"Pursuant to Sub-Section 8, Paragraph C of Executive Branch Classified Directive #13334-P, dated 1 May 2004, the Armed Forces of the United States stand directed by President George W. Bush to accelerate preparations for compulsory induction of the adult non-homosexual population into active combat duty in the War Against Terror.Which is pretty cute.
Henceforth, and in accordance with established Federal conscriptional provisions, all male and female citizens aged 16-45 must register for the impending draft. Each registrant's personal information will undergo rigorous computer analysis to compile a profile of overall physical, mental, and moral fitness prior to the issuing of orders to report for basic training."
This Thursday is the 52nd Annual National Day of Prayer.It does get worse. Really, they even tell what posture is proper for praying. Read it for yourself.
You're thinking, 'Surely that can't be a government-sanctioned holiday, right? That must be a Hallmark Holiday or something some Church came up with to promote religion, right?' Sadly, no.
The National Day of Prayer was established as an annual event by an act of Congress in 1952, and was signed into law by President Truman. In 1988, Ronald Reagan amended the law to establish its celebration on the first Thursday in May.
You're thinking, 'No way. We have a separation of Church and State in this country. Congress can't make a law respecting the establishment of religion, and designating a National Day of Prayer would do exactly that! That would be unconstitutional. You must be making that up as some sort of strange joke, right?' Sadly, no.
This year, President Bush's proclamation reads, in part:
The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called on our citizens to reaffirm the role of prayer in our society by recognizing annually a 'National Day of Prayer.'
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 6, 2004, as a National Day of Prayer. I ask the citizens of our Nation to give thanks, each according to his or her own faith, for the freedoms and blessings we have received and for God's continued guidance and protection. I also urge all Americans to join in observing this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
The President asks that you give thanks, according to your own faith, for God's guidance and protection. Your own faith. God's guidance and protection. I guess your own faith is okay, as long as it has a God.
Oh, and Jesus, too. God, and Jesus. According to the National Day of Prayer website, "Prayer is opening your life to Jesus." Forget that other stuff about your own faith. There must be God and Jesus. It can still be your own faith, I guess. But make sure it includes God and Jesus. Come on, it's a Government sanctioned National Day of Prayer. You want to be a team player, right? You call yourself an American? America is praying to God and Jesus."
"Habitual marijuana use increased among U.S. adults over the past decade, particularly among young minorities and baby boomers, government figures show.Yeah, I lot of us I haven't found god yet. But don't you worry, when we do, we'll make him pick up the tab!
The prevalence of marijuana abuse or dependence climbed from 1.2 percent of adults in 1991-92 to 1.5 percent in 2001-02, or an estimated 3 million adults 18 and over.
That represents an increase of 800,000 people, according to data from two nationally representative surveys that each queried more than 40,000 adults.
Among 18- to 29-year-olds, the rate or abuse or dependence remained stable among whites but surged by about 220 percent among black men and women, to 4.5 percent of that population, and by almost 150 percent among Hispanic men, to 4.7 percent.
Among all adults ages 45 to 64, the rate increased by 355 percent, to about 0.4 percent of that population.
The report, published in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association (news - web sites), was led by Dr. Wilson Compton of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who said the rise in dependence was probably due at least partly to increases in the potency of pot over the past decade.
Also, the figures may indicate that baby boomers 'bring their bad habits with them into old age,' he said."
"NEW HAVEN, Conn. - President Bush (news - web sites) and first lady Laura Bush will skip their twin daughters' college graduations later this month to avoid creating a distraction at the respective schools, the White House said Thursday.What's the big deal? Everything will be smooth and safe, if you just make the other students and thier parents conduct their graduations in a free speech zone.
'There are no plans at this time to attend these ceremonies,' said Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for Laura Bush. 'The Bushes felt the focus should be on the students, and not how long the lines are to go through the metal detectors.'
Jenna Bush is slated to graduate May 22 from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's degree in English. Barbara Bush graduates May 24 with a bachelor's in humanities from Yale University."
"Former star investment banker Frank Quattrone was found guilty Tuesday of allegedly trying to obstruct a federal investigation into Credit Suisse First Boston's IPO allocation processes. USA Today noted that Quattrone 'is the first prominent Wall Street insider to face jail time since former 1980s junk bond king Michael Milken was sentenced in 1990.'Maybe I'm just too demanding. I...will...go...watch...Friends...Final...
The Milken comparison is apt, because history will show that just as Milken was needlessly prosecuted, so too was Frank Quattrone.
In his book 'The Seven Fat Years,' the late Robert Bartley's classic account of the 1980s economic revival, the author noted that he could not dispute the assertion that companies funded by Michael Milken's high yield bonds 'accounted for nearly all the job growth in the decade of the 1980s.'
Picking up where Bartley left off, University of Chicago law professor Daniel Fischel wrote in his legal account of the Milken era ('Payback') that there was 'certainly no evidence that he (Milken) engaged in any conduct that had ever before been considered criminal.'"
Couldn't watch the footage when I tried. Bandwidth issues, so it may be up later."al-Hayat alleges that a Parisian television channel aired new footage Tuesday night from Iraq of American troops who fire on three men that do not obviously pose any danger to them. The provider, a European who had worked in Iraq, said he had smuggled the cassette out of Iraq.A reader emails to say that the video, which isn't actually new, is getting big airplay in Canada too. It's about one minute long and you can watch it here.
I honestly can't tell what's really going on. It's night footage from an American Apache helicopter and shows the Apache crew killing three Iraqis who, indeed, 'do not obviously pose any danger to them.' However, this doesn't mean these people didn't pose any danger to them. There's no way to tell just from this footage"
"You have to understand that many in Canada look to the US as a big brother -- which is not so inaccurate. We do have the same parents -- but where you guys are the rebels that stole the family Thunderbird and peeled off in a cloud of burned rubber, we are the quiet nerds that lived in the basement of the family home until we were 35.Well, it is an interesting way to express what a lot of people may feel about our activities in recent years.
This means that we have a unique perspective. When you exceed us -- as you often do -- we love you for it, since you're family, and we're rooting for you. Plus, like all little brothers, we secretly envy you.
And yet, when you go astray, we strangely feel guilty (guilt, by the way, is the Great Canadian Emotion(tm)), because we feel we should have been able to help you somehow. Plus we feel sad, since you are family, and we love you. And lastly, like all little brothers, we are worried about you.
But right now, it's like we've just learned our big brother has ditched all his friends and gone on a crime spree, robbing banks and blowing people away. We love you, but we're scared you'll show up on our doorstep some night, drunk, with a gun on the seat of the old, idling Thunderbird, and demand that we join you."
"Yes, there were uplifting tales, moments when tears and pride swelled in everyone watching Tillman's memorial service at the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden. There were jarring moments, too, and they carried the message of the afternoon -- 'challenge yourself' -- more powerfully than those laden with conventional inspiration.This is for you people that believe there are no atheists in fox holes. Bite me.
Tillman's youngest brother, Rich, wore a rumpled white T-shirt, no jacket, no tie, no collar, and immediately swore into the microphone. He hadn't written anything, he said, and with the starkest honesty, he asked mourners to hold their spiritual bromides.
'Pat isn't with God,'' he said. 'He's fucking dead. He wasn't religious. So thank you for your thoughts, but he's fucking dead.''
What? This didn't happen for God, as well as country? A professional athlete turned soldier, and we're supposed to believe that he'd have no use for piety? Robbed of a cliche, where does that leave us?"
"RUSH: Exactly. Exactly my point! This is no different than what happens at the skull and bones initiation and we're going to ruin people's lives over it and we're going to hamper our military effort, and then we are going to really hammer them because they had a good time. You know, these people are being fired at every day. I'm talking about people having a good time, these people, you ever heard of emotional release? You of heard of need to blow some steam off?"And, my comments mirrored rea's:
I knew Rush would defend it, but god, that is so bad. You know, with his concern for our servicemembers' access to recreation, maybe he'd volunteer to be a prisoner and provide them some support. Kind of an S&M USO tour. I'd like to see the pictures.So I added
I guess it must be an common reaction, I mean, to want to see Rush stand up for his beliefs (or lay down naked in a heap of other naked men), at least once. It's always 'talk the talk', it's never 'walk the walk'.And, yes, I do feel that I would get supreme pleasure to know Rush was getting that kind of treatment from our military. I wonder how much it would cost to higher the private contractors to fly here and do just that? Or, would you have to ship Rush over there, way these guys are apparently 'beyond the law'.
"Thanks. I just couldn't bring my self to watch it. I'd rather read about it, than to watch program. It just forces me to face the fact, that some of my worst fears are coming true, and it does it in the most visceral manner possible, listening to Baby Bush speak. It's just something I just not to enforce myself to endure. It would be masochistic of me of me to do that. And, I'm not masochistic.
It's an excellent collection of viewpoints, I'll be linking to it.
"Almost two months ago I came across some startling images on a little know German web site called Fotos. The photographs were taken in Iraq during the early stages of the war, and provided an unsanitised view of the Allied military presence in that country.You'll have to go to the link, 'cause I still haven't figured out how to post pictures. I'll make that my project for the week.
I remembered the site earlier this week when I thinking over whether or not to respond to the latest string of events in Falluja, Basra and Washington. I didn't post anything about the images when I first found them because I was away from my trusty PowerBook. Anyway, to cut a long story short, when I revisited the site today I found to my dismay that the images had been taken down (having become to costly to maintain). Fortunately the cache of the machine that I had been using when I first browsed the gallery had not been cleared. Much digging later I had an almost complete set of the images."
"Kurzweil proposes research programs to replace DNA, block bioterror virusesConveying the atomic
KurzweilAI.net, April 30, 2004
Ray Kurzweil has proposed a nanobiotechnology research program to replace the cell nucleus and ribosome machinery with a nanocomputer and nanobot to prevent diseases and aging and another program to create defensive technologies against rogue designer viruses.
Kurzweil presented the ideas in a keynote at the recent 'Breakthrough Technologies for the World's Biggest Problems' conference on April 28, sponsored by the Arlington Institute.
The nucleus is basically a computer that stores the DNA genetic code and controls gene expression via RNA, messenger RNA, and ribosomes, which build amino acid sequences that get folded into proteins that control everything else."
"In a development that brings the promise of mass production to nanoscale devices, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientists have transformed carbon nanotubes into conveyor belts capable of ferrying atom-sized particles to microscopic worksites.The benefits of genetically modified foods w/o the the negatives
By applying a small electrical current to a carbon nanotube, they moved indium particles along the tube like auto parts on an assembly line. Their research, described in the April 29 issue of Nature, lays the groundwork for the high-throughput construction of atomic-scale optical, electronic, and mechanical devices that will power the burgeoning field of nanotechnology.
“We’re not transporting atoms one at a time anymore — it’s more like a hose,” says Chris Regan of Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division, who co-authored the article along with fellow Materials Sciences researchers Shaul Aloni, Ulrich Dahmen, Robert Ritchie, and Alex Zettl. Aloni, Regan, and Zettl are also scientists in the University of California at Berkeley’s Department of Physics, where much of the work was conducted.
The ability to shuttle a stream of particles to precise locations fills a void that has stymied the efficient assembly of nanostructures. For years, scientists have been able to simultaneously deliver millions of atoms to millions of sites simply by mixing chemicals. Although this fast technique has grown quite sophisticated, it remains far too blunt to build atomic-scale devices. On the other end of the spectrum is the ability to manipulate individual atoms, a feat that came of age in 1990 when IBM researchers spelled out the company logo by positioning 35 xenon atoms with a scanning tunneling microscope. Although precise, this technique is painstakingly slow, with no way to swiftly deliver atoms to the work area."
"But the quest for a longer-lasting tomato didn't end there. As the Flavr Savr was stumbling (Monsanto eventually abandoned it), Israeli scientist Nachum Kedar was quietly bringing a natural version to market. By crossbreeding beefsteak tomatoes, Kedar had arrived at a savory, high-yield fruit that would ripen on the vine and remain firm in transit. He found a marketing partner, which licensed the tomato and flooded the US market without any PR problems. The vine-ripened hybrid, now grown and sold worldwide under several brand names, owes its existence to Kedar's knowledge of the tomato genome. He didn't use genetic engineering. His fruit emerged from a process that's both more sophisticated and far less controversial.Now for something really different
Welcome to the world of smart breeding....[
]...How Smart Breeding Works
The mission: Develop rice that's resistant to bacterial blight and will thrive around the globe.
SEARCH Food scientists scour the rice gene bank, consisting of 84,000 seed types, in search of varieties with blight immunity.
INSERT MARKER Scientists extract DNA from selected varieties and tag the blight-immunity gene - previously identified by researchers - with a chemical dye.
CROSSBREED A network of researchers around the world cross disease-resistant varieties with thousands of local versions. With some plants, this means merely putting two varieties in a room. Self-pollinating rice requires manual pollen insertion.
ANALYZE The offspring are analyzed to detect the presence of the immunity gene. Those containing the gene are planted in a field.
TEST Mature plants are exposed to bacterial blight to confirm resistance. Those that don't die, and maintain desired traits from the local variety, are distributed. Unless
REPEAT Sometimes, the process reveals several genes responsible for a trait. Three genes confer resistance to different blight strains. In such cases, breeders repeat the crossbreeding until all genes are turned on.
END RESULT A rice plant with broad resistance to bacterial blight that will thrive in local conditions.
"QUANTUM computing (see article) is not the only game in town when it comes to creating a new computing paradigm. Speaking at the American Physical Society's annual March conference, William Ditto of the University of Florida told of his efforts to create a 'chaotic computer'. This is saner than it sounds. Chaos, in the mathematical sense, is not unpredictability: chaotic systems can behave in a predictable and reproducible way. The catch is that the evolution of a chaotic system depends very sensitively on its starting conditions, which leads in the long term to behaviour that is ultimately unpredictable. But by choosing those starting conditions carefully, and only letting the system evolve for a short time, Dr Ditto thinks he can harness chaos to be computationally powerful.
Dr Ditto proposes using 'chaotic elements' - which could be specific types of electric circuits, lasers or even neurons - to replace the logic gates that are the basic building blocks of conventional computers. The inputs to each chaotic element, as with a conventional logic element, are binary: that is, either 0 or 1. If the element outputs a value that exceeds a threshold that Dr Ditto chooses, then the result is a 1, while if it is less than that threshold, the result is a 0. This is exactly what happens in a conventional logic gate as well."