Friday, December 28, 2007

Kiss of the Assassin

Observing the habitat of the Assassin bug and counting the number of bugs noted by exterminators has been tested as a very inexpensive, yet accurate method to determine if children need to be tested for the presence of the parasite, a protozoan called Trypanosoma cruzi.

Good news for the people in Peru and other South American countries plagued by Chaga's Disease.
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LONDON (Reuters) - A new, low-cost screening strategy could make it easier for poor countries to target and treat Chagas disease, a deadly parasite-borne condition found mainly in Latin America, according to a new study.
By Michael Kahn
But a team of U.S. researchers showed they could use easy-to-collect data on the number of insects found in homes during spraying campaigns to identify clusters of at-risk children who should be tested for Chagas disease.

"The exterminators are really telling us what kids need to be tested," said Levy, who conducted the study while at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It is very easy to add on to existing programs."

Chagas disease is usually transmitted to humans by a blood-sucking insect called an assassin bug or a kissing bug. The insect carries a protozoan parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi, which kills more people in the region each year than any other parasite-born disease, including malaria, Levy said.

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Real Whale Research, not Whale Hunting!

Terri Irwin has stepped up with an appropriate response to help end Japan's facade to the nations. Animals don't have to be killed to find out their life biology. It seems to me that the other governments should have already suggested alternative forms of research, but it is great that Terri Irwin has come up with a great idea. Thanks Terri!
Another idea that has never happened, the Japanese government should not be allowed to sell the whale meat for human or animal consumption.
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SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- The widow of TV "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin announced Thursday she will launch non-lethal research of whales in Antarctic waters next year in hopes of showing that Japan's scientific whale kill is a sham.
AP Photo
AP Photo/Ed Wray
Tokyo has staunchly defended its annual cull of more than 1,000 whales as crucial for research, saying it is necessary to kill the whales to properly gather information about their eating, breeding and migratory habits.
Japan had planned to kill up to 50 endangered humpback whales this season, but backed away from the plan in the face of strong international condemnation.
"We are determined to show the Japanese they can stop all whaling, not just humpbacks," Irwin said.
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Monday, December 24, 2007

100 Top Songs of 2007

Because our very existence is an irony, one thing can be said about the Americans I know, including myself, we love the ironic, the sardonic. Randy Newman, a contemporary American songwriter, cornered the market on American musical sardonic humor in his latest release, A Few Words In Defense of Our Country!

While Randy's new song is an apology for America and Americans, we don't get off the hook so easily. He is more than willing to make hay with our current history, including our American Pity Party pursuing terror.

I suppose that may explain why A Few Words In Defense of Our Country quietly became the #2 song in Rolling Stones 100 Best Songs of 2007. There is another irony, so everyone can relate to part of the song, A Few Words in Defense of Our Country while recognizing the validity of all of the song.

I would like to believe that one important reason this song became so highly prized in 2007 is because Americans understand who we are better than people in other countries believe we do. We are Americans, the whelps of the downtrodden, indentured servants and slaves, the dregs of all your countries, the naysayers and the political enemies of many of the most successful dictators in the ENTIRE world. We are Americans, so we know who we are and where we come from in the historical scheme of things.

We are Americans, and we established a country, a democracy, that many want to join and many want to hate.

My mother always told me that the people who want to destroy you the most are the people who want what you plainspeak....they are jealous. That doesn't let us, Americans, off the hook for any issues we have caused, it just explains why some of the issues exist. Don't get it? It is OK, irony is often the tool of subtlety.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

SciFiFry: In a Parallel Universe

One of the excellent members of the Wired Science blog team, Damon Gambuto, will be blogging about Science Fiction books each Friday. He will have plenty to blog about, and this series could continue forever.

When I read his blog, it reminded me of that Environmental Blogging Day I participated in last October. Many bloggers who love science fiction and science could write about science fiction on Friday. This is an idea that could work, especially if we had a bit of organization behind it...a widget or a badge to a weblink that listed all science fiction friday bloggers who are members of the Wired Science group. This is only a kernel of an idea, but I think it would be really cool!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

11 yrs old select MW word of year

New Clipper! Welcome! Cool stuff, errata. Thank goodness, I was concerned by the selection of W00t Wordie looks to be an excellent new social networking. I think I like it, so I will check it out. Why don't you?
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Wordie : Errata

The Wordie Blog

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I know it's not cool to be a prescriptivist, but can I just say that Merriam-Webster picked the dumbest [*#%&@!+] word in the universe as their Word of the Year 2007? I'm aware that M-W itself didn't make the choice, the eleven year olds who use their web site did, but isn't that why they have all those lexicographers lying around?
I didn't say anything, because I didn't have anything nice to say. Actually I have one nice thing to say, which is that some of the comments on Wordie's page for it are pretty good, including the links to various etymologies, and, especially, the prior art from Chaucer. But I got a few more emails today and figured, fine, I'll uncork myself and spew some bile.
I'm not even sure I don't like the word, but I hate that they picked it, and I'm not alone. It's not just the winner that sucks, it's the whole list.
The only good word of the lot is Pecksniffian,
M-W got voted off
replaced by OneLook
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How Rudolph Lost His Red Nose

Cool e-card; Rudolph lost his red nose, in a good way! Watch this digital story that can be sent as an e-card to your friends and family.


Watch Santa cheer up Rudolph with a special green gift.

Green your holiday, too, and send this terrific paper-free animated e-card to all your friends and family.


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Friday, December 14, 2007

Mashable Marks Clipcast

This reviewer dosn't get it either, but I guess it's no different than those who live it and don't get it.
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Let’s hear that in marketingese: “The introduction of the ClipCast is the most exciting development in Clipmarks’ history, because it represents our evolution from a centralized Web site to a distributed platform for sharing the information that matters most to people,” says Eric Goldstein, CEO and co-founder of Clipmarks.


I apologize for taking the reviewer’s easy way out with this comparison, but it all boils down to a widgetized version of Tumblr, and I must say I’m not particularly impressed. This third degree of separation (original website - your smallified version of it - widget) just feels too confusing, and I’m not sure I can find much value in it. Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but I’d rather simply browse through someone’s bookmarks.

Link to This Post:

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rare Form of Alzheimer's Disease

I don't know what to say when the one of the most prolific science fiction writers in the world finds out he has early onset Alzheimer's disease
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BBC News

Pratchett has Alzheimer's disease
The writer, 59, who gave the news on the website of Discworld artist Paul Kidby, said the condition was behind a "phantom stroke" earlier this year.
Discworld author Pratchett has sold more than 55 million books worldwide.
He said in a statement that with forthcoming conventions and the need to inform his publishers it would have been "unfair to withhold the news".
Author Terry Pratchett is suffering from a rare form of early Alzheimer's disease, it has been revealed.
suffering from a rare form of early Alzheimer's disease, it has been revealed.

He told fans the statement should be interpreted as "I am not dead".

"I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else," he said.
"I know it's a very human thing to say 'is there anything I can do', but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry."
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Clearing 4040 at Catal Hoyuk

Clearing 4040
Originally uploaded by catalhoyuk
A good example of what an area looks like when it is first being cleared of topsoil so the excavation and careful mapping of the site as it is worked can be documented for later research by Ian Hodder and his world renowned team.

South Excavation

South Excavation
Originally uploaded by catalhoyuk
Another perspective of the rooms within the city of Catal Hoyuk and the depth of the archaeological site which provides a glimpse of the layers of cities that were built upon one another, just as they are today in major cities across the globe.

This is another part of the Catal Hoyuk site that is excavated and researched by Ian Hodder and his world renowned team.

Tourists visiting Çatalhöyük

This picture provides better perspective for the size of ONE of the ongoing excavations at Catal Hoyuk. This city was settled for over 2,000 years by people we are only beginning to discover. When visiting Turkey, this would be an excellent tour destination.

View From Top of the Mound

View from top of the mound
Originally uploaded by catalhoyuk
Showing perspective of the site is very important. What does this area around Catal Hoyuk look like today? How did it look over 9,000 years ago? How do scientists discover this?

These are all questions that you can learn more about at the Catal Huyuk website and by studying these pictures at Flickr. Many of the techniques are straightforward and are used by historians and genealogy buffs to find the age, climate or setting of more current archaeological sites like old homesteads or cemeteries.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wall Relief in TP Area - 1

Wall Relief in TP Area - 1
Originally uploaded by catalhoyuk
Look above the wall relief and you can see part of the extensive roof covering this area while it is being excavated, referenced, and translated by Ian Hodder and his world renowned team.

Pot with faces from 4040 Area - 1

Beautifully crafted pottery face recovered from Catal Hoyuk by Ian Hodder and his world renowned team in 2007.

Animal Stamp Seal

Animal Stamp Seal
Originally uploaded by catalhoyuk
One of the more recent finds in the city of Anatolia referred to as Catal Huyuk that is being scientifically investigated and referenced for study by Ian Hodder and this world renowned team.

Civilizations Before Earlier Polar Meltdowns

Several pictures from the most recent archaeological dig at Catal Hoyuk in Turkey are posted above this entry (Monday and Tuesday postings. While this blogposting reports on the latest old city to compare with Catal Hoyuk, as it gains world wide attention.

The BBC has recently published information about the ancient city that was discovered of the coast of India while engineers and scientists were study pollution. I am glad this Indian site, on the western side of peninsula in the Bay of Cambay, is finally being publicized. It is very exciting because these cultures don't just spring up fully formed...they must grow and develop.

This new discovery in the Gulf of Cambay will help people learn more about our human history, and how a previous melting of the polar ice caps covered cities and civilizations around the globe.

This site, found in the Bay of Cambay, has at least one sister city. Catal Huyuk and its discovery broke the 6,000 year barrier for civilizations and cities. Now places like Cambay will be more easily accepted.

Here are several links that will provide information about the 9,500 year old city that was discovered over 50 years ago by James Mellart and has been studied by Ian Hodder and his world renowned team since 1993.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Parent Approved! 100% Kid-Safe Lead Free Paint

I saw the interview of Mike Whitworth the owner of this company on CNBC today; Whittle Shortline Railroad is located in Louisiana, MO; all toys must be sent to outside inspectors to check various safety issues, including toxicity of materials. They have lots of cool toys and you can order through their website. will have their toys on their website after December 5, 2007, according to this CNBC report. Here is the URL for this cool interview.
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America's Handcrafted Wooden Railroad Whittle SHortline Railroad

For generations, the story of The Little Engine That Could has been told and retold to
countless children and now the story comes to life with these solid hardwood toys.
Our Little Engine toys are of heirloom quality and will be passed down from generation to

These Little Engine toys are compatible with Brio and Thomas track but can also operate
without track. A simple adjustment to the Blue Engine's Wheels and the train is ready
for the kitchen floor or grandma's coffee table.
The Little Engine That Could Set, Book and Oval
The Little Engine That Could Set, Book and free shipping
Purchase the entire set of The Little Engine That Could toys and receive the Book.
The Little Engine That Could Toy Set and Book.
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Thursday, November 15, 2007

USA Clothing, Toys and Candy

This company, The Vermont Country Store is awesome. I am collecting information for friends and relatives on reliable companies that have USA products and reliable imported products. The toys they sell are tested for safety. This company has very cool, regional candies, soaps, perfumes and other products. I thought I would share with others.
Lanz Two-Piece Footed Pajamas Keep Boys and Girls Snuggle-Up Warm Right Down to Their Toes
Lanz Children's Footed PJs
In a festive Red Stewart plaid that's perfect for the holidays, these hard-to-find two-piece footed pajamas by Lanz keep kids toasty even when they toss off their blankets in the night or pad around the house without slippers. Machine wash and dry. USA of U.S. and Canadian material.


  • Top is finished with rib knitting at the Henley neck and cuffs
  • Elastic-waist bottoms have slip-resistant vinyl-soled feet
  • Flame-resistant polyester

Tailored to meet Lanz's high standards of quality, these PJs will look as good as new when passed down to younger sisters and brothers.

The Vermont Country Store
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Friday, November 9, 2007

All Yankee Doodle Dandies: Stand Up for Veterans

How long can the American government, especially the legislative and executive branch, ignore the growing problem of homelessness, poverty and mental health issues among our veterans? We all know the struggle that everyone faced when the Vietnam Veterans came home, and even the veterans from the Korean Conflict and WWII had issues that were often unresolved.

It is my hypothesis that the continual violent effects of war upon the generations extremely, negatively impact families and our American dream.

You can't ask people to come back from war and act like everything is normal. It isn't, and it won't ever be normal again.

The United States of America has actively participated in a world war or major military conflict through every generation since WWII. As a country, we have not come to grips with the fact that Americans are suffering because of it.

Firstly, we suffer because of the dead. These people are no longer available to help our country develop. Dead young people mean fewer husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, daughters and sons available to help our American culture develop.

Secondly, when veterans return, they suffer from culture shock. In some ways it may be likened to a similar phenomenon found among released prisoners. The returning veterans have been controlled within a rigid, conservative, militaristic society that is nothing like the culture to which they return. We know this culture shock, by itself, is very disorienting and disruptive to the psyche of these returning Americans.

To their credit, American veterans work very diligently to CONTROL their personal, mental and physical, environment. This emotional and physical protection often comes at a price for the United States of America, as a whole. It makes our country become more accepting of violence, rigidity and cultural control by "leaders" who prey on the worst fears of these veterans.

What we risk, as a nation, is the polarization of the society. I believe this is caused by the cultural division of the country as some veterans believe they must save the rest of America from itself, and the natural countervailing culture that forms in reaction to their protective, conservative positions. Veterans are frequently at risk of spurning the very American culture they left to defend.

As veterans fall back on their military training to cope in a civilian world, it is often too much of a good thing. This dependence of rigidity of personality often leads veterans to become vulnerable to those elements of our society that will take advantage of their need for structure.

Because they depend on their military training to help them stay sane, veterans frequently become more rigid in their thinking. It is this very protective mechanism, this rigidity in their thinking, that causes them to be caught in the crossfire of nonmilitary society. It is at these times that veterans tend to see the majority of the population, within the culture they were charged to defend, as immoral.

I believe that the overall consequence of this rigidity and vulnerability among our veterans is their tendency to be drawn in by the more extreme, rigid elements within the conservative part of our American society. The effects of their new associations frequently put women and children at risk because of unsuitable rigidity within our fluid American society that may spawn violence.

When America flourishes, our culture is less rigid so we can adapt economically. Americans must be adaptive in other areas of culture, and that means we MUST HELP these veterans be adaptive, not rigid. Their families, communities and country need to encourage them. We can't afford for these veterans to be lost to the adaptability of American culture.

Our government and our institutions owe them a debt. A debt that can never be repaid, so we cannot leave them alone to their own devices. Veterans must be positively engaged and also entrusted with helping build our future with everyone else. Americans must help them move back into our societies and families by helping them avoid calcifying their personalities. We need their creativity from their military experiences, not their artificially protective mechanisms of rigidity.

Veterans need excellent health care. Veterans need non-denominational support from clergy, psychologists, social workers, and psychiatrists. Veterans need homes to call their own. Veterans need opportunities to support themselves and their families. When veterans have all these basic amenities, our culture will flourish from the addition of productive, relaxed, healthy citizens who will treat their families and the culture at large with fairness and respectfulness....BECAUSE WE ALL HAVE TREATED THEM IN THE SAME WAY. Respect is not something you say, it is something your is an action.

Thanks to my grandfather, Lester Cassius Mast, who served honorably in France during World War I. He was very lucky to be welcomed home after WWI, and he became part of a productive family where he was a valuable leader. My grandfather is my archetype for my ideal American veteran. He believed in education, equality for all, hard work and humility. I do so miss him.

Thanks to my uncle, the uncle I never knew. My father's smart and handsome oldest brother, Alonzo Pearce Jr, a US Marine, died on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941..."a day that will live in infamy".

Thanks to my handsome, strong, smart and loving uncles, my mother's brothers. Wayne Mast and Gary Mast, served in the Korean Conflict. Uncle Wayne died a few years ago, but my Uncle Gary is alive and well, leading his family in the way our grandfather, his father, taught him.

Thanks to veterans, one and all. We love you for your effort and devotion to the country we also love, the United States of America.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Penultimate Virtual Tour - Amazing

Hope you enjoy this clip; An Australian colleague sent this through Twitter, so I thought others might enjoy viewing this Virtual Tour of a proposed highway system in Queensland, Australia, near Brisbane. The virtual tour is amazing. You are viewing it as if you are flying over the road system in a helicopter.
Gateway Upgrade Project Logo

There are three versions depending on your connection type. If you have a dial-up connection, the lower-speed version provides a quicker download option. The other two options are better suited to high-speed internet connections. Please note that the files may take several minutes to open.

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45 "Smashing" Blog Designs

Really cool article with links to other equally cool posts on CSS, AJAX, web design, layouts, and design in general. This clip is taken from an online magazine called Smashing, a mashup of various technology topics.
However, not every weblog should look like a typical blog. After all, not every blogger wants his or her site to look exactly like hundreds of other ones. In fact, there is a small bunch of creative, outstanding and individually designed from scratch blogs.
the designs listed below were selected for their attention to small details.
he blog needs a solid visual structure, a profound hierarchy of site elements; it also has to be able to build some kind of a bridge between the content and its presentation.
precision, minimalism and sound use of illustration.
criteria were the ones we’ve used to select the designs listed

Below you’ll find 45 excellent blog designs which impress with creative approaches and attention to details; hopefully you’ll find new ideas you can develop further in your own designs.

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