Nigerian Islamists veto vaccines

This is just mind-boggling ... the level of paranoia displayed here is something right out of a medieval text. Unfortunately, I'm sure that the latest news from the world of biotechnology won't do much to allievate this paranoia.

"We depend on our religion," says Mohammed Kabir, a Kano student. "Anything our leader says, we are going to agree with him."

You know, I "depend" on my religion, too. And I can't see for the life of me what that has to do with blind obedience to the leader - sounds more like "Führerprinzip" to me.

But the sad thing is that it's gonna be the children in this province that will ultimately bear the cost for their elders fundamentalism.

Nigeria's boycott of recent polio vaccine campaigns threatens efforts to eradicate the disease by year's end.

(link) [Christian Science Monitor | Top Stories]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Lambing Season

So much for the weather forecast: a beautiful day, temps approaching 60º F and sunny. Now it's supposed to rain and get cold tonight: I'll believe it when I see it.

"Snot-nose" (ewe #88) had her single this morning: and it was a difficult birth. Kevyn came over to help, very glad that we'd decided to do this in the right season, and not in January when it was -20º F! Believe it or not, that's when most modern shepherds "schedule" their lambing. Why? It's utterly beyond me!

The ewe lamb lived, and so did mom. It was presented head first, but with three legs tucked under and behind. Kevyn (and Kris) literally pushed the poor little girl back into mom, turned her around and tried to get her out right. But when it became apparent that she was still alive and gasping for air, Kevyn decided to just drag her out as it - and it worked! The only problem was that her tongue had swollen, and she couldn't get a good grip on the nipple to nurse. But that problem is subsiding as the swelling goes down, and tonight she's doing fine. No pix, however - with six more due in the next few days, if I posted photos of each I'd run out of space on my drive! Ha!

But I'm more convinced than ever that we made the right choice in breeds with the Scottish Blackface: they're tough as nails, have a great mothering instinct and are pretty damn smart (for sheep). Snot-nose was just about as calm an animal as you could ask for while we worked frantically on her - no wild, bucking and pushing bullshit from her. I've heard horror stories from other shepherds about Suffolks and how difficult they are at lambing. In fact, Kevyn commented this moring that had we been dealing with a Suffolk this morning, both mom and lamb would be dead.

I've been many things over the course of the last forty seven years, but I never expected to become an ovine obstetrician.

00:00 /Home | 0 comments | permanent link

Bizarre attractive force found in mayonnaise

I've always thought mayonnaise was weird stuff ... little did I suspect how weird.

Scientists have discovered that a little-understood tensile force, which was previously thought to be an oddity found only in the types of plastics used to make bulletproof vests, occurs in everyday emulsions like mayonnaise and salad dressing.

(link) [Science Blog]

00:00 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link


Today's edition of Moore's Lore has an absolutely wonderful bit about delusions, generations and the last years of the 20th Century - The Age of Nixon

Read it.

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link

Playas Pay to Spread the Luv

Fascinating play on the whole social network thing. Take a "standard" social network, add a dab of impulsive consumerism, a bit of romantic flair and a touch of greed and you've got this potential money maker. I always wondered if somebody would try to do this with social nets - now I have my answer.

FunHi's role-playing gangstas are spending big bucks to shower each other with virtual geegaws, and they don't seem to mind spending the money. By Daniel Terdiman.

(link) [Wired News]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Waiter, There's a Drug in My Rice

What's it gonna take to stop this lunacy? May I suggest that a solution will come from a [unfortunately likely] place ... lawyers.

"Even food-processing corporations are very upset about this as well, because they know all you need is one shipment of corn flakes that has a contraceptive in it and there's a real problem, obviously," Achitoff said.

One dose of digitalis to a six year old from his Rice Krispies will be enough for any decent trail lawyer to shut down Monsanto. But it will probably be too late to prevent genetic contamination of the world's most ubiquitous cereal grain.

A California biotech company may soon plant the first commercially grown crop that has been genetically altered to contain drugs. Rice growers, consumer advocates and environmentalists ask regulators to just say no. By Kristen Philipkoski.

(link) [Wired News]

00:00 /Agriculture | 0 comments | permanent link

Subdomains Part Of The Patent Frenzy

According to the article, this patent was issued in 1999. I owned a subdomain ( in 1994. Can you say "prior art"?

This is just another legal extortion attempt.

A company called Ideaflood that has been sending out letters to web hosting firms claiming that they own a patent on subdomains.

(link) [Slashdot]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Good Riddance, Gigahertz

And it's about damn time, too. My 887 MHz "Big Mac" is demonstrably faster than my 1.2 GHz PC - and it has little or nothing to do with the speed of the processor, and everything to do with the bus speed and the operating and file systems.

The downside, as the article points out, is that the lack of a single number to compare computer speeds means consumers will have to really understand things to get the best deal. Or that somebody will have to design a relevent, cross-platform benchmark that will give an reasonable estimate of a computer's performance.

Hmmm.. this may be a business opportunity!

Computer chipmakers finally drop gigahertz figures, used to measure processor speeds, from their marketing plans. They are irrelevant. But now, customers have to dig a little deeper to find the best computer for their needs. By Amit Asaravala.

(link) [Wired News]

00:00 /Technology | 0 comments | permanent link

Justice is ...

blind? or just dumb? This has got to go in the Humor section, because I don't have a seperate category for stupidity.

State police have charged a 15-year-old Latrobe girl with child pornography for taking photos of herself and posting them on the Internet.

(link) [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette] via Secular Blasphemy

00:00 /Humor | 0 comments | permanent link

BJP to act against conversions

More on loony fundies in India. It seems as though if you're a dalit (low caste Hindu, aka 'untouchable') they want to prevent you from changing religions...

The BJP has always been uneasy about religious conversions, especially involving low caste Hindus who they argue have been brainwashed or coerced into changing their religious faith.

I wonder how they'd react if the dalits simply became atheists? Would that be a "conversion"?

India's BJP promises to ban forcible religious conversions and stop foreigners from occupying high offices.

(link) [BBC News | World | UK Edition]

00:00 /Politics | 0 comments | permanent link