September 27th, 2006

Muslims in Europe

September 27, 2006: Study Explores Political Disorganization among Muslims in Europe
APSA Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Bahram Rajaee
(202) 483-2512

Washington, DC--The 15 million Muslims residing in Europe today do not pose a threat to European values or politics given the extent of their myriad divisions and internal fragmentation. This conclusion contradicts analysts and policymakers who after 9/11 fear the impact of Muslims on European politics and policy based on the assumption that a Muslim bloc will soon emerge to dominate the foreign and domestic policies of European states if nothing is done to prevent it.

The findings appear in a study, coauthored by political scientists Carolyn M. Warner and Manfred W. Wenner (both of Arizona State University) and entitled "Religion and the Political Organization of Muslims in Europe," which appears in the September 2006 issue of Perspectives on Politics, a journal of the American Political Science Association (APSA). The article is online at
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(no subject)

From the Christian Science Monitor:

More US Hispanics drawn to Islam
Marriage, post-9/11 curiosity, and a shared interest in issues such as immigration are key reasons behind the shift. By Amy Green
From's newsletter:

NY Gov. George Pataki has signed into law three bills aimed at combating the growing problem of identity theft. The Consumer Communication Records Privacy Act prohibits the sale, fraudulent transfer, or solicitation of a person's telephone records without his consent. The second bill puts new limits on the use of Social Security numbers. A third measure strengthens existing laws to allow for the prosecution of those who intentionally disrupt or steal personal information or plant programs such as spyware on personal computers without authorization.
<> [Newsday]

Sony says it will launch an electronic bookstore on the Internet and start selling a device that displays e-books purchased from the store on October 1, after missing an earlier unveiling in the spring due to technical reasons. The Sony Connect bookstore will carry about 10,000 books from the top six publishers, including HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster.
<> [Washington Post]

slithytove has more about it, with links:

What's cool about the Reader is that it uses E-Ink, a technology that produces letterforms so sharp and black they look pretty close to type. Uses very little energy: 7,500 page turns between battery recharges.

The Reader is an updated version of the Sony Librie, which was sold only in Japan, with Japanese firmware. There was a graymarket version, with firmware hacked to display in English, that has been sold in the US by third parties for a few years, for US$400+. The Reader will go for $350. Reads Sony's proprietary DRM'ed format, but will also read ASCII text, rtf's, pdf's and some others.

The format war around next-generation DVDs may be over before it has begun, thanks to a breakthrough from a British media technology company. Britain-based New Medium Enterprises says it has solved a technical production problem that makes it possible to produce a cheap multiple-layer DVD disk containing one film in different, competing formats.

(no subject)


Public Release: 27-Sep-2006
Spinal cord stimulators tested as treatment for patients with migraine headaches
Researchers at Rush University Medical Center are testing a new treatment for migraine headaches: occipital nerve stimulation, a surgical procedure in which an implanted neurostimulator delivers electrical impulses to nerves under the skin at the base of the head at the back of the neck.

Public Release: 27-Sep-2006
October GEOLOGY and GSA TODAY media highlights
Topics in this issue include: Possibility that ancient Delphic oracle Pythia were breathing something other than ethylene; Magma chamber recharge at Vesuvius prior to the A.D. 79 eruption; New insights into dynamics of sea-level change; The northern Adriatic Sea as modern laboratory for studying 450 million years of marine ecosystem evolution; and discovery of a southwestern Pacific region where no sediment has accumulated. The GSA TODAY science article addresses bioalteration of volcanic glass.

Public Release: 27-Sep-2006
Silver anomalies found in Jerusalem pottery hint at wealth during second Temple period
Scientists with the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and Bar-Ilan University have discovered unusually high concentrations of silver in samples of many different types of pottery from excavations in Jerusalem of the late Second Temple period, the first century BCE (Before the Common Era) through 70 CE (Common Era). This is the first study ever conducted on silver in archaeological ceramics.
National Science Foundation, United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation

Public Release: 27-Sep-2006
Tarantulas produce silk from their feet
Researchers have found for the first time that tarantulas can produce silk from their feet as well as their spinnerets, a discovery with profound implications for why spiders began to spin silk in the first place.
"The team found that the tarantulas secrete silk from spigots on their legs, allowing them to better cling to surfaces."

Public Release: 27-Sep-2006
Physical Review Journals
Physics of small business success, dark matter gravitation, fibers for secret messages
The physics of finding the perfect spot for your new flower shop, dropping dark matter and fiber lasers for secure communication are articles featured in the Physical Review Journals.

Public Release: 27-Sep-2006
Journal of Urban Health
Reforms to gun dealer sales practices reduce supply of new guns to criminals
Researchers with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health's Center for Gun Policy and Research report that reforms to the sales practices of a gun store -- which prior to May 1999, sold more than half of the guns recovered from criminals in Milwaukee -- resulted in a 44 percent decrease in the flow of new guns to criminals in the city.
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Overbrook Foundation, Joyce Foundation

Public Release: 27-Sep-2006
Journal of Law and Economics
FSU study: Abortion notification, consent laws reduce risky teen sex
Laws that require minors to notify or get the consent of one or both parents before having an abortion reduce risky sexual behavior among teens, according to a Florida State University law professor in Tallahassee, Fla.

Public Release: 27-Sep-2006
British Journal of Sports Medicine
Finger length ratio may predict women's sporting prowess
The difference between the lengths of a woman's index and ring fingers may indicate her sporting prowess, suggests research published ahead of print in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The finding supports other research indicating a possible link between this ratio and fertility, vulnerability to serious disease, intellectual ability, certain personality traits and musical talent.

Public Release: 27-Sep-2006
Embryo tests give parents the choice
A survey of fertility clinics in the US suggests that 40 percent are allowing couples to choose the sex of their child using the testing method, preimplantation genetic diagnosis. The survey found that two thirds of PGD procedures were used to test for embryos at risk of birth defects. However, it also showed that PGD was being widely used to reveal the baby's sex, as well as for diagnosing late-onset diseases such as Alzheimer's.

Public Release: 27-Sep-2006
Fire ant-attacking fly spreading rapidly in Texas
Parasitic flies introduced to control red imported fire ants have spread over four million acres in central and southeast Texas since the flies' introduction in 1999, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have discovered using new flytraps they developed.

Public Release: 27-Sep-2006
Bose-Einstein condensation in the solid state
New experimental research shows that half-matter, half-light quasi-particles called polaritons show compelling evidence of Bose-Einstein condensation at the relatively high temperature of 19 degrees Kelvin. The creation of a polariton Bose-Einstein condensate in the solid state provides scientists with a unique opportunity to better understand and possibly exploit the quantum effects that occur in these very special conditions.
Swiss National Science Foundation

Public Release: 26-Sep-2006
Psychological Science
Beauty and the brain
The phrase "easy on the eyes" may hit closer to the mark than we suspected. Experiments led by Piotr Winkielman, of the University of California, San Diego, and published in the current issue of Psychological Science, suggest that judgments of attractiveness depend on mental processing ease, or being "easy on the mind."
National Science Foundation, Otago Research

(no subject)

Wednesday September 27, 2006. Produce on the Portico: Lions Club members giving out produce and baked goods at Joyce Methodist Church's porch.

When I got there, the only produce left was potatoes -- which I already had enough of. (I was told that earlier they'd had "Chinese lettuce.") I did get some bread.

And that's the end till fourth Wednesday of May or June (depending on the weather).

***Sick. Missed the reading to celebrate twenty years for Tales of the Unanticipated.
There are writers (and others) who believe everyone's minds work the way theirs does. I've figured out a cure for some of them: have them read amateur sex fiction. Not all the way through, but enough to give an idea of how the authors see the world.

One place to start is There's one obvious constraint on story-posters: all participants must be eighteen or older.

Most people already know there are others who don't share their sexual tastes. So it's not necessary to read even one story about the joys of being in a bathtub full of cold spaghetti with a partner who's exactly six feet tall. Reading stories by people who share your tastes will be disconcerting enough.

Why is this story being slowed down by a game of strip poker, when everyone was on the verge of tearing off everyone else's clothes? And why is the writer so excited about the fine points of poker playing?

Why are these people described in terms of their measurements, with no visual details except their hair color?
So, the Twin Cities have the luck of getting the Republican National Convention in 2008. This allegedly will bring economic benefits. I haven't seen an economic analysis.

I do not respect the current leadership of the Republican Party. Someday, it will again be led by people I can respect (though I probably won't vote for them.) It would be nice if this happened in 2008.

Writing: "A Killing in Futures" -- slight tweaking of the first paragraph. There was a larger change I intended to make, but turns out I'd already done it.

Self-help information:

Decluttering: A few things picked up.