March 30th, 2006

The second time as comedy

ALABAMA. You've got to give ousted State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) credit for ... umm ... exposing a commie cow conspiracy. Campaigning for Governor this week, the former "Ten Commandments Judge" declared that a proposed federal program to track livestock in order to deter the spread of mad cow disease was "more identifiable with communism than free enterprise." Moore went on to suggest he was highly skeptical of reports that an Alabama cow was found infected last week with the disease, claiming the timing of the announcement appeared curiously linked to Capitol Hill debate on the proposal....

(no subject)

From the livescience LiveJournal feed:
Nanotech Now: Tiny Technology All Around You
While much of the promise of nanotech remains in the lab, it is already in many everyday products.
Public Release: 30-Mar-2006
Nano Letters
Gold nanoparticles emit intense heat, study finds
Nanoparticles of gold can act as tiny, precise and powerful heaters, which potentially could be used in biomedical applications, according to a new study.
Ohio University

Public Release: 30-Mar-2006
American Naturalist
Why are letters and other human visual signs shaped the way that they are?
In a new study forthcoming in the May 2006 issue of The American Naturalist, researchers from the California Institute of Technology explore the hypothesis that human visual signs have been cross-culturally selected to reflect common contours in natural scenes that humans have evolved to be good at seeing.

Public Release: 30-Mar-2006
Eighth Annual International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies
RFID tags to assist in tracking first responders
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology has been around for many years and is widely used to identify, track and communicate information about items, products and even animals. An interdisciplinary team of National Institute of Standards and Technology researchers is studying whether RFID technology can be used as a low cost, reliable means to track firefighters and other first responders inside buildings and help them navigate under hazardous conditions.
National Institute of Standards and Technology

Public Release: 30-Mar-2006
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Quantum dot method rapidly identifies bacteria
A rapid method for detecting and identifying very small numbers of diverse bacteria, from anthrax to E. coli, has been developed by scientists from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Described in the March 28 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the work could lead to the development of handheld devices for accelerated identification of biological weapons and antibiotic-resistant or virulent strains of bacteria­ -- situations where speed is essential.
NIH/National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Center for Cancer Research

Public Release: 30-Mar-2006
New male contraceptive clears hurdle
Researchers received approval this week to resume enrolling volunteers in a study of a reversible, nonhormonal contraceptive for men. The contraceptive, RISUG (Reversible Inhibition of Sperm Under Guidance), provides 10 or more years of protection after a 10-15 minute procedure.

Public Release: 30-Mar-2006
Cassini finds 'missing link' moonlet evidence in Saturn's rings
Scientists with NASA's Cassini mission have found evidence that a new class of small moonlets resides within Saturn's rings.

Public Release: 30-Mar-2006
Unravelling a cosmic mystery - scientists discover the Universe's strongest magnetic field
Scientists from The University of Exeter and the International University have discovered what is thought to be the strongest magnetic field in the Universe. In the journal Science, they show that violent collisions between neutron stars create this field, which is 1000 million million times larger than earth's own magnetic field. It's thought that these collisions could be behind some of the brightest explosions in the Universe since the Big Bang, so-called short Gamma-ray bursts.

Public Release: 30-Mar-2006
Daughters of Indian immigrants continue trend of giving birth to small babies
US-born Asian-Indian women are more likely than their Mexican-American peers to deliver low birth weight infants, despite having fewer risk factors, say researchers at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford's School of Medicine.

Public Release: 30-Mar-2006
American Chemical Society 231st National Meeting
New materials for high efficiency organic solid state lighting
A new organic molecule developed by PNNL scientists may significantly improve the efficiency of organic solid state lighting. Direct conversion of electricity to light in "solid state" thin films of organic molecules occurs in organic light emitting devices which can be far more efficient than conventional "incandescent" light bulbs.

Public Release: 29-Mar-2006
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Embryos tell story of Earth's earliest animals
Much of what scientists learn about the evolution of Earth's first animals will have to be gleaned from spherical embryos fossilized under very specific conditions, according to a new study by Indiana University Bloomington and University of Bristol researchers in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
National Science Foundation, Natural Environment Research Council

Another Canadian Menace!

From The Hill E-News (

Trash of Mass Destruction?

The chairman and ranking member of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations are calling for a ban of trash imports from Canada because they pose significant security risks. Sens. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) released a report on Thursday that found that trash trucks are difficult to screen given the unknown origin of the trash and the dense nature of the cargo.

Even with an x-ray machine it is impossible to see the contents of a trash container, the report said,

“We know that Canadian trash trucks pose a security risk, yet hundreds of them cross our borders and enter our communities every day,” Levin said. “When our country has gone to such great lengths to bolster our security, it is nonsensical that we continue to allow this known security risk. If we can’t ensure the cargo is safe, then the trucks need to stop. It’s that simple.”

(no subject)

From the physicsweb LiveJournal feed:
07:00 pm - Nanoscale boost for superwires
Since high-temperature superconductors were discovered two decades ago, technologists have dreamed of low-loss electrical transmission lines, levitating trains and super-efficient motors. But applications such as these have been slow to materialize. Now, Amit Goyal and colleagues at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US have introduced nanoscale defects into a "cuprate" superconductor to create short lengths of wire that can carry large currents and work in strong magnetic fields.
From the new_scientist LiveJournal feed:
05:24 pm - Life waxes and wanes with bobbing of the Solar System
The regular movement of our solar system above and below the galactic plane matches dips in biodiversity -- deadly cosmic rays may be to blame

(no subject)

Thursday March 30, 2006. Forgot this for Tuesday: Book titled The Men Who Stare At Goats at Dreamhaven. It's nonfiction, and it's about some of the US government's stranger activities.
"There’s a perception on LJ that I always think I’m right. I don’t. I can write extensively about where I went wrong in the past, and be fairly confident in the accuracy of the games I played with myself and where it was sabotaging me. I can even be fairly confident about how to correct said problem, at least to get to the point of where I am now (which is the happiest and least stressful point of my life).

"That, I can share – because given that we’re irrational beings at heart, I think a large portion of making yourself into a better person (assuming, of course, that you can) is finding where reality is. You need to learn to outthink the games and shortcuts that your brain takes, and discover whether your chosen course of action is as good as you've rationalized it to be. When you’re suicidally depressed, it’s kind of vital to realize that even though you think you’re worthless and should be expunged from the face of the planet, you’re probably underestimating yourself. (You may not feel it, but you should at least recognize it enough not to act upon it.) When you’re in a relationship, I think that learning to see the differences between what you say you want and what you really respond to is key. When you say you’re a failure and blame it on someone, you need to analyze the situation and find out what really caused your downfall.

"(Even if that’s you. Especially if it’s you.)

"I write about this stuff because it may help other people who are currently fooling themselves in ways that I used to. I don’t think advice usually helps at the time – most people don’t listen to a damned thing you say before they hit rock-bottom – but you can plant the seed of an idea in their mind, and maybe when they have nowhere else to turn they’ll finally listen to what you said.

"But what I usually don’t write about is how I’m [___]ing up my life now, because I don’t see that yet...."
Writing: "The Far Cousins" -- I now know the viewpoint character from the inside; not completely, but enough to go on with. The central character now has a name. I have the dialog and action of the first scene. (I'll have to layer in description and emotion.) Deadline: April 15, I think, for critiquing at LinkOnline. Since I'll be busy with Minicon that weekend, my effective deadline is probably April 13.

Self-help information: Got a phone message from someone interested in Clutterers Anonymous. Called back a couple of times; so far, have gotten a recording.

Decluttering: Got a couple of portable files.