Monday, June 27, 2005

---Supreme Irony, Billy Graham's Last Crusade, Mad Cow in U.S., Power shift in Iran, STS A-OK, Nicotine/Coffee, Voice of Tigger Dies, Surfing Blind 

Lifelong terms + near-omnipotent power = absolutely no shame:
FOXNews.com - Politics - Supreme Court Rules on Ten Commandments
At the risk of repeating myself:
---From the "Guantanamo Standard Operating Procedures On Handling Korans That Are Provided To Detainees" http://www.usemb-tirana.rpo.at/pg1news/Guantanamo__instructions.pdf
“6. Korans are the property of the U.S. Government .... “ [my emphasis]
Korans for terrorists good. Public Biblical references for American citizens bad. Justices not retiring fast enough.

Billy Graham’s last U.S. Crusade
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Billy Graham Holding Last Event in the U.S.
BGEA: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

The most influential Christian minister of the generation nears the end of his career.

Mad Cow reaches U.S.
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Tests Confirm New Mad Cow Case in U.S.
This is actually a fascinating disease, apart from the potential for harm to humans and their food supply. The infectious agent isn’t even as sophisticated as a virus, just a protein non-conformist called a “prion”. From what I see from the wikipedia listing, the agent doesn’t so much “replicate” itself as “recruit” other proteins with its amino acid sequence to adopt its 3D characteristics. Blessedly, the Mad Cow prion is unusual in its ability to pass as an active pathogen between different species--- cattle and humans. The protein which forms this prion is found in cell membranes. It seems like it wouldn’t even have to be directly pathogenic to destroy cells---just unable to maintain normal membrance function. This also makes me wonder if the transmission of this disease is as well understood as public health officials think.
Just when you think you know what’s going on out there....

Hard-liner reaches power in Iran:
FOXNews.com - U.S. & World - Hard-Liner Wins Iran's Presidential Election
If you were planning any further pretense to civilization, better do it now. Did I mention that they probably have nuclear weapons?

That’s what they said about...
Risk to Shuttle from Launch Debris Low, NASA Says
...the last 113 flights.

If they won’t let you light up...
Patent 6749882: Coffee having a nicotine composition dissolved therein
One of the most bizarre ideas in a catalog of bizarre ideas. If you’re in a restaurant or other places where you can’t smoke, the idea seems to go, you just drop a couple of pills containing your favorite addictive carcinogen into your coffee.

The Neighborhood:
The Universe within 12.5 Light Years - The Nearest stars
An interesting look at our stellar neighborhood. Our nearest neighbor, the Centauri cluster---subject of many sci-fi stories and computer games---is actually three stars. Alpha is a closely-orbiting pair, while Proxima is almost a quarter of a light year out, orbiting in about a million years. Nobody’s talking about planets, though. Or mutant star-goats, amazons, or much else for that matter.

Tigger’s Voice Actor Dies:
FOXNews.com - Foxlife - Voice of Tigger, Paul Winchell, Dies at 82
The voice of one of the most recognizable animated characters of all time, and apparently a prolific inventor, leaves the stage.

Internet Users as Sitting Ducks:
Sunbeltblog: Annenberg study on how misinformed internet consumers are
...or insert the stationary-target-rich-environment metaphor of your choice. Who is trying to correct the ignorance of average computer consumers about the risks they face while online?---certainly not most of the people selling them the computers.

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