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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 15, 2000

BevNET.com: The Beverage Network "...the most extensive guide to new age beverages and much more!"

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"Don't link to hate sites!" David Goldberg's Hatewatch catalogues websites of bigots. Film critic Roger Ebert takes him to task. "If I were somebody looking for hate on the Web, this would be a good place to start." Does Ebert really think these people need help hating??

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"It's an unholy mix of encryption, anonymity, and digital cash to bring about the ultimate
annihilation of all forms of government. The system, which Jim Bell spent years talking up online,
uses digital cash and anonymity to predict and confirm assassinations." Assassination Politics:

"Before ... Bell went to prison, he suspected that most government officials were corrupt. Three years
behind bars later, the self-proclaimed Internet anarchist is sure of it.

After Bell, a cypherpunk who the United States government dubbed a techno-terrorist, is released Friday at
10 a.m. PDT, he plans to exact revenge on the system that imprisoned him." [Wired]

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The loggerhead at Metascene writes of "Ten Signs That I Am Becoming Everything I Once Despised". By my count, my current score is 5 out of 10, but they're not necessarily anything I "once despised"...

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Latest installation of my Annals of Depravity: Miami Herald: Two Broward students arrested in murder plot: "The two girls arrived at Silver Lakes Middle School with a plot to murder their
rivals, carrying ``kill kits'' to make good on their plan.

According to police, the seventh-grade students planned to lure three of their
female classmates behind the school's portable trailers on Monday, flog them on
their heads with a bag full of batteries, then slash their throats with an assortment
of knives."

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Recreational self-analysis.

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Afterlife Codes Project: "The history and scientific foundation of the Susy Smith Project is described in Schwartz and Russek (1997c).
Briefly, one way to test the SOC hypothesis is to determine whether a key phrase known only to a person in
life (termed the sender) can be communicated after the sender has died (Berger, 1984). To ensure that the
key phrase is not inadvertently communicted by someone (such as a research assistant) who is living after the
sender dies, the key phrase is encoded by various coding systems and the correct key phrase is required to
decode the encoded information."

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Another Superficial Piece About 176 Beatnik Books
What Beat is. What Beat isn't. Who it is and isn't. Stuff like that.


By Richard Meltzer

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Friday, April 14, 2000

Most Distant Object Ever Observed: A quasar 26 billion light years away, with a red shift so great its light is out of the visible spectrum, is the most distant object ever observed. It is estimated that the universe was less than a billion years old when it began sending out the light we view now.

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Japan at Center of Debate on Endangered Species
"Japan is again at war with conservationists
over proposals to resume trading in whales, elephant ivory and marine turtles."

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''X-Files'' creator nears feature directing deal: Chris Carter to direct film version of The World of Ted Serios, based on 1960s true story of a psychiatrist who studied a Chicago bellhop with the ability to project his thoughts onto unexposed photographic film.

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Witness Rights Alert, "a collection of streamed video clips that document human
rights abuses around the world. The biweekly alert is produced and hosted by Oddcast.com, an interactive entertainment site,
on behalf of the human rights organization Witness."







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The furor over Gnutella.

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Ouch: University Sues Over Drug Patent. The University of Rochester, claiming it has a patent on the mechanism of action of the new cox-2 inhibitor class of arthritis drugs, sues to prevent Pharmacia from continuing to market Celebrex, the blockbuster drug in that category which has been a miracle for many arthritis sufferers and is the fastest-selling drug in the U.S. at present.

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Eli Lilly wasn't about to lose out on this one: Federal Trade Commission OKs licensing agreement on new
Prozac
. "The Federal Trade
Commission has approved Eli Lilly and Co.'s deal to license a new and improved version of the
popular antidepressant Prozac, the company said Thursday." Lilly's main patent on Prozac expires in 2003, and it has been hellbent on finding a way to fend off the appeal of cheaper generic versions that may then start to erode its market share drastically.

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ANDREW DOBSON and RENEE KURIYAN: U.S. must help save
elephants
"With little notice, the
international ivory trade has quietly reopened, reawakening a threat to the world's remaining
elephant populations." [Christian Science Monitor opinion]

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The Infamous Eagles Joke: I'm ashamed to say I have returned to this "intelligence test" at intervals since it was first emailed to me several weeks ago, and I still haven't a clue. If you get the joke, please let me know, thanks!

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I'm hoping this is disturbing to you consumers of healthcare, as it is to me as a physician. Kaiser Drug Policy Prompts State Inquiry "Kaiser Permanente, (California)'s biggest health maintenance organization,
routinely requires its psychiatrists to prescribe psychiatric drugs to some mental
health patients whom they have not personally examined, a practice that leading
experts say endangers patients and violates professional codes of ethics." [LA Times]

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I grew up with WBAI in New York. Until recently, I'd've said I'd give my eyeteeth for a Pacifica station in Boston. What's Going On at Pacifica?
"Sorting out who is right and who is wrong in this story is a near-impossible task given the management blunders and
heavy-handedness on the one side, and the insults, harassment and threats on the other side. Both sides could claim the
pursuit of high-minded goals: Pacifica management sought to strengthen lines of authority in the name of increased audience
and political effectiveness; KPFA and its defenders presented a resounding case that "free-speech radio"--Pacifica's traditional
no-holds-barred programming--was threatened by a sanitized, NPR-style takeover by establishment liberals." [The Nation]

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Wednesday, April 12, 2000

The New Scientist reports on new calculations based on general relativity theorizing that wormholes large and stable enough to allow intergalactic travel really can exist. The trick is that they produce enough postulated 'exotic matter' to keep themselves open and arbitrarily large.

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Another vain attempt to halt the MP3 juggernaut.

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I continue to be disconcerted about the sellout: Ben & Jerry's, the ice cream maker dumps Newport Folk Festival sponsorship. A sign of the times after the announcement earlier today that it was being acquired by Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever, which already owns the Breyer's and Good Humor ice cream brands. Update: I heard today on NPR that the highminded terms of sale to which Ben Cohen is holding Unilever (continue to donate 7.5% of net to charity; use only Vermont, hormone-free milk, etc.) are only binding for two years.

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"Road rage" on high? "Since July 1997, over a dozen passengers have attempted to
breach cockpit doors during commercial airline flights. We've
been lucky so far." [Salon]

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`Copenhagen': A Fiery Power in the Behavior of Particles and Humans: The New York Times weighs in quite favorably on this challenging drama about what happened during a mysterious 1941 meeting between Neils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, originator of the famed "uncertainty principle". What may have been at stake was the possible success of a German project to develop atomic weapons under Heisenberg's direction.

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John Hinckley's Request: The New York Times finds "disconcerting" a report that St. Elizabeth Hospital officials are supporting John Hinckley Jr.'s request for passes for unsupervised visits with his parents. Hinckley has been walking unescorted around hospital grounds without incident for years and for the past six months has taken supervised field trips to area restaurants and shopping malls. The Times, in a remarkably unwarranted and unjustified editorial position, IMHO, opines that skepticism about Hinckley's progress should be preserved and that "the decision should not be based solely on the advice of hospital doctors."

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Decision time: The discovery of the protein that steers the differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells suggests we may be closing in on hoped-for methods of controlling recently-developed human immortal lines of stem cells.

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Deadly Dengue Fever Could Worsen in 21st Century: "The outbreak of dengue fever and its sometimes deadly hemorrhagic strain will continue to
increase across the Americas in the 21st century unless governments boost their will to combat the tropical virus, experts said.

Cases of dengue are on the rise in almost every country in North and South America even though the disease was almost wiped out by a
1962 plan to eradicate the mosquito that carries and spreads the virus".

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NASA's Advanced Space Transportation Program looks at ways to turn science fiction into reality. Researching new propulsion methods and new methods of onboard energy generation to power propulsion; and "how to attain the ultimate achievable speeds to dramatically reduce travel times...(including) faster-than-light travel if it turns out to be physically possible".

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Tuesday, April 11, 2000

Yahoo! News - Holes sink sell-off
"Gov'ts. hoping to earn a fast buck by switching off analogue television transmitters and selling the
frequencies to cellphone operators are in for a shock. Even if viewers can be persuaded to switch to digital TV, the
frequencies released will be too widely spaced to be of practical use to cellphone and wireless Internet companies,
according to a report released by Britain's Independent Television Commission."

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Pulitzer Prize winners in brief

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Martian mysteries at poles: "Pictures released on Monday unveil features of
the unique layered terrain at Mars' south pole.
These may well hold the secret of the planet's
climate history for the past 100 million years
but scientists remain baffled as to how the
features formed." [BBC]

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I linked to reports of this trial as it unfolded. Now, the good news that a British historian with Holocaust doubts loses libel suit: Historian David Irving, who has outraged survivors of Nazi death camps by
questioning the scope of the Holocaust, on Tuesday lost the libel suit he launched to save his academic reputation. [Nando Times]

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Antioxidant value discounted
"There is no convincing
scientific evidence that taking large amounts of
vitamin C, vitamin E, or the nutrients selenium
and beta carotene can reduce the chances of
getting cancer, heart disease, diabetes,
Alzheimer’s disease or other illnesses, a
National Academy of Sciences panel announced
yesterday."

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The Smoking Gun teeshirt features an official Bill Gates mugshot.

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The Smoking Gun: Russian Arms for Sale:
"Pssst: Need a rocket launcher or a minesweeper? Have you
struck out on eBay? Well, has Russia got a deal for you. In
need of hard currency, Moscow is selling part of its weapons
inventory, showcasing the lethal loot via a nifty 96-page
catalogue produced by Rosvoorouzhenie, a state-owned company
that handles overseas sales in places like Libya and Iraq."

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Monday, April 10, 2000

No Swelling Unseen Choruses, Just Hard Truth on Film: The New York Times reports from the Double Take Documentary Film Festival in Durham NC.

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Sunday, April 9, 2000

Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune art critic, laments the end of originality in late-20th century artistic creation."The only originality left...is the choice of what to borrow from."

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Music critic John Rockwell, in The New Republic, chronicles the decline of Philip Glass.

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R.I.P. John Smith:
"John Smith & Son, the world's oldest bookseller
and a favourite of the poet Robert Burns, is to
shut its doors in Glasgow after losing the battle
against book superstores and online discount
shopping." I'll miss it personally, having visited several times including just last June. And I steadfastly refuse to buy books on the net if I can find them in my local bookshop.

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Auction House Chairmen Scrutinized: Is anyone really surprised that price-fixing accusations implicate the highest levels of management of Sotheby's and Christie's? Is anyone surprised that they deny it? [New York Times]

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Animal rescuer tries to make 'a small dent in the misery'

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I agree entirely: [Association of Alternative Newsweeklies]: 'How big is Ira Glass today?

He's so big that www.suck.com, a reliable font of Internet rudeness, just awarded
him an "evil genius grant"—or Suck EGG—to shut up for a year. "The only real work he
seems to do anymore is give interviews to fawning journalists and fight off the
attentions of love-struck soccer-mom groupies.'

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