Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Can't do the time...don't do the crime!


Friday, December 26, 2008

In case you missed it...and that you care about checkers

"One of the world's best-known strategists on the game of checkers passed away in November. Richard Fortman was Illinois state champion six times, and in the 1970s and 1980s published a seven-volume handbook on rules and tactics. Many people now considering the game would be astonished to know that, as in chess, there are masters and grandmasters, and international rankings, that experts actually study historical opening moves and endgames, and that some play, move-by-move, via the U.S. Mail. A New York Times obituary noted that Fortman played as many as 100 games simultaneously, and won games blindfolded. Until the end, according to his daughter, Fortman spent "hours each day" playing checkers online. [New York Times, 11-30-08] "

Via: www.newsoftheweird.com

Oops! Survival of the fittest among bacteria...competition kills the weakest one!

Genetically engineered bacterium kills plants instead of helping them!

As far as the intended goals were concerned -- eliminating rotting organic waste and producing ethanol -- the genetically engineered bacterium was a success. But when a doctoral student named Michael Holmes decided to add the post-processed waste to actual living soil, something happened that no one expected. The seeds that were planted in soil mixed with the engineered Klebsiella sprouted, but then every single one of them died.

What killed them? The genetically engineered Klebsiella turned out to be highly competitive with native soil micro-organisms. Plants are only able to take nitrogen and other nourishment from the soil with the help of fungi called mycorrhizae. These fungi live in the soil and help make nutrients available to plant roots. But when the genetically engineered Klebsiella was introduced into living soils, it greatly reduced the population of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil. And without healthy mycorrhizal fungi in soils, no plants can survive.

Via: findarticles.com/

Wood on Mars....give me a break!

Ah come on! Some want to believe in anything but the real....they imagine conspiracies, want us to believe "The Government" is making stories up....but what about them? Why should we believe such non-sense????

Now there is a piece of wood on Mars and the Moon is an alien ship.....ah ah! What a crock!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Please BE CAREFUL!!!

Please, take responsible measures so that it does not happen to you! Please be careful!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are you cold...DO NOT COMPLAIN!!!

Do not EVER complain about the cold....it is NOT cold!!!!! (it's relatively quite warm)

Here is what it looks like right now (Tuesday, Dec23rd, 2008)

And this weather guy is hysterical....

Via Radio-Canada's website

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Squid

Meet Orbea....my very own virtual squid. She was born on Dec, 21 2008. I worry about her new friendship with a vampire squid though......Do I worry too much as the parent of a new squid??? Maybe! Jealous...make your own.....this one is MINE!!!

Did we escape from a new Ice Age ?

Interesting news from Science Daily

Using three different climate models and removing the amount of greenhouse gases humans have injected into the atmosphere during the past 5,000 to 8,000 years, (Stephen) Vavrus and Kutzbach observed more permanent snow and ice cover in regions of Canada, Siberia, Greenland and the Rocky Mountains, all known to be seed regions for glaciers from previous ice ages. Vavrus notes: "With every feedback we've included, it seems to support the hypothesis (of a forestalled ice age) even more. We keep getting the same answer."

Another article published in 21st Century Science and Technology Magazine (2004) came up with this interesting data:

The geological requirements for an Ice Age are the presence of a large landmass around the Polar Circle and extending southward. A look at the globe, or world map, shows that those conditions exist in the Northern Hemisphere, but not in the Southern. Therefore, the important thing to look at is the climate conditions in northern and far northern regions. Some of the indicators:

• Since 1980, there has been an advance of more than 55% of the 625 mountain glaciers under observation by the World Glacier Monitoring group in Zurich. (From 1926 to 1960, some 70-95% of these glaciers were in retreat.)

• A comparison of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 1965 and 1990 Plant Hardiness Zone Maps, shows a southward change of one zone, or 10°F, between 1965 and 1990.

• Careful measurements of the oxygen isotope ratios in German oaks, which are rigorously calibrated to temperature data, show a 1°C temperature decline from 1350 to 1800 (the lowpoint of the Little Ice Age). Temperature thereafter increased by 1°C from 1800 to 1930, and has been declining since then.

• From weather stations in the Alps, and in the Nordic countries, we find the temperature decline since 1930 is also 1°C.

• Satellite measurements have shown growth in the height and breadth of the huge Greenland ice sheet, the largest in the Northern Hemisphere

Global warming a good thing? A bad thing? Global warming or cooling....one thing is sure....climate change as it is now called!

Pure beauty

Dolphin Play Bubble Rings - Watch more funny videos here

Saturday, December 20, 2008

That device is scary

The teaser.....

And the prototype (hover test)

Friday, December 19, 2008

How to import Scarlett Johansson's pathogens

Yes she is famous. Yes she is a gorgeous actress. Yes she is human....SHE IS! What does that mean? That means that like any other human being, she has a bacterial flora. Nope...Scarlett's skin and mucosal secretions are NOT free of pathogens. You need a list of some of pathogenic bacteria that inhabit the upper respiratory tract? Here it is:

Because she admitted that she is recovering from a cold, apparently acquired through interacting with "The Spirit" fellow actor Samuel Jackson, her mucus-filled tissue now auctionned on eBay could contain potential pathogens. Because I am curious, I wanted to know if it was possible at all to buy Johansson's tissue and have it shipped (Free of charge according to the website) here in Canada. I made a few phone calls here and there (mostly to Health Canada) without a real answer...I was constantly referred to the Communications Officer. Then someone sent me a link that offers a few answers - Human Pathogens Import Regulations.

According to this document NO RISK GROUP 2, 3 or 4 pathogens can be imported. Just for your information, a risk group 2 pathogen is:
"A pathogen that can cause human or animal disease but is unlikely to be a serious hazard, and, while capable of causing serious infection on exposure, for which
there are effective treatments and preventive measures available and the risk of spread of infection is limited."
Every Streptococcus and Staphylococcus belongs to this group.

According to the Human Pathogens Import Regulations document:

No person shall import a human pathogen that belongs to Risk Group 2, 3 or 4 unless

It looks like it can be very difficult to import Scarlett's snotty tissue. I feel bad that I am the bearer of such bad news....after all it's almost Christmas and that tissue could have been on a loved one list.....Happy Holidays! :o)

Jay Leno stole my idea....but for a good cause!

Jay leno and Scarlett Johansson PROVED MY POINT...Art value depends on demand. A kleenex filled with ...whatever nasal/pulmonary secretions is worth more if it comes from a celebrity, it's even better if it's a good looking celebrity (like Brad Pitt or Scarlett Johansson).

In my February 20th, 2007 post I argued that Brad Pitt's used kleenex could fetch top dollars on eBay. Looks like I was right....the highest bid for Scarlett Johansson's used tissue is now (at the time I was writing this blog post) valued at US $3272 (FREE SHIPPING) (Link to auction HERE).

Now coming back to the value of art....I hope I will never hear a complaint about the fact that Barnett Newman's "Voice of Fire" was purchased for $1.8 Million. NEVER!!! (Right... C?)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Nobel prize of corruption????

Ah.....I really don't like stories like this! Bad PR! Really bad PR!!!!
Find the original story HERE

The integrity of the Nobel prize was called into question last night after it emerged that a member of the jury also sat on the board of a pharmaceuticals giant that benefited from the award of this year’s prize for medicine.

Prosecutors were studying whether AstraZeneca, the London-based multi-national pharmaceutical company, could have exerted undue influence on the award.

The joint winner of this year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine, Harald zur Hausen, was recognised for his work on the human papilloma virus (HPV), which can lead to cervical cancer. AstraZeneca has a stake in two lucrative vaccines against the virus.

IMAGE SOURCE: http://www.libertassociety.org/HPV.JPG

Mind reading?

That is really cool....

1) Look at an image
2) A computer analyses brain activity
3) Computer recreates images from the signals

Hey....that could be used to cheat at Poker.......!!!

See a very good image and explanation at Pharyngula!

Adolf Hitler cake?????

I have seen everything....nothing can shock me anymore.....

The sstory can also be found HERE

Sperm can out race Coca-Cola (Good to know!)

Taken from the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2008;337:a2873 )

Coca-Cola douches were a part of folklore about birth control during the 1950s and 1960s, before effective contraceptive methods were readily available.1 It was rumoured that the acidity of Coca-Cola killed sperm, and the classic coke bottle provided a convenient "shake and shoot" applicator. Recently, an old study from our group confirming the spermicidal effects of various Coca-Cola formulations2 was awarded the 2008 IgNobel prize in chemistry.3 The press releases surrounding our IgNobel award might have repopularised this method, and soft drink douches are apparently still used to prevent pregnancy in resource-poor settings.4 There are, however, many reason why women should not rely on this method.
That's old news. An article published in Human Toxicology already dealt with this myth in 1987 (Hum Toxicol. 1987 Sep;6(5):395-6).
The inhibitory effect of Old Coke, caffeine-free New Coke, New Coke, Diet Coke and Pepsi-Cola on human sperm motility was studied with a trans-membrane migration method. None of them could decrease sperm motility to less than 70% of control within one hour. A previous study which claimed a marked variation of spermicidal potencies among different formulations of Coca-Cola could not be confirmed. Even if cola has a spermicidal effect, its potency is relatively weak as compared with other well-known spermicidal agents.

PIP: Testing of various cola formulas on sperm motility using a trans-membrane procedure did not decrease motility to less than 70% control in a 1-hour period. Diet Coca-Cola had the strongest spermicidal effect followed by Classic Coca-Cola, Caffeine-free Coca-Cola and New Coca-Cola. Since there are no known substances in cola that effect cellular membranes, the results of these tests were not unusual. Other tests have been done using higher dilution of cola which could effect sperm motility and give different results for spermicidal potencies. The results show that cola has little if any spermicidal effect. Its use in postcoital douching is ineffective and could cause complications such as infection.
Via Radio-Canada's website!

UPDATE: Pepsi and Coca-cola used as pesticides......

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No microchip for HIV / AIDS patients

Do not get me wrong...I not against microchip implants for willing guinea pigs. Microchips are cool and the more people experiment with them, the better we will understand Human-Machine interaction and Human 2.0 development. New technologies will eventually improve memory and, maybe, let us connect to networks (think internet) without computers. Disabled people will see, think, get more balance etc....I embrace new technologies in and out of the body...after all I am a fan of Kevin Warwick.

Having said that, it seems like this same technology can have a dark side. I actually should say that it's not the technology but rather the use of that technology that has a dark side...it can be used as a tracking device. Humans are NOT cattle and I am very happy that this HIV / AIDS patient-tracking microchip business will not go ahead in Indonesia's

"Papua's parliament agreed Tuesday to drop a section of the health development bill that supported the tagging of some HIV patients with small computer chips inserted beneath the skin — part of extreme efforts to monitor the disease"
I also wanted to comment on a recent article published in Retrovirology (PDF version HERE). According to an article by Dr. Mark Wainberg, a McGill professor (HIV transmission should be decriminalized: HIV prevention programs depend on it) people might decide not to get tested because, down the road, they do not want to get charged if they ever transmit HIV. Ignorance would then protect you.
"...the consideration of being potentially charged with wilful HIV transmission may be a significant deterrent for being tested for HIV infection in the first place. After all, an individual who does not know that he is HIV positive cannot logically be accused of its transmission"
I agree BUT I really doubt that decriminalizing HIV transmission will have the opposite effect...In other words, it is quite unlikely that we would see an increase in HIV testing if wilful transmission should be decriminalized. Human behaviour is a strange creature and when it comes to sexual behaviour it becomes unpredictable. It's not as straightforward as people might say it is. I argue that decriminalizing could, in fact, cause a surge in wilful transmissions.....I hope we never have to prove that.


I can not believe this....are we in the dark ages???? How can something like this happen????

Seclusion rooms, sometimes called time-out rooms, are used across the nation, generally for special needs children.
Read this CNN story by clicking HERE

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What a joke...

I am from Quebec....I am used to drive in the snow but here...I am scared....of other drivers! Total lack of organization for just a bit of snow! What a joke!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Ironman Kona 2008

Via Mike Neil's Blog site: http://humanpoweredracer.blogspot.com/

Monday, December 01, 2008

Higher Ed Prostitute

My students are well aware that I am a big fan of podcasts. I walk to work almost everyday and as I cross streets and boulevards I am learning something. I teach for a living and I try to learn something new everyday. I really like this podcast: "On The Media"...always interesting stories about how the media affects us, the way we think and the way we work. As I was walking this gloomy morning I listened carefully to this story, The term paper artist. It is about something that affects my field...education. It is about cheating and plagiarism....in it's own way, it is also about prostitution! Intellectual prostitution.

You can find the article here: http://www.thesmartset.com/article/article10100801.aspx

Here is the segment on "The Term Paper Artist"

And here is a link to the On The Media podcast....chances are you will become a fan too.