Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Female Rodents ARE Size Queens: Study

Just, damn.

Where do I even begin with a story like this? Oh. OH! I know, I'll mention that the lead author of the study's name is Steve Ramm.

Heh.

And now for the money shot, er, quote:

Ramm found the Western harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys megalotis) had the lengthiest penis bone relative to its body mass of all rodents examined.

"Everything's relative, of course," Ramm said. "So although big for its body size, the penis bone in R. megalotis is still only 7 to 8 millimeters (0.27 to 0.31 inches) long. I don't think the phrase 'hung like a harvest mouse' will be catching on any time soon."

Dude. At least he knows how to give good quote. And hey, give "hung like a harvest mouse" a chance. If the prevalent spam is any indication, I think a lot of guys out there may want this quote to be popular.

Alright, Re-Title the Study Contest in the comments!

Wasn't I Just Talking About Internet Addiction in China?

What did I just say?! We had a story recently on China's heavy-handed approach to curbing internet addiction, and then this guy follows the way of Lee the South Korean. Something tells me that this guy's physical health was a little fragile to begin with before he went all WoW marathon-ey:

The 330-pound man from Jinzhou, in Liaoning province, collapsed on Saturday, the last day of the holiday, after spending "almost all" of the seven-day break playing online games, the China Daily said, citing his parents.[emphasis added]

Dude, step away from the sweet-bean paste on rice cakes! No, no, must resist the snark.

Actually, now that I think about it, maybe he should have thought more on the logistics of his marathon session:

PWN3D!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Chicago Votes!

Oh yeah, I voted today. Only 5 offices to vote on, so I was in and out of the polling place in a couple of minutes, but of course the main contest was for Dah Mayor.

Yes. I voted for Daley. All Dems on the ballot, and the other 2 were political bantam-weights. Able to survive scandal after scandal, Richard M. Daley is the Teflon Mayor.

Brand Name Influences Beer Taste: Study

Beer sure has been in the news lately. A study published in the December issue of the journal Psychological Science shows that informing taste testers of a beer's brandname or its ingredients will flavor the tasters' preferences.

This makes sense. I mean, how many people would drink Bud Light on purpose if it were actually called Pig's Piss? Conversely, would they drink it if they knew it had pig's piss in it? Meh, they'd probably still drink it. Such is the power of the brand (and funny TV commercials).

So what does this study mean for self-described Beer Snobs? Is there really that much difference in taste between an Old Style and an Amstel Light? Maybe the hangover feels worse for Old Style, but the taste itself? Not so much.

Lagers (or even less flavorful American-style pilsners) are for wussies, anyway. Go for ales, and you'll actually taste something. It may not taste good, mind you, but at least it won't just smell like a beer while tasting like water.

Real-Life Slow Donnie News Update

An update to the real-life Slow Donnie story: Slow Mommy pleads guilty. Slow Donnie himself pleaded guilty at an earlier trial.

Interestingly, law enforcement still hasn't located Slow Donnie's sister, Slow Dottie.

Sentencing to follow later this year. More on the Slow Fambly here.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Biofuel Production Seen to Effect Beer Price

Say it ain't so!!! When ethanol produced from corn was seen to noticeably raise the price of corn, and any products reliant upon it, economists raised the alarm, but the story doesn't seem to have caught fire with the general public. Perhaps because we haven't seen our tortilla chips go up in price (yet!), we haven't felt the effect of the higher price of corn.

But beer?! With farmers opting to switch to cash crops like corn, soy beans, and rapeseed over barley and hops, less of these essential crops for beer production are being grown. When supply goes down while demand goes up, well, it doesn't take an economist to see that the price of these commodities is going to go up. Even worse, the U.S. will actually see its status as the main exporter of barley disappear as it becomes a net importer just to meet domestic demand:

"In the US, land that was cultivated for growing barley has been given over to corn because of the ethanol demand," said Levin Flake, a grains trade analyst at the US department of agriculture.

The US, which in the 1980s was a leading exporter of barley, is now a net importer as barley acreage has shrunk from more than 13m acres in 1985 to 4m this year, said Mr Flake.

The USDA expects US barley acreage over the next 10 years to remain flat. That might not be the case for the price of beer.

This might actually get some dudes talking about the price of the brews in their hands while they're watching a game at their favorite sports bar. Also factor in that we still don't know how the loss of a large quantity of hops in a fire last October will add to the price of beer that should shortly be coming to market.

Hmm. Might be time to start stock-piling on my favorite beers.

A Healthy Doughnut?

I hope biofuel production doesn't raise the price!
Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme would love the consumer to believe that its whole wheat doughnut is somehow a healthy choice for the, um, unhealthy snacker in all of us. Seriously, people don't eat doughnuts because they want to eat healthy. They eat doughnuts because it's like eating a piece of fried cake.

Have you ever eaten a whole wheat cake? Me, neither. No report on how the thing tastes, although it does have Krispy Kreme's signature sugar glaze on it.

I highly doubt this offering will boost the share price very much over the long haul. Maybe an announcement that they've cut trans fat out of the oil they use would have a better effect.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Just How Big is the Anime Bleach?

I had an earlier post that showed some dudes dressed up as characters from the Japanese Anime Bleach practicing dance choreography. I finally tracked down the reason for it. Bleach is so big, that...it has its own Live-Action Rock Musical:


"RUKIAAAA!!!"

They sure take their anime seriously in Japan, don't they? Want to see the whole thing? Just search YouTube for "Bleach Rock Musical", and you'll found all the parts of the musical. Sadly (or perhaps a good thing), no subtitles.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Viral Ad Campaign Strikes Boston Again

Sheesh...Another viral ad campaign roils the city of Boston, this time from the makers of Dr. Pepper.

One could argue that Boston overreacted to the Cartoon Network ad campaign, but not this time. When the ad campaign, in the form of a scavenger hunt, invited potential desecration and damage to a historical landmark, and possible harm to public safety, it's not an overreaction to limit access to Boston's historical graveyards.

H/T to reader Bitter Ed.

More on the impacts of viral ad campaigns here and here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Bleach Comedy Beat Down

It's Friday. I don't want to think after a long week. I just want to relax. Enjoy some quality anime, like Bleach. Drink a beer. Maybe watch some stand-up comedy. Like Dane Cook.

Woah...what if I could do both...at the same time? I just blew your mind, right?


"Tonight, bro. I gotta dance, Dude."

Update: Aw no...Did some badly dubbed Japanese dude just say Dance?


"Hajiku, Hajiku, Hajiku."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

China Takes on Internet Addiction, Communist-Style

It was just a little free press, honest!
Greg Baker / Associated Press

Do NOT become an addict in China, of any kind. Case in point. This kid to the left is getting electro-shock aversion therapy...because he spent a leee-tle too much time playing online video games for his parents' liking. China, like Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea, has seen a rash of stories of young males losing themselves to online RPGs, like the infamous 28 year-old Lee who died after a 50-plus hour marathon.

Still, addiction experts, while applauding China's really low addiction rate, are likewise appalled by the heavy-handed techniques used (or threatened) by the state to achieve such rates. It's hard to crow about your country's low addicted population when your citizens cringe in terror at the thought of state-enforced commitment to what is essentially an Arkham-style insane asylum.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

'Ware! My Naked Tool Is Out!

But whose naked tool? Well, that's how Shakespeare would have headlined this story about a guy who breaks into an apartment brandishing a sword because he thinks he's saving a girl from being raped. Only...it's just some dude watching porn with the sound turned up real loud. (The AP was all over this story, but I like the article I found cuz it had pictures of both dudes involved.)

I would love to see JohnR of WuzzaDem take a stab at presenting this story in only the way that he can:


Ah, Nympho Nurses Nine! I love this part. Lemme just turn the sound up...



Bam Bam Bam! Open up in there! I have a sword!



What the?!



I said open up! Let her go, you freak!



If it's not some kids selling newspapers, it's gotta be that weird dude living with his mom...no phone-having sicko...



Let her go or I'm breaking this door down!



Maybe if I just turn the sound up even more, he'll go away.



Crash! I told you I'd bust this door down! Where is she, you piece of trash?!!!



......


Well, you get the idea. Just a hilarious story. At least nobody got hurt. Although, I don't know who was more embarassed, the guy with no phone or the guy watching porn so freaky with the volume so loud that a neighbor busted his door down. Steighorst did learn a valuable lessen, though:

Stieghorst said the incident will not deter him from watching pornography, but he'll have to alter his viewing habits.

"I'm just going to watch it with the sound down, or I'll buy myself some decent headphones," he said.

With apologies to WuzzaDem.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

GM Crops Lose Again in EU

Hungary's GM Crop Ban was upheld in the EU, despite European Union Health Ministers' assertions that the ban was unscientifically justified. This is consistent with upholding Austria's similar ban earlier.

That Greenpeace and other Enviro-bats agree with the decision, and see this ban as anti-U.S. and anti-trade only strengthens the argument that the sentiments behind GM bans are protectionist and vaguely communist.

African Presidents and Curing AIDS

What is the deal with presidents of African countries claiming they can cure AIDS with folk medicine?

Beyond the harsh reality of the cost of anti-retroviral drugs, even when being offered at reduced prices, I think there is something more to the phenomenon. When South Africa's Mbeki refused to allow AIDS drugs into the country until forced to do so in 2002, the rhetoric in his reasoning evoked anti-colonialist and anti-Western images.

Consider, too, Iran's Ahmadinejad also recently boasting of an herbal cure for AIDS. There is a strong sentiment against relying on anything from the decadent West, including its science. A world view is at stake here, and even the health of a country's populace is a bargaining chip.

Put in these terms, the brinkmanship of North Korea and Iran (including the bizarre ultimatum that Iran would stop enriching Uranium if other Western countries do, too) when engaging the West becomes easier to understand. So, too, does an African nation's desperate willingness to eschew aid of any kind unless given without an air of patronage.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Find a Parking Spot With Your Cell Phone?

Could finding that elusive parking spot be as easy going online on your cell phone? Seems like a good idea, at first, but leave aside overcoming logistics that the article talks about, like municipal parking vs private garages, for a moment. Here's the issue that worries me:

SpotScout Inc. hopes to create an online marketplace where drivers armed with mobile phones can not only reserve private spaces in garages and driveways, but also swap public parking spots in real time, with vacant spaces going to the highest bidder.[emphasis added]

See that "real time" there? How about the practical consideration of, oh, actually surfing the web while driving your car? A lot of cities already have bans on driving without a hands-free setup for your cell phone. But the real issue here is being distracted because you'd need to divert your attention from the road to look at the website displayed on your cell phone. Naturally, the startup company behind the idea doesn't encourage this behavior, preferring that you reserve the parking before getting behind the wheel. Seriously, though, nothing's going to stop people from bidding on a parking spot while they're in transit. We have enough distractions in a modern car. Not only that, how about the yahoos that read books or newspapers while driving? Going online in your car only encourages more bad driving.

Harnessing the power of the internet to find a parking spot is a nice idea, but not on your cell phone. I don't see this idea going very far at all. You'll note that this startup company is already looking for more venture capital. Not a good sign.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Beyond Steve Austin: Neurotechnology Advances

Stem cell research isn't the only option for spinal cord injuries as advances in neural implants proceed through clinical trials. Paraplegics and quadraplegics are able to move their own muscles just from thought alone. As these implants become more powerful, the motor coordination should become increasingly fine, as well.

Pretty cool stuff out there, like maybe this precursor to Geordi La Forge's ocular implants in the later Star Trek movies. These artificial retinas may be available to the public in as soon as two years.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Nerds In Love!

Beware. These people live among you.

This geeked-out lovebirds' story had everything. Renaissance Faire. Aliens. Computers. Computers "phoning home."

No accompanying photos of the loving couple. Perhaps that's just as well...

Elf need food. Badly.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Good DAY Sir!

Greenwald, and the sock-puppeting kerfuffle that never gets old:

I've been quoted on the floor of the Senate, I'll have you know!
©Darby Conley

Bucky gives a rather accurate description of Greenwald's blogging style, I have to admit.

Quantum Computer? Some Scientists Uncertain

What if Schrödinger's Cat had a computer locked up with it in that box? How would you know?

That's what some scientists are asking when a Canadian company claiming to have created the world's first quantum computer has failed to make it available for peer review and independent confirmation. Here's the money quote, from the company's Chief Executive, Herb Martin:

He said all the evidence the company has indicates that the device is performing quantum computations, but he acknowledged there is some uncertainty.

Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle? Or plain old skepticism? It would be a huge disappointment if this all turned out to be like tabletop cold fusion. But at least the observation would make it a certainty.

Women Hoarding Food...and Germs

Hmm. Makes sense.

I've seen this phenomenon of food hidden in desk drawers, file cases, just about any nook and cranny, really, when hanging out in my female colleagues' cubes. My simple question is, why? Along with the drinking of the water out of oversize bottles all day long, it seems that my female peers are snacking all the live-long day, as well. What's up with that? If I had a zombie plan, raiding a woman's cube for supplies (they have mini-pharmacies in those desk drawers, too, you know) before a cross-country trek to locate the source of dioxin would definitely be a part of it.

And the guys at my work? Not a food hoarder among them.

Instead of ordering a female of the species to make you a sammich, you first might want to wander by her desk and make it yourself.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day 2007

Valentine's Day has come again to taunt me, so of course I taunt it back with this year's Anti-Valentine's Day Poem.

Yes, yes, I'm a broken-down bitter shell of man. That noise you hear? Just the muffled sobs from a dark corner of my mind. That's where I found this macabre tale. I hope you enjoy it...and fear a lonely death MUWHAHAHAHAHA:

Valentine’s Day 2007: The Grim Reaper

A stealthy force now rises from the grave,
Like zombies seeking out the brains they crave.
This unseen terror stalking out its prey
Must feed upon a bloody grim display.
A waxing tide of horror starts to swell
Within the breast of all it seeks to fell.

The signs of dreadful fright begin to sprout
Amassing omens till there is no doubt.
These portents mask impending fateful doom
With cheer and brightness overlaying gloom:
A pulpy mass embossed with frilly lace
To hide the bloody offal in its place;

A bear whose hide’s as soft as baby’s breath
But lurks within its maw a gory death;
And blood-red roses dazzling in their shades
Distract unwary eyes from prickling blades;
And carob globs with gooey nougat core
Constricting vessels till hearts beat no more.

The terror-stricken, set upon all sides,
Can feel their gorge now rising like the tides.
Escape, long dreamt of, fleeting, out of reach,
Gives way, and nightmares quickly fill the breach.
The tension builds till all within their sight
Eclipses hope of rescue from their plight.

The nameless specter feeds upon their woe
And, growing strong, nocks arrow to its bow.
Its toxic barb glints deadly in the sun;
Then hapless prey rush headlong into run.
With wild-eyed grin, the demon herds them all
Until corralled into a shopping mall.

The God of Love, revealed now, smugly gloats
At this year’s cull, now cornered like mute goats.
Forlorn, they gather in the sacrifice
By spending wages on cheap merchandise.
The greedy God accepts their meager gift,
And only then their sentence does he lift.

Now sated, Cupid stalks off like he came;
The hunted, his departure don’t declaim.
For in their hearts they know that their parole
Is granted only until next year’s toll.
The ruthless specter will again then rise,
To menace all who owe his sacrifice.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Time Change Going to Cause Software Headaches

Now I know why my customers keep asking me whether the software I support is going to be affected by Daylight Savings Times. Personally, I didn't know that DST was going to be 3 weeks later this year.

Why first response to their questions was, "Whaa...?" But really, our software won't. Windows OS will, of course, because of system time, but it's not my job to support the customers' Server OS.

I hope those IT departments know what they're doing.

Update: Doh! Typo, I meant to say that DST was going to start 3 weeks earlier (in March). It's 1 week later in November.

Hot Gorrilla Monkey Sex!

...in Tampa. Just in time for Valentine's Day. For the closet bestial voyeur in all of us, I guess. The animals aren't always in the mood, however:

Tour guides in Tampa warned of possible manatee make-out sessions. But the giant mammals were content to munch on vegetation while the tour group ate a candlelight dinner in front of the zoo's massive aquarium windows.

Still, sometimes the show delivers when you get to see whales with "10-foot-long whatevers."

Whatever floats your boat, and the zoos get a little fund-raising in, too.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Valentine's Day Almost Here: A Recap of 2006

Well, Valentine's Day is almost here, and I promised a bit of scansion for last year's effort on my one-man war against the faux holiday.

If you read it out loud, you'll note I used iambic pentameter couplets, a form made famous by English poets like John Dryden, Alexander Pope, and Lord Byron. If you've read a little about English poetry, you'll know that the iambic pentameter couplet as a long verse form became popular in the late 17th century during the Restoration Period, when King Charles II was placed back on the throne, and Shakespeare's plays were staged again after almost 20 years. It was Shakespeare's sonnet form of ending with iambic pentameter couplets that popularized the poetic form. Poets during the Restoration were so enamored with the structure, that its usage began showing up in longer poetic works, until Dryden used almost exclusively. The form was so popular that it became the form used in English poetry for almost 200 years. Most literary critics agree that the form saw its height as long verse form in Byron's Don Juan.

So much for the history of the iambic pentameter couplet. My meager effort structures the couplets in 2 ten-line stanzas, finishing up with a closing couplet. I used hard caesuras in each of the lines to simulate a marching cadence to go along with the martial theme. I throw in some spondees and trochaics to keep the rhythm going, too. Sounded pretty good, and I was pretty pleased with the result:

Valentine's Day 2006: The Martyrs


The fourteenth day of the year's number two
Has ushered in something much like a coup.
Invading insiders swell through the ranks.
Suggestions whispered then shore up the flanks.
The movement came in secret, under foot,
But slowly gained speed where romance took root.
Shadow economies supersede trade,
So kisses are assets making the grade.
And lobbyists peddling influence for cash
Give way to Teddy Bears who aren't so brash.


They're called St. Valentine's Martyrs Brigade
To honor a Saint's debt not yet repaid.
This army takes aim with heart-piercing charm,
And melts through defenses with words so warm.
Much like Ulysses, they come bearing gifts
They use as siege engines till your heart shifts;
Pray not to Hera, but Venus instead,
For Cupid to rain down arrows rose red.
These rebels, gods favored, now overrun
Societies' norms before they are done.


But just as evening to sunrise gives way,
The Martyrs fade, till next Valentine's Day.

February 14, 2006

__________________

I'll be working on this year's screed in the next day or so, just in time to publish for the Fourteenth.

More on the Anti-Valentine's Day industry here.

The CGI Effect on Star Trek

The original Star Trek TV series gets the Lucas treatment, with mixed results (H/T Ace).

It's a sad commentary that the Star Trek franchise has come to this. I guess we'll be seeing "Special Limited Edition 2" of Star Trek: The Movie pretty soon, with all special effects replaced with ILM style graphics (hopefully without Jar Jar Binks), just to keep Trekkies interested while the Roddenberry universe takes a breather.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cats Feeling the Cold

It's been downright chilly out there in several parts of the U.S. Take little Droopy's sad saga. He survived, but still may lose his tail.

Perhaps a different method of treatment would have helped:

Mmm...toasty!
©Darby Conley

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Adult Stem Cell Research NOT in the News

More adult stem cell research, and treatments not making headlines.

Why the media blackout? I bet most people don't know that all embryonic stem cells eventually turn cancerous. This is why no stem cell lines harvested from embryos are in any human clinical trials for any kind of medical treatment. Adult stem cells don't have this kind of limitation. I'm betting that the first treatment for spinal cord injuries to make it to clinical trials will be from adult stem cells, not embryos.

H/T Instapundit.

Update: Not all medical research is as noble as curing cancer, but still worthy of coverage, like breast implants made of the patient's fat and "enhanced" by adult stem cells extracted from the source.

Fat source adult stem cells sure are making the news, lately. And researchers seem to be close to differentiating adult stem cells the same way embryonic stem cells can.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Michelob Classic?

Anheuser-Busch announced that Michelob will return to its distinctive tear-shaped bottle and an all-malt recipe.

Much like Coke Classic's return after the disastrous New Coke, it won't be the original all-malt recipe from 1869, but it will be close.

Meh, I'll give it a shot when it comes out. Curiosity led me to try Sam Adams Light when it first came out, and it's been my light beer of choice ever since. Michelob certainly won't taste any worse than Bud (it actually has flavor?) after ditching rice as an ingredient in the brewing process. I'll review it here after Feb. 26.

Global Warming Debate Heats Up on Capitol Hill

Scientists explaining the findings of the SPM from the IPCC got charbroiled under some direct questions about the science supporting Anthropogenic Global Warming. One Congressman delivered quite the beatdown:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., is one of several Republicans concerned that Congress will act on the report in a way that hurts businesses and the economy.

Rohrabacher asked the co-chairwoman of the IPCC what percentage of greenhouse gases are caused naturally rather than by human beings. Chairwoman Susan Solomon said carbon dioxide emissions, the biggest contributor to greenhouse gases, "is caused almost entirely by human beings."

Pressed again, she said: "A fair number, regarding the increase since 1750, is that greater than 90 percent of the increase is caused by human activities."

"That wasn't the question, was it?" Rohrabacher retorted. "Listen, this is very dishonest, you're supposed to be a scientist."

Speaking to FOXNews.com, the congressman said Solomon's answer was "a total obfuscation" that "tries to exaggerate the actual amount of pollution being put into the atmosphere by human beings as compared to what nature does itself."

Rohrabacher explained that the answer he got does not reveal that perhaps only 5-10 percent of all greenhouse gases are made by humans even if the human contribution has increased by 90 percent over the last 100 years.

He added that it "makes no sense at all" to defund certain programs and "dramatically change our way of life" when "one volcano is going to undo" all the improvements.

Zing! He has a point. According to the widely derided Stern report, if the world's governments each spend 1% of their GDP right now on reducing anthropogenic sources of greenhouse gas emissions, we could cut global output by half by 2050. To put the value "1% of GDP" in perspective, the projected budget deficit for the 2007 Budget that Bush recently presented to Congress is 1.8%. That's $244 billion. At the time the Stern report came out, he projected 1% of global GDP to be £184 billion, or around $360.4 billion. Nevermind for a moment that some very bright economists think that Stern's rosy estimates were off by a factor of five. To cut the U.S.'s CO2 emissions by half by 2050 or so, our share of global GDP would be $135 billion. So, say humans are responsible for 10% of the greenhouse gases. We reduce that to 7.5% by 2050. Yay us. Yet, if any of the natural sources of greenhouse gases goes up whole percentage points during that time, all that money spent on just curbing emissions couldn't stop it.

These are the facts not widely reported about the IPCC report, although they are the source behind the headlines that Global Warming is "unstoppable" and "will continue for centuries" even if we were to stop emitting all man-made greenhouse gases today.

To paraphrase Yoda, "Always in motion is the climate." I'd rather see more research on the other non-human sources of global warming rather than throw away our future now.

As my bro says, unfortunately, the public debate on the science behind global warming is going to wind down. The debate on policy is only heating up.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Kyoto Protocol Loophole Exploited for Billions

I can think of two words to describe the fleecing of Kyoto's Carbon Trading scheme to the tune of $5.9 Billion (that's right, with a B): Abject Failure.

Even worse, the billions given to China and India apparently did little to convince these "developing" countries to switch to cleaner energy plant technology. That was sort of the point of trading carbon credits, if I recall.

Egregious.

That's Just Weak Sauce: Easy Passwords Still Security Risk

Still Dumb.

One of my customers actually allows 3 letter passwords for their network accounts. Geh.

Superbowl Prince Controversy?

Bloggers finding a phallus in an inkblot at the Superbowl.

Meh. Sometimes a cocky guitar player is just a cocky guitar player.

Is Chinese Culture Really This Bad?

Ahead of the Olympic Games in 2008, stories about China employing cultural and even legal campaigns to prepare the Chinese population for dealing with Western visitors have been rampant.

This year alone, we've been told that storekeepers must be nice to customers, under penalty of law.

Next up on the Chinese government's cultural hit list, spit-happy cabbies, although the proposed "spit sacks" didn't seem to go over well.

And the latest? Training the Chinese people how to stand in line without cut-sies. The queuing campaigns claim to be "voluntary", but the names of these "re-education camps" sound almost like soviet euphemisms for something far worse.

We all remember when Hong Kong Disneyland opened, and "provincial Chinese" were warned against urinating in flowerbeds, of course.

Are the barely veiled snideness in these news articles just a hint of Western condescension cracking through the veneer of multiculturalism?

It's true that the Chinese government is thinking far beyond the Beijing Games in how the Chinese people present themselves to the Western world. China wants to be a major player on the world stage, and we see evidence of this in the satellite missile test, the diplomatic trip to Africa, and the ongoing six-way talks with North Korea. As China opens its borders to tourists, it certainly wouldn't help China's global stature if stories of supposed Chinese "backwardness" or "alienness" keep creeping into the news as more and more visitors detail their encounters with the local populace.

To the leaders of China, it really is about saving face.

More on Western Media coverage of China here and here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Kenyan Museum Beefs Up Security For Fossil Display

Update on an earlier story about an anti-evolution boycott of Kenya's National Museum because of its plans to exhibit Turkana Boy and other fossils.

When Hackers Attack...

...the internet itself. It's the biggest coordinated hit on the root servers of the internet since 2002.

I didn't notice any slow down, personally.

Just 13 servers used to run the internet? The attack in 2002 revealed that to be a little short-sighted.

Microsoft Vista Piracy Already Rampant

That didn't take long.

"No one can afford what they're charging," said Carlos, whose makeshift stand also offered Office 2007, antivirus software from Symantec Corp. and games such as FIFA 07.

So what if it costs so little to buy a pirated version of "Ultimate" Vista. It's not like they're also selling pirated PCs that are beefy enough to meet the system requirements to run Vista. Or that these PCs could ever get connected to the internet to activate all of Vista's cool features without Microsoft's web servers shutting them down and making the OS inoperable.

I don't think Microsoft is too worried about these pirated copies being out there.

Adult Stem Cell Treatment, Not Just Research

Woah!

“In just five hours approximately the cells were extracted, purified, selected and implanted with the aim of regenerating new blood vessels which may allow them to flow blood properly to the heart of the patient”, the hospital said.

Cells extracted from fat do not need to be cultivated for three weeks, like other types of stem cells, so in just two hours 28 million cells were ready for implanting.

Plastic surgeons extracted the fat tissue from the patient’s abdomen and implanted the cells using a catheter.

I had no idea adult stem cells could be harvested from fat, or that the stem cells from fat grew so fast. The dearth of reporting on adult stem cell research couldn't be related to the MSM's preference to report on embryonic stem cell research, could it?

While embryonic stem cell advocates fret over a ban in research conducted in just one building in Australia because the ban was negotiated as part of the sale from a Roman Catholic university, actual treatment is taking place using adult stem cells.

But the university's student union and the Greens political party criticized the deal as restricting academic research.

"This damages all universities because it undermines the very important principle of freedom of inquiry, freedom of research," said John Kaye, the Greens' education spokesman in New South Wales state.

"It places on record the idea that one group can dictate with their prejudices what can and cannot be researched at an Australian university," Kaye said.

Note that it seems to be okay to call the central beliefs of a western religion "prejudice" while walking on eggshells around the core tenets of that other religion of peace when they give us science stories like this one, regarding a supposed herbal cure for AIDS.

Nope, no multicultural bias to see here. Move along.

Update: Remember those Play-Doh™-like chunks the crew of the Enterprise in the original Star Trek series ate? Just what did you think they actually consisted of, processed kelp? Nope, try stem cells.

H/T Instapundit.

Monday, February 05, 2007

European GM-phobia

More GM-phobia in Europe, this time out of Hungary.

Binary Opposition: Versus Theory

An interesting take on the whole A vs B argument among tech adherents. Mac vs PC, Windows vs Linux, Gameplay vs Game Experience, ad infinitum. Not sure I agree, exactly.

My theory? People like what they like based on personality and ability. You can take that as a compliment or an insult. Did I just create another A vs B?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Go Bears! Super Bowl XLI

Update: Colts win 29-17. Feh.

Bears QB Rex Grossman didn't convert any doubters with that performance.

Dah Bears, Dah Bears, Dah Bears...
"Dah Bears, in a bus...Who's Drivin'? Ditka!"

Yes, I'll be watching Dah Super Bowl, although my original plan of going to my hangout may not happen because it's frakkin' cold out there!

Maybe I'll just stay in.

Calculation Error in Lab Creates Promising Cancer Buster

Pretty cool. A compound that causes tubulin itself to melt in cancer cells while leaving normal cells alone sounds like the magic bullet we've been looking for. It also means the issue of drug resistance in cancer cells may melt away, as well. Hopefully, we'll hear more about PPAR-gamma in the future.

Swiss Lead the Way in Enviro-Masochism

Despite the fact that the recently released Summary Report from the IPCC states that global warming was "very likely man-made", is "unstoppable", and "would continue for centuries" no matter what humans do to control pollution, that hasn't stopped sado-environmentalists from flogging the canard that "we can do something about it" by feeling the pain of conservation efforts. The SPM says, in a nutshell, you could stop all CO2 emission right now, and the anthropogenically caused global warming would continue unabated for centuries to come. That, to me, pretty much says we need to find a different solution to mitigating the effects of climate change than beating the worn-out drum of conservation. Simply switching to alternative non-carbon producing energy sources, with the use of a global carbon tax as "the stick" for compliance, is not going to be enough. Do these people even bother to read? That's a rhetorical question, of course.

Now we get news out of Switzerland that the Swiss are ready to lead the way in falling on the global warming sword. Great, will they stop breathing, too? That is essentially the final solution of gaia worshippers, anyway. That whole science thingy is too tough on their mushy brains after years of filling them up with catchy slogans and pics of fuzzy pandas.

Don't hold your breath waiting for enviro-bats to offer reasoned solutions. They may just ask you to hold yours, instead.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Chewbacca Arrested for Acting Like A Wookie

Heh.

The tour guide, Brian Sapir, told the Los Angeles Times that he asked the Chewbacca impersonator to stop harassing two young Japanese tourists when the actor exploded in anger.

"He said, 'Nobody tells this wookie what to do,'" Sapir said.

Classic.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Bing! Happy Groundhog Day

Think it'll be an early spring?
I'm a god. Not the God...I don't think.

Duh!: Environmentalism Based on Emotion

Oh, sure, save a panda. Like they have to worry about being roadkill.
© 1995 — 2004 Teresa Cristina Anacleto

Here's the proof for the smackdown that environmentalism, especially ad campaigns for endangered species, is, at its foundation, steeped in emotion.

Not too many coffee table books filled with photos of the Giant Armadillo, are there?

Update: This study backs up an earlier study warning against emotional outpouring in conservation efforts.

More Guerrilla Ad Tactics Under Fire

While some people are saying that the city of Boston overreacted in light of the fact that nine other cities had the same ad campaign perpetrated upon them with nary a sneeze, there's news out Los Angeles that the Feds may sue Paramount Pictures to recoup expenses from a similar ad campaign for the movie Mission: Impossible III.

Does anybody remember this bomb scare stuff being in the news? Me, neither. Might have helped that movie's bottomline, even with all the scary Cruise-iness going on at the time.

Light Blogging, Again!

In case you're wondering why my blog posts are down recently, work has consumed me because of a software product release deadline (yesterday). We made it, barely, but since I'm the guy that programs the installation setup packages for the products in our client/server line, it's quite time consuming to roll it out.

Anyway, my tasks are done until the Oracle platform version gets through quality assurance and I have to package that up. I shouldn't be as busy in the near future (as I look over my shoulder for impending doom).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

BOYCOTT INTERFERENCE INC

You know what you did, and you should never work in the advertising business again, Interference, Inc. Turner Broadcasting has a lot to answer for, too.

For frakkin' Aqua Teen Hunger Force? That POS? Ree-diculous. And shameful.