Countless essays and books have been written about the erotic nature of high heels. There is no need to reiterate in detail the reasons why so many women swear by uncomfortable three-inch heels and why so many men are happy that they do. Heels change the way a woman walks, forcing her hips to sway. They alter her posture in myriad enticing ways, all of which are politically incorrect to discuss.
But the sexual frisson in Rice's look also comes from the tension of a woman dressed in vaguely masculine attire -- that is, the long, military-inspired jacket. When the designer Yves Saint Laurent first encouraged women to wear trousers more than 30 years ago, his reasons were not simply because pants are comfortable or practical. He knew that the sight of a woman draped in the accouterments of a man is sexually provocative. A woman was embracing something forbidden.
Friday, February 25, 2005
Curtis Weinstein said he experienced this on the softball field from a cadet whose name he didn't know. "He knew I was Jewish and referred to myself and my religion using the f-word, calling me, like, an f-ing Jew, and blaming me for killing Jesus," Weinstein said.
The 750 respondents tell a story of long hours, pressure to do more, missed vacations, staff cutbacks, and as a result, a significant number of journalists who are considering leaving the field. Those most at risk of leaving are young journalists, women, and minorities. But others are not far behind them in that consideration.
The risk of losing journalists due to work-life balance issues is especially troubling because they also report a high level of satisfaction with the work of journalism. It is the working conditions that are at issue.
First they turned on a gene called BCL-2, which promotes growth and regeneration of the optic nerve in young mice. This gene is normally turned off shortly before birth. They then bred those animals with other mice carrying genetic mutations that reduce scar tissue in injured nerves.
The researchers crushed the optic nerves shortly after birth, and found that in young mice - less than 14 days old - between 40% and 70% of the injured optic nerve fibres regrew to reach their target destinations in the brain. No regrowth was seen in injured mice without the genetic modifications.
Eight of the 10 members said in interviews that their past relationships with the drug companies had not influenced their votes. The two others did not respond to phone or e-mail messages.
Researchers with ties to industry commonly serve on Food and Drug Administration advisory panels, but their presence has long been a contentious issue.
"At first I was very angry; he was my best friend, my lover, my partner and my teacher," Anita Thompson said. "But I know he is much more powerful and alive now than ever before. He is in all of our hearts. His death was a triumph of his own human spirit because this is what he wanted. He lived and died like a champion."
In recent months, he had repeatedly talked of killing himself, she said, and had been issuing directives, orally and in writing, on what he wanted done with his body, his unpublished work and his assets.
"Whoever said people should settle into just one job at 65 never witnessed the pride of an 80-year-old grocery bagger," said Skip Eldrud, CEO of the job-placement company Vital Signs Temporary Labor. "It's moving to see that the can-do American spirit lives on, well into the years when declining bodily functions make many tasks difficult or even painful to complete."
"Wake up, service and office-support industries!" Eldrud added. "America's seniors are knocking on your door, and they're politely requesting an employment application."
In their friend-of-the-court brief, EFF, Public Knowledge, and the Consumer Project on Technology argued that patent law allows researchers the freedom to make and use patented products for the purpose of furthering academic study. They also argued that experimentation on patented items for the purpose of creating new inventions is also allowed -- as long the patented products aren't sold by the researchers.
"Patent law was created to help spread knowledge and spur innovation," said Jason Schultz, staff attorney at EFF. "Allowing patent owners to shut down important scientific research flies in the face of that purpose."
The target rocket was fired from the U.S. Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, Kauai, and was hit a few minutes later from a Standard Missile-3 interceptor fired from the USS Lake Erie guided missile cruiser. The ship used the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Weapon System to track the target. By year's end, the U.S. Navy wants 18 ships equipped with the system, Defense Daily notes. [from DefenseTech.org]
The initial sighting of this invisible object came in 2000, from radio wave observations made using the Lovell telescope in Cheshire, England, which sketched a cloud of hydrogen atoms a million times the mass of the sun rotating in the Virgo cluster. Subsequent data from Puerto Rico's Arecibo radio telescope confirmed the existence of the object, dubbed VIRGOHI21. "From the speed it is spinning, we realized that VIRGOHI21 was a thousand times more massive than could be accounted for by the observed hydrogen atoms alone," comments co-discoverer Robert Minchin of Cardiff University. This suggests that abundant dark matter is lurking in the cloud. "If it were an ordinary galaxy, then it should be quite bright and would be visible with a good amateur telescope," he continues. Previous claims for dark galaxies have crumbled after observations using optical telescopes ultimately revealed resident stars. But scrutinizing the region using the optical Isaac Newton telescope in La Palma, Spain, the team did not spot any such signs of the ordinary.
A Media Matters for America analysis of guests who have appeared on cable or network news since the November 2, 2004, election to discuss Social Security failed to find one independent expert with a graduate degree in economics who supported allowing workers to divert Social Security payroll taxes into private accounts.
Media Matters found eight guests who held graduate degrees in economics; three supported privatizing Social Security, and five opposed it. While all five opponents of privatization are supported by independent universities and organizations, all three privatization proponents are funded by right-wing organizations and foundations.
Saying that secrecy in government appears to be on the increase, Judge Robert W. Sweet refused to toss out a First Amendment lawsuit the newspaper filed last year to stop the Department of Justice from getting records of phone calls between two veteran journalists and sources.
"It is clear that a primary obstacle to the ... investigation is uncovering a precise chronology of when, and to whom, classified information was leaked," Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), one of those seeking the subpoena, told E&P. "The revelation by Editor & Publisher that Mr. Guckert kept contemporaneous records of his 'reporting' activities could well be a major step forward in developing such a chronology."
In addition, E&P has confirmed an report on The Raw Story that Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) is circulating a letter among his colleagues that asks President Bush to launch an investigation into how Guckert, who writes under the byline “Jeff Gannon,” gained access to White House press briefings over two years despite having no journalism background and using a false name.
Last weekend, Plummer attended a conference in the southern state of Missouri that drew several hundred representatives of pacifist groups, former combatants, soldiers' families, and others from 35 U.S. states and Canada.
They gathered to discuss the direction of the anti-war movement for the first time since the start of President George W. Bush's second term.
The meeting was coordinated by United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), an umbrella coalition of 1,000 national and local anti-war groups. Leslie Cagan, national coordinator of UFPJ, said the conference winnowed dozens of proposals down to a six-point action plan for the coming year.
''We plan to launch a nationwide grassroots educational campaign to reach out to people who are our allies and constituents that we believe are with us but haven't become part of the movement,'' she told IPS.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
- During the height of the war in Iraq, he conducted televised sessions in Cairo, Paris, and elsewhere for MSNBC.
- In April 2003 Luntz made headlines when a memo - "The Environment: a cleaner, safer, healthier America" (http://www.ewg.org/briefings/luntzmemo/) - he prepared for GOP leaders on how to win "the environmental communications battle" was leaked to the press.
- In May 2003 another memo attributed to The Luntz Research Companies and The Israel Project was leaked. It outlined how American Jewish leaders should incorporate the war in Iraq into their public comments about Israel: "Israeli Communications Priorities 2003" (http://electronicIntifada.net/artman/uploads/luntzwexneranalysis.pdf)
- In March 2004, Grist magazine (http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=18240)Luntz memo (PDF) (http://gristmagazine.com/pdf/luntz-memo.pdf) sent out in February 2004 discussing Americans' intense feelings on the subject of water: "Young and old, Democrat AND Republican, the demand for clean water is universal. More importantly, the public is willing to pay for it . An overwhelming majority of Americans - 91 percent - agree that 'if, as a country, we are willing to invest BILLIONS of dollars annually in highways and airways, we certainly should be willing to make the necessary investments in our nation's waterways. '" [The italic and bold flourishes are Luntz Research's own.] reported on an emphatic
- "Communicating the Principles of Prevention and Protection in the War on Terror" (http://mywebpages.comcast.net/atrios/Luntz.pdf), mentioned on the PBS TV show "Now with Bill Moyers", apparently prepared for the Bush Administration, full of guidance on specific words, phrases, and context to use when talking about the policy of pre-emption and the war in Iraq." This advice included: "No speech about homeland security or Iraq should begin without a reference to 9/11"
- Media Matters for America wrote a letter (http://mediamatters.org/items/200409280002) to MSNBC urging that Luntz not be included in the station's presidential debate coverage, due to "Luntz's partisan Republican ties and history of questionable scientific methodology." MSNBC did decide to cancel Luntz's participation, two days before the first debate. "I think they [MSNBC] buckled to political pressure," Luntz said. "They caved. . . . Why is it that Democrats are allowed to do this, but Republicans aren't?" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4636-2004Oct3.html)
- Journalist and blogger Joshua Micah Marshall, fact-checking a Luntz claim that "he's done no GOP work since 2001," (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A4636-2004Oct3.html) describes regular briefings Luntz gave to the House Republican Caucus, at least as recently as mid-2004, and concludes: "Sounds like Luntz provides regular strategy briefings for Republicans and does it, not suprisingly, in part to troll for work." (http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/week_2004_10_03.php#003562) In a subsequent post, Marshall (expanding on others' reports (http://mediamatters.org/items/200410040008)) wrote, "According to the California Secretary of State's website, the Bill Simon (R) for Governor campaign paid Luntz about $80,000 in 2002 and 2003. He also got paid over $25,000 in 2003 by Darrell Issa's recall committee 'RESCUE CALIFORNIA'."
Imagine hearing that exchange in a movie -- you'd think that Hollywood had come up with a crazy new insult. Well, it turns out that some airline passengers watching the Oscar-nominated film "Sideways" on foreign flights are, in fact, hearing "Ashcroft" as a substitute for a certain seven-letter epithet commonly used to denote a human orifice.
From now on, the U.S. government will control any decision to fire at incoming missiles over Canadian territory, declared the top U.S. envoy to Canada.
"We will deploy. We will defend North America," said Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada.
"We simply cannot understand why Canada would in effect give up its sovereignty - its seat at the table - to decide what to do about a missile that might be coming towards Canada."
The response came just moments after Prime Minister Paul Martin ended months of ambiguity Thursday by announcing that he would not sign on to the controversial missile-defence program.
The National Archives and Records Administration has announced the opening of selected documentary records from the papers of former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
"Approximately 9,700 pages of George H.W. Bush Presidential records that were previously withheld under the Presidential Records Act restrictions for appointments to federal office and/or confidential advice are now open for research," NARA said in a February 18 news release. http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2005/02/nara021805.html
Public access to records of former presidents remains a subject of some controversy due to a November 2001 executive order by President George W. Bush which made it easier to curtail such access. [from Secrecy News]
The plan would weaken the long-standing "chief of mission" authority under which the U.S. ambassador, as the president's top representative in a foreign country, decides whether to grant entry to U.S. government personnel based on political and diplomatic considerations.
It said the law's accountability system, which punishes schools whose students fail to improve steadily on standardized tests, undermined school improvement efforts already under way in many states and relied on the wrong indicators. The report said that the law's rules for educating disabled students conflicted with another federal law, and that it presented bureaucratic requirements that failed to recognize the tapestry of educational challenges faced by teachers in the nation's 15,000 school districts.
"Under N.C.L.B., the federal government's role has become excessively intrusive in the day-to-day operations of public education," the National Conference of State Legislatures said in the report, which was written by a panel of 16 state legislators and 6 legislative staff members.
Several education experts said the panel had accurately captured the views of thousands of state lawmakers, and local educators. If that is so, the report suggests that the Bush administration could face continuing friction with states and school districts as the Department of Education seeks to carry out the law in coming months.
In 20 years, the US has gone from leading the world in wind-energy manufacturing - with at least a dozen enterprising firms - to lagging badly. Companies in Germany, Denmark, Spain, and elsewhere have grabbed the technological lead and now hold roughly 80 percent of a $8 billion market that's growing 25 to 35 percent a year.
The reason? Some experts point to lax clean-air laws in the US. That's right. Weak environmental regulations may hurt, not help, industries by blunting their technological edge. Such contrarian logic, controversial among economists, is about to be put to the test.
By not signing the Kyoto Protocol, the US has set itself apart from most of the industrialized world. So will its companies flourish, thanks to lower environmental costs - or lose out to foreign firms that cut greenhouse gases?
Ethics Group Files Complaint Against Social Security Administration -- SSA Paid PR Firm $1.8 million
But DHS spokesman Marc Short said the department’s job posting is “nothing like” the earlier controversies. Instead of acting as advocates, the reporters would be prohibited from relaying the results of the exercise outside of the “virtual news network” that is part of the training exercise.
“You must NOT be currently employed by a real news organization and will be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement barring you from writing about this in the future,” the job posting stated.
Despite widespread criticism from security experts that a proposed high-tech upgrade to Americans' passports actually introduces new security risks, the government is declining to encrypt data on new high-tech e-passports, according to proposed new rules published last week.
In response to this outside criticism and some public questioning by one of its own contractors, the State Department delayed its rollout of the chip-equipped passports and hired additional companies to provide prototypes.
The move represents an about face for Prime Minister Paul Martin, who in the run-up to a federal election last June said he thought Canada should be part of a system designed to protect the North American continent.
But Martin lost his parliamentary majority in that election and is now struggling to keep his minority government afloat with the support of a smaller left-leaning party which is strongly opposed to missile defense.
"The prime minister plans to announce this week that Canada will not be a part of the missile defense system," a senior official told Reuters late on Tuesday.
These developments are a remarkable turnaround. Scientists first became interested in psychedelic drugs - also called hallucinogens because of their profound effect on perception - after Albert Hofmann, a chemist working for the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Sandoz, accidentally swallowed LSD in 1943. Hofmann's description of his experience, which he found both enchanting and terrifying, spurred scientific interest in LSD as well as naturally occurring compounds with similar effects: mescaline, the active ingredient of the peyote cactus; psilocybin, found in magic mushrooms; and DMT, from the Amazonian shamans' brew ayahuasca.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
The results raise concerns about the danger from nontoxic alternatives to depleted uranium and lead, including the 5.56 mm tungsten-nylon bullet used at Camp Edwards.
The "green" bullet was introduced on the base in 1999, two years after the Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of lead ammunition. The EPA had ordered a massive cleanup of underground pollutants on the base and believed chemicals from spent rounds could seep into the groundwater.
Veterans Gerard Mathew, Herbert Reed and Ray Ramos, featured in the film, “Poison Dust”, an expose on the use of radioactive Depleted Uranium, were guests of honor at a special screening of the film in Manhattan. Matthew’s wife, Janice, recently gave birth to a baby girl, Victoria, who was born with a deformity.
Thousands of tons of this radioactive material are currently being used in munitions and as protective armor on tanks. When weapons are deployed and ignite, the DU is released as fine radioactive dust and remains on the battlefield. It is inhaled or ingested.
...But within days of posting their paper on the arXiv preprint server1, the researchers were given good reason to believe that they are on to something. Davide Lazzati of the University of Colorado at Boulder contacted Paczyski to say that the quark-star hypothesis might explain some puzzling observations made by the Burst and Transient Source Experiment on NASA's Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory, which was launched in 1991.
The Alaska Alpine Club in Fairbanks decided to build a 132-tall ice tower. They used a rotating nozzle that sprayed water, making a kind of giant, upside down icicle. The pictures of the tower are neat, but I was even more impressed with the photos of the home made nozzles they used to make the tower. [from BoingBoing.net]
(Ad running on the American Spectator site.)
Yup, they hate our troops and love gays. This is how they plan on attacking the AARP in their efforts to dismantle social security.
Self-parody at its finest.
Funny thing is, you click on the ad, and it just goes to the USA Next homepage. No effort to even argue the case that the AARP is anti-troop and pro-gay marriage. [from DailyKos.com]
"Blog swarm" is the term applied to a critical mass of blogosphere chatter that forces a story into the mainstream media. Lately the phenomena hasn’t simply been claiming column space, it’s been claiming high profile media careers. It happened to Dan Rather, to Jeff "James Gucker" Gannon and most recently to CNN executive Eason Jordan - who misspoke last month at the World Economic Forum. After the resulting "blog swarm" Eason was forced to resign. Bret Stephens, reporter for the Wall Street Journal, joins Bob to suss out the damage done by the swarm.
Longtime Reader, First Time Inciter
Rony Abovitz also attended the World Economic Forum, invited as a “technological pioneer.” But when he arrived in Switzerland, he was asked to write his impressions as a first-time attendee in the forum’s web log. In his first-ever blog entry, Abovitz described his shock at Jordan’s charge against the U.S. military. If true, he wrote, “it would make Abu Ghraib look like a walk in the park.” Eleven days later Jordan had resigned and Abovitz was credited with igniting the storm that ended his long career at CNN. Bob speaks with Abovitz about inadvertently inciting the blogs.
So it seems that, without ample evidence, CNN’s Eason Jordan made damning insinuations about the U.S. military … and, without knowing precisely what he said, right-leaning bloggers made damning insinuations about Mr. Jordan. But what about the actual substance of Mr. Jordan’s claims? The Committee to Protect Journalists tracks documented cases of aggression against reporters in conflict zones. Bob speaks with Joel Campagna, CPJ’s program coordinator for the Middle East.
Haven't read and processed it all yet. I thought I'd give you guys an early look at it. It's a virtual smogasboard for fans of language framing, and a great "preview of coming attractions".
Warning, it's an 8MB file, so it may take a while to download. [from DailyKos.com]
Number 1 "Hurt": The video for 'Hurt', Johnny Cash's valedictory single recorded just six months before his death, shows a frail and ailing Cash at home, dressed in his usual black outfit, playing guitar and piano, interwoven with past footage of the 'Man in Black' in his heyday.
It proved a poignant elegy for the country music icon, who fought illness for the last decade of his life. He died from complications linked to diabetes in 2003, aged 71.
"We are still in the lead, but it is a precarious one," the association's researchers warn in the conclusion to their report. "Already other countries are challenging us in key technology arenas. If we don't act now to maintain our competitive edge, we should not be surprised if the next wave of breakthrough technologies is created abroad."
Experts are hoping the ChoicePoint case may begin to swing court opinion, which could force companies like ChoicePoint to take better care of consumer privacy and data in the absence of federal legislation.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
So the 84-year-old semi-retired dentist from Philadelphia was a little surprised last August when he got a letter from a local Army recruiting station inviting him to re-enlist.
"I was honorably discharged in 1948," said Baker, who was drafted in 1946 and left the Army with captain's bars on his shoulders. "I thought the letter belonged to somebody else, knowing when I got in the Army and when I got out. I thought it was a mistake."
"Gonzo journalism is a style of reporting based on William Faulkner's idea that the best fiction is far more true than any kind of journalism - and the best journalists have always known this. Which is not to say that fiction is necessarily 'more true' than journalism - or vice versa - but that both 'fiction' and 'journalism' are artificial categories; and that both forms, at their best, are only two different means to the same end." - Hunter S. Thompson
The day after the State of the Union Address, two Interpol fugitives attended the "National Prayer Breakfast" held in Washington DC. The day before that, these fugitives from the law were the guests of honor at an hour-long meeting of the International Relations Committee on Capitol Hill, invited by ranking Democrat Tom Lantos (Calif.)
You would think it would be hot news when wanted men being hunted by European police suddenly pop up in the US particularly on Capitol Hill and at events attended by the US president.
Yet, there was not a single AP story in the US on any of this. Not a single national network television or radio news program even mentioned these facts. In fact, Google and LexisNexis searches four days after these events took place turned up only three newspaper articles on them anywhere in the entire country.
...On Iran, Ritter said that President George W. Bush has received and signed off on orders for an aerial attack on Iran planned for June 2005. Its purported goal is the destruction of Iran’s alleged program to develop nuclear weapons, but Ritter said neoconservatives in the administration also expected that the attack would set in motion a chain of events leading to regime change in the oil-rich nation of 70 million -- a possibility Ritter regards with the greatest skepticism.
The former Marine also said that the Jan. 30 elections, which George W. Bush has called "a turning point in the history of Iraq, a milestone in the advance of freedom," were not so free after all. Ritter said that U.S. authorities in Iraq had manipulated the results in order to reduce the percentage of the vote received by the United Iraqi Alliance from 56% to 48%.
"It's increasingly clear that members of the military were aware of the allegations of torture and that efforts were taken to erase evidence, to shut down investigations and to humiliate the detainees in an effort to silence them," ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said.
The Army did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment. [from UnknownNews.net]
Bush: "Clearly, if I was the leader of Israel and I'd listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs that regarded the security of my country, I'd be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon as well. And in that Israel is our ally, and in that we've made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if her security is threatened."
His comments appeared to be a departure from the administration's line that there are no plans to attack at present and that Washington backs European diplomatic efforts. The remarks may have reflected Mr Bush's personal thinking on an issue causing deep concern in Washington.
Those who track broadcasting trends say there's money to be made in liberal talk radio. Todd Webster, a consultant for Washington-based liberal talk show producer Democracy Radio, said Clear Channel is expected to introduce the left-leaning format on 20 more stations by the end of the year.
"There is a tremendous appetite out there for progressive talk," he said.
In Toxic Sludge we reported that there were already thousands of corporate and government VNRs produced and aired each year, and that number continues to increase. The skillful manipulation of the media by professional propagandists, often with the consent and approval of editors and news directors, is rampant and worsening.
..."The basic goal is to introduce new green materials that will have a positive effect on the environment, reduce waste materials, provide a better bang for the farmers' buck and improve the current properties of petroleum-based printed circuit boards, which are not sustainable," Wool said.
Hwang has decided to offer the item up for auction on his own website, believing that the parody is a legitimate exercise of his free speech rights, and that any claims Apple might make as to infringement are entirely baseless.
The auction will be up until March 14, 12:p.m.
From Negativland.com: Go give the song "U2" a listen.
Some things to read related to the U2 single:
Wired's January 1995 article
Mondo 2000's 1992 interview with The Edge
Among married couples, twice as many blacks as whites rely on Social Security for their entire retirement income, and blacks in their 50s are twice as likely to become disabled as whites, he said.
But Bush says blacks would stand to benefit from his privatization plan because, on average, they die earlier than whites and would not have to wait until retirement to receive benefits.
That argument has rankled many black leaders who denounced the president for trying to capitalize on the life-expectancy problem _ one they say is rooted in health disparities and urban violence _ rather than solve it.
A couple recent articles about the troop shortage:
- From the New York Times: 5 Units of Military Reserve Miss Recruiting Goals [registration required]
- From the
Times: Green Berets' Numbers Fall Short Washington
No worries, though – those recruitment bonuses will make all the difference. Here's just one example:
- From the Philadelphia Inquirer: Dentist, 84, Gets An Offer To Reenlist [military.com]
"The last time Floyd Baker served in the U.S. Army, Dwight D. Eisenhower was still a general. So the 84-year-old, semi-retired Mount Airy dentist was a little surprised last August when he got a letter from a local Army recruiting station inviting him to reenlist."
MetaFilter: Right Wing Front Group Attacks AARP Amazingly the right wingers are going after the American Association of Retired People for being an anti-military, pro-gay liberal front group. Really. Web ads placed on American Spectator mag from USANext have a caption, "The Real AARP Agenda" and a big red checkmark on an American soldier and a green "X" on a picture of two men in tuxedos kissing. The implicit message is that the AARP hates the military and loves gays. Even better, USA Next has hired the media geniuses behind the Swift Boat Veterans to attack the AARP and work for the phase-out of Social Security bia private accounts.
Their assessment is based on pictures of the planet's near-equatorial Elysium region that show plated and rutted features across an area 800 by 900km.
The team think a catastrophic event flooded the landscape five million years ago and then froze out.
... Rosina Bierbaum, dean of the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, said the Bush administration has cut scientists out of some of the policy-making processes, particularly on environmental issues.
"In previous administrations, scientists were always at the table when regulations were being developed," she said. "Science never had the last voice, but it had a voice."
Issues on global warming, for instance, that achieved a firm scientific consensus in earlier years are now being questioned by Bush policy makers. Proven, widely accepted research is being ignored or disputed, she said.
Government policy papers issued prior to the Bush years moved beyond questioning the validity of global warming science and addressed ways of confronting or dealing with climate change.
"I know I am condemned... I'm sure in Washington they are planning my death," Chavez said in a regular Sunday broadcast. "If anything happens to me, you can forget about Venezuela's oil Mr Bush."
Chavez was reacting to recent criticism of his left-wing government by U.S. officials. He often accuses Washington of backing opposition attempts to oust or even kill him, a charge Washington denies.
"If they manage to kill me there will only be one person in this world to blame: the president of the United States," Chavez said. "If you try, you will regret it Comrade Mr Bush."
El-Baradei told Germany's "Der Spiegel" news magazine that European diplomatic efforts can only be successful if Washington joins the talks.
Iran has begun publicly preparing for a possible U.S. attack, as tensions mount between the Bush administration and this country's hard-line leaders over Tehran's purported nuclear weapons program.
"Iran would respond within 15 minutes to any attack by the United States or any other country," an Iranian official close to the conservative clerics who run the country's security and military apparatus said on condition of anonymity.
The Tehran government has announced efforts to bolster and mobilize recruits in its citizens' militia and is making plans to engage in the type of "asymmetrical" warfare that has bogged down U.S. troops in neighboring Iraq, officials and analysts say.
Monday, February 21, 2005
Israeli company Fertiligent has devised a disposable pump to improve the effectiveness of a treatment for infertility for couples unwilling to resort to in-vitro fertilization.
The Fertiligent device mimics the way in which conception occurs naturally - introducing the sperm into the uterus over a period of several hours.
...And for added fun, James Davis and Louise Løcke Foverskov designed Oh! the insimination vibrator, an artificial insemination device that works like a vibrator into which a sperm sample is inserted during the home insemination procedure.
Don't rush to the chemist, it is only a prototype the pair designed last year while they were studying Interaction Design at RCA in London.
Rick Manelick, a colleague of his, had told army investigators investigating the appearance that large sums of money were being paid to an army officer in exchange for granting contracts to Ultra Services, the company they both worked for. Two months after the disappearance he was killed in a drive-by shooting a day after telling a SF Chronicle reporter "I'm in fear of my life, you know. It's not Iraqis I'm worried about, either, it's people from my own country." (Found via SojoMail, see also Topeka DIY and Time. [from MetaFilter.com]
The politicization of science policy in the United States has become a contentious issue in the past several years, with groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists criticizing the Bush administration for favoring political interests over scientific results. Now, that trend seems to be making international inroads.
Adults can tolerate nearly 25 times more of the potentially toxic chemical perchlorate in their drinking water than previously thought, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday.
The announcement marks the first time the EPA has issued an official guideline on how much perchlorate humans can safely ingest.
See also: Rocket Fuel in Milk, Lettuce
According to government records obtained by NRDC through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, EPA officials met secretly more than 40 times with representatives from atrazine's main manufacturer, Syngenta, while the agency was evaluating the weed-killer's toxicity. Ultimately the agency agreed to allow atrazine to stay on the market even though the chemical has contaminated drinking water sources across the country. (See EPA Won't Restrict Toxic Herbicide Atrazine, Despite Health Threat.) The EPA also has been involved in private negotiations with the chemical company Amvac over the status of the insecticide DDVP (dichlorvos), which it sells under a number of trade names, including "No-Pest Strips." These negotiations violate EPA's regulations and federal law, specifically the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the Federal Advisory Committee Act and the Freedom of Information Act, according to NRDC's lawsuit.
In a letter sent Thursday to heads of government departments and agencies, the Government Accountability Office noted that "prepackaged news stories have become common tools of the public relations industry."
From a scientific perspective, one of the most frustrating things about intelligent design is that (unlike Darwinism) it is virtually impossible to test. Old-fashioned biblical creationism at least risked making some hard factual claims -- that the earth was created before the sun, for example. Intelligent design, by contrast, leaves the purposes of the designer wholly mysterious. Presumably any pattern of data in the natural world is consistent with his/her/its existence.
But if we can't infer anything about the design from the designer, maybe we can go the other way. What can we tell about the designer from the design? While there is much that is marvelous in nature, there is also much that is flawed, sloppy and downright bizarre. Some nonfunctional oddities, like the peacock's tail or the human male's nipples, might be attributed to a sense of whimsy on the part of the designer. Others just seem grossly inefficient. In mammals, for instance, the recurrent laryngeal nerve does not go directly from the cranium to the larynx, the way any competent engineer would have arranged it. Instead, it extends down the neck to the chest, loops around a lung ligament and then runs back up the neck to the larynx. In a giraffe, that means a 20-foot length of nerve where 1 foot would have done. If this is evidence of design, it would seem to be of the unintelligent variety.
The Committee has deemed Tuesday "Free Mojtaba and Arash Day" as part of its first campaign.
It is calling on the blogsphere - the name for the worldwide community of bloggers - to do what it can to help raise awareness of the plight of Mojtaba and Arash as well as other "cyber-dissidents".
"If you have a blog, the least you could do is put nothing on that blog except 'Free Mojtaba and Arash Day'," said Mr Hopkins.
The American Civil Liberties Union today released files obtained from the Army revealing previously undisclosed allegations of abuse by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among the documents are reports that a detainee who was beaten and seriously injured was forced to drop his claims in order to be released from custody.
"The torture of detainees is too widespread and systemic to be dismissed as the rogue actions of a few misguided individuals," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "The American public deserves to know which high-level government officials are ultimately responsible for the torture conducted in our name."