March 31, 2008

Doctors support universal health care: survey

More than half of U.S. doctors now favor switching to a national health care plan and fewer than a third oppose the idea, according to a survey published on Monday.

The survey suggests that opinions have changed substantially since the last survey in 2002 and as the country debates serious changes to the health care system.

Read more.

US credit crunch hits education as banks abandon student loans

One of America’s leading banking associations has given warning that the United States faces a growing educational apartheid as some lenders withdraw from student loans amid new evidence that the credit crisis has spread across all types of borrowing.

In the past fortnight, some banks, including HSBC, have pulled out of the $85 billion (£42 billion) a year US student loans market, fuelling anxiety that the turmoil that hit debt markets on Wall Street last summer is spilling over into the wider economy and making credit more difficult to secure for ordinary American households.

Read more.

CIA Boss Says New Al-Qaeda Are White Westerners

Citing absolutely no evidence whatsoever, CIA boss Michael Hayden told NBC's Meet The Press yesterday that Al-Qaeda is training new fighters that "look western" and could easily cross U.S. borders, in the latest attempt to re-focus the mammoth apparatus of anti-terror against the American people.

Read more, but stay scared.

Toshiba robot can do the job of the remote control

Fed up with increasingly hard-to-use remote controls? Researchers at Japan's Toshiba have developed a small, talking robot that can learn how to do it for you.

Read more.

Nomophobia is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact - and it's the plague of our 24/7 age

Millions apparently suffer from "no mobile phobia" which has been given the name nomophobia.

They have become so dependent on their mobile that discovering it is out of charge or simply misplacing it sends stress levels soaring.


They add that you could also try to liberate yourself from the shackles of your mobile by simply switching it off.

The things we humans stress over.

Read more.

Civilians handle minor duties for strapped police

That means people calling 911 to report a traffic accident, a burglarized home or a stolen car may be greeted by a civilian in a polo shirt instead of a gun-toting officer.


The civilians also come much cheaper. In Las Vegas, a sworn officer who has cleared his initial probation period makes at least $54,000. Starting salary for civilian responders is $32,000.

Read more.

Apple has biggest impact on world consumers: survey

The Apple (AAPL.O) brand has the biggest impact on the world's consumers, while Microsoft (MSFT.O) and the United States nation brand are those considered most in need of a remake, a survey showed on Monday.

Read more.

Sweeps of Human DNA Yield Discoveries

Scientists are scanning human DNA with a precision and scope once unthinkable and rapidly finding genes linked to cancer, arthritis, diabetes and other diseases.

Read more.

Google Earth to get Street View within 'weeks'

Clearly, Google's goal is to offer users the capability to continuously zoom from space down to detailed views of houses and buildings.

Read more.

RIAA Wants Songwriter Royalty Lowered

"Lest there be anyone left who believes the RIAA's propaganda that its litigation campaign is intended to benefit the 'creators' of the music, Hollywood Reporter reports that the RIAA is asking the Copyright Royalty Board to lower songwriter royalties on song file downloads, from the present rate of 9 cents per song — about 13% of the wholesale price — down to 8% of wholesale. Meanwhile, the big digital music companies, such as Apple, want the royalty rate lowered even more, to something like 4% of wholesale. So any representations by any of these companies that they are concerned for the 'creators' of the music must henceforth be taken with a boxcar-load of salt."

Like you're surprised.

Read more.

"Never Been Seen Before"

Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologists have been analyzing the steam and gas plume that’s been gushing from Halemaumau crater at the summit of Kilauea since March 11th.

They've found something they didn’t expect: the H2O in their test tubes is not from ground water. It's been released from the molten subterranean magma itself.

They’re calling it “juvenile water,” and it’s never been seen before anywhere on the planet, says Jim Kauahikaua, chief scientist.

Read more.

Try this headline: Black Hole Eats Earth

More strife in Iraq. U.S. financial system in crisis. Rice prices soar.

None of these headlines will matter a bit, though, if two men pursuing a lawsuit in a court in Hawaii turn out to be right. They think a giant particle accelerator that will begin smashing protons together outside Geneva this summer might produce a black hole that will spell the end of the Earth - and maybe the universe.

Scientists say that is very unlikely - though they have done some checking just to make sure.


Although it sounds bizarre, the case touches on a serious issue that has bothered scholars and scientists in recent years - namely how to estimate the risk of new groundbreaking experiments and who gets to decide whether or not to go ahead.

Read more.

Should La Senza target girls of five with underwear like this?

The garments are advertised on the store's website, which says: "Introducing La Senza's latest collection – La Senza Girl, why should grown-ups have all the fun?"

The site, which boasts that its adult collection is "sexy, sensual, flirty and romantic", claims the underwear is intended to offer young girls "coverage" before they are ready for a training bra.

But politicians, children's charities and campaigners have hit out angrily at the chain, saying it is putting children at risk and encouraging teenage pregnancy.

Read more.

Relax, the planet is fine - The National Post - 4/21/2007

Q: Having said that, are there any behaviours we should be changing, as a society, in order to protect our planet?

A: Yes. We should learn math and physics so we don't get fooled by this idiocy.

Read more.

Death for hire - suicide machine lets you push final button

Merely lending the machine to a prospective suicide is not, say legal experts, against German law. Gerhard Strate, a defence lawyer from Hamburg, said: “As long as the sick person is fully conscious and aware, then lending the machine to him is no more illegal than lending him a kitchen knife or a razor blade. It becomes illegal only if the potential suicide asks someone in the room to press the button for him.”

Read more.

Muslims more numerous than Catholics: Vatican

Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the biggest single religious denomination in the world, the Vatican said on Sunday.

Read more.

March 29, 2008

Hackers Assault Epilepsy Patients via Computer

Internet griefers descended on an epilepsy support message board last weekend and used JavaScript code and flashing computer animation to trigger migraine headaches and seizures in some users.


The incident, possibly the first computer attack to inflict physical harm on the victims, began Saturday, March 22, when attackers used a script to post hundreds of messages embedded with flashing animated gifs.

The attackers turned to a more effective tactic on Sunday, injecting JavaScript into some posts that redirected users' browsers to a page with a more complex image designed to trigger seizures in both photosensitive and pattern-sensitive epileptics.

Humans can be so disgusting.

Read more.

Religion 'linked to happy life'

However, researcher Professor Andrew Clark said other aspects of a religious upbringing unrelated to belief may influence future happiness.

Ya think.

Read more.

Bush proposes financial regulation overhaul

The proposal would designate the Fed as the primary regulator of market stability, greatly expanding the central bank's ability to examine not just commercial banks but all segments of the financial services industry.

Read more.

March 28, 2008

The 9/11 Stand Down in 2 Minutes

NORAD, responsible for intercepting errant aircraft over the U.S., has a standard operating procedure for scrambling planes for interception which takes less than 15 minutes

They did this successfully (on time) 129 times in 2000 and and 67 times between September 2000 and June 2001.

Yet, on September 11th, they failed to do their job 4 times in a single day:

Read more.

UW study finds surprising genetic causes of schizophrenia

As if the science of how genetics leads to disease isn't already complex enough, researchers in Seattle and Long Island, N.Y., say individuals appear to develop schizophrenia from a varying smorgasbord of bad genes rather than common genetic flaws.

Scientists at the University of Washington and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory report in Friday's edition of the magazine Science that multiple errors or deletions in a person's genetic code, or DNA, can lead to schizophrenia -- a psychiatric illness characterized by delusions and disordered thinking that today affects one of every 100 people.

Read more.

March 27, 2008

White House: Computer hard drives tossed

Older White House computer hard drives have been destroyed, the White House disclosed to a federal court Friday in a controversy over millions of possibly missing e-mails from 2003 to 2005.

The White House revealed new information about how it handles its computers in an effort to persuade a federal magistrate it would be fruitless to undertake an e-mail recovery plan that the court proposed.

Read more.

Belly Fat Is Linked to Dementia Risk

You've heard the message: Having a bulging belly can be detrimental to your health. Extra weight around the midsection is known to increase one's risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and early death. Now a new study, published today in the journal Neurology, suggests that having a larger belly in middle age may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

Read more.

March 26, 2008

Filmgoers get a taste of the good life

Variety reports that new mega-luxury theaters are in the developing stages.

A recession may be looming, but a group of investors thinks Americans are ready to pony up $35 for a movie ticket.

Um, no.

Each complex will sport theaters featuring 40 reclining armchair seats with footrests, digital projection and the capability to screen 2-D and 3-D movies, as well as a lounge and bar serving cocktails and appetizers, a concierge service and valet parking.

Um, still no.

But the circuit will especially push its culinary offerings -- made-to-order meals like sushi and other theater-friendly foods from on-site chefs (a service button at each seat calls a waiter). Moviegoers will have to pay extra for any food they order, however.

Um, definitely no.

"The demand for luxury moviegoing in the U.S. is very strong, and by working with our partners, we are delivering on that demand in a way never before experienced by the American consumer," said Kirk Senior, CEO of Village Roadshow Gold Class Cinemas.

Well, good luck to you, but you won't be seeing me shelling out that much cash just to go out to a movie.

Am I alone here?

March 22, 2008

Terror scholar: 'WoW' could let government sniff out plots

Every few months, we hear about some theorist or academic who has determined that al-Qaida is using virtual worlds like WoW to plot disaster. And every time that happens, a bunch of government officials probably get very freaked out and think that maybe it's time to start running data mining projects in those environments, just like the Office of the DNI did.

But as I wrote last month and I will continue to write, just because someone theorizes it doesn't mean it's true.

Read more.

World of Warcraft Shines Light on Terror Tactics

Virtual terrorists blowing themselves up and spreading disease inside World of Warcraft could provide counterterrorists with a window into real-world plots.

Such activities in the massively multiplayer online game bear an eerie resemblance to actual terrorism, and analyzing terror tactics in Warcraft could prove more enlightening than current computer simulations used by counterterrorists.

Read more.

Climate facts to warm to

So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued ... This is not what you'd expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you'd expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up ... So (it's) very unexpected, not something that's being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it's very significant."

Read more.

March 21, 2008

Comcast Cameras To Start Watching You?

The idea being that if you turn on your cable box, it recognizes you and pulls up shows already in your profile or makes recommendations. If parents are watching TV with their children, for example, parental controls could appear to block certain content from appearing on the screen. Kunkel also said this type of monitoring is the “holy grail” because it could help serve up specifically tailored ads. Yikes.

It's not the tailored ads that I'm worried about.

Read more.

March 20, 2008

Good marriage equals good blood pressure

A happy marriage is good for your blood pressure, but a stressed one
can be worse than being single, a preliminary study suggests.

That second finding is a surprise because prior studies have shown that
married people tend to be healthier than singles, said researcher
Julianne Holt-Lunstad.

Read more.

After 38 years, Israeli solves math code

The conjecture essentially assumed it's possible to create a "universal
map" that can direct people to arrive at a certain destination, at the
same time, regardless of starting point. Experts say the proposition
could have real-life applications in mapping and computer science.

That's pretty cool.

Read more.

Science, Bible agree: Giving is better

The Bible counsels misers that it's better to give than to receive. Science
agrees. People who made gifts to others or to charities reported they
were happier than folks who didn't share, according to a report in
Friday's issue of the journal Science.

Read more.

Philip Morris Tries to Engineer the Cancer Out of Tobacco

Scientists have genetically modified tobacco plants to knock out a gene
that helps turns nicotine into one of the carcinogens in cured tobacco.

Read more.

Distinguishing Artificial From Natural Is Possible, for Now

Today the mystery of the natural versus the artificial is moving from
mountains and forests down to the microscopic realm. Scientists can now
synthesize DNA from scratch. They regularly add new genes to bacteria,
plants and animals. They are learning how to manufacture whole genomes.
Can we tell the difference between our growing menageries of engineered
organisms and natural ones? A fascinating
new study from scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California shows that we can -- at least for now.


But now imagine a different kind of genetic engineering. Imagine that
some scientists decide to make the bacteria that cause bubonic plague
easier to spread. Imagine that they manage to do exactly that by adding
plasmids carrying a gene from a different pathogen. It would be a lot
harder to determine whether this new strain was the work of humans,
because different species of bacteria will sometimes naturally swap

Read more.

The looming global food shortage

With January's
inflation figures now out, the news just gets worse. Part of our
hardship results from the long drought Jamaica is experiencing, which
has caused food shortages and hence rising prices. However, Jamaica is
hardly swimming alone in this rising tide of prices. Our own shortages
are occurring in the midst of a developing global scarcity. Some
analysts even fear that in this age of plenty, some of the planet's
more vulnerable countries could see hunger and malnutrition rising.

Read more.

Warning: You are now accessing what the Department of Defense (DOD) considers an "enemy weapons system"

You are now accessing
what our Department of Defense (DOD) considers an "enemy weapons
system". The Internet in its present form is rife with "uncontrolled
information", also known as free speech, therefore directly opposing
the Pentagon’s goals. The main purpose of this article is not to
announce new developments, but rather, to encourage reflection on DOD
"progress", and where it might land us.

Read more. While you can.

Cassini Spacecraft Finds Ocean May Exist Beneath Titan's Crust

NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered evidence that
points to the existence of an underground ocean of water and ammonia on
Saturn's moon.

Read more.

March 19, 2008

Dollars tough to sell

The U.S. dollar's value is dropping so fast against the euro that small
currency outlets in Amsterdam are turning away tourists seeking to sell
their dollars for local money while on vacation in the Netherlands.

Read more.

Bin Laden Slams EU Over Prophet Cartoons

Osama bin Laden, in a new audio message
posted Wednesday, condemned the publication of drawings that he said
insulted the Prophet Muhammad and warned Europeans of a "severe"
reaction to come.

You know, I can't help but think of Orwell's 1984.

Read more.

How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong

And now observers, academics, and even some other companies are taking notes. Because while Apple's tactics may seem like Industrial Revolution relics, they've helped the company position itself ahead of its competitors and at the forefront of the tech industry. Sometimes, evil works.

Read more.

Mummified dinosaur unearthed in North Dakota

Using tiny brushes and chisels, workers picking at a big greenish-black rock in the basement of North Dakota's state museum are meticulously uncovering something amazing: a nearly complete dinosaur, skin and all.

Read more.

Five years later, Bush to say Iraq war must go on

"The answers are clear to me," Bush will say, according to excerpts of his speech to be delivered at the Pentagon on Wednesday, the day the war began in 2003.

"Removing Saddam Hussein from power was the right decision, and this is a fight America can and must win."

His mouth moves. Words come out. But he says nothing.

Read more.

Google says Microsoft's Yahoo buy might hurt Internet

Google Inc, the world's leading search engine, said on Monday it was concerned about the free flow of information on the Internet if Microsoft Corp were to succeed in acquiring Yahoo Inc.

Read more.

March 18, 2008

RIP Sir Arthur C Clarke

Science fiction writer Sir Arthur C Clarke has died aged 90 in his adopted home of Sri Lanka, it was confirmed tonight.


Marking his “90th orbit of the sun” in December, the author said he did not feel "a day over 89" and made three birthday wishes: for ET to call, for man to kick his oil habit and for peace in Sri Lanka.

Rest in peace.

I Saw Terminator

Boston Dynamics keeps working on their BigDog quadruped robot, which will probably grow to be the future AT-AT of the Pentagon. Its evolution since the last time we saw it is nothing sort of mindblowing, and a bit spooky.

This reality is getting us closer to the Terminator universe.

Check out the story and definitely the video.

March 16, 2008

Iraq war fades out as TV story

The war has nearly vanished from TV screens over the past few
months, replaced by stories about the fascinating presidential campaign
and faltering economy.

Yet Americans continue to fight and die there, five years after the war started in March 2003.

Read more.

March 15, 2008

Unzip American Sexuality and What Do You Find? Tech

It turns out that Americans are not nearly as Puritanical, frightened, angry or perturbed as the religious groups and politicians waging the war on sex would have you believe.

We’re not even terribly bothered by the notion that technology has become an integral aspect of sexuality. In fact, "love and let love" is a much more widely held philosophy here than is generally assumed.


Over and over again, Alexander's subjects told him that the internet had opened their eyes, dispelled their fears, given them new avenues for pleasure, and provided support as they figured out what they really wanted from sex.

Read more, then go have sex.

U.S. economists see long-term ills from Iraq war

What's over $100 billion a year in Iraq war costs to a $14 trillion U.S. economy? Not much now, but the tab is growing on a "buy-now-pay-later" plan that threatens long-term problems.

Money was not much of an issue five years ago when President Bush led the country into war in Iraq. Instead, all eyes were on allegations, later proven unfounded, that then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and could use them against the United States.

But $500 billion later, experts worry about the impact on the world's biggest economy, already facing a crippling housing crisis.

Read more.

McCain says al Qaeda might try to tip U.S. election

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Friday he fears that al Qaeda or another extremist group might attempt spectacular attacks in Iraq to try to tilt the U.S. election against him.

Working that fear factor.

Shut up, John.

Read more.

This crisis has a life of its own

Forget talk of soft landings. Ignore those who say that the Federal Reserve is in control of events. Take with a pinch of salt suggestions that the problems at Bear Stearns are a one-off.

The rescue package orchestrated for America's fifth-biggest investment bank makes it abundantly clear that this is now a different sort of market and a different sort of crisis. It is no longer hyperbole to state that the US is facing the most serious threat to its financial system since the Depression of the 1930s.

Read more.

'Creepy gnome' terrorises town

A TOWN in South America is living in fear after several sightings of a 'creepy gnome' that locals claim stalks the streets at night.

The midget - which wears a pointy hat and has a distinctive sideways walk - was caught on video last week by a terrified group of youngsters.

Read more and check out the video.

March 14, 2008

Dolphin answers whales' SOS call

In a act of selflessness which has astounded experts and confirmed the
friendly nature of the species, a bottlenose came to the rescue of two
whales stranded on a beach in New Zealand.


"I don't speak whale and I don't speak dolphin, but there was obviously
something that went on, because the two whales changed from being quite
distressed to following the dolphin willingly and directly along the
beach and straight out to sea."

Read more.

House Approves New Eavesdropping Rules

The president's main objection is that the bill does not protect from
lawsuits the telecommunications companies that allowed the government
to eavesdrop on their customers without a court's permission after the
Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. White House spokesman Tony Fratto
called the measure a "political ploy" designed to give Democrats cover
for their failure to grant full retroactive immunity to the telecom

Read more.

Right now, feds might be looking into your finances

Each year, federal agents peek at the financial transactions of millions of Americans — without their knowledge.

The same type of information that raised suspicions about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer is reviewed every day by authorities to find traces of money laundering, check fraud, identity theft or any crime that may involve a financial institution.

Read more.

The Smart Goggles that could make lost keys, mobile phones or iPod a thing of the past

Japanese scientists have invented a pair of intelligent glasses that remembers where people last saw their keys, handbag, iPod or mobile phone.

The spectacles - which come with a built in camera, display screen and computer brain - can even identify unfamiliar plants or faces.

Read more.

March 13, 2008

Home Prices Plunge Across California

Median home prices plunged in many of California's most populous counties in February, with Southern California leading the slide with an overall drop of 17.9 percent compared to a year earlier, according to new housing data released Thursday.

Read more.

France's sordid housing crisis

Look through some property websites and you can see the advertisements: the phrase you are looking for is contre services - when a room in an apartment is offered, sometimes "free", in exchange for services.

Sometimes the service is perfectly innocent - cleaning the apartment or washing clothes, to defray some of the high cost of renting property.

But sometimes it is not: instead the requests are sexual, demeaning, bordering on the perverse. "Sex twice a month," is one blunt demand. Another asks for someone "open in spirit and elsewhere".


Sex for rent is the extreme end of an extreme problem which is catching swathes of France's most vulnerable people - the young and the poor - in its grip.

Read more.

Could we really run out of food?

The very idea that the modern world could run out of food seems ludicrous, but that is the flip side, or cause, of the tremendous recent increase in the cost of raw wheat, corn, rice, oats and soybeans. Food prices are not escalating because speculators have run them up for sport and profit, but because accelerating demand in developing nations, biofuel production and poor harvests in some areas have made basic foodstuffs truly scarce.

In energy circles, folks who warn about the beginning of the end of cheap fossil fuels talk about "peak oil" as a point we have dangerously and expensively crossed. Likewise, you can now add "peak wheat" to your political and investment lexicon. And it's a lot worse.

Read more.

NBC/WSJ poll: Voters say they're worse off

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

This has become a fundamental question in presidential elections. And for the first time since 1992, a plurality of voters heading into November's election answer that question with a resounding no, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Read more.

Physicists Make Artificial Black Hole Using Optical Fiber

Physicists at the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland, report that they have created an analogue to a black hole in their lab. Such a tabletop black hole, made from a length of optical fiber and laser light, may prove invaluable in understanding the characteristics of these exotic astronomical objects, scientists say.

Read more.

Why are there so many names on the U.S. government's terrorist list?

In September 2007, the Inspector General of the Justice Department reported that the Terrorist Screening Center (the FBI-administered organization that consolidates terrorist watch list information in the United States) had over 700,000 names in its database as of April 2007 - and that the list was growing by an average of over 20,000 records per month.

Read more.

Music Industry Proposes a Piracy Surcharge on ISPs

Having failed to stop piracy by suing internet users, the music industry is for the first time seriously considering a file sharing surcharge that internet service providers would collect from users.

Read more.

Tiny Brain-Like Computer Created

The most powerful computer known is the brain, and now scientists have designed a machine just a few molecules large that mimics how the brain works.

Read more.

John McCain's "Spiritual Guide" Calls For Destruction Of Islam

Senator John McCain hailed as a spiritual adviser an Ohio megachurch pastor who has called upon Christians to wage a "war" against the "false religion" of Islam with the aim of destroying it.


Read more.

Pentagon Report on Saddam's Iraq Censored?

ABC News' Jonathan Karl Reports: The Bush Administration apparently does not want a U.S. military study that found no direct connection between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda to get any attention. This morning, the Pentagon cancelled plans to send out a press release announcing the report's release and will no longer make the report available online.

Now, isn't that interesting?

Read more.

The Fall of the American Consumer

While Americans search for interview outfits in consignment stores and switch from Whole Foods to Wal-Mart for sustenance, the world watches tremulously. The Australian Courier-Mail, for example, warns of an economic "pandemic" if Americans cut back any further, since we are responsible for $9 trillion a year in spending, compared to a puny $1 trillion for the one billion-strong Chinese. Yes, we have been the world's designated shoppers, and, if we fall down on the job, we take the global economy with us.

Read more.

15 genes linked to a long life

Scientists are a step closer to developing an anti-ageing pill with the discovery of 15 genes linked to a long life.

The find suggests that those genes could be targeted to help slow down the ageing process and treat age-related conditions.

Read more.

March 12, 2008

Spitzer's E-Escort Plight Shows Workings of Prostitution 2.0

Archived copies of the site show it presented visitors with a menu of women, complete with photographs in which female bodies are on display, while their faces stay out-of-frame or are digitally obscured. The site ranks the prostitutes from one to seven using sparkling, animated gif diamonds. Hourly rates went according to the assigned ranking -- seven diamonds being the highest and most expensive.


"For example ... the Emperors Club charged $1,000 per hour for a three-diamond prostitute and $3,100 per hour for a seven-diamond prostitute," the FBI said in an affidavit. "The web site offered the Emperors Club's most valued clients 'membership' in the 'Icon Club,' a status which allowed the clients to access restricted areas of the web site and permitted them to schedule appointments for illegal prostitution services with the most highly-ranked prostitutes whose fees started at $5,500 per hour."

Read more.

Soldier: Army blocked promotion over religion

A soldier claimed Wednesday that his promotion was blocked because he had claimed in a lawsuit that the Army was violating his right to be an atheist.


According to the lawsuit, Hall was counseled by his platoon sergeant after being informed that his promotion was blocked. He says the sergeant explained that Hall would be "unable to put aside his personal convictions and pray with his troops" and would have trouble bonding with them if promoted to a leadership position.

What bullshit.

Read more.

Display technology's flexible future

The problem that every mobile device maker runs into is essentially this: How can you balance the size of the screen so it's big enough to read and reasonably watch videos, while keeping the device dainty enough to fit in a pocket?


But lest you agree with Jobs that e-books aren't anticipating what customers actually want to do with mobile devices, Polymer Vision has grander plans than just books for its technology. Internally, the company calls it the "dream machine"--a device that folds like an actual book and reveals an 8-inch color screen that automatically gets all the mobile content you want wirelessly.

Read more. Oh wait, Steve Jobs said people "don't read anymore." Hmmm. Maybe he doesn't read anymore.

The Dumbing Of America

The shrinking public attention span fostered by video is closely tied to the second important anti-intellectual force in American culture: the erosion of general knowledge.


That leads us to the third and final factor behind the new American dumbness: not lack of knowledge per se but arrogance about that lack of knowledge. The problem is not just the things we do not know (consider the one in five American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, thinks the sun revolves around the Earth); it's the alarming number of Americans who have smugly concluded that they do not need to know such things in the first place.

How depressing.

Read the rest.

More Education Means a Longer Life, Harvard Researcher Says

College-educated people live seven years longer on average than those who never went beyond high school, according to a Harvard University researcher.

Those who were 25 in 2000 and better educated could expect to live to the age of 82, compared with age 75 for those less educated, according to research in the journal Health Affairs. Smoking-related illnesses were more prevalent in the group with less education, accounting for about one-fifth of the mortality difference, the study found.

Read more.

March 11, 2008

Exhaustive review finds no link between Saddam, al Qaida

An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were
captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.

And we let them get away with the lie.

Read more.

1 in 4 Teen Girls Has Sexual Disease

At least one in four teenage girls
nationwide has a sexually transmitted disease, or more than 3 million
teens, according to the first study of its kind in this age group.

Read more.

NSA shifts to e-mail, Web, data-mining dragnet

Recent evidence suggests that the NSA has been focusing on widespread monitoring of e-mail messages and text messages, recording of Web browsing, and other forms of electronic data-mining, all done without court supervision. Taken together, those activities raise unique privacy and oversight concerns greater than those posed by large-scale monitoring of voice communications.

Read more.

Lawmaker: Criminalize Anonymous Internet Posts

A Web site owner would have to pay a fine if someone posted anonymously on their site, if the bill were to become law. A first-offense fine would be five-hundred dollars. The Web site owner would have to pay one-thousand dollars for each offense after that.

Couch said he hopes to cut down online bullying.

Read more.

Early to bed, early to rise depends on TV

After merging with sunrise and sunset data, the authors found that while natural daylight patterns have some effect on people's life patterns, the demands of global business such as market openings and regular television schedules create the boundaries of most Americans' lives.

In fact, Hamermesh said the researchers were "amazed how little daylight matters nowadays, and how much artificial time zones matter."

Read more.

Spitzer Is Linked to Prostitution Ring

The wiretap captured a man identified as Client 9 on a telephone call confirming plans to have a woman travel from New York to Washington, where he had reserved a hotel room, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in Manhattan. The person briefed on the case and the law enforcement official identified Mr. Spitzer as Client 9.

Mr. Spitzer, a first term Democrat, today made a brief public appearance during which he apologized for his behavior, and described it as a “private matter.” He did not address his political future.

Of course the attention given to this idiotic move by Spitzer will be way out of proportion to it's actual importance.

Read more.

March 10, 2008

When God goes to the office

Religion, like sex and politics, once was considered inappropriate watercooler talk. Not anymore. Prayer sessions, religious diversity groups and chaplains like Reece, along with rabbis and imams, have become more common across corporate America in the past decade.

Christ in a basket.

Fifty percent of those questioned in a 2002 Gallup poll said religious expression should be tolerated in the work place while another 28 percent thought it should be encouraged. That's compared to 21percent who didn't see a place for religious expression on the job.

Christ on a cross.

The increase in religious expression at work may be tied to politics. "When President Bush took office, he was very vocal about his faith," says Os Hillman, founder and director of the International Coalition of Workplace Ministries. "I think that gave those of faith the license to share their beliefs."

Here's the way it should be: Believe what you want and shut the hell up.

"There are more places to pray in America than (there are) pizza parlors. Go to them."


Read the rest.

Law to make tongue kissing minors a sex offense

State legislators passed a law Saturday that would require adults who French kiss a child younger than 13 to register as a sex offender.

Read more.

U.S. economy could fall casualty to wars

Although American military and Iraqi civilian casualties have declined in recent months, the rate of spending has shot up. A fully funded 2008 war budget will be 155 percent higher than 2004's, the CBO reports.


Estimating all economic and social costs might push the U.S. war bill up toward $5 trillion by 2017, they say.

Their book already figures in the stay-or-leave debate over Iraq.

It was always about the money.

Read more.

Prescription drugs found in drinking water across U.S.

A vast array of pharmaceuticals -- including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones -- have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, an Associated Press investigation shows.


But the presence of so many prescription drugs -- and over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen -- in so much of our drinking water is heightening worries among scientists of long-term consequences to human health.

Read more.

In signing statement, Bush asserts right to open your physical mail

I just want Congress to collectively answer two questions: Is the president above the law? Or is it that only George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are above the law?

Read more.

Recycle or go to Hell, warns Vatican

Failing to recycle plastic bags could find you spending eternity in Hell, the Vatican said after drawing up a list of seven deadly sins for our times.


According to Roman Catholic doctrine, mortal sins are a "grave violation of God's law" and bring about "eternal death" if unrepented by the act of confession.

In other words, it's fine to commit as many "mortal sins" as you want as long as you repent through confession. What a cop-out.

Read more.

Growing concern over safety of cellphones for children

The objections are driven in part by a lack of knowledge about the long-term health effects of mobile phone use. But they also appear to reflect an instinctive worry about whether parents should be giving young children cellphones at all.

Jóvenes Verdes, an environmental advocacy group for young people in Spain, says that "the mobile telephone industry is acting like the tobacco industry by designing products that addict the very young."

Read more.

March 9, 2008

Mankind's secrets kept in lunar ark

IF civilisation is wiped out on Earth, salvation may come from space. Plans
are being drawn up for a “Doomsday ark” on the moon containing the
essentials of life and civilisation, to be activated in the event of earth
being devastated by a giant asteroid or nuclear war.

Read more.

Playing God with Artificial Sperm

Mps are planning a change in the law to allow babies to be conceived
from artificial sperm, a move described by opponents as playing God
with human DNA.

Read more.

Britain makes camera that "sees" under clothes

A British company has developed a camera
that can detect weapons, drugs or explosives hidden under
people's clothes from up to 25 meters away in what could be a
breakthrough for the security industry.

Read more.

March 7, 2008

American Troops Going Insane

Fucking disgusting. Watch it all.

Bush to veto bill banning waterboarding

The White House says President Bush will veto legislation on Saturday that would have barred the CIA from using waterboarding — a technique that simulates drowning — and other harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects.


The legislation would bar the CIA from using waterboarding, sensory deprivation or other coercive methods to break a prisoner who refuses to answer questions. Those practices were banned by the military in 2006, but the president wants the harsh interrogation methods to be a part of the CIA's toolbox.


He noted that the Army field manual contends that harsh interrogation is a "poor technique that yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say what he thinks the (interrogator) wants to hear."

And anyone who doesn't believe that should be waterboarded.

Read more.

It took eons to make Grand Canyon grand

The Grand Canyon often is referred to as about 6 million years old — but its western half actually began to open at least 17 million years ago, a University of New Mexico team reports Friday in the journal Science.

Wait: The western side of the canyon is the downstream end of the Colorado River, so how could it be older than the arguably more spectacular eastern side?

Read more.

White killer whale spotted off Alaska

The nearly mythic creature was real after all.

Read more and see a picture.

Lawsuit Could Force RIAA to Reveal Secrets

According to Mike Ratoza, a copyright lawyer with Bullivant, Houser and Bailey who teaches at the University of Oregon, Andersen is close to forcing the RIAA into the discovery phase of her countersuit. During that discovery phase, the RIAA could be forced to release potentially incriminating details about its techniques for investigating alleged file sharers.

This information will likely be held under a confidential seal, but if lawsuits over mold, tobacco, and asbestos are any indication, the RIAA's secrets will likely leak out into the legal community at large, potentially culminating in a class action suit.

Give 'em hell, Tanya.

Read more.

How many nonbelievers?

Are there more atheists and agnostics in this country than is commonly supposed? Two studies -- last week's U.S. Religious Landscape Survey from the Pew Forum and one published two years ago -- suggest so.


Moreover, I think a more fruitful distinction than the one between atheists and theists is the one between those who acknowledge that there are no compelling logical arguments for believing in God (even if they choose to believe anyway) and those who are sure of their God and the literal truth of their particular holy book.

There is a bravery and a wisdom associated with disbelief and honest doubt. As my father used to say, "Uncertainty is the only certainty there is." More biting is William Butler Yeats' line: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

Read more.

Satellite shows Saturn moon might have rings

If confirmed, it would the first time a ring system has been found around a moon.

Read more.

3 CEOs made $460 million - House panel

House oversight committee prepares to investigate why executives at companies battered by the mortgage crisis were awarded big payouts.

Read more.

March 6, 2008

Appeals Court Weighs Teen's Web Speech

According to the lawsuit, she wrote: "'Jamfest' is canceled due to douchebags in central office," and also referred to an administrator who was "pissed off."

After discovering the blog entry, school officials refused to allow Doninger to run for re-election as class secretary. Doninger won anyway with write-in votes, but was not allowed to serve.

A lower federal court had supported the school. U.S. District Judge Mark Kravitz, denying Doninger's request for an injunction, said he believed she could be punished for writing in a blog because the blog addressed school issues and was likely to be read by other students.

Her lawyer, Jon L. Schoenhorn, told the appeals court Tuesday that what students write on the Internet should not give schools more cause to regulate off-campus speech.

Read more.

March 5, 2008

Was Moses high on psychedelic drugs?

High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he
heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher
claimed in a study published this week.

Read more.

Scary or sensational? A machine that can look into the mind

Scientists have developed a computerised mind-reading technique which
lets them accurately predict the images that people are looking at by
using scanners to study brain activity.

Read more.

March 4, 2008

Photo shows avalanche on Mars

A robotic spacecraft circling Mars has snapped the first image of a series of active avalanches near the planet's north pole, scientists said Monday.

Check out the pic.

March 3, 2008

Court may consider broadcast decency rules

The Supreme Court this week may reopen for the first time in more than 30 years the debate over what qualifies as an "indecent" broadcast.


The issue before the court now is delicately described as the problem of "fleeting expletives" in over-the-air broadcasts, which are still regulated. Television viewers who watch some of the entertainment industry's award shows may be familiar with the phenomenon.

No fucking comment.

Read more.

March 2, 2008

Study: Spanking can bring problems later

Professor Murray Straus concludes that children who are spanked are more likely as adults to coerce partners to have sex, to have unprotected sex and to have masochistic sex.

Other studies have shown the link between spanking and physical violence, but Straus said his research is the first to show a link between corporal punishment and sexual behavior.

Read more.

Japan looks to a robot future

While robots are a long way from matching human emotional complexity, the country is perhaps the closest to a future — once the stuff of science fiction — where humans and intelligent robots routinely live side by side and interact socially.

Read more.

Cold Water on "Global Warming"

A whole cottage industry has sprung up among people who get grants, government agencies who get appropriations, politicians who get publicity, and the perpetually indignant who get something new to be indignant about. It gives teachers something to talk about in school instead of teaching.

Those who bother to check the facts often find that not all those who are called scientists are really scientists and not all of those who are scientists are specialists in climate. But who bothers to check facts these days?


The bigger problem is that this has long since become a crusade rather than an exercise in evidence or logic. Too many people are too committed to risk it all on a roll of the dice, which is what turning to empirical evidence is.

Those who have a big stake in global-warming hysteria are unlikely to show up at the conference in New York, and unfortunately that includes much of the media.

Read more.

Economic Armageddon

The world's second richest man, Bill Gates, is also critical of the capitalist system that made him rich. "We have to find a way to make the aspects of capitalism that serve wealthier people serve poorer people as well," he told a recent World Economic Forum.

Gates is giving back by setting up the world's largest private foundation with a $34.6 billion US endowment for charitable projects around the world.

One he's investing in, according to, is a "doomsday seed bank" located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, where 3 million different crop seeds from around the world will be stored in a mountain vault.

What does Gates know that we don't?

Read more.

March 1, 2008

Bush thinks spied-on Americans should ’suck it up’?

According to Bush, what are Americans entitled to in response? Absolutely nothing.


Telecoms and the administration teamed up to break the law and violate your privacy. The only appropriate response, Bush believes, is to change the law and make those crimes legal several years after the fact, ending reasonable lawsuits that already before the judiciary.

And if you don’t like it, you should suck it up.

Read more.

Video Cops, Get Arrested

This past October, when Simon Glik used his cell phone to record Boston police officers making what he thought was an overly forceful arrest on Tremont Street, he didn’t think he would be the one who ended up in the back of a police cruiser. But cops saw Glik using his cell phone’s camera with its sound-recording feature, so they arrested him for breaking the Massachusetts law that prohibits secret electronic recording, deemed “wiretapping.”

Read more.

What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart?

High-school students here rarely get more than a half-hour of homework a night. They have no school uniforms, no honor societies, no valedictorians, no tardy bells and no classes for the gifted. There is little standardized testing, few parents agonize over college and kids don't start school until age 7.


The academic prowess of Finland's students has lured educators from more than 50 countries in recent years to learn the country's secret, including an official from the U.S. Department of Education. What they find is simple but not easy: well-trained teachers and responsible children.


Teachers must hold master's degrees, and the profession is highly competitive: More than 40 people may apply for a single job. Their salaries are similar to those of U.S. teachers, but they generally have more freedom.

Read the rest.