Tuesday, August 16, 2005

---BIrd Flu Spreading, "Able Danger", More Witchful Thinking, Damning by Faint Worship, More on "Tenth Planet", Experian Scam, Remote-Control Humans 

Avian Influenza Spreading Through Asia[New Scientist]
The H5N1 strain of Avian Influenza, potentially deadly to humans, has been found in migratory birds in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Scientists worry that migratory routes of the wild birds could cause them to spread the virus to Europe and the Americas. Most seem to think that spread from wild birds back to domesticated fowl or humans is unlikely. So far.

'Able Danger'---When Did They Know?[FOXNews.com ]
It is being claimed that U.S. military intelligence reported the activities of Atta and the other 9-11 hijackers a year before the attacks, and that the Federal commission which investigated the attacks was told of the military operation but also ignored the information. The story continues to develop, and the credibility of the claims remain to be established---e.g. we’re not getting the whole story here, yet.

Wiccan Seeks Damages in Fight Against Public Prayer[FOXNews.com ]
Great Falls, South Carolina faces legal bills in its losing plea to the Supreme Court to allow continuation of prayers incorporating “that name” at its council meetings. Now the local “Wiccan priestess ” who sued the city over the prayers wants her legal expenses paid as well.
Okay, folks, among pseudo-religions made up in vacant woodlots by bored scholars as an excuse to wear their Renaissance Festival clothing at other times of the year, I’m sure that this one is as special as any---but how far are we going to let this go? Must we test the Constitution to destruction, or can we determine the consequences by analysis?

Damning by Faint Worship[Washington Monthly]
Amy Sullivan, an editor of the online magazine Washington Monthly, gushes the usual embarrassingly unrestrained praise for Hillary Clinton, but says of her prospective bid for the U.S. Presidency in 2008, “In the face of this momentum, someone has to say it, so here goes: Please don't run, Senator. ”

A Little Mistake in Sizing ‘Tenth planet’ [New Scientist]
Size estimates for the newly discovered Kuiper object which determined that it was considerably larger than Pluto, may actually have been underestimated. The upper limit on size was based on the inability of the Spitzer Space Telescope to image the object in infrared. It now appears that the Spitzer wasn’t pointing at the right place.

Experian Settles With FTC Over Credit Scam
The FTC charged that “Experian” was hooking customers with free credit reports, and then started charging for them without notice. They have some other scams going as well---I got half a dozen phone calls from them demanding personal information for a supposed business database before they gave up.

Remote-controlled Humans for Games[New Scientist ]
The researchers use electrodes on the skin to stimulate the vestibular system to alter the subject’s perception of gravity. They demonstrated remote control of humans by making them move to re-establish perceived equilibrium. They also think this could be used to give a sense of “g”-forces in simulation games. The catch? Prolonged use of the stimulation technique might lead to permanent tissue damage. There’s always something....

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