is used to address seniors - a customer, for example - and is meant to humble speakers and elevate listeners.

The government panel has proposed publishing manuals explaining to people how the language should be used.

"Not just young people, but grown-ups are not using honorific Japanese properly. With the language guidelines, we hope to spread the correct use of the Japanese language," education ministry official Osamu Kubota was quoted as saying by the French news agency AFP.

The government panel cited a 2003 survey on the Japanese language which found that 96% of people believe keigo remains important, but the researchers noted that it was nevertheless being used incorrectly.

It tends to take far longer to say something formally in Japan.

For example, the verb "to be" is iru in informal Japanese, imasu in polite Japanese, and irrashaimasu in honorific Japanese.

The government report also suggested that the country's ability to read and write Chinese characters - the mainstay of the Japanese language - be re-evaluated.

A survey in November found that 20% of students at private universities had poorer language abilities than high school pupils.

Adults sometimes find it difficult to remember how to write characters because they rely on computers, and have to ask their children for help.


Unrequited love can be a 'killer'

Lovesickness can kill and should be taken more seriously as a legitimate diagnosis, according to health experts. Frank Tallis, a clinical psychologist in London, is among those calling for greater awareness of the "illness" in a report in The Psychologist magazine.

He said many are "destabilised by falling in love, or suffer on account of their love being unrequited" and this could lead to a suicide attempt.

Few studies deal with the "specific problem of lovesickness", he said.

Physical exhaustion

Prof Alex Gardner, a clinical psychologist in Glasgow and a member of the British Psychological Society, agreed that doctors needed to be more aware of lovesickness as a possible diagnosis.

He said: "People can die from a broken heart. "You get into a state of despair and hopelessness." He said as a result of love, in some people it could lead to an extreme state of physical exhaustion.

In extreme cases lovesickness could drive people to take their own life, he added.

Dr Tallis said that before the 18th Century lovesickness had been accepted as a natural state of mind for thousands of years.

He said in modern day terms the symptoms can include mania, such as an elevated mood and inflated self-esteem, or depression, revealing itself as tearfulness and insomnia.

Aspects of obsessive compulsive disorder can also be found in those experiencing lovesickness, such as preoccupation and obsessively checking for text messages and e-mails.


02-08-2005, 04:40 AM
Worms on a Hook Don't Suffer?

OSLO (Reuters) - Worms squirming on a fishhook feel no pain -- nor do lobsters and crabs cooked in boiling water, a scientific study funded by the Norwegian government has found.

"The common earthworm has a very simple nervous system -- it can be cut in two and continue with its business," Professor Wenche Farstad, who chaired the panel that drew up the report, said Monday.

Norway might have considered banning the use of live worms as fish bait if the study had found they felt pain, but Farstad said "It seems to be only reflex curling when put on the hook ... They might sense something, but it is not painful and does not compromise their well-being."

The government called for the study on pain, discomfort and stress in invertebrates to help in the planned revision of Norway's animal protection law. Invertebrates cover a range of creatures from insects and spiders to mollusks and crustaceans.

Farstad said most invertebrates, including lobsters and crabs boiled alive, do not feel pain because, unlike mammals, they do not have a big brain to read the signals.

Some more advanced kinds of insects, such as honeybees which display social behavior and a capacity to learn and cooperate, deserve special care, she said.

"We have particular responsibility for animals that we have in our custody. That is not a scientific opinion, but the ethical side of the issue," Farstad said.


Brushing 3 Times a Day Keeps Flab Away?

TOKYO (Reuters) - If you want to keep trim, forget the diet books and gym membership -- you may be better off just brushing your teeth more often, according to a Japanese study.

In a survey of the everyday habits of nearly 14,000 people whose average age was in their mid-40s, Dr. Takashi Wada of Jikei University in Tokyo found that those who managed to stay slim tended to brush their teeth after every meal.

Overweight men sometimes went more than a day without brushing their teeth, according to the study, published in the Journal of the Japan Society for the Study of Obesity.

Wada and his team compared the lifestyles of people whose body mass index (BMI) was over 25 -- the level doctors define as overweight -- with those of slimmer people. The survey covered eating and drinking habits, sleep, work and exercise.

The results do not mean that brushing in itself constitutes a fat-burning exercise, the authors say.

"It's a sign that these people are careful about their health -- they want to maintain the appearance of their teeth and prevent bad breath," the paper said. "We think actively encouraging the habit of toothbrushing would play a role in maintaining health and would help prevent obesity."


02-09-2005, 06:39 PM
For those from Virginia who own no belt:

02-09-2005, 07:39 PM
i worked for a woman once who said that the first time her mom cooked lobsters she didn't know to boil them and stuck them in the oven.

they SCREAMED. she has never forgotten it. :(

R. Schmidt
02-09-2005, 11:20 PM
A rare--and dead--oarfish washed up at City Beach in Perth yesterday,proving more than a handful for Troy Coward, Andy Mole and Axel Strauss (pictured).

The serpent-like animal was found six metres offshore, bringing to at least six the number of oarfish that have washed up on the West Australian coast in recent months. Prefering to live in the depths of the ocean they have only been known to come to the surface when sick or dying and have rarely been seen alive.

Living in the world's warmer oceans, it feeds on plankton and is harmless to humans. The longest bony fish in the sea, it grows up to nine metres long with a bright red crest that runs the entire length of its body.

02-10-2005, 07:38 AM
Cockroaches tickle Indian palate

Cockroaches give most people the creeps, but one man in southern India licks his lips when he sees them. Ramesh Kumar, 25, says he has been eating the pests for years.

"I used to like insects and lizards from childhood," he told Reuters television. "After catching them for so long I have lost all fears about them."

Now Mr Kumar, a goldsmith in the city of Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu state, says he wants to eat 50 in a minute and break the world record.

"The present record in the Guinness Book stands in the name of a person who ate 36 cockroaches. I want to make it at least 50," he says.

His liking for snacking on cockroaches developed gradually, he says.

As a youngster he began catching them to see what they tasted like, and his fondness for the tough, beetle-like insects grew.

Mr Kumar also has other records in mind. He says he is willing to spend a day cooped up in a coffin-sized glass case with 25,000 cockroaches, if that's what it takes.


02-10-2005, 08:25 PM
*hums the popcorn-song*

02-11-2005, 05:28 PM
Why do my fellow Oregonians sometimes have to contain some of the oddest? Good grief.

02-11-2005, 07:10 PM
Your post reminds me of something amusing said of Alaska.

The male population of Alaska allegedly far outnumbers the female population, which has let the ladies of Alaska to say: "The odds are good, but the goods are odd."

02-13-2005, 12:51 PM
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. May you all prove as happy as this:

02-15-2005, 10:40 PM
This just in: I have one of the healthiest livers:

02-16-2005, 02:36 PM
LONDON (Reuters) - Maybe Dracula had a point. The term Young Blood -- meaning an injection of youthful vigor -- could have a medical origin.

Scientists at Stanford University found that wiring up an old mouse to the blood stream of a young one gave a major boost to muscle recovery time in the older one.

By contrast, when old blood was pumped round the body of a young mouse, muscle recovery time became more prolonged, they said in the science journal Nature.

It was not just muscles that benefited. The same was true of the livers of older mice.

Researchers said the results suggested that the aging process lay less with the organs themselves than with the tired blood off which they fed.


02-16-2005, 03:00 PM
In the 1960's Herman Wouk wrote a popular novel entitled "Younblood Hawk" (Youngblood was a first name)

Youngblood is an Americanize form of the German name Jungbluth
German: nickname for a young or impetuous man, from Middle High German junc ‘young’ + bluot ‘blood’.

02-17-2005, 05:04 PM
Argh!!! This haunts me everywhere I look - on every website, on every forwarding e-mail:

02-18-2005, 12:07 PM
An environmental activist in New Zealand who has been charged with indecent exposure continued his protest on Thursday by arriving at court naked. Simon Oosterman, 24, from Auckland, did however take the step of dressing before he entered the courtroom.

He was arrested during a naked bike ride last Sunday, which he organised to protest against society's dependence on the car.

Outside court, Mr Oosterman said public nudity differed from indecent exposure. "The purpose of the protest was to draw attention to the issue of transport emissions," the computer technician said, noting that the Kyoto protocol, which aims to curb air pollution, came into force on Wednesday.

"There has to be distinction between people flashing young girls and public nudity, which is benign."

Mr Oosterman said he decided to dress before his hearing, however, because he did not want to risk being charged with contempt of court.

A sergeant who saw him travelling naked up the courtroom's escalator "told me he was grateful I got dressed at the top".


02-19-2005, 05:31 PM
How ironic . . .

02-20-2005, 07:34 AM
Art experts and historians are staging what has been described as a mock trial to examine the claims made in hit novel The Da Vinci Code.
The "trial" is being held in Vinci, Italy, and an opening statement was made by Alessandro Vezzosi, director of a Leonardo Da Vinci museum, on Friday.

"Leonardo is misrepresented and belittled," he said beforehand.

No-one will represent the book but many fans are expected to attend. The book has sold 7.5 million copies worldwide.

Many readers assume the story, linking Da Vinci with a secret society that has held the secret of the Holy Grail for centuries, is completely true.


Author Dan Brown has said: "All of the art, architecture, secret rituals, secret societies, all of that is historical fact."

But the book has sparked heated debate among historians, many of whom have dismissed Mr Brown's version of events and his central claim that Jesus had a child with Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail is their bloodline.

The "trial" is taking place at the Palazzina Uzielli in Vinci, near Florence, Da Vinci's hometown. The town's vicar, Monsignor Renato Bellini, said the book gave an inaccurate view of Catholic society Opus Dei.

"This book depicts the movement as a mysterious centre of political and economic power that tries to hide the historical truth on Jesus and Magdalene, which is absurd," he said.

'Misunderstood genius'

A representative of Opus Dei would take part in the mock tribunal, he added.

Mr Vezzosi, director of the Museo Ideale Leonardo Da Vinci in the town, said he would produce documents and photographs to prove many of the claims about the legendary artist were false.

"His importance is misunderstood, he was a man full of fantasy, inventions and genius," he said.

As well as the original novel, published in 2003, another 10 books have been written to debunk its claims and a booming tourist industry has sprung up around its sites in France and the UK.


02-20-2005, 08:53 AM
It never ceases to amaze me how inventive fiction can be construed as non fiction with the use of real figures and ideas of history. Quite frankly I'd say it says more about those defending their beliefs from a fictional story than it does about some guy's vision of a storyline, heh.

In other, unrelated, odd news (http://nyc.indymedia.org/newswire/display/142004/index.php)

kilted exile
02-20-2005, 07:19 PM
truly the end of an era (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4264683.stm)

02-21-2005, 01:36 AM
I wanted to start a thread regarding this particular death (so close to another great writer's death - Arthur Miller), but when I read that this particlar author desired at least some privacy of the end of his life . . . well, it still saddens me.

02-22-2005, 01:24 PM
SEOUL (Reuters) - Some South Korean homeless are dressing in style after the government gave away thousands of fake designer garments confiscated by customs agents.

The Korea Customs Service distributed more than 3,500 fake pieces in the southern city of Pusan this month with the permission of the fashion houses whose designs had been pirated.

A customs official declined to name the designers whose ripped-off creations are now being worn by the homeless but said both they and the state prosecutors had approved giving away the jackets, blouses, shirts and pants.

"We hope this will be of some help to the poor who need practical assistance in such hard times," the official said.

Customs agents removed the labels from the clothes before giving them to a welfare agency for distribution.

South Korea (news - web sites) has a vibrant illegal market in pirated designer clothing and customs officials said there would be more handouts.

"We will continue to look for useful ways to pass along the clothes -- it saves us the cost of destroying what we have confiscated," the Customs Service said in a statement.

One homeless man, who asked not to be identified, said he appreciated the fancy threads. "I don't care about the quality of the clothes, but these designs are quite trendy," the recipient said.


02-23-2005, 12:07 PM
The 'Shrek effect' has been blamed for the increase in donkey imports
Hundreds of donkeys bought because of the film Shrek's popularity are being seriously neglected, vets have warned.
Peter Jinman, a former president of the British Veterinary Association, has likened the donkey craze to previous fads for llamas and ostriches.

He says owners often do not know how to look after them properly - or even realise donkeys now require passports.

Animal charity the Donkey Sanctuary has stressed that the animals need a lot of attention and can be expensive to keep.

Both the original Shrek film and the sequel, charting the adventures of a green ogre and his donkey friend, have proved extremely popular with children.

Practising vet Mr Jinman says he has been receiving an increasing amount of calls about donkeys over the past three years.

Peter Jinman

"It has certainly become apparent that there are a lot more donkeys appearing," he told BBC Radio 4's Farming Today.

He suggested this was due to people moving from the city to the country and buying houses with land attached.

He also said the "Shrek effect" could not be ignored.

Mr Jinman added that many of the animals are being imported when they are too young to be moved around.

"I would have a certain amount of concern as to what is going on with the trade and how it's being regulated," he said.

Eddie Murphy played Donkey

Tina Court, of the Devon-based Donkey Sanctuary, said the donkey "is quite a character" and makes a good pet.

But she warned potential owners need "a minimum of one acre grazing land, a farm or shelter, a good equine farrier, a vet, straw for bedding and a lot of time - because donkeys love attention".

For parents of Shrek-obsessed children who can't fulfil these requirements, there is an option to sponsor a donkey.

Claire Belton runs the New European Distressed Donkey Initiative (Neddi) in France and offers her animals for sponsorship.

She says: "It is slightly less tangible than keeping the animals as pets, but you can come and visit your donkey and pat it."

Both donkey groups and vets agree the biggest problem with keeping the animals is that they live for such a long time - upwards of 30 years.


02-23-2005, 06:39 PM
Living in style:

02-24-2005, 05:34 AM
An elderly Thai monk who mistook a tube of superglue for eye drops can see again after doctors unglued one eye. Phra Kru Prapatworakhun, 81, had been unable to see for nearly a week after applying the superglue, which he found in his temple's medicine cabinet.

Doctors used acetone solvent to remove the glue from one eye and said it was unharmed, the Nation newspaper reports.

An operation on the second eye, which is still tightly sealed, is scheduled for Thursday.

Phra Kru Prapatworakhun, the abbot of a temple in Muang Angthong district, north of Bangkok, said he had a severe itch in his eyes on 17 February.

"I squeezed several drops on the floor and saw a clear liquid, so I put four drops into each eye. In about a minute, my eyes felt cold and then sealed closed," the monk told the Nation.

Another monk suggested he use thinners to get rid of the glue. But that only caused a searing pain, he said.


02-24-2005, 05:27 PM
*phone rings
"Hello. Am I on the radio?"
"Oh, cool. Well, I robbed a bank once."

02-27-2005, 07:06 PM
The newest of "prophecies," concerning the Pope:

03-01-2005, 07:15 AM
Divers have been scouring the site for three years
Indian divers have found more evidence of an ancient port city, apparently revealed by December's tsunami. Stone structures that are "clearly man-made" were seen on the seabed off the south coast, archaeologists say.

They could be part of the mythical city of Mahabalipuram, which legend says was so beautiful that the gods sent a flood that engulfed six of its seven temples.

Other relics were revealed when the powerful waves washed away sand as they smashed into the Tamil Nadu coast.

'Clear pattern'

The Archaeological Survey of India launched the diving expedition after residents reported seeing a temple and other structures as the sea pulled back just before the tsunami hit.

The new finds were made close to the 7th Century beachfront Mahabalipuram temple, which some say is the structure that survived the wrath of the gods.

"We've found some stone structures which are clearly man-made," expedition leader Alok Tripathi told the AFP news agency.

"They're perfect rectangular blocks, arranged in a clear pattern."

The ancient "gifts" of the tsunami are expected to be presented to an international seminar on maritime archaeology in Delhi next month.

Other discoveries made at Mahabalipuram earlier this month include a granite lion of a similar age to the temple that experts believe had been buried for centuries before the tsunami shifted the sand.

Archaeologists have been working at the site for the last three years, since another diving expedition discovered what appeared to be a submerged city, including at least one temple.

The myths of Mahabalipuram were first written down by British traveller J Goldingham who was told of the "Seven Pagodas" when he visited in 1798.


03-01-2005, 07:17 AM
Politicians are among the most sleep deprived people in society, a survey suggests. Research by the Sleep Council, which compared eight groups, found the average politician gets by on just over five hours sleep a night.

Only hospital doctors on-call averaged less shut eye - just 4.5 hours a night.

Topping the sleep league were solicitors who clocked up close to eight hours on a regular basis. One in five slept for an average of ten hours.

Hours slept a night
Solicitors: 7.8
Architects: 7.5
Mothers of young children: 7.1
Social workers: 6.9
Dustmen: 6.5
Teachers: 6.0
Politicians: 5.2
Hospital doctors (on call): 4.5

Jessica Alexander, of the Sleep Council, said: "Time and again research has shown us that lack of sleep affects our ability to think clearly and rationally.

"So the results of this study are of concern in that they demonstrate that our politicians, the people responsible for making decisions that affect all of our lives, may not be in the best mental or physical shape to do so."

Dr David Lewis, who analysed the findings, said there were wide variations across all the occupations.

For instance, some politicians claimed to enjoy the full eight hours while others reported five hours or less each night.

The survey found found hours spent in bed bore little relation to the number of hours actually asleep.

Dr Lewis said: "On average, the length of time between the sheets was nine hours whereas the average time asleep was just under eight.

"Since around half claimed to fall asleep within 15 minutes of their head hitting the pillow, this suggests that many people - especially politicians - find it much harder to drop off.

"One likely reason is that while mentally exhausted they are not sufficiently tired to fall asleep.

"As a result their heads are filled with circulating thoughts and worries which conspire to keep them wide awake."

Sleep problems

Four out of ten (43%) people who took part in the survey go to bed between 10pm and 10.59pm during the working week.

Sleep facts
Humans need around 8 hours sleep per night
Even a sleep debt of seven hours per week can result in burning eyes, blurred vision and waves of sleepiness
The last dream of the night is usually the most vivid and most easily recalled

A half (47%) wake up between 6am-6.59am during the working week, and seven out of ten (70%) get up within 15 minutes of waking.

Around a quarter (28%) reported problems falling asleep, while a similar number (24%) said they woke early.

Frequent waking was a serious problem for around seven out of 10.

One in five (20%) said they woke up between three and six times each night.

Dr Lewis said: "This may not seem all that serious until we realise that even a momentary wakening can result in up to 10 minutes loss of sleep.

"This means that someone who wakes up six times during the night will have lost around one hour's sleep.

"Quite sufficient to build up a serious sleep debt over a week."

While short term sleep loss is nothing to worry about, in the long term it can damage both mental and physical health.


03-01-2005, 09:17 AM
Firm's Valentine Cards Spark Lovers' Tiffs

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A pharmaceutical company which sent anonymous Valentine's cards to Dutch gynecologists in a publicity stunt has been forced to apologize for sparking family arguments.

The doctors and their partners were furious with the company -- whose Web site says it mixes "the ingredients for health and happiness" -- after the firm sent cards saying "Now shall we tell everyone?," De Telegraaf newspaper reported Thursday.

A second card was dispatched to the 800 doctors the next day explaining that the first had been a gimmick to promote a new product.

In some cases, the cards caused so much distress that the company, Organon, sent apologetic bouquets of flowers, the newspaper said.


03-02-2005, 06:33 AM
Seventy-five years on from his death, DH Lawrence remains one of the literary world's most contentious and divisive figures. A new biography re-examines the legacy of the famous novelist.

Lawrence was born in Eastwood in Nottinghamshire in 1885
For some, David Herbert Lawrence - author of The Rainbow, Women In Love and Sons and Lovers - is an artistic giant of visionary genius.

To others he is "Dirty Bertie" - a prurient pedlar of obscene smut who compromised his legacy with the infamous Lady Chatterley's Lover.

DH Lawrence's works are the most widely taught English texts throughout the world, but their author's reputation has been severely blighted by charges of racism, sexism and fascism.

A major new biography, however, reappraises the life and work of the Nottinghamshire-born writer.

"Up till now, Lawrence has been perceived as a rough, tough, vitalist figure - an emotional, barely-educated genius whose works poured out of him," says John Worthen, author of DH Lawrence: The Life of an Outsider.


"But in reality he was a highly intellectual, introspective man and a very careful writer and craftsman."

Worthen, Emeritus Professor of DH Lawrence Studies at the University of Nottingham, argues that the novelist's astonishing productivity was more out of necessity than temperament.

"He wrote so much because his books didn't sell many copies.

"Most of the other great writers of the early part of the 20th century - Virginia Woolf for example - didn't have to earn their living by writing, but he did."

Lady Chatterley's Lover was filmed by the BBC in 1993

Worthen is also keen to stress the importance of Lawrence's wife Frieda, in spite of their volatile and sometimes violent relationship.

Six years older than the then 27-year-old author, Frieda Weekley (nee von Richthofen) was married and had three children when they met.

She and Lawrence eloped and married in 1914, although their stormy union was tested by financial worries and her affair with Italian soldier Angelo Ravagli.


Nevertheless, Worthen contends she had a "crucial" influence on his writing career.

"Meeting her was the biggest forward movement in his life," he says.

"Frieda was a revelation because she was so different from him - a natural, instinctive, straightforward person. She really changed the way he thought and felt."

Worthen's book contains hitherto unpublished letters from Frieda that offer a fresh take on her creative input.

"She was intensely involved in his writing, and when she wasn't his books got very strange.

"The Boy in the Bush, for example, was written entirely without Frieda's influence - and it shows."

In his biography, Worthen argues that Lawrence channelled his lifelong melancholy into his anger, using it as a spark for his writing.

"His melancholy came out of his peculiar self-containment and loneliness," explains the 62-year-old academic.


"Lawrence was detached from almost every context you can imagine: background, family, the literary world.

"His self-containment was partly a defence against melancholy, and partly a consequence of it."

Worthen, whose career as a Lawrence biographer began in the 1980s, admits his subject's oeuvre has been overshadowed by the Lady Chatterley controversy.

But, he suggests, writing such a notorious cause celebre was, at heart, a "courageous" act.

"When Lawrence wrote it I don't think he'd seen another sexually explicit book in his life," he explains.

"He was entering a new field as a writer, which is an exciting thing for an established writer to be doing."

The author also hopes his book will rebut accusations that Lawrence flirted with fascism and harboured anti-Semitic views.

"I want to tell the story as it is, get the facts right and clear away some myths," he says.

"But what will rehabilitate Lawrence more than anything is people reading his books."


03-02-2005, 07:37 PM
Thank you for sharing that article, Scher. D.H. Lawrence has always proved as one of my greatest influences, and I cannot help but feel deeply touched while reading much of his work, especially his poetry. To think that he wrote SO much during his short life of 44 years, when he died of tuberculosis, amazes me!
Thanks again.

03-02-2005, 08:19 PM
In other news:

Something Doesn't Smell Right About This Marriage

TEHRAN (Reuters) - An Iranian woman has requested a divorce from her husband on the grounds that he has not washed for more than a year.

"My husband says he does not like water and does not want to take a shower ... He doesn't even wash his face when he wakes up in the morning," Mina, 36, was quoted as saying in court by the state-run Iran (news - web sites) newspaper.

When the couple first married eight years ago her husband was obsessively clean, she said.

"He spent hours taking showers three times a day and washed his hands every few minutes," Mina said. "But he suddenly changed ... Now nobody, including me, my children and his colleagues, can stand him."

Divorce is a notoriously difficult process for women in Iran, who normally have to prove that their husband has neglected them financially or sexually, is a drug addict or physically abusive.


kilted exile
03-03-2005, 06:28 PM
I become more ashamed of my home town every day

A two-year-old boy who was hit by an airgun pellet in the Easterhouse area of Glasgow is said to be in a "very serious" condition in hospital.

Andrew Morton is being treated at the Southern General Hospital after being struck on the head on Wednesday evening while walking in Cambusdoon Road.
His mother, Sharon McMillan, told a radio station that she did not know whether her son would pull through.

A firefighter was also hit by a pellet attending a call at the same time. However, the 34-year-old was not injured in the incident in Cambusdoon Road shortly before 1900 GMT.

A police spokeswoman said: "The fact both incidents took place in the same street at around the same time would suggest that the person or persons responsible were one and the same."

"While the fire crew were putting out a kitchen fire, they were being shot at.
It could be the case that the boy was just walking up the street and was in line of fire."

Ms McMillan told Real Radio that Andrew and his brother Brian had gone to get chips for dinner, but returned to the family home screaming. "I put my hand at the back of his head and it was all blood," she said.

"I asked the fireman to come and see him and they told me he had been shot in the head."

Andrew was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary before being transferred to the Southern General, which specialises in head injuries.

"The bullet is so far in his head that it has burst major blood vessels," said Ms McMillan.

"They don't know if he is going to pull through. I just don't know if he's going to make it."

Police closed off the car park where the incident took place as officers carried out a fingertip search on Thursday.

Officers will also be carrying out door-to-door inquiries in the area.

One local resident, 35-year-old Dorothy Bryant, said: "It is absolutely appalling.

"Everyone here is shocked and it makes you scared for your own wee ones.

"I hope the police get whoever did this before anyone else from here does."

Local Labour MSP Margaret Curran, who visited the area on Thursday, said: "I'm gravely distressed by this serious incident.

"My thoughts are with this young boy and his family."


03-04-2005, 05:23 AM
Woman "tastes" musical notes (http://edition.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/03/03/taste.sounds.reut/index.html)
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Music can be a mouth-watering experience for one Swiss musician who "tastes" combinations of notes as distinct flavors, according to a report in the science journal Nature.

The 27-year-old woman known as E.S. is a synaesthete, someone who experiences sensation in more than one sense from the same stimulation, researchers said on Wednesday.

When E.S. hears tone intervals, the difference in pitch between two tones, she not only can see the musical notes as different colors but can taste the sounds.

"This is a special case of a musician who, when she hears tone intervals, she has a perception of a taste of a tone," said psychologist Michaela Esslen, of the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

"She doesn't imagine the taste, she really tastes it."

The case of E.S. reported in Nature is exceptional because seeing letters or digits in a certain color is more common in synaesthesia. It may also involve seeing a musical tone as a color.

But E.S. sees the colors and depending on the tone intervals a symphony could be bittersweet, salty, sour or creamy.

"Whenever she hears a specific musical interval, she automatically experiences a taste on her tongue that is consistently linked to that particular interval," the scientists said in the journal.

They tested E.S.'s ability by applying solutions tasting sour, bitter, salty or sweet to her tongue and asking her to identify the tone intervals, a difficult task that requires musical training.

When the applied tastes corresponded with the intervals she was able to identify them quicker than other musicians.

"We found that E.S.'s tone-interval identification was perfect," the researchers said.

03-04-2005, 10:43 AM
now that's cool.

03-05-2005, 03:38 PM
Less Swearing on TV, Demands Former Sex Pistol

LONDON (Reuters) - "Wanna be an anarchist?"

At least one of the Sex Pistols, now middle-aged and a father of two, no longer does.

Former Pistols Bassist Glen Matlock has called for swearing on television to be curbed, nearly 30 years after the provocative punk rockers sent shockwaves through Britain by using derivations of the dreaded "f"-word on live TV.

In 1976, the volley of abuse, chiefly from the punk band's Steve Jones, catapulted the group into a media firestorm that ended the career of TV interviewer Bill Grundy.

"It's pathetic when people swear for the sake of it," Matlock told a television show to be broadcast Sunday. "Something ought to be done about it."

Matlock, 48, also told "X-Rated: The TV Shows They Tried To Ban" that he hated it when his young children heard obscenities on the airwaves.

As a teen-ager, Matlock co-wrote some of the Pistols' most enduring anthems like "God Save The Queen" and "Anarchy In The UK." He left the group early in 1977 and was replaced by Sid Vicious.

Matlock was taking part in a Channel 4 program which looks at how attitudes toward swearing and censorship have changed to the point where profanities are broadcast nearly every night of the week.


03-06-2005, 04:43 PM
It's not funny and not unusual, you're probably bored of this kind of news but I feel like drawing attention on this cos I can0t open a thread about it as it would get political immediately, I checked CNN cos I was wondering how much coverage (and what kind of coverage) was being given to this news in the USA and apparently it's being talked about enough and, quite surprisingly, in the same why as here...
But I really find this to be important, because if something so stupid as happened now, I can image it happens pretty much everyday there, which makes all that war so openly pointless that it makes me want to cry. And oops, I'm getting political already *shuts up*

03-07-2005, 12:39 AM
I would never, though a fear of water may have some involvement:

03-07-2005, 02:12 PM
US and Ethiopian scientists say they have discovered the fossilised remains of one of the earliest human ancestors. The research team, working in the north-east of Ethiopia, believe the remains of the hominid, or primitive human, date back four million years.

They say initial study of the bones indicates the creature was bipedal - it walked around on two legs.

The fossils were found just 60km (40 miles) from the site where the famous hominid Lucy was discovered.

Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis), whose remains were unearthed in 1974, lived 3.2 million years ago and is thought to have given rise to the Homo line that ended in modern humans.

Like Lucy?

The as yet unnamed fossil creature, found in February at a new site called Mille in the Afar region of Ethiopia, looks to be even older than Lucy.

The remains include a complete tibia from the lower part of the leg, parts of the thighbone or femur, ribs, vertebrae, a collarbone, pelvis and a complete shoulder blade.

"The discovery of 12 early hominid fossil specimens estimated to be between 3.8 and 4 million years old will be important in terms of understanding the early phases of human evolution before Lucy," Yohannes Haile Selassie told a news conference.

Researchers are often happy to find isolated bones belonging to human ancestors of this age, so to find a partial skeleton is exceptional.

The team that found it says the discovery is also significant because, due to the structure of the ankle bone, the individual almost certainly walked upright like modern people.

The find, one of a series of hominid fossils which are still being unearthed, held many mysteries, said Bruce Latimer, of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, US, who made the discovery with his Ethiopian colleague.

"It is already clear that the individual was larger than Lucy; it has longer legs than Lucy... but it is older which is strange," he said.

Early walkers

It is currently too early to say what sex or species the creature was, say the researchers.

"We have a pelvis which can tell us whether it was male or female. But the whole pelvis is embedded in a rock matrix. That's going to take a lot of time to clean up," Dr Haile Selassie told the BBC News website.

The team had to return home because they were nearing the end of their field season, leaving the excavation unfinished. But there are plans to return to the discovery site in December.

"If you want to look at the sex, stature and what species it is, you have to have all the elements that can be retrieved from the excavation," the Ethiopian researcher added.

Dr Haile Selassie plans to return to the discovery site later this year

The discovery of the remains of at least nine primitive hominids of similar age to the latest find was announced in January.

Those fossils, which were uncovered at As Duma in the north of Ethiopia, were mostly teeth and jaw fragments, but also include parts of hands and feet.

Bipedalism is a crucial aspect of the human form, palaeoanthropologists believe - but there is a great deal of debate about when exactly this ability first arose in our lineage.

There is some evidence that two, very much older hominids could walk upright.

Recent computed tomography (CT) scans of the thighbone of a six-million-year-old Kenyan creature known as Orrorin tugenensis suggest it might have had quite a human gait.

And a seven-million-year-old hominid from Chad, known as Sahelanthropus tchadensis and nicknamed Toumai, may also have been bipedal. The assessment is based on an analysis of where the animal's spine would have entered the skull and the position of muscle attachments on its head.


03-07-2005, 02:17 PM
More people go to bed later and wake up earlier in Asia than in any other region, a sleep study has found. The poll of 14,100 people in 28 countries and regions found 40% of people in Asia go to sleep after midnight.

Half of the 10 places with the most early-risers were also in Asia, with Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, in premier position.

But Australians sleep the longest - 31% average more than nine hours a night. Taiwan is Asia's most nocturnal country, according to the poll conducted by AC Nielsen, where 69% of people said they go to sleep after midnight.

In Indonesia, on the other hand, 91% of people said they got out of bed by 0700. In Japan, a nation famed for its long working hours, people appeared to get the least sleep - 41% saying they got six hours or less a night.

03-08-2005, 05:33 AM
Police in South Australia have reopened a century-old murder investigation after a written confession was discovered. In the letter, written in 1932 before his own death, local undertaker Gustav Maerschel admits to stabbing a wealthy British man during a heated argument.

The letter was found during renovations to a historic house in Birdwood, 50km (31 miles) from Adelaide.

On Monday, police dug up a bone after searching the house for human remains.

In the letter, Maerschel confesses to stabbing an unnamed Englishman in the 1800s and then burying him under a pear tree in the backyard.

"That incident has always been on my conscience but I have told no one," Maerschel wrote in the letter, read out by Det Sr Con Bob Sharpe.

The confession was found hidden behind a mantelpiece during refurbishment work to the house.

Mr Sharpe said: "The letter says that shortly after the gentleman moved here to Birdwood, he had several arguments with an English gentleman, as he calls him, a gentleman from London.

"During one of these arguments, the man from London has taken out a knife and there has been a bit of struggle.

"The fellow writing the letter has taken possession of the knife and stabbed the victim, one stab wound as we believe."

Mr Sharpe said Maerschel wrote that he had not been a suspect in the murder inquiry at the time.

Police cut down the pear tree and dug 1.2 metres (4ft), and found a bone which will be examined by pathologists to determine if it is human.


03-09-2005, 02:25 PM
Police in Mexico City, one of the most crime-ridden capitals in the world, have been told they must read at least one book a month or forfeit promotion.

The mayor of the district where the scheme is being implemented believes that it will improve their work.

There is a popular conception that Mexican police are corrupt, incompetent and lazy.

Mayor Luis Sanchez believes he can fight low standards in the force by encouraging higher levels of literacy.

Along with guns, bullet-proof vests and handcuffs, police in the district of Nezahualcoyotl will now have to take a book with them.

Regular tests

If they do not read at least one a month, they lose their chance of being promoted.

Mayor Sanchez says the reading scheme for his 1,100-strong municipal police force will make them better officers and better people.

The list of recommended titles includes such literary classics as Don Quixote, The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz, and, on a lighter note, The Little Prince.

One hindrance is that a substantial proportion of the police are semi-literate.

About 20% were not educated beyond primary level.

However, according to the mayor, classes will be given to those with reading difficulties.

There is no chance of anyone getting away without doing the reading.

The policemen will be regularly tested to make sure they have read the books they name.


03-09-2005, 02:31 PM
Families having a single girl child in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh will be given 100,000 rupees ($2,300) in an attempt to boost the female population.
The money will be given to the child when she turns 20 and both parents would have to undergo verified birth control operations.

The state government says it is concerned at the falling female-to-male ratio - in 2001 it was 943 to 1,000. The rise in sex determination tests to abort female foetuses is also a worry.

Publicity campaign

State Chief Minister YS Rajashekhar Reddy said there would be several other benefits for families having a single girl child.

They include an annual grant of 1,250 rupees for education for the girl in classes nine to 12 (ages 14-17). In case of the death of either parent, the family would get up to 50,000 rupees immediately.

Dr Reddy said both parents would have to undergo operations certified and verified by government hospitals to qualify for the scheme.

The Andhra Pradesh government says it is also planning a major publicity campaign to promote female children.

It has named the rising Indian tennis star and local girl, Sania Mirza, as the "ambassador of the girl child of Andhra Pradesh".

The authorities are planning to erect hoardings featuring Mirza and espousing the cause of the female child.

"Your daughter may be the next champion", one of the hoardings says.

This year Mirza became first Indian woman to get to the third round of a tennis Grand Slam, with her performance in Australia.


03-09-2005, 03:33 PM
I could see this from my apartment:

03-10-2005, 09:44 AM
The South African women's team will be coached in etiquette and given tighter T-shirts in a drive to soften their image and attract sponsorship.
A top official said on Wednesday that female players who dressed and acted like men were giving women's football a bad name and needed to nurture their feminine side.

"They need to learn how to be ladies," said Ria Ledwaba, head of the women's committee at the South African Football Association (Safa).

"At the moment you sometimes can't tell if they're men or women."

The national team would be given a more shapely kit to emphasise their femininity on the pitch and would swap dowdy track suits for skirts and jackets when travelling.

"Obviously they can't wear skirts on pitch... but they will be given outfits made for women, with female shirts that are shaped for breasts," Ledwaba said.

Safa would also hold etiquette workshops to turn the players - often plucked from the streets of South Africa's sprawling townships with no schooling - into national assets.

"We need to teach them etiquette and the importance of being a role model," said Ledwaba.

"There are mothers out there who won't let their daughters play football because they think they'll start acting like boys."

The new outlook is part of a drive to attract untapped talent into the squad, which has never competed in a world tournament, and to lure sponsors.

The women's team is currently funded by mobile phone operator Vodacom, which also sponsors the men's team.

But Ledwaba said she was hoping to attract extra sponsorship from companies making products for women, such as toiletries.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter last year courted controversy when he urged women players to wear tighter shorts to distinguish them from men.


03-10-2005, 09:47 AM
I could see this from my apartment:
Wow, mono! :eek: Hope there won't be any serious eruptions!

03-13-2005, 05:03 AM
A New York university planned to mark the 127th birthday of genius physicist Albert Einstein by bringing dozens of his look-alikes together in a room.
But when the City University of New York placed an advert in an actors' newspaper, only one person turned up - a man originally from Afghanistan.

However, as luck would have it, Latif Rashidzada bore a striking similarity to the scientist who discovered the theory of relativity.

The university is holding a party on Monday evening with two of Einstein's former associates who are now in their 90s.

But he was the only entrant

Physicist Brian Schwartz said they had hopes of bringing lots of Einstein look-alikes along as well.

"Imagine a picture of 100 Einsteins all in one place at one time," he was quoted as saying on the WNYC radio station website.

"But actually it seems like actors are doing better than I thought because not many showed up - although we have one gorgeous Einstein who is actually from Afghanistan."

Mr Rashidzada was born in the Afghan capital Kabul but now lives in New York.

A year of events is being held globally to mark 100 years of Einstein's work.


03-16-2005, 05:23 PM
Japanese electronics firm Hitachi has unveiled its first humanoid robot, called Emiew, to challenge Honda's Asimo and Sony's Qrio robots. Hitachi said the 1.3m (4.2ft) Emiew was the world's quickest-moving robot yet at 6km/h (3.7 miles per hour).

Two wheel-based Emiews, Pal and Chum, introduced themselves to reporters at a press conference in Japan.

They will be guests at this month's World Expo. Sony and Honda have both built robots to showcase engineering.

Explaining why Hitachi's Emiew used wheels instead of feet, Toshihiko Horiuchi, from Hitachi's Mechanical Engineering Research Laboratory, said: "We aimed to create a robot that could live and co-exist with people."
"We want to make the robots useful for people ... If the robots moved slower than people, users would be frustrated."

Emiew - Excellent Mobility and Interactive Existence as Workmate - can move at 6km/h (3.7 miles per hour) on its "wheel feet", which resemble the bottom half of a Segway scooter.

With sensors on the head, waist, and near the wheels, Pal and Chum demonstrated how they could react to commands.

"I want to be able to walk about in places like Shinjuku and Shibuya [shopping districts] in the future without bumping into people and cars," Pal told reporters.

Hitachi said Pal and Chum, which have a vocabulary of about 100 words, could be "trained" for practical office and factory use in as little as five to six years.

Big bot battle

Robotics researchers have long been challenged by developing robots that walk in the gait of a human.

At the recent AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) annual meeting in Washington DC, researchers showed off bipedal designs.

The three designs, each built by a different research group, use the same principle to achieve a human-like gait.

Sony and Honda have both used humanoid robots, which are not commercially available, as a way of showing off computing power and engineering expertise.

Honda's Asimo was "born" five years ago. Since then, Honda and Sony's Qrio have tried to trump each other with what the robots can do at various technology events.

Asimo has visited the UK, Germany, the Czech Republic, France and Ireland as part of a world tour.

Sony's Qrio has been singing, jogging and dancing in formation around the world too and was, until last year, the fastest robot on two legs.

But its record was beaten by Asimo. It is capable of 3km/h, which its makers claim is almost four times as fast as Qrio.

Last year, car maker Toyota also stepped into the ring and unveiled its trumpet-playing humanoid robot.

By 2007, it is predicted that there will be almost 2.5 million "entertainment and leisure" robots in homes, compared to about 137,000 currently, according to the United Nations (UN).

By the end of that year, 4.1 million robots will be doing jobs in homes, said a report by the UN Economic Commission for Europe and the International Federation of Robotics.

Hitachi is one of the companies already with home cleaning robot machines on the market.


03-17-2005, 07:18 PM
For my fellow science-geeks. ;)

Scientists Discover Rare Carnivore Shrimp

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - A military biologist has documented a new species of fairy shrimp in Idaho, one of only four species among hundreds that are longer than an inch (2.54 cm) and eat their relatives, officials said on Wednesday.

Dana Quinney, a biologist with the Idaho National Guard, said the new species most closely resembled "a feathery preying mantis with an attitude."

Unlike the vast majority of fairy shrimp, the new species is armed with spines and ready to rumble with its smaller counterparts, said Quinney, adding, "This guy is a carnivore, grabbing onto little guys and eating them."

The 3-inch (7.6-cm), flesh-colored crustacean can lie dormant for years, even decades, in egg form, emerging only when infrequent rains and runoff fill the desert lakes of southwestern Idaho. Then it goes amok, eating, mating and laying eggs before another dry spell descends.

In lean times, the mega-sized fairy shrimp -- which sports hooked arms, a forked tail and turquoise-colored reproductive organs -- clamps its fairy shrimp cousins to its abdomen to store for future dining.

"It's a very cool critter," said Quinney.


03-19-2005, 02:57 PM

The Devil's In The Details: Ind. pet store owner says Satan's image on turtle shell

MICHIGANTOWN, Ind. - Could it be... Satan?

An Indiana pet shop owner says a turtle that was the only animal to survive an October fire has developed an image of Satan’s face on its shell.

Bryan Dora says it looks like the devil wants us to know that he was there.

Dora says he can see a goatee and a pair of pointy horns on the shell of the palm-sized red-eared slider turtle named Lucky.

He says Lucky is healthy and its behavior hasn’t changed.

Investigators could not determine the cause of the fire, which destroyed the A-Dora-ble Pet Shop and several other businesses in Frankfort, about 40 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

Dora has produced a D-V-D of the turtle’s story that he plans to auction on the Internet. He will also offer the winning bidder the chance to buy Lucky off-line.


03-22-2005, 06:29 PM
Scratch this! Thousands fume over game typo

NEW YORK - Thousands thought they’d hit the jackpot. But it turns out it was a printing mistake.

The error led thousands of people who’d played the Scratch N’ Match game in Saturday’s New York Daily News to mistakenly believe they’d won up to $100,000 in cash and prizes. They were shocked to learn that they didn’t when they read a correction in the paper.

Daily News officials are blaming the agency that runs the contest for the error. The agency said it "profoundly apologizes for and regrets any inconvenience that the incorrect numbers may have caused."

The paper advised people who scratched off the wrong numbers to submit a claim to the agency by July 8.

Meanwhile, the paper has ordered an independent investigation into how the mistake happened.

"We pride ourselves on defending our readers' interests, and this case is no different," a Daily News spokesman said.


03-23-2005, 10:06 AM
Dr Hunter "Patch" Adams, whose unconventional healing methods inspired a 1998 Robin Williams film, has visited Sri Lanka's tsunami-hit towns.
Dr Adams brought a troupe of 30 clowns performing juggling, unicycle riding and puppet shows to hospitals and relief camps in the country's south.

His Gesundheit Institute in the US is run according to his philosophy of using humour with healing.

Dr Adams has also taken his clowns to Bosnia, Africa and Afghanistan.


The first stop was the Karapitiya Hospital, near Galle.

"We do everything that makes people laugh," said Dr Adams, 59. "Laughter is the best medicine you know. I want to stop their suffering."

He told the Reuters news agency: "I decided to come to Sri Lanka as I have a great feeling of tragedy and desire to encourage people to rebuild after the tsunami."

As he bounded into children's wards, one doctor asked: "Is that man looking for the psychiatric ward?"

The troupe sprayed wards with soap bubbles and performed a puppet show for children suffering from cancer.

Train site

Dr Adams said one positive aspect of the tsunami was that it had "made people forget their greed for power and think of humanity".

He also visited the site of what is thought to be the world's worst train disaster, at Telwatta, 110km (75 miles) south of the capital, Colombo.

Tsunami waves struck the Queen of the Sea train, killing at least 800 and possibly twice that number.

"When the power of nature destroys, there is no one to blame. You have got to collect the pieces and move on your own, but the world did not forget these people," Dr Adams said.

"Giving and receiving love has become the world's currency after the tsunami."

In all, the tsunami killed more than 31,000 people in Sri Lanka.

Dr Adams graduated as a doctor in 1971 and over the past three decades has developed his philosophy that the health of an individual is intrinsically linked to the health of the family, community and the world.

His Gesundheit Institute, a free hospital and health-care "eco-community" in West Virginia, combines traditional medicine with alternative treatments and the performing arts.

The Robin Williams film, Patch Adams, tells of the doctor's own experience of receiving uncaring treatment in hospital, which inspires him to develop his unconventional humour-based healing.


03-25-2005, 04:34 AM
A web-footed loving couple have been reunited in Devon after one of them escaped his captors on Valentine's Day.
Last month Jake the drake was moved out of the Kentisbury Grange Country Park, near Lynton, because he was getting too amorous with the female ducks.

He was becoming so rampant he had even begun chasing peacocks and turkeys on the farm.

But after being taken by new owners eight miles away he escaped and found his way home to his mate, Jemima.

Jake, who is too fat to fly, walked the eight miles back to the park after escaping from his new home at Burridge on 14 February.

'Escaped foxes'

Now the Shindler family hope they can manage Jake's philandering and have decided he can stay.

Charlotte Shindler from the park said: "He is obviously very good at looking after himself because he escaped the foxes throughout those four weeks.

"We can't re-home him again, not after that journey, he will have to stay here now."


03-25-2005, 07:35 AM
Shroud of Turin theory has believers abuzz

SPOKANE, Wash. - Nathan Wilson is an English teacher with no scientific training, but he thinks he knows how the piece of linen revered by many as Jesus' burial cloth was made. And he thinks it's not a physical sign of the Resurrection.

In other words, in Wilson's estimation, the Shroud of Turin is a fake — produced with some glass, paint and old cloth. And that theory, especially with Easter this weekend, has so-called "Shroudies" abuzz.

"A lot of religious people are upset," said Wilson, 26, who teaches at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho.

Wilson is himself an evangelical Christian but said his views on the shroud don't change his faith.

"I'm a Bible-believing Christian who believes in the Resurrection completely without a doubt," he said.

The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth, about 14 feet long and 3 feet wide, that has been kept in the city of Turin, Italy, since 1578. It bears the image of a man with wounds similar to those suffered by Jesus. Believers say it was used to wrap Christ after he was taken off the cross.

The English instructor believes a medieval forger could have painted the image of a crucified man on a pane of glass, laid it on the linen, then left it outside in the sun to bleach the cloth for several days. As the linen lightened, the painted image of the man remained dark on the cloth, creating the equivalent of a photo negative.

Wilson wrote his theory in Books and Culture, a magazine for Christian intellectuals. It was picked up by several Web sites and is being debated in shroud circles. Wilson's Web site received more than 100,000 hits from 45 countries in the first week of his article's publication.

Shroud expert Dan Porter said that while Wilson's theory is ingenious, it does not produce images identical to those on the shroud.

"It is not adequate to produce something that looks like the shroud in two or three ways," said Porter, who lives in Bronxville, N.Y. "One must produce an image that meets all of the criteria."

Porter contends sun bleaching cannot have produced the image, which he and many others say is the result of chemical reactions on the cloth.

"A problem with Wilson's hypothesis is that sun bleaching merely accelerates bleaching that will occur naturally as the material is exposed to light," Porter wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "Eventually, Wilson's sun bleach shroud image will fade into the background as exposure equalizes the bleaching."

The shroud has often been displayed, sometimes in bright sunlight for days at a time, and no such image fading has occurred, Porter said.

Porter and others also question whether panes of glass at least 6 feet long were produced in medieval times, as Wilson's theory would require.

Radiocarbon tests of the Shroud of Turin were done in 1988, and dated the cloth at A.D. 1260 to 1390 — seeming ruling it out as Jesus' burial cloth. But Raymond Rogers of Los Alamos National Laboratory recently argued that the tested threads came from later patches and might have been contaminated. Rogers calculated that the shroud is 1,300 to 3,000 years old and could easily date from Jesus' era.

Wilson said he wants to write a novel about his theory. The forger or perhaps forgers, Wilson theorizes, probably robbed a grave and pulled the aged shroud off a body, then crucified someone to obtain the blood and study the wounds of Jesus.

"Most likely it involved some real wicked people," Wilson said.


03-28-2005, 11:55 PM
Italian wins in court after husband's 'sex strike'

ROME - An Italian woman whose angry husband refused for 7 years to have sex with her was awarded divorce damages by Italy's high court this week.

Francesco launched his "sex strike" in the early 1990s to punish his wife, Piera, for taking sides against him in a family dispute over money, according to details of the case reported by local media.

They bitterly separated in 2000 and Francesco, still convinced that she was responsible for the broken marriage, refused to make support payments demanded by Italian courts and repeatedly appealed against them.

But the highest court ruled that Francesco's sexual punishment did not fit the crime, and doomed Piera to perpetual frustration.

"The refusal of affection or sexual attention must constitute the blame for the separation," the court ruled.

For Piera, "satisfaction in life (was) impossible ... along with fulfillment of marriage in its deepest sense." Beyond support payments, Francesco must pay court costs of several thousand euros.


04-01-2005, 07:02 AM
US scientists have managed to measure the mass of a cluster of xenon atoms at just a few billionths of a trillionth of a gram - or a few zeptograms.
The record measurement is in the mass range of individual protein molecules, and the detection was made using sensitive scales developed at Caltech.

Similar techniques could pave the way for sensitive devices for use in medical and environmental testing.

Details were presented at the annual American Physical Society convention.

The scales use a small blade that vibrates in a magnetic field that generates a voltage in an attached wire.

When atoms or molecules are placed on the blade's surface, they weigh it down. The atoms are added as a very fine "spray".

Because the device is cooled, the molecules condense on the bar and add their mass to it, lowering its frequency and changing the voltage of the wire.

But to get good measurements of sophisticated biomolecules like proteins, researchers say, the scales will have to become 1,000 times more precise, capable of weighing yoctograms. One yoctogram is about the same as an individual hydrogen atom.

Devices like this could be used to make early diagnoses of disease by detecting marker molecules in a drop of blood.

"We hope to transform this chip-based technology into systems that are useful for picking out and identifying specific molecules one by one - for example, certain types of proteins secreted in the very early stages of cancer," said Michael Roukes, from the California Institute of Technology.


04-01-2005, 09:05 AM
It's no joke: Even animals 'laugh'

Life can be funny, and not just for humans.

Studies by various groups suggest monkeys, dogs and even rats love a good laugh. People, meanwhile, have been laughing since before they could talk.

"Indeed, neural circuits for laughter exist in very ancient regions of the brain, and ancestral forms of play and laughter existed in other animals eons before we humans came along with our 'ha-ha-has' and verbal repartee," says Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist at Bowling Green State University.

When chimps play and chase each other, they pant in a manner that is strikingly like human laughter, Panksepp writes in Friday's issue of the journal Science. Dogs have a similar response.

Rats chirp while they play, again in a way that resembles our giggles. Panksepp found in a previous study that when rats are playfully tickled, they chirp and bond socially with their human tickler. And they seem to like it, seeking to be tickled more. Apparently joyful rats also preferred to hang out with other chirpers.

The first laugh
Laughter in humans starts young, another clue that it's a deep-seated brain function.

"Young children, whose semantic sense of humor is marginal, laugh and shriek abundantly in the midst of their other rough-and-tumble activities," Panksepp notes.

Importantly, various recent studies on the topic suggest that laughter in animals typically involves similar play chasing. It could be that verbal jokes tickle ancient, playful circuits in our brains.

More study is needed to figure out whether animals are really laughing. The results could explain why humans like to joke around. And Panksepp speculates it might even lead to the development of treatments for laughter's dark side: depression.

Meanwhile, there's the question of what's so darn funny in the animal world.

"Although no one has investigated the possibility of rat humor, if it exists, it is likely to be heavily laced with slapstick," Panksepp figures. "Even if adult rodents have no well-developed cognitive sense of humor, young rats have a marvelous sense of fun."

Science has traditionally deemed animals incapable of joy and woe.

Panksepp's response: "Although some still regard laughter as a uniquely human trait, honed in the Pleistocene, the joke’s on them."


04-01-2005, 11:30 AM
Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the greatest composers of all time never existed. Recent research my the Department Musicalogique of Paris revealed that it was all a clever marketing ploy by Mendelssohn.

Wanting to put concerts on but too shy to put his own works forward, he invented JS Bach, in much the same way as Peter Schickele invented PDQ Bach. To his amazement, the music proved very popular, so much so he had to write more and more works to fulfill the public's demand.

When quizzed about this composer no-one had heard of, his publicity agent put the story about of how he wote a mass a week, got thrown into jail, walked 200 miles to hear Buxtehude play and still found time to sire 20 children.

It was thus that the mystery and aura of this great composer came to be made and Mendelssohn and his publicity agent became very rich men.

04-06-2005, 01:04 AM
Mistress Was Poisoned, But by Whom?

PARIS (Reuters) - Scientists trying to solve a medieval murder mystery that has puzzled historians for 550 years say France's first officially recognized royal mistress was poisoned and probably murdered.

But who did it remains a riddle.

Dysentery was given as the official cause of death of Agnes Sorel, the beautiful mistress of French King Charles VII who died a painful death in northern France in 1450.

But rumors quickly spread that she was killed and fingers were pointed at Charles's son, the future Louis XI.

French scientists analyzing fragments of Sorel's hair more than half a millennium later have now added evidence to mere speculation.

They have concluded that the 28-year-old mistress was killed by a huge dose of mercury which she could have taken herself but which was probably placed in her food by one of her many enemies.

"She died of poisoning," said pathologist Philippe Charlier of the CHRU institute in northern Lille, who led the six-month investigation. "But that does not necessarily mean she was murdered. It could have been a medical accident."

Charlier said body samples showed Sorel had a worm infection and was treated with mercury, a common remedy at the time. But the amount of the substance found in an armpit hair -- 10,000 times the normal medical dose -- suggested foul play.

"With this dose, she must have died about 72 hours later," Charlier told Reuters. "You die conscious. You can really feel yourself rotting away. It's atrocious and very painful."

Charlier said the theory of accidental poisoning was unlikely for a mistress with so many enemies.

"It was very easy to get mercury at the time," he said. "It wasn't even that expensive. Everyone could have bought and used it. But not everyone had access to the food of Agnes Sorel."


Historians describe Sorel as a witty beauty, who introduced the fashion of the off-shoulder gown to court -- sometimes not only revealing a plunging neckline but also a bare breast to the shock of the establishment.

Charles showered Sorel with jewelry, offered her large estates and legitimized the three children she bore him. In 1444, Sorel became the first acknowledged mistress of a French king, scandalizing many and causing jealousy and intrigue.

The future King Louis XI, son of Charles's wife Marie d'Anjou, is said to have been furious over Sorel's influence on his father. He once chased Sorel through the palace with a sword and historians identify him as a murder suspect.

But Charlier said the killer of the blonde mistress could also have been the person closest to her medical cabinet.

"Looking at the link to the pharmaceutical preparation, one should maybe look at her doctor. He could have done it."

Charlier and his colleagues got a chance to analyze Sorel's remains when her tomb was opened last year before being moved to a new location in Loches, central France. The scientists also found Sorel's fourth child, a still-born, in her tomb.

Charlier said his findings should inspire historians to relaunch their murder investigation.

"Our result strongly points to murder by poisoning. We have a solution. (Historians) now have to find the culprit," he said.


04-06-2005, 04:15 AM
Tal> I was about to go 'Oh, wow!', then I noticed the date of your post! Grrrr!! :p

mono> That is amazing! After 500 years, scientists can do such things! So no I will go 'Oh, wow!' :D

04-06-2005, 07:33 AM
The University of Oklahoma became the latest US college to ban alcohol earlier this year, amid rising concern across America about binge-drinking students.

But the ban is having unintended consequences, driving drinking off campus and into the surrounding community.

It is also unclear whether it is really deterring students from drinking to excess.

In an Oklahoma bar, Jen has just turned 21, the state's legal drinking age, and is drinking shots of spirits to celebrate.

"I have to drink 21. It's kind of tradition" she says as she knocks back her fifth or sixth shot. She has already lost count.

But while drinking 21 shots remains a rite of passage, most students have started drinking long before.

Freshman Blake Hammontree was just 19 when he died of alcohol poisoning last September, at the University of Oklahoma.

His death sparked an all-out ban on drinking in residence halls, even for those over the legal age of 21.

It is not the first university campus to go dry, and some fraternities and sororities - once notorious for their alcohol-induced hazing - have already passed a drinking ban in their chapters across the country.

But the University of Oklahoma has gone one step further and started a "three strikes" policy for students who get into trouble with the police or are caught inebriated - even off campus.

The university's Dean of Students, Clarke Stroud, is in charge of implementing the new policy.

"It was designed on what we call the three e's - education, enforcement and environment," he explains.

All students are required to have alcohol education, and after three alcohol violations, they face suspension for at least a semester.

In Oklahoma, one of America's most conservative states, with a strong religious influence, banning alcohol was greeted as a positive step in the beginning.

But it is having some unintended consequences. The parties are moving off campus into residential areas.

Joyce Collard lives a few miles away from the campus in what was once a quiet neighbourhood.

She is outraged by the growing number of "nuisance houses" on her street, where students hold huge parties.

"We've had an influx of students into the neighbourhood because the university has been going dry and now it's completely dry," she said.

"It's been very detrimental - it's caused a lot of traffic jams and property damage."

As she laid out her grievances, a car sped round the corner.

"He's one of our major problems," she said.

Police overstretched

As we approach, Chip and his friends are draining the last few drops out of a bottle of vodka.

They have been drinking all day. Chip's not concerned that he's under-age and therefore running the risk of collecting a strike if he's caught.

"We like to have fun you know. Here's my beer collection," he says, gesturing towards a row of about 200 empty beer bottles.

"It's not like living on a dry campus is it?"

Pushing student parties off campus has also increased pressure on the already stretched police force, who have to deal with complaints from neighbours as well students driving home drunk.

Across America, up to 1,400 students die in alcohol related incidents - mainly because of drink driving.

Backlash against drinking

The Sigma Chi fraternity, where freshman student Blake Hammontree died last year, moved off campus the next day.

One of the members, Adam, says their parties are now a bit more restrained.

"We used to have 500, 600 people in a house at a time. It was just madness. You would have two, or four beers at the same time. Now it's a bit more chilled."

But Adam agrees that no level of prohibition can prevent students from binge drinking.

"Does it still happen? Probably yes," he says. "People are going to drink, no matter what. They'll find a way to drink."

The university realises the new policy is not perfect.

But the authorities felt something had to be done, both for the welfare of students and the university's image.

According to a Harvard University study, one in three American colleges has already banned alcohol on campus and many more are considering plans to restrict student access to booze.

It seems the backlash against student drunkenness is gathering pace across America.


04-06-2005, 08:10 AM
Somehow, Scher, your signature coincidentally finds the moral in that posted article. :D

Thompson Ashes to Be Shot From Cannon

DENVER - Hunter S. Thompson's ashes will be blasted from a cannon mounted inside a 53-foot-high sculpture of the journalist's "gonzo fist" emblem, his wife said Tuesday.

The cannon shot, planned sometime in August on the grounds of his Aspen-area home, will fulfill the writer's long-cherished wish.

"It's expensive, but worth every penny," Anita Thompson said. "I'd like to have several explosions. He loved explosions."

Thompson, 67, shot himself in the head on Feb. 20 after a long and flamboyant career that produced such new journalism classics as "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" and cast his image as a hard-charging, drug-crazed daredevil.

The cannon shot will be part of a larger public celebration of Thompson's life. Some details remain to be worked out, including the exact date, what kind of cannon will be used and the specifics of the gonzo fist, Anita Thompson said.

She said the gonzo fist will be mounted on a 100-foot pillar, making the monument 153 feet high. It will resemble Thompson's personal symbol, a fist on an upthrust forearm, sometimes with "Gonzo" emblazoned across it.

Anita Thompson has said the monument will be a permanent fixture on the writer's 100-acre property.

She said planning for the fist has been guided by a video of Thompson and longtime illustrator-collaborator Ralph Steadman, recorded in the late 1970s when they visited a Hollywood funeral home and began mapping out the cannon scheme.

Meanwhile, Playboy magazine this week is publishing an interview with Thompson based on a series of conversations he had with magazine staffer Tim Mohr in December.

In the interview, Thompson discusses a range of topics from political freedom to the best kind of snow tires to buy but offers no obvious hints of his impending suicide.

"He was really enthusiastic and full of energy," Mohr told The Associated Press on Monday. Thompson even talked about embarking on a long-term project to expand the Playboy piece into a book, "a guide to life, sort of a handbook," Mohr said.

The interview appears in the magazine's May issue, which its newsstands Friday.


04-07-2005, 09:26 AM
Star Wars fans have started queuing seven weeks early for the opening of the final movie - but appear to have camped outside the wrong cinema.
Dedicated fans are lining up outside the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood but have been told it will open on 19 May at a cinema a mile away.

Producers opted to open the film at the ArcLight cinema, making it unlikely other cinemas in the area will show it.

But the fans are refusing to move, believing the news to be false.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith will open at the ArcLight complex, which is adjacent to another Hollywood landmark, the Cinerama Dome.

"We've heard all this before," said Sarah Sprague, one of the small group already queuing.

She said similar stories were circulated ahead of Star Wars releases in 1999 and 2002 - but the films had eventually opened at Grauman's.

"This is still the epicentre for Star Wars fans," Ms Sprague added.

"For the big iconic pictures of the 1970s, people lining up were here. They weren't at the Cinerama Dome."

Revenge of the Sith will be the last of three prequels to the original 1977 science fiction classic.

Executives from 20th Century Fox and ArcLight told Variety magazine Revenge of the Sith would be showing at the Arclight although a deal had yet to be completed.

In 2002, two die-hard fans started camping outside their local Seattle cinema four months before the release of Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

Despite mixed reviews for the past two Star Wars releases, anticipation for the final instalment is expected to be high.

Director George Lucas has said Revenge of the Sith is darker and more emotional than previous Star Wars films.


04-08-2005, 02:43 AM
I said it once, I will say it again... Only in the USA... :D

US software engineer Matthew Jean Rouse faces an uncertain future as he waits to discover what his new name will be.
After years of hating the middle name Jean, given to him in honour of a grandfather he did not like, the 31-year-old decided to take action.

He used the auction site eBay to sell his middle name, vowing to replace it with any name the highest bidder chose.

On Monday a company that hosts web sites placed a winning bid of $8,000 for the chance to rename Mr Rouse.

Brother's bid

But he will have to wait to find out what LucaHost.com want to call him.

"I'm guessing it will be LucaHost.com,'' Mr Rouse told the Associated Press news agency.

Also trying to win the auction had been Mr Rouse's brother Bill, who offered $1,500 to keep the name Jean in the family.

"Basically, he's trying to dump our grandfather's name, and I'm trying to buy it and make it stay as it is," his brother said.

The middle name was taken from his late grandfather, Jean Stelter.

Just short of 40 bids were made before the bidding was cut off by the web host company agreeing to pay the full "Buy it now" asking price.

"I guess I'm just surprised that this would generate that much interest,'' Mr Rouse told AP news agency.


04-08-2005, 08:57 AM
A Hong Kong woman who washed her face in a stream brought home an unwanted souvenir - a leech up her left nostril.
The woman only consulted a doctor a month later because her nose kept bleeding, the Hong Kong Medical Journal said in its April issue.

The patient was taken to hospital, where doctors identified the leech.

Removal was initially impossible because the 5cm long (2 inch) creature retracted into the nostril and disappeared, the journal said.

The leech was anaesthetised with a nasal spray

Doctors used a nasal spray to anaesthetise the leech.

"After two minutes, the leech slowly moved out of the antrum [sinus] and was retrieved with forceps," the journal said.

The article said the leech could have suffocated the woman if it had moved into her larynx.


04-08-2005, 03:45 PM
The woman only consulted a doctor a month later because her nose kept bleeding, the Hong Kong Medical Journal said in its April issue.
One month?! :eek:

Woman Charged in Road-Rage Apartment Ramming

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - A woman has been arrested after she rammed a car into her neighbor's apartment in an apparent fight over a loud television, Canadian police said on Thursday.

The Penticton, British Columbia, woman got into her 1985 BMW after becoming upset with her neighbor and drove the car across the lawn and through some patio furniture before the vehicle hit the side of the building, police said.

There were no injuries in the incident that took place late on Wednesday, although the neighbor and a friend were inside the building watching television at the time of the crash. The vehicle received only minor damage.

The 36-year-old woman, whose name was not released, was being held in jail pending a court appearance.


04-11-2005, 01:09 PM
Cookie Monster, the biscuit-eating puppet on US children's show Sesame Street, will cut down on his favourite food as part of an anti-obesity drive.
The blue-furred muppet who used to sing "C is for Cookie" will now tell viewers that "A Cookie is a Sometimes Food".

Each episode of the show's new series will begin with a "health tip" about healthy foods and physical activity.

A Sesame Street representative said the popular character would be "broadening his eating habits" in future.

Talking vegetables

"We are not putting him on a diet, and we would never take the position of no sugar," said Dr Rosemarie T Truglio, the show's vice president of research and education. "We're teaching him moderation."

New characters such as talking aubergines and carrots will be introduced, while guests stars such as soul singer Alicia Keys will talk about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Almost one in three children in the US is now overweight, as opposed to one in 25 in the UK.

Sesame Street begins its 36th season on America's PBS network on Monday. It is broadcast in over 120 countries, with more than 20 local versions being made.

Last year Cookie Monster - originally played by Muppets regular Frank Oz, the voice of Miss Piggy and Fozzie Bear - revealed that before eating his first cookie his name was Sid.


04-11-2005, 01:14 PM
New guidelines for religious education in Norfolk suggest expressions such as the Holy Ghost be banned from lessons because they could confuse pupils.
The Norfolk Agreed Syllabus for religious education recommends that teachers use the term Holy Spirit, to avoid comparisons with ghost stories.

Marian Agombar, who compiled the list, said the document provided advice to teachers, but it was not statutory.

The draft rules will be considered by Norfolk County Council this week.

The guidelines also suggest teachers avoid terms such as the "body of Christ" and the "blood of Jesus" because Christians are not actually eating flesh and blood.

In addition, when lecturing on Judaism, teachers are advised not to refer to the first 39 books of the bible as the Old Testament because it suggests the books are out-of-date.

Ms Agombar, said: "We've heard stories of children taking these stories home and becoming confused, particularly the little ones."

The document was a very small part of a large document which provided advice to teachers in the classroom, she added.

'Demystify life?'

"It's basically a list of dos and don'ts for teachers which we have borrowed from someone else and which have already been used to train teachers."

Head of Notre Dame Roman Catholic School in Norfolk, John Pinnington, said: "Updating language generally is good and if it's done with caution and respect it could be a good thing.

"But I'm just concerned about its motives, and if they are to demystify life?

"Life has its mysteries and all religions are part of a mystery based on God. It would be ashame to demystify everything.

"But it all depends on the general context of the document."


Norfolk secretary for the National Union of Teachers, Tony Mulgrew, said: "I'm sure there's a lot of good ideas in this document, but it does all sound a bit silly.

"I've heard that they plan to change the name of the Old Testament because it makes it sound old.

"Will they change the New Testament too, because that's not new is it?

"We probably need to look at the whole document, but it does sound over-the-top."


04-13-2005, 02:33 AM
Children who fidget with their hands in class learn more quickly than those who stay still, say researchers. Psychologists found that children who could move their hands around freely were better at learning than pupils who were not allowed to move.

They believe that hand movements and gestures can help children to think, speak and learn.

The research on primary school children was carried out by academics at the University of Hertfordshire.

The study examined the differences in learning when children were able to move around their hands and when they were forced to keep their hands still - by putting them into a pair of mittens attached to the table.

Hand to mouth

The psychologists found that when children were able to move their hands they were more likely to be able to find the correct answer - particularly when it was a case of trying to recall a word on "the tip of their tongue".

The children, aged six to eight, had been asked to name objects in pictures - and the researchers found that using their hands to gesture helped children to "find the right word".

"People often think we gesture to help others understand what we are saying. But in fact gestures help us find the right words," said researcher Karen Pine.

"We also know they can help children think and are important for problem solving and speaking.

"Therefore, far from restricting children from moving their hands, if teachers encouraged more fidgeting in class they might find children actually learn more," said Dr Pine.

"Children who fidget in class can be an annoyance for teachers. Many cope by telling children to sit on their hands or keep absolutely still in class, but our research has shown that they need their hands free so that they can gesture."

The research, by Dr Pine, Hannah Bird and Liz Kirk, was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.


04-14-2005, 07:36 PM

Religious Man Wants To Rename Mt. Diablo

OAKLEY, Calif. - An Oakley man has asked the federal government to rename Mount Diablo, saying the current name, which means devil in Spanish, is offensive to his religious sensibilities.

Art Mijares applied to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names for the change and suggests naming the mountain Mount Kawukum, which he believes has American Indian roots.

"Words have power, and when you start mentioning words that come from the dark side, evil thrives," Mijares told the Contra Costa Times. "When I take boys camping on the mountain, I don't even like to say its name. I have to explain what the name means. Why should we have a main feature of our community that celebrates the devil?"

To make the change, Mijares would need to persuade federal, state and local governments that it's necessary. That may be easier said than done.

It's been called Mount Diablo for at least 164 years, and references to the mountain permeate thousands of maps, books and historical documents.

The name Kawukum first surfaced in 1866, when a church group tried to change Mount Diablo's name for reasons nearly identical to Mijares', according to San Francisco Bay area researcher Bev Ortiz.

"We abhor the wicked creature to whom the name is appropriate, and spurn the use of the name for anything noble or good on earth," proclaimed the Congregational Church of San Francisco in its newsletter of the day.

The church proposed Kawukum, spelled then as Kahwookum, "a word learned from an unidentified Indian living at the base of the mountain," Ortiz wrote in a history of the mountain's name. Members presented a name-change petition to the Legislature, but lawmakers postponed a decision indefinitely.

The name Mount Diablo grew from the Spanish name given to an Indian village set near a willow thicket in modern-day Concord, where Chupcans staged a daring nighttime escape during an 1805 military campaign.

Spanish soldiers said Indians evaded them only with the help of evil spirits and named the site "Monte del Diablo," or thicket of the devil, which American explorers later mistakenly applied to the mountain.


04-15-2005, 04:03 PM
No comment . . . *sigh

Soldier Boy

In an effort to increase its ranks for coming wars, the U.S. military is recruiting - and paying - children as young as 14 years old for future combat duty.

By Tim Schmitt

Unfortunately, the document proved too long for the character limit. Find the rest of the article here:

04-15-2005, 05:40 PM
the link's not working; neither is google's...

04-15-2005, 11:47 PM
try this one..? (http://www.seeingtheforest.com/archives/2005/04/us_military_rec_1.htm#more)

04-15-2005, 11:48 PM
the link's not working; neither is google's...
I apologize, amuse. I tried the link, and google too, but, oddly, I cannot find the story. I managed, however, to find the duplicate article on another link:
How strange that it disappeared. :confused:

04-16-2005, 12:11 AM
[The article mentions one US Rep Dennis Caster, who according to a search of the US House of Representatives website does not exist. Maybe they meant Hastert?

The "organization" that they say these kids have started - "Veterans of Future Wars" - was a joke in a TV show a while back; I want to say Simpsons but I'm not sure.

Also, I can't find any reference to a "National Peace and Justice Alliance" organization, in Iowa or anywhere else.]

I couldn't find any valid reference of Rep. Dennis Caster or Lt. James Pederson either - I think it's a joke (not funny, but a joke).
If it's a hoax the newspaper should have replaced the article with an explaination, instead of making it disappear. :/ And people wonder why so many people turn a blind eye to politics... :rage:

Also found this: http://sover.net/~alipsitt/nochild.htm
from google search for 'No Child Left Behind Act section 9528'

04-16-2005, 03:55 AM
A collection of computer-generated gibberish in the form of an academic paper has been accepted at a scientific conference, to the delight of hoaxers. Three US boffins built a programme designed to create research papers with random text, charts and diagrams.

Two bogus papers were submitted to a computing conference in Florida, and one of them was accepted.

One of the hoaxers said the fake paper was designed to expose the lack of standards at academic gatherings.

The paper has the nonsense headline "Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy".

It was accepted for the World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI), due to be held in the city of Orlando in July.

Donation request

Hoaxer Jeremy Stribling, a computer science graduate at Boston's MIT university, said they had targeted WMSCI because it sent large amounts of spam emails soliciting admissions for the conference.

"We were tired of the spam," he told Reuters news agency.

The trio are planning to attend the conference and give a randomly generated talk, for which they are requesting donations on their website.

They have so far received more than $2,000.

Visitors to the site are also invited to generate their own academic gobbledegook.

But conference organisers poured cold water on the proposed presentation, saying bogus papers would not be included in the conference agenda.

Conference General Chair Nagib Callaos said the paper had been passed because reviewers had not given feedback on it by a set deadline.

"We thought that it might be unfair to refuse a paper that was not refused by any of its three selected reviewers," Mr Callaos told Reuters news agency.

He added that the conference was now reviewing its acceptance procedures.


04-16-2005, 07:50 AM
thank you for the links, mono and Anselmus. i'm not going to comment on them here...i would lose my ability to post any more. :(

04-16-2005, 05:19 PM
I feel reminded of a certain part of the French film, Amélie.

Gnome Gone Wile

Maybe you were one of the lucky college students who spent spring break on the beaches of Florida or California. Or maybe you're beyond those days, and spent that time at work on a very tedious yet fulfilling project.

But no matter what you did, you're unlikely to have had as much fun as "Gnome" Severson, who spent his spring break traveling around the country being photographed with celebrities, partying with society's upper crust and hanging out in Las Vegas.

All this ... and he isn't even human.

"Gnome" Severson is one of several ceramic garden ornaments belonging to Marianne Severson. For spring break, a group of college students kidnapped the ornament from Severson's home in Redmond, Wash., taking the gnome on an interstate joyride where he did more celebrity spotting than a New York gossip columnist.

Upon finding out about the kidnapping, Marianne told NBC's "Today" show that she alerted her husband. "We've been gnomed," she said.

Paris Hilton?
Severson first learned of the missing gnome when she received a mysterious photo album at her door complete with pictures of her gnome smiling with Paris Hilton at an Los Angeles gas station and a group photo featuring the gnome sandwiched between Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe in Las Vegas.

But it was the shocking picture of the gnome smiling with waitresses from Hooters that really got Severson steamed.

"He’s my prodigal gnome and he went without my permission," Severson told the "Today" show on Thursday. "And it’s a really good picture, but he hasn’t really told me much about it because he knows he’s in trouble."

Gnomes, traditionally thought to be ancient protectors of animals, have become popular fixtures in gardens all over the world. But after his spring break trip, "Gnome" Severson finds himself on the outs with the garden ornaments he left behind.

"The other three are still out there and they are not speaking to him," Severson said.

She added that the wayward gnome was currently under house arrest and won't be making anymore trip to Las Vegas or even the garden. "I've got him in the house here and he is totally grounded."


04-16-2005, 09:13 PM
:lol: that's great!

04-17-2005, 02:13 AM
Oh . . . my!

Eureka! Extraordinary discovery unlocks secrets of the ancients

By David Keys and Nicholas Pyke

17 April 2005

Thousands of previously illegible manuscripts containing work by some of the greats of classical literature are being read for the first time using technology which experts believe will unlock the secrets of the ancient world.

Among treasures already discovered by a team from Oxford University are previously unseen writings by classical giants including Sophocles, Euripides and Hesiod. Invisible under ordinary light, the faded ink comes clearly into view when placed under infra-red light, using techniques developed from satellite imaging.

The Oxford documents form part of the great papyrus hoard salvaged from an ancient rubbish dump in the Graeco-Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus more than a century ago. The thousands of remaining documents, which will be analysed over the next decade, are expected to include works by Ovid and Aeschylus, plus a series of Christian gospels which have been lost for up to 2,000 years.


kilted exile
04-17-2005, 01:13 PM
An artist who randomly vandalised nearly 50 cars for a project said the owners should be happy they were part of his "creative process".

Mark McGowan, 37, will exhibit pictures of himself scratching the vehicles' paintwork in London and Glasgow.

He said he had "keyed" 17 cars in Glasgow's West End in March and 30 in Camberwell, south London.

The Met police said the act was criminal damage and if allegations are made they will be investigated.

Mr McGowan added: "I do feel guilty about keying people's cars but if I don't do it, someone else will.

"They should feel glad that they've been involved in the creative process. I pick the cars randomly.

"I got the idea when my sister and brother-in-law's cars were keyed. Is it jealousy that causes someone to key a car? Hatred? Revenge?
"There is a strong creative element in the keying of a car, it's an emotive engagement."

His work will be displayed on Wednesday night in a launch party at The Arches, an exhibition venue in Glasgow.

It is the latest in a string of bizarre stunts by the postgraduate in history of art from the prestigious Goldsmiths College in London.

Mr McGowan, who has described himself as "the British alternative to David Blaine" nailed his feet to an art gallery last year - in protest against leaves.

In 2003, he attracted the media's attention when he pushed a monkey nut with his nose for seven miles to 10 Downing Street in a protest over student debt.

Michelle Jordan, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Arts Council, said it was unlikely Mr McGowan would receive any funding.

"He is more likely to get a visit from Strathclyde's finest than any funding from us."

link (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/4454485.stm)

04-17-2005, 09:32 PM
from yahoo! weekly picks:
http://www.channel4.com/history/microsites/W/worstjobs/index.html: "The Worst Jobs in History"

included are: Guillemot-egg Collector, Bog Iron Hunter, Fuller :eek:, Wise Woman, Artist's Model, and more...

which position would you like? ;)

04-18-2005, 07:08 AM
After five years and 271 attempts to pass the theoretical part of his driving test, it was 272nd time lucky for South Korean Seo Sang-moon.
Despite all his hard work Mr Seo is still not able to drive. Next he needs to pass the test's practical section.

"Driving seems a bit hard. But after trying 271 times to pass... what do I have to be afraid of?" he said.

The 69-year-old repairman said he was hampered by illiteracy, which meant he could not read a driving manual.

Mr Seo told the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo: "Being a repairman travelling around North Gyeongsang and Gangwon provinces, the drivers license was a necessity, but I did not dare apply for the written examination because I am illiterate."

"Only after 2000, with the introduction of the oral exam, was I able to apply," he said.

Mr Seo took the test as often as he could, paying more than 1m won ($1,000) in application fees.

Each time he learned a little bit more, until finally, earlier this week, he passed.

Officials at the test centre were just as happy as Mr Seo.

"He has been coming here for more than five years and we regard him almost as being one of the family," an official from the exam office told Reuters.

Mr Seo said he was already preparing for his road test at a driving school in Yeongju City.

"I am confident," he told the Chosun Ilbo. "I'm already discussing with my wife which car we should buy."


04-18-2005, 07:11 AM
Single men spend an average of £12 a month on beauty products - £5 more than those in relationships, a survey says.
Two thirds of men said their sole aim in making an effort was to impress women, while 40% admitted feeling pressure from women to look good.

A female opinion on what to wear when preparing to go out was sought by 55% of those questioned.

The survey, for men's magazine Loaded, drew on the responses of 4,000 men aged between 18 and 24.

Regency dandys

The survey suggested that men take an average of 19 minutes getting ready for a date, compared with an average of seven minutes for going out with friends.

Martin Daubney, editor of Loaded said: "Men have, through the ages, smartened up to impress women.

"From Regency dandys, to mods, to the young men of today, all our sartorial and grooming habits are intended to make us more attractive to women."


04-21-2005, 02:16 PM
An Australian teenager said to be obsessed with trams is facing charges over the theft of two trolley cars in the city of Melbourne.
Police said the unnamed 15-year-old boy first managed to drive a tram a few hundred metres (yards) on Friday.

On Sunday he allegedly drove another tram around the city for 30 minutes, even stopping to pick up passengers.

He is said to have travelled 30km (19 miles) before the tram's electricity supply was cut off and he was arrested.

"He's a nice lad, he's a good lad... I think his obsession just got the better of him," police constable Barry Hills told reporters.

"It appears... that this young lad has been travelling around on the trams for some time and has been observing the drivers and observing the operating procedures," Mr Hills said.

Police believe he took tram keys from a depot three weeks ago.

The boy was released on bail to face several charges in court in June.

However, police said they saw no reason why the teenager could not become a tram driver in the future.

"If he stays on the straight and narrow, then it's certainly not going to affect his future," Mr Hills said.


04-25-2005, 01:57 PM
A lawyer has threatened to sue police officers who handcuffed an allegedly uncontrollable five-year-old after she acted up at a Florida kindergarten.
The officers were called by the school after a teacher and assistant principal failed to calm down the little girl.

The incident was caught on a video camera which was rolling in the classroom as part of a self-improvement exercise at the St Petersburg school.

A lawyer for the girl's mother said the episode was "incomprehensible".

The video, made public by the lawyer this week, shows the unfolding of the violent tantrum, which started when the little girl refused to take part in a maths lesson.

She then ripped some papers off a bulletin board and lashed out at staff trying to calm her down.

After calling her mother and learning she would not be able to pick up the child for at least one more hour, the teachers resorted to calling the police.

Three officers rushed to the scene and handcuffed the girl, by that time apparently calm, after pinning her arms behind her back.

The footage showed her in distress after being handcuffed.

They finally drove her to her mother in the back of a police cruiser.

The St Petersburg Police Department declined to comment on the incident and said an investigation was under way.


04-25-2005, 02:09 PM
Jesus Christ! I have seen behaviour not entirely out of keeping with that from our own constabulary - but that really is foul.

04-25-2005, 03:13 PM
that is just wrong what could that little girl have done to those police officers? really? stupid people

04-25-2005, 04:14 PM
What I don't understand is why would the school authorities call the police to deal with her? Worse comes to worst, they should call child's parents and send her home or something... This is really beyond me.

04-26-2005, 04:07 AM
People who suffer from stress do not have to move a muscle to improve their overall mood, new research claims. Nottingham Trent University researchers said sufferers can regain the "feel good factor" by watching their favourite sitcom or listening to music.

Stress researcher and health psychology expert Dr Attila Szabo tried to find a new way to help emotional wellbeing.

Participants were exposed to stationary cycling, sitting quietly, listening to new-age music and watching Friends.

Psychological questionnaires were used to assess their mood and anxiety levels five minutes before and five minutes after each treatment.

'Humour and music'

It was found the immediate psychological benefits of humour and music were greater than those generated from a bout of exercise.

Dr Szabo is based within the university's School of Biomedical and Natural Sciences.

He said: "Studies into the relationship between physical exercise and mental health have become extremely popular within health psychology.

"These results suggest that the acute mental benefits of exercise can be reproduced with physically less demanding and virtually effortless interventions, such as humour and music.

"It should be remembered, however, that this was a study into psychological wellbeing and there is no substitute for exercise in terms of physical health."


04-27-2005, 02:55 AM
DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladeshi customs officials found luxury cars, large-screen television sets and refrigerators in a container declared to be carrying metal scrap -- so they made it just that at a public ceremony on Monday.

Hundreds of people watched as officials from the National Board of Revenue (NBR) used bulldozers to crush a Mercedes Benz and a Toyota car and other luxury goods at a railway container terminal in Dhaka.

NBR chairman Khairuzzaman Chowdhury said a trading firm had sought to evade customs duties by falsely declaring that the container carried iron scrap.

"They wanted to befool us by saying they brought in scrapped metals...so we are giving them the same. They, or anyone like them, will not forget this," he told reporters at the site.

Cash-strapped Bangladesh is trying hard to increase domestic revenue ahead of announcing the budget for the 2005-06 fiscal year, beginning next July.

Officials say tax revenues were 9 percent short of target in the first nine month of the current 2004-05 fiscal year, partly owing to lower-than-expected import taxes.


05-01-2005, 04:43 PM
Genetic Mingling Mixes Human, Animal Cells

On a farm about six miles outside this gambling town, Jason Chamberlain looks over a flock of about 50 smelly sheep, many of them possessing partially human livers, hearts, brains and other organs.

The University of Nevada-Reno researcher talks matter-of-factly about his plans to euthanize one of the pregnant sheep in a nearby lab. He can't wait to examine the effects of the human cells he had injected into the fetus' brain about two months ago.

"It's mice on a large scale," Chamberlain says with a shrug.

As strange as his work may sound, it falls firmly within the new ethics guidelines the influential National Academies issued this past week for stem cell research.

In fact, the Academies' report endorses research that co-mingles human and animal tissue as vital to ensuring that experimental drugs and new tissue replacement therapies are safe for people.

Doctors have transplanted pig valves into human hearts for years, and scientists have injected human cells into lab animals for even longer.

But the biological co-mingling of animal and human is now evolving into even more exotic and unsettling mixes of species, evoking the Greek myth of the monstrous chimera, which was part lion, part goat and part serpent.

In the past two years, scientists have created pigs with human blood, fused rabbit eggs with human DNA and injected human stem cells to make paralyzed mice walk.

Particularly worrisome to some scientists are the nightmare scenarios that could arise from the mixing of brain cells: What if a human mind somehow got trapped inside a sheep's head?

The "idea that human neuronal cells might participate in 'higher order' brain functions in a nonhuman animal, however unlikely that may be, raises concerns that need to be considered," the academies report warned.

In January, an informal ethics committee at Stanford University endorsed a proposal to create mice with brains nearly completely made of human brain cells. Stem cell scientist Irving Weissman said his experiment could provide unparalleled insight into how the human brain develops and how degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson's progress.

Stanford law professor Hank Greely, who chaired the ethics committee, said the board was satisfied that the size and shape of the mouse brain would prevent the human cells from creating any traits of humanity. Just in case, Greely said, the committee recommended closely monitoring the mice's behavior and immediately killing any that display human-like behavior.

The Academies' report recommends that each institution involved in stem cell research create a formal, standing committee to specifically oversee the work, including experiments that mix human and animal cells.

Weissman, who has already created mice with 1 percent human brain cells, said he has no immediate plans to make mostly human mouse brains, but wanted to get ethical clearance in any case. A formal Stanford committee that oversees research at the university would also need to authorize the experiment.

Few human-animal hybrids are as advanced as the sheep created by another stem cell scientist, Esmail Zanjani, and his team at the University of Nevada-Reno. They want to one day turn sheep into living factories for human organs and tissues and along the way create cutting-edge lab animals to more effectively test experimental drugs.

Zanjani is most optimistic about the sheep that grow partially human livers after human stem cells are injected into them while they are still in the womb. Most of the adult sheep in his experiment contain about 10 percent human liver cells, though a few have as much as 40 percent, Zanjani said.

Because the human liver regenerates, the research raises the possibility of transplanting partial organs into people whose livers are failing.

Zanjani must first ensure no animal diseases would be passed on to patients. He also must find an efficient way to completely separate the human and sheep cells, a tough task because the human cells aren't clumped together but are rather spread throughout the sheep's liver.

Zanjani and other stem cell scientists defend their research and insist they aren't creating monsters — or anything remotely human.

"We haven't seen them act as anything but sheep," Zanjani said.

Zanjani's goals are many years from being realized.

He's also had trouble raising funds, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating the university over allegations made by another researcher that the school mishandled its research sheep. Zanjani declined to comment on that matter, and university officials have stood by their practices.

Allegations about the proper treatment of lab animals may take on strange new meanings as scientists work their way up the evolutionary chart. First, human stem cells were injected into bacteria, then mice and now sheep. Such research blurs biological divisions between species that couldn't until now be breached.

Drawing ethical boundaries that no research appears to have crossed yet, the Academies recommend a prohibition on mixing human stem cells with embryos from monkeys and other primates. But even that policy recommendation isn't tough enough for some researchers.

"The boundary is going to push further into larger animals," New York Medical College professor Stuart Newman said. "That's just asking for trouble."

Newman and anti-biotechnology activist Jeremy Rifkin have been tracking this issue for the last decade and were behind a rather creative assault on both interspecies mixing and the government's policy of patenting individual human genes and other living matter.

Years ago, the two applied for a patent for what they called a "humanzee," a hypothetical — but very possible — creation that was half human and chimp.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office finally denied their application this year, ruling that the proposed invention was too human: Constitutional prohibitions against slavery prevents the patenting of people.

Newman and Rifkin were delighted, since they never intended to create the creature and instead wanted to use their application to protest what they see as science and commerce turning people into commodities.

And that's a point, Newman warns, that stem scientists are edging closer to every day: "Once you are on the slope, you tend to move down it."


05-01-2005, 07:03 PM
hmm...what if a human mind were 'trapped' inside a sheep's head? would the sheep wander off to daydream about relativity, would it be insane due to it's inability to express itself on behalf of animal rights? would it...


...it does seem cruel. they should ensure that any animal that receives human cerebral tissue gets a hyoid bone thrown in for good measure! speech, speech! :nod:

05-01-2005, 07:28 PM

05-01-2005, 09:52 PM
hmm...what if a human mind were 'trapped' inside a sheep's head? would the sheep wander off to daydream about relativity, would it be insane due to it's inability to express itself on behalf of animal rights? would it...


...it does seem cruel. they should ensure that any animal that receives human cerebral tissue gets a hyoid bone thrown in for good measure! speech, speech! :nod:
As the article mentioned, scientists test the behavior of all of the animals with human organs. I really wonder how they test and realize the difference between human behavior and 'lower' animal behavior; as you said, amuse, without speech, it seems difficult to measure objectively. Do the scientists merely research whether the sheep stand on two legs and drink martinis like the character from Family Guy on Basil's posted picture? :lol:

kilted exile
05-02-2005, 11:25 AM
Drivers had to take evasive action on a busy city centre motorway when two horses galloped down the carriageway.

Stunned motorists watched as Dandy and Gandy trotted onto the M8 at Townhead, Glasgow, at about 0620 BST on Monday.

Traffic police had to direct vehicles while officers spent almost three hours trying to catch the runaways.

CCTV footage showed the horses running along the outside lane of the carriageway in the wrong direction with cars swerving to avoid them.

A spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police said: "We received reports of two horses on the M8 on Monday morning.

"The horses were captured at 9.05am and taken to a farm in Stepps. We have now established the owner of the horses. She is arranging for their collection."

'Minor disruption'

Police said that the horses were from a farm in the Gartcosh area, though the owner did not want to be identified.

It is not known how the animals came to be on the motorway.

CCTV footage showed the horses running along the outside lane of the carriageway in the wrong direction.

One driver was seen to brake to a halt when he saw the horses running towards him.

However, there was less traffic on the road than usual as many commuters stayed at home on the bank holiday.

The police spokeswoman added: "It could have been a lot worse. There was a wee bit of disruption."


05-02-2005, 11:32 AM
There are certainly lots of sheep's minds trapped in human heads.

05-02-2005, 04:33 PM
A Spanish designer has come up with what could be the perfect solution for the woman who feels frustrated that she has to do all the house chores.

It is a washing machine called "Your Turn", which will not let the same person use it twice in a row.

It uses fingerprint recognition technology to ensure the job of loading is not dumped on just one individual.

Pep Torres was approached by a Spanish white goods manufacturer to come up with an innovative Father's Day gift.

"I thought it would be good to finish with macho man from the ice age who doesn't do anything around the house except drink beers," said Torres, from DeBuenaTinta in Barcelona.

"Spain is changing a lot, and I wanted to come up with an invention to enable men to do more around the home."

Fast fingers

Some men may disagree that it is a good present for Father's Day and argue that it is more of a gift for the lady of the house.

"It was a tongue-in-cheek idea which seemed to catch the imagination," said Torres.

"It's an invention that has a philosophy behind it and I hope both women and men will think it's time for the men to do more around the house."

Your Turn requires both partners to register their fingerprints on the sensor while it is hooked up to their home computer.

When the sensor is then plugged into the washing machine, the software will only allow the wash programme to start if a different finger is placed on it each time.

So what about the cheats - how can you get round it?

Torres has an unusual solution: "I suggest the man can leave his finger at home... we have 10 fingers, so he won't miss one - well, you don't use the little finger a lot.

"Seriously though, the only way to override the system is to crawl around the back of the machine, unplug the sensor, take it back to the home computer and re-programme it - not that easy.

"We have to make it difficult to change otherwise it defeats the object of the exercise."

All thumbs

Your Turn is also childproof. Parents can be confident that young fingers will not be able to operate the washing machine as it is only their fingerprints that can start it.

But there is one bone of contention. The same person can still load the washing time after time. The finger print sensor only controls who starts the programme.

In future designs, Torres hopes to bring the door release mechanism under the thumb of the fingerprint sensor, too.

In the meantime, Your Turn is expected to go on sale in the next couple of weeks.

The one thing it will not do though is something that most guys are notoriously bad at - separating the whites from the coloureds.


05-02-2005, 04:35 PM

Aahh... suave, sophisticated and loyal...

05-04-2005, 07:58 AM
A study of Napoleon Bonaparte's trousers could put an end to the theory that the French Emperor was poisoned. Napoleon died aged 52 on St Helena in the south Atlantic where he had been banished after his defeat at Waterloo.

His post mortem showed he died of stomach cancer, but it has been suggested arsenic poisoning or over-zealous treatment was to blame.

Now Swiss researchers say his trousers show he lost weight prior his death, confirming he had cancer.

The research, by scientists from the anatomical pathology department of the University Hospital in Basel and the Institute of Medical History at the University of Zurich, looked at 12 pairs of Napoleon's trousers which he wore during the six years he lived in exile.

They also measured the waists, and weighed, living stomach cancer patients.

The largest pair of trousers Napoleon wore had a waist measurement of 110cm; those he wore just before his death measured 98cm.

This, they say, shows he lost a significant amount of weight - as did the living patients, who lost between 11 and 15kg over the six months they were studied.


The Swiss team say the presence of arsenic in Napoleon's hair, the source of the poisoning theory, was linked to this enthusiasm for wine.

At the time, it was the custom of winemakers' to dry their casks and basins with arsenic.

Dr Alessandro Lugli, who carried out the study which appeared in the American Review of Human Pathology, told the BBC News website he thought theories about alternative explanations for Napoleon's death would continue to be put forward.

But he said: "We are sure that the autopsy report speaks clearly in favour of gastric [stomach] cancer."

The demise of the French Emperor has provoked numerous theories.

Last year, researchers from the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Department said in New Scientist magazine that it was regular doses of antimony potassium tartrate, or tartar emetic a poisonous colourless salt which was used to make him vomit, that killed him.

He was also given regular enemas.

The researchers, led by forensic pathologist Steven Karch, say this would have caused a serious potassium deficiency, which can lead to a potentially fatal heart condition called Torsades de Pointes in which rapid heartbeats disrupt blood flow to the brain.

Dr Karch told BBC News Online at the time that he studied similar modern cases.

He said: "There is a very strong argument for this - but it's not as sexy as the idea that he was murdered.

"The arsenic wasn't killing him - his doctors did him in!"


05-05-2005, 05:53 AM
The prime minister of Bangladesh has intervened to help a poor woman who advertised to sell an eye to raise funds for her daughter's future. Shefali Begum has received offers of help from around the world and within Bangladesh after the BBC reported on her desperate newspaper advertisement.

Now Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has met her and arranged measures to support her, including a new house.

Ms Begum said she had no money for rent or to feed her daughter.

The 26-year-old mother lives with her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter in a tiny bamboo and corrugated-tin room in the east of the capital, Dhaka.

She says her husband of four years left her in March, leaving her penniless.

'So moved'

Prime Minister Zia has now met Ms Begum in her Dhaka office, her officials say.

"The prime minister was so moved by her story that she instantly decided to help this woman who has been abandoned by her husband," a spokesman for the prime minister told the BBC.

Officials say Ms Zia made arrangements to allocate Ms Begum in a house in a government-built shelter for the poor.

She also assured her that the government would provide financial assistance for her daughter's educational expenses. She will also receive the monthly allowance claimable by women abandoned by their husbands.

Officials also say the prime minister gave her some cash to pay for job training.

Ms Begum later told the officials that she would not now have to sell her eye after receiving help from the prime minister and many others anonymous donors.


05-05-2005, 05:55 AM
The humble bicycle has won a national survey of people's favourite inventions. Listeners to BBC Radio 4's You and Yours programme were invited to vote in an online survey looking at the most significant innovations since 1800.

It was an easy victory for the bicycle which won more than half of the vote.

The transistor came second with 8% of the vote and the electro-magnetic induction ring - the means to harness electricity - came third.

Interplanetary travel

Despite their ubiquity, computers gained just 6% of the vote and the internet trailed behind with only 4% of all votes cast.

People chose the bicycle for its simplicity of design, universal use, and because it is a ecologically sound means of transport.

Bicycle - 59%
Transistor - 8%
Electro-magnetic induction ring - 8%
Computer - 6%
Germ theory of infection - 5%
Radio - 5%
Internet - 4%
Internal Combustion Engine - 3%
Nuclear Power - 1%
Communications Satellite - 1%

The survey also asked participants which innovation they would most like to disinvent.

GM foods came top of the polls with 26% of the vote, followed by nuclear power with 19%.

By contrast the technology most would like to see invented was an AIDS vaccine.

Alas, plans to ship long-suffering commuters to distant planets may need to be put on hold with only 15% voting for an interplanetary commuting transport system.

Half voted water treatment and supply systems as the technology to bring most benefit to society.

Another 23% thought that vaccinations deserved the honour.

Each of the technologies were nominated by a different expert, including writer Sir Arthur C Clarke, cloning expert Professor Ian Wilmut and Professor Heinz Wolff.

Prof Wolff's praise of the bicycle held the most sway with voters which will come as a disappointment to Lord Alec Broers, this year's Reith lecturer.

His series of lectures - Triumph of Technology - prompted the vote.

In the first of these he expressed surprise at the results of a similar survey.

It too ranked the bicycle above scientific breakthroughs such as electricity generation, the jet engine, the discovery of DNA and the invention of vaccinations


05-09-2005, 05:11 AM
The municipal corporation in the western Indian city of Jaipur has announced a bold initiative to prevent urination on the streets. It is all set to impose fines of 20 rupees (50 US cents), more than an average day's wages for many Indians.

"It will be taken as a charge for clearing up the mess," said Jaipur's Mayor Ashok Parnmi.

The civic body has also amended its rules to increase fines in cases related to the clearing of dirt.


"The new steps are taken to keep the pink city of Jaipur clean", said Mr Parnmi.

He said that under the new scheme, city corporation officials would roam the streets and impose on-the-spot fine on anyone found urinating in public.

The offenders are overwhelmingly men who are also inclined to spit in public as well. But so far there are no signs that that they will also be penalised for this habit.

He said the money collected by the anti public urination drive would be used to clean and beautify the city.

But local people are not happy with new rules in a country where the authorities often cast a blind eye on males relieving themselves in public.

Local resident Sharad Bhardwaj said the corporation should first develop a better toilet infrastructure and build more urinals. He complains that the existing ones are over-used and filthy.

"If there are no urinal, where do you expect us to go?" he asked.

Mr Parnmi agreed that public toilets were scarce but he said this should not be used as an excuse to urinate on pavements.

He said the corporation plans to build more public toilets in the coming days.

If there are no urinal, where do you expect us to go?

Jaipur resident Sharad Bhardwaj

He said shopkeepers and restaurant owners would also be targeted with fines of up 500 rupees ($10) if they were caught discarding litter on the streets.

He said a stiff penalty of 1,500 rupees ($30) would also be imposed on those who attempt to deface historical buildings or monuments in the city.

About two years ago, a similar drive against public urination was launched in the Indian capital Delhi.

Sanitation magistrates were appointed to drive around the city in mobile courts to dispense justice on "litter louts".

But the move had only limited success.


05-13-2005, 12:51 PM
Fifty is the perfect age to write a novel, a study of the best-selling authors of the past 50 years has shown. The average age of writers who topped the hardback fiction section of the New York Times Bestseller List from 1955-2004 was 50.5 years.

"We wanted to discover the optimum age to write a best-seller," said Bob Young of Lulu, a website for writers and independent publishers.

"Unlike scientists or musicians, say, writers tend to mature with age."

Romantic novelist Judith Krantz and writer Joe Klein, who published political comedy Primary Colors anonymously, are among the novelists who topped the best-seller list in their 50th year.

Of the 350 authors who saw their novels reach the number one spot over the past 50 years, Francoise Sagan was the youngest with Bonjour Tristesse, published at the age of 19 in 1955.

By comparison, Agatha Christie was the oldest author to top the list, with her novel Sleeping Murder, published shortly after her death at the age of 85.

The authors who most frequently topped the list were horror writer Stephen King who has topped the list 27 times, and Danielle Steel who has amassed 26 number ones.

Nonetheless, authors like JK Rowling and Da Vinci Code writer Dan Brown, who both achieved global fame in their thirties, appear to be bucking the trend.


kilted exile
05-13-2005, 01:57 PM
Free money delivered by 'angel'

An anonymous "angel" is said to have been responsible for posting envelopes filled with money through letterboxes in Edinburgh.

The mysterious deliveries containing either £20, £10 or £5 notes were made to all householders in Duddingston Village last weekend.

The question "Do you believe in Angels?" was written on the envelopes.

The unknown sender has now been dubbed the Angel of Duddingston by locals who received up to £70.

Dr Jim Jack, the minister at Duddingston Kirk, was among those who received the special delivery on Sunday.

"I think this person has done a great service to Duddingston for making us realise there are good actions in our world today"
Dr Jim Jack
Local minister

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, he said: "There was no letter, no indication where it had come from.

"I got a flurry of phone calls from neighbours with a
theological interest in angels, asking if I had received an envelope.

"There were quite a number of reactions. One of my neighbours thought she was being stalked by an individual. Another said 'get the police', and somebody else said it must be counterfeit money.

"Somebody even thought it was a stunt by the bank, targeting homeowners.

"I think there is a lesson in all of this - here was a wonderful gesture, and we could only view it with scepticism and with doubt."

'Wonderful gesture'

The minister added: "I think this person has done a great service to Duddingston for making us realise there are good actions in our world today.

"As far as I know, the whole village got an envelope.

"There were varying amounts of money - somebody received £70, I received £20."

The minister said he was donating his £20 to Christian Aid.

No complaints

He called it "a wonderful gesture" in a world accustomed only to bad news.

A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Police said they were aware of the situation but had received no formal complaints about the letters.

She said: "This is certainly very unusual. But if someone wants to share their wealth in this way, it is very nice.

"It doesn't seem to be anything sinister."


05-14-2005, 12:00 PM
The first humans who left Africa to populate the world headed south along the coast of the Indian Ocean, Science magazine reports. Scientists had always thought the exodus from Africa around 70,000 years ago took place along a northern route into Europe and Asia.

But according to a genetic study, early modern humans followed the beach, possibly lured by a seafood diet.

They quickly reached Australia but took much longer to settle in Europe.

Dr Martin Richards of the University of Leeds, who took part in the study, says the first humans may have moved south in search of better fishing grounds when stocks in the Red Sea dwindled due to climate change.

"That might have been the push that set them off," he told the BBC News website.

DNA clues

When the first modern humans evolved in Africa, they lived mainly on meat hunted from animals. But by 70,000 years ago, they had switched to a marine diet, largely shellfish.

The new research suggests they moved along the coasts of the Arabian peninsula into India, Indonesia and Australia about 65,000 years ago. An offshoot later led to the settlement of the Middle East and Asia about 30 to 40,000 years ago.

The data comes from studies by two teams of scientists on the DNA of native people living in Malaysia and on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands between India and Burma.

Scientists can estimate how closely related we are by studying the DNA of the energy producing parts of the cell, our mitochondria.


05-14-2005, 02:36 PM
Art Imitates Reality TV

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Three authors are living in boxes in a New York art gallery for a month, on display to the public as they each try to write a novel in what has been likened to the publishing world's equivalent of reality TV.

The art project called "Novel: A Living Installation" is a 30 day literary experiment that The New York Times has already denounced for "trivializing the nature of writing."

Morgan Meis who devised the project freely admits "there's a gimmicky side" to it, but he says there's no shame in being compared to reality television. "There's a certain attitude of art to popular culture that's pretty adversarial and I don't take it that way," he said.

He insists it is a serious project to produce quality fiction and explore the idea of writing as performance.

"If this was a reality TV show we'd be pushing them into conflict and fighting and having sex with each other," Meis said.

The project was set up by an art collective called Flux Factory and is housed in a warehouse in the borough of Queens.

Architects and designers created three studio pods for the writers to live and work in -- an indoor "tree-house" with grass on the roof, a high-tech Japanese style angular box with rice paper walls, and an open-plan space made of boxes and movable walls that can be hoisted with ropes and pulleys.

The writers are allowed to use a roof terrace and other areas within the gallery for 90 minutes a day, as long as they clock out on time cards. There are no locks on the doors but they are encouraged not to leave the building.

"I've spent most of my life avoiding going to the grocery store so that hasn't been a difficult thing for me at all," said Grant Bailie, one of the authors and a security site manager from Cleveland.


The three are published writers, chosen from around 200 applicants after an Internet advertisement for participants.

"Some of them were immediately dismissible as people who obviously hadn't left their basements for the last 25 years and some obviously were crappy writers," said Meis who came up with the idea while struggling to finish a philosophy dissertation.

Bailie, 43, said that without the daily distractions of work and family, he was hoping to write about 10 pages a day of his book about a man who doesn't sleep.

"I'd written the same opening paragraph in my head 12 times before I got here and I didn't even use it," he said, adding that he was nervous about the public readings of work in progress that are part of the project, every Saturday. The public are also invited to visiting hours five days a week.

Ranbir Sidhu, a 38-year-old former archeologist, said he had found it surprisingly easy to get started on his book, the story of an Indian couple trying to avoid the stereotypes of Indian married life. He will be happy if he completes a 30,000 word first draft by the deadline of June 4.

Asked why he signed up, Sidhu said he was looking for a job when he saw the advertisement. "I was broke and I'm still going to be broke when I get out of this," he said.

The third writer, New York native Laurie Stone, said she had been nervous about the lack of privacy and she admitted she found some of the rules "infantilizing."

"(But) I want to be a good sport about stuff that I don't always feel is going to promote my own creativity," she said.

"Novel" is not the first literary experiment to question the art of writing -- in 1969, 35 journalists collaborated on a novel called "Naked Came the Stranger," designed to test how bad a book could be and still be published.

But Meis was optimistic about the results being published, adding "Nobody is going to commit to anything sight unseen but there's definitely interest."


05-16-2005, 01:23 PM
A helpline set up to identify a mystery man who stunned carers by giving a virtuoso classical piano performance has been inundated with calls. The man has not said a word since police picked him up wandering the streets of Sheerness, Kent, in a soaking wet suit and tie on 7 April.

His social worker Michael Camp said the man, in his 20s or 30s, is usually very anxious but "comes alive" at the piano.

Orchestras around Europe are being contacted to see if they know him.

The National Missing Persons Helpline is appealing to anyone who recognises the man to come forward.

Mr Camp said there had been a "fantastic" response.

"We have had one definite lead, but I haven't had time to follow it up yet.

"A name has been given of a possible person from the Sussex area.

"We had one of these before, from the local area, and it sounded promising but... we'll just have to wait and see."

The man's talent came to light after staff at the Medway Maritime Hospital gave him a pen and paper in the hope he would write his name.

Instead the patient, dubbed The Piano Man, drew very detailed pictures of a grand piano.

The man shocked staff with a performance of classical music after Mr Camp showed him the piano in the hospital's chapel.

The mystery man produced a pencil drawing of a grand piano

Mr Camp said: "When we took him to the chapel piano it really was amazing. He has not spoken since the day we picked him up.

"He does not make any sounds but I think I can communicate with him through tiny nods."

The man has since written music, which has been verified as genuine.

Mr Camp added: "It is extraordinary. The first time we took him down to the piano he played for several hours, non-stop."

Several lines of inquiry have been followed, and the hospital brought in interpreters to see if the mystery patient was from Eastern Europe.

He is now being held in a secure mental health unit in north Kent while an assessment is carried out. Mr Camp said he was "extremely distressed" and may have suffered a trauma.

'Very frightened'

Karen Dorey-Rees, adult mental health manager for the West Kent NHS and Social Care Trust, said the mystery man was very vulnerable.

"He is not talking at all, he is very frightened," she said.

"We are aware that he is a very vulnerable man and we would be putting him in a dangerous situation if we let him go."

She said that the labels had been removed from every item of clothing the man was wearing when he was found on The Broadway in Minster, Sheerness.

The case has drawn comparisons with the 1996 film Shine which depicts the story of acclaimed pianist David Helfgott who suffered a nervous breakdown.

Ms Dorey-Rees was unable to say what music he had played.

"Nobody was skilled enough to recognise the music, they just knew it was classical music and he played very well."

Anyone who has information about The Piano Man is urged to call the National Missing Persons Helpline on 0500 700700.


05-16-2005, 06:45 PM
The Kuwaiti parliament has voted to give women full political rights. The amendment to the Kuwait's electoral law means women can for the first time vote and stand in parliamentary and local elections.

It was passed by 35 votes for, 23 against, with one abstention. Council elections are due this year.

The result, announced by the speaker of parliament, was greeted with thunderous applause from the public gallery where backers of the amendment were gathered.

"I congratulate the women of Kuwait for having achieved their political rights," said Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.

Kuwait's ruler Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmad al-Sabah issued a decree giving women full political rights in 1999.

The change in the law, which was agreed at the end of a 10-hour session, had previously been blocked by a majority of tribal and Islamist members of parliament.

Many of these had argued that Islamic law prohibited women from positions of leadership.

The amendment requires women voters and candidates to abide by Islamic law.

Correspondents say this is an attempt by the ruling family to reassure Islamists. But it could also place restrictions on women campaigners.


05-16-2005, 06:48 PM
Lawmakers Fired For Smashing Up Hotel

QUITO, Ecuador (Reuters) - Four Ecuadorean legislators were permanently expelled from Congress on Thursday for getting drunk and smashing up a hotel in Peru last month.

One of the lawmakers, Maria Augusta Rivas, had also accused another of the four of trying to rape her in the alcohol-fueled incidents at a hotel in Lima where they were attending trade talks in April.

Congress fired all four, who belonged to different political parties, for violating its code of ethics and said they had "damaged and discredited the country's international image in a shameful and disgraceful incident."

Disenchantment with politicians discredited by corruption scandals has fed popular uprisings which have ousted three presidents in this poor Andean nation since 1997.

The latest incident took place only last month, when Congress fired President Lucio Gutierrez for abuse of power during mass protests.

The dismissal of the four legislators will not affect the balance of power in the 100-seat, single chamber Congress, as they will be replaced by other members of their parties. New President Alfredo Palacio does not have support from any group in Congress.

The legislators damaged a hotel room and the lobby and assaulted a bellboy and a receptionist, according to the congressional report.


kilted exile
05-16-2005, 11:20 PM

May 17 2005

Geldof's four-letter outburst over famine plight of Africa

By Magnus Gardham

BOB Geldof yesterday shocked a top-level Holyrood conference when he said: 'AIDS is a vicious little f **** r.'

The Live Aid founder launched a stinging attack on global leaders for failing to tackle poverty and disease in Africa.

And he stunned delegates at the Scottish parliament with an outspoken and harrowing call for action.

Many of the 150 diplomats, aid workers and politicians present fought back tears as he told how he witnessed a woman breast-feeding her own mother in a desperate bid to save her life.

But afterwards, they welcomed his outburst.

Leading delegate Kumi Naidoo said: 'Silence on these issues is the biggest problem of allGeldof used his speech to send an uncompromising message to leaders of the G8 club of wealthy nations, saying they must make their summit at Gleneagles in July 'pay back time' for Africa.

And he urged First Minister Jack McConnell to snub them if they failed to act.

Geldof spoke out at a day-long Scottish parliament conference on Africa.

The event was a chance for aid agencies, diplomats, campaigners and politicians to get together before the G8 summit.

But outspoken Geldof refused to stand on ceremony.

He said AIDS was a 'vicious little f **** r' which had devastated Africa because the continent was too poor to prevent its spread.

And he called on G8 leaders to implement the recommendation in his recent Commission for Africa report, which called for a £30billion-per-year aid boost over the next decade.

He said: 'It is the specific responsibility of Scotland, and their great task, to ensure this is done.

'And it is the specific task of the First Minister to not welcome them if they are not prepared to do it.

'If they come here with the attitude that I know they currently have, of doing nothing, and letting them get away with it - don't come, stay at home, not welcome.'

Geldof described how he saw a starving family sitting around the dead body of their grandfather in a hut in Ethiopia. The old man's widow was being breast-fed by her own daughter to stay alive.

He asked:'How debased have we become?'

And referring to the G8 summit venue, he said it was 'disgustingly ironic' leaders were meeting at a golf course.

He added: 'Were 50,000 people to die tomorrow in Dundee, were 50,000 to die in Cleveland and 50,000 to die the next day in Turin, between the first and second hole these people would have dealt with this problem. And I am sick of it.

'I'm sick to my teeth that they refuse their responsibility as leaders.'

And he said it was time for Tony Blair to demand 'pay back' for his support of US President George Bush during the Iraq war.

Geldof and McConnell urged Scots to back the Make Poverty History campaign in the run-up to the G8 summit.

The campaign is organising Scotland's biggest demonstration in Edinburgh the day before the G8 summit begins, with more than 250,000 people expectedThe campaign is demanding fair trade for African nations, more aid and the writing off of debts owed to rich countries.

Later, Geldof dismissed fears the G8 could disrupted by violent protests.

He said: 'There will not be violence. What this requires is respect for a continent on its knees.

'You require the respect to give a hand, to say, 'Come on up.' 'Half of Africa is under 15. Half of a continent is under 15 and all of those children will go to bed hungry tonight.

'That is not a matter of violence. Violence can be defined as a lack of respect for other people and it will not happen at this G8'

link (http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=15524624%26method=full%26siteid=89488% 26headline=holyrude-name_page.html)