Tuesday, March 29, 2005

COPS: Craig's List

This was a fucking great post by a guy on Craig's List: Missed Connections whose car was broken into. How do I know? I'm taking a class on it.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Dino DNA

Apparently they have found some soft tissue of a T-rex in a fossil. That's pretty interesting. Explain to me why the hell it's so important to learn about how the dinosaurs lived and died? Sure, curiousity, but then what? I mean, people have no problem funding research like this, but when it comes to potential life saving research for humans, it's a debate?

Anyway, I thought that they already know everything about dinosaurs. I mean, didn't they make that documentary, what was it called? Jurassic Recreational Area? Whatever, I heard it was only in the theaters for a week or two.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005


I figure the time is ripe for me to jump on the Terry Schiavo bandwagon. What amazes me, and presumably many other people, is how this issue of personal/familial medical choice has somehow become a federal issue. Let me now voice my (uninformed) opinion: it is entirely inappropriate for the president/congress to tamper with state sovereignty in an issue such as the Schiavo case. I'll get back to this in a second, but let me insert one humorous quote from Kevin Drum's blog:

``Still, I'm a little curious about what all this last minute frenzy to get Schiavo's case into federal court is supposed to accomplish. I mean, what arguments are her parents' lawyers going to make to a federal judge that they haven't already made to the state judge?

For what it's worth, Ann Althouse (here) and Orin Kerr (here) have read the complaint and they both seem pretty skeptical that there's anything to it. All of which begs raises no, dammit, begs the question: what will Tom DeLay do next if the case gets tossed out of federal court? Appeal to The Hague?"

Yes, please appeal to the Hague. That would be absolutely hilarious. Anyway, I'm sure other people have commented on it, though I haven't seen it, but I love the fact that religious conservatives feel it's important to save a hopelessly brain-damaged woman from death, yet still support the death penalty. This gives new meaning for what defines a ``hopeless case."

In a wonderful op-ed piece in the NYTimes, Charles Fried explores how Bush's ruling goes systematically against standard conservative beliefs. Some selected highlights:

"The various opinions in this case portray quite clearly the difficult, indeed agonizing, questions that are presented by the constantly increasing power of science to keep the human body alive for longer than any reasonable person would want to inhabit it," - Antonin Scalia

``Congress...demanded that a federal court decide this issue without giving any deference to state law or the previous course of state court proceedings. This is exactly the sort of episodic federal intervention without regard for the integrity of state processes that plagued death penalty cases for years, and that Congress moved to end when it passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. And the real possibility now of the case bouncing back and forth between the federal district court and the federal appeals court, and maybe even back to state court, is just what Congress tried to shut down in death penalty cases."

You can also read this beautiful editorial in the NYTimes. For those of you who haven't seen it, the specificity of the federal ruling is appaling. It gives `"any parent of Theresa Marie Schiavo" standing to sue in federal court to keep her alive.' Anyway, the close of this editorial echoes sentiments of the Bush administrations respect for international law:

``President Bush and his Congressional allies have begun to enunciate a new principle: the rules of government are worth respecting only if they produce the result we want. It may be a formula for short-term political success, but it is no way to preserve and protect a great republic."

Can we wait to see what will happen next? Let's keep this all in perspective: we have one woman, who's right to die peacefully has been turned into a massive political operation. Truly astounding.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

understanding humanitarian crises

pic of graffiti

a nyt article on understanding the dynamics of humanitarian crises (via worldchanging):

Horrible though the genocidal spasms in Rwanda and the aerial bombings in Sudan have been, the vast majority of those who die in African war zones are not done in directly by warriors. Rather, it is the disruption that a few thousand armed men in ragtag militias can create in the lives of millions of civilians that send so many innocents to their graves.

In recent months, aid workers have begun providing a clearer picture of exactly why so many Africans die when conflict flares. Studies of two different war zones, by Physicians for Human Rights and by the International Rescue Committee, concluded separately that the major blame lies with the conditions created by wars in extremely fragile societies.

The first killer is flight...
Most deaths, the survey found, were due to maladies that are easily preventable and treatable in other parts of the world, such as malaria, diarrhea, respiratory infections and malnutrition [the "second killer"]. Less than 2 percent of the deaths were caused by violence.

the worldchanging post goes on to provide additional commentary and links regarding war and associated humanitarian crises.

(picture is of a graffiti'ed parking lot on arch st. btwn. 20th and 21st.)

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Monday, March 21, 2005

finding energy in modern-day windmills

pic of gsk building

via worldchanging:

Colorful panels that look like bookshelves have been placed above the entrance of a shopping mall in Nagoya, Japan. They are in fact part of an electricity generator developed by Inaba Electric Work.

The structure called "Surface of the wall windmill ecological curtain" is made of 775 vertical windmills and is expected to produce 7,551 kilowatt-hours annually. Combined with solar panels set on the top of the structure, the energy collected will be used to power lighting in the mall building.

(pic is of the gsk building as seen from 15th and vine)

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

behavioral change

via harper's index:

The mayor of Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, ordered the entire 1,100-member Nezahualcoyotl police force to read one book a month and to control its cholesterol.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Here was a series of articles from CNN.com. It's funny how things come full circle.

The first was about whether or not lobsters feel pain when the are placed in a pot of boiling water.

The next was about how a 22 lbs lobster was shipped to a fish market in Pittsburgh and how, after being discovered, it was to be saved to live its life out in an aquarium.

One day later, an article was written about how the lobster died en route to his new home at the zoo.

Finally, the next day, an article was written about how the lobster's shell was to be displayed and that the meat was to be sent to labs for testing to determine what the shellfish died of.

In order for the lobster to get as big as it did, it was a feat that it survived for as long as it did. But I wonder if it felt any pain as it was taken away from its natural habitat, forced to travel hundreds of miles to a fish market, then transported again to an aquarium.

I also wonder how long it will take the scientists in the lab to realize no one cares what it died of, and if they will test how best to prepare 22 lbs of lobster meat. Personally, I like mine with a side of melted butter and fresh lemon squeezed on top. Order up!

Why can't all dogs be like the one from The Family Guy?

This was an interesting article I read about how some think that the swinging motion of a baby's mechanical swing might trigger an attack from the family dog.

I'm sorry, did I say interesting, I meant complete bull shit. If you read the article, each time they mention what kind of dog it was, it was a pit bull. And the baby and the dog were left alone together. Here's an idea you fucking geniuses, don't leave an attack dog bred to rip your jugular out with your newborn.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Stop Smoking Campaign

Originally uploaded by farside301.
Here are some ideas for new Stop-Smoking Aids from theonion.com

some interviews to listen to: learning, personal information appliances, population genetics, and bioinformatics

i want to d/l and listen to these recent itconversations, and i didn't want to forget to do so, so i'm posting about them:

DIY whiteboard

good news nerds:

You can get a magnificently large -- 4 by 8 feet --and fabulously cheap whiteboard for all of $13 at Home Depot. What you want is the Solid White Tileboard (sometimes called Melamine tile wall panel) used as a tile substitute in bathrooms. ... You'll need a $1 tube of panel adhesive to glue this 1/8 inch surface to the wall or a piece of plywood. Melamine is the same stuff official whiteboards are made from. These huge sheets are slick and work perfectly well with dry-erase markers. You can cover an entire wall for $50. You can also cut it into smaller pieces with a regular circular saw.

Monday, March 07, 2005

a few links on marriage trends

roof of the kimmel center
(photos is of the roof of the kimmel center, taken from the garden deck)

marriage in singapore, via reblog

Singaporean couples may not be happy with their partners but they will still marry them anyway, a global survey on relationships shows.

The poll of 716 couples who planned to wed showed that 39 percent were unhappy in their relationships, the highest proportion of nine societies surveyed by a U.S.-based marriage and family therapy organization.

The poll is the latest unflattering survey of ardor in a wealthy population that chases what is known in local parlance as the Five C's: career, condominium, club, credit cards and cars.
In the latest survey, only 14 percent of Singaporeans described themselves as "very happy" with their partners, the lowest of the regions surveyed and compared with 48 percent in the United States.
Other regions surveyed were Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany and New Zealand. But Singapore's results stood out sharply, said Olson.

here's a bbc article on marriage trends in japan, via glassdog:

Seven out of 10 single Japanese women believe they can be perfectly happy remaining on their own, according to an opinion poll in the Yomiuri newspaper.

The number of women believing singledom can bring contentment has risen by 10% since 2003, the newspaper said.
Yomiuri's nationwide survey found that 73% of single female respondents and 67% of single males agreed that women could be completely happy living on their own.

But the numbers fell with age. Of those in their 20s, 74% of male and females asked said they believed women could be happy if they did not marry.

The rate dropped to 66% for respondents in their 30s, and 58% for those in their 40s.

and finally, a report from the rutgers national marriage project, via memepool's society section (clip is from the memepool blurb):

A recent report released by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, based on a survey of 1,010 heterosexual men aged 25 to 34, found that 53% of the respondents indicated they are not interested in getting married any time soon. Even more surprisingly, a significant number of eligible bachelors -- 22% percent agreed with a statement that marriage just isn't for them.

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