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"I am the world crier, & this is my dangerous career...

I am the one to call your bluff, & this is my climate."

—Kenneth Patchen (1911-1972)

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Saturday, April 8, 2000

I'd previously linked to the ACLU's position on the proposed medical privacy legislation. Here's what the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has to say.

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Windows 98 Communication Tips: How to Speed-up your Connecting time - Windows-Help.NET
To Speed-up the time it takes for DUN (Dial Up Networking) to establish a connection with your ISP
(Internet Service Provider) in Windows 98.

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Here's a message that has to get widely distributed:
BOLIVIA UNDER MARTIAL LAW


As of 10 am Saturday morning Bolivia was declared under martial
law by President Hugo Banzer. The drastic move comes at the end of a
week of protests, general strikes, and transportation blockages that
have left major areas of the country at a virtual standstill. It also
follows, by just hours, the surprise announcement by state officials
yesterday afternoon that the government would concede to the protests'
main demands, to break a widely-despised contract under which the city
of Cochabamba's public water system was sold off to foreign investors
last year. The concession was quickly reversed by the national
government, and the local governor resigned, explaining that he didn't
want to take responsibility for bloodshed that might result.



Banzer, who ruled Bolivia as a dictator from 1971-78, has taken an
action that suspends almost all civil rights, disallows gatherings
of more than four people and puts severe limits on freedom of the
press. One after another, local radio stations have been taken
over by military forces or forced off the air. Reporters have been
arrested The neighborhood where most of the city's broadcast antennas
are located had its power shut off at approximately noon local time.
Through the night police searched homes for members of the widely-
backed water protests, arresting as many as twenty. The local
police chief has been instated by the President as governor of the
state. Blockades erected by farmers in rural areas continue across
the country, cutting off some cities from food and transportation.
Large crowds of angry residents, many armed with sticks and rocks are
massing on the city's center where confrontations with military and
police are escalating.



Tom Kruse

Casilla 5812 / Cochabamba, Bolivia

TelFax: (591-4) 248242, 500849
TelCel: 017-22253


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A sense of Well being: Salon celebrates the 15th anniversary of "the world's most influential online community" (which they bought out last year).

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Andrew Sullivan in the New York Times Magazine comprehensively runs down the meaning of testosterone to masculinity.

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Single mothers should take on a partner not only to help with their parenting, to have someone to survive them for their chlidren's sake, but also to increase their own chances of sticking around longer themselves, a new Swedish research study asserts.

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Project Censored has released its 25 top censored news stories of 1999. Some are new news, but others no surprise; for me, #1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24. How about you? What surprised you? What was old news?

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Here's my ambiguously legal deeplink to a New York Times story on the legality of 'Deep Linking'. 'When a federal judge issued a decision last week in a
case involving "deep linking," many reports suggested
that the controversial Internet practice was now
unambiguously legal. But the story is more complex than
that. In fact, deep linking -- the practice of linking to a page
deep inside another Web site, bypassing its home page --
still appears to be in legal limbo.'

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You probably won't care about this unless you're raising children. If you are, you know that there is a raging folklore-and-urban-myth debate about how much crankiness can be attributed to teething. "(M)any ...symptoms commonly associated with teething -- such as high fevers, diarrhea or
vomiting -- cannot be blamed on the imminent emergence of a new tooth, according to results of one of
the largest studies of its kind...Furthermore, there was no cluster of signs that could help parents predict when a
tooth was about to emerge. No particular symptom -- such as biting, drooling or
gum rubbing -- was seen in more than 35% of infants during the teething time."

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I logged with interest the report of the first reported discovery of an extra-solar planet. But: NASA: Suspected Extra-Solar Planet Probably a Star
'It looked like a planet, the first directly detected outside our solar system, but
NASA researchers and the astronomer who discovered it now believe it is probably just a faraway star."

It is just too hot to be a planet, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said in a statement
released late on Thursday.

The weird space object photographed three years ago by the Hubble Space Telescope is most likely a star
far in the background, with its light dimmed by interstellar dust, so that it looks like it is close to a
double-star system in which it was supposed to be a planet.'

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Why this long puff piece on the "nerd warriors" of the NSA?

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"This technology is something that could ultimately devour us," says the Archbishop of York.

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Study Says Brain Damage Makes Gulf War Vets Dizzy
: "...reflex tests and electronic brain measurements found that veterans who complained of
bouts of vertigo showed signs of brain-stem damage similar to the damage seen in victims of the 1995
Tokyo subway nerve-gas attack.

'The study provides further evidence to suggest that these veterans were exposed to chemicals and nerve
agents in the Gulf War,' the team from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas said in a
statement." [Reuters]

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Friday, April 7, 2000

An Irish Times survey compiled a list of a hundred favorite Irish poems. Jorn Barger found most of them on the web and posted a list with hotlinks. Thanks!

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Thursday, April 6, 2000

Slow Wave is a comic strip based on dreams people submit to the cartoonists. Revealing, and it really makes sense to me to use the comic strip medium to render dreams!

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Return of the Snapper:
An English photographer tracks down the
anonymous subjects of his photographs from
the 1970s and asks them to pose for him
again, is staggered by the response. [The Irish Times]

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Gel Prevents Chemotherapy Hair Loss in Rats
"A clear gel rubbed on the scalps of rats was able to prevent hair loss from
chemotherapy, one of the most distressing side effects of cancer treatment, scientists said. A researcher for developer Glaxo Wellcome said the company hopes to start human tests of
the gel, which includes a drug known as GW8510, to see if it could help reduce the trauma of
chemotherapy." Exciting news if true, but I'm skeptical. The drug apparently works by seeping into hair follicles and temporarily inhibiting their cell division, which means they are spared by chemotherapy drugs which essentially work by targeting fast-growing and -dividing cells throughout the body. Because the new gel is topical, it will not affect the internal targeted cancer cells. But could the cure be worse than the disease? Can we really turn cell replication on and off with precision?

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TV Ad Roach Frightens Viewers
"Television ads for (Orkin) that feature a realistic-looking cockroach scurrying across the screen have left some viewers
laughing, others upset and a few broken TVs."

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Scandalous Doin's in the Ruins of Pompeii
The contents of
the Secret Cabinet that
were so scandalous they
were kept locked up for
most of the last 200 years
will be unveiled to the
public next week.
Schoolchildren visiting
the National
Archaeological Museum of
Naples, however, will
need parental permission
to see the exhibition.
Curators delicately refer
to the Secret Cabinet or the "Forbidden Collection," but
museum guards loudly direct visitors to "il pornografico." [New York Times]

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Your Mail Isn't Spying on You Thoughtful reflections by a colleague of mine on the privacy-violating fears raised by completing the census questionnaire make the New York Times op-ed page.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2000

The number purple: exploring color-number synaesthesia. [New Scientist]

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Netscape 6 Preview Release 1 is here for download. Playing with it tonight, what I can say so far is that it's fast. Major frustrations: blogger editing windows don't work; and I can't find a way to import my Netscape 4.7 bookmarks en masse.

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The heart of our galaxy may be a cluster of up to 25,000 black holes created by the demise of stars throughout the Milky Way and slowly falling to the center where they are gradually gobbled up by the giant black hole lurking there.

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Jumbo discovery: DNA analysis confirms that African forest elephants have diverged enough from their savannah cousins that, along with the Indian elephant, there should be considered to be three separate species. Add one more to the endangered species list.

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Chile Mulls Plan to Curb Global Warming. The patented plan would fertilize the ocean to enhance plankton growth, which in turn would consume more CO2 dissolved in the ocean water. Atmospheric CO2 would go into solution to compensate. Chile would "clean up" on carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change [New Scientist]

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Do you suppose supermarketeers will go for this?

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More opiates used to treat severe pain. A new study shows that a recent trend toward increased use of narcotic analgesics to treat severe chronic pain has not been accompanied by wider abuse of these drugs, despite the fears of "pharmacological Calvinist" detractors of adequate pain relief in medical practice.

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The screenwriter of The Usual Suspects and the producer of The Sixth Sense team up with director Simon West to do a film based on the '60's cult classic TV series The Prisoner. Patrick McGoohan will be the executive producer.

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Mickey And Minnie Skate Around Controversy in Northern Ireland by refusing to be photographed shaking hands with mayor of Londonderry.

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McDonald's humble pie? Apologizes for poking fun at Malta.

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Consul of Imaginary Principality Arrested
"A man acting as consul of an imaginary principality off Britain was arrested in Madrid on suspicion of selling
fake passports to international criminals, the Civil Guard said." The Principality of Sealand, based on a surplus military platform in the Thames estuary, follows international law and issues its own passports, according to its website.

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Plan Helps Elderly With Prescriptions: proponents claim, this plan, if implemented, will make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to offer affordable prescription drug coverage to virtually all elders.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2000

ZDNet: News: Breaking News In Brief
"The leaders of a Congressional panel Tuesday
said an automated system sought by the
Securities and Exchange Commission to
monitor fraud on the Internet could violate the
privacy of Americans."

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Life as a fate worse than death
"I am praying that the judge will be merciful,
that he will see the reasons to grant the DNR
and that he will spot and judge harshly the
self-interest that led the parents to fight it." [Salon]

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Sun's Got the Beat "Like blood pulsing in an artery, newly discovered currents of gas
beat deep inside the Sun, speeding and slackening every 16 months.

The solar "heartbeat" throbs in the same region of the Sun suspected of driving
the 11-year cycle of solar eruptions, during which the Sun goes from stormy to
quiet and back again. Scientists are hopeful that this pulse can help them unravel
the origin and operation of the solar cycle." [NASA Science News]

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Salon review of Alice Kaplan's new book The Collaborator about French pro-fascist novelist and critic Robert Brasillach, who was executed by firing squad on direct order of de Gaulle in the waning days of WWII. Simone de Beauvoir called his condemnation symbolically rather than judicially sound, and disturbing questions remain unanswered about what was essentially an execution for "hate speech", a finding that intellectual crimes were as noxious as political or military. Moral ambiguity and irony swirl around the case. The judge and prosecutor had themselves been Vichy collaborators. Alice Kaplan is the daughter of a Nuremberg prosecutor. De Gaulle explained his excepting Brassilach when he pardoned all who had not actively colluded with German authorities with the assertion that "talent is a responsibility." "And there is the more obscure question, too, of
his actual involvement in denouncing Jews in hiding in the
pages of Je Suis Partout. It was never proved beyond doubt,
but clearly the intent to harm existed. It's an open question
whether such ambiguities merit death. In a society at peace, it
is difficult to judge the mood of a place like wartime France,
where words could literally kill." Brasillach himself, Kaplan says, represents the contradiction of someone who came to fascism through a devotion to the mythic and symbolic, with a disdain for the political and economic. She also raises fascinating speculation that his attraction to fascism may have been at base homoerotic. In any case, refining our modern conception of "hate speech" and "crimes against humanity" depend on grappling with the Brasillach case. "Kaplan, like de Beauvoir,
is right when she points out that executing people because of
their words is a dubious path to tread. If words are actions,
after all, why not have a thought police and arm them to the
teeth? Brasillach would have approved."

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British bowel cancer fatality rate related to embarrassment?

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Sometimes the bear gets you... and sometimes you get the bear.

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Journal Re-Kindles Controversy Over AIDS Research: A study in which investigators are accused of standing by while their subjects acquired the HIV virus, published in the embattled New England Journal of Medicine, is blasted by a number of prominent medical critics including Jerome Groopman and NEJM executive editor Marcia Angell.

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Building your body in more than one way.

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Rest in peace, Terence McKenna.

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NLRB: Students Can Vote on Union! 'New York University graduate teaching assistants have the right to organize a union, a
federal labor official ruled in the first such decision involving a private college.

Daniel Silverman, regional director of the National Labor Relations Board, wrote Monday that he could find
no reason to deny collective bargaining rights to the TAs "merely because they are employed by an
educational institution while enrolled as a student."'

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Investors Race to Buy 'Fried Air'
Dutch investors scrambled to buy shares in fictitious firm F/Rite Air (pronounced ``Fried Air''), sending more
than $6.5 million in orders to an investment Web site before discovering it was an April Fools prank.
California-based F/Rite Air had been billed as having developed an ``air ioniser'' that might take the place of anti-depressant drug Prozac and
that was being tested by the U.S. Air Force.

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Australian Team Reports Stem Cell Breakthrough
The Monash Institute of Reproduction and Development said its research team was the first to achieve the
controlled, laboratory development of nerve cells from embryonic stem cells.

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John Le Carre would love this one: A thief out-foxed a former British spy center by walking off with a rare Enigma machine used by the Nazis to send
coded messages during World War Two, police said.

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Yes, but is it art? After the second or third time apologizing for the infrequent updates of a weblog within a week or two, shouldn't the author consider dropping the project?

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Monday, April 3, 2000

Mobile surveying unit, to map the Marietta, Ga. municipal utility system has two wheels, pedals, GPS, laser range finders and pen-based computer, costs more than a Toyota Camry.

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CIA discloses futility of Korean War spying. 'The CIA lost so many Korean agents in futile attempts to operate behind enemy lines
in the Korean War that the agency later privately assessed its use of American-trained loyalists as "morally reprehensible," declassified records show.'

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North American Buddhists await Karmapa's visit, after this 14-year-old who is third most important leader in Tibetan Buddhism makes his daring escape from Chinese domination in Tibet.

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Don't eat your tofu

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Sunday, April 2, 2000

Intuit software may be leading the trend for software companies to routinely use Internet connections to monitor and control how customers use their software. You might have to begin taking seriously that agreement you made (when you opened the shrinkwrap) that the software company owns the software and just licenses it to you. But it's pretty likely end users won't roll over on this without a contest.

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THE REGISTER: Hacking credit cards is preposterously easy

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Surveillance in the supermarket will have you pegged, thanks to IBM. Me, I don't even let them track my buying habits by scanning in the "discount card" at the register.

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Japanese using GPS/Cellular to track wandering, confused elders who lose their way.

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You may "catch a heart attack on the subway or on the bus."

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Be an Irish Catholic Priest.com

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I've always wondered what ex-CIA renegade Phillip Agee has been up to. Apparently continuing to provoke the US government by encouraging tourism to Cuba.

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Clinical trials of brain-protecting drugs prove unsuccessful: very disappointing news for aging baby-boomers, hopeful neurologists, and pharmaceutical companies seeking new cash cow, reported at the annual winter meeting of the American Stroke Association.

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Pahrump saga continues: Radio host Art Bell says he's retiring...again.

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Calculate and celebrate your Decimal Birthday.

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12 March 2000: latest of periodic journal entries from Sir Ian McKellan, describing his experiences on the set of the upcoming Lord of the Rings film, in which he plays Gandalf.

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NASA's Report of the Mars Program Independent Assessment Team. As you've heard by now, they acknowledge how faulty the planning process and quality assurance on the missions was.

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