Snowstorm-Rating System Debuts in U.S.

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Scientists are launching a new way of rating snowstorms, a scale with five categories of intensity that won't be used as a warning tool but will allow storms to be compared with others.

The Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale will be used this winter to rate snowstorms in the Northeast immediately after they strike, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday.

Like the Saffir-Simpson scale for hurricanes and the Fujita scale for tornadoes, the new scale has five levels of intensity.

But rather than being based only on weather factors like wind or storm surge, it also includes the impact on people.

Unlike the hurricane scale, which is used in forecasts to warn specific areas of the need for evacuation, the purpose of the snowstorm scale is to assess the impact of the storm right after it occurs.

There are no immediate plans to try and use it as a warning tool, said Jay Lawrimore of the National Climatic Data Center, which is responsible for calculating the scale.

The scale ranks storms from 1, Notable; 2, Significant; 3, Major; 4, Crippling and 5, Extreme.

Developed by Paul Kocin, a winter storms expert at The Weather Channel, and Louis Uccellini, director of the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction in Camp Springs, Md., the rating factors in the number of inches of snow, the land area affected and the number of people affected.

The scale was developed for the Northeast because of the economic and transportation impact such storms have on the whole country.

Lawrimore said there are plans to extend the scale to other regions, but that needs further study because winter storms develop in different ways in various parts of the country.

Two Northeastern storms in recent years fall into the extreme category under this scale.

One was the storm of March 12-14, 1993 in which nearly 67 million people were inundated with 10 inches of snow or more, almost 20 million were affected by 20 inches of snow and 1.8 million suffered 30 inches or more of snow.

The other, Jan. 6-8, 1996, affected a somewhat smaller land area but dumped 10 inches of snow on 66 million people, 20 inches on nearly 40 million and 30 inches on 5.1 million people.

On this scale, the infamous Blizzard of 1888 that staggered New York City on March 11-14 of that year would have ranked in category 4, Crippling, as would the Blizzard of 1899 that affected coast areas from the Carolinas to Maine in mid-February.

 

As I doubt that I will ever quite get used to the way that Americans decide to do things, I'll continue to rely on my own snowfall gauge, which is admittedly, not very high tech.  It involves looking out the window.  If the car is buried, I'm probably working from home that day.

 

clock Posted Tue Jan 31st, 2006 - 7:07am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

God's Senator

by Jeff Sharlet | Rolling Stone

Who would Jesus vote for?

Meet Sam Brownback Nobody in this little church just off Times Square in Manhattan thinks of themselves as political. They're spiritual -- actors and athletes and pretty young things who believe that every word of the Bible is inerrant dictation from God. They look down from the balcony of the Morning Star, swaying and smiling at the screen that tells them how to sing along. Nail-pierced hands, a wounded side. This is love, this is love! But on this evening in January, politics and all its worldly machinations have entered their church. Sitting in the darkness of the front row is Sam Brownback, the Republican senator from Kansas. And hunched over on the stage in a red leather chair is an old man named Harald Bredesen, who has come to anoint Brownback as the Christian right's next candidate for president.

Over the last six decades, Bredesen has prayed with so many presidents and prime ministers and kings that he can barely remember their names. He's the spiritual father of Pat Robertson, the man behind the preacher's vast media empire. He was one of three pastors who laid hands on Ronald Reagan in 1970 and heard the Pasadena Prophecy: the moment when God told Reagan that he would one day occupy the White House. And he recently dispatched one of his proteges to remind George W. Bush of the divine will -- and evangelical power -- behind his presidency. ...

 

Read the rest of this article here

 

clock Posted Mon Jan 30th, 2006 - 10:22pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

The Montreal Sound? Rock et Roulez

by Claudine Ebeid | NPR

When articles in trend-setting publications -- Spin, The New York Times -- focused on the Montreal "music scene," many locals cringed.

Howard Bilerman was one of them. He has produced and recorded a long list of Canadian bands popular South of the Border -- among them The Dears, Wolf Parade and 2005's indie darlings, Arcade Fire, who are now up for a Grammy.

But Bilerman scoffs at the notion that a "Montreal sound," has suddenly developed, and rejects the recent fuss that's been made over his hometown. He says the media just hasn't been paying attention.

In the early 1990s DJs dominated the music club scene, but as time went on live bands began replacing them. At that time clubs would charge bands to play rather than pay them. As an alternative to paying club fees, musicians created their own spaces in which to perform. One was called the Hotel2Tango, opened by members of the band God Speed You Black Emperor.

The Hotel2Tango eventually became a recording studio, and most acts have moved out of underground lofts and into bars and clubs. At Le Divan Orange, patrons are asked to pay whatever they feel they can afford.

The money goes to musicians such as Katie Moore, a native of Montreal who has played folk music in the city for the last eight years.

Moore says the club boom and the change in payment policy did give the music scene a boost and maybe even helped create a bond between artists, which members of the media have played up.

But Moore says reporting has ignored another fact of life in Montreal:

"I think there's a real separation between the French and English music here," Moore says, adding that the separation may give English bands a close-knit, cooperative spirit.

French musicians have their own community. Gourmet Delice runs the independent label Blow the Fuse Records, home to French punk bands. He's also the bassist in the French punk band Le Nombre. Delice says the media has been shallow in its depiction of the Montreal music scene. He points to two articles that put Montreal on the map in the United States this past year.

"Spin and The New York Times just came to the English bands and completely forgot the French part," he says. "And there are a lot of French bands here doing really well and I think they were really narrow-minded in that aspect."

But he acknowledges that there is good reason that the English bands are getting all the press.

"These bands really were more successful anyway, The Stills and The Dears and stuff," he says. "Those bands go everywhere right away because they sing in English. They're in England, in the States, all over Europe -- as opposed to a French band. To go to the states we have to work really hard to get there."

One of the ways he's working to get there is through a government grant.

Last year the Canadian government invested nearly $14 million in the rock music industry, with 40 percent of the funding going to French-language music. The rest is allotted for music produced in other languages, including English.

Arcade Fire, The New Pornographers, Feist, Metric and Broken Social Scene are all bands that did well commercially at home and abroad in the past year. All received some form of grant or loan from the Canadian government.

Government funding of rock music may be anathema to U.S. listeners, but there is something else that sets the Canadian music scene apart. Musicians seem to have a different attitude toward competition. They're not really into it."

"What's cool in Montreal and Canada is that there is this new measuring of success," says Tim Fletcher, who sings and plays guitar for The Stills. "We're sort of doing it on our own. Whenever we're somewhere else, like at a festival, we all hang out and everyone is like 'Oh the Canadians are so polite'... and that's just how we go about things."

But lumping together all Canadians -- or even artists from Montreal -- won't fly with some folks.

"It's ridiculous," producer Bilerman says. "There are thousands of bands in this city." He says the notion that Montreal has its own "sound" came from reporting "based on five or ten bands all of which live in the same three blocks."

But Bilerman also admits he's heard his share of "four-chord pop songs" of late.

"I'm equally happy -- in fact more happy these days -- to have someone come in and scrape a piece of metal with a screwdriver into a distortion pedal into an amp," he says.

After all, fame brings a certain price.

"Montreal is a really easy city to be anonymous in and all this media attention is ruining that a bit," Bilerman says. "There's always been so little industry here and it's really easy to just do what you want to do and not get distracted by the trappings of industry. And I really hope it returns that way soon."

It just may. Music reporters are already pointing to the new "it" place in music... Portland.

 

Check out this article and sound clips here

 

clock Posted Sun Jan 29th, 2006 - 8:01am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Build a futuristic Space Weapon!

The Lyzrd's Stomp features a step by step "how to" article on building a model of a futuristic space weapon, out of stuff that that you can probably find around your house. 

Nerd-alicious!

 

 

 

clock Posted Sat Jan 28th, 2006 - 12:00pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Magic Bus!

Edmunds.com

1950 GM Futurliner Sells for $4.1 Million

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Meet the world's most expensive bus.

This stunning-looking vehicle has just gone under the hammer at Arizona auction house Barrett-Jackson for a non-mass-transportation price of $4.1 million.

That's the highest auction price ever paid at a Barrett-Jackson sale, leaving in the dust the $3 million that the 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car fetched last year. But this bus is something special. It's a 1950 Futurliner, one of only 12 ever made, and it was used in General Motors' Parade of Progress and Motorama events, the road show that took futuristic GM cars around America before and after World War II.

The auction catalog described the bus, Futurliner number 11, as "a matchless symbol of the American auto industry at the height of its power and influence." The bus — restored from a derelict state in 1990 — was designed by the legendary GM stylist Harley Earl. It and another significant Harley Earl design, the Pontiac Bonneville Special, went to the same private collector. The Bonneville Special, which also featured as part of GM's Parade of Progress, was sold for $2.8 million.

Of the 12 Futurliners, nine are known to survive in some form, but only two others have been restored to their original condition. One is owned by Northeast company Peter Pan Bus Lines and is liveried in the company's green color scheme; the other was recently restored by the National Auto and Truck Museum of the United States (NATMUS) of Auburn, Indiana.

 

clock Posted Fri Jan 27th, 2006 - 8:03am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Internet serves as 'social glue'

BBC News

E-mail cements rather than replaces offline friendships The internet has played an important role in the life decisions of 60 million Americans, research shows. Whether it be career advice, helping people through an illness or finding a new house, 45% of Americans turn to the web for help, a survey by US-based Pew Internet think-tank has found.

It set out to find out whether the web and e-mail strengthen social ties.

The answer seems to be yes, especially in times of crisis when people use it to mobilise their social networks. ..

 


Read the rest here

 

clock Posted Thu Jan 26th, 2006 - 6:33am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Planet Earth, Year 2050

By Traci Hukill | AlterNet

An important report on the world's ecosystems says there is time to avert the worst consequences of global warming, if we start now

The authors of the world's most overlooked environmental study held a press briefing last week in Washington to discuss what life on the planet will be like in 2050. Their upbeat conclusion: fundamental changes, in practice and policy, can protect us from the worst consequences of overpopulation and climate change.

Good news -- if anybody pays attention.

While it may not be a verifiable fact that the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) is the world's most underappreciated eco-study, it's definitely the most unevenly appreciated one. When the huge report first emerged last spring after four years, $24 million and the efforts of more than 1,300 scientists in 95 countries, it made headlines elsewhere. In December it was awarded a Zayed Prize, something like an environmentalist Nobel. Here in the United States, though, the media barely registered its existence.

What a dirty shame. The U.N.-backed Millennium Assessment is the most thorough survey of global ecosystems ever undertaken. It's also the first report of its kind to link ecosystem health to human well-being, and in so doing strikes the rich, rich vein of human self-interest. Showing people what's in it for them is a great way to get something done...

 

Read the rest here

See also: doom and gloom

 

clock Posted Wed Jan 25th, 2006 - 8:49pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

The American Experience of Death

by Bob Jacobson | Corante

Bob Jacobson, whose mother recently passed away, submitted a post on Corante.com calling for experience designers to come up with something better than the "Six Feet Under" travesty he just endured:

"I wanted to remember her as the vital woman she had been. Instead, she became a prettied-up cadaver in a dark wood casket in a somberly commercial mortuary setting. The fake candelabras, recorded organ music, and over-the-top, phony tone of deference by the morticians -- who had the chutzpah to present bills for my grieving father to pay -- was exceeded in grossness only by the noise of the leafblowers wielded by gardeners working the outside of the chapel while the ceremony began..."

 

Read the rest of Bob's post here

See previous entry: Cheap Coffin

 

clock Posted Tue Jan 24th, 2006 - 7:22am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

I'm Mr Annoying Man

I read an article the other day on the Inquirer site, that got me thinking about how oddly fickle we all are about the who, what, and why of stuff that annoys us.  Naturally, I am annoyed by Spam, and those that send it (that's kind of what the article is about) -- but it's about "annoyance by degrees", isn't it?  Are you more annoyed at someone cutting you off in traffic, or by having to put the cap back on the toothpaste tube for the 10th time this week? I mean, when I ponder the things (or people behind the things) that really annoy me, I honestly feel a tinge of guilt.  Isn't everyone annoying to someone else?  If that follows, aren't I probably annoying (by degrees) to others?  So, rather than let any thoughts about my own annoyingness develop into a counter-productive angst, I will strive to be purposefully annoying (to degrees).

Yes, I am Mr. Annoying Man.

 

See: Thousands of Ways to Annoy People

 

clock Posted Mon Jan 23rd, 2006 - 11:12pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

T-Shirts That I would Wear

Here are a few t-shirts that I would wear.

 

 

 

I especially like the one that depicts the right to "bear arms".

 

 

 

 

clock Posted Sun Jan 22nd, 2006 - 3:10pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Algorithm detects Canadian politicians' spin

by Stu Hutson | NewScientist.com

With the most fiercely fought Canadian election in more than a decade taking place on Monday, the crossfire of political rhetoric between the incumbent prime minister and his Conservative Party challenger is becoming heated – but which one is more trustworthy?

According to a new computer algorithm, Prime Minister Paul Martin, of the Liberal Party, spins the subject matter of his speeches dramatically more than Conservative Party leader, Stephen Harper, and the New Democratic Party leader, Jack Layton.

Spin, in this case, is defined as “text or speech where the apparent meaning is not the true belief of the person saying or writing it”, says the algorithm’s developer, David Skillicorn at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.

He and his team analyzed the usage patterns of 88 deception-linked words within the text of recent campaign speeches from the political leaders. They then determined the frequency of these patterns in each speech, and averaged that number over all of that candidate’s speeches. Martin received a ranking of 124, while Harper and Layton scored 73 and 88, respectively.

“I think it’s expected that any party in power is going to use spin more than the challenging party,” Skillicorn says. “They have a track record to defend.”

Tarnished record With a solid run of 14 years as the dominant party in Canada, the Liberal Party has a long record – one which has been tarnished in the past year by accusations of illegal donations and kickbacks. Many political experts expect the conservatives, who have a solid lead in the polls, to oust the liberal party this election.

“The guy who’s doing the most tap-dancing is the guy who’s under the spotlight,” said John Wright, senior vice president of the polling company Ipsos Reid. “The pressure is going to show.”

Conservative parliament members, such as Jason Kenney, point to the analysis as proof of their leader’s honesty. “People used to think he’s boring, but now they recognize that he’s a straight shooter without the spin.”

But Liberal Party spokesman Ken Polk disagrees: “If that is what the algorithm shows, I think it needs quite a bit of work,” he says.

Interrogator tactics The computer algorithm is based on a psychological model constructed by James Pennebaker at the University of Texas, Austin, US. While studying the lying and truth-telling of hundreds of test subjects, he uncovered patterns linked to deception, such as the decreased use of personal pronouns – such as I, we, me, us – and exception words, such as “however” and “unless".

The patterns are probably of subconscious origin, he said, much like the physical cues – such as pupil dilation or changes in breathing – which interrogators use to tell when a subject is being untruthful.

Skillicorn decided to apply the technique to the presidential speeches after using it to investigate the text of emails sent between Enron Corporation executives before the company’s infamous bankruptcy in 2001.

He admits that the algorithm is still a work in progress, but “with this much of a difference, I think the results are still pretty clear”.

 

clock Posted Sat Jan 21st, 2006 - 10:10am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

What Makes a Great Prank?

From Hermes to bonsai kittens

the Economist

AS A pupil at a minor English boarding school, one of the rituals your correspondent dreaded most was morning chapel: 600 boys and a dozen berobed “masters” crammed into a cold, dim chamber for ten minutes of dreary hymns and prayers. Until, that is, one morning, the solemn atmosphere was shattered by an unforgettable act of comic bravado. Seconds after the headmaster—known as the Head Horse on account of his equine features—took his seat, a giant white sheet rolled down over the arched entrance. On it was a caricature of a grinning horse wearing a mortar-board. Lord, how we laughed.

The perpetrators' identities did not stay secret for long—what schoolboy could resist boasting of such a jape? The rolled-up sheet had been held in place by thread that was tied to the switch for the headmaster's reading light so tautly that when he turned it on, the thread snapped and the caricature was unfurled. The Head Horse had been forced to humiliate himself. Even he had to admit it was ingenious.

Abbie Hoffman, a 1960s radical-cum-trickster, said most pranks fell into one of three categories: “good” pranks were amusingly satirical, “bad” ones gratuitously vindictive, and “neutral” ones surreal and soft on the victim (if there was one). An example of the first is the time Mr Hoffman and his fellow “Yippies” showered the floor of the New York Stock Exchange with dollar bills in 1967, thereby managing to stop the tickertape for six minutes while traders scrambled to pick up the notes. For a taste of the second, go to any college fraternity initiation. Examples of the third are many and delicious. A master of the art in the early 20th century was Horace de Vere Cole, an inveterate British prankster. Cole bore a striking resemblance to the then leader of the Labour Party, Ramsay MacDonald, and one of his favourite japes was to appear at Labour rallies posing as MacDonald, stride on stage to rapturous applause, and denounce everything the party stood for.

Priceless or puerile? There's the rub, for one man's brilliant prank is another's mindless stunt. Most would agree that the best pranks offer more than just deception, mischievousness or ridicule, and that much of the genre dished up on television now—the mutant progeny of shows like “Candid Camera”—falls well short of the mark. But what is that special ingredient? Elaborateness or simplicity? Satirical bite or surrealism? Irony or bluntness? Even dictionaries seem unsure how to define “prank” (orig. unk.): it is, by turns, a malicious trick, a conjuring act performed to deceive or surprise, a mischievous frolic, and more. ...

read the rest of the article here

see also: prank.org ; the Museum of Hoaxes

 

clock Posted Fri Jan 20th, 2006 - 3:36pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

World Hum

 

This is a one of the best travel writing web sites that I have ever come across.

 

clock Posted Thu Jan 19th, 2006 - 8:55pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Advertising with Google Maps

From the MIT Advertising Lab:

Advertisers are slowly discovering the potential of Google Maps, and some, like the Target store shown on the left (more at Google Sightseeing), are even enjoying some unexpected windfall. Poynter Online talks about realtors tapping into satellite imaging tools. Google Maps Mania is running a log on map hacks, some of them by businesses. Scavengeroogle is an armchair scavenger hunt based on the service - you too can have people looking for your brand landmark (like, again, the Target stores).

Here's a how-to on integrating Google Maps into your website.

 

clock Posted Wed Jan 18th, 2006 - 12:16pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

American Myths

The Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute (www.cdfai.org) and The Dominion Institute (www.dominion.ca), have put together a series about Canadian ideas and myths regarding our southern neighbours.  This is interesting on a bunch of levels. I wonder how much of our prejudices are based upon a collective "mistaken self-identity" for who we Canadian are, and what our nation represents?  What shade of coloured glass do we look at others through?

 

From the A.M. web site introduction:

Canadians share their continent with the global superpower; naturally, they are wary. Yet, centuries of interaction have brought Canadians and Americans to talk, trade, fight as allies, intermarry and immigrate to each other's territory. As a result, Canadians believe they intuitively understand their neighbours and proclaim that we "get" the US better than anyone else.

But Canadians nonetheless cherish ideas - even myths - about Americans that may not be true. Many would agree that Americans are warlike, while Canadians are the world's peacekeepers; that Canada is a beacon of social welfare innovation, while America is a regressive and uncaring state; that America's ethnic melting pot is hidebound and discriminatory, while Canada's is the enlightened and tolerant nation in North America.

But how appropriate is this conventional wisdom? Do we truly understand Americans, or have our internal political battles and insecurities led to a distorted perception of America? How do our myths about the US impact the relationship between the two nations? Most important of all, how do they affect our sense of ourselves and our ability to grapple with the challenges and opportunities Canada faces?

"American Myths" aims to challenge Canadians by provoking a critical study of their perceptions and preconceptions about their superpower neighbour. "American Myths" also endeavourers to bring forward a range of ideas and perspectives about what constitutes Canadian identity and how we can confront the challenges we face, as opposed to defining Canadian interests and identity simply in opposition to the US.

 

Thanks to Dick for sending me this.

 

clock Posted Tue Jan 17th, 2006 - 8:02am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

The World Question Centre

This is cool!

 

The Edge Annual Question — 2006

 

From the Word Question Centre at the Edge:

WHAT IS YOUR DANGEROUS IDEA?

The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?

Check out some of the essays here.

 

clock Posted Mon Jan 16th, 2006 - 7:22pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Toasting Toast

Apparently, it's the 100th anniversary of the invention of the electric toaster this month. 

I found the following article at the Grain Foods Foundation (via Dr. Toast's Amazing  World of Toast).

 

DENVER, CO - It's the world's first comfort food, and one of the most enduring simple pleasures in our nation's history. More than 75 million Americans enjoy a piece of golden brown toast every day. In fact, our nation's love of toast has inspired the creation of collectors' conventions, a national toaster museum, web sites, songs about toast and cookbooks with recipes for nothing but toast.

November is National Bread Month and to celebrate bread and our nation's love affair with toast, the non-profit Grain Foods Foundation is recognizing the 100 th anniversary of the invention of the first electric toaster.

This is a milestone in the history of America's fascination with electronic gadgets. Before radios, before blenders, before televisions, before microwave ovens, before computers and before i-Pods were popular, there was the toaster - the first electric appliance in history to mass populate American homes.

While some gadgets come and go, toasters remain a popular item. About 12 million toasters are sold annually, according to Consumer Reports. Approximately 90 percent of homes in America have a toaster. ..

 

Read the rest here

See also: Dr. Toast's Amazing  World of Toast

 

For the record, I prefer my toast with either homemade blueberry jam, or Lyle's Golden Syrup.  Thanks.

 

clock Posted Sun Jan 15th, 2006 - 8:03pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Holey Question

If I dig a  hole deep enough, where on the other side of the world will my hole emerge?  

If you're like me, and have been asking this question since your sandbox days -- I'm delighted to tell you that there's a quick answer. Although this assumes that you are digging a hole that is perfectly straight down...

 

see also: Tailor-Made Cartography with Google Maps @ NPR

See previous entry: Cool Things to Do with Google

 

clock Posted Sat Jan 14th, 2006 - 8:45am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Nikon to Stop Making Film Cameras

This comes as a bit of a surprise -- however, I understand that they will continue selling the F6 and the FM10.  If you had of told me this 5 years ago, I could have thought you completely nuts.

 

NEW YORK (AP) -- Nikon Corp., which helped popularize the 35mm camera five decades ago, will stop making most of its film cameras to concentrate on digital models.

The Japanese company said it wanted to focus on "business categories that continue to demonstrate the strongest growth" as film cameras sales keep shrinking.

Nikon will discontinue seven film-camera models, leaving in production only the current top-line model, the F6, and a low-end manual-focus model, the FM10.

It will also stop making most of its manual-focus lenses.

Most of the company's autofocus lenses work with manual-focus bodies, however. Also, German optical company Carl Zeiss AG is widely reported to be planning a line of manual-focus lenses for Nikon bodies.

Nikon did not give firm dates for the discontinuation of its products, but said Wednesday that sales will cease as supplies are depleted.

Major competitor Canon Inc. still makes five models of single-lens reflex film cameras. At the lower end of the market, Eastman Kodak Co. announced in 2004 that it would stop selling film cameras in the United States and Europe.

Nikon ranks fifth in digital-camera shipments in the United States, behind Kodak, Canon, Sony Corp. and Fuji Photo Film Co.

Nikon was a major force in establishing the dominance of the 35mm single-lens reflex camera, the workhorse of professionals and sophisticated amateurs until the arrival of digital cameras.

Its breakthrough model was the F, released in 1959. It set a standard for ruggedness and reliability and became a must-have for photojournalists.

Unusually, Nikon has maintained the same lens mount over the years, meaning most lenses from 1959 will fit today's digital models and vice versa, albeit with functional restrictions.

 

clock Posted Fri Jan 13th, 2006 - 10:56pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Taiwan breeds green-glowing pigs

By Chris Hogg | BBC News, Hong Kong

Scientists in Taiwan say they have bred three pigs that glow in the dark.

They claim that while other researchers have bred partly fluorescent pigs, theirs are the only pigs in the world which are green through and through.

The pigs are transgenic, created by adding genetic material from jellyfish into a normal pig embryo.

The researchers hope the pigs will boost the island's stem cell research, as well as helping with the study of human disease.

The researchers, from National Taiwan University's Department of Animal Science and Technology, say that although the pigs glow, they are otherwise no different from any others.

Taiwan is not claiming a world first. Others have bred partially fluorescent pigs before. But the researchers insist the three pigs they have produced are better.

They are the only ones that are green from the inside out. Even their heart and internal organs are green, they say.

To create them, DNA from jellyfish was added to about 265 pig embryos which were implanted in eight different pigs.

Four of the pigs became pregnant and three male piglets were born three months ago.

In daylight the researchers say the pigs' eyes, teeth and trotters look green. Their skin has a greenish tinge.

In the dark, shine a blue light on them and they glow torch-light bright.

The scientists will use the transgenic pigs to study human disease. Because the pig's genetic material is green, it is easy to spot.

So if, for instance, some of its stem cells are injected into another animal, scientists can track how they develop without the need for a biopsy or invasive test.

But creating them has not been easy. Many of the altered embryos failed to develop.

The researchers say they hope the new, green pigs will mate with ordinary female pigs to create a new generation - much greater numbers of transgenic pigs for use in research.

 

By Chris Hogg??!  Too Funny! 

See also: Green Eggs and Ham

See also: No eggs, but green ham I am

 

clock Posted Thu Jan 12th, 2006 - 12:01pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

The Arsonist

In his first six months at the UN, John Bolton has offended allies, blocked crucial negotiations, undermined the secretary of state -- and harmed U.S. interests. We expected bad; we didn’t expect this bad.

By Mark Leon Goldberg | The American Prospect

There is an excellent coffee shop in the basement of the United Nations building in New York. The espresso is served bitter and strong, Italian style. Sandwiches can be bought on hard French baguettes, and the pastries are always fresh. Whenever a meeting lets out in one of the conference rooms adjacent to the shop, diplomats make a beeline to the cash registers. Others light cigarettes: Though the United Nations is in Manhattan, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-smoking crusade has not yet penetrated the complex, which sits on international land; so, beneath conspicuous no-smoking signs, diplomats routinely light up, creating a hazy plume that gives the Vienna Café a decidedly European feel.

The European way of doing things, in the weeks preceding the mid-September 2005 United Nations World Summit, could not be stretched to include the 35-hour workweek. For days, frantic negotiations on the substance of far-ranging UN reforms dragged on from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. But the one UN ambassador who generally arrived earliest and stayed latest always looked more upbeat than his bleary-eyed counterparts. “All night -- all right!” quipped John Bolton to a press stakeout.

There was a reason for Bolton’s cheer: He was the man most responsible for the complexity of these negotiations. A month earlier, the newly minted, recess-appointed U.S. ambassador had sent negotiations into a tailspin when he submitted some 750 alterations to a 39-page text known as the “summit outcomes” document. Bolton’s most eye-popping suggestion at this summit, billed as a renewal of the UN’s 5-year-old pledge to help poor countries, was that all 14 references in the document to the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) be deleted. ..

 

Read the rest of the article here

See previous entry: Bush Stands by His U.N. Man

 

clock Posted Wed Jan 11th, 2006 - 10:35pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Kid spending a year at Disney World before college

A 19-year-old entrepreneur is blowing $100,000 out of his savings on spending a year at Walt Disney World before going away to college. "Jupelo" is the alias of a young man who flies to Disney for six days every week, stays in Disney hotel, and goes to parks and resorts every day, all day.

Link

 

Hrmm. 

 

clock Posted Tue Jan 10th, 2006 - 6:52pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Old media is clueless on Web

from Surfersvillage / Newswatch India

As traditional news outlets like newspapers magazines and TV stations grapple with moving online, they must cultivate key audiences including 35- to 44-year-olds, who are the biggest consumers of online sources a study shows. Some 24 percent of this demographic, which includes members of Generation X and Baby Boomers, get their news online.

Meanwhile, only 19 percent of these same consumers read newspapers, according to a report from JupiterResearch. Contrast that with people over 55. Some 41 percent of them read newspapers intensively. The audience for online news is often separate and distinct from the audience that consumes news in print or on television, and the web audience isn’t satisfied with news that’s merely recycled from a paper or a broadcast.

This explains in part why many major newspapers and magazines aren’t boosting traffic to their web sites to offset losses in circulation as much as they would like, the report said. They are increasingly competing with blogs, portals, and news aggregators that distribute information in a more informal, conversational, and engaging way, the report said.

“The issue that hangs like a cloud for everybody in this area is ‘How can I do this without harming my traditional media property?’” said Barry Parr, Jupiter media analyst and author of the report. “That’s a hard question.” The Internet has created new habits and consumption patterns as audiences migrate to the web.

However, print still has its share of loyal fans, primarily the older and more affluent cross-sections of society. People read newspapers out of habit and because its form currently makes it more practical to read on a plane, say, than it would be to surf the Net. But that may change as technologies change...

 

Read the rest of the article here

 

clock Posted Mon Jan 9th, 2006 - 3:55pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

1979 IBM minicomputer brochure

Raymond Frohlich has scanned and posted 16 photos from a 1979 brochure for an IBM 4331 Processor: "Exceptionally compact, yet more powerful than many larger systems, the IBM 4331 Processor is designed to provide advanced computing benefits at a cost comparable to what you're probably paying now for a system with less application capability."

Part 1 Link, Part 2 Link

 

clock Posted Sat Jan 7th, 2006 - 9:02am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Little Christmas Day

Little Christmas or Nollaig Bheag in the Irish language, is one of the traditional names in Ireland and Italy for January 6, more commonly known as the Epiphany. It is so called because it was, until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, the day on which Christmas Day was celebrated. It is the traditional end of the Christmas season and the last day of the Christmas holidays for both Primary and Secondary schools.

It is also known as Nollaig na mBean (Women's Christmas) It is so called because of the tradition (still strong in Cork, though only just surviving in the rest of the country) of Irish men taking on all the household duties on that day and giving their spouses a day off.

 

See previous entry: Epiphany!

 

clock Posted Fri Jan 6th, 2006 - 7:47am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Irving Layton 1912 - 2006

'There was Irving Layton, and then there was the rest of us' - Leonard Cohen

I met Irving Layton through a classmate at Concordia back in 1981, and I recall attending a concert with him at the Loyola Chapel Auditorium.  I believe it was Valdy playing.

I had just struggled through "the Collected Poems of" -- and I told him that.

We love in another's soul whatever of ourselves we can deposit in it; the greater the deposit, the greater the love.  ~ Irving Layton

I couldn't be that cynical if I tried on my darkest day.

 

National Post story/obit

Wiki entry for Layton

 

clock Posted Thu Jan 5th, 2006 - 9:55pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Wrist Dreams

I've been checking out eBay and elsewhere lately for a decent watch, to replace those that I have lost, have had stolen, or ones that are otherwise sitting in a drawer with dead batteries.

If you haven't looked at watches in a while, you may be amazed to see what some folks consider to be cool.

 

Check out Wrist Dreams

 

 

clock Posted Wed Jan 4th, 2006 - 8:34am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Photoshopped landscapes

Today's Worth1000 photoshopping contest asked participants to modify natural landscapes to make them appear to contain sculptural shapes from everyday life.

Says Cory at BoingBoing: "This tickles exactly the same part of my brain that shapes-in-clouds or a stucco ceiling triggers: that big pattern-seeking mechanism that turned us into hominids. Apophenia is both satisfying and addicting."

 

Link to Worth100.com

 

 

clock Posted Mon Jan 2nd, 2006 - 10:24am by CPC  Return to home page Top of page


 

Aslan is on the Move!

I went to see The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe with a friend this evening. 

 

Awesome!

 

see previous entry: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

 

clock Posted Sun Jan 1st, 2006 - 10:47pm by CPC  Return to home page Top of page