Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

[August 30]in 1797, the mother of the science fiction genre, Mary Shelley, was born in London, England. Her novels Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, Icarus, and The Seed of Cain brought into the world of literature the ideas of robots/cloning, space travel and genetic modification, respectively.

Public release date: 31-Aug-2004
Contact: Jonathan Sherwood
University of Rochester
Short term memory's effectiveness influenced by sight, sound
For decades scientists have believed that people can only remember an ordered list of about seven items at a time--such as seven grocery items or seven digits of a phone number--but new research from the University of Rochester has shown that this magic number varies depending on whether the language used is spoken or signed. The results in the cover story of the latest issue of Nature Neuroscience have important implications for standardized tests, which often employ ordered-list retention as a measure of a person's mental aptitude.
From Scientific American:

Some physicists are proposing that the universe's mysterious dark matter consists of great big particles, light-years or more across. Amid the jostling of these titanic particles, ordinary matter ekes out its existence like shrews scurrying about the feet of the dinosaurs.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Monday August 30, 2004. I solve crossword puzzles by answering one clue, then working outward from there as far as I can manage. If the first answer is across, then I try to do the down answers which share letters with it. Then the across answers which share letters with them, etc. When I can't go any farther, I look for another clue I can answer and start the process again.

I used to use the standard process of doing all the across answers I could first, then down answers, etc. I think I've developed my personal process in the past year.

That's how I write fiction -- except that for me, a story is like a five-dimensional diagramless crossword puzzle.

Today, it occurred to me that this is probably a good way for me to do a number of other things -- from decluttering to mindfulness.
A step closer to suspended animation!
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 30-Aug-2004
Patented process preserves transplant tissues/organs
Body tissues such as blood vessels, cartilage and skin -- even whole organs such as kidneys, livers and hearts -- could become more widely available for transplants as a result of a patent issued recently to Organ Recovery Systems of Chicago for a method to chill body tissues and organs well below freezing without forming ice crystals. The new process for tissue "vitrification" was developed with support from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Advanced Technology Program and the National Institutes of Health.
National Institute of Standards and Technology, National Institutes of Health
Public Release: 30-Aug-2004
Journal of Molecular Biology
Humans march to a faster genetic 'drummer' than primates, UC Riverside research says
A team of biochemists from UC Riverside published a paper in the June 11 issue of the Journal of Molecular Biology that gives one explanation for why humans and primates are so closely related genetically, but so clearly different biologically and intellectually.

Writing: daily exercise -- Done; what I want my life to be like five years from now.

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

Decluttering: Some trash out, including stuff from the refrigerator.

Monday August 30, 2004. "Ken Porter noted the existence of 'Black to the Future,' an organization for Black SF and fantasy writers, and asked 'Do we really need a separate branch of fandom?' This led to some discussion, which was eventually postponed for a discussion program someday." LASFS (Los Angeles Science Fiction Society) minutes, July 8, 2004. De Profundis, September 2004, p. 4.

Wrong question -- a group for sf/fantasy writers is part of sf prodom rather than sf fandom. (I understand that when Science Fiction Writers of America was founded, some writers were very intent that this distinction be understood.)

For both prodom and fandom, I would say it's a matter for the marketplace. Christian Fandom and the Gaylaxians continue to exist in fandom because enough people in the target groups join and are active to keep them alive. Broad Universe exists in prodom for the same reason.

To HealthPartners Uptown for a fasting blood test. This time, I remembered to eat right afterwards.

On to Steeple People and the Wedge.

Email: Harper Collins Eos newsletter. This is one book I won't bother to read:

RADIANT James Alan Gardner
*Advance Review Title*
ISBN: 0060595264, $23.95 US/$36.95 Can., HC original

Explorer Third Class Youn Sue is sent to rescue the Cashlings from the highly-dangerous Balrog. But how do you defeat an alien intelligence so advanced that it literally knows what you will do before you do? When the expedition goes horribly wrong, Youn is saved by none other than the fabled Admiral Festina Ramos, only to discover this is just the Balrog's opening gambit...

"Cashlings" could be a good coinage; in a fantasy novel, it would do nicely for Libertarian elves. In an sf novel, it raises the suspicion that this author doesn't know what he's doing when he makes up names. "Balrog" comes from a well-known three-volume fantasy novel.

I'm mildly interested in knowing how a villain which sees the future so accurately is defeated. But only mildly; so far, this book doesn't sound as if it will include a good answer.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Sunday August 29, 2004. Planned: A trip with Pat Craft to Taylors Falls. We also ended up seeing various other places along the St. Croix River.

On the way, we passed through a series of towns which had Swedish sister cities. Oddly enough, a high percentage of that area's white settlers had been Swedish-born.

The area along the St. Croix River is more like where I grew up than anything else I've seen in Minnesota. Hilly enough to attract rock climbers, second-growth forest in what used to be fields, most of the towns rather small, etc. It doesn't have nearly as much poison ivy as the Catskills area, but that's not among things I'm nostalgic for.

Taylors Falls was smaller than I'd expected. And the public library building was the smallest one I can remember seeing.

We went to a lookout to see the river -- and found there were too many trees in the way.

Had coffee at a place in Taylors Falls called Coffee Talk. Music was provided, all by the Beatles.

We looked around Taylors Falls, then went across the St. Croix into St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin -- a rather larger town. I think this is where we went into a mini-shopping-area devoted to crafts -- about half taken up by a mostly-clothing store, the other half by smaller crafts sellers.

We took a different route back. Stopped at a food stand; as one result, I now know that the official Canadian French for "dry pint" is "chopine séche." (This seems to be used only for bilingual labels on US products.)
Writing: daily exercise -- done:
What Comes After Mammals?

Assumptions: Most or all mammals above the size of a rat become extinct. Possibly as the result of something a particular primate species has done which turned out to be a very, very bad idea.

And the animals which evolve to fill now-empty niches aren't mammals as such.

Possible sources: 1) Small mammals.

2) Birds. They have better brains than mammals do, relative to body size. So if one line
reaches human-level intelligence, they might do so faster.

But they have at least one disadvantage: They would be unlikely to evolve hands. They could probably use feet and beaks to manipulate objects; but they would still need their feet as feet. It's possible that wings could become arms of a sort, in some flightless species.

3) Some new kind of animal developed artificially before humans became extinct. For example, some kind of six-limbed flying creature; two legs, two wings, two hands.
"They Might Be Windmills" -- Added more zero draft.
Decluttering: Threw away a few things.
Mindwork: Bought small pieces of agate to use for focusing.

Bodywork: My body has loosened up noticeably more. I'm not sure why or how.
From War-Torn to Wonderland
Honduras and other Central American countries once embroiled in war have become hot markets for affordable beachfront property.
[Eugene Volokh, August 28, 2004 at 5:27pm] Possible Trackbacks
Negative campaigning:
On NPR this morning, Jim Nayder, host of the Annoying Music Show, quoted this gem from William H. Harrison's campaign against Martin Van Buren:

Who rules us with an iron rod?
Who moves at Satan's beck and nod?
Who heeds not man,
Who heeds not God?
Van Buren, Van Buren!

Thanks to those readers who pointed me to the NPR archive and to Jim Nayder's identity (the original version of this post did not identify him), and to Michelle Dulak and N.Z. Bear who transcribed for me the text of the second stanza, which reads:

Who would his friends, his country sell
Do other deeds too base to tell
Deserves the lowest place in hell

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Saturday August 28, 2004. Deadbeat? Deceased? Credit no problem! Today's mail included a pre-approved credit card offer from a catalog company.

***Around the corner to Southwest Senior Center for this month's Fare for All food.

Someone from Fare for All's headquarters came by to ask the site volunteers how things were going. Answer: too many substitutions this month. The warehouse had run out of green peppers and onions, and had substituted extra potatoes.

There were also ten-pound bags of potatoes as an extra for people who wanted them. I began to get the feeling there's a lot of potatoes available this month.
"The sociological method of social constructionism is to look at the ways social phenomena are created, institutionalized, and made into tradition by humans. Their focus is on the description of the institutions, the actions, and so on, not on analyzing causes and effects. Socially constructed reality is seen as an on-going dynamic process; reality is re-produced by people acting on their interpretation and their knowledge of it. It can be seen here that social construction describes subjective, rather than objective, reality - that is, reality as we can perceive it rather than reality as it is, separate from our perceptions."

That's how I view human society: an ongoing dynamic process among individuals. (Constrained by objective reality -- a limitation not all social constructionists accept.)
Writing: daily exercise -- Done.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- Notes carrying the story farther. A bit of rewording.
Decluttering: Trash out. Dishes washed.

Organizations in both political parties think New Hampshire is a prime place to elect openly gay men and women, and they are sending money and people into the state like never before.
MORE: Concord Monitor http://www.concordmonitor.com
From the UK edition of Google News:
RAF join city's Gay Pride parade
BBC News - 10 hours ago
The RAF was taking part in Manchester's Gay Pride parade on Saturday in the hope it would persuade more homosexuals to sign up.
RAF targets Manchester's gay pride festival in recruitment drive Guardian
RAF Officers Join Gay Pride Festival The Scotsman
Washington Times - Ananova - PersonnelToday.com - Scotland on Sunday - all 36 related »
A Better Distorted View: The physics of diffusion offers a new way of generating maps
The mathematics used to describe diffusion can also be used to generate maps based on population data.
From http://althistory.blogspot.com
[August 28] in 1938, Northwestern University awards an honorary degree to Edgar Bergen’s dummy Charlie McCarthy. The jocular mood of the occasion is broken when the “dummy” comes to life and flees the stage, leaving a dead Edgar Bergen behind.

[August 22] in 1485, the War of the Roses ended at Bosworth Field as noble King Richard III defeated and killed the pretender to the throne, Henry Tudor. The Lancastrians still remaining alive after that day had the gall to spread rumors that Richard had murdered his two nephews in order to gain power; Richard responded by holding a victory banquet in London where his nephews were honored guests. After this, the Lancastrian branch of the Plantagenet family withered.
Friday August 27, 2004. "You're not what I expected the Queen of Air and Darkness to be like."

"You got the Summoning a bit wrong. I'm the Queen of Beer and Car Keys."
Steeple People had useful-looking shelves for $1.50. I've now emptied two boxes of books onto those shelves.

***The frying pan I got at a rummage sale seems to be a crepe pan. I intend to go on using it for the wrong foods.

****News from the area where I grew up:

State Police, Ulster County Sheriff’s deputies and Village of Ellenville Police located the men a short distance away hiding in tall gross.

***Detroit Fights California Bid to Open Car Pool Lanes to Fuel-Conscious Import
Aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger say he will sign legislation that could allow up to 75,000 hybrid drivers to use car pool lanes even when taking to the road alone.

I think they mean drivers of hybrid cars.
Writing: daily exercise -- Done; posted here.

"They Might Be Windmills" --
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 27-Aug-2004
Behavioral Neuroscience
Study suggests stress of task determines if estrogen helps cognition
Does estrogen help cognition? Many women ponder that question as a quality-of-life issue while deciding on estrogen therapy since it has been linked to potential disease complications. Now, a new study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign suggests that the stress of any given task at least partially determines if hormones will help the mind.
National Science Foundation

Friday, August 27, 2004

Some Reasons for the Way I'm Voting

When the elder George Bush failed to get re-elected, one thing I said was:

"When Reagan spoke I remembered that I was an American. When George Bush speaks, I remember that I'm a Democrat."

And when this George Bush speaks, I also remember that I'm an agnostic of Jewish (not "Judeochristian") ancestry; I'm a city-dweller; use more of my income to pay medical expenses than I like to think about; and opposed the Vietnam war.

More recently, I've said that there are two reasons why I don't hate George W. Bush: 1) I'm not a conservative; 2) I'm not a Republican.

I don't consider the present administration (the President and his apparatchiks) up to the standard of honesty I expect from politicians. Nor do I consider them competent.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Thursday August 26, 2004. My hips are noticeably more flexible today. I have no idea what I did right.

Spam: ad for a way to stop spam.

Mail: Uncle Hugo's newsletter.

***Today's big project: retrieve boxes of books stored in someone's basement. Transportation provided by another member of the Community Barter Network.
Writing: daily exercise -- Done: Welcome, political refugees from the 21st Century!

Apologies to those who left instructions to be brought out of suspended animation only when your political philosophy had been accepted world-wide. With one exception, all the political philosophies of your time are as outdated as the conflict between Guelfs and Ghibellines. While anarchism has not triumphed, the anarchists among you will find co-religionists in today's world. They will be glad to help you through the procedure of obtaining government certification, and otherwise help you adjust to the 23rd Century.

The rest of you -- and those anarchists who wish to participate -- will be given a basic education in current political theories. Only a rudimentary understanding of calculus and quasi-string theory will be required. To help your socialization, you will be in the same class with persons born in our time. Please don't take it personally if they seem impatient with your rate of learning; six-year-olds do tend to be that way.

***They might Be Windmills" -- Added some notes which mention Superiors Anonymous.
Decluttering: Not sure if I'm going backward or forward.


Bodywork: Got exercise moving the boxes.
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 26-Aug-2004
New research set to reveal similarities between terrorists and tourists
New research from the University of Warwick is set to reveal some striking similarities between the actions of groups of people who travel on flagship airlines, seemingly at random, between the major cities of the world. An ongoing research project into airlines and international tourism shows in many cases it is only motivation that distinguishes the terrorist from the tourist, and may be the cause of big headaches for the world's national carriers.
The Leverhulme Trust

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Wednesday August 25, 2004. "Vampire Mermaids" -- title of an amateur erotic horror story at http://www.literotica.com. I think that's a new combination.

***Pillsbury House had hired a new Volunteer Coordinator, after several months of people handling parts of the job in their spare time.

I'd expected some glitches before I got down to doing data entry for the Community Barter Network and Pillsbury House's volunteer program. I hadn't expected the ones which turned up.

***To Uncle Hugo's; and then to Uncle Edgar's. I found a used copy of Dashiell Hammett's
The Maltese Falcon, and looked through it a bit. Argh!

The style was okay, I guess; and it didn't grate on me too much. Characterization seemed to be mostly tags and quirks.
Political blog watch: Democratic bloggers look forward to the Kerry landslide victory; see http://dem.conventionbloggers.com. Republican bloggers look forward to the Bush landslide; see http://conventionbloggers.com.

Things to watch for: Wednesday November 3rd, those on the losing side will explain that the loss was due to
1) Excessive moderation; the majority who agree with us would have been energized by a more principled stand.
2) Media bias; it's obvious that the media slanted everything in favor of Those Bastards.
3) Voting fraud.
4) Alien Space Bats.
Writing: daily exercise -- Done. See above. Also posted to soc.politics.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- Added some notes. Advanced older notes to zero draft.
Decluttering: Got a bunch of trash out.

From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 25-Aug-2004
Geophysical Research Letters
AGU Journal highlights - 24 August 2004
In this edition: Cloud drop charge may affect precipitation; Remotely detecting Arctic cloud properties; What caused the 2002 major Antarctic warming?; Alternative water source for water in Martian channels near Tharsis; Magnetotail on Saturn's Titan; Magnetic field map for Mars; Midlatitude ionospheric disturbance likely initiated from space; First principles of new deep-Earth mineral; Pumping iron in the Southern Ocean; Atmospheric distribution of bromine monoxide.
From http://thisisrumorcontrol.org
Ridge's Watch List (8)
Posted by Apone on August 25, 2004 - 11:07am

The appearance of Senator Ted Kennedy's name on the "terrorist watch list" is not a mistake - it's a "gotcha" cooked up by the Department of Homeland Security because of Kennedy's alleged ties to the Irish Republican Army. (8)

Assessing the Draft
The News Today | US Foreign Policy | The Draft
Posted by Hicks on August 25, 2004 - 9:39am

What if they had a draft and nobody came? That's the question asked by the Alliance for Security (AFS) in a press statement accompanying the release of the results of a fascinating poll on American attitudes on military conscription. The poll was released today. "Our country could face a crisis in military capacity with an unprecedented number of draft eligible adults stating they will actively seek deferment or refuse to serve if a draft is reinstated," the AFS press statement said. "Moreover, a growing number of parents say that they would not want their child to serve if called to duty today."....

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Tuesday August 24, 2004.

Newsgroups: soc.politics
Subject: Re: Affirmative action is offensive!
From: Dan Goodman
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 22:34:28 -0500

Richard < > wrote in

> Funny how visible minorities like Orientals and Asian Indians, Arabs seem to do fine in > the U.S.

Funny how all Americans of British ancestry are rich, and all Americans of German ancestry are religious pacifists.

> while Blacks and Latinos (note the work ethics of the first groups versus the second)
> need help. I guess there is no discrimination against people who want to
> WORK FOR A LIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your knowledge of American history is sadly deficient. There were laws intended to prevent "unfair" competition by Orientals and Blacks, within the lifetimes of people still living. Major League baseball had rules to keep Blacks from taking jobs away from white players merely because they were better. Unions had rules to protect white members from Black and Hispanic competition.

There was also discrimination against Whites who belonged to the wrong religion. But of course, everyone knows that Mormons, Jews, and Catholics are incurably lazy.

As for there being no discrimination against Arabs -- you haven't been reading the news, have you?
Writing: daily exercise -- Done: Reducing Hand Damage From Typing

Take breaks and do something else with your hands. Play with modeling clay. Roll two golfballs in the palm of your hand. (Or you can spend more money on Chinese exercise balls.) Play with pet toys.

My current favorite: a length of chain which I think is a short dog leash. I toss it from hand to hand.

If you can, change the way you type every now and then.

Meanwhile, cooking can be easier with equipment designed for people with hand problems. In the US, I recommend Oxo or Good Grips (made by the same company). I use an Oxo can opener because I'm lefthanded and open cans righthanded. (I've tried using a lefthanded can opener, and couldn't make the switch.) I don't really need Oxo soupspoons and such, but I like using them; and they show up in thrift stores for prices as low as a quarter.

The Oxo tea kettle (secondhand, about three times the price of other kettles) is an extravagance for me.
"They Might Be Windmills" -- Zero-drafted some dialog, for a scene beyond what I thought was the end of the story.
Decluttering: Picked up some trash.

Thanks to http://www.livejournal.com/users/sclerotic_rings/ for the Time Travel Fund link:

A: We establish a fund in current time. You make a small contribution to the fund, and in a few hundred years that small amount grows to a very large amount. From that fund, moneys will be taken and used to retrieve you, perhaps seconds after you join, perhaps even moments before your recorded death, perhaps some other point in your lifetime. Further, the fund may even pay to have you "rejuvenated" medically (assuming this is scientifically possible at that time,) and support you financially for a number of years. (Note: Retrieving you just before the moment of death is just one possible scenario, but one that would avoid any Star Trek(TM) type paradoxes. There are an unlimited number of other possibilities, and we do not know what they will do, we can only make reasonably informed guesses.)
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 24-Aug-2004
Psychology Today, APA Monitor
UVM psychologists to follow up study of first civil union couples
University of Vermont psychologists Sondra Solomon and Esther Rothblum, who three years ago conducted the first-ever demographic study of gay and lesbian couples joined in civil unions in Vermont, are launching a follow-up study to discover what has changed among study participants since they exchanged vows.
American Psychological Foundation

Public Release: 24-Aug-2004
Space houses on Earth
An ESA-designed house that uses technology designed for space could become the basis of the new German Antarctic station, Neumayer-III. The new station has to meet stringent laws set up to protect the Antarctic environment, which is where the use of space technology comes in.

Public Release: 24-Aug-2004
International Conference on Materials for Hydrogen Energy
Vast new energy source almost here
Australian researchers will tell an international conference on solar hydrogen this week that the means to extract hydrogen fuel from water, using solar energy should be ready within about seven years. Vast supplies of clean, pollution-free energy would then become available.

Public Release: 24-Aug-2004
Inorganic Chemistry
Bright idea could doom cancer and viruses, say Purdue scientists
A team of scientists has developed a group of rhodium-based compounds that, when exposed to light, can kill tumor cells and deactivate a virus closely related to the West Nile. Unlike the ordinary substances used for chemotherapy, these chemicals are not harmful to the body in general - they only become lethal to DNA when activated by light.
National Institutes of Health
Monday August 23, 2004. Tapestry Folkdance's September/October calendar arrived. The information on getting there by bus hadn't been updated to include the light rail line and the changes in the #23 bus schedule. (It runs later at night, which makes it much more useful for getting home from evening events.)

I called Tapestry about this. And then I expressed interest in volunteering for office work.

Result: They'll probably be emailing things for me to proofread.

***Steeple People had a bag sale on clothing. I got enough to last me a while. Now I need to weed out older clothing.

At the Wedge, I noticed lactose free soy milk. I hadn't realized that ordinary soy milk contained lactose, but it makes sense. Otherwise, the tofu calves wouldn't get their needed nourishment.

I bought dried peppermint and chicken livers. The livers are cheaper than in conventional groceries.

Peppermint tea turns out to give me the same lift as catnip tea; and peppermint is cheaper.
The story is going to be at least twice as long as I'd planned.

Yesterday, I posted the opening of "They Might Be Windmills" for crits on rec.arts.sf.composition. Today, I found out that what people found most interesting was two things peripheral to the story I'd planned. Both of which are tied in with the intended story -- but I hadn't planned on doing the things which would make that clear.
Speaking of a unified world, one of my American students confided in me after a trip abroad "they don't seem to have a cafe culture in Italy, do they?" 'What?," I stammered. 'Well, I didn't see a single Starbucks all the time I was there."

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

"They Might Be Windmills" -- See above.

"History Line" --
"Port Useless" --
"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --
Decluttering: Some things thrown away, some put away.

Mindwork: A few mini-meditations.


Monday, August 23, 2004

Dealing with Depression -- And Other Bad Feelings

I'm not clinically depressed, and I'm not trained to treat depression. But I do have to deal with Generalized Anxiety Disorder -- which means having a constant feeling that something unspecified is about to go very, very wrong. I also have acrophobia -- which means I often feel as if I'm about to fall far enough to get hurt. The acrophobia can kick in when there's no realistic likelihood of that happening.

The medication I take for ADD/ADHD also has the side-effect of considerably reducing anxiety. But I still sometimes have to deal with it.

What I do is very simple, though not always easy. I keep in mind that the way I feel doesn't necessarily have anything to do with reality. And that this particular feeling has a track record which indicates that it most likely isn't triggered by anything in the real world.
[Scott] Peterson stared across the courtroom toward the 29-year-old blonde as she recalled how her best friend, Shawn Sibley, met Peterson at a fertilizer conference and decided to play matchmaker.

"Both of them had talked about some intimate details about relationships," [Amber] Frey testified. "He was somebody, she felt, for me. Somebody she wanted to introduce to me."

Dressed in a gray suit and pink top, Frey kept her eyes on Geragos and never looked toward her former lover.

"God, protect me from my friends. I can take care of my enemies."
From http://www.bna.com:
My regular Toronto Star column focuses on a recent application for a new Canadian copyright tariff on ringtones. The application by copyright collective SOCAN has generated some surprising opposition, with the Canadian Recording Industry Association actively opposing the request for ten cents per ringtone. CRIA, which questions whether composers are entitled to any compensation for ringtones, argues that the proposed tariff is "excessive, unwarranted and unreasonable" and that the royalties are "neither fair nor equitable." Column at

The Olympic organizers in Athens are seeking greater control over websites that link to the official Games site. According to the "hyperlink policy" listed on the Athens 2004 site, anyone wanting to post a link must first send a request that includes a description of their site, reason for linking and length of period it will be published.

The Pixies, one of the more popular bands of the 1990s, has announced plans to break from the recording industry and adopt its own system of distribution using the Internet as well as generating income selling live CDs.

One of the most debated hypotheses in evolutionary biology received new support today, thanks to a study by a scientist at the University of Nevada, Reno. Elissa Cameron, a mammal ecologist in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science, has helped to disprove critics of a scientific theory developed in 1973.

At that time, ecologist Bob Trivers and mathematician Dan Willard said that large healthy mammals produce more male offspring when living in good conditions, such as areas where there is an ample food supply. Conversely, female mammals living in less desirable conditions would tend to have female offspring.

According to Cameron, the hypothesis demonstrated the idea that having more male offspring leads to greater evolutionary success for mammal parents, if living conditions support larger populations. Should conditions be less desirable, having female offspring would be a better investment for mammal parents.

"Male zebras can father more than a hundred offspring in a lifetime, whereas female zebras are constrained to minimal reproductive rates--about one a year," Cameron said. "Sons, therefore, offer higher breeding rates to zebra parents, while female offspring are a lower-risk investment.

It could all boil down to the amount of glucose, or blood sugar, in a female mammal's body around the time of conception, Cameron said.

She conducted an analysis of 1,000 studies that examined the Trivers-Willard hypothesis and sex ratios in mammals. Her study found that female mammals that were in better body condition during the early stages of conception were more likely have male offspring. Body fat and diet can affect levels of glucose circulating in a mammal's body, and Cameron suggests that the levels of glucose around the time of conception could be influencing the sex of the animal's offspring.

"A high-fat diet can result in higher levels of glucose, thereby supporting the hypothesis that glucose may be contributing to the sex of the mammal's offspring," Cameron said.

This finding is key to the Trivers-Willard debate, and if supported in future studies, Cameron's theory could have dramatic influence on wildlife control and animal production.

"If you can get dairy cows to have more female calves, it would have huge implications for the dairy industry," she said.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Sunday August 22, 2004. "Would you buy it for a quarter?" The frying pan I bought at yesterday's rummage sale turns out to really be nonstick -- rather than sorta-nonstick, which in my experience is overwhelmingly more common.
Writing: daily exercise -- Done.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- Put the opening up for crits at rec.arts.sf.composition. Advanced a bit more from notes to zero draft.

"History Line" --
"Port Useless" --
"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --
Decluttering: Got a bunch of trash out. Washed the backlog of dishes.

http://conventionbloggers.com now shows bloggers accredited to the Republican National Convention; till today, it showed those accredited to the Democratic convention, and you had to go to http://rnc.conventionbloggers.com to see what Republican bloggers were saying. The Democrats are at http://dem.conventionbloggers.com.
Beyond this, there are unkind comments about Republicans and conservatives:

"All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies."
John Arbuthnot (1667-1735).

Maybe. The Communist Party, USA is still alive. It no longer needs to parrot the Soviet Union's lies, which reduces the need to avoid telling truths. But its leaders are now saying, for example, that there's absolutely no way US Communists could have known about Stalin's crimes.

And the Republican Party is not only alive, but likely to retain some power.

George W. Bush has his good points. He made the right decision about Afghanistan; it's too bad things have been mishandled there since the Taliban's defeat. But truthfulness is not among them. Nor is it common in his Administration.

Remember when a couple of Democratic Senators made the shocking discovery that there was a secret DARPA project to set up a market in terrorism futures? An honest Administration would have pointed out that it wasn't particularly secret. That reports on it had been made to both Houses of Congress -- as was stated on the DARPA website. (Which would have made those Senators look stupid.)

What they did was to disclaim all responsibility. This had never been authorized; they were shocked to hear about it. (A report had also been made to the White House.)

They lied when it would have been smarter to tell the truth. I don't expect them to tell the truth when a lie might work better.

Nor, unfortunately, do I expect the Republican bloggers to care more about truth than about which side they're on.

Take their reactions to evidence that the Swift Boat people are somewhat less than fully truthful in their main charge. 1) Talk about charges which the newspapers haven't disproven yet, involving events much less likely to have left official records. 2) Complain about the media's liberal bias; for example, say that the media are treating the accusations against Kerry differently than they treated the accusations that Bush was AWOL
from the National Guard.

Recently, responding to a Usenet post by someone commenting on liberal hatred of Bush, I gave two reasons why I don't hate Bush: 1) I'm not a conservative. 2) I'm not a Republican.

Some ideas I will not take seriously:

1) Rock music is the real folk music of our time. This was plausible, once -- using a nonstandard definition of "folk." But today, rock is a much smaller slice of popular music.

2) The US Civil War wasn't about slavery. I considered that marginally possible, till I read some of the declarations of secession.

3) American conservatives are more loyal to the United States than American liberals are.
I'll believe that when Southern conservatives stop displaying the Confederate flag.

4) North American and European Marxists deserve have their ideology taken seriously.
Time Magazine says the Swift Boat accusations against Kerry are contrary to fact:

Kerry In Combat: Setting The Record Straight

Via Google News.

It's now on the legal record that Fox News tells reporters what to say, and that this takes priority over the facts:

Thanks to http://www.livejournal.com/users/jmhm/
Last summer, with Walter Cronkite testifying on Akre's behalf, in a case not very widely reported, a Florida jury ruled that Fox News "acted intentionally and deliberately to falsify or distort the plaintiffs' news reporting" and unfairly terminated their employment when they threatened to report the station to the FCC, violating the state's whistleblower law. Akre was awarded $450,000 in damages. Fox is appealing the decision.
From http://www.todmaffin.com/futurefile/
The Human Locator creates dynamic billboards and window displays that change based on who is watching them. Developed by Montreal-based Freeset Interactive, the Human Locator uses off-the-shelf PC computers and cameras to track people (say, at the mall), analyzing their location, speed, and movement in real-time, then can appropriately tweak a battery of LCD projections, video monitors, even stereo equipment and water fountains to best catch their eye. Human Locator even tracks the number of people passing by, keeping tabs on who notices the ads, and can deliver these stats to its clients online.
--> http://www.freeset.ca/locator/

It's surprising how much of our work day we spend immersed in an audio-only medium: the telephone. But at the MIT Media Lab, researchers have built a device that bridges that gap, adding a mesmerizing visual component to phone conversations. Don’t think picture-phones, which have repeatedly flopped with consumers: instead the Visiphone displays abstract symbols representing the sounds made by each speaker over time. (via MIT TechReview)
--> http://web.media.mit.edu/~kkarahal/projects/visiphone/

From Google News:
Alcohol inhaling machine goes on display in New York
Capital News 9 - 9 hours ago
A new machine that allows bar hoppers to inhale liquor instead of drinking made its debut in New York City Friday night. There's already an effort to get it banned.
Alcohol inhaler revolutionizes drinking Channel News Asia
Alcohol inhaler cuts ice, mixers ABC Online
Newsday - San Francisco Chronicle - KAIT - The Scotsman - all 295 related »
Public Release: 22-Aug-2004
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
Eyewitness recall accuracy affected by mood - UNSW research
People in a negative mood provide more accurate eyewitness accounts than people in a positive mood state, according to new research. The surprise finding, which is to be published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, is the first to assess the effect of mood on memory and human thinking. "This supports the idea that mood states are evolutionary signals about how to deal with threatening situations," says study author, Professor Joe Forgas. "A negative mood state triggers more systematic information processing."

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Saturday August 21, 2004. During the night, I found my mantra. "Shed the poison" would probably sound more impressive in Sanskrit. It works for me, which is what matters. That is, it triggers a certain useful response.

***Mail: Flyer from ARC; they'll be picking up donations for their thrift stores on September 2nd.

E-spam: "Raw Food Retreat In Jamaica!"

***An organization called Paying It Forward was having a rummage sale a few blocks away. As I went out the door, I saw a "Garage" sale in the yard next door.

I bought Modern Greek Folklore and Ancient Greek Religion, by John Cuthbert Lawson.
("Modern" means a bit over a century ago, in this case.) With other things I bought, I spent a dollar.

I passed another sale -- one where the house was for sale. Not on the same terms as smaller items; there was a box in which people could leave their bids. And it wasn't likely to be put in the free box if it didn't sell that day.

At the rummage sale, I found a very nice T-Phal frying pan. Nice enough that I decided to take it home, and get rid of another one to make room for it. I found a few other things I wanted, for a total of four items. Two, including the frying pan, didn't have price stickers.

The young woman taking money looked at the stuff, asked if $1 for all of it was okay. Fine with me; the frying pan had probably cost a good deal more than that when new.

Home again. The sale next door was now half-price. I spent another 50¢.

***The Mnstf meeting was at Carol Kennedy and Jonathan Adams's, three blocks away.

I came away from the meeting feeling a lot better than when I'd arrived.

Conversation topics included: Legal language. The natural laws of the Star Trek universe. (During this one, I realized that the regular characters of the first incarnation were vampires.) Flying cars, the paperless office, and other wonders of the near future.
Writing: None.

Decluttering: A couple of things gotten rid of.

Mindwork: See above.


Friday, August 20, 2004

Friday August 20, 2004. Late Thursday night: Notebook is a personal wiki program. I'd gotten it and kept it partly because I thought it would be useful for outlining.

I decided to start outlining "Port Useless". Got Chapter 1 and the beginning of Chapter 2
down in outline.

I find personal wikis easier to use than other types of organizing programs, and Notebook easier to use than others I've tried. Your mileage may vary.
For the first time in months, I made French toast. My cooking block seems to be gone.

Writing: daily exercise -- Done. Posted here.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- Sharpened the end. A major character who seems to trust people unrealistically is now shown to be more realistic.

"Port Useless" -- See above.

"History Line" --
"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --
Decluttering: A few things thrown away.

From http://althistory.blogspot.com
[August 19] in 1913, author H.G. Wells releases the followup to his game Little Wars, Little Warriors. In this game, the players are able to take on the role of the individual warriors in a battle, while a War Master plays the part of enemy combatants. It is even more successful than Little Wars, and spawns a new genre of games called role-playing games.

[August 17] in 1786, statesman David Crockett was born in Tennessee. Woodsman, legislator and hero of the successful battle of Texican forces at the Alamo, Crockett returned to Tennessee and American politics in 1838 by winning the governorship of his home state. The Whigs nominated him for president in 1840, but he lost by a narrow margin to Martin Van Buren, who was widely considered one of the worst presidents America has ever elected. Crockett was nominated again in 1844, and won, but died before taking office. His vice-president, John Tyler, took office in his place.
http://conventionbloggers.com now shows bloggers accredited to the Republican National Convention; till today, it showed those accredited to the Democratic convention, and you had to go to http://rnc.conventionbloggers.com to see what Republican bloggers were saying. The Democrats are at http://dem.conventionbloggers.com.
Beyond this, there are unkind comments about Republicans and conservatives:

"All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies."
John Arbuthnot (1667-1735).

Maybe. The Communist Party, USA is still alive. It no longer needs to parrot the Soviet Union's lies, which reduces the need to avoid telling truths. But its leaders are now saying, for example, that there's absolutely no way US Communists could have known about Stalin's crimes.

And the Republican Party is not only alive, but likely to retain some power.

George W. Bush has his good points. He made the right decision about Afghanistan; it's too bad things have been mishandled there since the Taliban's defeat. But truthfulness is not among them. Nor is it common in his Administration.

Remember when a couple of Democratic Senators made the shocking discovery that there was a secret DARPA project to set up a market in terrorism futures? An honest Administration would have pointed out that it wasn't particularly secret. That reports on it had been made to both Houses of Congress -- as was stated on the DARPA website. (Which would have made those Senators look stupid.)

What they did was to disclaim all responsibility. This had never been authorized; they were shocked to hear about it. (A report had also been made to the White House.)

They lied when it would have been smarter to tell the truth. I don't expect them to tell the truth when a lie might work better.

Nor, unfortunately, do I expect the Republican bloggers to care more about truth than about which side they're on.

Take their reactions to evidence that the Swift Boat people are somewhat less than fully truthful in their main charge. 1) Talk about charges which the newspapers haven't disproven yet, involving events much less likely to have left official records. 2) Complain about the media's liberal bias; for example, say that the media are treating the accusations against Kerry differently than they treated the accusations that Bush was AWOL
from the National Guard.

Recently, responding to a Usenet post by someone commenting on liberal hatred of Bush, I gave two reasons why I don't hate Bush: 1) I'm not a conservative. 2) I'm not a Republican.
Wednesday August 4, 2004. Writing: daily exercise -- Done. A piece on why explaining what "conservative" and "liberal" mean is complicated. I may post it here after some revision.

(Anonymous) 2004-08-08 01:37 (from (link) Select
Hi Dan!

I'm Jimmy Scott from alt.comp.freeware, just browsing about.

You have a very interesting page here. I may be reading your entries way back .

I wanted to say hello and I saw your writing exercise:

[cut, cut]

Jimmy Scott

dsgood 2004-08-20 17:09 (from (link) Select
'While I do not allow labels to dictate my behavior, I would have to label myself as listing to the port side. This was certainly true in my youth and the ship is correcting itself as I age, the list is smaller today I suppose. I also believe in many "conservative" values, such as personal responsibility. I say conservative, yet without fully understanding what each label means, I use my inner understanding of these terms and I might well be completely incorrect.'

Political dictionaries don't give clear definitions of these terms. Here's how I see it: Roughly speaking, "conservative" is 1) a label whose truthfulness and accuracy aren't guaranteed. 2) Any of several more or less related frames of mind. A conservative may place the most emphasis on preserving the best of the present against change. Or may want to preserve even the worst of the present: "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't" or "Better the devil you know than the angel you don't know." Or may want to reverse some changes. 3) Membership in a loose group, or a more cohesive sub-group.

By the way, in my area (South Minneapolis) there are no conservative or liberal candidates. Democrats (technically, Democratic-Farmer-Labor or DFL) have campaign literature which says they are social progressives and fiscal conservatives. Republicans say they are social moderates and fiscal conservatives.

'To me liberal means to be open minded, tolerant, and caring of others.'

Up till some time in the 1960s, there were liberal politicians who were openly racist. In some cases, this was what they believed in; for example, Woodrow Wilson. In other cases, it was what they had to say (and how they had to vote) in order to be elected and stay in office. (This was common in the South, but not exactly unknown in the North.)

'While I am not gay, I have nothing against those who are. I am concerned about the spread of HIV, regardless of sexual orientation. It is an individual right, as I see it, to choose. I don't really like to see men in public, but here is no right not to be offended.'

A lot of Americans, whatever their political labels, would disagree with you on this.

'The fiscal conservative holds that there is a right to accumulate wealth while ignoring the costs of living in a society. I disagree here. We cannot simply allow those without to perish, because they have not the means to eat properly or to afford insurance, and refer to ourselves as a civilized society. There is a debt to live in a society. The Welfare programs of the 70's are certainly not the answer, still a debt does linger.'

That term means two things. What candidates who call themselves fiscal conservatives mean is that they'll hold back government spending and reduce taxes if possible.

'The social conservative, as I understand, seeks the same. That is, marriage is between a man and a woman, because this is the way it has always been. Slavery would be valid today if this line of reasoning were prevalent. Again, I disagree. Change is very necessary and has led us to this point in time.'

There's another issue here -- the people who say "Marriage has always been between a man and a woman" are wrong. Confining that to "the Judeo-Christian tradition" (a term which annoys some Jews, me included), the claim that it's been that way for five thousand years contradicts the Christian Bible. Polygamy is common in the Old Testament, and is most definitely not condemned.

In the European branches of Judaism, prohibition of polygamy dates back a bit over a thousand years, I believe. And I don't think Yemenite Jews, for example, ever prohibited it.

'While none of these very broad categories provides an answer as to what is the most rational way for an individual to think and act, there are principles in each that bear merit. Individuals should seek a point near the center and utilize the principles that hold water from any source.'

Maybe. The problem is that, looking back, I can see times and places where the conservatives closest to the center accepted too much radicalism. For example, the German conservatives who thought they could control Hitler. And others where the cutting-edge radical leftists were way too conservative: the English radicals of Cromwell's time who wanted full voting rights for all English men above the rank of servant, for example. Or Rousseau, who saw no point in educating women or otherwise distracting them from their duties in helping men.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Swift Boat "nonpartisan group" political ads are almost certainly inaccurate. I'm basing this on the relative silence of the side which would benefit if they had proved to be true.

Democratic political bloggers have been talking a lot about the accusations that Kerry's military honors were based on lies. They've been saying what one might expect, and about what they've said before. (See http://conventionbloggers.com, home of bloggers accredited to the Democratic National Convention.)

On the other hand, Republican political bloggers seem to have turned their attention to other topics. And when they do discuss this, they don't say the Swift Boat ads are true. They say that it's an outrage for the media to have treated this differently from the questions about Bush's military service (or lack of it). Or that Swift Boat is no worse than Democratic-boosting 527 "nonpartisan" groups. (See http://rnc.conventionbloggers.com.)
Thursday August 19, 2004. Were there any Jews at the Alamo?, someone asked on soc.genealogy.jewish.

Answer: At least one -- on the Mexican side; a mercenary named Sam Drebbin.
Mail: Fred Lerner, Lofgeornist 76 (August 2004). Account of a trip he and his wife made to St. Petersburg via Finland and Karelia. St. Petersburg seems to be in the shape the Russian Federation's medical statistics (particularly the low life expectancy of men) would suggest. Any sf writer who wants to know what life is like after an industrial civilization crashes should probably study Russia.

Or maybe wait a bit longer, to see if the Russian Federation breaks down farther.
Writing: daily exercise -- Done: Political Snarkiness

If you're a Moderate, why are you screaming about conspiracies?

If you're a Conservative, why are you advocating so many new ideas? Oh, sorry -- your suggested substitute for income tax isn't that new; and it's done interesting things to Canada's economy. And term limits aren't a new idea; Mexico's had them for almost a century.

If you're a Liberal, why are you so opposed to trying anything new?

If you're a Libertarian, why are you trying to restrict immigration?

***"They Might Be Windmills" -- Added essential background. Combined two characters. More zero draft wordage.

"History Line" --
"Port Useless" --
"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --
Decluttering: Got file folders; now to actually put files in them. Threw some things away.

Sex Change Can Cause Headache
Wed Aug 18, 2004 04:24 PM ET
By Karla Gale

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - New research involving male-to-female transsexuals lends further credence to the theory that sex hormones are involved in migraine generation, physicians report in the medical journal Neurology.
Retro America vs. Metro America
Self-made billionaire John Sperling is financing a $2 million advertising campaign that’s intended to highlight the differences between "Metro" America and "Retro" America, USA Today reports. Sperling, who’s also known for his plans to clone his dead pet dog and his project to extend human life, will point out in the ads that "Retro America, marked by religious fundamentalism and militarism, is the irretrievable bastion of Republicans... The metro states are the home of racial tolerance, economic dynamism and growth, which should serve as a roadmap for Democrats to retake political power."

Sperling discusses this polarization in more detail in his new book The Great Divide.
DNA technique protects against ‘evil’ emails
The latest weapon to weed out spam emails uses a technique originally designed to analyse DNA sequences
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 19-Aug-2004
Psychological Science
First solid evidence that the study of music promotes intellectual development
The idea that studying music improves the intellect is not a new one, but at last there is incontrovertible evidence from a study conducted out of the University of Toronto.
International Foundation for Music Research

Public Release: 19-Aug-2004
American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Improved nutrition could reduce malaria burden worldwide
A new report from researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that a large percentage of child deaths related to malaria are attributable to undernutrition and deficiencies of vitamin A, zinc, iron and folate. Improving child nutrition could prevent more malaria-related illnesses and deaths than previously thought.

Public Release: 19-Aug-2004
Study of obscure Amazon tribe sheds new light on how language affects perception
Members of the Pirahã tribe use a "one-two-many" system of counting. This study explores whether speakers of this language without number-references can appreciate larger quantities without the benefit of words to describe them, addressing the clasic Whorfian question about whether language can determine thought.

Public Release: 19-Aug-2004
Scientists reinvent DNA as template to produce organic molecules
By piggybacking small organic molecules onto short strands of DNA, chemists at Harvard University have developed an innovative new method of using DNA as a blueprint not for proteins but for collections of complex synthetic molecules. The researchers will report on the prolific technique, dubbed "DNA-templated library synthesis," this week on the web site of the journal Science.
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Office of Naval Research, Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, Searle Scholars Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb, National Science Foundation

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Wednesday August 18, 2004. To Pillsbury House, where I did data entry for the Community Barter Network and Pillsbury House's volunteer program.

They've hired a new Volunteer Coordinator. Good news; the job has been vacant for a while, with other people doing bits of it in their spare time.

***New word of the day: phytoneurology; the study of plant nervous systems. Thanks to my subconscious for coming up with that one.

On the other hand, it also came up with "Coca-Cola Postmodern."
Thinking out a society: Twenty percent of the local population is "experimentals" -- they were gene-engineered and brought up to be an advance on "wild" humans. (While most were designed to rule, some were designed to be good serfs and servants.) About half still belong to the groups they were born into. The others have left, or are survivors of
groups which imploded.

There are also "designer kids" -- designed individually or in small batches to the specifications of one set of parents.

They aren't superior to "wild" humans, for the most part. Partly because most ideas of what would produce people better at certain things are wrong. Partly because the general population has undergone genetic upgrading to eliminate hereditary disease.

But also: the experimentals aren't good at working with people who having been raised in the same sub-societies they were. And belief in their superiority comes across to the people they feel superior to.

And the designer kids mostly have dysfunctional parents.
Writing: daily exercise -- Done; see above.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- The above is background for that story; but I probably shouldn't count it twice.

"History Line" --
"Port Useless" --
"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --
Decluttering: Some things donated. Some things put in the trash.

Mindwork: Mini-meditations

Bodywork: Working at more awareness of my body.
From Google News:
Major nations' population expected to fall by 2050
Casa Grande Valley Newspapers - 2 hours ago
The annual study by the private Population Reference Bureau found that, while the world's population will increase nearly 50 percent by mid-century, Japan will lose 20 percent of its population in the next 45 years, while Russia, Germany and Italy will ...
British population forecast to rise to 65.4m by 2050 The Scotsman
World population to double by 2050, says report IrishExaminer.com (subscription)
Los Angeles Times (subscription) - Guardian - International Herald Tribune - USA Today - and 153 related
Communications: Quantum teleportation across the Danube

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Tuesday August 17, 2004. The Greater Lake Country Food Bank sells food at relatively low cost. I decided to give it a try.

It's in an industrial area of Minneapolis which I'd been near but not in over the years, close to Olsen Memorial Highway.

The canned and boxed foods are about the same quality as at So Low (which specializes in damaged freight) -- higher than So Low had when it was Steve's Warehouse. Prices ranged from very cheap to sorta cheap.

The frozen chicken drumsticks I bought had some freezer burn, but seem to be higher-quality than the poultry Rainbow used to sell before Roundys bought the chain.

I had a five-percent-off coupon. And they threw in two large cartons of organic, ultra-pasteurized milk (sell-by date September 15) and a frozen bake-it-yourself pie.

I don't drink milk. I do eat French toast; and there are other recipes with milk as an ingredient.

***Home to drop stuff off. Then to the Wedge, where among other things I bought a large loaf of bread suitable for use in French toast.
Thoughts on political partisans -- the ones certain everyone on their side is a saint, and everyone on the other side is a totally stupid evil genius:

They're certain they represent a majority of the US population. Evidence to the contrary is obviously fabricated. This seems to give them a feeling of power.

At the same time, they're certain that the media is overwhelmingly biased against The Truth. There's a slight difference here: the conservatives see Fox News as a shining exception, and all the other networks (and newspapers) as toeing the Liberal Party Line.
The liberals see Fox News as openly biased, and the other networks (and newspapers) as less openly advancing the conservative agenda.

I wonder what it would be like to live in a saner society? I'll probably never have the chance to find out.
Writing: daily exercise -- Done.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- A bit more zero-drafted. Some notes removed; I don't need them any longer.

"History Line" --
"Port Useless" --
"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --
Decluttering: Some stuff thrown away.

From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 16-Aug-2004
Stem cell research targets cerebral palsy
Natural chemicals that assist healing may one day help transplanted adult stem cells integrate into an injured brain, helping children with cerebral palsy recover lost function, according to researchers at the Medical College of Georgia.
American Heart Association

Public Release: 16-Aug-2004
Nerve cells 'guided' to repair spinal damage: Technique
University of Toronto researchers have designed a method to facilitate nerve cell repair that could ultimately lead to treating severed spinal cords.
the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology

Public Release: 16-Aug-2004
Personality & Social Psychology
Anxiety not a barrier to a satisfying life, study says
Depression has a tremendous impact on a person's sense of satisfaction with life but anxiety does not, research from the University of Toronto shows.

Public Release: 16-Aug-2004
American Sociological Association 99th Annual Meeting
Ethnic solidarity doesn't give Mexican workers advantages in U.S. labor market
Mexican workers in the United States do not receive labor market advantages from their ethnic solidarity, according to a Rice University sociologist. But familial and friendship obligations do help Mexican workers find better jobs. The study compared Mexican workers employed at Mexican firms to those employed at white firms to assess whether Mexican immigrants working at Mexican firms earn higher wages, are more likely to be employed within the informal economy and work longer hours than those working at white firms.

Public Release: 16-Aug-2004
British scientists exclude 'maverick' colleagues, says report
Scientists in Britain tend to exclude controversial 'maverick' colleagues from their community to ensure they do not gain scientific legitimacy, new research has shown. A Cardiff University study has found that British scientists' attitudes differ considerably from those of their counterparts in Sweden, when managing dissent.
Economic and Social Research Council

Public Release: 17-Aug-2004
Geophysical Research Letters
Siberian forest fires partly to blame for Seattle area violating EPA ozone limit
Siberian forest fire smoke pushed Seattle's air quality past federal environmental limits on one day in 2003, and a University of Washington scientist says rapidly changing climate in northern latitudes makes it likely such fires will have greater effects all along the West Coast.
National Science Foundation, Office of Naval Research, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Study Finds Climate Shift Threatens California
A scientific study released on Monday presents an alarming view of climate changes in California, finding that by the end of the century rising temperatures could lead to a sevenfold increase in heat-related deaths in Los Angeles and imperil the state's wine and dairy industries.

The study, published in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers the most detailed projection yet of changes in California as temperatures rise around the world because of building concentrations of heat-trapping gases.
Moroccan public schools return to the use of Berber, the country's native language, for instruction. By Kent Davis-Packard
Candidate alert! A new, heretofore unidentified group of untapped voters has emerged, waiting for wooing. This weekend, 175 members of the North American Anarchist Convergence (what, you expected a convention?) decided they would break with tradition and go to the polls this November.

This was far from a unanimous decision....

Monday, August 16, 2004

Monday August 16, 2004. Deceased? Nonexistent? Credit no problem!

A credit card offer to someone who doesn't live at my address. He might have lived here years ago; or may have never existed.

Heading of an insert: "Bank of America [artwork] Higher Standards" Higher than what? The extent to which SPAM meets vegan standards?
Writing: daily exercise -- Done, posted here.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- The ending is now properly zero-drafted.

"History Line" --
"Port Useless" --
"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --
Decluttering: Dishes done. laundry done. Some things put where they belong, some others in the trash.

Monday August 16, 2004. Woke up thinking about the Wild Hunt:

My name is Herne the Hunter,
I'm the leader of a band.
And though we're few in number,
The fear we cause is grand.
(Tune: McNamara's Band)

And it occurred to me that a few centuries from now, the Wild Hunt might be led by Margaret Thatcher (aka Iron Maggie).

***Part of my reply to a post on an sff.net newsgroup:

> And what do you want to see?

An alternate-world version of the Star Wars movies done after the first one. One in which
Luke turns out to be a farmboy of ordinary birth, he marries the princess, and it's Chewbacca who turns out to be Darth Vader's son.

***There's a discussion of "How do you come up with ideas?" at Ursulav's LiveJournal -- she being another idea-rich person. "What I can never articulate on the spot, of course, is that I don't know how other people AREN'T having these ideas, and in fact, I assume that everyone else is, in fact, having these random thoughts at any given moment, and perhaps just has better things to do with their time than pursue them in paint. Imagination, like most other muscles, responds to exercise."

What I think is that some of us really, really are better at coming up with ideas. And some are better at not suppressing them before they reach the conscious level of the mind.

But these don't guarantee success (in arts, business, or whatever). What's also important is the ability to choose among the ideas; and to build with them. Otherwise, Phillip K. Jennings would be earning far more from sf sales than Robert Silverberg.

Laurel Winter has a very good imagination; it shows in her poetry and in her fiction. But the major ideas of her YA novel Growing Wings (Firebird 2002) have been used before. People with wings, coping with a world in which most people are wingless? In sf, that goes back at least to Edmond Hamilton's 1938 story "He Who Hath Wings." (I don't know if Leslie F. Stone's 1929 "Men With Wings" is about this.) On another level, the book is about changes which come with adolescence -- not a theme entirely new to Young Adult fiction. And it's about family secrets, which has also been used a few times in YA fiction.

I don't think the book would have been anywhere near as good if she had refused to use any idea ever used before.
Strange foods here; from a discussion on rec.food.cooking:
From Alex Bensky in soc.history.what-if:

The August 23, 2004 issue of Outlook India has a collection of articles on various Indian what-ifs.

From http://althistory.blogspot.com. Note that these are from several different alternate

[August 16] in 1987, Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed on takeoff from Detroit. Everyone on board was killed, except for one 4-year old girl, Cecelia Cichan, who emerged from the wreckage with burned clothing, but not a scratch on her. Cecelia also survived a car crash that killed her grandparents in 1995; a fire that burned down her foster parents’ house in 1998; and the collapse of her apartment building in 2001 in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was taken into custody by the U.S. military shortly after this.

[August 15] in 1769, Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Ajaccio, Corsica. He rose from somewhat humble beginnings to unite Italy under him as Napoleon I. He conquered virtually all of continental Europe during his 13-year reign of the Italian Empire.

[August 14] en 1910, la 6th ciujara konferenco en Esperanto estis en Washington, D.C. La lingvo universala estas paroli cxie, nu.

[August 14] in 1995, Cato Faulkner became the 1st male cadet in the history of The Citadel, South Carlino’s state military college. He quit the school less than a week later. This only reinforced the sexist notion that boys aren’t as tough as women, and made it twice as hard on the 2nd male cadet.

[August 13] in 2003, Estelle Gerard, daughter of Sylvie Gerard, heals a blind woman in Istanbul by taking her hand and praying. Templars of the Holy British Empire, hearing of this, head to the Middle East to dispatch the young girl that they believe to be the antichrist.

[August 10] in 1911, the Parliament Act reduces the power of the British House of Commons to ceremonial duties. They are essentially a rubber stamp for the House of Lords, where virtually all parliamentary power is now concentrated. The Prime Minister, Lord Harold Fitzhugh, declares, “This is not America, where the Communists lead the rabble down to chaos. In Britain, the lower classes know their place.”

[August 10] in 2002, Sylvie Gerard spirits her newborn daughter out of Jesu, France moments before Templars of the Holy British Empire arrive and begin slaughtering all the newborns. For forty days and nights, she wanders the French countryside, seeking refuge from the Pope’s edict.

email Dan Goodman
All comments assumed to be for publication, unless I'm told otherwise.
Sunday August 15, 2004. Spam email: an ad promising to add at least three inches to my purple-headed soldier of pleasure. Then one guaranteeing at least four more inches, with the same website listed.

I await the next few messages.

***Colin Powell won a cat show prize -- this information posted by Tony Von Krag to the Mnstf Natter list. Which made me realize that I haven't yet seen any analysis of the werecat vote (or the lycanthrope vote in general). Every other group which includes potential voters has been scrutinized; why not this one?

Yes, the cat which won claims to be someone other than the human cabinet official. But I can't recall seeing them both at the same time.
Body and Soul Magazine has an article on finding your spiritual path. Just as a vegan might get something useful from a meat cookbook, I got some useful things from this article. But it takes for granted that your path is one that's been marked out by certified spiritual-path practitioners.

Whatever my path might be, it's not on anyone else's map. I need to find it (and blaze it) for myself.
Writing: daily exercise -- Done.

"They Might Be Windmills" --
"History Line" --
"Port Useless" --
"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --
Decluttering: Trash gathered up and taken out.

Mindwork: Some mini-meditations.

Bodywork: I tried wearing ankle weights while I typed. It may be useful; but so far I can only manage it for a short time.
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 15-Aug-2004
Cancer Research
Marijuana ingredient inhibits VEGF pathway required for brain tumor blood vessels
Cannabinoids, the active ingredients in marijuana, restrict the sprouting of blood vessels to brain tumors by inhibiting the expression of genes needed for the production of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). According to a new study published in the August 15, 2004 issue of the journal Cancer Research, administration of cannabinoids significantly lowered VEGF activity in laboratory mice and two patients with late-stage glioblastoma.

Public Release: 15-Aug-2004
American Sociological Association 99th Annual Meeting
US economy slows as global consumer debt rises
The U.S. Presidential candidates George Bush and John Kerry promise very different economic policies. But research sociologist and consumer debt expert Robert Manning argues that the expansion of the global consumer economy will necessarily lead to the diminished economic power of the United States.

Saturday | August 14, 2004

LA: Judge Blocks Vote on Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment

Yesterday, a New Orleans judge removed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage from the Sept.18 ballot.

Judge Chris Bruno reasoned that the amendment cannot be on the ballot Sept.18 because not all parishes (counties for those of you not from here) are holding elections that day.

However, enforcement of the order will be suspended until the state can appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court. A spokesman for Secretary of State Fox McKeithen said that the amendment will still appear on the ballot, but a vote on it will be cancelled if the Supreme Court upholds Bruno's ruling.

The ruling was a small victory for opponents of the amendment. The Forum for Equality PAC had gone to court to prevent the vote from happening.
by R Godwin | Comments (3) | Trackback (0)

Sunday, August 15, 2004

KALISPELL, Mont. -- Until he was arrested this year in his underwear in a motel room with a nearly naked young woman who was behind in her payments to his finance company, no businessman in this town was more respected than Richard A. Dasen Sr.
When Dasen talked to police shortly after his arrest, he characterized his for-pay sexual activities with young women as "helping" them, according to a detective's affidavit that summarizes Dasen's conversation with police.

When a detective asked him to explain how he was helping the women, the affidavit said that Dasen replied that when he thought about it, he realized he was not helping them after all.

Dasen said, too, that he believes he has a problem, perhaps an addiction. But he added, according to the affidavit, that he believes he is more addicted to "helping" than to sex.

The police estimate he's paid about five million dollars, not all of which was his money.

email Dan Goodman
All comments assumed to be for publication, unless I'm told otherwise.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Saturday August 14, 2004. To Pillsbury House, for the Second Saturday Clutterers Anonymous meeting. I took the #23 bus, which mostly runs on 38th Street.

On the bus, I read poetry rather than a newspaper. While this is mostly easier on my nerves, one of the poems was the sonnet in which Shakespeare says that when you're an ancient man of forty, with your life almost over, if you haven't had a son, you'll bitterly regret having nothing to contribute to the future.

Along the way, other passengers pointed out something I'd never noticed -- a Santa Claus on a front porch. According to the driver, that statue has been there all year.

***At 38th and Chicago was an event publicizing local (easy walking distance) businesses. Among the people running it was Shonda Allen, who used to be Volunteer Coordinator at Pillsbury House.

***I got to Pillsbury House early enough to use the Time Dollar Store. I got a few things with Community Barter Network credits.

***Led the meeting. It went fairly well, I think -- though not because I did a perfect job.

There was a newcomer, so I announced the other two Twin Cities CLA meetings. I also announced the Declutter topic on Meetup. (I've applied to be the Minneapolis organizer for that topic.)

***Went to the shopping center near Minnehaha and Lake. The Rainbow supermarket there now has a set of everything-$1 shelves, probably because the Cub supermarket has such shelves.
So far, they have much less than the Cub has.

Went to Cub. On their $1 shelves was modelling clay -- which is quite useful for exercising my hands.

Took the Hiawatha Line one stop, from Lake to 38th Street. Went to So Low, which specializes in railroad salvage and other cheap groceries.
Writing: daily exercise -- Done, posted in this journal and to rec.arts.sf.written.

"They Might Be Windmills" --
"History Line" --
"Port Useless" --
"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" --
Decluttering: Attended the CLA meeting. Put some books where I've decided they belong.

Mindwork: Some thinking about what I want my life to be like.

Bodywork: Started using the modelling clay to loosen up my hands. Started more consistently using the weights I have under my typing table.

email Dan Goodman
All comments assumed to be for publication, unless I'm told otherwise.
Fantasy -- Not Just For Optimists Anymore: Dan Crawford's Novels

A former prostitute on the verge of adolescence isn't the usual fantasy character. Dan Crawford's three published novels (Rouse a Sleeping Cat, The Sure Death of a Mouse, and A Wild Dog and Lone) are grimmer and more sordid than this might suggest. The quaint medievaloid city is a slum.

I wouldn't have expected a major fantasy publisher to take them on. But they were published by Ace. Why? I suspect because someone at Ace thought there were fantasy readers tired of the usual medievaloid fantasy, who would like something grittier. Disenchantment rather than enchantment.

It worked, to some extent. I read the first two books. But not the third; by then I had decided I preferred more optimistic writers such as Stephen R. Donaldson. Since no more were published, I suspect I wasn't alone.

Could something similar be published today? I suspect it would have to come from a small publisher. Could it be profitable? Not in the long run, I don't think.

Rouse a Sleeping Cat (1993), Dan Crawford, Ace, pb, 0-441-73553-3, $4.99, 251pp
The Sure Death of a Mouse (1994), Dan Crawford, Ace, pb, 0-441-00024-X, $4.99, 248pp
A Wild Dog and Lone (1995), Dan Crawford, Ace, pb, 0-441-00183-1, $5.50, 360pp

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Friday August 13, 2004. To Pillsbury House. Did data entry for the Community Barter Network and Pillsbury House's volunteer program.

Wrote up a list of problems with the database.

***To Uncle Hugo's sf bookstore. Then to Steeple People thrift store and the Wedge Coop.

Stopped by a yard sale. Got some useful stuff cheap, and some free.

****Political reporting, or alternate-world fiction? http://conventionbloggers.com was set up as a digest of blogs covering the Democratic National Convention, but continues. http://rnc.conventionbloggers.com will do the same for blogs covering the Republican National Convention, and started early. There's some overlap among the bloggers; but for the most part they're reporting from two different worlds. And neither is the world I live in.

The Republican bloggers remind me of the political writers who were certain Goldwater would win in 1964. The Democratic bloggers remind me of the writers who foresaw a McGovern landslide in 1972.

***To Nate and Louie Bucklin's, to sort through stuff stored in their basement. Threw out a bunch, took a bit home. Later, I'll arrange for transportation for the rest.

On the way, I noticed Reincarnation Catholic Church. I looked again; it was Incarnation Catholic Church.

I informed Nate that Andrew Marvell's poem "To His Coy Mistress" fits the tune of "Hernando's Hideaway".

The grave's a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Writing: Nothing.
Decluttering: See above. Also took out some trash.
Mindwork: Some mini-meditations.

Bodywork: Reminding some muscles that they didn't need to be tense.
Savvy Sieve: Carbon nanotubes filter petroleum, polluted water
A filter made out of carbon nanotubes has potential for such applications as processing crude oil and decontaminating drinking water.

From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 13-Aug-2004
Entrepreneurship - Theory and Practice
Family-dominated business sectors bad omens for economic health
If a few wealthy families control many of the large businesses in the country where you live, chances are the economy is in the dumps.

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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Thursday August 12, 2004. "dsgood said a while back that he found most insanities rather boring. I suspect he is a far saner person than I am." That doesn't follow; there are passages in Clans of the Alphane Moon which suggest that Philip K. Dick found most insanities boring. There are people who claim that Ezra Pound was eminently sane, and others who say that about William Blake; I don't know of anyone who claims Phil Dick was sane.

There've been times when other people had to keep me acting sane; in some cases, those were people diagnosed as mentally ill.

There are people on Usenet and in sf fandom who spend much time trying to decipher other people's Hidden Motives. One reason why I don't do that is, for me that's a road to madness. Literally.
Woke up feeling better than I had in a couple of months.

I now have enough good storage for all my clothes! Steeple People had a set of light, transparent drawers.

***Went to Mark Rich's reading at DreamHaven. I think of him as a small press writer; but the Internet Speculative Fiction Data Base says he's had stories in Analog. And one story got into the Dozois best-of-year anthology.
Writing: daily exercise -- I'm going to count this post in soc.politics:

My dear Sir/Madam/Confused:

You should really be more polite to your betters -- which includes 98 percent of persons posting on Usenet, trolls and all.

You are doing for useful discussion here what Sawney Bean and Alferd E. Packer did for vegetarianism.

"They Might Be Windmills" -- 239 words of first draft. (Notes and zero draft: 481.)

"Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love" -- Made notes on needed story-surgery. The Canadian Civil War reenactors are back in.

"History Line" --
"Port Useless" --
Decluttering: Got the storage thingie. Put some things away, in an orderly fashion. Took out some trash.

Mindwork: Did some relearning of body movements.
Bodywork: See above.
[If you're not confused, you don't understand the situation:]
Thursday | August 12, 2004
NJ: Governor Admits he's "Gay American"; Resigns Ahead of Lawsuit

News is breaking everywhere that Governor James McGreevey is resigning "because he had a gay affair." But MSNBC is reporting that a sexual harassment lawsuit is being filed today by his former homeland security adviser, Golan Cipel.

Of course, the story's not that simple. Cipel resigned after allegations that he wasn't qualified for the job, despite his experience as a member of the Israeli Defense Forces.

It gets more complicated. Prior to the joining the McGreevy administration, Cipel had worked for Charles Kushner, a real estate mogul and campaign fundraiser who was arrested last month on charges of tax fraud and illegal campaign contributions.

Did McGreevey resign because he's gay? Or is that just a convenient, even sympathetic (though likely true) cover story?
by Kari Chisholm | Comments (7) | Trackback (1)

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Even a low dose of testosterone can give athletes a big performance boost - and in a fraction of the time thought necessary, a study initiated by New Scientist has found. The received wisdom is that testosterone must be injected weekly for at least 10 weeks, yet the latest research showed that the biggest increase in performance came after just three weeks. This suggests it might be easier than thought for cheating athletes to dodge drug tests and will reinforce calls for drug-testing regimes to be radically stepped up...MORE

Ancient Rome's fish pens confirm sea-level fears
It appears that nearly all the rise in sea level since Roman times has happened in the past 100 years
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 12-Aug-2004
Future heat waves: More severe, more frequent and longer lasting
Heat waves in Chicago, Paris, and elsewhere in North America and Europe will become more intense, more frequent and longer lasting in the 21st century, according to a new modeling study by two scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo. In the United States, heat waves will become most severe in the West and South. The findings appear in the August 13 issue of the journal Science.

Public Release: 12-Aug-2004
Longevity protein may slow many neurodegenerative disorders
A protein linked to increased lifespan in yeast and worms also can delay the degeneration of ailing nerve cell branches, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Washington University

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Candidate puts all his concerns about lesbians on (pool) table
By Frank Cerabino

It's not every day you get to ask the candidate an issue question like this.

"Don't you like to watch two lesbians playing pool?" I asked.

"Absolutely not," said Republican candidate Ed Heeney, who will be on the ballot in November for a seat in the Florida Legislature.

"They're not as sweet as everybody perceives," said Heeney, 50, of Boynton Beach, whose campaign has spiraled into a forum on lesbians and billiards.

For the record: He thinks lesbians are ruining pool in South Florida.

He tells of a harrowing pool tournament in a lesbian bar where his second shot on a run turned into a brawl.

"The lesbians were trying to get at me," he said. "The bar was full of them."

Heeney warms up quickly on the subject of the victimization of straight male pool players.
Thanks to http://www.livejournal.com/users/the_ogre/:
Thursday, July 22 12:00 AM ET
Fengtek Releases Motherboard Designed Using Feng Shui Principles
By Brian Briggs

Related News:
Overclocker Creates Rift in Space-Time Continuum
Aliens Use DMCA to Sue Air Force Over UFOs
Atheist Still Unconvinced After Meeting with God


Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Wednesday August 11, 2004. Ghastly news: my favorite radio station is going down the drain. "With two classical music stations, the Twin Cities area has long worn a cultural badge of honor that few metro areas can claim.

"That is likely to change with the news Tuesday that WCAL (89.3 FM), St. Olaf College's 82-year-old classical station, will be sold for an estimated $10.5 million to Minnesota Public Radio, which owns rival station KSJN (99.5 FM)."

WCAL is a very good radio station. Minnesota Public Radio is a big business (technically nonprofit, with profit-making subsidiaries), with the usual big-business stupidities.
From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 11-Aug-2004
Nano Letters
RNA could form building blocks for nanomachines
Microscopic scaffolding to house the tiny components of nanotech devices could be built from RNA, the same substance that shuttles messages around a cell's nucleus, reports a Purdue University research group.
National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense

Public Release: 11-Aug-2004
Nano Letters
Nanotechnology to supercharge internet
Canadian researchers have shown that nanotechnology can be used to pave the way to a supercharged Internet based entirely on light. The discovery could lead to a network 100 times faster than today's.
Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, Nortel Networks, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Canada Research Chairs Foundation, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Ontario Innovation Trust

Public Release: 11-Aug-2004
Near-zero-energy buildings blessing to owners, environment
An electricity meter that sometimes runs backwards is just one of the cool aspects of Department of Energy near-zero-energy homes.

A new twist in the Wal-Mart wars
In a nod to small retailers, Los Angeles will make it much harder for 'big box' stores to expand. By Daniel B. Wood

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Tuesday August 10, 2004. Today's main event was the Minneapolis SF Writers Meetup.

Before that: Went to Steeple People thrift store, where the free magazines included two issues of Discover from last year. Went to the Wedge Co-op.

On to the Midtown Public Market. I got there too early, though after the official opening time. The music wasn't going yet, and some things weren't yet set up.

***The SF Writers Meetup was at Dulano's Pizza, best known for Bluegrass music. It's also
close to DreamHaven Books, and has become the place people go to after the reading series at DreamHaven.

There'd been some discussion of combining the Meetup with that after-readings gathering. Decision taken: It's not going to be combined.

However -- next month, Meetup will change so that there can be more than one meeting in an area. So if someone wants to be a meeting organizer, and make that gathering also an SF
Writers' Meetup....

I found this Meetup useful. I explained why I was setting aside "Well Met, Well Met, My Own True Love." And later during the meeting, I figured out what changes I'll need to make when I get back to it. (Introduce one character near the middle rather than at the end, to begin with.)

[To find out what Meetup is about, web over to http://meetup.com.]
Writing: daily exercise --
"They Might Be Windmills" --
"History Line" --
"Port Useless" --
Decluttering: Refrigerator cleared out, trash taken out.


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