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:: EYE (noun), an ability to recognize and appreciate something; a point of view or way of thinking.

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:: 1.26.2005 ::  

More on exclusivity contracts

Penny Arcade has a funny strip on the subject today. Gabe and Tycho are making fun of EA's new contract with the NFL - what is it now, 15 years exclusive use of all NFL logos and uniforms, as well as all team, coach and player names? Something like that. Check out their homepage for Tycho's rant on the subject...

:: Deb 1:29 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.25.2005 ::  

Another image from the Gila cliff dwellings trail

Kinda Georgia O'Keefe, I think. I liked the contrast, in color and texture, of the tree against the rock.

:: Deb 2:48 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.24.2005 ::  

Energy source of the future? Bubble fusion results replicated

Geek-out time again!
Physical Review E has announced the publication of an article by a team of researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Purdue University, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the Russian Academy of Science (RAS) stating that they have replicated and extended previous experimental results that indicated the occurrence of nuclear fusion using a novel approach for plasma confinement.
Professor Lahey also explained that, unlike fission reactors, fusion does not produce a significant amount of radioactive waste products or decay heat. Tritium gas, a radioactive by-product of deuterium-deuterium bubble fusion, is actually a part of the fuel, which can be consumed in deuterium-tritium fusion reactions.

[emphasis added]
So cool! More in this press release, if yer interested. Fark-ola.

:: Deb 11:56 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.19.2005 ::  

Spain's Catholic Church supports the use of condoms to fight AIDS
"Condoms have a place in the global prevention of AIDS," Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, spokesman for the Spanish Bishops Conference, told reporters after a meeting Tuesday with Health Minister Elena Salgado to discuss ways of fighting the disease.
This is an historic event. Spain's population is overwhelmingly Catholic, so for the church's spokesman to make this kind of public statement is HUGE. I am very interested to see how the Vatican responds. The YahooNews article notes that this is an about-face for Camino, who publicly opposed the Health Ministry's campaign to promote the use of condoms as recently as November. That must have been quite a meeting with the Health Minister, eh?

:: Deb 1:14 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Companies cut trans fats

I am so excited about this!!! Curt and I found out about the horrors of trans fats, found on the ingredient lists of many prepackaged foods as "partially hydrogenated" oils, almost eight years ago. Since that time we have done our best to avoid them, but the stuff is everywhere! Pretty much any box of cookies or crackers you find in the supermarket uses them, and I've even found them in Trader Joe's frozen quiche! Finally, with the FDA ordering that trans fats be listed on food labels by January 2006, following a respected study about the dangers of trans fats (conclusion: there is no safe minimum amount), the nation's food companies are coming up with new recipes that avoid using so-called "h'os". Frito-Lay led the way, completing a conversion to corn oil for Tostitos, Doritos and Cheetos in 2003; now Nabisco, Pepperidge Farm, Kraft and many others are following suit. Finally, I can eat Triscuits again! And Goldfish! And Fig Newtons! Wahoo!

Full story on KRON.

:: Deb 1:02 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Violence continues in Iraq: 5 car bombs rock Bagdad

12 confirmed dead. On YahooNews.


Make that 26 dead, at least.

:: Deb 11:23 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.18.2005 ::  

Hand over that poster, ma'am - the President's about to drive by

Here's are some of the items prohibited at the Inauguration on Thursday: backpacks, large bags, posters, signs, placards, strollers. You can read the full list here. I guess the Secret Service is worried I'll hide an Uzi behind my poster, or a sniper rifle in my stroller. Jeez.

:: Deb 4:22 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Anti-gay marriage amendment used to defend unmarried clients against domestic violence charges
In at least two cases last week, the Cuyahoga County public defender's office has asked a judge to dismiss domestic-violence charges against unmarried defendants. The attorneys in the two cases argue that the charges violate the amendment by affording marriage-like legal status to unmarried victims who live with the people accused of attacking them.
What's next? Full story here, linked from Fark.

:: Deb 4:19 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.13.2005 ::  

Geeky fun

I'm weird in a way you may not be familiar with, even if you've known me for a while - I find some pretty random and geeky things to be fascinating. For example, this article on the eating behaviors of predatory insects. Specifically, researchers have found that these insects will not just eat whatever is put in front of them - rather, they balance their diet according to their nutritional needs. I just think that's so cool!

:: Deb 10:24 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

US abandoning hunt for WMDs
"You can only search so many places for WMD," said a defense official, who added that the [Iraq Survey Group] continues to review documents and interview people knowledgeable about deposed President Saddam Hussein's arms programs for possible leads.

Charles Duelfer, the CIA special adviser who led the ISG's weapons search, has returned home and is expected next month to issue a final addendum to his September report concluding that prewar Iraq had no WMD stockpiles, officials said.
Maybe you remember that report? It stated that "Iraq had no stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons and its nuclear program had decayed before last year's U.S.-led invasion." Hmmm. That assertion is, I dunno, somehow completely contrary to the "evidence" put forth by the Bush administration as justification for invasion, wouldn't you say? Full story on Reuters, c/o Fark.

:: Deb 10:09 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.12.2005 ::  

A funny/dramatic photo

...taken by someone other than me.

:: Deb 2:16 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.10.2005 ::  

"Crossfire" cancelled!

CNN/U.S. President Jonathan Klein sided Wednesday with comedian Jon Stewart, who used a "Crossfire" appearance last fall to rip the program as so much hackery.

"I think he made a good point about the noise level of these types of shows, which does nothing to illuminate the issues of the day," Klein said. Viewers need useful information in a dangerous world, he said, "and a bunch of guys screaming at each other simply doesn't accomplish that."
Wow, really? And a comedian had to be the one to point this out to you?

[Conservative co-host] Carlson praised the show but said that he felt constrained by its partisan format.

"When my opinions diverged from those of the White House it was difficult" to conduct the expected debate, "particularly when I opposed the Iraq war," he said.
Whoah. I never watched the show, except for the Jon Stewart episode. Did Carlson publicly come out against the Iraq war? Anyone? Full story here.

:: Deb 1:22 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Arnold does something right

CA just became the first state to ban a .50-caliber armor-piercing rifle from commercial sales. Scary quotes from this CBSNews article:
"It is clearly a weapon of war, a round to be used in a wartime situation. It’s appropriate for the military. The effective range is about 2,000 yards. It’s a very formidable weapon."
This is exactly what the FBI learned in 1993 at Waco when Branch Davidians fired a Barrett .50-caliber sniper rifle at them.

In response, the FBI deployed Bradley fighting vehicles for protection. But even that wasn’t sufficient, and heavier armor was brought in.

What happened at Waco was one of the arguments made for banning the weapon in California. Other states are now considering a similar ban for fear of potential terrorist attacks.
[Tom Diaz, a gun control advocate who was an expert witness in the California campaign to ban the gun], wants Congress to pass a law requiring, at a minimum, records to be kept of who’s buying .50-caliber rifles.

"The real question here is we do not know who has these terribly destructive rifles," says Diaz. "No one in the United States government knows who has these guns."

"Aren't records kept when a gun is sold," asks [60 Minutes Correspondent Ed Bradley].

"The answer is no," says Diaz.

Under the Brady Bill, sales records of guns used to be kept for 90 days, which enabled the FBI to check the names of gun purchasers against terror watch lists.

A year ago, at Attorney General John Ashcroft’s initiative, Congress reduced the period of record keeping from 90 days to 24 hours. That’s the policy that’s in effect today.
Wait, what? Ashcroft made it more difficult for the FBI to check up on gun sales? I know he's got some weird ideas about civil liberties, but how does this change do anything but make us less safe? Link found on... Fark!

:: Deb 1:10 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::


A friend forwarded me an amazing first-hand account of an American who survived the tsunami in Thailand. While I do not have permission to reprint the story here, I can provide a link to an SF Chronicle story about the same guy. Things I found worth noting, that I hadn't heard about from any other source: how everyone helped everyone else, as soon as they were out of immediate danger; and how difficult it was for Americans, and only for Americans, to get back home afterwards.

:: Deb 11:36 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.07.2005 ::  

More on so-called "Memogate"

Just found this great piece on the whole CBS memo debacle thru a link on Fark. It's on the Columbia Journalism Review site, and I highly recommend you slog your way thru the whole thing.
Haste explains the rapid spread of thinly supported theories and flawed critiques, which moved from partisan blogs to the nation’s television sets. For example, the morning after CBS’s September 8 report, the conservative blog Little Green Footballs posted a do-it-yourself experiment that supposedly proved that the documents were produced on a computer. On September 11, a self-proclaimed typography expert, Joseph Newcomer, copied the experiment, and posted the results on his personal Web site. Little Green Footballs delighted in the “authoritative and definitive” validation, and posted a link to Newcomer’s report on September 12. Two days later, Newcomer — who was “100 percent” certain that the memos were forged — figured high in a Washington Post report. The Post’s mention of Newcomer came up that night on Fox, MSNBC, and CNN, and on September 15, he was a guest on Fox News’s Hannity & Colmes.

Newcomer gave the press what it wanted: a definite answer. The problem is, his proof turns out to be far less than that. Newcomer’s résumé — boasting a Ph.D. in computer science and a role in creating electronic typesetting — seemed impressive. His conclusions came out quickly, and were bold bordering on hyperbolic. The accompanying analysis was long and technical, discouraging close examination. Still, his method was simple to replicate, and the results were easy to understand:
Based on the fact that I was able, in less than five minutes . . . to type in the text of the 01-August-1972 memo into Microsoft Word and get a document so close that you can hold my document in front of the ‘authentic’ document and see virtually no errors, I can assert without any doubt (as have many others) that this document is a modern forgery. Any other position is indefensible.
Red flags wave here, or should have. Newcomer begins with the presumption that the documents are forgeries, and as evidence submits that he can create a very similar document on his computer. This proves nothing — you could make a replica of almost any document using Word. Yet Newcomer’s aggressive conclusion is based on this logical error.
The upshot of it all? While Dan Rather et al may have been hasty and overly credulous in publishing their findings, the same (and much more), can be said for their most vociferous critics.


An independent investigation of the above found the following:
"These problems were caused primarily by a myopic zeal to be the first news organization to broadcast what was believed to be a new story about President Bush's Texas Air National Guard service, and the rigid and blind defense of the segment after it aired despite numerous indications of its shortcomings," the panelists concluded.

Boccardi and Thornburgh said they could find no evidence to conclude the report — aired two months before Bush won re-election — was politically motivated.
Four senior staffers were fired after the report was released. Full story on YahooNews, linked by Fark.

:: Deb 11:00 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.06.2005 ::  

More images from my trip to NM

It's been a while since I posted a photo, so here's one I took on the "Catwalk" hike. It used to be a silver mine outside of Silver City, but was abandoned and eventually converted into a long, looping hiking trail.

The rock was this incredible pink, which I think shows up pretty well against the blue, blue sky... I think I have a few more shots, further down the trail, where the color is more obvious - and startling.

:: Deb 1:41 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 1.05.2005 ::  

I'm back!

Whew, two weeks off and here I am again! Lots has happened, let's see if I can catch up at all.

One thing I saw in my email when I got back to work was this article in The Nation about Wal Mart. Interesting stuff - why women are the most ardent supporters of the chain, in spite of well-publicised employee abuse and sexism; why boycotting them isn't enough; the sneaky way Wal Mart uses public assistance as corporate welfare; and more! Thanks to Jason for the link.

:: Deb 4:05 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

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