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Thursday, September 30, 2004

September 30, 2004 

jest for pun (September'04)

September'04 BlogThoughts

Every calendar's days are numbered.

  • Death, Be Not Cloud

  • Is there life before death? - Graffito, in Belfast

  • My husband and I divorced over religious differences. He thought he was God and I didn't.

  • An electric company is always looking for high energy employees.

  • I don't go to the gym or practice yoga. And the closest thing I have to a nutritionist is the Carlsberg Beer Company. I just have the appetite of a pigeon. - Colin Farrell

  • I'd stay away from Ecstasy. This is a drug so strong it makes white people think they can dance. -Lenny Henry"

  • Art Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

  • I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. - Mother Teresa (1910 - 1997)

  • Don't use a big word where a diminutive one will suffice.

  • laughter the best medicine

  • Old philosophers never die, they just retire to their own premises.

  • History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives. - Abba Eban (1915 - 2002)

  • Posted by SV at 06:29 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 29, 2004

    Why Indians don't get sunburned...

    Asian Cloud menaces world's most populous continent

    In the new book "Feeling the Heat," Jim Motavalli describes a phenomenon that's likely to give you nightmares. Seriously, just stop reading. Okay, we warned you: Hovering in the atmosphere over the Indian Ocean and other Asian waters, and covering some 10 million square miles, is the Asian Cloud. This dense conglomeration of pollution bits curtails the amount of sunlight reaching the earth's surface, playing havoc with photosynthesis and disrupting natural hydrological cycles. It absorbs heat, warming the atmosphere. It drops to the earth as acid rain. It is expected to adversely affect the lives of up to a billion people. And, oh yeah: Given the right wind patterns, it can travel around the globe in a week. Sweet dreams! Read about this climatology-via-Stephen-King phenomenon in an excerpt in Books Unbound.

    An excerpt from Feeling the Heat: Dispatches From the Frontlines of Climate Change by Jim Motavalli Book.JPG

    Posted by SV at 06:31 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 28, 2004

    Code created for shape-shifting robots

    Robots that change shape and even split into smaller parts to explore unfamiliar terrain could soon be feasible thanks to new algorithms designed to enable such metamorphic tricks.

    Zack Butler and colleagues at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, US, developed algorithms to control robots made from identical components, each capable of moving on their own but also able to attach to one another. As this is beyond current hardware, they constructed virtual modular bots and used a software simulator to test them.

    The modular robot can move along as a complete unit, built up of around 100 smaller parts. But when faced with an impassable obstacle, some of these modules can detach and proceed as a smaller unit, or even on their own.

    Once the obstacle has been passed, however, the smaller units will automatically recombine into the larger whole, enabling them to travel over different terrain once more.

    continue reading ...

    Posted by SV at 06:00 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 25, 2004

    decomposition: what happens after death

    or, you could just donate your organs.

    Content for the Decomposition website was authored by Richard Major, Australian Museum Research Scientist.

    Posted by SV at 06:28 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Brain Scans Reveal That Revenge Is Sweet

    (via Scientific American)
    In Dante's Inferno, the inner circle of hell was reserved for betrayers like Judas and Brutus. But new research indicates that punishing those who break social norms is not merely the province of poets. Scientists have uncovered evidence for an innate satisfaction in human beings for giving people their comeuppance.

    Dominique J.-F. de Quervain of the University of Zurich and his colleagues set up an experiment to study how a group of male participants responded to acts of selfishness. As described in today's edition of Science, the researchers devised a game in which one player (A) offered money to an anonymous player (B), knowing that B would actually receive four times the specified amount. Player B then had to choose whether or not to share his windfall equally with player A. If player B was stingy, player A could penalize him

    The scientists tested different scenarios. In some instances A set a fine that B had to pay, but other times A knew his punishment would be merely symbolic and that B would lose no money. While player A was contemplating his revenge, a positron emission tomography (PET) scan determined what parts of his brain were active. The scans showed increased activity in the striatum, a region associated with the processing of rewards, but only when A knew he could hurt B financially. The implication was that real punishment feels good. To explore the significance of this emotion, the researchers sometimes charged A for his revenge. They found that the level of striatum activity positively correlated with how much money a participant was willing to pay for the opportunity to retaliate. The anticipation of pleasure apparently affected a player's eagerness to punish.

    This sort of causal relationship may explain why people are willing to discipline a stranger even when there is no immediate gain in it for them. "Emotions play a proactive as well as reactive role," remarks Brian Knutson of Stanford University who penned an accompanying commentary. He notes that "passionate" forces may need to be included in economic models because, as this research shows, “people show systematic deviations from rationality." --Michael Schirber

    Posted by SV at 06:18 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 24, 2004

    Cook's Thesaurus

    The Cook's Thesaurus is a cooking encyclopedia that covers thousands of ingredients and kitchen tools. Entries include pictures, descriptions, synonyms, pronunciations, and suggested substitutions.

    (thanks blogwaps)

    Posted by SV at 06:25 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 23, 2004

    Beyond Geometry

    This exhibition from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art looks at the ways art changed during the post-WWII period. As artists moved away from conventional definitions of art, new forms of _expression reigned worldwide. This site offers an enlightening outline of the basics of the new breed in seven easily digestible chunks. The well-designed timeline marks milestone events in the art world and the news that shaped them. Best of all, you can examine the works of art considered influential in these experiments with form. Start with Serra's minimalist Inverted House of Cards, and then examine the theories behind Wheeler's Light Encasement. Going beyond geometry broke down the barriers of the art world and will surely open doors to new ways of thinking about art.

    Posted by SV at 06:36 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 22, 2004

    A Woman's Prayer:

    Dear Lord, I pray for:
    Wisdom, To understand a man
    Love, To forgive him and
    Patience, For his moods
    Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength
    I'll just beat him to death.
    Posted by SV at 06:19 AM | Comments (10) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    your Guide to the Gods

    They have more Gods than you can shake a stick at. Godchecker's Mythology Encyclopedia currently features over 1,600 deities.

    Browse the pantheons of the world, explore ancient myths, and discover Gods of everything from Fertility to Fluff with the fully searchable Holy Database Of All Known Gods.

    Posted by SV at 06:01 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 21, 2004

    C. E. Laine: Postcards From a Summer Girl

    Over the years few new poets have impressed me and one of them is C. E. Laine.

    In her third full-length collection of poems, she asks the reader to indulge in a bit of fiction. The setting for this volume involves a young woman who is missing; vanished with no trace, no explanation. What's left is a box of postcards and notes, dumped out on the kitchen table. What's left is a mystery in poetry. You are the detective. Who is she? Where did she go? Why?

    Postcards from a Summer Girl by C. E. Laine Book.JPG

    Traffic and the Cosmos

    The day you were born
    must have been a cosmic
    car wreck, steel and glass
    flying, wheels screeching,
    people rubbernecking;

    watching as you emerged
    unscathed and prowling as if
    danger would be your second
    given name. Your mother is still
    fastened under the tight mesh
    seat belt, sucking cigarette filters
    like she's giving head, as red flash
    of tongue fends off loose tobacco.

    She names you something else
    but there's a glint in her eye, reflected
    off smashed glass spread over pavement.

    Your father was a wolf howl, some sound
    off in the distance, wild laughter maybe.
    Sometimes you hear it as oncoming headlamps
    briefly trap your shadow against the cold ground.

    (c) C. E. Laine, 2004, from Postcards From A Summer Girl.

    note: you may register for her blog to get a regular dose of good poems and thoughts. If you have a problem registering, let me know and I can send in a request.

    Posted by SV at 06:28 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Andy Borowitz: vietnam question shocker


    Bickering Over War Leaves Communists Confused

    Citing the persistent bickering over Vietnam in the current U.S. presidential campaign, the president of Vietnam today asked the United States government for "official confirmation" that the Vietnam War is over.

    "We were pretty sure that the war was over," said President Tran Duc Luong, "but we thought it wouldn't hurt to check."

    Mr. Luong's request could put President Bush in an awkward position, since if Mr. Bush confirms that the war is over he could leave himself open to charges that he is merely trying to avoid fighting in it.

    Indeed, after a reporter at a campaign rally today asked Mr. Bush if the war in Vietnam was over, Mr. Bush set his jaw and replied, "Not on my watch."

    Moments after Mr. Bush suggested that the Vietnam War might in fact be still going on, Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly applied for an historic sixth draft deferment.

    Democratic challenger John Kerry, while not saying outright that he would fight in the Vietnam War if it is not over, injected the phrase "reporting for duty" no fewer than seventy times in his latest stump speech.

    But a spokesman for Swift Boat Veterans for Truth warned Mr. Kerry that if he intended to return to Vietnam they would follow his every move in a swift boat of their own, rigged with state-of-the-art camera equipment: "If he tries to shoot himself in the ass and get a medal for it, we'll get it on film."

    Elsewhere, Dan Rather was the surprise winner at the 2004 Emmy Awards, picking up the award for Best Actor in a Comedy.

    Posted by SV at 06:00 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 20, 2004

    The Singularity and science fiction.

    "Popular Science has an article discussing the growing difficulties that Sci-Fi writers encounter when it comes to extrapolating current trends. Doctorow and Stross , both former computer programmers, are rated to be prototypes of a new breed of guides to a future which due to Vinge's Singularity might not happen for humanity once a proper super-intelligence - maybe as a Matrioshka Brain - has been created."

    Posted by SV at 06:47 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Laughter - the best medicine??

    The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.
    Mark Twain, Author (1835-1910)

    (via DV)

    It has been found that when a person laughs, the level of insulin in the body goes up. This is a fantastic breakthrough in the field of research for diabetes. Accordingly then, over years, a good sense of humour may just help do away with diabetes.

    We all know that we have a funny bone in our body. The general perception is that when we hit our elbow against a wall, table or any hard object, we feel a jingle all the way up our arm and that, for us is our funny bone. Wait! There's much more to it. There is a bone in the human body known as the funny bone and it's connected to the spinal cord with a nerve called the 'verneleus'. This nerve is more active in people who have a developed sense of humor and almost inactive in those who hardly laugh. When a person laughs, this nerve, sort of, sends a message to the bone which increases the absorption of calcium in the body, which over time eliminates the risk of bone cancer.

    Research shows that laughing is extremely benefitial for eyesight, arthritis, muscle pains and cynus and malaria and kidney failure and.......

    CAUGHT YOU! Didn't I? What? Are you nuts or something? Laughter has nothing to do with insulin, eyes, calcium, your teeth, your toenails or your cat's fur. For all you know you might be in deep trouble if your laugh has religious or racial undertones and chances are that your professor will throw you out if you chose to experiment with laughter in the middle of a lecture. If you're a nine year old laughing while your mom is scolding you, well sonny.....there's surely a spanking coming your way.

    Well cynus, bones and teeth may not be, BUT SERIOUSLY, laughter is known to affect the mind if not the body. When our mind encounters what it perceives as humorous, it's psychological reaction is to laugh. Research on laughter, though limited because it produces only intangible results, indicates that there are physiological benefits from laughter including an increase in certain antibodies, a reduction of specific stress hormones, and an increased tolerance to pain.

    For an Israeli study, published in the November 1995 issue of the journal Pain, 20 people each watched either a funny, repulsive, or neutral flick. Before and during the films, each underwent a standard test for pain tolerance -- they had to keep one arm submerged in a tank of icy water and rate the discomfort caused. People watching the humorous flick showed a marked increase in tolerance levels.

    By developing a keen sense of humor, we stimulate our own, and possibly others', wit and laughter. Our physical and mental stress levels decrease and our level of overall well being increases as we incorporate humour into our lifestyles. Indeed, humour may be the best medicine to keep us emotionally, mentally, and physically fit.

    So do remember to laugh at everything you find funny. It would definitely put you in a positive frame of mind and help you deal better with what comes your way.

    Posted by SV at 06:13 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 18, 2004

    rather amusing

    During his recent visit to England, George W. Bush met with the Queen. He asked her, "Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government? Are there any tips you can give to me?"

    "Well," said the Queen, "the most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people." Bush frowned. "But how do I know the people around me are really intelligent?" The Queen took a sip of tea. "Oh, that's easy. You just ask them to answer an intelligence riddle."

    To demonstrate, the Queen pushed a button on her intercom. "Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?"

    Tony Blair walked into the room. "Yes, your majesty?"

    The Queen smiles. "Answer me this, please, Tony. Your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?"

    Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answered," That would be me."

    "Yes! Very good," says the Queen, turning to Bush with a smile.

    Back at the White House, Bush asked to speak with vice president Dick Cheney. "Dick, answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child. It's not your brother and it's not your sister. Who is it?"

    "I'm not sure," said the vice president. "Let me get back to you on that one."

    Dick Cheney went to his advisors, and then to Rumsfeld, and asked every one, but none gave him an answer. Finally, he ended up in the men's room and recognized Colin Powell's shoes in the next stall.

    Cheney shouted, "Colin! Can you answer this for me? Your mother and father have a child and it's not your brother or your sister. Who is it?" Colin Powell yells back, "That's easy. It's me!"

    Dick Cheney smiles. "Thanks!" Cheney went back to the Oval Office and to speak with Bush. "Say, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle. It's Colin Powell."

    Bush got up, stomps over to Dick Cheney, and angrily yelled into his face, "No, you idiot! It's Tony Blair!"

    Posted by SV at 02:10 PM | Comments (4) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 17, 2004

    Vulnerability of US power grid identified

    Vulnerabilities inadvertently built into the U.S. power grid, which is one of the most complex systems ever constructed, have been identified by a research team lead by Reka Albert, assistant professor of physics at Penn State. The team's topological analysis of the grid structure reveals that, although the system has been designed to withstand the random loss of generators or substations, its integrity may depend on protecting a few key elements.

    ''Our analysis indicates that major disruption can result from loss of as few as two percent of the grid's substations,'' says Albert, whose research team includes Istvan Albert, research associate in the Bioinformatics Consulting Center at Penn State, and Gary L Nakarado at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. One implication of the research is that identification of strategic points in the grid system can enhance defense against interruptions, whether by equipment failure, natural disasters, or human activity. Major blackouts caused by failures in the grid, such as the one that affected the northeastern part of the country during the summer of 2003, incur tremendous economic, public-health, and security risks.

    The study, titled ''Structural Vulnerability of the North American Power Grid,'' was published in a recent issue of the journal Physical Review E. The researchers constructed a model of the entire transmission grid with over 14,000 ''nodes,'' including generators, transmission substations, and distribution substations, and over 19,000 ''edges,'' corresponding to the high-voltage transmission lines that carry power between the nodes. They measured the importance of each substation node based on its ''load,'' or the number of shortest paths between other nodes that pass through it. ''While 40 percent of the nodes had a load below one thousand, the analysis identified 1 percent of the nodes--approximately 140--that have a load higher than one million,'' Albert says.

    This high degree of connectiveness in the grid system allows power to be transmitted over long distances, but it also allows local disturbances to propagate across the grid. ''There are systems to protect the nodes from overload, such as a controlled shutdown to take a substation out if it overloads or to shut off a generator. In general, these systems do a good job of protecting the nodes,'' says Reka Albert. ''What this model really looks at is the effect of losing a number of nodes in a short period.'' If the nodes are removed randomly, the effect on the system is roughly proportional to the number of generators or substations removed. However, the grid quickly becomes disconnected when the high-load transmission substations are selectively removed from the system--if the nodes that have the highest load are removed first, followed progressively by the nodes with successively lower loads. According to the model, a loss of only 4 percent of the 10,287 transmission substations results in a 60 percent loss of connectivity. During a cascading failure, in which the high-load substations fail in sequence, the model shows that the loss of only 2 percent of the nodes causes a catastrophic failure of the entire system.

    The authors point out that this vulnerability is an inherent part of the existing system. If the power grid were highly redundant, however, the loss of a small number of nodes should not cause power loss because the system reroutes through alternative paths. Possible remediation schemes include increased redundancy focused on key substations and transmission lines, or more distributed generation, which would decrease the load on these key points. ''Future additions to the system should consider the effect of the new nodes on relieving strain on key nodes,'' Albert says. ''From this model, we know how defects can propagate through the system, we have identified parts of the system that need to be improved because they are not redundant, and we can show which substations need to be protected from failure in order to avoid widespread system failure. These are considerations that could help guide energy policy decisions.''

    Posted by SV at 06:30 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    On This Day (2003-09-17)

    2003: Resolving Everything: VeriSign Adds Wildcards
    2003: RThe cheap way to the stars - by escalator

    Posted by SV at 06:17 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 16, 2004

    Just Cause Law Collective

    The Just Cause Law Collective is an excellent resource for outlining what your rights as citizens or non-citizens are within the U.S. in text and illustrations that are understandable by the layperson. It also includes advice on how to survive police encounters and a special section for activists.

    Posted by SV at 06:47 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Smallest atomic clock, a grain of rice!

    Atomic clock technology has been made so small it may soon be possible to incorporate super-accurate timekeeping into mobile devices such as cellphones.

    Computer chip fabrication techniques were used to make a clock mechanism that will neither lose nor gain a second in 300 years.

    Nist's John Kitching "When we finally get the full device finished, we expect it to be roughly 1 sq cm"

    Researchers believe final development should see a battery-operated system that is about the size of a sugar lump.

    The US National Institute of Standards and Technology is behind the work.

    Posted by SV at 06:37 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    On This Day (2003-09-16)

    2003: inner peace

    Posted by SV at 06:00 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 15, 2004

    Prince Philip for you

    Do you still throw spears at each other?
    - Prince Philip (on meeting Aborigines in Australia)

    If it has got four legs and it is not a chair, if it has got two wings and it flies but is not an aeroplane, and if it swims and it is not a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it.
    - Prince Philip (as spoken at a 1986 World Wildlife Fund meeting)

    How do you keep the natives off the booze long enough to get them to pass test?
    - Prince Philip (Asking a driving instructor in Oban, Scotland)

    You can't have been here that long, you haven't got a pot belly.
    - Prince Philip (as told to a Briton in Hungary)

    Posted by SV at 06:54 AM | Comments (5) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Google is run by Pigeons!!

    (via Gizmos)

    As a Google user, you're familiar with the speed and accuracy of a Google search. How exactly does Google manage to find the right results for every query as quickly as it does? The heart of Google's search technology is PigeonRank™, a system for ranking web pages developed by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University.

    Why Google's patented PigeonRank™ works so well?

    PigeonRank's success relies primarily on the superior trainability of the domestic pigeon (Columba livia) and its unique capacity to recognize objects regardless of spatial orientation. The common gray pigeon can easily distinguish among items displaying only the minutest differences, an ability that enables it to select relevant web sites from among thousands of similar pages.

    By collecting flocks of pigeons in dense clusters, Google is able to process search queries at speeds superior to traditional search engines, which typically rely on birds of prey, brooding hens or slow-moving waterfowl to do their relevance rankings.

    When a search query is submitted to Google, it is routed to a data coop where monitors flash result pages at blazing speeds. When a relevant result is observed by one of the pigeons in the cluster, it strikes a rubber-coated steel bar with its beak, which assigns the page a PigeonRank value of one. For each peck, the PigeonRank increases. Those pages receiving the most pecks, are returned at the top of the user's results page with the other results displayed in
    pecking order.

    Continue Reading at Google's own site

    Posted by SV at 06:22 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    On This day (2003-09-15)

    2003: Dilbert
    2003: EU tries to leverage 'geographic indications' at the WTO

    Posted by SV at 06:05 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 14, 2004

    NASA Studies Solar Sails to Propel Spacecraft

    Sailing through space? The concept could soon be a reality. NASA could soon travel through space with the use of gigantic solar sails -- some as large as a football field.

    The sails use the Sun's energy to propel a spacecraft -- much the way wind pushes sailboats across water. ''We are making the stuff of science fiction into reality,'' said Les Johnson, manager of the In-Space Propulsion Technology Projects Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The excitement surrounds the recent deployment of two solar sails -- each nearly 33 feet in length along one side -- by NASA engineers and their industry partners. The successful deployments reach a critical milestone in the development of a unique propulsion technology -- one that could enable future deep space missions.

    Posted by SV at 06:27 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    On This Day (2003-09-14)

    2003:The Best Software You're Not Using

    Posted by SV at 06:20 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 13, 2004

    Fake $200 featuring Bush is back

    Pennsylvania woman faces charges after cashier accepted bill with the president's picture on it.

    NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - It's no secret that people are passionate about the 2004 presidential election, but one Pennsylvania woman may have pushed her political feelings for George Bush a little too far.

    Pennsylvania State Police say they plan to file criminal charges against Deborah Trautwine, 51, after she passed a fake $200 bill with the president's picture on it, according to a report in the Tribune-Review of Westmoreland County, Pa.

    Continue reading ...

    Posted by SV at 06:34 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 10, 2004

    Indian dance routine wins over US

    "Balle balle, Hadippa," the chorus chants breathlessly, as the sweaty and bouncing group of New Yorkers moves to the rhythm of the latest workout in aerobics exercise.

    They are performing bhangra, the Indian rural dance from the northern state of Punjab.

    Bhangra is one of the trendiest of fitness and exercise routines, and is fast emerging as a popular alternative to regular aerobics among Americans, winning rave reviews from the fitness gurus.

    Check out their website.

    Posted by SV at 06:47 AM | Comments (3) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 09, 2004

    Judith Economos, creator of a new art form

    I have the honor of knowing the creator of the new art form, "Paintcuts". Over the years art has taken many forms and mediums. And in the current techo-world people have used computer to express themselves. But I have not seen such simply beautiful work ever before.

    Dr. Judith Economos is a versatile artist who works in various media including oil and acrylic paint, clay modeling, woodcarving; and etching, but considers drawing her main means of expression.

    I have been a big fan of Matisse and Picasso and was sad that no new work will match that caliber and like a breath of fresh air Comes Dr. Judith Economos. Her art quenches my thirst for the masters.

    Her website shows some of her work and like a true artist she restricts her editions. It is a honor to be in her collectors list.

    Some of my favorites are:
    scholar on sepia text
    holding the leaf of the black tupelo
    black and white horse
    3 one-stroke horses
    gould on piano
    hommage a gottleib
    emerging nude
    maiden and unicorn mural
    Posted by SV at 06:28 AM | Comments (7) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    On This Day

    2004: Even an MBA can do it..

    Posted by SV at 06:06 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 08, 2004

    Genesis space probe crashes to Earth

    Breaking news....

    Parachute fails on capsule holding solar particles

    DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, Utah - A space capsule holding atoms collected from solar wind fell to a crash landing on Earth Wednesday after its parachute failed.

    A pair of helicopters helmed by stunt pilots had been ready to help snatch the refrigerator-sized Genesis capsule’s parachute with a hook during its descent. But there was no sign that the parachute opened, and video from the scene showed the 400-pound capsule buried in the ground at the military Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. The capsule broke open on impact.

    It was not yet clear whether the $260 million Genesis mission was ruined.

    continue reading ...

    Posted by SV at 01:40 PM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack


    A little girl and her father were crossing a flimsy bridge. The father was kind of scared so he asked his little daughter, "Sweetheart, please hold my hand so that you don't fall into the river."

    The little girl said, "No, Dad. You hold my hand."

    "What's the difference?" asked the puzzled father.

    "There's a big difference," replied the little girl. "If I hold your hand and something happens to me, chances are that I may let your hand go. But if you hold my hand, I know for sure that no matter what happens, you will never let my hand go."

    In any relationship, the essence of trust is not in its bind, age, caste or creed but in its bond. So hold the hand of your loved ones rather than expecting them to hold yours...

    Posted by SV at 06:16 AM | Comments (6) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    On This Day (2003-09-08)

    2003: Romancing the Microbe

    Posted by SV at 06:01 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 07, 2004


    This artistic language experiment looks at how we use words and how often we use them. Presenting "the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonality," the site talks the talk. To use it, simply type a word, and the site returns its rank in English usage. But where do they get the information? The site uses data from the British National Corpus®, a collection of more than 100 million words representing a cross-section of English usage. The number one ranked word is just that, but it comes as a mild surprise that "conquistador" brings up the rear. Another cool feature of this experiment is that the size of each word is relative to the words before and after it, giving a visual representation of how much we use it. Trust us -- this site is 2,778.

    Posted by SV at 06:41 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Roadside Online

    Roadside Online. A blog about Diners.

    Posted by SV at 06:37 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 06, 2004

    Did I read that sign right?



    In a London department store: BARGAIN BASEMENT UPSTAIRS




    Notice in health food shop window: CLOSED DUE TO ILLNESS

    Spotted in a safari park: ELEPHANTS PLEASE STAY IN YOUR CAR




    Now that you've smiled at least once, it's your turn to spread the stupidity and send this to someone you want to bring a smile to (maybe even a chuckle). We all need a good laugh, keep on smiling :)

    Posted by SV at 07:03 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 05, 2004

    Amazing japanese animation

    AN Amazing japanese animation based on the psychologically complicated and beautifully playful work of comic book artist Jim Woodring.(Sunday morning cartoons for you, complete with a nod to the Jetsons, courtesy the Japan Media Arts Festival. Other featured work here.)

    Posted by SV at 06:28 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    On This Day (2003-09-05)

    2003: Festive Times

    Posted by SV at 06:09 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 04, 2004

    Let’s Retire to the Hilton

    (note: I had a slight hesitation in deciding the category for this post)

    (via Time Goes By)

    “No nursing home for me! I'm checking into the Hilton Inn. With the average cost for a nursing home per day reaching $188.00, there is a better way when we get old and feeble. I have already checked on reservations at the Hilton. For a combined long-term stay discount and senior discount, it is $49.23 per night. That leaves $138.77 a day for:

    • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in any restaurant I want, or room service
    • Laundry, gratuities, and special TV movies

    Plus, they provide a swimming pool, a workout room, a lounge, washer, dryer, etc. Most have free toothpaste and razors and all have free shampoo and soap. They treat you like a customer, not a patient. $5.00 worth of tips a day will have the entire staff scrambling to help you.

    There is a city bus stop out front and seniors ride free. The handicap bus will also pick you up (if you fake a reasonably good limp). To meet other nice people, call a church bus on Sundays. For a change of scenery, take the airport shuttle bus and eat at one of the nice restaurants there. While you're at the airport, fly somewhere. Otherwise, the cash keeps building up.

    It takes months to get into decent nursing homes. Hilton will take your reservation today. And you are not stuck in one place forever. You can move from Hilton to Hilton, or even from city to city. Want to see Hawaii? They have a Hilton there, too - the wonderful Hilton Hawaiian Village and Spa.

    TV broken? Light bulbs need changing? Need a mattress replaced? No problem. They fix everything and apologize for the inconvenience. The Inn has a night security person and daily room service. The maid checks if you are okay. If not, they will call the undertaker or an ambulance. If you fall and break a hip, Medicare will pay for the hip, and Hilton will upgrade you to a suite for the rest of your life.

    And no worries about visits from family. They will always be glad to find you at the Inn and will probably check in for a few days' mini-vacation. The grandkids can use the pool.

    What more can you ask for?

    So, when I reach the golden age, I'll face it with a grin. Just forward all my email to the Hilton Inn."

    Upon telling this story at a dinner with friends and too much red wine, we came up with even more benefits the Hilton provides to retirees:

    Most standard rooms have coffeemakers, easy chairs with ottomans, and satellite TV - all you need to enjoy a cozy afternoon. After a movie and a good nap, you can check on your children (free local phone calls), then take a stroll to the lounge or restaurant where you meet new and exotic people every day. Many Hiltons even feature live entertainment on the weekends.

    Often they have special offers, too, like the Kids Eat Free Program. You can invite your grandkids over after school to have a free dinner with you. Just tell them not to bring more than three friends.

    If you want to travel, but are a bit skittish about unfamiliar surroundings, in a Hilton you'll always feel at home because wherever you go, the rooms all look the same.

    And if you're getting a little absent-minded in your old days, you never have to worry about not finding your room. Your electronic key fits only one door and the helpful bellman or desk clerk is on duty 24/7.

    I told Stephen Bollenback, CEO of Hilton this story. I'm happy to report that he was positively ecstatic at the idea of us checking in for a year or more at one of their hotels. Stephen said we could have easily knocked them down to $40 a night.

    See you at the Hilton. And not just for a "Bounce Back Weekend," but for the rest of our lives.

    - anonymous

    Posted by SV at 06:18 AM | Comments (3) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 03, 2004

    David L. Phillips: Turkey's Dreams of Accession

    (Article - Foreign Affairs (September/October 2004), reproduced here with permission from Mr. Phillips)

    Summary: The hope of joining the EU has driven major reforms in Turkey, including economic liberalization, human rights protection, and greater civilian oversight of the military. But these reforms have fueled suspicions among Islamists and hard-line army officers. EU membership would help Turkey become a successful Muslim democracy, strengthen it as an ally in the fight against terrorism, and foster liberalization in the Islamic world.

    David L. Phillips is a Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.


    Turkey is a secular Muslim democracy and a crucial ally for the West. The eastern flank of NATO, straddling Europe and Asia, it played a critical role in containing the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In the 1990s, it helped monitor Saddam Hussein and protect Iraqi Kurds by permitting U.S. warplanes to use its bases. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, it became a staging area for coalition forces in Afghanistan, where Turkish forces eventually assumed overall command of the International Stabilization Force. Turkey continues to be a pivotal partner in the fight against al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, despite attacks by radical Islamists at home.

    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reaffirmed Turkey's ties to the West by embracing the country's commitment to joining the EU. In anticipation of a December summit at which EU governments will decide whether to open accession talks with Ankara, Erdogan has been pushing domestic reforms. In particular, he has undertaken the thorny task of subordinating Turkey's traditionally strong military to civilian control. This effort has helped him forge common cause with reformers in the military establishment, which has long been committed to the country's secularity. But it has also exacerbated tensions with army hard-liners and other ultranationalists who are reluctant to relinquish prestige, privilege, and power.

    For the sake of both Turkey and its allies, Erdogan's overtures to the EU must succeed. EU membership would anchor Turkey in the West, fortify it as a firewall against terrorism, and help make it a model of democracy for the Muslim world. Rejection, on the other hand, would set back domestic reforms and radicalize religious extremists. Instead of a bulwark of stability and moderation, Turkey would become a hotbed of anti-Americanism and extremism. Rather than serving as a beachhead for Western interests in the Middle East, it would join the arc of unstable countries in the region that oppose the liberal values that form the foundation of the EU.


    In 1923, Mustafa Kemal collected the remnants of the shattered Ottoman Empire to create the Republic of Turkey, hoping to build a truly modern state on a par with its European neighbors. Kemal, known as Atatürk ("the father of all Turks"), abolished the caliphate, secularized academic curricula, and replaced Turkey's Arabic script with a Latin one. He disbanded religious courts, Westernized the legal system, and gave women suffrage and equal rights. Turkey's founding constitution enshrined the country's commitment to secularism and republicanism.

    Since then, Turkey's generals have been unflinching guardians of Kemalism. Both the Turkish Armed Forces Internal Service Law of 1961 and the 1982 constitution entrust the military with responsibility for promoting Atatürk's legacy. Officers see their task extending beyond the protection of the country's territory to include warding off threats to the public order, such as separatism, terrorism, and religious fundamentalism.

    The military's role as the watchdog of civilian governments is embedded in Turkey's institutions. The constitution, for example, requires the cabinet to give "priority consideration to the decisions" of the National Security Council (NSC), ...

    Posted by SV at 06:32 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    Oh no. Bush has spoken.

    (via my friend and fellow blogger - Nia. Thanks Nia for posting the links, I fortunately missed the speech. What bothers me is Mr. Bush and group are doing a very aggressive campaign and it does not matter if there is no truth, but remember a lie told often enough becomes the truth in the minds of the people hearing it over and over.)

    Well, it's over. While protests are still underway in NYC, the RNC has finally come to an end. Good.

    After listening to Bush's speech, I'll have to admit that it was well written. His small business incentives sounded too good to be true. But we know better. This was typical W. You could see him feeding off the energy of the crowd.

    He spoke of prescription drug benefits for seniors, the ease of buying a home, creating opportunity zones, and health insurance. He also sang the same "we will prevail against the terrorists" song and bashed Kerry and their differences.

    There was one moment, when a protestor "was escorted" (dragged) out by the secret service, that Bush gave one of his evil smiles, a grin, that reminded me of all the mistakes he has made.

    I wasn't fooled by his speech. The man's a politician for God's sake. The facts are: the economy sucks and Iraq is a disaster. I'm just sad that Kerry's speech in comparison wasn't as great. With this speech and the Surprise! Osama's been captured! card up his sleeve for later, Kerry has to do his best between now and the election to win.

    Posted by SV at 06:12 AM | Comments (1) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    On This Day (2003-09-03)

    - Have been emailing this for years now..
    - Medical Journals
    - Study: Future Doctors Favor Lifestyle Over Money

    Posted by SV at 06:09 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 02, 2004


    Who hasn't gazed into the night sky or marveled at Earth's biodiversity and mused, "How? Why? Anywhere else?" These are some of life's big questions, and the quest for the origin of everything requires scientific rigor, not to mention serious brainpower, from far-flung fields of study. This site allows to you peek over the shoulders of particle physicists, penguin researchers, and astrobiologists in remote outposts via virtual field trips. From Antarctica to Arecibo, you'll meet great minds, learn about their complex tools, and see how each discipline holds a key piece to the cosmic jigsaw puzzle. Through show-and-tell webcasts, see discoveries as they unfold, join bat experts in Belize, or just chill out at the bottom of the world. Though scientists may never find all the pieces, surely assembling part of the big picture will lead to answers to the big questions.

    Posted by SV at 06:28 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    On This Day (2003-09-02)

    2003:Epigrams on Programming - Alan J. Perlis

    Posted by SV at 06:06 AM | Comments (0) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    September 01, 2004

    The heat's on and the Japanese can cool off with horse-flesh ice-cream

    AS TOKYO swelters through record high temperatures, Japanese are being advised to cool down with a nice tub of raw horse-flesh ice-cream.

    For those averse to red meat, there is always prawn or clam ice-cream. Vegetarians can try soybean and kelp ice-cream, or perhaps a cornet of strawberry and spinach.

    Recent years of cool summers have been hard on ice-cream makers. But as temperatures reached 39.5C (103F) in central Tokyo on Tuesday, the Japan Ice-Cream Association, backed by the Home Affairs Ministry, counter-attacked. It has set up a giant summer-long trade fair in central Tokyo called Ice-Cream City, where confectioners from aim to persuade Japanese that there is more to their output than classics such as raspberry ripple.

    The campaign has been bolstered by a report from the ministry showing that while Japanese spent more than £1.5 billion on ice-cream and sorbets last year, they ranked only nineteenth in the world in individual consumption.

    via gizmos

    In its mission to generate as wide an appeal as possible, Ice-Cream City is not restricting its target market to those with a sweet tooth. Basashi vanilla, for example, draws on a Fukushima region speciality and includes chunks of horse-flesh sushi. Yagi no aisu is ice-cream made with goat’s milk and goat meat, and gyu tan is cow-tongue sorbet. In the adjoining freezer, customers are offered ice-cream flavoured with real octopus, abalone, oysters, shrimp, crab and whale. The most expensive, selling for about £5 for a small tub, are shark’s fin and sea- urchin roe ice-cream.

    On the vegetable front there are garlic, potato and lettuce, cactus and seaweed ice-creams. The more adventurous may enjoy the appeal of horseradish flavour, or even goya — a notoriously bitter type of cucumber found in the southern Japanese islands.

    # British ice-cream fans are not quite so adventurous, says Heston Blumenthal, who serves a bacon and egg ice-cream at his restaurant, the Fat Duck, in Bray, Berkshire (Ben Hoyle writes).

    “The first hurdle is that people associate ice-cream with dessert. That’s actually a 20th-century thing. Before then, people had been making savoury ices for centuries in England, from parsley to cucumber to parmesan to spinach.

    “Five or six years ago we put a crab ice-cream on the menu and you could see the barriers come up because they expected it to taste sweet. But if you fed them the same thing and called it a frozen crab bisque, they had no problem.”


    Average yearly individual consumption in litres
    1 Australia 14.9
    2 USA 14
    3 British Virgin Islands 13.5
    4 St Kitts 12.8
    5 Bermuda 11.8
    6 Sweden 11.5
    7 Ireland 11.5
    8 Canada 11
    9 Norway 10.5
    10 Cayman Islands 10.5
    18 Britain 6.5

    Source: Euromonitor

    Posted by SV at 06:38 AM | Comments (2) to view click on the post time. | TrackBack

    On This Day (2003-09-01)

    2003: Health Check: 'During the doctors' strike in the 1970s, death rates fell'

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    what blogs are good for, aside from ego expression... Sort of like putting your face, life story and personal opinions on a milk carton so other people can see them.