Sesame Street 35th Anniversary show

This evening my son and I watched it together. It brought back such memories, Mr. Hooper, Bob, Luis, Maria, Snuffy and the kid who played Jon Jon. It was a lot of fun to watch.

I hate to admit that I have a soft spot, but they played a clip of the episode in which Big Bird discusses Mr. Hooper's death and I got a little choked up.

It was a lot of fun to watch it and a little strange to look at these characters that I grew up with in clips as the young people I remember and then now. I guess that when I was watching they were probably younger than I am now.

My son had a hard time believing that I knew so many things about the show. I guess that he thinks that I am really old now. Oh well, 35 is better than being 36. ;) Actually I am not bothered much by age, although I have to admit knowing that 40 is just around the corner is a little surreal. But since I am going to live to be 130 I have a long way to go.

Gaddafi to Compensate Libyan Jews for Lost Homes

For years any time the discussion of Palestinian refugees has been raised one of the responses has been about the Jews who were forced to leave Arab Lands. And now are we witnessing a wide spread movement or a feint by Gaddafi as he tries to make Libya an international player.

Iran arms plan worries Putin

Iran arms plan worries Putin

"SOCHI, Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed concern about Iran's atomic programme yesterday and said it must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons.

"Russia has co-operated with Iran and we will continue to do so, but like our European colleagues France, Germany, Britain, and the US, we are concerned by the fact that questions are being raised about Iran's nuclear programme," Putin said.

"We are categorically against an enlargement of the club of nuclear powers, and that includes Iran," Putin said after talks with the German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac."

Remember the post below in which I mentioned Russia and the US aligned against the Muslim world. It could happen. Part of the challenge is trying to avoid making it a battle against the "Muslim world." That is problematic for all sorts of reasons and really not necessary.

U.S. Acting to Block Syrian Meddling in Lebanon

"UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 31 - The United States and France decided Tuesday to rush forward a Security Council resolution calling on Syria to remove its troops from Lebanon and cease its intervention in that country's politics.

The action comes in response to a sudden decision by the Lebanese cabinet over the weekend to endorse a Syrian-backed move to let President Émile Lahoud stay in office for three years beyond the constitutional limit of a single six-year term.

Mr. Lahoud, whose term is to expire in November, is favored by Syria, which exercises extensive control over politics in Lebanon and has kept 20,000 troops there despite the 1990 accord ending the 15-year Lebanese civil war that called for the eventual departure of all foreign forces."

Boy that would be a nice change of pace. With a little help the Iranian support of Hezbollah will disappear as well and things will really start moving, but somehow I don't see that.

Putin links plane disaster to Al-Qaeda

"SOCHI, Russia : Russian President Vladimir Putin linked last week's downing of two passenger airliners to the Al-Qaeda network and said it was evidence of the presence of international terrorism on Russian soil in Chechnya.

"The fact that an international terrorist organization linked to Al-Qaeda took responsibility for the blowing up of two planes shows once again the link between destructive elements in Chechnya and international terrorism," Putin told reporters."

Tom Clancy wrote a book that semi-predicted cooperation between the US and Russia in fighting terror. Don't be surprised to see it happen.

It is also interesting to see what the French and Germans had to say on this:

Both Chirac and Schroeder gave Putin a wide berth in dealing with Chechnya, voicing support for what they described as his efforts to obtain a political solution to the separatist crisis there.

"A political solution is necessary and this is what Russia wants," the French president said."But a political solution has a limit," he added.

"It is a limit that everyone can understand and that no one can seriously contest ... the territorial unity of the Russian Federation".Schroeder offered similar backing for Putin, saying that presidential elections held in Chechnya on Sunday "demonstrate that Russia wants a political solution" there."

We will continue to look for a solution in critical solidarity," the German leader added.

Should I wonder if they'll lend the same support to Israel.

More about the technical diffculties or why does this look different

Ok, after a lot of hard work I have finally "restored" my Blog. My expertise does not lie in programming and I am not really a detail person, but when I decide to focus on something I can be "pit-bullish" in my determination to succeed.

And I was determined to figure out what the hell happened. I tried to to use the auto-install of Haloscan and that ^%$T^^%^ the whole thing up. And then I went bonkers along with the fercockteh computer and template trying to restore it.

So that is why you now see a very white interface. It was a whole process and I am pleased to pat myself on the back and say I figured it out myself. But I will likely not mess with this for some time again as that was a hassle. And if I do I won't be so foolish as to not have made a clean backup so that I can correct my mistakes.

My apologies for the issue and now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Technical Difficulties

Hello Readers,

The shack is currently experiencing some technical issues. So if you see some funky stuff bear with us, we are working on resolving the problems.

More terrorism in Moscow

"MOSCOW - Explosions near a busy Moscow subway station in a shopping district Tuesday night killed six people and injured at least 20. The Itar-TASS news agency said authorities blamed a woman suicide bomber.

Initial reports said a single car blew up, but witnesses said they heard at least two explosions. The blast struck about 8:15 p.m. in an area between the Rizhskaya station and a nearby supermarket-department store complex."

Ladies and gentlemen I expect to see the fighting between the Russian gov't and the Chechen's heat up real soon. Russia is still a member of the UNSEC, so don't expect to see the UN do much in the way of preventing this.

Italian Surgeon Performs Ankle Transplant

Medical science consistently amazes me. This is very cool.

On the outside looking in or I am not sure where this is all going

It is a Tuesday morning in Los Angeles and I just had a flashback to August of 1985. I am 16 years-old and living in Jerusalem for the Summer. My trip is almost over and I am just beside myself because I don't want to leave Israel. I miss my family, but I am caught, captivated and mesmerized by everything around me.

The intifada hasn't broken out yet and I wander through the shuk and Arab quarter on a regular basis. I wander into the Jewish quarter and head to the Kotel. I am not sure why I am there. Up until a short time prior I had been convinced that I was an atheist. I hadn't been one for very long, but I was convinced that I was.

I can't remember what day it was. I know that it wasn't Shabbos, but it really doesn't matter. All I know is that my Hebrew is flowing and I don't feel like an outsider looking in. I just feel like I am home. I am in Israel, I am in Jerusalem and I am home. I am a content teenager. I don't care that my girlfriend and I broke up for the third time. I don't care that I don't have any money, I just care about having to go back to my other home.

Duality begins at that time, that is when I remember that suddenly I feel like I am two different people inhabiting the same body. So I head to the Kotel after having wandered aimlessly. I am invulnerable, I am powerful, I am alive in every sense of the word. I walk to the wall and lean against it. I slump down with my back to it and put my head in my hands. I turn and face it again and look straight up, I am like a crazy man trying to figure out how to become a part of it. But flesh and stone don't merge, no matter how hard I try.

I offer my thoughts and ask G-d to give me a sign. It can be anything. The strange older guy that is davening in the corner can deliver it. One of the notes can fall out of the Kotel and strike me on the head. Or maybe it will be something like ESP and I'll just know. Nothing really happens, but I just decide that G-d exists. It is kind of arbitrary and I feel a little peculiar about having just changed my mind, but I do and I wander away.

A short time later I am back at our base which in English was called the Goldstein Village. It is roughly at Ben Baba and Agnon.For what seems like an eternity we have lived in dorms with teens from around the world, primarily the US and Canada, but there are others as well.

The others are going to leave this evening. My group is staying on, but the others are going to head out. The friends I made are heading back to Toronto, Chicago, Cherry Hill, Nashville, wherever. It doesn't matter because it is another sign that the end of Summer is rapidly approaching and I will have to leave home to go home.

That evening we hang out with the other groups, it is a chance to say goodbye while they pack. At some point someone breaks out bottles of beer, vodka, wine, brandy, gin and who knows what else. I am one of the boys so I try them all. I have never really been drunk and now I am hammered, just wrecked. I can remember people trying to talk to me and we can't really understand each other. Ben tells me to stop speaking Hebrew, speak English. Mike says that he can't understand me.And now I feel like I am standing on the other side of a fence looking in.

I decide to get some rest, to sleep it off and I'll try to wake up to say goodbye to my friends. I wake up in the morning and my friends have all left. I never said goodbye, or if I did I can't remember. I remember thinking that their last image of me will be as some stupid drunk kid and it makes me feel worse than the hangover I have. I have never had a hangover prior to this, but this is as bad as any I have seen on TV. And that is really all I have as a reference point, I have never been drunk and the experience is turning into a bit of a nightmare.

The rest of my group heads out to take the train into Tel-Aviv. I stay at the base, I am too sick to travel. And now the teenager who doesn't mind spending time by himself feels alone. I am again on the outside looking in.

It takes me until 2 PM to get out of the dorm and head out into Jerusalem. I take a bus to Ben Yehuda and tool around. I hit Ritchie's Pizza, Pizza Rimini, Mr. T's and some other cafes. No one is there. I wander around the city and there are no familiar faces, but again the magic of that Summer envelops me and my batteries are recharged. I am home, now I just have to figure out how to go home so that I can leave home to come back home to Israel. I am 16 years-old, but I have a real goal in mind. And if nothing else, I am happy.

George Bush's Resume- Also known as use your mind

In recent weeks I have received another 15 copies of an email circulating through cyberspace in which Dubya's "credentials" are reviewed. I am not a huge supporter of Bush, but I am someone who believes that one of the challenges we face is living in a society in which critical reasoning and logical thought are often neglected and or meaning.

This email contains about 25 points that are all designed to try and make Bush look bad. And if you turn off your brain and read them without any consideration for context, validity or significance then it just might work.

I hate this list because to me it is demonstrative of just how limited so many people are in their ability to really understand what is happening. The list does not provide any factual support for the allegations it makes. The information may be accurate, but they leave it to the reader to verify the veracity of the charges. And on top of that there are the issues of context and significance.

* I appointed cabinet members that are the richest of any administration in U.S. history. My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker
named after her.

Let's assume that this is a true and valid statement. Why is this important? Is it bad to be rich? Does this mean that rich people are stupid/mean/corrupt? Should rich people be punished for being rich?

None of this discusses the qualifications of any of the cabinet member versus the requirements of the position. For that matter the case can be made that if you did not inherit your money but earned through your own blood, sweat and tears you are smart, innovative, industrious and someone with a good work ethic. Or maybe you are just lucky. In any case the point is made, unless you can illustrate significance none of these comments are meaningful.

This resume discusses Bush's DUI. Clearly that is not something to be proud of, but again we need to ask a few questions. Can a person change, can they be rehabilitated. If you are a recovering alcoholic or drug user are you forever forbidden from holding office. I might be concerned about your ability to run a bar/pharmacy, but even then I couldn't say that you automatically do not have the right to hold a certain position.

And for that matter let's spend a moment discussing intelligence. The reality is that a person who is considered to be a genius is not automatically going to be a better candidate for public office over someone who is of lesser intelligence. It is not how smart you are, but what you do with the intelligence you have that matters.

I could easily spend more time ranting about this, but why. So let us sum it up. When you read these types of notes I ask that you consider the source, validity and significance of what is being said. Are the comments accurate and if so, are they meaningful. I can't sing worth a damn, but my job really doesn't require me to do so. So who gives a damn about whether I can hit High C or Vitamin D. My apologies to Groucho Marx whose line I just mangled.

Another Political convention

As I mentioned when the Democrats held their self-congratulatory party I find these conventions to be staged and dull. They make good photo ops. The candidate stands before a crowd that offers thundering praise and support for his every belch, burp and remark about anything and everything.

The problem is that because of the Media impact we do not hear real ideas/thoughts/plans about how the candidate is going to implement change and legislation to improve our lives and positions. It is a problem for all parties. I find it to be irritating.

If you say that you are going to improve the economy/security/build jobs or provide healthcare tell me how you intend to do it. Why should I believe you? If I ask my son to clean his room he'll provide me with a list of excuses why he can't and a timeline of when he will get it started. If I press him he will even tell me when it will be completed.

Why can't you Mr. President and Mr. Candidate to replace the POTUS.
this is an audio post - click to play

Beautiful photos

I came across this website and really enjoyed many of the shots of the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon as well. Just beautiful.

Election Prediction using mathematical model

A Yale economist has developed a model to predict the outcome of elections. I am not real impressed with the gentlemen who explained this in the article I linked to. I found his explanation to be kind of boring. But I am interested in learning more about models such as this to see if there is any value in it.

I have to agree with the commentator that the model doesn't take into account a number of social factors that can easily impact the way the election swings. Not a very profound explanation on my part, but it is what I have to give right now.

Diabetes Going Undetected in Many Heart Patients

Diabetes Going Undetected in Many Heart Patients


MUNICH (Reuters) - Diabetes is an undetected and silent threat for many people who end up with heart disease, according to new research published on Monday.

Professor John McMurray, of the Western Infirmary in Glasgow, Scotland, said the problem was more widespread than previously realized, highlighting the need for more routine diabetes testing.

Of 43,500 people screened for inclusion into a major heart drug trial -- of whom only 20 percent already had cardiovascular disease -- approximately 1 in 5 had previously undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, McMurray told the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology.

And more than 1 in 4 additional subjects had impaired glucose tolerance, a pre-diabetic condition which frequently progresses to full-blown diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the illness, results from the body's inability to respond to the action of insulin produced by the pancreas. It is strongly linked to being overweight or obese.

McMurray said the rate of hidden diabetes was alarming and showed that doctors needed to do much more to identify and treat the disease.

Diabetes is linked not only to eye, kidney and nerve damage but also with much worse outcomes from heart problems and clogged arteries.

McMurray's findings were based on screening of patients, with an average age of 63 years, for the Navigator study, which is backed by Novartis. It is investigating whether two Novartis drugs, Diovan and Starlix, can reduce heart attacks and stroke and prevent the onset of full diabetes in people with impaired glucose tolerance.
Results from the clinical trial, which aims to enroll a total of more than 9,000 patients, are expected in 2008.

How drunk was he

Man Drives Home with Headless Friend


ATLANTA (Reuters) - A Georgia man who drove home with a friend's headless body after a truck accident then went to bed while the remains dangled out the window faces charges including vehicular homicide and drunk driving, police said on Monday.

John Hutcherson, covered in blood and visibly inebriated, was arrested in bed on Sunday morning after a local resident out on a stroll observed a headless, bloody body hanging out of the 21-year-old man's truck, Cobb County police said.

Hutcherson was due to make an initial court appearance on Monday.

Police said that Hutcherson and his friend, identified as Francis Brohm, 23, were returning from a bar outside Atlanta early Sunday morning when their black 1992 Chevrolet Z-71 pickup hit a curb near a telephone pole.

Brohm, partially outside the window at the time, was decapitated by a guide wire on the telephone pole, according to police, who recovered his head at the crash site. "Alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor," police said.

American Airlines Flight 587- Was it terrorism

Daniel Pipes revisits this topic fresh off of the recent "revelations" of a Canadian Security Intelligence Service report written in May 2002 and made public on Aug. 27, 2004 by Stewart Bell in Canada's National Post.

Essentially this says that American Airlines Flight 587 did not crash but was taken down by Al Qaeda with the terrorist using a shoe bomb. Every time I read "shoe bomb" I can't help but think of "Get Smart." Someone bring down the "Cone of Silence" while I finish this.

I am not an expert on these affairs and certainly this is possible, but I would think that it is just as likely that Al Qaeda would like to claim responsibility for as many incidents like this as possible. If you want to promulgate terror you want people to view you as being omnipotent.

Certainly if I was OBL I would want people to think that I can get to them any time I want. Being able to claim something like this helps to add to this myth..

However I do agree with Pipes that this should be thoroughly investigated. It would be wrong to simply brush this off as that type of behavior is what permitted the terrorists to successfully execute their plans on 911.

So much for Security at the Olympics

"Man gets one-year suspended sentence for grabbing marathoner
August 30, 2004

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- A defrocked Irish priest with a history of disrupting sports events was given a one-year suspended sentence and fined $3,600 Monday for grabbing a runner who was leading the Olympic marathon with three miles to go."

I feel badly for the runner, so close to a gold medal and you get accosted by some meshugehneh.

MTV and VH1- I am old and who are these people

Spent some time this evening trying to get my daughter to calm down and go to sleep. I shouldn't mischaracterize it as trying to get her to calm down, she was calm. The problem was that my little 5 week old girl was wide awake at 10:30 and I was ready for some down time.

So I turned on the boob tube to zone out as I walked her around the living room. Flipped on VH1 and found that they had some special on regarding the 50 worst songs. It was mildly interesting, but it made me wonder a little. They had commentary about each song. It was given by people who I cannot place, that is, I haven't the foggiest idea who they are. And without that identification it made me wonder how they got on to the show.

They were all trying to be witty, profound and or biting and misfiring on all three accounts. It eventually got to be quite irritating listening to amateur hour so I flipped over to MTV. I used to really enjoy watching it when they played videos. And I have to admit for a period of time I enjoyed watching the Real World. But that got old about the time I turned 29 or so. Since then I have rarely turned it on.

But tonight was a new night and I was getting desperate in my search for something that would make the little girl go to sleep. I had tried turning out the lights and playing classical music. I loved it and in moments I was almost out, but this time it had no impact on her. She squirmed and I realized that it wasn't working.

So I turned on MTV and found the video music awards where I watched an audience that looked like it had been filled with recent junior high graduates and talent that I couldn't appreciate. Jessica Simpson may be nice, but I find her voice to be average and the few times I have heard her sing she has done covers of other artists, poorly.

Have I gotten old overnight? What happened and when did it occur? I am reading this and wondering how did it come to pass that I have gotten to be so curmudgeonly about so many things. More importantly, is any of this really that significant and should I care. Oh bother.

New comment section

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog. We'll see how this works and if we like it we'll continue using it.

Things I should be doing instead of blogging

Here is a short list of things I should be working on instead of typing away at the computer:

1) Thank you notes for gifts for my daughter. If I could email you all a general thank you and have you find it to be personal and meaningful I'd do it.

2) Fixing the side gate on my house. I have to go to Home Depot and buy a gate, some anchors, a 2x4 and a couple of hinges so that I can repair the soon to be completely broken gate. I like working with my hands and enjoy these kinds of projects. However something like this is going to take a while and at 7 PM it is way too late to start. For that matter I am one of those people who once I start a project will continue doggedly until it is completed or completely broken into so many pieces it can never be reassembled. So I'll take this on next weekend or earlier in the day during the week.

3) Clean up around the house. Pretty self-explanatory really. The house is not ridiculously dirty or messy, but two young kids and 230 pounds of me running around have their impact on things.

4) Develop new technology we need. That is a very important task, one of the more crucial is determining how to build a tool/filter that automatically kills offensive odors. The elevator at the office needs this so that I can climb into it and not pass out.

There are three specific smells that I want to mention here, smoke, perfume and gas. Sometimes I enter the elevator and I feel like I am taking an impossible journey through a cigarette or some tired casino. It smells like someone smoked an entire pack in there and I hate it.

Perfume is really directed at women who haven't the olfactory capacity to recognize that pouring a bottle of perfume on your body is not a good way to win friends and influence people. I don't know if you are in dire need of bathing and trying to hide it. I don't know if you have CP or MS and have such poor motor skills that you cannot help it. And I am not sure if you did so much coke in the '80s that you cannot smell it.

What I do know is that you stink and I find it hard to breathe around you. Cut back on the bottle, put it down slowly and back away. It can be done and you may even find that you get dates with people, not just grungy men in dire need of their first blow job of the past 15 years.

And gas, well that does hit close to home. I have a a "healthy" digestive disorder that gives me the ability to compete with methane output of large factories. I try hard not to force the others in the elevator to breathe this, it is common courtesy. And I ask that others try to do so too.

If not I am happy to follow you into your office, close the door and fumigate it for you. It is a free service that I am happy to provide.

Ok, I have managed to waste another 15 minutes or so. I suppose that it is time to bear down and do some of the less enjoyable things around the house. I hate being responsible. Sometimes I'd like to stop being dad for a few minutes and be the bachelor again. There is nothing like living by yourself to give you some additional free time. If the underwear on the couch still bends you know that it must be clean.

Paper plates are all that you need, but a paper towel is even better. That ring around the tub is something to be proud of. It is like the rings you use to estimate the age of a tree. So many good things to say. But the truth is that I love being a father more.

My son and daughter haven't any clue just how much dad loves to dote on them. I wonder if my parents got as much pleasure just watching me as I do with my children. My son is taking gymnastics. One of his coaches is named "Al," but my little boy calls him "Owl." I don't know if it is because he thinks that it is funny or if he cannot say "Al."

I do know that he calls my Aunt Rhoda "soda" because he thinks that is funny. Anyway, I like watching him show me the tricks that Coach "Owl" teaches them. And now, I am off to work for a bit. Back soon.

Scrap Electoral College, Says New York Times

Scrap Electoral College, Says New York Times

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States should abolish its electoral college because it creates the possibility that the president will be a candidate who loses the popular vote, the New York Times said on Sunday.

The electoral college "thwarts the will of the majority, distorts presidential campaigning and has the potential to produce a true constitutional crisis," the paper said in an editorial.

In the last presidential election in 2000, Republican George W. Bush won the presidency despite losing the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore (news - web sites) by more than 500,000 votes.

"Most people realized then for the first time that we have a system in which the president is chosen not by the voters themselves, but by 538 electors," the editorial said. "It's a ridiculous setup."

The paper, one of the most respected in the United States, said "there should be a bipartisan movement for direct election of the president."

"The main problem with the electoral college is that it builds into every election the possibility, which has been a reality three times since the Civil War, that the president will be a candidate who lost the popular vote," the editorial said.

It said the system unfairly favored small states, which were awarded a minimum of three electoral votes regardless of how many residents they had.

"The majority does not rule, and every vote is not equal -- those are reasons enough to scrap the system," the Times said.

It cited other factors: "A few swing states take on oversized importance, leading candidates to focus their attention, money and promises on a small slice of the electorate.

"We are hearing far more this year about the issue of storing hazardous waste at Yucca Mountain, an important one for Nevada's 2.2 million residents, than about securing ports against terrorism, a vital concern for 19.2 million New Yorkers."

So, who has some thoughts to share on this topic? Bueller, Bueller, Bueller....

Alaska Brown Bears Gather for Salmon Feast

Alaska Brown Bears Gather for Salmon Feast
Sat Aug 28, 9:15 PM ET

By MARY PEMBERTON, Associated Press Writer

McNEIL RIVER, Alaska - Each summer, the falls at McNeil River turn into a mosh pit of bears. Instead of thumping music, it's the sound of salmon slapping their way up the falls at the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary that sends the bears into a fishing frenzy.

This summer, an exclusive group of 257 people was allowed into the 114,400-acre state sanctuary in an extraordinary opportunity to see close up one of the most feared predators on the planet.
"It is just awesome," said Uleta Clark, of Upper Kenai, whose name was selected by lottery to visit the sanctuary. "You aren't going to see this anywhere else."

That sounds so cool. I'd love to see it.

US Women and the Olympics

I thought it fitting to pay tribute.

In all three major team sports fielded by the U.S. in these 2004 Games, the women won gold medals.

In none of those sports did the U.S. men do the same.

American women here reminded us of a truth that has been lost all across America, somewhere between two-handed touch and six-year contracts, between T-ball and beanball.There is no "my" in team. There is no "buy" in team.

From softball players carrying their coach, to soccer players carrying a farewell message, to basketball players carrying each other.

From Lisa Fernandez's dugout meetings, to Julie Foudy's midfield pleadings, to Dawn Staley's sideline chats.

"For so many years, women in our country have been only too happy to play for the approval of applause," said Vivian Stringer, U.S. assistant basketball coach. "Money-wise, they have made peanuts, so they play to make people happy, working hard and doing it the right way."

Most Heart Attacks Easily Predictable, Study Says

MUNICH (Reuters) - Virtually the entire risk of heart attack can be predicted and the impact of factors causing attacks is the same whether you live in a rich country or a poor one, a global study released Sunday showed.

Results of the study of more than 29,000 people in 52 countries, released at a meeting of the European Cardiology Society, showed that two factors alone -- an abnormal ratio of bad to good cholesterol and smoking -- were responsible for two-thirds of the global risk of heart attack.

Other risk factors were high blood pressure, diabetes, abdominal obesity, stress, a lack of daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, and lack of daily exercise.

Drinking small amounts of alcohol regularly was found to reduce risk slightly.

"This convincingly shows that 90 percent of the global risk of heart disease is predictable," researcher Salim Yusuf, a professor of medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, told a news conference.

It is kind of crazy to think about how many things people knowingly do that are unhealthy for them. Is it denial or something else that makes us ignore what should be common sense. Maybe it is because there are so many exceptions to the rule.

Islamic Terror- The reasons for it are scary

I agree with David who says "This story really confirms what I have been saying all along: Islamic terrorism is all about supplanting Western civilization with one based on Islam. Countries like Israel and the US are feeling the brunt of it because they are standing in the way."http://www.israellycool.com/blog/_archives/2004/8/29/131813.html/

If you read the Al- Jazeera account of the kidnapping of the French journalists the reason for it is not because of the war in Iraq or the peace process but the following:

"In a statement sent to Aljazeera, the group demanded the French government end a ban on Muslim headscarves for the release of the captives."

What this continues to demonstrate is that there is a desperate need for moderate Muslims to speak out and not allow the radicals to co-opt their religion. Among the many problems facing the West are those here who are unable to accept that there are people who will butcher them and their families in the name of G-d. Not all Muslims are bad/terrorists/evil but until they clearly speak out and take their religion back the war of East versus West will come closer and closer.

More on "Deep Linking"

Question: Is "deep linking" illegal?

Answer: "Deep linking" refers to the creation of hyperlinks to a page other than a website's homepage. For example, instead of pointing a link at http://www.chillingeffects.org, this site's "homepage," another site might link directly to the linking FAQ at http://www.chillingeffects.org/linking/faq .

Some website owners complain that deep links "steal" traffic to their homepages or disrupt the intended flow of their websites. In particular, Ticketmaster has argued that other sites should not be permitted to send browsers directly to Ticketmaster event listings. Ticketmaster settled its claim against Microsoft and lost a suit against Tickets.com over deep linking.

From Ticketmaster v. Tickets.com opinion:Further, hyperlinking does not itself involve a violation of the Copyright Act (whatever it may do for other claims) since no copying is involved. The customer is automatically transferred to the particular genuine web page of the original author. There is no deception in what is happening. This is analogous to using a library's card index to get reference to particular items, albeit faster and more efficiently.

So far, courts have found that deep links to web pages were neither a copyright infringement nor a trespass.
Maintained by Electronic Frontier Foundation

'Deep Linking

Emerging Legal Guidance on 'Deep Linking'
By Margaret Smith Kubiszyn
Summary: The practice of "deep linking" -- when one web site links to a page deep within another site -- has been a great source of controversy in the Internet community. Although at least one case failed to find this practice illegal, it remains an unclear area of Internet law. This article explains why.
Author: The author of this article, Margaret Smith Kubiszyn, is a member of the GigaLaw.com Editorial Board and practices patent, trademark, copyright and computer law as an associate at the law firm Bradley Arant Rose & White LLP in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a registered member of the U.S. Patent Bar and has written on various Internet law topics. E-mail: mkubiszyn@barw.com.

The Deep-Linking Debate

The practice of "deep linking" -- when one site links to a page of another site other than the other site's home page -- has been a great source of controversy in the Internet community. The issues regarding the legality and propriety of deep linking, while hotly debated, have yet to be resolved with any definitive standards or rules. While many companies have contested the deep-linking practices of others, Ticketmaster has become the driving force in compelling a resolution of this issue. A recent decision by a Los Angeles district judge has been touted as the end-all to the deep-linking dilemma. However, although this decision does offer some guidance, it hardly ends the debate.

Linking itself is vital to the structure of the Internet. It is a rare web site indeed that contains no links to other sites or is not linked to by other sites. Links make the web manageable to surfers, enabling users to easily find useful information on topics of interest. So-called deep links are links to an interior page of a web site. By deep-linking into a site, the linking site allows the user to bypass the home page of the linked site, a page that often contains advertising, terms and conditions and proprietary information relevant to the use of the linked site.

Linkers argue that deep linking is simply in line with the free nature of the web, that anyone who creates a web page in effect grants the entire cyber community an implied license to link to that page. Besides, the linkers contend, they are actually doing the linked sites a favor by driving users to the linked site.

On the other hand, linked sites, especially commercial web sites, are crying foul. They believe that they should have the right to control how users experience their web sites, and that they could lose advertising revenue if surfers are linked to an interior page instead of an ad-ridden home page. Moreover, they contend that users may not even realize that they have been relocated to a new web site.

In essence, this is the same conflict we see over and over in dealing with Internet issues – the free-wheeling, "anything goes" cyber-culture fighting the evolution of the Internet into a commercial medium for companies intent on protecting their brands and corporate images.

Ticketmaster v. Microsoft

The first major case involving the practice of deep linking involved Microsoft's use of deep links from its "Sidewalk" web guides. These web guides spotlighted, among other things, upcoming events in a particular area, and would provide deep links to information on specific events on interior pages of the Ticketmaster web site.

At that time, Ticketmaster had recently signed an agreement to provide event information and ticket-ordering links to a competing web guide service, CitySearch. Through this agreement, CitySearch was paying Ticketmaster for what Microsoft was taking for free. Tickemaster filed suit against Microsoft on April 28, 1997, arguing that Microsoft's practices devalued Ticketmaster's site by bypassing its home page.

The case, which was closely watched by Internet experts hoping for some clear guidance on linking policies, settled in February 1999. In the settlement, Microsoft agreed not to provide deep links to Ticketmaster's site, agreeing instead to link only to the Ticketmaster home page. Following this settlement, Ticketmaster allowed deep linking by sites such as Yahoo and Knight-Ridder, but only after the parties had entered into a linking agreement.

Ticketmaster v. Tickets.com

Once again, Ticketmaster took the lead toward resolution of the deep-linking issues by filing suit against Tickets.com in July 1999. Tickets.com could be characterized as a competitor of Ticketmaster, acting as a clearinghouse for tickets, linking to sources for tickets to events (including links to Ticketmaster), auction services and premium ticket brokers. Ticketmaster alleged that, in addition to deep linking into Ticketmaster's site, Tickets.com copied material from the Ticketmaster site and posted false information about the availability of tickets from Ticketmaster.

Tickets.com filed a motion to dismiss Ticketmaster's complaint. Once again, industry experts were watching the case, waiting for a clear resolution of the deep-linking issues.

In October 1999, Ticketmaster issued a statement on its web site outlining the types of linking that it considers acceptable, such as consensual linking, and those it does not, such as linking "for distinctly commercial reasons" beyond navigation. Ticketmaster called for distinctions to be made in linking debates such as the extent of linking, motivation of the linking site, and the status of the linking site as a competitor or ally.

Ticketmaster contended that it filed suit against Tickets.com because the Ticketmaster pages "represent the relationships Ticketmaster and Ticketmaster Online have built with venues, acts, teams, promoters, and [] ticket buyers over more than 20 years," and that Tickets.com was "attempting to build one business on the back of another, plain and simple."

On March 27, 2000, U.S. Judge District Judge Harry Hupp issued a ruling dismissing four counts of Ticketmaster's complaint, including some counts involving deep linking. In dismissing the first claim, which alleged copyright infringement, Judge Hupp stated: "[H]yperlinking does not itself involve a violation of the Copyright Act (whatever it may do for other claims) since no copying is involved. The customer is automatically transferred to the particular genuine web page of the original author. There is no deception in what is happening. This is analogous to using a library's card index to get reference to particular items, albeit faster and more efficiently."

Judge Hupp also dismissed Ticketmaster's claim for breach of contract, which alleged that, by using the Ticketmaster site, Tickets.com was bound by the terms and conditions on the Ticketmaster home page that prohibited deep linking, and that Tickets.com breached this provision by deep linking to the Ticketmaster site. Judge Hupp dismissed the claim, stating that Ticketmaster's complaint set forth no facts indicating that Tickets.com knew of or agreed to these terms.

Judge Hupp also denied the motion to dismiss Ticketmaster's claim of unfair competition, noting that the allegations that Tickets.com falsely implied an association with Ticketmaster and gave misleading information about Ticketmaster could possibly support such a claim. Judge Hupp rejected the argument that allegations of deep linking could support a claim of unfair competition, however, stating that: "The complaint also alleges deep linking as an example of unfair competition, but the court concludes that deep linking by itself (i.e. without confusion of source) does not necessarily involve unfair competition."

So, Where Are We?

Although the news reports on the Ticketmaster v. Tickets.com case have enthusiastically proclaimed that the controversy is over, that deep linking is okay, Judge Hupp's ruling hardly lays forth a road map telling us when we can, and, more importantly, when we cannot, deep link. Clearly, Judge Hupp leaves open the possibility for a claim of copyright infringement and unfair competition in cases where the user could be confused as to the source of content or be oblivious to the fact that he had been linked into the interior of another site.

In the majority of the instances of deep linking -- where there is no confusion as to source, where the user knows he has been transported into another site -- is deep linking always okay? Probably not. It is highly unlikely that a single, short opinion on a motion to dismiss will conclusively determine the issues involved in deep linking. The concerns expressed in Ticketmaster's October statement regarding deep linking have merit.

Much as in cases involving such issues as framing and meta-tagging, issues of fairness will inevitably factor into the resolution of the deep-linking dilemma. Factors such as the status and motives of the linking site are bound to enter into future court decisions.

The Ticketmaster v. Tickets.com case is important, but we are a long way from a definitive road map on how and when we can employ deep linking.

This article was originally published on GigaLaw.com in May 2000

More personality tests- Whatleader are you and what classic movie

http://similarminds.com/leader.html

You like power because it increases your sexual options. You are JFK. You are a thrill seeker by nature and don't shy away from risky behavior.

http://similarminds.com/movie.html

You are Raiders of the Lost Ark. You live for adventure, fortune hunting and danger.

I can live with these. Don't know if they are meaningful, but I'll take it.

I am Tigger

I took a Quizzila test and this is the result

You are Tigger! T - I - DOUBLE G - R! You are happy and bouncy and insane and busy and running and falling and hungry and talking and leading and showing and... Gods, you're annoying, but everyone seems to like you - at least, for a while.

How exciting. If you want to try the test you can at

http://quizilla.com/users/Eeyoar/quizzes/Which%20Winnie%20the%20Pooh%20character%20are%20you?/

How do visually impaired people dream?

How do visually impaired people dream?

Diego Kaski poses an interesting question

"The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was."Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream

Despite recent advances in the understanding of sleep, dreams continue to bewitch us with their unfathomed mysteries. Dreaming occurs during paradoxical sleep, a stage in which people's eyes move rapidly under the eyelids, and is therefore also known as rapid eye movement sleep.

As we know from our own dreams, what we dream reflects our waking life experiences, which are mostly visual in nature. Are the content of visually impaired people's dreams related to their lack of vision? Do they have visual images while dreaming? Indeed, how do visually impaired people dream?

The content of dreams

Dreaming can be considered to be a passive event, a phenomenon that we experience but do not consciously control. When dreaming it can be said that we are mere onlookers of an unfolding drama. Nevertheless, some people claim to have "lucid" dreams - where they are aware of dreaming and are able to control the events of the dream. The content of a dream resembles what we experience in everyday life when we are awake.

Usually, dreams are visual and mostly in colour (61%, but this proportion increases with longer dreams). Auditory and visual imageries are the most common sensations present in dreams (found in 76% and 100% of dreams respectively).1 External sounds can be incorporated, but on the odd occasion that dreamers speak of entirely auditory experiences, they tend to claim that they were not asleep at all. Other sensations, such as taste and smell, are not as common.

Most dream settings are familiar, and most of the people that appear in dreams are known to the dreamer (apparently, celebrities crop up only rarely). So, if the content of dreams are a reflection of waking life, it follows that the dream content of people with physical conditions, such as visual handicap, must be related to their physical condition, in this case the absence of vision.

Therefore, do visually impaired people who are afflicted from birth lack visual imagery and rapid eye movements in their dreams?

Dream content in the visually impaired

People who are visually impaired from birth (congenitally visually impaired) seem to lack visual imagery and rapid eye movements in their dreams. 2 3 The majority of the people who became visually impaired before they were aged 5 or 7 will have no visual dreams, but if sight is lost after the age of 7 visual imagery is retained in dreams into adulthood, with rapid eye movements present during sleep.2,4,5

With few exceptions, when visual handicap occurs between the critical ages of 5 and 7, visual imagery remains for varying periods of time, even in adulthood, and tends to get worse over time. Although it is thought that rapid eye movements are essential for visual dreams,2,6 it seems that many congenitally visually impaired people show eye movements during rapid eye movement sleep periods despite having no visual imagery.

With the exception of the absence of vision, the dreams of those who became visually impaired before the age of 5 are no different in most aspects to those of the sighted, containing perceptions of sounds, touch, taste, smell, and temperature sensations (in decreasing order).2,7 As depicted in the example of a dream of a congenitally visually impaired person, heard speeches and conversations are prominent in visually impaired people's dreams: "I was going up to heaven and St Peter barred me at the gates, telling me to go down below. I argued with him, feeling I was being treated unjustly, until he said: 'All your friends are down there'; whereupon I said, 'If that's the case it's fine,' and I went down below."3 It may seem surprising that taste and smell form such a minor part of dreams, given their importance to visually impaired people.
Visual imagery and dreams

For most sighted people dream images are predominantly visual in nature. Visual imagery, however, is not the only means by which we can represent our surroundings. Just as when they are awake, visually impaired people can be conscious of their surrounding space while dreaming, through sensations other than touch.

For example, a congenitally visually impaired person, dreaming that he or she is in a room, may be aware of the size and shape of the room, without describing, touching, or walking around in it. It is interesting that although visually impaired people may have different sensory experiences than sighted people they may express what they perceive using the same visual terminology as the sighted. The dream reports of visually impaired subjects can therefore be difficult to interpret.

For the sighted, the visual component of imagery is its most noticeable feature, so it is difficult for those of us with sight to consider images and imagery without using visual metaphor or analogy. Yet much of the work that has been carried out on dreams of the visually impaired underlines the need for a broader definition of imagery - one that is not so strongly bound to the visual processing system.

Diego Kaski third year medical studentRoyal Free and University College London Medical Schooldiego@talk21.com
Snyder F. The phenomenology of dreaming, 1970. Cited in: Ellman SJ, Antrobus JS, eds. The mind in sleep: psy- chology and psychophysiology. New York:Wiley, 1991.
Berger RJ, Olley P, Oswald I. The EEG, eye-movements and dreams of the blind. Q J Exp Psychol 1962;14:183-6.
Blank HR. Dreams of the blind. Psychoanal Q 1958;27:158-74.
Jastrow J. The dreams of the blind. New Princeton Review 1880;5:19-34.
Heermann G. Beobachtungen und Betrachtungen uber die Traume der Blinden. Ein Beitrag zur Physiologie und Psychologie der Sinne Monatschrift fur Medzin. Augen-heikkunde und Chirurgie 1838;I:116-80. Cited in Blank HR. Dreams of the blind. Psychoanal Q 1958;27:158-74.
Offencrantz W, Wolpert E. Clinical studies of sequential dreams. Arch Gen Psychiatry 1963;8:497-508.
Amadeo M, Gomez E. Eye movements, attention, and dreaming in subjects with lifelong blindness. Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal 1966;11:501-7.

Nagging aches and pains

As a child there are so many little things that you cannot do because you are too young, too little, too this or too that. You hate taking naps because there is so much to do. You hate being too young because you are convinced that you are old enough to do whatever the bigger kids/people are doing.

Now that I am an adult, well I have an adult body I find that there are things that I miss from my childhood. I miss endless Summer days. I miss the endless Summer nights of my adolescence and early 20s. I miss taking naps and I miss being invulnerable. Nothing could stop me, nicks, scrapes and bruises slowed me down, but they didn't stop me.

And the reality is that now they don't stop me either, but I feel their effects much longer than ever before. The impact that they have is that they turn into nagging little injuries that just suck energy and take forever to go away, or so it seems.

This is not something that I wanted to aspire to grow up to enjoy, but I suppose that it is just a part of getting older. In the last 18 years I can name almost a dozen peers who have died from cancer, traffic accidents or some other "event" so I'll take the nagging aches and pains. But I won't go down without a fight.

Silence- It can be electric

Can you sit in a room and say nothing and be comfortable. I can. I can think of many times in which my father, grandfather and I have shared extended periods of silence. There hasn't been anything of consequence to say and there was nothing uncomfortable with sharing the moment.

In a world of clutter and chaos silence is a gift that we all too often miss out on. And some people simply cannot handle it. I can be very gregarious, quite verbose. I can be the life of the party and then I can go the other direction. Many years ago I was told by a lady who was no longer interested in sharing time with me that I can suck the energy out of the room by merely walking in.

As if I had that power. Although in that particular case I suppose that I did because she gave it to me, but that is a topic for a different time. What her biggest issue at that time was that I could simply shut down and listen without responding.

Shut down may be too extreme. I heard everything that was said and I would react with a nod or twinkle of my eye. But sometimes there is no point in vocally responding to everything that is said. If you can stop and just listen you can get in touch with yourself and the world around you.

And I think that scares some people. I have said it many times and I'll say it again. I can look in the mirror of my soul and smile back at the light and the darkness that resides in there. I am comfortable with who I am because I have taken time to learn who that is. And I accept that man is continually evolving. If you knew me at 18 and expect to find that 18 year-old still living here, he is gone.

Parts of him remain, bits and pieces of flotsam and jetsam float to the surface and he appears. Echoes of who I was remain as do the 5 and 10 year-old boy and the 25 year-old man I once was. I don't know who I am going to become and I don't mind. I only know that I have an oar in the water and that I am steering the boat through the storm.

Now provided I manage not to turn a three hour tour into a shipwreck I'll be ok. OTOH, if I do manage to wreck the boat I wonder who my professor and Mary-Anne will be. ;)

Flying Cars Reportedly Still Decades Away

Flying Cars Reportedly Still Decades Away

By ALLISON LINN, AP Business Writer
SEATTLE - It's a frustrated commuter's escapist fantasy: literally lifting your car out of a clogged highway and soaring through the skies, landing just in time to motor into your driveway.

Researchers stress that the ultimate dream — an affordable, easy-to-use vehicle that could allow regular people to fly 200 miles to a meeting and also drive 15 miles to the mall — is still probably decades away.

But engineers at NASA (news - web sites), Boeing Co. and elsewhere say the basis for a flying car is there. People have been building, or trying to build, such vehicles for decades.

The problem is, those ideas have generally required both a lot of money and the skills of a trained pilot. And melding cars and planes hasn't always been very successful.

"When you try to combine them you get the worst of both worlds: a very heavy, slow, expensive vehicle that's hard to use," said Mark Moore, who heads the personal air vehicle division of the vehicle systems program at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

The goal isn't just to create a neat gizmo: These vehicles will become more appealing — and necessary — as highways and airport hubs grow more clogged, and commutes more distant.

At NASA, the first goal is to transform small airplane travel. Right now, really small airplanes are generally costly, uncomfortable and loud and require months of training and lots of money to operate; that makes flying to work impractical for most people.

Within five years, NASA researchers hope to develop technology for a small airplane that can fly out of regional airports, costs less than $100,000, is as quiet as a motorcycle and as simple to operate as a car. Although it wouldn't have any road-driving capabilities, it would give regular people the ability to fly short distances.

To make flying simpler, NASA is working on technologies that would automate more pilot's functions.
In 10 years, NASA hopes to have created technology for going door-to-door. These still wouldn't be full-fledged flying cars — instead, they'd be small planes that can drive very short distances on side streets, after landing at a nearby airport.

In 15 years, they hope to have the technology for larger vehicles, seating as many as four passengers, and the ability to make vertical takeoffs.

It will probably take years after these technologies are developed before such vehicles are actually on the market. And Moore says it will take about 25 years to get to anything "remotely 'Jetsons'-like,'" a reference to the futuristic cartoon that fed many flying car fantasies.

Researchers at Boeing in Seattle are already thinking that far ahead: They've created a miniature model of a sporty red helicopter/car hybrid that is helping the aerospace giant understand what it would take to make flying cars a reality.

Lynne Wenberg, senior manager on the project, said the goal is to make a flying car that costs the same as a luxury vehicle, is quiet and fuel-efficient and easy to fly and maintain.

Boeing is especially interested in the broader problem of figuring out how to police the airways — and prevent total pandemonium — if thousands of flying cars enter the skies. No one wants to be cut off, tailgated or buzzed a little too closely by a student driver at 1,000 feet.

"The neat, gee-whiz part (is) thinking about what would the vehicle itself look like, but we're trying to think through all the ramifications of what would it take to deploy a fleet of these," said Dick Paul, a vice president with Phantom Works, Boeing's research arm.

Smaller companies are working on flying car technology as well. Davis, Calif.-based Moller International has already built a prototype of its Skycar. The streamlined vehicle — think sports car meets the hovercraft Luke Skywalker drove in "Star Wars" — is designed to make vertical takeoffs, fly around 700 miles and drive short distances.

Jack Allison, who retired as a vice president at Moller but still works there regularly, said Skycars are expected to start at around $1 million and require pilot's training. It's not yet clear when they'll be available, but Allison says demand is already there: More than 100 people have put down a $5,000 deposit.

While researchers are already working on some level of automation to make flying small planes easier, the ultimate goal would be to have a vehicle that is considerably smarter than what's available today.

Ken Goodrich, a senior research engineer at NASA, said one concept under discussion is technology that runs in "h" mode, which stands for "horse." The idea is that a horse, unlike a car, is more likely to try to avoid other objects and may even know how to find its way home.

But Goodrich said he's not sure that the fantasy of the flying car ever would or should become a reality. He questioned whether having flying/driving vehicles throughout the country might end up being too noisy, disruptive and impractical.

"You'd have to look at all aspects of it, how it would integrate in greater society and affect our quality of life," he said.

US Men's Basketball- No Gold these games

Argentina 89, United States 81
By CHRIS SHERIDAN, AP Basketball Writer
August 27, 2004
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Bronze is the best the American men can do in basketball, and the reason is simple: A hastily assembled assortment of NBA stars couldn't beat a better team -- Argentina.

Manu Ginobili scored 29 points to lead his nation to another victory over the country that used to dominate the sport, an 89-81 win in the Olympic semifinals Friday night.

For the first time since 1988, the gold medal will not go to the Americans.

And for the first time since pro players were added for the original Dream Team in 1992, the United States will not be the Olympic champion.

``We fought as hard as we could. We couldn't get it done for whatever reason. They were a better team than us,'' Allen Iverson said.

Argentina, with almost the same roster that made history in 2002 by becoming the first team to defeat a U.S. squad of NBA players, will compete for the gold medal against the winner of Friday's late game between Lithuania and Italy. The U.S. team will play the loser for third place.

The Argentines were better passers, shooters and defenders than the Americans. They confronted them with a mixture of man-to-man and zone defenses, and confounded them with an assortment of back picks and deft passes that turned the start of the second half into a layup drill.

Argentina's players celebrated wildly when the game ended, and the crowd yelled ``Ole!''

U.S. coach Larry Brown walked over and gave a handshake and hug to his Argentine counterpart, Ruben Magnano, who played for Argentina against the first Dream Team in Barcelona.

``Our rival today was extremely tough, but in the few hours that passed between yesterday's game and today's, we realized that nothing was impossible,'' Magnano said. ``We had to go out there and attack them on an equal footing, go for them. That's what we did, and that's why we won.''

NBA commissioner David Stern attended the third loss of the Athens Games for the Americans, who entered the tournament with a 109-2 Olympic record.

Their 19-point loss to Puerto Rico in the opener was shocking, and their second defeat, to Lithuania, finally hammered home a message to the team's young players that the level of competition was a whole lot better than they had imagined.

The U.S. team's best effort came Thursday in a victory over previously undefeated Spain.
But just a day later, they went back to missing 3-point shots, lost Tim Duncan to foul trouble, didn't get a breakout performance from any of their players and couldn't make a sustained comeback after they fell behind by a double-digit margin.

The Americans gave Argentina credit, but the fact remained that a big part of the U.S. team's loss was its fundamental weaknesses: a lack of familiarity with each other, poor defense and abysmal outside shooting.
It showed that the quarterfinal victory over Spain was an aberration, not an awakening.

``I don't know if we'd have beaten them if Timmy had played 40 minutes -- though I'd have liked to have had that chance,'' Brown said. ``Basketball has been getting better around the world because of what the Dream Team did in '92, and rather than knocking our guys we should give credit to the guys who won.''

The results might have been different if the Americans had fielded a team of their best players, but injuries, indifference and insecurities left many of the best Americans -- including Shaquille O'Neal, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Jason Kidd -- back in the United States.

``In 1992, the USA had the best players ever. Here they are great players, too, but they are young and they never played internationally, so with different rules it's a whole different thing,'' said Ginobili, who also plays for the San Antonio Spurs. ``The rest of the world is getting better and the States isn't bringing their best players.''
Argentina shot 54 percent overall and 11-for-22 from 3-point range, while the Americans finished just 32-for-77 (42 percent) and 3-for-11 on 3s. After scoring 31 points against Spain, Stephon Marbury led the U.S. team with 18, and Duncan had just 10 while being limited to 19 1/2 minutes.

``You can't just show up at a basketball game and feel that because you have USA across your chest you're going to win the game,'' Iverson said. ``It means a lot to other teams out here to get a medal as well.''

The first half ended with Argentina ahead 43-38 after its big men outplayed the Americans and showed themselves capable of as much flair as anyone.

The half's prettiest play came on the 3-on-1 break when Hugo Sconochini, one of the team's elder statesmen, tossed a nifty behind-the-back pass to Alejandro Montecchia for a high-arching layup over Richard Jefferson that gave Argentina a 42-33 lead.

The Americans shot just 36 percent in the first half and didn't hit their first 3-pointer -- missing their first five -- until LeBron James made one 30 seconds before halftime.

The third quarter began with Ginobili hitting a wide-open 3-pointer, Duncan picking up his third foul, Luis Scola, Ginobili and Fabricio Oberto getting inside for layups, and Marbury clanging a driving shot off the side of the backboard.

Suddenly, the Americans were down 53-40 and on the verge of having the game get away from them.

It soon did. Duncan was whistled for his fourth foul with 7:41 left in the third quarter, causing Brown to jump out of his chair and scream ``NO!''

Next came a wide-open 3 from the right corner by Ginobili, and the lead was up to 16.

The Americans quickly got their deficit down to six, but Montecchia and Ruben Wolkowyski knocked down 3s, and Ginobili added a rare four-point play -- just like the one from Lithuania's Sarunas Jasikevicius that doomed the Americans in their opening-round loss -- to make it 70-57 after three quarters.

The Americans trailed 76-65 with five minutes left when Duncan fouled out for hitting Ginobili with a hip check. The U.S. team went to a trap and a full-court press in an effort to climb back, but Argentina handled it with aplomb and didn't let the Americans get closer than eight.

``For us to get an Olympic gold would be amazing, and tomorrow our soccer team and us will be playing for gold,'' Ginobili said. ``That could be the happiest time ever for us.''

Updated on Friday, Aug 27, 2004 4:58 pm EDT

I don't understand why so many Americans are so happy about this team losing. They played without attitudes, tried hard and presented a respectful front. I would have preferred the Gold, who wouldn't. But this team was not constructed for International play and we simply did not offer the best we had.

The rest of the world is catching up in talent. They still cannot beat our best, but we cannot get by on aura or luck either. I have no doubt that if Shaq, Kobe, Garnett and company had gone it would have been different.

But in the international game there is a need for great shooters too, so we could have sent some "lesser known" players and probably improved things too.

2008 will be a new day and a new story. We'll have to wait and see what happens.

German doctors grow jaw bone replacement in man's back

German doctors grow jaw bone replacement in man's backLast Updated Fri, 27 Aug 2004 16:21:53 EDT

LONDON - A German man was able to chow down on a bratwurst sandwich after surgeons grew a new jaw bone on his back muscle and transplanted the bone to his mouth.

The 56-year-old man had part of his lower jaw removed because of mouth cancer. Until the transplant, his diet was limited to soft food and soup for nine years.

Doctors in Kiel, Germany have rebuilt a man's face using a new jaw grown on his back.(AP PHOTO)
Dr. Patrick Warnke, a reconstructive facial surgeon at the University of Kiel in Germany and his colleagues used CT scans and computer-aided designs to build a virtual jaw replacement.

The researchers used the model to construct a mesh cage, which they filled with bone mineral, protein and stem cells from the patient's bone marrow. They then transplanted the implant below his right shoulder blade.

Seven weeks later, surgeons transplanted the new bone graft into the mouth gap in the patient's face.
A month after the surgery, he was able to eat his celebratory supper.

The experiment is described in Saturday's issue of the medical journal The Lancet.

"We suggest that our results represent a proof of principle," Warnke said in a release, noting the patient needs to be followed in the long term before drawing conclusions.

Researchers need to investigate appropriate combinations of biomaterials, growth factors and "blank slate" stem cells needed to build strong, resilient substitutes for bone, said Stan Gronthos, a stem cell expert at the Hanson Institute in Adelaide, Australia.

"A patient who had previously lost his mandible through the result of a destructive tumour can now sit down to chew his first solid meals in nine years ... resulting in an improved quality of life for that individual," Gronthos wrote in a commentary accompanying the study.

Russia crashes: Traces of explosives found

Russia crashes: Traces of explosives found
Friday, August 27, 2004 Posted: 7:04 AM EDT (1104 GMT)
MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Traces of explosives have been found in the wreckage of one of the two Russian passenger jets which crashed Tuesday, killing 89 people aboard, Russia's top intelligence agency says.

The two planes crashed within minutes of each other Tuesday night after departing Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, killing all aboard.

The Federal Security Service (FSB) said the explosive traces were found in the wreckage of the Siberia Airlines Tupelov 154 -- the second plane that crashed.

A hijack alert on the aircraft had been activated before it crashed, killing all 46 on board, Siberia Airlines said on its Web site. The aircraft was bound for the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

The FSB also said it had found data at the Siberia Airlines crash site that could enable them to identify suspects involved in the attack.

The FSB confirmed that a Chechen woman was on board the Siberia Airlines flight, and no friends or relatives had come forward. Her remains have not been found.

She is the only passenger on the flight that has not been inquired after.

According to Russian media reports quoting security sources and Chechnya's interior minister, a Chechen woman also boarded the first plane that crashed, a Volga-Avia Express Tupolev 134.

The Grozny resident, born in 1977, was the last passenger to board the Tu-134 and had purchased her ticket an hour before the flight departed.

No friends or relatives have inquired about her remains, which have also not been located, according to the media reports. She is also the only passenger on that flight that no one has claimed.

Through a spokesman, Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov has denied any involvement in the plane crashes.
The crashes took place ahead of a regional election in the rebellious southern territory of Chechnya, where Russian troops have battled separatist guerrillas for the past five years.

Chechen separatists have been blamed for numerous bombings and other attacks in Russia in recent years, including the seizure of hundreds of hostages at a Moscow theater that ended with more than 100 hostages dead.
Russian media report the tentative analysis of the Siberia Airlines wreckage shows the presence of hexogen, an element used by Chechens in past attacks.

The Tu-134 was en route to Volgograd when disappeared from radar at 10:56 p.m. (2:56 p.m. ET) Tuesday. Its wreckage was found about 100 miles (160 km) south of Moscow near Tula, according to Russia's Emergency Ministry.

The Siberia Airlines plane was about 100 miles (160 km) from Rostov-on-Don when it dropped off radar screens at 10:59 p.m., the state news agency Novosti reported. Russian officials said the crash site spread over a 25 mile (40 km) radius.

The two crash sites were about 450 miles (725 km) apart.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had been vacation in Sochi when the planes crashed. He returned to Moscow on Wednesday.
-- CNN Correspondent Paula Hancocks and Producer Max Tkachenko in Moscow contributed to this report

Again, no surprises here to me. On a side note there is word that Osama and company are interested in recruiting Chechens because they do not look like Middle Easterners and can blonde and blue-eyed.

Sweet Revenge May Be a Hard-Wired Reward

Sweet Revenge May Be a Hard-Wired Reward
By Amanda Gardner 08/27/04 9:41 AM PT

According to the study, cooperation among humans is both unique and essential to human societies. The question is, why have people been willing to engage in altruistic punishment even if it can be costly to them personally?

Scientists have discovered that the sweetness of revenge may have a neurological basis.

A Swiss brain imaging study shows that punishing people when they behave unfairly activates the same reward circuitry of the brain that is fired up when sniffing cocaine or seeing a beautiful face. The findings, which appear in the Aug. 27 issue of Science, may partly explain the phenomenon of "altruistic punishment," which is exacting revenge on behalf of a stranger.

"A lot of theoretical work in evolutionary biology and our previous experimental work suggest that altruistic punishment has been crucial for the evolution of cooperation in human societies," said Ernst Fehr, the senior author of the study who is director of the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics at the University of Zurich. "Our previous experiments show that if altruistic punishment is possible, cooperation flourishes. If we rule out altruistic punishment, cooperation breaks down." Added John Hibbing, a professor of political science at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln: "It [the new study] fits with research that has been done in recent years on the importance of punishment, not just that we cooperate automatically. The notion that a bad guy is going to get it is really important to humans."

Cooperation Among Humans

According to the study, cooperation among humans is both unique and essential to human societies. The question is, why have people been willing to engage in altruistic punishment even if it can be costly to them personally?
The study is one of the first to use brain imaging to investigate the phenomenon. As Fehr explained his research, the male participants were each given $10. Person A could either keep his $10 or give it to Person B. If he gave it to B, B would actually receive $40 for a total of $50. Person B could now either reciprocate by giving the money back to A, or giving back just half the amount.

If B acted selfishly by choosing not to reciprocate, then A could decide to punish him. Most players chose to impose punishment, even though it cost them some of their own money. Using Positron Emission Tomography (PET), the researchers scanned the brain activity of the volunteers while they were making the decision to punish or not.

Brain Regions for Satisfaction

As it turned out, the decision to punish activated the caudate nucleus, a region of the brain involved in experiencing pleasure or satisfaction, Fehr said. Although the study volunteers were engaging in "regular" revenge, the authors think the findings could be extrapolated to altruistic punishment.

There are a number of implications to the findings. One is a more constructive way of viewing revenge.
"The twist is a positive sense of punishing someone, as opposed to a negative sense of 'I've been screwed.' That's new," Hibbing said.

Proactive and Reactive Emotions

"Emotions are not just reactive. They can be proactive," said Brian Knutson, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Stanford University, and author of an accompanying perspective piece in the journal. "They can actually focus and drive behavior. People don't often think about emotions that way." The very idea that emotions, not cold-calculated reason, are driving revenge is a novel one, Knutson said.

Finally, the anticipation of exacting revenge can be motivating. Just think about Dirty Harry, the screen cop made famous by Clint Eastwood.

"Go ahead, make my day," Dirty Harry says to a hostage-taker in the 1983 film "Sudden Impact." "Clint could walk out of there and be fine. He's informing us that he will derive satisfaction from punishing them," Knutson explained.

The guy drops his weapon. Dirty Harry is shipped out of town for playing too fast and too loose. But that's another story.

People are so very interesting to me. I kind of enjoyed this.

Godzilla May Destroy Tokyo

If I ever have the chance I'd love to wear the rubber suit and stomp all over a minature Tokyo. Just think, I could be a star in a poorly dubbed B Movie. Better yet, I could be a star in some Kung-Fu flick.

And if you are really curious what the real story is, here is a little tease for you:

TOKYO - Japan's capital has a 90 percent chance of being devastated by a major earthquake some time in the next 50 years, according to a study by a government panel.

The study, released earlier this week, marked the latest attempt by scientists to address one of this quake-prone country's most pressing concerns: when the next "Big One" would level one of the world's most densely populated cities.
Tokyo was last hit by a destructive quake in 1923 that toppled buildings, set the city aflame and killed at least 140,000 people — and experts warn it's overdue for another.

Use the link above for the full story.

Are you a clone of your parents or how do your children see you?

I wasn't really sure what to title this post, primarily because it is really a stream of consciousness type piece. I am just kind of going with the flow of my mind and we'll see where it takes me. Pretty scary stuff. :)

When I was younger, roughly in my teens I used to wonder what my parents were like before they had me. What kind of people were they? I tried to imagine them as children, teens and college students who didn't have children. Without responsibilities were they at all like me? Were they as wild and crazy? Were they stiff and nerdy? Were they somewhere in between?

I heard the word "no" quite a bit. Not because they were overprotective, I don't think of them at all like that. But because I was headstrong, defiant, impulsive and at times fearless. Ok, some of the readers who know me well are laughing because that still describes me.

But I couldn't help wondering how much they hid. It always seemed to me that they kept a piece of themselves back. And as I have gotten older I have learned a few things here and there. There were family events that they didn't tell us about or things that were stressful that they didn't mention. And I appreciate it. They weren't things that we needed to know and my parents tried hard to let us be children. Which is something I want for my children.

Which gets to the point of this. I wonder how my children will remember me. I wonder if they will have any sense of the boy/man that walked the Earth before they arrived. There are many stories from my past that they are not allowed to hear until they are somewhere around 25-30. I am not embarrassed by them, but they are things that are not appropriate for young children to hear. And certainly there are a host of "activities" that I don't want them engaging in or considering just because they know that "dear old dad" got away with being stupid.

So I guess that I am wondering if they'll think of me the way I think of my parents. I don't know.

All I know is that I do the best I can for them and they have my promise that I will do that until I die. Which is another topic, some people are very afraid of death. I am not. I don't want to die. I expect to live to about 130, maybe even 150. Good genes in my family and a refusal to die give me hope that it is possible.

But seriously, I look at the children and I know that there are things that I have already passed along. My son has my body, particularly my hands and feet. It is kind of weird to see compare, but I see his hands and remember what mine looked like as a child. No scars, no calluses, just a child's hand. Yet when you compare our hands it is so easy to see that they appear to be almost identical.

Maybe my grandchildren will have my hands or feet. I don't know.

My son's speech pattern is already similar to mine, We use similar expressions and his mother tells me that when he and I get frustrated it is like looking at "mini-me."

But he is also very different from me and that makes me glad. I want him to be a mensch. I want him to have character and integrity, but he should be his own person too. I wonder sometimes if my father/mother had as much joy in watching me play as I do when I watch him. Such joy cannot be bottled up. I warned him that when he is 15 I will still hug and kiss him in public.

And my daughter, well at 30+ days it is too hard to say much about my little princess other than she is a doll. I wonder what the years will bring for all of us.

You can't revise history

Gymnastics officials want Hamm to give up gold
Posted: Friday August 27, 2004 9:53AM; Updated: Friday August 27, 2004 10:31AM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Gymnastics officials asked Paul Hamm to give up his gold medal as the ultimate show of sportsmanship, but the U.S. Olympic Committee told them to take responsibility for their own mistakes.

The USOC is exactly right.

In a dispute over scores that has turned into a political squabble, the head of the International Gymnastics Federation suggested in a letter to Hamm that giving the all-around gold medal to South Korea's Yang Tae-young "would be recognized as the ultimate demonstration of fair play by the whole world."

You cannot change history, no matter how you try. If you could I can think of about 6 different things in my life that would be different.

FIG president Bruno Grandi tried to send the letter Thursday night to Hamm through the USOC, but the USOC refused to deliver it.

Give the USOC a harrumph.

In a letter back to Grandi, USOC secretary general Jim Scherr called the request "a blatant and inappropriate attempt on the part of (FIG) to once again shift responsibility for its own mistakes and instead pressure Mr. Hamm into resolving what has become an embarrassing situation for your federation."

That is correct, I feel badly for Hamm. He shouldn't be placed in this position.

Yang, the bronze medalist, was wrongly docked a tenth of a point on his parallel bars routine. If he had received the proper score, he would have won gold and Hamm would have won silver. Three judges were suspended, and FIG said the results would stand.

Through his agent, Hamm declined comment, but he has said in the past that he has no intentions of giving up his medal unless ordered to do so by FIG. Grandi said Friday he believed the issue was closed until he learned of that comment by Hamm.

Although Grandi's letter says "the true winner of the all-around competition is Yang Tae-young" the FIG president insisted he's not pressuring Hamm.

"There is no doubt he has won the medal," Grandi said. "He deserves the medal and the ranking is clear. ... I respect totally Paul Hamm and all the decisions he makes. If he says give back the medal, I respect it. Don't give back the medal, I respect the decision. He is not responsible for anything."

The USOC had a much different interpretation of the letter.
"I don't know of any comparison in any sport anywhere where you crown an athlete, crown a team and then say, 'Oh, that was a mistake. Would you fix this for us?"' USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said.

Ueberroth said the USOC considers the case closed, based on the FIG ruling -- that the scores cannot be changed -- and from a statement from International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, who said the IOC would stick with the results turned in by the federation and wouldn't step in unless there were clear signs of impropriety.

If Hamm had known about this during the competition he might have done things differently too. He could have engaged in a more difficult routine to elevate his scores. But you can't go back.

If the Lakers would have been completely healthy the Pistons never would have won, but again, unless you are HG Wells history is immutable.

Europe's New War With America

Europe's New War With America

By Seth Jayson (TMF Bent) August 26, 2004

If you were spooked by the vision of technology and institutional hubris gone amok in Minority Report, pull the covers over your head now. This week, the European Union's (EU) European Commission (EC) opened an investigation into a Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) deal that would give them control of digital rights management (DRM) company Contentguard.

The crime? Future domination of a market that does not yet exist.

If you're confused or angered by this, then you must not be a socialist or an EU commissioner. So step outside yourself for a moment, you capitalist dog, and try to see things from the EC's side of the table.

Here's what the EC claims: "It appears to the Commission that the transaction might possibly create or strengthen a dominant position by Microsoft in the market for Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions."

Silly me, but I thought the whole point of a business was to make money from a competitive advantage. Apparently, in Europe, competition is OK, so long as there's no winner. That may be a nice way to run a church T-ball league, but it's no way to advance an economy or culture. (But maybe it explains a few things about the medal counts in Athens these days.)

Another unfortunate reality for the commissioners is that there isn't much of a market for DRM at all right now, and the leader in the field is the only company making a splash in the download biz: not Microsoft but Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL). Of course, from the EC point of view, Cupertino had better stop selling so many iPods. Not only is the device cuter than the other players out there, but also it refuses to run files from RealNetworks (Nasdaq: RNWK) and other competitors. That's clearly an advantage, and therefore, it must be stopped. Oh, and by the way, Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), Home Depot (NYSE: HD)? Your low prices and tight inventory control put your competitors at a disadvantage. Get out your checkbooks.

You get the idea. The EC's recent record on big business looks a lot more like sour grapes than consumer protection. Earlier Microsoft settlements and the ongoing Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) investigation have been long on suspicion and short on substance. Unfortunately for shareholders, the easiest thing to do is often just to pay up so the EC will shut up.

Top Russian Official: Plane Terror Likely

Top Russian Official: Plane Terror Likely

By MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press Writer
MOSCOW - A top Russian official acknowledged on Thursday what many citizens already suspected — that terrorism was the most likely cause of two jetliners crashing minutes apart, a feeling reflected in a newspaper headline warning that "Russia now has a Sept. 11."


Just a day after officials stressed there were many possibilities besides terrorism, presidential envoy Vladimir Yakovlev told Russia's ITAR-Tass news agency that the main theory "all the same remains terrorism."

He said the planes' flight recorders had not provided any clues to the disaster.

Additionally, Transport Minister Igor Levitin confirmed Sibir airlines' report that its crew activated an emergency signal shortly before the plane disappeared from radar screens. Visiting the site of the crash, he said, however, that details were slim because "no verbal confirmation from the crew was received" saying what the problem was.

Officials previously said there was no indication of trouble from a Volga-Aviaexpress airliner that also crashed late Tuesday, although people on the ground reported hearing a series of explosions.

Russian media also raised questions about a possible link between the crashes and an explosion a few hours earlier at a bus stop on a road leading to Domodedovo airport, where the two doomed planes took off. Without citing any evidence, the reports suggested the blast, which wounded four people, might have been an effort to distract attention.

The suspicion of terrorism came after earlier warnings from officials that separatists might try to carry out attacks before an election this Sunday in Chechnya (news - web sites) to replace the war-torn region's assassinated pro-Kremlin president. The rebels have made attacks in Moscow and other cities, hijacked planes outside Russia and allegedly staged suicide bombings.

"I am inclined to think that it is a terrorist act, because there are too many coincidences," said Ruben Suryaninov, an elderly retiree. "What needs to happen so that two planes going from the same airport would bang at the same moment?"

"It's too suspicious," agreed Natalia Kozhelupova, a physicist who was out on a national day of mourning for the 89 people killed in the crashes. Russia's tricolor flag flew at half-staff and television canceled entertainment programs.

Despite Yakovlev's statement about terrorism, officially the government's investigation was still looking at all possibilities, including bombs, hijackers, mechanical failure, bad fuel and human error. Officials said no evidence had been found pointing to terrorism.

The government had hoped the jetliners' flight data recorders would shed some light, but Yakovlev told state-run First Channel that experts found both boxes shut off before indicating any problems.

Yakovlev, the president's envoy for southern Russia, where one of the planes crashed, said both boxes "turned off immediately" — an indication "that something happened very fast."

The planes — a Sibir Tu-154 with 46 aboard and a Volga-Aviaexpress Tu-134 with 43 people — disappeared from radar almost simultaneously around 11 p.m. Tuesday. The Tu-134 was headed to the southern city of Volgograd and the other plane to the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, where President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites) had been vacationing. They had taken off about 40 minutes apart.

A government commission appointed to investigate the crashes traveled Thursday to the site where the Tu-134 crashed about 120 miles south of Moscow. Emergency crews had already completed their work there, but other workers continued to check wreckage of the Tu-154 a few hundred miles south.

"There is still no clear-cut concept of what occurred, because the procedure of deciphering the data recorders will be conducted more than once," Levitin, the transport minister and head of the commission, was quoted as saying by ITAR-Tass.

Oleg Panteleyev, an independent aviation expert in Russia, said that just because no clear evidence of terrorism had been found didn't mean it that wasn't the cause.

Any other explanation "seems to be purely impossible," he told The Associated Press. "But then again absolutely incredible things can happen in life."

There also was doubt about whether Russians could count on their government to tell the truth.

"I never trust what the authorities are saying, but in this case, I don't know — it could have been an accident or a terrorist act," said Yevgeny Skepner, a 37-year-old computer programmer.

Many Russians have ingrained doubts about the government's candor after the confused and contradictory reports on the sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk (news - web sites) in 2000 and the still-murky 2002 seizure of a Moscow theater by Chechen rebels.

Still, Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent military analyst who is often critical of the government, said the government would have nothing to gain in covering up a terror attack.

"For the companies, the aviation industry, society and Russia as a whole, it would be better ... because otherwise it means that things are really bad here — we have bad planes that crash to the ground one after another," he said. "The fact that it is not being called a terrorist act, means they have no such evidence ... because hiding a terrorist act is impossible."

Panteleyev disagreed. "To miss such a major terrorist act for the security services means to acknowledge their impotence," he said.

I am betting on terrorism, this is just way too coincidental for it to be an accident.

Lightning Is About To Strike

Lightning is about to strike again, not a doubt in my mind that we're going to see it live and experience in 3D. Some lips are bound to ...