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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Sunday August 24, 2003. Not much personal, today.

The news that phytochemicals in red wine can extend one's life span is getting a lot of play. The news media do also mention that these phytochemicals are available in other sources. You can get the same results with a very restrictive diet, but drinking red wine sounds like more fun to most people.

With scientific news, I find it best to go to http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php for the original press release. Scientific press releases are simplified for the benefit of reporters. The stories based on those press releases are dumbed down. (And sometimes, editors are "helpful" enough to explain that frogs are reptiles or that kohanim is another term for rabbis.)

The full press release is at www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-08/hms-mdt081903.php
Keep in mind that a lot of scientific discoveries turn out to be wrong. For example, kudzu as a cure for alcoholism didn't work out.

Back in the 1990's, something extracted from kudzu turned out to reduce alcohol consumption in one kind of laboratory animal by half -- in one set of experiments in one laboratory. At least in the Twin Cities, a number of people read that as "Kudzu cures alcoholism!" I was in the Wedge Coop the day the story came out; and their phones were busy with people who wanted to know if the Wedge had kudzu. (They only had kudzu flour, imported from Japan.)

The governors of states where kudzu grows wild (and grows, and grows) missed an opportunity. They could have issued warnings that harvesting kudzu on public property was illegal, and that ingestion of kudzu might induce hallucinations. Too late now.

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Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.science
Subject: new Mars Reference Web Site
From: mottebks@aol.com (MotteBks)
Date: 24 Aug 2003 22:08:06 GMT

Hello-
My name is Gene Alloway and I wanted to let you know I am bringing up a new
version of my website "Mars in the Mind of Earth: A Bibliography
of Terran Works Concerning the Planet Mars" at http://www.marsearth.com, which
has hundreds of citations to non-fiction books and scientific articles, science
fiction novels and short stories, movies, websites, images, music, and more.
========

A quick look shows that it could be useful. It does need more work, but will be getting it.

==========
A drop in violent crime that's hard to explain
Observers worry that hidden in the good news are harbingers of problems
ahead. By Alexandra Marks
http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0825/p01s01-usju.html

There are bad times just around the corner,
There are dark clouds hurtling through the sky
And it's no good whining
About a silver lining
For we know from experience that they won't roll by,
With a scowl and a frown
We'll keep our peckers down
And prepare for depression and doom and dread,
We're going to unpack our troubles from our old kit bag
And wait until we drop down dead.

There are bad times just around the corner,
The horizon's gloomy as can be,
There are black birds over
The grayish cliffs of Dover
And the rats are preparing to leave the B.B.C.
We're an unhappy breed
And very bored indeed
When reminded of something that Nelson said.
While the press and the politicians nag nag nag

Noel Coward, "Ode to Depression," refrains 1 and 2.

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