May 18, 2006

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    While I don't actually understand most of what they're trying to tell me, I am convinced that Recombinomics is definitely saying something wonderful and futuriffic.

    From what I managed to comprehend, it seems that Recombinomics thinks they can predict how viruses currently on the loose (like HIV and SARS) will recombine their genetic material to mutate into slightly different viruses. Apparently, if you can predict this recombination, then you can make a vaccine that's ready to combat the virus before it actually turns into an epidemic.

    Also, please note how the logo manages to illustrate recombination among red & blue lines. I'm not saying I love it, I'm just saying somebody was thinking.

    Full Article: http://www.recombinomics.com

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    Cheeky Monkey

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 1:53 PM

December 16, 2005

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    "My resolution is a simple sense of Congress defending Christmas and its symbol and traditions" &mdashJo Ann Davis (R-VA)

    Someone get this woman another white reindeer for her lawn.

    Not to be outdone by Hallmark this 'Holiday' Season, the United States Congress voted on on a Resolution that expresses "the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected."

    This isn't some crazy Rockwellian Christmas production where the United States has to protect Santa from being jailed, this is actual Congress, in the actual U.S. The same body that voted to invade a whole other country just voted to guard Christmas from us.

    It passed. Of course it did. I can just hear the Republicans accusing Democrats of having voted against Christmas come the next elections.

    Here's an excerpt:

    ...Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
    (1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;
    (2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and
    (3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions.

    Though the bill has no actual meaning, purpose or power it does reinforce to the taxpayers that this country is committed to spending your money in ways you could never imagine.

    Again, not even sure what actual forces are involved in this¹, but too bad this shit wasn't around when All Hallow's Eve got raped by those liberal-godless-heathen-P.C.-consumerist-holiday police.




    ¹(FOX NEWS)



    Full Article: Download the Bill
    (Via Our Very Own Congress)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 5:49 PM

October 11, 2005

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    "what looked like a chance to talk up new programs is fast becoming a scramble to save the old ones." &mdashLiberal Hopes Ebb in Post-Storm Poverty Debate - New York Times

    The New York Times is running an article that talks about the political corpse humping taking place in the wake of Katrina. It seems that after wiping away those crocodile tears many politicians are trying to push forward their own self-serving agendas.

    While most humans are decrying the negligence and lack of attention to the nation's poor (and notoriously apathetic voters) some politicians are seeing the devastation caused by Katrina as an opportunity to wipe them out entirely.

    President Bush seems to be in some kind of twisted fit, signing break after break for reconstruction companies at the expense of the local workers, while the rest of the pack says "What Me Worry?" and guard their top tier tax cuts like they were the last thing keeping America from going ass first into the hands of the terrorists and gays.

    The whole thing is a mess. It's political opportunism at its best and diabolical maneuvering at its worst. What a way to turn a national disaster into a national travesty.

    Full Article: Liberal Hopes Ebb in Post-Storm Poverty Debate - New York Times
    (Via New York Times)

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 8:32 PM

September 28, 2005

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    "Japanese scientists have photographed for the first time in the wild a live giant squid, one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep sea."CNN.com - Scientists photograph giant squid

    Very cool news for any dork. Those zany Japanese have done it again, this time filming for the first time a giant squid in the wild. The squid, which measures 25 feet in America or 8 meters for the rest of the world, was filmed attacking some bait off the coast of Japan's Bonin Islands.

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    The pictures are cool, but it's tough to see the scale of the thing. Leave the science to Japan and leave the fear mongering to the United States. It's only a matter of time now before some nutjob nature show guy is wrestling one of these things.

    Apparently this poor fellow also left one of his monstrous tentacles behind as it got caught on the bait. The tentacle has not hit eBay as of the time of this printing.

    Full Article: CNN.com - Scientists photograph giant squid - Sep 28, 2005
    (Via CNN)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 12:35 PM

September 27, 2005

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    "This case is about free inquiry and education, not about a religious agenda." &mdashEvolution Lawsuit Opens in Pennsylvania - New York Times

    Today was the beginning of the latest court battle concerning evolution being taught in public schools. Eleven parents from Dover, Pennsylvania are suing their school board for the inclusion of Intelligent Design (ID) as an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution. Creationism, having been banned from being taught in public schools in 1987, should not be confused with ID.

    there are natural systems that cannot be adequately explained in terms of undirected natural forces and that exhibit features which in any other circumstance we would attribute to intelligence. —William Dembski, Leading ID Proponent

    Ok, well it can be a little bit confusing. Seeing as most ID supporters don't spell it out for you, the intelligent designer isn't Apple or even the Dutch, it's God (capital "G"). So in case you're confused, most of the time we're talking about God having planned out all this 'so called evolution' and whatnot because, really, it's too complicated for nature to suss out on its own.

    So the major argument for teaching ID in schools is something like this: Hey, there are things about Darwin's theory we don't understand (yes, evolution based on Darwin's research is an actual scientific theory, not to be confused with Intelligent Design which is, in the scientific canon, on par with an email you got forwarded from your Mom), so why can't we fill in the gaps with an omnipotent being? Oh yeah? Prove to me He doesn't exist!

    And so on and on it goes. This will probably go to the Supreme Court and I suspect, lose. I have no issue with alternate theories, myths, anecdotes, funny stories about the origin of our species. What I do take issue with is teaching poor/bad science in a science classroom. It still is a science class, and in that respect we should not allow children to be confused by ideas that hold no scientific value.

    I remember learning about Lamarck's discredited theory of evolution and heredity in my biology class. Lamarck believed that generations of a species could inherit acquired traits, as such that if I chopped my arm off my child could be born with one arm. Yes I was taught it, and I was also taught it was rubbish. I don't even think Intelligent Design has earned the right to be taught as a poor hypothesis, let alone an alternative to Darwin's theory of evolution. Science does not deal in things that are not provable nor demonstrable. That's why humans invented philosophy.

    Full Article: Evolution Lawsuit Opens in Pennsylvania - New York Times
    (Via New York Times)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 7:24 PM

September 26, 2005

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    "'The biggest treasure in history has been located" &mdashNew Scientist Breaking News - Robot claims 'treasure island' booty

    GARR! They found me booty!

    Apparently a Chilean company by the name of Wagner Technologies has gone AND CHEATED by developing a fancy-treasure-finding-robot dubbed Arturito (the audible sound heard when trying to say R2-D2 with too many Pringles in yer' mouth). While the rest of we Goonies have been wasting time with secret maps and ingeniously devised traps and puzzles, Wagner Technologies has used things like 'science' and 'technology' to hit a stash so big it could make One Eyed Willy's 'rich stuff' look like something found in the crack of your couch.

    So about my treasure...my beautiful treasure. The fabled treasure has reportedly been found on the very island that inspired Daniel Defoe's tale of human isolation Robinson Crusoe. The island, now actually just named Robinson Crusoe, is 660 kilometers off the coast of Chile. That's like right around the corner from New York!

    Back to more of the fantastic and mysterious. The treasure tale goes something like this: In 1715 Spanish sailor Juan Esteban Ubilla-Echeverria (long names make the story seem more legitimate) buried his gigundo treasure horde on the island. Then it was dug up by some other sailor, the Britain Cornelius Webb. I guess Webb and the Mrs. got into some kind of fight over where they were going to store 800 barrels of gold ingots because he reportedly reburied it at some other location on the same island.

    Yes that's right, the treasure is rumored to be as large as 800 barrels of gold ignots. Using my "Ignots To Dollars" widget that's around $10 billion. Obviously Chile says it already has full dibs on any treasure found.

    Regardless (IT'S MINE), as soon as their permits go through Wagner Technologies plans on excavating. MAN!! I need some treasure! I need a little robot to find me treasure!! ARRRRGGHHH! I'm sure even if Chile claims the loot, some barrels are finding their way back to Wagner Tech home base.

    Of note, the method used to find the treasure under 15 meters of muck makes it "very, very difficult" to be a reliable treasure sniffing tool. What I'm saying is, set sail me boys, thar may be treasure still!

    Full Article: Robot claims 'treasure island' booty
    (Via New Scientist)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 6:12 PM

September 16, 2005

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    " Hi! I'm the Glove Master and this is my apprentice Little Digit. We're going to take you to a new dimension in game play; a dimension that puts amazing powers right in your hand. With the flick of a finger you can devastate an army of attackers or deliver a deadly blow to your enemy." &mdashMattel's Power Glove Instructions for NES

    After setting the hype machine to eleven for the better part of a year, Nintendo has finally delivered the goods on its next generation gaming console, currently named 'Revolution'. Well, at least some of the goods.

    At the keynote address for this year's Tokyo Game Show, Nintendo president Satoru Iwata finally took the wraps off of the much ballyhooed Revolution controller. Here's the skinny...

    In order to attract a wider audience to gaming Nintendo has opted to give the Revolution controller a less alienating and frightening appearance. The siren's call that Nintendo chose to lead the flocks of would be gamers to the Revolution? A TV remote.

    With a slim, milky white, vertical aesthic the standard Revolution controller looks like a cross between an original NES controller and an iPod. The point though is to be able to use this controller with one hand. How is that done? Well the controller is more of a wand with buttons than a traditional game controller. Using special Nintendo magic motion sensing technology the user will be able to interact with his/her game by waving the controller around.

    Swing your bat, swing the controller. Look around the screen, move the controller. There's also room to plug in other devices into the button of the controller, such as more traditional analog sticks. This combination apparently can allow for movement with the analog stick and free looking by waving the controller around.

    Sounds really interesting. I thought we did this with the Nintendo Powerglove, like 15 years ago, but I guess it's time to revisit it. The big question is whether gamers and 3rd party developers will embrace the new technology. My money? I think a good portion of Revolution games will support standard controllers through the expansion ports. I'd like to see the new controller catch on, but the battle for developer and consumer money is not an easy one.

    Full Article: Nintendo Reveals 'Revolution'-ary Controller in Keynote Speech
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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 6:07 PM

August 31, 2005

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    People do puzzles for many reasons. Chief among them is that puzzles give the solver a feeling of being in control. Most of life's challenges don't have black-and-white solutions, and many have no resolution at all. We jump into the middle of problems and muddle through as best we can. With sudoku - or any other human-made puzzle - carrying it through from start to finish, and finding the perfect solution in the end, can produce a feeling of great pride. - NY Times

    Although I am not entirely convinced of this explanation of why people like puzzles, I AM convinced that this kind of puzzle - Sudoku - is a new craze, mainly because I saw a girl doing one on the subway last week. Yes, the New York Times is the kind of paper where you can read about what the girl on the train next to you was doing earlier in the week.

    So, for those of you even farther out of the loop than I, Sudoku is a computer-generated puzzle where you've got a grid (like the one you see above) and you've got to fill the grid with numbers so that every row, every column and every 3-by-3 box contains the digits 1 to 9, without repeating. It's based on the Latin Squares introduced by mathematician Leonhard Euler in 1783, grew to popularity in Japan, and made its debut in the NY Post in April.

    To find out what the people on the train WILL be doing, like a month from now, you'd have to go to an edgier, more underground source. But the New York Times is just perfect for reading about what all the trendcasters have already spent a month yapping about.

    Full Article: A Few Words About Sudoku, Which Has None
    (Via NYT > Week in Review)

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    Cheeky Monkey

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 8:05 PM

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    "Other religiously impelled abuses of scientific information, supported by conservatives, include claims that social science supports the effectiveness of abstinence education, that condoms aren't very good at preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer or mental illness in women, that adult stem cells have more research promise than embryonic ones or can even replace them for scientific purposes—the list goes on and on. But it is only half the story" &mdashThe Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney

    I would just like to briefly point out this book I came across from a Wired Review.

    To be clear, I haven't read the book (yet) but the title seemed so interesting and the cover design so gosh darn slick, well, I got very excited.

    The book, as I understand it, tells the sad tale of how politics, religion and money all play a role in Republicans bending science to support their agendas. Not that Republicans are the only ones guilty, but dang, they sure do have a lot of money to do some wacky things.

    So, that's about it. I can't say more until I've read it, as it might be some raving, nonsensical disaster. That being said, it looks like an interesting item that might provide some background and context for the *ahem* evolving *ahem* debates concerning Intelligent Design.

    Full Article: The Republican War on Science by Chris Mooney
    (Via Wired)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 7:53 PM

August 24, 2005

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    "I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping" &mdash I AM BATSHIT INSANE (quoted from Reuters.com)

    Whew...Thank Pat's god!

    Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, host of the 700 Club and a guy who is decidedly more pro Bush than a bored suburban dad with a topiary fetish, is tired of all this pussy footing around with other countries leaders, as quoted from his recent 700 Club broadcast:

    We don't need another $200bn war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator.

    After basically calling for the assassination of the current (elected) Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, Pat Robertson cleared things up a bit by making sure people understood that 'taking him out' could mean anything. Pat then intimated that only a higher power, such as God or Karl Rove, actually had the jurisdiction to kill people.

    Asked to respond to the statement the White House's U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld replied "our department doesn't do that kind of thing," which resulted in one member of the White House staff snorting and accidentally spitting his gum out onto the press core.

    For those who like to connect dots, or just do some critical thinking, a reminder that Venezuela is the fourth largest oil supplier to the states, and Chavez ain't too happy with the old U.S. and is generally spooked about that thing we shall refer as the "don't do that kind of thing"-thing. Chavez has also offered to sell discounted fuel directly to impoverished areas of the U.S., bypassing American oil companies. That makes Exxon cry.

    Chavez's response to the whole Pat Robertson situation?

    "I don't know who that person is" - Pres. Chavez

    Full Article: U.S. evangelist backs off Chavez assassination call
    (Via Reuters)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 6:01 PM

August 23, 2005

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    "Tests performed on monkeys that were subjected to 30-36 hours of sleep deprivation revealed an average test performance accuracy drop to 63 percent, but that performance was restored to 84 percent after administering CX717" &mdashSlashdot

    I have been known to do some pretty silly things when I'm tired. One of the most ridiculous and apparently inefficient things I do when I'm exhausted is to go to sleep. It might be hard to imagine the sheer numbers of drool hours I have racked up, but let's just say on the last Dreamland gubernatorial race I was actually a write-in. That all ends now. I'm trading in my pillow time for some good old-fashioned American bastardized science. A pill that will reverse the effects of sleep deprivation.

    Thank you CX717. Not only do you sound like some bleak, post-apocalyptic call sign but you also have the added benefit of making sure I never have to pass out from my Chinese Food induced comas ever again. I can keep eating, long into the next morning and not have to worry about carelessly flushing my keys down the toilet or accidentally calling my parents' house instead of ordering more delicious cheese fried wontons.

    Purportedly this pill can possibly replace such stimulants as caffeine. And we all know by the time I'm at hour 32, the only thing my coffee is stimulating is my bladder. Yes, it's a brave new world on old CX717. If all else fails in my life, at least I know there is a job keeping monkeys awake and stimulated for 36 hours straight waiting for me. Science!

    Full Article: Drug Reverses Effects of Sleep Deprivation
    (Via Slashdot)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 5:52 PM

August 18, 2005

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    "The feeling that I get back here, looking in the eyes of real people, where I knew where they were two years ago or a year ago -- they've changed..." —Sen. Chuck Hagel, Reuters.com

    There's a quiet whisper going through the heartlands of America. A whisper, that turned into a roar, threatens to tear wheat fields and Walmarts asunder.

    "Boy, eoirl sure is gettin' 'spensive these days"

    Reuters is reporting that in Nebraska some Bush-ites may be experiencing buyer's remorse. Nebraska, a state that went more red than an Irish girl on a sunny day last election seems to be feeling the bite from high gas prices. Apparently the combination of $3 per gallon gasoline and the added burden of having to haul around all those "Support Our Troops" magnets on their cars is making some Nebraskans say "WTF?"

    "Why are we there in the first place?" is one elderly woman's brain-boggler. Is the country slowly starting to wipe the fairy dust out of its eyes? Probably not, but it looks like Joe Average is starting to actually feel some of the ripples, just a slight tingle, the faintest baby's breath of the actual war raging halfway across the world. And Joe Average don't like it none at all.

    We need to get the country focused again. Back on track. The War on Terrorism may be the Struggle Against Extremism now, but hell, there's still money to be made people! Look for a NASCAR event to be closed due to 'terrorist' activity in the near future.

    Full Article: Top News Article | Reuters.com
    (Via Reuters)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 4:59 PM

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    "Several players had their characters beaten and robbed of valuable virtual objects, which could have included the Earring of Wisdom or the Shield of Nightmare"&mdashNew Scientist

    We all fear it. That 4:00 am phone call. "Mom, mom...calm down, I'm ok, listen..I was just coming out of Ye Old Shoppe and this bot jumped out of nowhere and...I'm ok, my armor stats are shot but Mom, he took the of Shield of Nightmare."

    A man in Japan, let's call him 'Japan Man', was arrested for allegedly 'beating up' and 'mugging' other player characters in the MMORPG (if you don't know, look it up) Lineage II. So cowardly is this cowardly coward that he couldn't even swing the sword himself, instead hiring out bots (ok, this one is A.I. controlled characters) to do his dirty work for him.

    Bruce Schneir (New Scientist bills him as "a renowned computer security expert") forecasts a grim future:

    Perhaps every method of stealing real money will eventually be used to steal imaginary money, too.

    He then goes on to foretell of people within online gaming universes charging $60 to buy the 'Mirror of Alternate Persona' and then charging $20 a month just to use it, despite bugs, patches, downtime and character balancing issues. No refund for unused mirrors is expected.

    Really my biggest issue with this is who the hell is still playing Lineage II? Game sucks dude.

    Full Article: New Scientist Breaking News - Computer characters mugged in virtual crime spree
    (Via New Scientist)

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    Kid Sunshine

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 3:47 PM

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    "I call it the panic du jour," said Dr. David Kritchevsky of the trans fat fears. Dr. Kritchevsky is a dietary fat and cholesterol researcher at the Wistar Institute, an independent nonprofit research center in Philadelphia. Trans fat, he added, "is an easy whipping boy." - The Panic Du Jour: Trans Fats in Foods - New York Times, August 14, 2005

    From margarine to egg yolks, certain folks never seem to tire of warning, admonishing and advising the general public about what we should and should not be eating, even if it turns out to be entirely made up or blatantly false. This time, Dr. Thomas Frieden, the New York City health commissioner, went as far as to ask restaurants to stop serving trans fats altogether, despite the fact that:

    The National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute and the Food and Drug Administration have all come to the same conclusion: Trans fats are on a par with saturated fats, like butter or lard. Both increase cholesterol levels and most people would be better off if they ate less of all of them. Period. (Ibid.)

    Apparently, Americans eat four times as much saturated fat as trans fat, making saturated fat much more of a health risk. But does anybody bother with the actual FACTS? Nooooo. Why bother, when pulling the fire alarm is so much fun? And you get so much attention! Who cares if there's actually a fire?

    Full Article: The Panic Du Jour: Trans Fats in Foods - New York Times

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    Cheeky Monkey

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 2:51 PM

August 17, 2005

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    Although not actually new, it's certainly news to me: apparently there's a whole set of gene activators & deactivators called epigenomes, or Demethlyation agents. So, even though you start out with a certain genetic package (pre-disposed to pancreatic cancer but immune to chicken pox), these epigenomes can either activate or deactivate what you've been given. The good news is that they might be able to activate the cancer-suppressing gene, but the bad news is that in the domino setup of your genetic makeup, turning on one light could mean inadvertently knocking out the electricity for a city block. At the moment it seems like a great big mess of unknown, but with amazing potential. They're starting to map it all out, though. So, hopefully the answers will be clear sooner rather than later.

    Here's more information than one human can possibly assimilate. And that's just gene 6.

    Human Epigenome Project

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    Cheeky Monkey

    Posted by MostlyForMe at 5:55 PM