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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Wednesday June 30, 2004. To Pillsbury House, where I did data entry for the Community Barter Network and Pillsbury House's volunteer program.

The #23 bus now runs three times an hour during the day -- up from twice an hour. Which makes it more convenient for me. This is a side-effect of Light Rail Transit; the 23 connects with the 38th Street Station, and all crosstown buses which connect with the Hiawatha Line now run more frequently.

From there to Uncle Hugo's sf bookstore on the #5 bus. Bought the Hartwell-Cramer fantasy year's best collection. I like their picks -- in both fantasy and sf -- better than the other year's bests.

#21 to the Uptown Lunds supermarket. Extra large eggs were cheaper than large eggs; I don't know why, and I don't know how long this will last. (Lunds is upscale enough that it doesn't carry medium eggs. Logically, this means there ought to be downscale groceries which sell small eggs; reality refuses to be logical in this matter.)

#23 line back home. The route change in Uptown makes it as convenient as it would be if I'd designed it myself.

Writing: Daily exercise -- Done, posted to this journal.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- Some rewording in the first draft portions.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --
_________________
Got this link from Crooked Timber http://crookedtimber.org. If you have any interest in economics, it's worth reading:

Economica 1945, pp. 189-201.
The Economic Organization of a P.O.W. Camp
By R.A. Radford
http://faculty.econ.nwu.edu/faculty/witte/B01/handouts/radford.html
_____________
Come on, with a title like this - Nader, Dean to Debate if Ralph Should Run - the answer's bloody obvious, isn't it? Nader says yes, Dean says no, Nader says yes and sneers, Dean says no and gets a little flushed, Nader screams Yes, Dean shouts No, Nader starts shoving metal spikes through a rag doll ritually prepared to represent the Democratic Party, Dean pulls out the holy water, silver nitrate and a long wooden stake, they both assume their Crinos form, the Classic Star Trek fight music starts up and we end up with a trashed sound set and a bunch of gibbering radio engineers.

(pause)

Actually, on second thought all of that sounds kind of interesting. July 9th, is it?
http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2004/06/short_debate_re.htm
Sanity

What would a fully sane human being be like? That is, one with a genuinely healthy mind (or as close to it as possible for our species)?

Assume this person is an adult male, American by birth, citizenship, and residence. Some of his behavior might seem very, very odd to most Americans: He would drive at or below the speed limit, except when it's genuinely safer to drive above the speed limit. He would eat differently from most Americans -- without being on any diet, he would eat less and eat more nutritiously.

He wouldn't smoke -- anything. He might drink some wine or beer, but he wouldn't get drunk.

He would probably be registered in one of the two major parties. But he would not vote along party lines. He would not get angry at politicians; he would work to defeat the ones he considered bad.

For that matter, he would be far less prone to anger than most Americans.

Now, some people think he would be dull, uncreative, and boring. I don't.

To some extent, this might be a matter of taste. I find insanity boring, and most insane people rather dull.

Uncreative? There may be links between creativity and certain forms of insanity. But for every William Blake or Ezra Pound, there are thousands of the insane turning out bad poetry.
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 30-Jun-2004
European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology 20th Annual Meeting
EU enlargement could lead to fertility tourism from West to East
Fertility tourists could be heading for eastern European countries in the wake of EU enlargement as data revealed today show that parts of the East match the West in terms of the availability and efficacy of assisted reproduction techniques, but cost less.

Public Release: 30-Jun-2004
Science
Gene alteration points to longevity, thinness
Imagine that by altering the function of a single gene, you could live longer, be thinner and have lower cholesterol and fat levels in your blood.
_________________
Change of mind
A brain haemorrhage turned an ex-convict into an obsessive artist. In this free feature, Jim Giles meets him and the scientists studying his case.
http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/ePZs0BfwT60Ch0OrZ0Ap
___________________
How the South changed
40 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a new role as a beacon for the rest of the US. By Gail Russell Chaddock
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0701/p01s02-ussc.html?s=hns

North Carolina's gambit to bring Internet Age to rural areas
Like other states, it's wiring isolated towns with high-speed lines to boost local economies. By Patrik Jonsson
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0701/p02s01-usec.html?s=hns

Michael Moore's showing in Show Me State
His movie is a big draw, but it reinforces audiences' views rather than changing them. By Staci D. Kramer
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0701/p03s01-ussc.html?s=hns

Oddly enough, I don't find this surprising.

Beware Russia's pocket empire
Enclaves of military might in little-known but strategic regions threaten Western values. By Daniel C. Twining
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0701/p09s02-coop.html?s=hns
Tuesday June 29, 2004 -- Continued. Things I forgot to include yesterday:

The Ancient Traders shopping center on Franklin Avenue will be getting an Aldi's. Aldi is a grocery chain with a reputation for low prices.

Till now, the lowest-cost Twin Cities 31-day bus card has been the $42 one for the non-rush-hour fare. However, there's now the rail pass, which costs $40. And: the LRT doesn't have the rush-hour fare increases.

The Cub Foods on Lake Street near Minnehaha Avenue has a dollar section with stuff actually worth buying. For example, 100 teabags for a dollar.

***Mail: July Einblatt -- Mnstf's monthly newsletter, which includes non-Mnstf sf-related events in the Twin Cities.

July De Profundis -- LASFS (Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society) newsletter. Schedule of events at the clubhouse; minutes of club meetings and Board of Directors meetings.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Tuesday June 29, 2004. To Steeple People thrift store, where I bought more containers.

And started putting stuff in them, as soon as I got home. Which has not been my usual pattern, to put it mildly.

***Later, I took the #4 bus back north to the Wedge Co-op. Then the #2 down Franklin Avenue to the Franklin Avenue LRT station, and the #55 train south to Lake and Hiawatha.
The train had a reasonable number of people on it for that time in the evening.

Shopped at the Cub Foods store there. And then I took the train to the 38th Street Station.

This train was crowded; standing room only. I couldn't figure out why, till I noticed some of the men wore baseball clothing. These were people leaving a game at the Metrodome.

The bus stop on 38th Street was next to the Cardinal Bar, which proclaims that they patty their beef fresh every morning.

#23 bus home.
______________________
Writing: Daily exercise -- For today's exercise, I decided to write an excerpt from a future equivalent of Diana Wynne Jones's _The Tough Guide to Fantasyland_. That is, from a compendium of cliches found in fiction set in the gentler, simpler (and simultaneously more adventurous) time of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries:

Transportation: In the countryside, all travel is either by steam-powered trains or by gasoline-powered flying cars.

In cities, most travel is by ground cars hired at hourly rates, and driven by wise old men. (Sometimes these "cabbies" turn out to be beautiful young women in disguise.)

The adventurous might take the underground subway trains, which are powered by fission reactors. Your fellow passengers will include land pirates, alligators, and "goths" (more properly called suggoths). Be prepared to defend yourself, your possessions, and your companions.

Food: In the countryside, be certain to bring a tin-opener (aka "churchkey"), and sufficient cans of stew. In much of North America, you will be able to hunt local animals -- rabbits, llamas, wallabies, etc. -- and add them to the stew.

In cities, you will eat either in diners or in ristorantes. In a diner, the waitron will heat a can of stew and open it for you. In a ristorante, you will eat more varied fare such as fish served complete with heads and all, meatloaf made from tofu plants, and German tacos.

***"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- More added to zero draft of the new scene.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --
I got this from Resourceshelf (http://www.resourceshelf.com/):
By Kevin Bogardus

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2004 — Justice Department officials say a huge database that serves as the public's lone window on lobbying activities by foreign governments has been allowed to decay to a point they cannot even make a copy of its contents.

Responding to a recent Freedom of Information request from the Center for Public Integrity, the Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit said it was unable to copy its records electronically because their computer system was "so fragile." In a letter, the head of the unit's Freedom of Information office said that simply attempting to make an electronic copy of the database "could result in a major loss of data, which would be devastating."

The database details millions of dollars spent on lobbying activities by foreign governments, companies, and foundations.

Those activities include everything from wining and dining lawmakers to broadcasting issue ads on American television and radio stations.

Unlike foreign governments and political parties, foreign companies can file their lobby forms with the Senate Office of Public Records on Capitol Hill. Under the 1995 Lobbying Disclosure Act, private companies based outside the United States need only to fill out much shorter forms for Congress instead of the substantial information required by FARA.

As the primary collecting point of information on foreign lobbying, the database is vital to tracking the actions of foreign governments in Washington. Yet the system remains susceptible to "a crash that cannot be fixed" if its files were to be copied, according to Justice's Criminal Division Freedom of Information/Privacy Act office.

"The information itself still is very accessible," said Bryan Sierra at the Department of Justice's Office of Public Affairs. "The basic mandate of the office is to provide information to the public."

Sierra and other officials at the Justice Department public affairs office refused to answer follow-up questions on the state of the FARA database. Sierra, through his receptionist, said he would not discuss the subject any further.

It's true that the information contained in the database can be obtained, as long as those seeking it know the precise files they want and have a substantial copying budget.

The Justice Department's Foreign Agent Registration Unit, which is responsible for the records, has a public documents room located in a windowless office on New York Avenue in downtown Washington.

Congress's investigative branch, the General Accounting Office, has looked into the FARA office over several decades, culminating in their last report in 1998. More than once, the GAO has found that FARA lacks the resources to fulfill its responsibilities. As a result, several former high-level federal officials lobbying for foreign interests have not adequately disclosed their activities.

The ancient computers the public and staff use often break down, however, and the printers malfunction. The system's document handling software, itself an antique, operates on Microsoft Windows 95.

Copying charges are also incomprehensibly high—50 cents a page for documents that can easily include hundreds of pages each.

Further, none of the actual filings are available online, although a bare-bones index of registrants does appear on the office's website. However, the most current index posted on the site is 18 months old.
http://www.publicintegrity.org/report.aspx?aid=332&sid=100
I've posted New Scientist article summaries and links to the full articles on the LiveJournal Infojunkies community:
http://www.livejournal.com/community/infojunkies/

Monday, June 28, 2004

Monday June 28, 2004. Steeple People thift store was continuing its "Dandelion Sale." I bought a few things, one of which I needed. Donated the old one back to the store.

***Mail: Mix, July-August. Article on how the Federal "natural" food designation got watered down. News that regional food co-op associations are setting up a national association. Restaurant review by Bruce Schneir and Karen Cooper. Articles on food. News of Twin Cities Natural Foods Co-ops members. Ads for the organically correct.

My co-op, the Wedge, is a member of TCNFC and now a member of the national group. More purist co-ops in the Twin Cities -- ones which rely on volunteer labor -- aren't members.

An invitation to apply for an American Express card. Are they reaching out to people with lower incomes than their current customers? Did they buy a bad mailing list? I suspect both. That is, they're reaching down but don't intend to reach down as far as my current income level.
_______________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done, posted to rec.arts.sf.written. Summary: at least two
sf print magazines are being stupid about mail ads. Fantasy & Science Fiction's renewal notice has an illustration designed for appeal to people who grew up on 1950s sf movies. Not a good move for a mostly-literary prozine. Realms of Fantasy offers the opportunity to start with the charter issue of this new zine -- almost ten years after that issue was published.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --
____________________
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 28-Jun-2004
NeuroImage
Carnegie Mellon U. imaging study reveals sex-based differences that persist as mice enter adulthood
Using advanced imaging technology, Carnegie Mellon University scientists have conducted the first systematic examination of developmental and sex-associated changes in adolescent and adult mouse brains to reveal fundamental, persistent differences in key brain structures, such as those important for emotions, learning, and memory. This information, in press with NeuroImage, may be critical for modeling human neurologic and neuropsychiatric diseases, as well as for understanding how structural, sex-associated brain differences influence behavior and cognition.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health

Public Release: 28-Jun-2004
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Mice with hyperactive Wnt10b gene eat all they want, but have half the body fat of normal mice
Genetically engineered mice, created at the University of Michigan Medical School, are living every dieter's dream. They eat unlimited amounts of high-fat mouse chow, but have about 50 percent less body fat than normal mice on a low-fat diet. And they show no signs of diabetes or other metabolic disorders.
National Institutes of Health, University of Michigan Medical School, American Diabetes Association
From the UK edition of Google News:
Mobiles Phones May Damage Sperm, Study Says
Reuters - 4 hours ago
LONDON (Reuters) - Mobile phones may damage men's sperm, Hungarian scientists say, in a study that fertility experts dismissed Monday as inconclusive.
Mobile phones could hurt sperm count Mobile Tracker
Mobile phones rot your balls The Register
Guardian - The Inquirer - Independent - CommsDesign - and 41 related
_______________
From the Twin Cities Freecycle mailing list:
Wooden crate, used once, broken down, shipped a scooter from UK.

Perfect for shipping tigers, storing unruly children,and so forth.
__________
I posted this to soc.history.what-if:
> And i promise never again to use mobile fusion reactors.
>
From the 1940s to the 1980s, they did have severe quality control problems. However, they're more reliable these days. And much smaller -- they no longer require a separate room in your house.

However, it's best not to let your cats play with them.

Slight digression: The notion that physical laws changed in 1939 keeps turning up in this forum. I would say that Von Daniken and other skeptics have pretty well demolished it.

More on this next week; I have to catch an airship to Venus.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Sunday June 27, 2004. Thoughts on reading Charles De Lint's _Spirits in the Wires_ while doing laundry:

1) I'm a sucker for fantasy set in borderlands, or largely in borderlands. Places where, for example, our magical world and the non-magical world of Elfland meet.

A fantasy which begins in a borderland and then moves entirely into one world will lose me. So will a borderland which becomes too much its own world (as in most of the Bordertown stories, for example).

And in real life, I find a city more interesting if it's a cultural borderland: Montreal, Strasbourg, Brussels, San Diego.

2) The idea that we each have a shadow-self, made up of those parts of our minds/souls which we refuse to acknowledge, doesn't seem true to me.

It could be that I have several shadows rather than just the one. Or I might have managed to kill my shadow.

Or perhaps Single Personality Disorder more than a joke, and I have it.

3) Something about reading Del Lint's fantasy makes me think more sharply and observe in more detail.
_________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done; see above.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --
From the UK edition of Google News:
Poor most generous charity-givers
BBC News - 4 hours ago
People living in poorer areas give more to charity than those from affluent households, according to a new study.
Motherwell tops charitable towns study scottish tv
Official: richest towns are also the meanest Independent
ic SouthLondon.co.uk - Sunday Herald - and 33 related

BBC opens up 70 years of archive footage to the digital age
Sunday Herald - 16 hours ago
Film producers, advertisers, creative directors and picture researchers engaged in the perennial search for archive footage, have been given a new source of material with the launch of BBC's internet archive, the Motion Gallery.
BBC raids archive to sell video footage PC Pro
Historical BBC archives go online BBC News
DMeurope.com - Computer Graphics World - Mac Animation Pro

Doctors in the UK don't report mistakes, they don't trust the NHS to manage a blame free system
Medical News Today - 45 minutes ago
According to a survey carried out by Doctors Net UK, only 15% of medical errors which could have led to death or serious disability are being reported. Amazingly, they found that more than 80% of doctors have actually seen other doctors make mistakes, ...
Doctors 'not reporting errors' BBC News
Doctors fail to report errors of colleagues Scotland on Sunday
Sunday Herald - and 6 related

Change in UK diets 'could trigger mental health crisis'
Independent - 16 hours ago
Changes in British diets are going to lead to an explosion in mental health problems, medical experts said yesterday. They warned of a crisis even bigger than the epidemic of obesity afflicting the UK.
'Fish' test for heart attack risk BBC News
Agency sets out safety levels for oily fish Financial Times
Medical News Today - The Times, UK (subscription) - Guardian - Reuters - and 28 related
Saturday June 26, 2004. Writing -- Daily exercise -- Done. Posted to this journal.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- Added one scene to the zero draft portion. The scene includes a new bit of throwaway background: several of the people in it are Canadian Civil War reenactors.

Changed the name of one important gadget.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --
________________
Mr. Cheney assured Fox's anxious viewers that he would stay on the ticket and in the White House until January '09. (No four letter words, dear Democrats.) Vice said of W., "he knows I'm there to serve him."

Mr. Bush must have missed that classic "Twilight Zone" episode where the aliens arrive with a book entitled, "To Serve Man." It turns out to be a cookbook.
Maureen Dowd http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/27/opinion/27DOWD.html
_______________
Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who as a legislator opposed the rail line, said that the opposition is water over the bridge and that the goal now is to make it successful.
http://startribune.com/stories/462/4848766.htm

I don't yet know whether the governor actually said that, a reporter got it wrong, or a copy editor "corrected" water under the bridge.
________________
Cool Magnet: A little bit of iron gives magnetic refrigeration a boost
An improved material moves magnetic refrigeration one step closer to commercial reality.
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040626/fob6.asp

Beg Your Indulgence: The Japanese social concept of amae goes global
The Japanese concept of amae, in which one person presumes that another will indulgently grant a special request, may apply to different forms of behavior at different ages, even in Western countries.
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040626/bob10.asp

Dogs Catching Frisbees
When navigating to intercept a thrown Frisbee, dogs appear to use the same geometric strategy that a baseball fielder employs to snag a fly ball hit into the outfield.
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040626/mathtrek.asp

Public Release: 25-Jun-2004
Natural selection at work in genetic variation to taste
A genetic variation seen worldwide in which people either taste or do not taste a bitter, synthetic compound called PTC has been preserved by natural selection, University of Utah and National Institutes of Health researchers have reported.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Saturday June 26, 2004. Light Rail Grand Opening, continued.

On to the 46th Street Station. A zydeco band, which performed that zydeco classic "Kingston Town". (My heart is down/My head is turning around/Had to leave a little girl in Kingston Town.)

On to the 50th Street/Minnehaha Park Station. High point: a tour of Minnehaha Park in an antique bus.

The bus dated from 1953; it's a bit disconcerting for an antique anything to be ten years younger than I am. There were the usual ads; it took me a bit of time to realize that they were all from past decades.

We got off at the Princess Depot Museum.

After seeing that museum, we walked around the park. Saw Minnehaha Falls from several angles.

By the park pavilion, the Middle Spunk Creek Boys were playing bluegrass. Including:

Hang down your head, Tom Dooley
Your tie is caught in your fly.

They also did "Charlie on the MTA" with "MTA" replaced by "LRT". Unfortunately, that was the only change they made.

Our original plan had been to take in the stations we'd missed on the return trip. However, we were both tired enough that we decided to go to the Fort Snelling Station and call it a day. (The line currently ends at Fort Snelling. When completed, it will go on to the airport and to the Mall of America. Till then, the #155 bus will fill cover that part of the route.)

At the Fort Snelling Station, we got our passports stamped for the sixth time -- which entitled us to enter the drawing for prizes.

And then we took a #55 bus, rather than waiting for room on the #55 train.

The #55 buses were intended to take over when the trains weren't running. The trains were running fine; but the buses were needed to handle the overflow.

A bit after the bus passed the VA Medical Center, another passenger remarked that the bus seemed to be going in circles. Which led to a group of people singing "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" After which they moved on to 1960s rock. (Some of the Beatles songs might have been more recent.)

We got off at the Downtown East/Metrodome Station. We walked to where Pat's car was parked, and she drove me home.
Saturday June 26, 2004. To Southwest Senior Center, to pick up this month's Fare For All food. A good haul; with one exception, it was all stuff I could and would use.

The exception was Old El Paso Cheesy Taco Pizza Dinner Kit -- just add ground beef, milk, and cheese. But this was something thrown in for free.

I was also offered a free watermelon. I turned it down, because I couldn't see myself finishing it off while it was still edible.

***Today was the Grand Opening of the first Light Rail line in the Twin Cities, the Hiawatha Line. Free rides on the trains, and also on Metro Transit's buses. Various promotional stuff at each of the twelve stops.

On the way to the LRT, Pat called my attention to some particularly silly statues in front of the new Federal Courthouse.

We got our first music -- the City Hall/Courthouse carillon.

We started at the Government Plaza Station, heading South, after getting our passports stamped.

The ride was smoother than in any car or bus I've ridden in lately, and smoother than I could recall any train ride being.

The only downside: it was crowded, and each time we got back on the train we had a long wait for spaces to open up. There were a lot of people who wanted to ride on the first day; I suspect it exceeded Metro Transit's most optimistic predictions.

We got off at the Cedar-Riverside Station. Food available: Chinese, vegetarian from the Hard Times Cafe, and Korean.

On to the station at Lake and Minnehaha. There was a preview of the Midtown Public Market, which will officially open next month.

I was tempted to buy a cabbage. Remembered that I already had cabbage at home. However -- this looked fresher than the cabbage I already possessed had looked in the grocery.
So, I bought it.

Bought a bottle of cold designer tea from the Seward Coop's booth -- for fifty cents, rather less than the usual price. And then there was the booth giving samples of Peace Coffee. (It does seem to be of high quality. Whether that and its Fair Trade status make it worth the price, I'll leave to those who buy coffee more often than I do.)

Manny's Tortas had a sign which was partly in the Cyrillic alphabet -- that is, words with a mixture of Cyrillic and Latin letters. If there's an alternate world in which this is authentically Mexican, I can't figure out what the Point of Divergence might be.

Tshirt seen: Welcome to Detroit. Sorry we missed you this time. Picture of a handgun, nervous-making end pointed at the viewer.

(To be continued)
Stages of Old Age

1. Things from your childhood are showing up in antique stores, though so far only as collectables.

2. Things from your childhood are full-fledged antiques.

3. Things from your childhood don't show up in antique stores because history museums
have them all.

4. Things from your childhood aren't in museums because archeologists are still studying them.

5. Things from your childhood aren't in museums because paleontologists are still studying them.

6. Things from your childhood aren't in museums because cosmologists are still studying them.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Friday June 25, 2004. I went to Steeple People thrift store, and bought storage containers. Next step: get rid of enough things that I'll have space for them.
__________
Writing: Daily Exercise -- Done. An explanation of why a planet which needs no more than three spaceports has a fourth one.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- Added one more line to a conversation.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --
__________________________
The Tam Lin "Nigerian Letter" is now up on the Tam Lin Pages at
http://www.tam-lin.org/oddities1.html -- along with several filked versions of the song.
______________
Old Airfields never die, they just cultivate lots and lots of crabgrass. And amazingly there are over 1100 of them all over the US gathered into the Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields site by Paul Freeman ( http://www.airfields-freeman.com/ )
http://www.researchbuzz.org/archives/001791.shtm
________
From Google News, UK edition:
Millionaire loses 'Indecent Proposal' case
Independent - 3 hours ago
The longest slander action in English legal history came to a close yesterday as the multi-millionaire Brian Maccaba lost his High Court action against a leading rabbi. In a case that had infamously been dubbed the "Indecent Proposal" ...
A rich man's revenge that cost more than money Telegraph.co.uk
Rabbi cleared in "Indecent Proposal" case Reuters
Irish Times (subscription) - Scotland on Sunday - Barnet Times - BBC News - and 28 related

From Google News, India edition:
India to get space camera from Israel
Daily Times - 3 hours ago
NEW DELHI: India will get a sophisticated space camera from Israel for use in astronomical research as part of the agreement signed in 2003 between the space agencies of two countries for scientific cooperation in astronomy and galactic ...
Israel to launch space camera on Indian satellite The Hindu
Business News, India: Israel to supply India with sophisticated space camera Keralanext
Jerusalem Post - New Kerala - and 7 related

Net on some trains from June 30
Rediff - Jun 24, 2004
Indian Railways will offer Internet access to passengers travelling aboard luxury coaches from June 30, The Times of India said Thursday.
RailTel to launch in-train WiFi, Internet kiosks Telecom Paper (subscription)
Internet offered to Indian rail passengers Al-Jazeera
Times of India - BBC News - Sify - Asia Pacific Media Network - and 10 related

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Thursday June 24, 2004. Annual allergy check-up. (Summary: I'm allergic to indoor air and outdoor air.) Everything is working okay, so my prescriptions were renewed for another year.

On to the temporary Minneapolis central library. Got: A collection of essays by Isaiah Berlin. SF/fantasy collections by Theodore Sturgeon, Cordwainer Smith, and Fritz Leiber. Ursula K. Le Guin's Changing Planes.

On to Steeple People thrift shop, which is having a sale: clothing fifty percent off, everything else twentyfive percent off. I got a large basket for carrying cooking stuff, a frying pan, and a pot. 38 cents each, plus tax.

Across Lyndale Avenue to the Wedge co-op grocery. And then home.

***On rec.music.filk, Kip Williams responded to "Fair Eleanor and the Cyclops" with this:

"Here's to the charmer whose dimples we prize,
Now to the maid who has none, sir;
Here's to the maiden with three pretty eyes,
And here's to the nymph with but one, sir.
Let the toast pass,
Drink to the lass,
I'll warrant she'll prove an excuse for the glass."

***On rec.arts.sf.fandom, Matthew Tepper reported the death of Allen Rothstein. Damn!
_______
Writing: Daily exercise -- done.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- One small bit of conversation added.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --
WI-FI FINDS THE WAY
Deep in the concrete canyons of city centres, GPS often fails because high buildings block the signals they rely on. But an unlikely back-up for GPS is emerging that works best in cities and inside cavernous complexes like shopping malls: Wi-Fi. New software uses the signals from Wi-Fi base stations to calculate a user's position. Its developers predict that Wi-Fi could become central to new location-based applications, and that the emergency services in particular could find the system an essential back-up...MORE
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996058

TOP STORIES:
Tooth growing experiments bring smiles
Remarkable progress is being made towards growing replacement teeth from stem cells, but major obstacles remain
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996061

Noisy secret of Mona Lisa's smile
A new study suggests that the power of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece comes in part from random noise in our visual systems
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996056

Fundamental physics constants stay put
A new study casts doubt on an earlier claim that the fine-structure constant varied as the Universe evolved
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996057

Horn damage hints at Triceratops battles
The three-horned dinosaur could apparently wrestle head-to-head with other members of its own species
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996059

From http://politicalwire.com:
Presidential Candidate Ringtones
From Engadget: "Show your support for the candidate you love (or hate) by having them endorse your incoming phone call with these ringtones. Each ringtone is the candidate saying their name and that they approve this message."

Pole Workers Supporting Poll Workers
Following the lead set by their Wisconsin colleagues, Ohio gentleman club owners have begun registering voters for the November election. "Angelina Spencer is co-owner of the Circus and executive director of the Association of Club Executives, which represents about 800 exotic establishments. She thinks pole workers should drum up business for poll workers," the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

"Spencer says she has signed up perhaps 225 workers and customers. The association's Ohio chapter claims another 5,000 registrants."
Thursday June 23, 2004. I got a Swiss version of the Nigerian Letter.

And then this turned up on Live Avatar's LiveJournal, taken from the Morris Dancing mailing list:

Let me
introduce myself to you. I am Mrs Janet Lin, a director at the First Bank
of Carterhaugh. I came to you in confidence because of some money, namely
TWENTY-EIGHT MILLION GOLD COINS (28,000,000.000 gold coins) belonging to my
missing husband, Thomas (Tam) Lin, who was abducted by the faeries in a
ghastly incident many years ago. The money has been buried under a thorn
hedge for seven hundred years. I have given up hope that my beloved THOMAS
LIN will return and so have decided to retrieve his money and move to Tir Na
Nog. I want you to help claim the buried money as you are a source for good
investment. For this we are prepared to give you a reasonable percentage
of the money. Meanwhile 15% (FOUR MILLION TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND GOLD COINS)
has been set aside for you and the rest will be for me and my milk cow
called Derek. For the intrest of doing business please do not hesitate to
contact MR DEREK GUERNSEY on 27-731-450-735 Fax 27-843-232-611 IMMEDIATELY.
I thank you for your cooperation and warn of DIRE CONSEQUENCES if you fail
to solicit my confidences.

Mrs. Janet Lin
Director
First Bank of Carterhaugh
___________
Usenet: Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.composition
Subject: Re: Digital Knight (Backlash against the series?)
From: "Brian M. Scott"
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 00:02:36 -0400

On 24 Jun 2004 00:10:41 GMT Dan Goodman wrote

"Digression: I wish I'd saved the message about an online map which shows European borders from 1000 AD on -- month by month."

Sounds like Centennia, the full version of which is available for $89 . There's an online version that includes maps for 26 representative dates from 1025 to 1997.
__________
Via soc.genealogy.jewish: A family reunited by home movies -- found in a garage owned by unrelated people
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/features/lifestyle/sfl-lihistoryjun24,0,6862249.story
_________________________
From the India edition of Google News:
Spider-Man in a loincloth is all-Indian hero
Telegraph.co.uk - 3 hours ago
Spider-man is to go global with the release of an Indian version of the comic book superhero, complete with loincloth, Hindu demons and battle scenes over the Taj Mahal.
Here comes the Spider-Man India National Post (subscription)
Eastern Swing: Sharad Devarajan Talks Indian Spider-Man comic Book Resources
Asia Times Online - Rediff - NEWS.com.au - India Express - and 11 related
__________________
[June 23] in 1969, Coleman Young is sworn in as Chief Advocate of the Supreme People’s Court. The lifelong Communist Party member and activist for local soviets had risen to distinction by chairing the investigation into the assassination of Comrade President Rosenberg. Many claimed that the investigation was a thinly-disguised party whitewash of the truth, but most of the public accepted its finding that the counter-revolutionary, Oswald, had acted on his own.
http://althistory.blogspot.com/2004/06/workers-revolt-in-paris-chdo-land-on.html

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Wednesday June 23, 2004. Today began as Silly Folksong Day. Beginning with "And the name they called that ship was the Golden Monotreme." Continuing with:

Fair Eleanor she has lands and gold,
The cyclops girl has none.
Fair Eleanor she has three blue eyes,
The Cyclops has but one.

***To Pillsbury House, where I did data entry for the Community Barter Network and Pillsbury House's volunteer program.

***Seen: Galactic Pizza, 2917 Lyndale Avenue South. It doesn't seen to be open yet.

***I'd been in the habit of reading the New York Times on the web for national and international news. Today, I decided to switch to the Washington Post.

I don't consider the Times nearly as good a news source as I used to. (Even without the recent well-publicized problems.)

Will I read it for New York City news? Probably not; Newsday is better for that. Which is sad; Newsday is primarily a suburban paper, and I believe it no longer has a NYC edition.

I grew up reading the Times, up in Ulster County NY. When I lived in NYC, it was the paper I read regularly. (I sometimes also read the Post, which was then farthest left of NYC's papers; I gather it's now the farthest right.) I feel that I'm leaving part of my life behind.
______________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done. A sketch of what I expect if John Kerry wins the US Presidential election.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- A conversation added which tells a bit more about the setting and (I hope) makes certain things about the two main characters more explicit.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --
Physiology: Hibernation in a tropical primate

KATHRIN H. DAUSMANN*, JULIAN GLOS†, JÖRG U. GANZHORN‡ & GERHARD HELDMAIER*

* Department of Animal Physiology, Phillips University, 35043 Marburg, Germany
† Department of Animal Ecology and Tropical Biology, Julius–Maximilians–University, 97074 Würzburg, Germany
‡ Department of Animal Ecology and Conservation, University of Hamburg, 20146 Hamburg, Germany

e-mail: dausmann@staff.uni-marburg.de

The Madagascan fat-tailed dwarf lemur, Cheirogaleus medius, hibernates in tree holes for seven months of the year, even though winter temperatures rise to over 30 °C. Here we show that this tropical primate relies on a flexible thermal response that depends on the properties of its tree hole: if the hole is poorly insulated, body temperature fluctuates widely, passively following the ambient temperature; if well insulated, body temperature stays fairly constant and the animal undergoes regular spells of arousal. Our findings indicate that arousals are determined by maximum body temperatures and that hypometabolism in hibernating animals is not necessarily coupled to a low body temperature.
http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/Dynapage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v429/n6994/abs/429825a_fs.htm
___________________
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 23-Jun-2004
'Shhh'- A flip of a switch may one day quiet jet engines
Jet engines may run quieter in the future, with technology developed at Ohio State. Researchers have developed a silencer technology that creates electrical arcs to control turbulence in engine exhaust airflow -- the chief cause of engine noise. The university has applied for a patent on the design. With the flip of a switch, pilots could turn the silencers -- called plasma actuators -- on and off, reducing noise around commercial airports or military airstrips.

Public Release: 23-Jun-2004
Nature
NASA scientists get global fix on food, wood & fiber use
NASA scientists working with the World Wildlife Fund and others have measured how much of Earth's plant life humans need for food, fiber, wood and fuel. The study identifies human impact on ecosystems.
NASA Earth Science Enterprise

Public Release: 23-Jun-2004
International Housing Research Conference
People cocooning more, says study
"As a result of social and demographic changes, the private dwelling is less of a context for social company," says Glenn Stalker, a PhD student in sociology and author of the study, Change.

Public Release: 23-Jun-2004
Remote-controlled throwable robot developed by Carnegie Mellon with marines sent to Iraq for testing
Carnegie Mellon University robotics researchers, in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps' Warfighting Laboratory, have developed a small, throwable, remote-controlled prototype robot designed for surveillance in urban settings. Several are on the way to Iraq for testing. Known as Dragon Runner, the robot can see around corners and deliver information to Marines while keeping them out of danger in urban settings where human access is impractical, dangerous or unsustainable.
US Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 22-Jun-2004
Journal of the American Planning Association, The Geographical Review
Study: Cities may need to regulate yard signs as they become more common, potentially troublesome
While many communities regulate the signs that businesses use, few have laws controlling signs people place in their own yards. But that may have to change, according to researchers at Ohio State University. Two professors studied a fad in Amarillo, Texas of placing odd artistic signs in residential yards and found that they sparked conflict between those who had the signs and those who didn't have the signs and wanted them gone.

Public Release: 23-Jun-2004
Journal of Air Transport Management
Plane ticket taxes lower than airlines claim, study says
In work that is aiding Congress' understanding of airlines' financial health, researchers from MIT and Daniel Webster College report a wealth of new information on the taxes and fees added to each domestic airline ticket and how they vary depending on carrier, distance traveled and other variables.
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

[Eugene Volokh, June 22, 2004 at 1:36pm]
Dan Gifford passes this along; it was apparently transcribed by a listener, purportedly from the June 18, 2004 Late Show with David Letterman. Don't know if it's true, and I won't assume that it is. But it's at least a good joke:

David Letterman: How do we know what's in your film [Fahrenheit 9/11] is true?

Michael Moore: Because I got most of my information from The New York Times.

Audience: Wild laughter.

Letterman: Strains to repress laughing

Moore: What's so funny?

(I should mention that Moore was indeed on the June 18 show, but the excerpt available on the highlights site is only of Moore's memories of his Oscar night).
http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2004_06_21.shtml#1087925781
A whole bunch of science news:

From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 22-Jun-2004
Nature
A wireless nanodevice that functions like a fluorescent light - but potentially far more efficiently - has been developed in a joint project between the National Nuclear Security Administration's Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories.

Public Release: 22-Jun-2004
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Researchers at the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins and the Institute of Bioinformatics in India have discovered a gene-expression "signature" common to distinct types of cancer, renewing hope that a universal treatment for the nation's second leading killer might be found.

Public Release: 22-Jun-2004
New version of premier global climate model released
The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., is unveiling a powerful new version of a supercomputer-based system to model Earth's climate and to project global temperature rise in coming decades.

Public Release: 22-Jun-2004
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Researchers induce temporary blindness to learn more about vision
By using transcranial magnetic stimulation to rapidly induce temporary blindness, researchers at Rice University found evidence that an older, primitive part of the brain helps process visual information unconsciously.

Public Release: 22-Jun-2004
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Rapid urbanization in southeastern China in the past 25 years is responsible for an estimated warming rate much larger than previous estimates for other periods and locations, according to a new study funded by NASA. Researchers led by the Georgia Institute of Technology report that the mean surface temperature in the region has risen 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit (0.05 degrees Celsius) per decade since 1979.
NASA

Public Release: 22-Jun-2004
Nature
Origin of West Indian insect eater much older than previously thought
Researcher Mark Springer, a professor of biology at the University of California, Riverside, is part of a team that has traced the origins of the shrew-like Caribbean creatures, known as solenodons, to the Mesozoic era, making them contemporaries with the dinosaurs.

From Scientific American's e-newsletter:
Athletes will be going to Athens this summer to take part in a tradition begun in Greece more than 2,000 years ago. As the world's finest specimens of fitness test the extreme limits of human strength, speed and agility, some of them will probably also engage in a more recent, less inspiring Olympic tradition: using performance-enhancing drugs. Sports authorities fear that a new form of doping will be undetectable and thus much less preventable. Treatments that regenerate muscle, increase its strength, and protect it from degradation will soon be entering human clinical trials for muscle-wasting disorders. Among these are therapies that give patients a synthetic gene, which can last for years, producing high amounts of naturally occurring muscle-building chemicals.
www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa006&articleID=000E7ACE-5686-10CF-94EB83414B7F0000

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Tuesday June 22, 2004. DreamHaven Books had Mary Gentle's Ash: A Secret History among the used books -- four thick volumes. I decided I needed it, so I could work out what the author had done and how she'd done it.

Since we're both on rec.arts.sf.composition, I could ask her directly. But that wouldn't give me the same information I expect to get from analyzing it.

***On to the Wedge co-op. For the first time, I noticed that they have lemon pepper -- which is roughly the same thing as Penzeys's Florida Seasoned Pepper. (The Florida Seasoned Pepper has garlic in it, and seems to have a bit more sour salt.) I've been using the Florida Seasoned Pepper as my main salt substitute.

After getting home, I worked out that it's cheaper than Penzeys for amounts below four ounces; more expensive from four ounces up. I've been using enough of it that buying four ounces at a time makes sense.
_______________________________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done, posted to http://www.livejournal.com/community/synaesthesis/
and to the Synesthesia mailing list.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- A bit more information added; part of a conversation (the part containing that information) gone from zero draft to first draft.

The two major characters both have one of my major weaknesses; this makes writing certain parts both more difficult and easier.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 22-Jun-2004
American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting
Plant pathologists to discuss the future of organic farming
Organic farming is one of the fastest-growing segments of U.S. agriculture, with organic food sales reaching $9.3 billion in 2002. To ensure continued prosperity of this rapidly expanding industry, plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS) are calling for additional organic farming research and adherence to established growing procedures.

Public Release: 22-Jun-2004
Frogs muscle-in on 'wasting' process
Scientific studies of a unique Australian frog could lead to the development of new ways to improve livestock production levels and boost the prospects of maintaining human muscle strength into old age.

Contact: Dr Nick Hudson, CSIRO Livestock Industries
nick.hudson@csiro.au
61-073-214-2538
CSIRO Australia

From the UK edition of Google News:
British Library to archive Web
NetImperative - 8 hours ago
The project stems from the idea that the average lifespan of a website only stretches to about 44 days. So the Library has put together the UK Web Archiving Consortium (UKWAC) to include the national libraries of Wales and Scotland, the ...
Effort to save UK's web heritage BBC News
Preserving Web sites Network World Fusion
ComputerWorld - and 5 related
http://www.webarchive.org.uk/

Tuning Up Young Minds: Music lessons give kids a small IQ advantage
Regular music lessons, focused either on learning to play an instrument or to sing, result in small but statistically significant IQ gains for first graders by the end of the school year, a new study finds.
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040619/fob6.asp
Tuesday June 22, 2004. Interesting If True:

The Nigerian Letter (formerly The Spanish Prisoner) is being dumbed down, down, down. From my email:

DEAREST FRIEND,

HOW ARE YOU TODAY?. I INHERITED US$31.5M, I WANT YOU TO ASSIST ME INVEST THIS AMOUNT IN YOUR COUNTRY.
I AM WAITING FOR YOUR URGENT REPLY SO THAT I CAN TELL YOU MORE DETAILS.

NERO KINGS

[June 20] in 1837, Pope William IV of the Holy British Empire dies, and is succeeded by his daughter, Pope Victoria I. Victoria takes the stagnant Catholic empire and extends its rule from Europe onto every continent in a papacy that lasts for 70 years. Many during her reign believed that she was Arthur finally reborn, but this was squashed as heresy.
http://althistory.blogspot.com/2004/06/best-ltd-formed-interstellar-peace.html
Political Stuff

Tuesday June 22, 2004.

The July-August issue of Foreign Affairs is mostly about Iraq. From the preview, it doesn't exactly praise the current US Administration's policies and actions. I've put the preview in the Infojunkies LiveJournal Community: http://www.livejournal.com/community/infojunkies/1416409.htm

Illinois Senate candidate Jack Ryan's (R) ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan, "accused him of taking her to sex clubs in New York and Paris, where he tried to coerce her into having sex with him in front of strangers," the Chicago Tribune reports.

The accusation comes from the couple's divorce file which "the Ryans had fought disclosure because they said it could harm their son."

"The political impact of the revelations on Jack Ryan's candidacy will play out over the next several days."

According to the Chicago Sun Times Ryan said he has no plans to step down, saying "I think we'll be victorious in November."
http://politicalwire.com/

It is a truth not quite universally acknowledged that British politicians tend to direct their most venomous personal remarks towards their colleagues rather than members of the other parties.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/economicdispatch/story/0,12498,1244874,00.html
Monday June 21, 2004. Woke up feeling healthy, for the first time in several days.

***"With this garment, I can travel to any world which might have been."

"You mean--"

"Yes, this is the vest of all possible worlds."

My brain is definitely working well again.

***To the temporary Minneapolis central library. Got (among others) a biography of Samuel Pepys. I've been reading his journal on the net, where it's consistently four hundred years and ten days late. (In his time, England had not yet succumbed to the Papist Gregorian calendar.) The journal is full of offhand references I don't understand. (There are some footnotes, but not everything is explained.)

First impression: By today's standards, Pepys was a lousy husband.

***On to Office Depot in City Center, where I hadn't been for a while. Among changes: Office Depot has closed one of its two entrances. City Center has a lot fewer first-floor businesses, and seems to no longer have first-floor restrooms.

Office Depot was cheaper for some things I needed than Office Max (which has a store within longish walking distance from me.)

On to Steeple People thrift shop and the Wedge Co-op.

***Mail: A marketing blunder from Fantasy & Science Fiction. The please-renew notice itself is okay; the envelope isn't. There's a picture intended to please fans of mediocre 1950s sf movies. This is not the taste F&SF caters to.
________________
From Google News:
Dogs predict seizures with a sloppy kiss
ABC Science Online - 15 minutes ago
Dogs can predict when a child will have an epileptic seizure up to several hours in advance, according to new Canadian research.
Behavior: An Epileptic Child's Best Friend New York Times
Dogs Can Detect Seizures up to Five Hours Ahead of Time ABC News
CTV - Health Talk - Reuters - New Scientist - and 19 related

Monday, June 21, 2004

From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 21-Jun-2004
Angewandte Chemie
How left-handed amino acids got ahead
A chemical reaction that demonstrates how key molecules in the biological world might have come to be predominately left or right handed has been reported by scientists at Imperial College London.

Public Release: 21-Jun-2004
Science
Without disturbances in nature the world's forests will be impoverished
The forests of the world are not the stable and unchanging ecosystems they have been assumed to be. Without the occurrence of wide-spread disturbances in nature, such as forest fires, icing, or volcanic activity, forests will eventually be impoverished, owing to a lack of phosphorous.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Relevant sf/fantasy: Isaac Asimov, The End of Eternity. John Crowley, "Great Work of Time."

Here I quote the full press release, rather than the summary:
Public release date: 21-Jun-2004
Contact: Richard McNally
rjm@wjh.harvard.edu
American Psychological Society
Probing the world of alien abduction stories
Even the unlikeliest of memories can get a big reaction

When people remember traumatic events, they'll show signs of their distress, like increased heart rate, sweating and muscle tension. These reactions are often seen as a testament to the authenticity of the memory - some have gone so far as to use physical reactions to memories to prove their validity, even when the memory is as far-fetched as ritual abuse by satanic cults. Recently, though, a team from Harvard has challenged the significance of these reactions by looking into one of the most widely reported and least likely memories people claim: alien abductions.

The study, conducted by Richard McNally, Natasha Lasko, Susan Clancy, Michael Macklin, Roger Pitman and Scott Orr at Harvard University, will be published in the July issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the American Psychological Society.

The researchers recruited people who reported being abducted and had them describe the alien encounters as well as other stressful, happy, and neutral memories. The researchers converted these stories into 30-second audiotaped narratives and played them for the "abductees" while recording heart rate, sweat production, and facial muscle tension, three strong indicators of stress. The researchers also played the tapes for a control group of people who had no memories of alien encounters.

The researchers found that those who claimed to have been abducted had similarly strong reactions to the stressful narrative and the alien abduction, and weaker reactions to the happy and neutral narratives. The control group barely reacted to any of the stories.

When people believe they've been abducted by aliens, recalling their abduction can evoke reactions not unlike those evoked by a genuine memory that is stressful. This suggests that a person's reaction to a memory doesn't indicate whether the event happened, but only whether the memory, real or not, is traumatic.


Public Release: 21-Jun-2004
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Stanford researchers eye new chip's potential as an artificial retina
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a prototype for a new kind of implantable chip they believe could be adapted to serve as both a prosthetic retina for people who suffer from a common form of age-related blindness [age-related macular degeneration] and as a drug-delivery system that could treat conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

Public Release: 21-Jun-2004
Organogenesis
Newly grown kidneys can sustain life in rats
Growing new organs to take the place of damaged or diseased ones is moving from science fiction to reality, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
National Institutes of Health
Monday June 21, 2004. Incompetent spammers: "***Dies ist die letzte Chance sich für die US GreenCard 2004 online zu bewerben***" [My guess-translation: This is your last chance to get a US Green Card online.]


"Dear Friend,

"As you read this, I don‘t want you to feel sorry for
me, because, I believe everyone will die someday.

"My name is Sanni Sammi Jnr a merchant in Dubai, in
theU.A.E.I have been diagnosed with Esoph

"Buy gifts for all occasions online from http://shop.di-ve.com"
_________________
From the UK edition of Google News:
School says girls must wear trousers
Guardian - 2 hours ago
A secondary school in Suffolk has become the first in Britain to ban girls from wearing skirts and order them to switch to uniforms with long trousers.
School bans skirts Telegraph.co.uk
Mini-skirt row sparks school ban BBC News
East Anglian Daily Times - Scotland on Sunday - CBBC - The Australian - and 15 related

How long ago was it that schools barred girls from wearing trousers and required them to wear skirts?

Top Irish Lawyers Condemn Bush's 'Electioneering' Visit
The Scotsman - 4 hours ago
Some of Ireland's top lawyers today accused President George Bush of using a planned visit to the country as an electioneering stunt.
Top lawyers hit out at Bush visit UTV
Irish Lawyers Call for Protests Against Bush Visit Reuters
Ireland Online - EUbusiness - Online.ie - and 10 related

A head of government using a foreign visit for domestic political purposes? What a shocking innovation!
_________________
From The Hill newsletter www.TheHill.com
The feud between Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) and House Small Business Committee Chairman Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) showed no signs of abating Thursday as both debated the corporate tax bill on the House floor. Manzullo rose to argue that the bill, sponsored by Thomas, did not include enough tax breaks for small manufacturers. When he was done, Thomas countered by claiming that Manzullo's alternative bill also did not contain those tax breaks. When Manzullo rose to defend his bill, Thomas yielded his time to the Democrats, depriving Manzullo of a chance to speak. Manzullo threw up his arms as if to say, "What gives?" Moments later, John Buckley, chief tax counsel to Ways and Means Ranking Member Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), hurried over to where Manzullo was sitting with his chief tax counsel Jim Clark. (Clark had once been a top tax aide to Thomas until a falling out several years ago, according to House aides.) Buckley indicated that the Democrats would give Manzullo time to respond, which he accepted. Thomas's bill passed handily later yesterday afternoon.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Sunday June 20, 2004. Food catching-up: Yesterday I souped chicken backs with carrots and onion.

The most exciting thing I did today was going to the coin laundry.
___________________________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done, posted to this journal.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --
________________
Religious Faith and Economic Growth: What Matters Most—Belief or Belonging?
by Robert Barro, Ph.D., and Joshua Mitchell, Ph.D.
Heritage Lecture #841
http://www.heritage.org/Research/Religion/hl841.cfm
______________
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 20-Jun-2004
BMC Public Health
Denial of AIDS puts sailors and partners at risk
"AIDS is now the leading cause of death in military and police forces in some African countries, accounting for more than half of in-service mortality," write Ugboga Nwokoji and Ademola Ajuwon in the Open Access journal BMC Public Health today. They believe that secrecy about AIDS-related deaths, and multiple sex partnering in the Nigerian navy could be helping to fuel the HIV epidemic in Nigeria, Africa's most populated country.
Suppose there were term limits on governments. For example, after fifty years, the United States government would no longer be eligible to rule over the territory of the United States. If the timing was right, it could take over the area now ruled by the Canadian government; but while the current members of the government would be grandfathered in, future office-holders would have to have been citizens of Canada for the required amount of time. (Or, for the Presidency, would have to have been born there.) The Canadian government might take over the United States; or it might prefer to try its luck in Argentina or Japan.
...
Another possible interesting application would be to manage affinity groups. Imagine a traveller who is cruising down a road trying to decide which night club to try out. If people registered with an affinity tracking service then a traveller could choose a club or restaurant whose currently present patrons fit some desired demographic profile. One obvious problem with such a service is that just because one person likes a particular type of person doesn't mean that most who fit a desired profile will like that person in return. Look at celebrities for example. They are loved by all sorts of people who the celebrities would very much like to avoid. So a service would need to develop eligibility criteria that require matching of preferences in both directions before that person driving down the street would get a flashing light on their car LCD pointing them to a particular bar or night club.

Now I'm actually expecting to see this sort of thing to really be implemented and to become widely used. For bar scenes one of the difficult challenges will be the development of image processing software that can analyse the image of a person you haven't even seen yet to decide whether you might find that person attractive. You could just drive through downtown and be told where to stop. In a bar situation the algorithm would have to be fairly sophisticated and use not just images of a person and background info but also your degree of inebriation (higher levels mean lower standards - imagine an embedded nanotech sensor reporting blood alcohol to your cell phone), the time of night (later means lower standards), how long it has been since you last hooked up, and perhaps similar information from the other person to factor in whether you both ought to be told by your avatars to seek each other out.

Heck, the avatar might even tell you how many drinks you'll have to drink to be able to feel that your realistic choices are acceptable. In the longer term as neurobiology and neurochemistry become more advanced you will be able to have embedded implants installed that will release compounds to make you find many more people attractive than you would naturally. Of course in the longer term gene therapies, stem cell therapies, and other therapies will raise average attractiveness that this will be far less of a problem anyhow. As I've argued previously, the female desire for high status males is going to be harder to solve than the male desire for more attractive females.

Of course, some statistical outliers will actually use this technology to meet more interesting people. I'm not trying to argue that the only application for this technology is meeting people for sexual hook-ups. But my guess is it will find wider use for sexual purposes than for intellectual ones.
http://www.futurepundit.com/archives/002178.html#002178

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Saturday June 19, 2004. "Don't Miss the RUMBLE, TUMBLE World of Amateur HAMSTER RACING."
From an ad announcing the grand opening of the Lakeville branch of Chuck & Don's Pet Food Outlet. This led me to wonder how different amateur and professional hamster racing are.

To Rainbow Foods. They had turkey giblets -- livers and gizzards. I really like turkey liver, and it's hard to find. The gizzards I don't care for, but they could go into soup.

To DreamHaven Books. I bought Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw, a Trollope-oid novel made more realistic by populating it with dragons rather than humans. Her previous novels were in the "Very good, but I don't like it" category.
________________
Mail: Clutterers Anonymous meeting directories.

A letter from my Congressman, Martin Olav Sabo. Thank you for contacting me to express your opposition to H.J. Res. 56, legislation that proposes a constitutional amendment intended to prohibit same-sex marriages. I oppose this amendment.
....
"You may also be interested to know that I am a cosponsor of H.R. 2677, the State Regulation of Marriage is Appropriate Act. H.R. 2677 would repeal the federal statutory definition of 'marriage' and spouse.'"

In Minnesota's Fifth District, this isn't likely to lose Sabo his seat. A conservative Republican would get more votes than, say, an English-only candidate in Quebec City; but perhaps fewer than an English-only candidate in Montreal.

Writing: Daily exercise -- Done, posted to this journal.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- One blank part of the zero draft portion filled in. One conversation in the first draft portion tweaked.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --
A Shortage of Quality Dictatorships

For most of the 20th Century, Americans had foreign dictatorships to admire. For the left, there was the Soviet Union; when it became less Stalinist, there were China, Cuba and Nicaragua. For the right, after it became unfashionable to admire Nazi Germany there were Spain, South Africa, Rhodesia, and Chile.

But I haven't read or heard such admiration recently, from left or right. Apologies for foreign dictatorships, yes -- for example, the claim that Cuba's economic problems are entirely due to US policies. But not admiration. What changed?

My guess: there aren't any dictatorships which are perceived as being strong. Military strength? They look too vulnerable to the US on one side and unregistered terrorists on the other. Economic strength? Except for Singapore (which shows disturbing signs of succumbing to democracy), none seem to be doing well. [I think this is partly because of a shift in fashionable economic indicators; ability to run steel mills doesn't count for much when what people are looking at is computer technology. Improved economic information may also be a factor.]
[On June 15] in 1956, John Lennon asked Paul McCartney to join his band, The Quarrymen. They would have been another unremarkable teenage rock band, except that 4 years later, their drummer was international superstar, Pete Best.
http://althistory.blogspot.com/2004/06/magna-carta-signed-in-holy-british_15.html#comments
_________________
From Terry "Squeaks" Pulliam Burd on rec.food.cooking: Uncle Phaedrus: Finder of Lost Recipes.
http://www.hungrybrowser.com/phaedrus/m020301.htm
_________
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 10:56:07 EDT
From: Marty Helgesen
Subject: Re: hamburgers and theology
To: Dan Goodman

On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 20:02:19 -0500 you said:
>This is from 2000; apologies if you already knew about it.

"McDonald's reacts with disbelief over claims that hamburgers are not Catholic

"Is there a moral dimension to selling hamburgers? Apparently there is in Italy.

"The theologian Massimo Salani has condemned burgers in the Italian bishops' daily Avvenire, saying they were 'not Catholic'.

"Eating burgers and fries reflected an 'individualistic relationship between man and God which goes back to Martin Luther', the Protestant leader who started the German Reformation, Mister Salani argued."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/business/highlights/001110_mcdonalds.shtm

Thank you. I had not seen it. However, the bbc link you gave me is not active. I googled on Massimo Salani burgers and got several hits. One of the ones I looked at
http://marty-center.uchicago.edu/sightings/archive_2002/0802.shtml
includes this statement: "Fr. Salani's criticism is rooted in his belief that fast food restaurants work against community. Fast food dining focuses on the individual consumer, rushing to buy and eat, and then hurrying off to do something else. The fast food consumer has no time, or takes no time, to stop and break bread with a neighbor."

Friday, June 18, 2004

Friday June 18, 2004. It began with vampires. Someone in rec.arts.sf.composition was writing a vampire story. Norse vampires were brought up; it seems they had the habit of drumming on roofs, which brought up a comparison with squirrels. I then mentioned vampire squirrels. (Vampire cows came later.)

*Another branch of the discussion: what would you do if you realized there was a vampire in your city? One poster said: Tell the police there's a serial killer who thinks he's a vampire. After a few cops got killed, they would find a way to take care of the vampire.

One response was an objection to sending police to certain death. I suggested having an immortal police force whose members didn't believe in magic.

*A third branch of the discussion led to me googling this:

McDonald's reacts with disbelief over claims that hamburgers are not Catholic

Is there a moral dimension to selling hamburgers? Apparently there is in Italy.

The theologian Massimo Salani has condemned burgers in the Italian bishops' daily Avvenire, saying they were "not Catholic".

Eating burgers and fries reflected an "individualistic relationship between man and God which goes back to Martin Luther", the Protestant leader who started the German Reformation, Mister Salani argued.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/business/highlights/001110_mcdonalds.shtm

(The story did not explain the theological reasoning involved.)

***The St. Paul Pioneer Press had an immigration story which said that Minnesota gets immigrants from every continent except Antarctica. Which led me to wonder which parts of the US do get Antarctic immigrants.

***To HealthPartners Uptown, to pick up allergy pills.

Then to Steeple People thrift store, where some volunteer had seriously underpriced nice-looking (and functional) pots and pans. I decided to buy some of them, and throw out some of my older ones.

Across the street to the Wedge co-op. They had frozen chicken backs at 69¢ a pound.
________________________
Writing: Daily exercise --

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- A bit farther ahead. It's a bit disconcerting to have a female character who shares some of my weaknesses.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Thursday June 17, 2004. I think I've slept my way out of whatever I'd been sick with.
________________________
From soc.history.what-if, a newsgroup devoted to alternate history:

"My history teacher assigned me to write a term paper about an obscure revolutionary named Karl Marx. Can anybody give me some references about him?"

My favorite answer so far: first Secretary of the Treasury of the Confederate States of America.
________________________________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done. See below:

The simplest books on any subject are written for people who have to learn in a hurry. "I know we hired you to teach English, but you're also going to teach math this year." "Welcome to the United States Navy! The people we're fighting are called Japanese. All that water is called the Pacific Ocean -- this book will explain what an ocean is. The thing you're on is a type of ship called an aircraft carrier."

If you've never cooked for yourself before, get a cookbook intended for college students.
They're simpler and more basic than the ones for children, though the pictures aren't as good.

***"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- I think I've gotten started on the part which was giving me the most trouble.

***"They Might Be Windmills" --

***"History Line" -- A bit more added to the zero draft.
I'm kind of worried that biotechnology and nanotechnology may go the way
of klaftnoglastics, a technology whose potential for evil was so feared
that, despite its almost unlimited potential for good, it was totally
banned. All research, use, and even mention of it was suppressed, until
today practically no one even remembers its name, let alone its nature.
Tom Digby, Silicon Soapware #116 http://www.well.com/~bubbles/SS0116.txt
____________________
A morals campaign in China
Wary of individualism, Beijing cracks down on discos, the Internet, and
hair dye. By Robert Marquand
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0618/p01s04-woap.html
______________________
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 17-Jun-2004
Rock 'face' mystery baffles experts
Archaeologists from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne have found a trio of extraordinary stone carvings while charting the phenomenon of prehistoric rock markings in Northumberland, close to the Scottish border in the United Kingdom and are appealing for experts to help interpret them. With pictures.
Arts and Humanities Research Board

Public Release: 17-Jun-2004
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Improved nutrition could prevent more than half of the world's child deaths annually
Fifty-three percent of all child deaths that occur annually are caused by undernutrition, according to new research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Human Nutrition.
WHO Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, others

Public Release: 17-Jun-2004
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
New tests for nut allergens
Scientists in Florida have developed sensitive new tests to detect potentially fatal nut traces in food. Their study is published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.

Public Release: 17-Jun-2004
Surprise: Fermilab's SELEX experiment finds puzzling new particle
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will announce on Friday, June 18 the observation of an unexpected new member of a family of subatomic particles called "heavy-light" mesons.
Wednesday June 16, 2004. Most Wednesdays, I do volunteer work at Pillsbury House: data entry for the Community Barter Network and Pillsbury House's volunteer program. Today, it took a while before I could get started. Apparently, the computer experts at Pillsbury United Communities (the umbrella organization which includes Pillsbury House) had done something over the weekend which meant I couldn't get to the needed data base.

On to Uncle Hugo's, and then to the Wedge.
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"Speaking of Italian pragmatism: my uncle has an ‘emergency pendant’ which dates back to his youth in Sardinia. On one side, it has a St Christopher and details of the local priest; on the other, there’s the details of the local Communist Party boss." nick, commenting in Crooked Timber http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002032.htm
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[Tyler Cowen, June 16, 2004 at 1:43pm]
Movies grouped by philosophical category:

Do you like both philosophy and movies? This web site lists the top philosophical movies of all time. The list is well thought out, though excessively American (where is Bergman's Persona, for instance?).

Even better, Jason Brennan groups movies by philosophical theme. His categories include skepticism/external deception, determinism, time travel, personal identity, philosophy of religion, contractarianism, epistemology, and relativism. Only a philosopher could come up with "Prudent Predator/Immoralism/Ring of Gyges" as a category; I applaud his ability to find three films (try guessing before looking) that fit the bill.
http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2004_06_14.shtml#10874077
_____________
Writing: Daily exercise -- done, posted in this journal.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Daily Exercise Getting Inside the Protagonist

Explaining better (or at least in more detail) something about writing I realized on 6/15/04:

It's not enough for me to understand the viewpoint character intellectually. I need to get inside that character's way of thinking.

Example of success: He's grown up in a society where people grow their own vegetables Just In Case. Intellectually, he knows that 1) the food shortages never got really bad in North America, 2) there's no longer much danger of shortages, and 3) most people don't have enough land to grow all the food they might need. But he's still horrified at the idea of planting a yard in grass or other inedible vegetation.

I've become able to look at yards and feel the same reaction he would.

Non-success: For him, "They had themselves brainwashed into being in love, and lived happily ever after" is a happy ending. He has difficulty understanding why someone raised in a different society might be squicked out by this. If people freely choose to have their minds rewritten, what's the problem?

I've been looking at that mindset from the outside; I haven't gotten inside it. And that's been stalling the story.
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 16-Jun-2004
Just add a chromosome
Genetic diseases might one day be treated by adding an entirely new chromosome to people's cells. Vast chunks of DNA can be added in the form of an artificial chromosome, rather than being limited to inserting just one or two genes, which could end up in the wrong place. A Canadian company has already shown the technique could be a feasible method of gene therapy.

Public Release: 15-Jun-2004
Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Asian Indians at greater risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, researchers find
Asian Indian men are at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, whether overweight or not, because their bodies metabolize fat like people who are obese, according to researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
National Institutes of Health

Deterministic quantum teleportation with atoms
M. RIEBE et al.
http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/ePPz0BfwT60Ch0OCb0A8

Deterministic quantum teleportation of atomic qubits
M. D. BARRETT et al.
http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/ePPz0BfwT60Ch0OCc0AA

Radiocarbon evidence of mid-Holocene mammoths stranded on an Alaskan
Bering Sea island
R. DALE GUTHRIE
http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/ePPz0BfwT60Ch0OCf0AD

Enhanced partner preference in a promiscuous species by manipulating
the expression of a single gene
MIRANDA M. LIM et al.
http://info.nature.com/cgi-bin24/DM/y/ePPz0BfwT60Ch0OCh0AF

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Tuesday June 15, 2004. Speculation (a rerun): six-limbed bird-equivalents with one pair each of wings, legs, and hands. Birds have more intelligence for their size than mammals do. So, perhaps flying creatures with human-level intelligence and tool-using ability?

***As an alternative to sitting around at home, I went to Lyndale-Farmstead park for a while.
_______________
Writing: Daily exercise, shorter than usual --
There were nine cats this morning, dressed in tuxedos and cranky about that. If I ever find out who's been leaving them here, I'll turn him into catfood.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- A bit more changed from zero draft to first draft; a bit which was already first draft tweaked.

One problem: It's a romance, set in a future where "They had themselves brainwashed into being in love, and lived happily ever after" is an acceptable romance ending. I need to adopt that mindset while working on the story. So far, I've been distanced from that way of thinking.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- A bit more zero draft.

"History Line" -- A bit more zero draft.
_________________________
A wearable camera full of sensors could help people with memory problems, according to Microsoft researchers [in the UK].

The prototype SenseCam takes an instant snap every time it spots changes in movement, temperature or light.

"SenseCam has been designed to act like a black box for the human body," lead researcher Lyndsay Williams told BBC News Online.

"It was something I originally created as a method for helping my family find their keys at home...."
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/technology/3797581.stm
David Brooks: "It's been said that every society has two aristocracies. The members of the aristocracy of mind produce ideas, and pass along knowledge. The members of the aristocracy of money produce products and manage organizations."
http://nytimes.com/2004/06/15/opinion/15BROO.html

Apparently, he's never heard of aristocracies of birth, military aristocracies, or government-service aristocracies. For most of recorded history, almost all societies were dominated by some combination of these. Aristocracies of mind and aristocracies of money were marginal at best.

Brooks's column is one reason why I find it increasingly harder to take the New York Times seriously.
___________
• Correction item Lore tat iriustie vel utat ad exero eros alit at wismolum deliquipisl irilissenim ea facipit, velis nonsequ psuscilisi blam.
http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/4828584.htm
________________
[David Bernstein, June 15, 2004 at 11:40am] Possible Trackbacks
Most Blatant Lie I've Heard for a While:

Heard on NPR: Montgomery County, Maryland, is considering a measure that would ban very large retail stores, a measure intended to prohibit WalMart supercenters in the county. The measure is being push by Giant Food (a local supermarket chain). A spokesperson for Giant says that the company is not worried about competition, but rather "is concerned about the enviromental impact of the supercenters."
http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2004_06_14.shtml#1087314018
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From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 15-Jun-2004
Public Library of Science Biology
New technique developed for deciphering brain recordings can capture thinking as it happens
A team led by University of California San Diego neurobiologists has developed a new approach to interpreting brain electroencephalograms, or EEGs, that provides an unprecedented view of thought in action and has the potential to advance our understanding of disorders like epilepsy and autism.
Swartz Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Public Release: 15-Jun-2004
Public Library of Science Biology
Ecology drives the worldwide distribution of human diseases
Comparative analyses reveal that human pathogens increase towards the equator and that the relationship is linked to climate - this has important implications for global biodiversity, public health and environmental epidemiology.
________
From the UK edition of Google News:
Iris scanners to be introduced at airport
Granada Reports - 30 minutes ago
Manchester Airport could be using eye scanners to increase security at terminals within a year. The new technology's being brought in by the Home Office because it's very difficult to forge iris scans. At first it will be a voluntary system and will be ...
Biometric screening planned at five airports MLive.com
Iris scanners fitted in airports BBC News
4ni.co.uk - The Scotsman - The Australian - Jerusalem Post - and 12 related

Monday, June 14, 2004

Monday June 14, 2004. On June 26, light rail service begins in the Twin Cities. A slew of bus routes will change -- to connect with the first light rail line, or for other reasons. Some routes will go out of existence; others will be born.

Today I went to the Transit Store in downtown Minneapolis to pick up new schedules. I got most of what I'll need; one schedule doesn't seem to be available yet. Nor does the new transit map.

***On to Shinder's News, where I hadn't been in a while. The "adult" section -- walled off from the rest of the store -- was gone. I suspect written and visual-recording porn has trouble competing with what's on the web.

***There were other things I'd intended to get done today, which didn't get done. I've been feeling blah, and I'm not sure why.

***Email: THE VIEW FROM ENTROPY HALL #34, by Ed Meskys; originally for APA Q. Material on: Toronto's trolleys, a nearby historical-recreation village (and others elsewhere), Lithuanian community (which seems to be predominantly Lutheran; this is roughly equivalent to an Irish community in North America being predominantly Greek Orthodox). Silverlock. sight-to-touch translation device for the blind. Patricia C. Wrede's Dragon books. The Borrowers series. The movie Homecoming, based on Cynthia Voigt's novel, and Cynthia Voigt's work in general. Marge Piercy's He, She, and It. If someone else had written Lord of the Rings. Letters of comment from rich brown (not to be confused with Rich Brown), Karen Anderson, Ruth Berman, Mark Blackman, Ned Brooks, Mark Mandel, and others. Mailing comments from John Boardman. Mailing comments to various people.
_______________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- A bit more first draft material added.

"They Might be Windmills" --

"History Line" -- A bit more zero draft material added.
Maybe I shouldn't laugh at this:

CAMP RIPLEY, MINN. -- Several years ago, the staff at Camp Ripley decided that "we just can't train soldiers with bears crawling through tents and trucks," as Bill Brown put it.
Published June 14, 2004 http://www.startribune.com/metro/

From the Ballad-L mailing list:

....the New Zealand Currency Decimalization Song (from 1967, I think)...runs through a mnemonic for converting small sums in old pennies to new cents, to a polka-like tune. It was re-released in the 1980s on a two-LP collection of Australian and New Zealand tastelessness called "Antipodean Atrocities", which I think John Peel put together.

From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 13-Jun-2004
Nature Neuroscience
Brains at work: learning a second language may not be as laborious as believed
Adults often struggle trying to learn a second language, but the process may not be as tedious and slow as commonly believed. University of Washington researchers who followed colledge students learning first-year French have found that the students' brain activity was clearly discriminating between real and pseudo-French words after only 14 hours of classroom instruction.
NIH/National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

Drinking tea may delay female puberty
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040612/food.asp

From Google News, an astounding discovery:
Angry Men Shouldn't Drink
Forbes - 55 minutes ago
MONDAY, June 14 (HealthDayNews) -- Men with high levels of trait anger and low levels of anger control should not drink alcohol, says a study in the June issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
When and How You Drink Matter to Liver Atlanta Journal Constitution (subscription)
Study finds women's pattern of drinking key factor in liver damage risk WIS
and 6 related

From the UK edition of Google News:
Breakthrough for Sinn Fein on both sides of the border
Independent - 1 hour ago
Sinn Fein were the most conspicuous winners in both parts of Ireland yesterday, taking the party's first-ever European seats in the Republic and in Northern Ireland.
Can polar extremes do business? BBC News
Sinn Féin wins first Ulster MEP Guardian
Scotland on Sunday - Reuters - ePolitix - EUbusiness - and 42 related

From the India edition of Google News:
Hindus smash up cinema after Bollywood breaks lesbian taboo
Independent - 2 hours ago
Hindu extremists laid siege to a Bombay cinema yesterday, smashing windows and burning effigies on the street outside, demanding that the screening of a new Bollywood film be stopped.
Sena boys can't stand Girlfriend Calcutta Telegraph
Culture cop role upsets Bollywood Times of India
Keralanext - New Kerala - BBC News - Rediff - and 29 related
A Nation Divided? Who Says?
By JOHN TIERNEY
Some scholars say the notion of a polarized nation is largely a myth created by people inside the Beltway shouting at each other....

Why, if the public is tolerant, would the political elites be so angry? One reason given by Professor Fiorina is the decline of party bosses, who promoted centrist candidates because their patronage systems depended on winning elections, and the corresponding rise of special-interest groups, who are more concerned with candidates' ideology.

Losing an election doesn't put pro-life or gun-control advocates out of work - in fact, it can help raise money for the cause. Nor does it hurt broadcast ratings or book sales for polarizing media figures like Sean Hannity and Al Franken, who need battles to keep their audiences entertained.

Another reason is gerrymandering, which has created so many safe seats that the only threat to incumbents comes from within the party, forcing them to appeal to the partisan voters who dominate primaries.
http://nytimes.com/2004/06/13/weekinreview/13tier.html

POOR BURT COHEN. Literally. The reason for the surprise, last-minute withdrawal of State Senator Burt Cohen (D-NH)Burt Cohen from the race against US Senator Judd Gregg (R) was explained over the weekend. While Cohen was unlikely to win -- or possibly even come close -- he was a credible candidate who had raised around $700,000 to date and would have given NH voters a thoughtful ideological choice. From various published reports in the state, it appears that Cohen's campaign manager Jesse Burchfield has skipped town and -- with him -- nearly all the money that remained in Cohen's campaign account is also allegedly missing. The amount: reported to be around $200,000. There were some vague red flags: the FEC recently warned the Cohen campaign that the numbers in at least two of their financial reports were not adding up correctly, and that the formulas used to make the calculations appeared unusual. The campaign Friday brought in an accountant and attorney to go over all the financial records. Sources also indicate the campaign has taken steps to trigger a formal criminal investigation of the matter. FYI: Other victims of similar embezzlements in recent years include US Senator Joe Biden ($400,000 stolen), US Senator Elizabeth Dole ($174,000 stolen), Congressman John Boehner ($617,000 stolen), Congresswoman Anne Northup ($40,000 stolen), Congressman Doc Hastings ($28,000 stolen), and Congressman Ernest Istook ($32,000 stolen).
http://www.politics1.com/

Also at Politics1, see A DIFFERENT WAY TO HANDLE THE MEDIA -- discussing a political candidate who is also First Rabbi of the Libertarian Church.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Sunday June 13, 2004. In my sleep, I worked out something about fiction. When I read fiction, I'm interested in what happens to the characters; the protagonist(s) and the next tier of characters.

If nothing changes, then -- no matter how many action scenes there are -- I lose interest. That's one reason why I gave up on Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" fantasy series. If there are too many major characters to keep track of, I lose interest.

And if Dorothy Heydt's Eight Deadly Words -- "I don't care what happens to these people" -- enter my mind, I stop reading.

Note: The protagonist and other major characters don't have to be living creatures. Examples in which they aren't: George R. Stewart's Storm, Fire, and The Years of the City, whose protagonists are a hurricane, a forest fire, and a Greek colony in southern Italy.
_____________________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- A bit more changed from zero draft to first draft. A bit of first draft tweaked.

"They Might be Windmills" --

"History Line" -- I didn't want to begin another story, but this one insisted. I've had parts of it in the back of my mind for a while. Zero draft started.
______________________
Technophiles could soon use mobile phones to create and access interactive city guides. A four-week trial of the latest technology has just begun in London.
http://www.nature.com/nsu/040607/040607-10.html

A girls' team, a fired coach, and Title IX
By Warren Richey | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
WASHINGTON – When coach Roderick Jackson complained that his girls' basketball team was being treated like second-class citizens at Ensley High School in Birmingham, Ala., school administrators took firm and immediate action - against Coach Jackson.

"I was told that I was not a team player, that I needed to play ball or I was going to make problems for myself," Mr. Jackson says. "And they weren't joking." He was fired.
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0614/p01s01-usju.html

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