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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Saturday July 31, 2004. Shakespeare characters are okay in their place; but I wouldn't allow my daughter to marry one.

I went with Pat Craft to see Shakespeare in the Park: Measure for Measure, Centennial Lakes Park in Edina. Probably not the complete play; for one thing, I don't think Shakespeare wrote many two-act plays. [Checked on the web; the full play has five acts.)

I much enjoyed watching it. It's not one of the Shakespeare plays I've read; I suspect it would be kind of dumb read rather than seen.

One piece of "evidence" that Shakespeare didn't write the plays is that they display more accurate knowledge of Continental Europe than Shakespeare could possibly have had. Then why does a play set in Vienna have characters with Italian names?

Shakespeare's idea of a happy marriage is not mine. By my standards, Mariana would be better off never marrying than being married to Angelo. And Isabella would be better off
becoming a nun than marrying the Duke.

I didn't respect or like the Duke. I don't think he's up to the standards of, say, the bottom twenty percent of American governors.
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Book title seen: Termite Repair. It's probably not about repairing termites.
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Writing: daily exercise -- Done.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- The Canadian Civil War reenactors go back in.

"They Might Be Windmills" --
"History Line" --
"Port Useless" --
Review: _The Horns of Midgard_ --
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July 31, 2004
Nader Update
As Ralph Nader's campaign collects its final signatures in Pennsylvania before Monday’s petition deadline, the Philadelphia Inquirer says the campaign has "abruptly abandoned the Center City office that housed its efforts to get on the Pennsylvania ballot, leaving behind a mess of accusations and a damaged building." According to the newspaper, the office "was emptied Thursday after a raucous scene the night before. Police were called as dozens of homeless people lined up to collect money they said they were owed for circulating petitions on the candidate's behalf."
http://politicalwire.com/

Friday, July 30, 2004

Friday July 30, 2004. Samir Husni's website, http://www.mrmagazine.com/home.htm, includes monthly lists of new-launched magazines. A couple I noticed:

May: How-To Guide for Soap Opera Hair

January: Bagel Digest. The actual zine is much less interesting than the name. A quick look at www.bageldigest.com shows that 1) it has nothing to do with bagels; 2) the first issue's cover shows two ugly men; the second issue's cover shows an unattractive man; 3) cover price is $12. I expect it not to last.

*** http://conventionbloggers.com still tracks blogs which reported on the Democratic National Convention. At least one has turned to other subjects:

Westport Now, 7/30/2004; 7:50:02 PM
Long Lots School Parking Lot Expansion in High Gear. Work on the expansion of the Long Lots Elementary School parking lot is underway. The parking lot in front of the school is torn up, and the adjacent property purchased by the town for the project is being graded with...

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Executive summary: Ran errands, slept off a cold.

Steeple People thrift store: "I can't buy this; I already have one." And then I reminded myself that the one I had didn't work.

Wedge Co-op: "Grass fed beef." My second thought was "No; nobody's going to raise beef cattle on marijuana."

Why yes, I was around in the 1960s. How did you ever guess that?

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Writing: daily exercise -- Done.

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

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --

Review: The Horns of Midgard --
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Public Release: 30-Jul-2004
Something's fishy about new NIST food standard
Accurately measuring exactly what's in the food we eat, before we eat it, is a surprisingly difficult job. Making the process both easier and more accurate is NIST's Standard Reference Material 1946, a set of five bottles of frozen, homogenized trout from Lake Superior. With carefully measured values for 100 chemical constituents, the SRM helps food industry and environmental researchers accurately assess both healthful ingredients and contaminants in fish and similar foods.
Early fish hit land to be better predators
Primitive fish may have hauled themselves on to land to soak up energy from the Sun and become better hunters
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996213
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From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 29-Jul-2004
First Language
UW researcher links storytelling and mathematical ability
Math and storytelling may seem like very different abilities, but a new study by University of Waterloo scientist Daniela O'Neill suggests that preschool children's early storytelling abilities are predictive of their mathematical ability two years later.
Science and Engineering Research Canada

Public Release: 30-Jul-2004
Journal of Nutrition
Isolated soy protein shown to benefit type 2 diabetics, study indicates
Isolated soy protein added to the diets of 14 men, all military veterans under treatment for advanced stages of type 2 diabetes, significantly lowered unwanted proteins in their urine and slightly raised desired HDL cholesterol levels in their blood, researchers say.
Illinois Council for Agricultural Research; Protein Technologies International; Foundation for Science and Technology (Portugal)
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From the UK edition of Google News:
Men jailed by mistake to get bill for board
The Scotsman - 2 hours ago
TWO men who spent 18 years in jail before being cleared of murdering newspaper boy Carl Bridgewater must repay the money they saved in "board and lodgings" while in prison, the Court of Appeal in London ruled yesterday.
Wrongly jailed trio must pay for prison B&B Guardian
Men wrongly jailed for newsboy murder to pay prison lodging Independent
Telegraph.co.uk - The Herald - Glasgow Daily Record - Reuters - and 69 related

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"Anti-American" Marketing Campaign?

This came in an urgent emergency e-mail from Heritage Foundation's Town Hall, in its entirety (please, sue me, and get FOX to sue me, too!):

To: Conservative Friends
From: Center for Individual Freedom
Re: Subway's Anti-American Tray-Liners

Dear Friends,
I am writing today to ask for your help on an issue of utmost importance.
It has come to our attention that SUBWAY, an American company, is using this tray liner (see below for English translation) in their restaurants in Germany and across Europe. In a shameless and anti-American effort to increase sales in Europe, SUBWAY restaurants are promoting the film, "Super Size Me," a documentary about a man who gains weight by gorging himself at McDonald's for 30 days straight without any exercise. Learn more about “Super Size Me”, and its irresponsible message....
http://seetheforest.blogspot.com/2004_07_01_seetheforest_archive.html#109121347270593766

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Thursday July 29, 2004. I've now found an information manager which seems to work well for me: Notebook203.exe.

Last night, a discussion on Forward Motion (http://fmwriters.com) led me to a list of personal wikis. I screened out one I'd tried before (it "helpfully" removed spaces I'd put between paragraphs), ones which turned out to be shareware rather than freeware, etc.

I was dubious about Notebook203 because the description said it was easily programmable in
TJ -- which I had never heard of. (Experienced programmers often have odd notions of what's easy for the inexperienced.) Turns out that nothing I would consider programming is necessary.
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I saw my first Segway today, in Downtown Minneapolis. It had a sign on the front advertising the availability of advertising.

Ribfest (annual barbeque/rock event downtown) had a booth giving out free copies of a novel: Rich Shapero, Wild Animus. It seems to be self-published.

There were fewer food samples than in previous years, but still an interesting assortment.

On to Steeple People thrift store. Several Oxo implements for a quarter each, among other things. Now I need to get rid of what they replace.

Across Lyndale Avenue to the Wedge.

***And then I came home, and overturned most theories about human society.

Let me unpack that: I read Isaiah Berlin on the history of ideas, and Nancy Kress on creating characters, and tried (both consciously and unconsciously) to work out how I think human society works.

First approximation: It's an improvisational dance/conversation.

The formal theory I've encountered which comes closest is symbolic interactionism -- one of the ways sociologists look at what they study.
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Writing: Daily Exercise -- Done, posted to this journal.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- I've got what I think is the proper ending.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --

Review: The Horns of Midgard --
Some Political Dimensions

1) a. So long as there is one man in chains, I am not free.

b. The right to own slaves is the right to be free.

2) a. There is one right way for people to think and act. Given the opportunity, people will follow this path. This requires changing society so that the opportunity is there.

Most Marxists, Libertarians, anarchists, most of the Religious Right, and most Neo-Pagans
fall in this category.

b. People are inherently depraved. For the good of society, they must be kept from following their own inclinations.

c. Given the opportunity, members of the creative minority will follow the true path. Society must be changed so that they have this opportunity; and so that others will follow them. I would place Ayn Rand in this category.

d. There is a different best path for every individual.

e. There is a different best path for every group of a certain kind (ethnic, usually).

3) a. Political history repeats itself in rigid cycles.

b. Political history has cycles, but the length of any phase is unpredictable.

c. Political history is not cyclic.

4) a. Central control of the economy is most rational, and works best.

b. Central control is worse than useless.

c. Central control is worse than useless -- and we need a strong government agency to make certain it doesn't happen.

5) a) Violence is never necessary. For example, Hitler could have been defeated by nonviolent means.

b) Nothing is ever achieved except by violence.

c) Sometimes violence works, sometimes it doesn't.

6) a) The largest share of economic benefits should go to the people who do the essential work of production. (Note: Some believe these to be the bosses, some believe these to be the workers.)

b) From each according to his abilities, to each according to his need.

c) The current economic inequalities are ordained by [God; the laws of nature; __].
From a Borders Books e-newsletter:
In an area staggeringly inhospitable to human life, an enzyme has been discovered that can dramatically prolong it. But the people trying to harvest the precious substance from 2,000 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean are finding that their attempts are having a radically opposite effect on their life expectancy. In Clive Cussler's latest dispatch from the NUMA Files, LOST CITY, it's up to Kurt Austin and colleague Joe Zavala to figure out why researchers are dying, and how it all fits in with a mysterious submarine and the frozen body of an aviator found high in the Alps.

We report. You decide:
BUSHWORLD: ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK (available August 5) is the first book from New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. In its pages, the Pulitzer Prize winner -- whom George W. Bush has nicknamed "the Cobra" -- takes a critical look at the politics and legacies of both Presidents Bush.

Investigative journalist Ronald Kessler interviewed everyone from old college roommates to key administration players to produce A MATTER OF CHARACTER: INSIDE THE WHITE HOUSE OF GEORGE W. BUSH (available August 5). It's a vibrant, revelatory look at a president who Kessler argues boasts more moral clarity and leadership verve than any of his recent predecessors.
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Claim Amend - US Constitution Amended
Category: Politics:US Politics bid 25, ask 35, last 20
Owner: 6560, kochiboy
Judge: 5458, Arrectis Auribus

created: 2004/07/21
due date: 2009/06/01
The Claim

The US Constitution will be Amended.

Judge's Statement

As of this date, July 22nd, 2004, The United States Constitution and the first ten amendments (collectively known as the Bill of Rights) were ratified on December 15, 1791. Less than four years later, the 11th amendment was added. At various intervals (ranging from a few months to more than 60 years) since then, more amendments have been added, for a total of 27. The last one was ratified on May 7th, 1992. A True judgment will be entered if a 28th amendment has completed the formal process between this claim's activation date and its due date. If no new amendments have been added to the Consitution between those times, this claim will be judged False. If the United States of America ceases to be a sovereign nation by the due date without having added a new amendment, the claim will be judged "False." Further information concerning the amendment process can be found at www.usconstitution.net
http://www.ideosphere.com/fx-bin/Claim?claim=Amend
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 28-Jul-2004
Journal of Marriage and Family
Couples live together for convenience, not to test marriage
Many couples who move in together don't do it with marriage in mind, a small study of New York City residents suggest. Nearly all of the people interviewed who lived with a boyfriend or girlfriend said the major impetus was finances, convenience or housing needs.

Public Release: 28-Jul-2004
Why athletes get injured
Some sportspeople are more prone to injury than others, and it's all to do with combinations of movement rather than fitness. Based on the performance of cricket players, mathematicians have created a model of the body that shows combinations of joint movements. Where a player is unable to modify a certain movement, the repeated action is more likely to cause an injury.

Public Release: 29-Jul-2004
Geophysical Research Letters
Spring through fall, cities are greener longer than neighboring rural regions
Summer can sometimes be a miserably hot time for city dwellers, but new research shows that an urban setting allows plants to bask in a hot-house environment that keeps them greener longer. Recent NASA-sponsored research from a team of geographers in Boston University's Center for Remote Sensing shows that the growing season for vegetation in about 70 urban areas in North America is, on average, 15 days longer than that in surrounding rural regions.
NASA
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Marcel Adam Just , Vladimir L. Cherkassky , Timothy A. Keller , and Nancy J. Minshew
Cortical activation and synchronization during sentence comprehension in high-functioning autism: evidence of underconnectivity
Brain Advance Access published on August 1, 2004, DOI 10.1093/brain/awh199.
Brain 127: 1811-1821.

1 Department of Psychology, Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, Carnegie Mellon University and 2 University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA

Correspondence to: Marcel Adam Just, Carnegie Mellon University, Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging, Department of Psychology, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA E-mail: just@cmu.edu

The brain activation of a group of high-functioning autistic participants was measured using functional MRI during sentence comprehension and the results compared with those of a Verbal IQ-matched control group. The groups differed in the distribution of activation in two of the key language areas. The autism group produced reliably more activation than the control group in Wernicke's (left laterosuperior temporal) area and reliably less activation than the control group in Broca's (left inferior frontal gyrus) area. Furthermore, the functional connectivity, i.e. the degree of synchronization or correlation of the time series of the activation, between the various participating cortical areas was consistently lower for the autistic than the control participants. These findings suggest that the neural basis of disordered language in autism entails a lower degree of information integration and synchronization across the large-scale cortical network for language processing. The article presents a theoretical account of the findings, related to neurobiological foundations of underconnectivity in autism.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Wednesday July 28, 2004. Philosophy is the study of things which can't be studied. When it becomes possible to study a philosophical topic, it is no longer part of philosophy.

My summary of one thing Isaiah Berlin says in The Sense of Reality: Studies in Ideas and Their History. (Previously-unpublished work, edited by Henry Hardy.)
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To Pillsbury House. Not much data entry for the Community Barter Network and Pillsbury House's volunteer program, this time.

However -- I've figured out how to make certain kinds of corrections in the database. So I was able to correct a few of my mistakes.

***Stopped in at Uncle Hugo's sf bookstore. Saw a Ted Chiang collection which included "Hell Is the Absence of God."

Which sparked some variations, including "Hell is the absence of pain" and "Hell is the absence of evil."
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The most positive -- and negative -- comment I've yet seen on the Democratic Convention:
What's it like? It's like Burning Man for Democrats, without the nudity or the drugs. Everyone is walking around grinning like they've just had their first threesome. I can't even imagine what it's going to look like on Thursday, but I am starting to get just a little nervous. Posted by jessamyn at July 27, 2004 09:02 PM
http://www.librarian.net/dnc/000734.html
Via http://www.livejournal.com/users/bentleywg/

The negative part? The Burning Man Festival isn't intended to accomplish anything, or to inspire accomplishments. Political conventions are supposed to do at least the second; preferably both.
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Writing: Daily exercise -- Done.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- Late last night, added a bit more.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- Decided that the narrator was both the older and the younger of two brothers. When he was ten, his parents had him put into suspended animation -- basically, for their own convenience.

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --

Review of The Horns of Midgard --
Nigeria recruits Zimbabwe farmers
A group of white farmers expelled from their land in Zimbabwe reach a deal to start farming in Nigeria.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/africa/3930877.stm

One reason historians give for Europe's technological and intellectual advances over the rest of the world is its political fragmentation.

If a local ruler decided he didn't want Jewish or Protestant businessmen in his lands, they could go somewhere nearby. This didn't work in, for example, China.

During Japan's period of isolation, firearms were regulated almost out of existence. It became almost impossible for soldiers to get them. (See _Giving up the gun: Japan's reversion to the sword, 1543-1879_. Noel Perrin. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1979. ISBN: 0816130108.) No part of Western or Central Europe was isolated enough for this to be workable. And if the local ruler wasn't keeping up with the latest military technology, unfriendly neighbors would be only too happy to bring it to his attention.

Perhaps Africa's current political fragmentation can also serve the cause of progress?
From the UK edition of Google News:
New Study Says It's Possible to Spot Asperger's Syndrome in Infants
ABC News - 13 hours ago
July 27, 2004 Asa Varrette, 7, does not look disabled, but he is profoundly different. All he wants to do is write stories, and he expresses no emotion and no enthusiasm for anything unless it is connected to his writing.
Strange movements may signal autism New Scientist
Tilt test spots early Asperger's BBC News
Telegraph.co.uk - The Herald - and 6 related
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From the Stumpers list:
R.M. Dekker and L.C. Van de Pol, The Tradition of Female Transvestism in
Early Modern Europe, Macmillan, 1989, Houndsmill.
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From National Journal's Democratic Convention newsletter: "...a report of someone with a slingshot turned out to be someone with rosary beads."
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From USA Today's state news snippets
New York: Syracuse -- A man accused of killing a woman 14 years ago and hiding her body in a self-storage unit pleaded innocent to second-degree murder charges. George Geddes Jr., 52, was charged earlier this year after police discovered the decomposed body of his former girlfriend in a trunk. Margaret ''Peggy'' Reome was 31 when she was reported missing in February 1990.
http://www.usatoday.com/usatonline/20040728/6402751s.htm
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Nature 430, 557 - 560 (29 July 2004); doi:10.1038/nature02769
Social parasitism by male-producing reproductive workers in a eusocial insect
CARLOS LOPEZ-VAAMONDE, J. WILL KONING, RUTH M. BROWN, WILLIAM C. JORDAN & ANDREW F. G. BOURKE
Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London NW1 4RY, UK

Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to C.L-V. (carlos.lopez.vaamonde@ioz.ac.uk) or A.F.G.B. (andrew.bourke@ioz.ac.uk).

The evolution of extreme cooperation, as found in eusocial insects (those with a worker caste), is potentially undermined by selfish reproduction among group members. In some eusocial Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps), workers can produce male offspring from unfertilized eggs. Kin selection theory predicts levels of worker reproduction as a function of the relatedness structure of the workers' natal colony and the colony-level costs of worker reproduction. However, the theory has been only partially successful in explaining levels of worker reproduction. Here we show that workers of a eusocial bumble bee (Bombus terrestris) enter unrelated, conspecific colonies in which they then produce adult male offspring, and that such socially parasitic workers reproduce earlier and are significantly more reproductive and aggressive than resident workers that reproduce within their own colonies. Explaining levels of worker reproduction, and hence the potential of worker selfishness to undermine the evolution of cooperation, will therefore require more than simply a consideration of the kin-selected interests of resident workers. It will also require knowledge of the full set of reproductive options available to workers, including intraspecific social parasitism.
http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/Dynapage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v430/n6999/abs/nature02769_fs.html

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Tuesday July 27, 2004. Cleared out a bunch of stuff from my living space!!

***What do they have against authenticity? According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "The boozing and brawling at Stillwater's Lumberjack Days grew so rowdy Saturday night that nearly 50 police officers could barely keep up, leading two City Council members to say the city should tone down next year's event."

In other front page news, Bill Clinton and Senator Clinton are not supporting George W. Bush for re-election.

I think I'd better stop reading newspapers on the bus, perhaps till after the election is over.

***To Savers thrift shop near Lake and Hiawatha. I bought a poetry anthology, and may start reading that rather than newspapers on the bus.

Across Lake Street to Midtown Farmers Market. This was my reason for taking the trip; but I didn't buy anything there.

Shopped at the Cub and Rainbow supermarkets nearby.

Took the Hiawatha Line LRT and the #23 bus home.
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Writing: Daily exercise -- Done; posted to this journal.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- Made some notes; no actual writing done.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- Added notes. Took out stuff which I've decided wasn't needed and would only get in the way of the story.

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --

"Review: Horns of Midgard" --
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** Male Songbird Responds to Mate Only When He's the Third Wheel

Like a stereotypical husband who pretends not to hear his wife berating him, some male songbirds show no signs of recognizing the call of their long-term mate in laboratory settings. But recent work with these animals has found that they can, in fact, differentiate their mate's voice but will react to it only in certain social situations.
http://cl.extm.us/?fe921c74746c067874-fe3117727760037d771076
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I didn't want to know this:
TCHOTCHKE WATCH
Clever -- But Please, No Singing
Why settle for run-of-the-mill "Kerry-Edwards 2004" gear, when you can show some state pride as well? Several Oklahomans have been spotted around the FleetCenter wearing "Kerry-Okies" T-shirts -- and yes, they're for sale at KerryOkies.com.
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From the Stumpers List: Adie, Kate. Corsets to camouflage : women and war. London : Hodder & Stoughton: Published in Association with the Imperial War Museum, 2003. 246 pp. Note(s): Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum./ Includes bibliographical references (p. 243) and index. OCLC # 52485696
How to Tell What You've Written

-"Help. I don't know what category the novel I'm writing falls into!"-

Here are some tips which I hope are useful.

Assume a story in which it's learned that there are Neanderthalers living in the mountains of Louisiana. They have abilities which Homo sapiens doesn't have.

If the abilities are described in pseudoscientific terms, then this is either science fiction or techno-thriller.

It's a techno-thriller for sure if 1) the Neanderthalers are a threat to the world and 2) only one person or a small group stand between this danger and the human race.

If the abilities are described as magical, the Neanderthalers are Evil, and horrible things happening to characters are described in loving detail, the story is horror. (Unless the Neanderthalers have spaceships; anything with spaceships in it is science fiction.)

If the abilities are described as magical, the Neanderthalers are Good and Wise, and wonderful things happening to characters are described in detail, the story is New Age.

If the abilities are described as Satanic, the Neanderthalers are Evil, and only a small group of Real Christians stand between this danger and the human race, it's Christian fiction.

However: If the story's emphasis is on a romantic/sexual relationship between the two main characters, it is either romance or erotica. (If the relationship is between more than two characters, and what they do with each other is described in more detail than anything else in the story, it's definitely erotica.)
From the UK edition of Google News:
Type 2 Diabetics Should Avoid Caffeine
Forbes - 10 hours ago
MONDAY, July 26 (HealthDayNews) -- Consuming beverages that contain caffeine may not be a good idea if you have type 2 diabetes, researchers report.
Caffeine May Hamper Blood Sugar Control WebMD
Caffeine And Diabetes Not A Good Mix At Mealtime Health Talk
WISC - CTV - Medical News Today - TVNZ - and 82 related

This also showed up on the India, Canada, New Zealand and Australia editions, but not on the American one.
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From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 27-Jul-2004
Journal of Biological Chemistry
Misfiring proteins tied to inflammation and sick feeling of type 2 diabetics
After a series of studies in the laboratory of Dr. Gregory Freund, a clearer picture is emerging: A disruption of signaling proteins in the immune system may be responsible for the inflammation that makes someone with type 2 diabetes feel sick and increases the risk of serious complications.
National Institutes of Health, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association

Public Release: 27-Jul-2004
Scientists build on case connecting inflammatory disease and depression
Feeling sick can be "all in the head" for people with inflammatory disorders or for those receiving immunotherapy, say Robert Dantzer and Keith Kelley, professors in the department of animal sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "For the first time, we have evidence of a strong relationship between a molecular event and the development of psychopathology," Dantzer said.
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health

Public Release: 27-Jul-2004
Nature Biotechnology
Newly designed nanoparticle quantum dots simultaneously target and image prostate tumors in mice
Emory University scientists have for the first time used a new class of luminescent "quantum dot" nanoparticles in living animals to simultaneously target and image cancerous tumors. The quantum dots were encapsulated in a highly protective polymer coating and attached to a monoclonal antibody that guided them to prostate tumor sites in living mice, where they were visible using a simple mercury lamp.
National Institutes of Health, Georgia Cancer Coalition, Coulter Translational Research Program at Georgia Tech and Emory University, Department of Defense
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Making fast food that much faster
Richard Meryhew, Star Tribune
July 27, 2004

BRAINERD, MINN. -- Ellie Feld pulled into the drive-through lane at the McDonald's in west Brainerd the other day, craving a double cheeseburger.

As she leaned out the window of her Chevy Blazer to place her order through a speaker box, Feld was greeted by the friendly voice of an order taker she thought was working inside.

"I assumed it was somebody in here," Feld said, pointing to the restaurant only a few feet away.

Not even close.

Four states away in a Colorado Springs call center, "Linda" recorded Feld's order and flashed it onto a computer screen inside the kitchen of the Brainerd McDonald's. Less than 2 minutes later, Feld drove away, a smile on her face and a burger in hand.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Monday July 26, 2004. Late last night, I decided to set aside my current main story.

A bit after I woke up, I found myself re-outlining it in my head. Which means I'm not going to set it aside.

***To HealthPartners Uptown Clinic, to pick up a prescription.

Down to the first floor of Calhoun Square, to Borders. And saw that the August Scientific American had this:

"Electrodynamic Tethers in Space. By exploiting fundamental physical laws, tethers may provide low-cost electrical power, thrust, drag, and artificial gravity for spaceflight."

Shopped at the Walgreens on Hennepin near 25th St., Steeple People thrift store, and the Wedge Co-op.

***Along the way, I started thinking about Algis Budrys's short story "The End of Summer."
Big background thing: Something has happened so that people don't change -- or rather, any change is soon rectified. If you were pregnant when the change came, for example, you're stuck in that stage of pregnancy forever. Artificial memory makes life a good deal easier.

It suddenly occurred to me that this phenomenon would make agriculture very difficult. Even if it only affected mammals, and left plant life alone.

***Slightly revised the alt.recovery.clutter FAQ and posted it. Added: Several LiveJournal communities.

***Yesterday, I mentioned possibly reviewing an Elvish fantasy anthology about us. Today I set down a few "facts" about it. I now know the names of the city and country in which it was published.

Now I need to work out what cliches and stereotypes the stories will include.

Working title: The Horns of Midgard. Working theme: Stories about music and midgarders, both in Midgard and in the real world. Both are likely to change.
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Writing: Daily Exercise -- done -- see above.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- Zero draft portion at end drastically changed.

"They Might Be Windmills" --- Added a note that about 20 percent of the population is "experimentals." Most are gene-engineered to fit one concept or another of what superior humans would be; or are descended from such. Some are gene-engineered to be servants to superiors.

The superiors aren't running the world. The "natural pacifists" are as likely to become violent as anyone else. The "natural artists" produce as much crap as anyone else.

(Some of you might be wondering if I'm reacting to S. M. Stirling's Draka series. Yes; but also to some of Frank Herbert's work -- including Hellstrom's Hive and Santaroga Barrier.)

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --
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From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 26-Jul-2004
Society for Conservation Biology Annual Meeting 2004
American Journal of Botany
Springtime blooms seen earlier now than in the past, say Boston University biologists
Taking something of a back-to-the-future approach, biologists from Boston University have looked into the past to find that flowering plants growing today blossom more than a week earlier than a century ago. Their findings show that among the plants studied in Boston's Arnold Arboretum, flowering times have moved forward over the decades, with the plants flowering eight days earlier on average from 1980 to 2002 than they did from 1900 to 1920.
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Ad on a political blog:
Attention Birders!
The nation's 15 million bird watchers have the power to decide the 2004 Presidential election and elect a president who will protect wetlands and other bird habitats....

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Sunday July 25, 2004. Idea: An anthology from Elfland, of fantasy stories about us. Some set in our world; some set in "the real world," where we rather than they are the Hidden People.

I may "review" such an anthology, later on.

Further on anthologies: Unfortunately, David Drake's military sf anthology The Dogs of War is about humans. I would like to see military sf with dogs as protagonists.
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Writing: Daily exercise -- Done.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- Sketched a conversation which I realized the story needed. Made an important character less passive.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --
___________________________
From Voice of America via Google News:
The Palestinian leader has made his first pubic comments on the political crisis surrounding his government.
________________________
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 25-Jul-2004
Nature Medicine
Gene therapy reaches muscles throughout the body and reverses muscular dystrophy in animal model
Researchers have found a delivery method for gene therapy that reaches all the voluntary muscles of a mouse – including heart, diaphragm and limbs – and reverses the process of muscle-wasting found in muscular dystrophy.
National Institutes of Health, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Bruce and Jolene McCaw
Saturday July 24, 2004. Around the corner to Southwest Senior Center, to pick up Fare For All food.
______
Every time Twin Cities bus routes undergo large changes, two complaints show up in the Star Tribune's letter column: 1) I bought this house because it was on a bus route -- how dare they take my bus away? 2) I bought this house because it wasn't on a bus route -- how dare they torment me with buses?

I started thinking about people who believe governments should protect them against neighborhood change. The degradation resulting from renters or other underclass scum moving in; gentrification; sufficient street parking that they don't need garages....

Perhaps governments could offer such extra services at a price. You don't want affordable housing? Pay us enough, and we'll put the affordable housing somewhere else; your payments include the money needed to compensate those renters for inconvenience and extra expenses. If you can't afford it, get your neighbors to chip in. Want the bus to go down your street? Pay us what's needed to reroute it so it's convenient to you but still serves the area we want to serve. For an extra fee, we'll make sure the schedule is convenient for you.

Later, I decided it might be better to have people work off such neighborhood-stability fees.
___________
Took the #4 bus north to Lyndale. There was a detour to avoid the Art Car Parade.

At Steeple People thrift store, I made an extravagant purchase -- an Oxo teakettle.

Oxo makes kitchen equipment which is easier for people with hand problems to use. I don't need this, except perhaps for can openers. (I'm lefthanded; I'm so habituated to "normal" can openers that I find it very hard to use a lefthanded one. And since I'm relatively clumsy using righthanded ones, I like to use Oxo's can openers.) And I already had a teakettle.

The Oxo one was easier to use, better constructed, and looked better.

***Walked to Franklin and Hennepin, where I took the #6 bus to the Mnstf meeting.

The meeting was hosted by Dean Gahlon and Laura Krentz. Good food, good company, and a lot of books.

I saw one book titled Immoral Unicorns. That was a reado; it was actually Immortal Unicorn. But an anthology about immoral unicorns would be interesting.

I suspect that virgins would be the wrong bait for immoral unicorns -- except, perhaps, for the villain of Theodore Sturgeon's "The Silkenswift".
_________
Writing: None.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Public Release: 24-Jul-2004
American Society of Plant Biologists
Growing new breed of vaccine-producing plants to fight human diseases worldwide
At his presentation at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) here July 24, 2004, Arizona State University Professor Charles J. Arntzen explained the newest advances in his research on plant-producing vaccines to fight human afflictions such as cholera, Norwalk Virus and hepatitis B.
National Institutes of Health

Public Release: 24-Jul-2004
American Society of Plant Biologists
Briggs takes to the molecular level Darwin's findings on plants sensing the direction of light
Briggs's research group has discovered the two-member family of protein molecules that serves as the detector and decoder of the blue photons on which the seedling cues to determine the direction of light. The molecule, known as phototropin, is now being intensively studied because of its unique properties by chemists and biophysicists as well as plant biologists.
National Science Foundation
_____________________
From the UK edition of Google News:
Rapeseed oil to generate power for 1,000 homes
Financial Times - 3 hours ago
Rapeseed oil, used 2,000 years ago by Romans to light their lamps, will be harvested next year to generate electricity to power homes under a scheme backed by Syngenta, the Anglo-Swiss agricultural company.
Power plant: oilseed rape grown for electricity Independent
Scheme to make electricity from rapeseed Reuters
ic Newcastle.co.uk - Economic Times - and 6 related
______________________
Seeds of agriculture move back in time
Excavations in Israel indicate that people began to eat large quantities of wild grass seeds and wild cereal grains by around 23,000 years ago, which pushes back by 10,000 years the estimated shift to a plant-rich diet.
http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040724/note12.asp -- nonfree subscription

Friday, July 23, 2004

Friday July 23, 2004. Yesterday, I got more exercise than I'd realized -- enough to be stiff and tired today.

***Cookery: Chicken livers with ginger. I like it, though amounts need adjusting.

Later: Fried egg with ginger. I'm not sure yet whether that experiment's worth repeating.

Mail today included the Penzeys Spices catalog. Since I began seriously avoiding salt, I've become dependent on their Florida Seasoned Pepper. It includes citric acide (aka sour salt) and lemon and orange peel.

The Wedge Co-op has Lemon Pepper, which is similar.
___________
A cartoon by George Price shows a man listening to the radio while he watches TV news and reads the newspaper. His wife says to a neighbor "And every hour on the half hour, those damn carrier pigeons."

If your lease bars carrier pigeons, you can now fill the gap with two blogs which aggregate convention blogs: http://www.conventionbloggers.com and http://politics.feedster. There's the usual percentage of pigeon droppings, of course.
_________________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- The new ending is in place.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 23-Jul-2004
Interactive social robots to participate in AAAI's Annual Mobile Robot Challenge
Grace and George, a pair of socially skilled robots developed by a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, the Naval Research Laboratory and Swarthmore College, will participate in the American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) annual Mobile Robot Competition and Exhibition July 27-29, at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif.

From the full press release:
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2004-07/cmu-isr072304.php
Grace and George are six-foot-tall, socially adept, autonomous talking robots with digitally animated faces. The robots will work as a team to complete AAAI's Open Interaction Task, which involves interacting with conference attendees in an unstructured environment.

Grace will "work" at a booth, communicating information about the conference and schedule, while George circulates among the crowd, interacting with people, answering their questions and escorting them to conference locations. Grace will contact George and schedule times for "him" to meet and escort people to various locations. Those being escorted will put on a specially colored hat, and George will lead them to their destinations.
......
Grace competed in AAAI's Robot Challenge in 2002 where she acted as a conference attendee. She managed to find her way to the registration booth at the Edmonton Convention Center, Alberta, Canada, register for the conference, navigate to an elevator, and find the third-floor conference room where she gave a PowerPoint presentation about herself.
.....
NEW Bush military records found, released
KRON4.com - San Francisco,CA,USA
WASHINGTON It turns out that the payroll records from President Bush's
service in the Alabama National Guard weren't destroyed after all. ...


PENTAGON Finds Bush's Military Payroll Records
Reuters - USA
... records relating to President Bush's service in the Air National Guard
three decades ago that the Pentagon said earlier this month were accidentally
destroyed ...


This daily-once News Alert is brought to you by Google News (BETA)...
_________________________________
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 23-Jul-2004
Economic Policy
Council voting power affects EU budget shares
This paper examines the determinants of power in the Council of the European Union. It argues that quantitative power indices stemming from voting theory provide a good description of the actual distribution of power among EU members. Of course, we cannot directly verify the accuracy of such indices since it is impossible to measure power directly. Instead, we evaluate whether these power measures explain a quantifiable manifestation of the exercise of power, namely members' share of EU budget allocation.

Public Release: 23-Jul-2004
The best view of the Tour is from space
It is now possible to track the position and speed of each rider in the Tour de France in real-time thanks to the EGNOS European satellite positioning system, a preparatory programme for the Galileo system.
European Space Agency

Public Release: 23-Jul-2004
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Bone, enamel, dentine, milk & saliva share gene family
Fish and mammal teeth are not created equal. Sometime after the move from spineless to having a backbone, the family of genes that controls tissue mineralization evolved to produce mammalian tooth enamel, bones and dentine, but fish enameloid developed from different genes, according to Penn State researchers.
National Science Foundation

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Thursday July 21, 2004. Minneapolis is no longer TGD Hot. I'm still drinking huge amounts of water.

***To downtown Minneapolis via the #23 bus and the Hiawatha Line. Shopped at Office Max and Walgreens.

To the temporary central library. Returned books, took out books. Bought a couple of used books in the bookstore.

#6 bus south to Steeple People thrift store, which turned out to have a 25¢ sale on some clothing. Found out I can fit into at least some shirts a size smaller than I'd been able to use.

Across the street to the Wedge Co-op.

Took the #6 bus home.

***Read: Lawrence Watt-Evans, Dragon Venom. It does a much better job of conveying a complex background and complex characters (not all human) than most fantasy.
And there's a good story, with a satisfying (though slightly ambiguous) ending.
____________________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done, reprinted here:

What I want to do with writing

I want to accurately convey complex information -- factual, emotional, intellectual.

I want to induce people to think.

***"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- I got the ending a bit closer to the right shape.
=======
"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --
The Last Hundred Days
How the '04 campaign plays out in parallel universes
Larry J. Sabato
Director, U.Va. Center for Politics

Okay, the fun and games are over. The grim reality of Campaign '04 is fully upon us. And there are two alternative realities, two parallel universes unfolding before us--only one of which can come mainly true. Much like Superman and Bizzaro Superman they exist in conflict, but eventually one will emerge as the real thing.
Sabato's Crystal Ball Vol. II - Iss. 30
www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball
________________
Handedness develops in the womb
The hand humans favour as a ten-week-old fetus is the hand they favour for the rest of their lives, suggests a new study
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996186

Family words came first for early humans
A trawl of a thousand languages suggests that common family words may have come from the Neanderthals
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99996188
_________________
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 22-Jul-2004
American Speech-Language Hearing Association's conference on Fluency and Fluency Disorders
Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research
Stuttering more than talk - research shows brain's role in disorder
New research from Purdue University shows that even when people who stutter are not speaking, their brains process language differently. Traditionally, stuttering is thought of as a problem with how someone speaks, and little attention has been given to the complex interactions between neurological systems that underlie speaking.
National Institutes of Health

Public Release: 22-Jul-2004
'Cool' fuel cells could revolutionize Earth's energy resources
Researchers at the University of Houston are striving toward decreasing electric bills with a breakthrough in thin film solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) that is currently being refined in UH labs. Originating from research at UH's Texas Center for Superconductivity and Advanced Materials, these SOFCs of the "thin film" variety are both efficient and compact and could make cumbersome power plants virtually obsolete.

Public Release: 22-Jul-2004
Nature
The blind really do hear better
Nearly everyone has heard the popular notion that the blind hear better than the sighted – possibly to make up for their inability to see. Now, researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University and at the Université de Montréal have shown that the blind really do hear notes more precisely but only if they became blind when they were very young. Their findings, Pitch discrimination in the Early Blind, were published in the journal Nature.
________________________
India retries pivotal Hindu-Muslim hate crime
On Monday, the notorious Best Bakery case nudged closer to a trial date. By Scott Baldauf
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0723/p07s01-wosc.html?s=hns

Catholic trek turns secular
Though many still make the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in religious devotion, secular celebrations are gaining ground. By Geoff Pingree and Lisa Abend
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0723/p07s02-woeu.html?s=hns
Wednesday July 21, 2004. Seen on a political-news website: An ad for PoliTemps. From http://www.PoliTemps.com: "PoliTemp is a Legislative, Government, and Political staffing service for the Washington, DC area.

"PoliTemps provides quality personnel who, in addition to administrative and computer skills, possess an understanding of the political, legislative, and public relations processes in this city. We have the targeting and focus of a public relations firm, the goals and mission of a staffing service, and the enthusiasm of a political campaign."

Which led me to wonder just how much a government could rely on temps (and temp-to-work people). Perhaps a government with no (or almost no) permanent employees; using non-military mercenaries.

Use of military mercenaries has sometimes led to the bright idea: "Now that the war's over, let's save money by not paying the mercenaries. What are they going to do about it?" This has not always worked as expected.

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

Then the #5 bus down Chicago Avenue to Lake Street, and a stop at Uncle Hugo's sf bookstore.

It was a hot day, and the Hiawatha Line would be cooler than my place. So I took a #21 bus to Lake and Hiawatha, and rode the LRT all the way downtown. I hadn't been to the last couple of stations before.

Most of the people on the train got off at the Metrodome stop.

At the end of the line, I headed back to 38th Street. Or tried to; the train I was on stopped at Cedar-Riverside, and I had to wait for another.
__________________
Writing: Daily exercise -- done

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- A bit more added at the end. There's a scene which should probably come out.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Nature 430, 453 - 456 (22 July 2004); doi:10.1038/nature02634

Conceptual precursors to language

SUSAN J. HESPOS1 AND ELIZABETH S. SPELKE2

1 Department of Psychology and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37203, USA
2 Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA

Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to S.H. (s.hespos@vanderbilt.edu).

Because human languages vary in sound and meaning, children must learn which distinctions their language uses. For speech perception, this learning is selective: initially infants are sensitive to most acoustic distinctions used in any language, and this sensitivity reflects basic properties of the auditory system rather than mechanisms specific to language; however, infants' sensitivity to non-native sound distinctions declines over the course of the first year. Here we ask whether a similar process governs learning of word meanings. We investigated the sensitivity of 5-month-old infants in an English-speaking environment to a conceptual distinction that is marked in Korean but not English; that is, the distinction between 'tight' and 'loose' fit of one object to another. Like adult Korean speakers but unlike adult English speakers, these infants detected this distinction and divided a continuum of motion-into-contact actions into tight- and loose-fit categories. Infants' sensitivity to this distinction is linked to representations of object mechanics that are shared by non-human animals. Language learning therefore seems to develop by linking linguistic forms to universal, pre-existing representations of sound and meaning.
http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/Dynapage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v430/n6998/abs/nature02634_fs.htm
___________________
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 21-Jul-2004
Journal of Marriage and Family
Siblings help children get along with others in kindergarten
Children who grow up with one or more siblings get along better with their classmates in kindergarten than do only children. In a national study of more than 20,000 children, teachers rated students who had at least one sibling as better able to form and maintain friendships, get along with people who are different, comfort and help other children, express feelings in a positive way, and show sensitivity to the feelings of others.

Public Release: 21-Jul-2004
Psychological Science
Children can have a better memory than adults (at least sometimes)
Believe it or not, a 5-year-old could beat most adults on a recognition memory test, at least under specific conditions, according to a new study. These findings run counter to what has been known for years from memory research – namely, that memory develops from early childhood to young adulthood, with young adults having much better memory than children.
National Science Foundation

Public Release: 21-Jul-2004
Did Napoleon's doctors finish him off?
How exactly did Napoleon Bonaparte die on the island of St Helena? The official version is that he died of stomach cancer, while others believe he was poisoned with arsenic. But now forensic pathologists, who have been studying records from the emperor's last weeks, say he was killed by overenthusiastic doctors.
New Scientist

Public Release: 21-Jul-2004
ET first contact 'within 20 years'
A senior astronomer at the SETI Institute is boldly predicting that if intelligent life exists elsewhere in our galaxy, we'll know about it in 20 years. The prediction is based on the assumption of alien civilisations existing, combined with advances in computer processing power and radio telescope technology.
New Scientist

Public Release: 21-Jul-2004
Food rations hydrated by swamp water...or worse
The same people that brought us the "indestructible sandwich", have now developed a dried food ration that troops can hydrate by using swamp water…or their own urine. The ration, developed by food scientists working for the US military, comes in a pouch containing a filter which removes 99.9 per cent of bacteria and most toxic chemicals from the water used to rehydrate the food. The aim is to reduce the amount of water troops need to carry.
New Scientist
VT: Republican Weakness and Strange Matchups

The filing deadline has passed and this is the strangest election I have ever seen. Republicans have no candidates for State Treasurer or Secretary of State and are contesting only 26 of 30 state senate seats.
Millionaire Republican Jack McMullen does not have a clear shot at Senator Patrick Leahy. Ben Mitchell an anti-war socialist member of the Liberty Union Party is challenging him in the Republican primary. McMullen is looked on by some as an outsider. He was defeated by elderly farmer/actor Fred Tuttle in McMullen's last race against Leahy. Tuttle then endorsed Leahy. (Republican Peter Moss is also a candidate in this primary and Leahy has picked up a Democratic primary challenge from Green Party member Craig Hill.)
I suspect Republican dirty tricks in the race against independent Bernie Sanders. Knowing the Democrats would not run against Bernie, Republican Larry Drown has filed as a Democrat. Even stranger, Liberty Union Party member Jane Newton is running as a Progressive in the race. Despite all this Bernie should win easily.
http://www.polstate.com/archives/005807.html#005807

From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 20-Jul-2004
Journal of Applied Physiology
Why some neonates need caffeine
We know they need it – but how it works on the newborn is the subject of a new research study.
http://www.the-aps.org/press/journal/04/21.htm

Why they need it turns out to be apnea.

A Shrinking Base
Support for Bush is waning among typically conservative military families now facing redeployment.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A175-2004Jul20.html

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

July 19/20 2004. Midnight snack: Eggs fried with overripe bananas, spiced with cinnamon.

This also works with pome fruits (apples, pears); both underripe and overripe ones are improved by frying. It does not work well with citrus fruit.

Tuesday July 20 2004. I went to the Midtown Farmers Market because it was supposed to have drummers. They did have a drummer when I got there, but he was a disappointment. He kept repeating the same uninspiring rhythm, over and over.

But they did have some food worth buying.

Note: "Midtown" is as far uptown as Uptown is.

I was near Savers thrift store, so I decided to stop in there. For 99 cents, I found something useful for certain kinds of exercises. Of course, there was the problem that I might have to explain why I had a golf club when I don't golf.

Savers is an international chain which isn't tied to any one charity; it collects for different charities in different areas.

I'd gone to that area by the route I've taken for years: #4 bus to Lake Street, #21 bus to near Hiawatha Avenue. Force of habit -- I could have taken the #23 bus and the Hiawatha light rail line.

I did take the Hiawatha line and the #23 bus home. And I did find myself explaining that I don't golf.
_______________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Complete text follows: Too damned hot to write.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- The "happily ever after" now lasts a bit under five months.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 19-Jul-2004
Photonics Technology Letters
Silicon-based photodetector is sensitive to ultraviolet light
By depositing thin films of silicon nanoparticles on silicon substrates, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have fabricated a photodetector sensitive to ultraviolet light. Silicon-based ultraviolet sensors could prove very handy in military, security and commercial applications.
National Science Foundation; State of Illinois; Grainger Foundation; Technology Research, Education, and Commercialization Center

Public Release: 19-Jul-2004
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Songbirds escaped from Australasia, conquered rest of world
A comprehensive study of DNA from songbirds and their relatives shows that these birds, which account for almost half of all bird species, did not originate in Eurasia, as previously thought. Instead, their ancestors escaped from a relatively small area--Australasia (Australia, New Zealand and nearby islands) and New Guinea--about 45 million years ago and went on to populate every other continent save Antarctica.
FM Chapman Fund of the American Museum of Natural History, National Science Foundation

Public Release: 20-Jul-2004
New research reveals binge drinking initiated by religious Anglicans in 1660s
As David Blunkett claims a rise in binge drinking is helping to breed a culture of 'thuggery and intimidation' new research from the University of Warwick reveals that rather than originating the 1960s binge drinking was rife in the 1660s. What's more, it was religious Anglicans, demonstrating their loyalty to the Crown in the Civil War that initiated heavy drinking.
University of Warwick

Monday, July 19, 2004

Monday July 19, 2004. I've been given a bunch of over-ripe bananas.

***Spent the day running errands. First to HealthPartners Uptown, where I delivered something to Nate Bucklin.

Then to Borders, where I found a book I decided I needed.

Down Hennepin Avenue to Walgreens. Along with things I needed, I bought imported soda -- Jumex, made in Mexico, mandarin flavor.

Kowalski's Supermarket, to see if there was anything I wanted. (They don't have ads; you have to go into the store.) They did: fresh stringbeans on sale.
______________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done: Where I Get Political News (mostly US)

http://politics1.com has the best collection of links to political parties (some very obscure) and advocacy organizations. It has some updates on campaigns.

http://politicalwire.com is good for daily news, mostly of national campaigns.

http://polstate.com tries to keep up with state and local politics. It doesn't have volunteers in every state; for those where it does, it gives good coverage.

http://congress.org keeps up with what's happening in the Federal Government, including bills on their way through Congress. It's also a good place to find activist organizations.

For a general survey of news, I use Google News -- which takes news from a large number of newspapers, magazines, TV stations and networks, etc. If you're in the US, http://news.google.com will take you to the US version. From there, you can go to English-language versions for Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and India. There are also versions in French, German, Spanish, and Italian.

I also check the Washington Post (http://www.washington.post.com) and the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com); if you don't want to register, you can reach both via http://bugmenot.com. Less frequently, I check USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com).

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- The characters may decide to change the ending. Or, in less mystical terms: As they've developed, the two main characters aren't a good fit for Happily Ever After.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --
"Liberty, if it means anything, is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear"
http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/

King Arthur's Black Descendants
By Anita L. Wills
Ms. Wills is a writer, researcher, and genealogist, and author of the book, Notes and Documents of Free Persons of Color: Colonial Virginia, 1650-1850 (March 2003).
http://hnn.us/articles/6343.htm
___________________________
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 19-Jul-2004
NeuroImage
Human intelligence determined by volume and location of gray matter tissue in brain
General human intelligence appears to be based on the volume of gray matter tissue in certain regions of the brain, UC Irvine College of Medicine researchers have found in the most comprehensive structural brain-scan study of intelligence to date.
NIH/National Institute of Child Health and Development
http://today.uci.edu/news/release_detail.asp?key=1187

Public Release: 19-Jul-2004
Nucleic Acids Research
UAB creates the first Internet server to search for genetic diversity
Researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona have developed the first international server that allows to analyze genetic diversity on a large scale. Published in the special edition of Nucleic Acids Research on bioinformatics, the web will facilitate research about the genetic basis of hereditary diseases. For the first time biologists can search for small variations in the genomes of different individuals and species using data stored in large public genome databases, such as Genbank.
_______________
Something's fishy about red snapper
A study found that more than 75 percent of store-labeled red snapper bore the genetic makeup of other fish. By Clayton Collins
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0719/p11s01-wmgn.html?s=hns
__________________
Did you know that playing online games‚ like chess or backgammon‚ could bring you new friends‚ love and maybe even a baby?
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/08/technology/circuits/08back.html?ex=1090382400&en=edf55df55591df73&ei=5070&ex=1090987200

Not if you concentrate on the game.
______________
Tiny Agency's Iraq Analysis Is Better Than Big Rivals'
By DOUGLAS JEHL
Published: July 19, 2004
WASHINGTON, July 18 — On Iraq and illicit weapons, the intelligence agency that got it least wrong, it now turns out, was one of the smallest — a State Department bureau with no spies, no satellites and a reputation for contrariness.

Almost alone among intelligence agencies, this one, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, or I.N.R., does not report to either the White House or the Pentagon. Its approach is purely analytical, so that it owes no allegiance to particular agents, imagery or intercepts. It shuns the worst-case plans sometimes sought by military commanders.

"They are willing to take on the accepted analysis and take a second, harder look," said Alfred Cumming, a former staff director of the Senate Intelligence Committee who is now an intelligence and national security specialist at the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress.
http://nytimes.com/2004/07/19/politics/19INTE.htm

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Sunday July 18, 2004. Yesterday, I found myself discussing three-year-old bureaucrats on rec.arts.sf.composition.

***Still a bit sick today, but expect to be completely over it tomorrow.
_____________
Writing: Daily Exercise -- Done, posted to this journal.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- Fixed a continuity error by inserting a religion
which believes that humans evolved in space. Earlier than that, the first draft portion is solid enough that I was able to do some second-draft work on it. And a bit more zero draft has gone into first draft.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" -- Did a bit of keyboard thinking about what it might be like to spend a few months awake every ten years. Being hit with all the changes at once.

And also being hit with the non-changes. Like the proposed New York City subway lines which were proposed in the 1930s, and keep coming up as if they were new ideas. Or the political problems which have been Solved For Good at least once a decade.
_______________
All right, Ralph, I always knew we had issues: Me the Led Zeppelin fan, you the policy monk.
Barbara Ehrenreich
http://nytimes.com/2004/07/18/opinion/18EHRE.htm

I suspect "policy monk" is a mistaken correction of "policy wonk".
______________
The NYT reprints an op-ed that ignited a heated debate in France when it first appeared in Le Monde a month ago. The translated essay, by a French literary critic, deconstructs Harry Potter with a distinctly anti-capitalist slant. The author argues that Hogwarts is a "pitiless jungle where competition, violence and the cult of winning run riot" and that the book is a "caricature of the excesses of the Anglo-Saxon social model," and is full of "neoliberal stereotypes." The piece provoked a response from another French philosopher (not reprinted by the Times) whose alternate reading holds that Harry Potter is not the prototypical capitalist but rather a hero of the anti-globalization left. It's not totally clear whether by reprinting the piece the NYT is mocking the French for their self-serious academic excesses, or the editors actually finds the argument provocative. The piece concludes without even a wink of self-awareness: "The underlying message to young fans is this: You can imagine as many fictional worlds ... as you want, they will still all be regulated by the laws of the market. ... [S]everal generations of young people will be indelibly marked by this lesson."
http://slate.msn.com/id/2104068/
Politics: More Important Than Winning

In American politics, single-issue organizations can be extremely effective. For example, they can get a Constitutional Amendment enacted; see the history of Prohibition.

But most cut down their effectiveness by adopting positions on other issues. The Right to Own Mammoths Committee will repel potential supporters by speaking out on property taxes, spear control, smoking restrictions, and movie ratings. Driving away customers doesn't seem quite rational.

Minor political parties also drive away voters. Example: In the 1970s, the Los Angeles Times (which was then my local paper) ran an article on the Libertarian Party. I called the phone number given in the article, and said I wanted to learn more about the party than was in the article.

They sent me a photocopy of the LATimes article. (This was an organization supposedly in favor of property rights.) And offered to sell me Libertarian Party literature.

There's a reason for these stupidities: internal customers are considered more important than external customers.

The important customers can be the ones who provide the money. This seems to have been the case with the Communist Party USA. Time and again, it threw away support by aligning itself with the USSR.

Or they can be the current members of the organization, who want it to remain a club in which they feel comfortable.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Saturday July 17, 2004. I headed for the Wedge Co-op.

There were two small yard sales a couple of blocks away from the Wedge; I spent almost two dollars.

[Later: Thought about what a yard sale in Elfland or some other magical place might yield.

For a while now, there's been this line of dialog in the back of my mind: "I bought my soul at a yard sale. I suggest that you do the same." That yard sale would have to be in a grimmer place than Elfland.]

I didn't spend anything at Steeple People thrift shop, but found a couple of things in their freebie section.

[A thrift store in Elfland might have interesting appliances, furniture, and books.]

Went to the Wedge. Bought food and stamps.

[Presumably, the Elfland equivalent would have equivalents of newage books and magazines among their stock. And the meaning of "natural food" might be a bit different.]

Came home and slept for a few hours.

I think I'm almost over whatever I'd been sick with.
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My vision of Elfland: It's more like our world than the usual portrayal -- the same level of technology, republics more common than monarchies, etc.

It's matriarchal to the same extent our world is patriarchal.

Their fantasy shows us as having strange abilities -- some of which we actually do have. In fiction, we're still at a Medieval level of government and technology.

Just as there are a few elves in our world, there are some humans in Elfland.
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Writing: daily exercise -- Done, posted to this journal.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- A bit of rewording.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" -- very rough outline added to notes.
Every so often, Americans realize that heroin is dangerous. Many recreational drug users turn to a safer drug -- cocaine. And at such times, they'll have the experts on their side; for example, prominent experts will be saying that cocaine isn't really addictive.

After a while, the astonishing discovery will be made that cocaine is dangerous; and people will turn to nice, safe heroin. That's the stage we're at now.

There's a cycle in American politics between liberalism and conservatism. Only a cynic would consider this analogous to the heroin-cocaine cycle.

We've been in the conservative phase for a while now. I think it's hit the conservative high point, and is now turning again. Even if the White House stays under conservative control this election, conservatives will lose control of Congress in the 2006 elections.

What's likely to change? Federal regulators will act with less regard for the sensibilities of corporations and of medical professionals. Certain kinds of discrimination will be more likely to annoy the Federal Government into action. There will be shifts in who pays what share of Federal taxes.
Friday July 16, 2004. I had (still have) a slightly-sore throat, and other indications of being sick.
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Writing: Daily exercise -- Done. A bit about US politics in 2054.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- Thought I was too sick to get
anything done. But I changed some dialog to what those characters would
say, and made some other revisions.

There's one conversation which, for proper representation, ought to be in Middle English.

(It's in Classical English -- that is, our language.) Or perhaps it should be in the equivalent version of Scots.

"They Might Be Windmills" --

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" -- Added a bit to the notes.

Friday, July 16, 2004

In my previous life, I was a member of an active mailing list for fans of ska music. (In tribute, I’ve just created a ska name generator.) Every few months, members would talk about the music that they listened to, outside of ska. It quickly degenerated into a uniquely annoying form of indie one-upsmanship. Popular, marginal, and largely unknown bands were dismissed with contempt (“You’re still listening to Big Black?”). The discussion quickly disappeared down the indie rabbit hole, as members professed their love for vinyl-only releases from obscure foreign noise bands.

My friend Mark managed to shut them up. He wrote a long email about how everyone else was a sellout, and how he had gotten into the most obscure music ever. He would go to the local maternity ward with a stethoscope and listen to a particular fetus’s heartbeat.
http://www.crookedtimber.org/archives/002188.html

From alt.comp.freeware:
"http://www.douwe-egberts.com/decs/pages/des.asp?PagecRef=124&Mid=124&siteid=decs-retail&Locale=uken1

"Are you always the one who's stuck getting coffee for your colleagues? How does Keith in accounts take his coffee again? You're going to get a coffee, but is there anyone else who wants one too? The Coffee Manager is the answer!

"The Coffee Manager is a small application for your work computer, which asks everyone in the office if they would like a coffee, then gathers all the drinks requests and selects a person to make the trip to the coffee machine! The Coffee Manager can also present you with a graphic display of statistics to chart the drinking habits and rituals of your team."

When did Brits (office-workers, at least) become coffee-drinkers again? In the 1959 movie "I'm All Right Jack," there's a meeting about selling coffee to the English. Everyone at the meeting drinks cup after cup of tea.
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 16-Jul-2004
Molecular Therapy
LSU vet school professor uses gene therapy to destroy cancerous tumors
Shulin Li, associate professor in the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Comparative Biomedical Sciences, is developing a gene therapy treatment for cancer that could ultimately serve to "vaccinate" bodies against tumor recurrence. Thus far, Li's treatment has succeeded in pre-clinical trials on tumors in mice. Now he is using his method to treat larger animals, such as dogs, before seeking approval for human trials. Li's research involves injecting therapeutic genes directly into tumors.
National Institutes of Health

Public Release: 16-Jul-2004
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
New genetic mechanism for evolution
A team of researchers from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) has discovered that transposons, small DNA sequences that travel through the genomes, can silence the genes adjacent to them by inducing a molecule called antisense RNA. This is a new mechanism for evolution that has been unknown until now. The research has been recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Public Release: 16-Jul-2004
Science
Research shows oceans are becoming more acidic
UNESCO has just released the report of a meeting held recently at which leading scientists presented research showing that the world's oceans are absorbing unprecedented rates of Carbon Dioxide, making them more acidic.
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Watch for House Republicans to start introducing more measures to restrict the jurisdiction of federal courts, which could create as much controversy among conservatives as liberals. Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas has scheduled a vote to bar federal courts from hearing lawsuits related to gay marriage, and promised to do the same for the Pledge of Allegiance. Although Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind.) has introduced measures that would bar federal courts from hearing abortion- related cases, DeLay told reporters that the timing is "not quite ripe." Watch for abortion opponents to start asking if not now, when, and if not this Congress, then whom?
http://www.thehill.com
Thursday July 15, 2004. Mail: Notice from ARC that they'll be making a donations pickup in my neighborhood Monday morning.

***Writing: Nothing done today, unless you count wondering whether anyone's yet written
"Dirty Harry Potter". Instead, after running some errands I caught up on my sleep.
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There's a multi-LiveJournal discussion about where and what the boundaries (if any) between science fiction and fantasy are. On yhlee's LiveJournal (which doesn't currently exist; hope it gets undeleted), she quoted someone saying: "I always think of sci-fi as more now-oriented than future oriented, because so much of it is extrapolation of present day problems. In part, people laud sci-fi for being good social commentary, and isn't that by definition very firmly in the present day?"

On which I commented:
Actually, sf is more likely to be about the past than about the present. In the 1950s, Brits wrote about a future in which England was still a major power on Earth and had become a major power in space. England was no longer a major power by then. In the late 1980s, Americans wrote about a future in which the Soviet Union and the US were the two superpowers.

If I want to read fiction about today's problems, I don't read sf -- I read historical novels.

That aside: Even when science fiction is about extrapolation from the present, it's not always about problems. It can be about the coming utopian society, for example.

And science fiction can be about: What people living in other conditions would be like -- for example, if they lived several hundred years or if most people were sane. (SF writers have come up with some rather odd descriptions of sanity.) Neat gadgets. The economics of time travel. How our time will look to people of the future. The nature of reality. How history might have turned out differently if, for example, Hitler had been female. How to get away with murder when the police can read your mind, or literally watch every moment of your life. Very much et cetera.
_____________________________________
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 15-Jul-2004
Society for Conservation Biology Annual Meeting 2004
Symposium to tackle questions of genetic engineering and biodiversity
The potential benefits and harm from using genetically engineered organisms to restore habitats will be examined at a symposium during the 18th annual Society for Conservation Biology meeting at Columbia University July 30-Aug. 2.
US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey

Public Release: 15-Jul-2004
Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 2004
Story ideas from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory include power to Saturn, archeological radiation and semiconducting polymers.

"The spacecraft's instruments are powered by generators that convert heat from plutonium-238 fuel into electricity."

Public Release: 15-Jul-2004
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Cinnamon oil kills mosquitoes more effectively than DEET
Cinnamon oil shows promise as a great-smelling, environmentally friendly pesticide, with the ability to kill mosquito larvae more effectively than DEET, according to a new study. The researchers also expect that cinnamon oil could be a good mosquito repellant, though they have not yet tested it against adult mosquitoes.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Wednesday July 14, 2004. To Pillsbury House. As usual, I did data entry for the Community Barter Network and Pillsbury House's volunteer program. I also filed the paper forms for the second quarter of 2004. (And how fast is your organization advancing toward the paperless office?)

***Peach-flavored cod liver oil does not work. (It was a free sample.)
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'....It is one thing to know that a [Congressional] district is "agricultural" and that "the farmers are worried about the drought;" it is another thing to find yourself unable to place campaign cards under car windshield wipers that have been glued to the windshield by inches of caked dust. It is one thing to know that a district is "inner city" that that "the people there feel powerless;" but it is another thing to scrape your car axle on cratered, unpaved streets in the heart of one of America's largest cities. It is one thing to consult a map and note that one of the two districts you are about to visit is "small" and the other is "large;" it is another thing to sit in a strategy meeting in the first district where it is concluded that three billboards will capture all the traffic in the district, and then go to the second district to spend one whole day driving to a town of 2500 people.' Richard E. Fenno, Jr. Home Style: House Members in Their Districts. Scott Foresman 1978/Harper Collins. p. 291.
___________________________
Writing: daily exercise -- Done.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- I did some tinkering with words, and thought that was all I was going to manage today.

Then I had a phone conversation with Nate Bucklin. After which I went back into the story using a different text editor. This time, I changed one scene from zero draft to first draft; and fleshed out a bit which is still in zero draft.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- turned some notes into dialog.

Part of what this one is about, from early notes: "You read the police report in your local paper: So many cars stolen, about half left running and with the keys in the ignition. So many people who dropped packages of drugs when they saw the police coming. Another homo superior conspiracy broken up; as usual, those members old enough to be tried as adults were charged with misdemeanors, the rest fed into the juvenile justice system."

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

From Google News:
Pentagon denies hiding terror suspects
Seattle Post Intelligencer - 2 hours ago
WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon on Wednesday denied it is hiding any imprisoned terrorism suspects from the International Committee of the Red Cross. A Defense Department spokesman would not comment on whether other US agencies might be doing so.
TSA's No. 2 official says he's leaving Seattle Times
Red Cross Believes US May Be Hiding Detainees Los Angeles Times (subscription)
Miami Herald (subscription) - News-Leader.com - Islam Online - Bloomberg - and 290 related

Which probably means the Pentagon is being as truthful about this as Bill Clinton was about his sex life.

Health Canada fires whistle-blowing scientists
Toronto Star - 5 minutes ago
OTTAWA (CP) Health Canada has fired three scientists who repeatedly criticized the department's drug-approval policies, and who claimed they were being pressured to approve unsafe veterinary drugs.
Health Canada fires outspoken scientists CTV
Health Canada fires scientists who criticized department process Canada.com
Halifax Daily News - and 8 related
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From the UK edition of Google News:
Early Blindness Sharpens Sense of Sound
Forbes - 35 minutes ago
WEDNESDAY, July 14 (HealthDayNews) -- Sighted people often marvel at the creative genius of blind musicians; the list notably includes pop superstar Stevie Wonder, who's been blind since birth.
Early blindness attunes pitch: study CBC News
Study: Infant Blindness Boosts Music Ability Reuters
Nature.com - BBC News - Daily Times - Yahoo News - and 11 related
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Martha Stewart preps for prison, consultant in tow
A sentancing [sic] consultant will help the doyenne of taste navigate the complexities of her punishment. By Ron Scherer and Sara B. Miller
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0715/p01s01-usju.html?s=hns

Ms. Stewart's hire is not an anomaly these days. As white-collar criminals increasingly face jail terms, a group of consultants is helping them transition from life in the fast lane to life behind bars.

Some advisers focus solely on the sentencing process, often convincing judges to hand down shorter and lighter penalties. Others are more all-encompassing: part legal adviser, part psychiatrist, and part friend, as they help defendants and their families prepare for the shock, humiliation, and isolation that often accompany a prison sentence.

Those familiar with the business say the industry is in great demand from white collar criminals, ranging from child pornographers to CEOs accused of stealing corporate funds.
Science News

From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 13-Jul-2004
Astrophysical Journal
Los Alamos computers probe how giant planets formed
Nearly five billion years ago, the giant gaseous planets Jupiter and Saturn formed, apparently in radically different ways. So says a scientist at the Laboratory who created exhaustive computer models based on experiments in which the element hydrogen was shocked to pressures nearly as great as those found inside the two planets.
Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration

'Working with a French colleague, Didier Saumon of Material Science (X-7) created models establishing that heavy elements are concentrated in Saturn's massive core, while those same elements are mixed throughout Jupiter, with very little or no central core at all. The study, published in this week's Astrophysical Journal, showed that refractory elements such as iron, silicon, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen are concentrated in Saturn's core, but are diffused in Jupiter, leading to a hypothesis that they were formed through different processes.'

Public Release: 14-Jul-2004
Babies get hands-on with language
Is baby babbling more than just random noise? American researchers claim that babies exposed to sign language (even if they're not deaf) learn to babble using their hands, in a functionally identical way to verbal babbling. If the claim is right, it would support the idea that human infants have an innate sensitivity to the rhythm of language, and engage it in any way they can.
New Scientist
Public Release: 13-Jul-2004
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
A new study of wild chimpanzee growth rates suggests that early human evolution may have taken a different course than is widely believed.
LSB Leakey Foundation

'The results challenge the assumption that human evolution followed a path from a chimplike ancestor to a transitionary Homo erectus and then Homo sapiens, suggesting instead that chimpanzees have more in common developmentally with Homo erectus and that modern humans are the "out-group."'

Public Release: 13-Jul-2004
Social Science and Medicine
Rural African men claim AIDS as sign of masculinity
Many rural African men unknowingly claim to have AIDS, thinking it is an indicator of their masculinity and sexual prowess, says a University of Alberta researcher. Dr. Amy Kaler, from the U of A's Faculty of Arts investigated the ways that young men in rural southern Malawi, Africa talk about HIV and their own perceptions of risk.

Public Release: 13-Jul-2004
Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Africans take anti-HIV meds at a higher rate than many anticipated
Contrary to widespread assumptions, UCSF researchers have found that an HIV-infected African cohort successfully followed a medication regimen, taking almost all of the anti-HIV drugs as prescribed and at a rate as high or higher than observed in published studies of HIV-infected cohorts in rich countries.
NIH/National Institute of Mental Health, UC San Francisco/Gladstone Institute for Virology and Immunology Center for AIDS Research, Fogarty International Training Program, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Tuesday July 13, 2004. I went to the first SF writers Meetup in the Twin Cities. Much thanks to Hilary Moon Murphy for getting it off the ground!

Place: the Chicago Deli, which turned out not to be Chicago-ish, but is on Chicago Avenue.

About a dozen people showed up. There was discussion, some of it likely to be useful.

I got a bit more writing done before the Meetup, and a bit more afterwards, than I would have done otherwise. So even if none of the discussion turns out to help me, I'm still ahead.

Meetups.com got into the news when Dean for President Meetups did well all over the US. I suspect most Meetups take off only in a few locations: those in large metropolitan areas, and those where people get behind them and push.
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USA Today's TV listings included a 1990s-nostalgia show.
___________________
Writing: Daily exercise -- Done.

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- Worked on. Mostly "I thought I'd written that in!" items.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- Realized something important about the narrator, and added it in.

"History Line" --

"Port Useless" --
Tuesday July 13, 2004. A song for this political season:

I'm gonna tell, I'm gonna tell
I'm gonna holler and I'm gonna yell
I'll get you in trouble for everything you do
I'm gonna tell on you

...............
But I'm not gonna tell Momma what I did to you
I'm gonna tell on you

(Rosalie Sorrels, "I'm Gonna Tell On You")

IMPORTANT POLITICAL LESSON FOR ALL CANDIDATES: BE SURE TO PAY YOUR CONSULTANT! Congressman John Sullivan (R-OK) is learning what can happen when a candidate has a bitter falling out with a campaign consultant -- especially when that consultant knows a lot more about you than you'd ever want the public to know......
http://politics1.com/

From the UK edition of Google News:
Honours System Out-Dated and Class-Bound - MPs
The Scotsman - 25 minutes ago
The ancient titles of Sir and Dame should be dropped and the Order of the British Empire scrapped and replaced by a new Order of British Excellence, a committee of MPs said today.
MPs say scrap knighthoods Reuters
MPs urge early night for dames Guardian
MSNBC - Bloomberg - Glasgow Evening Times - BBC News - and 69 related
Public release date: 13-Jul-2004
Contact: Hemai Parthasarathy
hemai@plos.org
415-624-1205
Public Library of Science
Sleepless over Seattle: Migrating songbirds forgo sleep but keep their wits

Every spring and fall, billions of songbirds migrate thousands of miles. Most fly by night, yet are active during the day as well, raising the question of how they cope with little sleep. A new study, published online in the open-access journal PLoS Biology, suggests such nocturnally migrating songbirds simply skimp on sleep--but without the disastrous effects of sleep-deprivation seen in other animals. If researchers discover the mechanisms behind the birds' feat, it could prove useful for people that need to stay awake for long periods, such as pilots, and could shed light on mood disorders that disrupt sleep.

In the study, led by Ruth Benca of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, captive white-crowned sparrows were studied over the course of a year. These songbirds normally migrate approximately 2,700 miles each spring and fall between Alaska and Southern California, with flights typically occurring at night. In laboratory cages, during migratory seasons the birds get restless, with lots of hopping around and wing flapping. The researchers tracked the birds' movement in the cages and placed sensors on their brains to monitor their sleep patterns across the seasons. During the times the birds would normally be migrating, they slept about a third as much as usual and entered more quickly into REM sleep, the stage of sleep typically associated with dreaming in humans. At night, when the birds were active, the brain recordings showed they were fully awake. The researchers also put the birds through tests of their learning ability. During the migration periods, the birds performed normally on little sleep, but during the times of year when they were not migrating, sleep deprivation seemed to hurt the birds' performance.

These results suggest that migrating songbirds simply slash their sleep time rather than "sleepwalking" through their migrations. The mechanisms underlying the birds' ability to forego sleep are unknown, but further studies could shed light on sleep processes in general as well as the neurobiology of some human disorders, particularly mood disorders. "Like migrating sparrows," the authors note, "both depressed and manic patients show reduced latency to REM sleep, loss of slow-wave sleep, and reduced amounts of total sleep." Understanding the mechanisms that power the sleepless flight of songbirds promises to unravel one of the longstanding mysteries of their improbable journey. But it may also shed light on the origins of sleep-related seasonal disorders and the much-debated role of sleep itself.

###

Citation: Rattenborg NC, et al. (2004) Migratory sleeplessness in the white-crowned sparrow. PLoS Biol 2(7): e212 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0020212

the published article will be accessible to your readers at: http://www.plosbiology.org/plosonline/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0020212

CONTACT: Ruth Benca
rbenca@med.wisc.edu
608-263-6162
608-239-5946 (cell)
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Lisa Brunette
University of Wisconsin Medical School Public Affairs Department 608-263-5830

PLEASE MENTION PLoS BIOLOGY (www.plosbiology.org) AS THE SOURCE FOR THESE ARTICLES. THANK YOU.

All works published in PLoS Biology are open access. Everything is immediately available without cost to anyone, anywhere--to read, download, redistribute,include in databases, and otherwise use--subject only to the condition that the original authorship is properly attributed. Copyright is retained by the authors. The Public Library of Science uses the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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