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I missed you! The place looks great. Thanks for feeding the world while I was gone. I'll update tonight. 09/13/99

Happy Birthday, Mom. 09/13/99

Good News: While I was gone, a lot happened. One of those things is the creation of GiveQuick!, a program that allows websites to point book links to participating non-profit affiliate programs. Judith at Calamondin, one of the people who helped cook up this excellent scheme, told me, "GiveQuick! is primarily the brainchild of Richard Winchell with some back & forth between a number of bright folks, especially Gregory Alkaitis-Carafelli & Andrew Bain, who coded the Giving Tree - which is the best part, I think." I'm thrilled that such a program has been created. 09/14/99

Then there's GreaterGood.com. At least 5% of your purchase price goes to the not-for-profit of your choice (including the SETI Institute, World Wildlife Fund, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Shoes That Fit, and many more). Retailers include amazon, drugstore, etoys, J Crew, Sharper Image, and Realgoods, among others. 09/14/99

The shameless stretching of Japanese. I wish English was more like this. I was taught that Renaissance English worked in much this way (extrapolated, I suppose, from the number of words first written down by Shakespeare.) We are always inventing slang and jargon, but--James Joyce notwithstanding--we have lost our elasticity.... 09/14/99

Introducing: The Entropy Engine (via INNOVATION) 09/14/99

I will now demonstrate my amazing hypnotic powers by introducing you to two women who paid me substantial amounts of money to do nothing to them at all--and they're pleased with the results. (Thanks, Lizard!) 09/14/99

From Tasty Bits from the Technology Front: "... many central European churches and cathedrals are set up as giant pinhole cameras -- they feature a tiny hole in the dome or cupola and an inscribed meridian line somewhere inside. When the sun's projected image crosses the "noon mark," it's noon local time. (Mark) Gingrich asked for photos of the partially eclipsed sun as it crossed the meridian lines in these historical scientific instruments." Here are the photographs. Scroll down. 09/15/99

Lessons in Critical Thinking: Yesterday I introduced you to The Entropy Engine. Today, Ken wrote me, deconstructing the article and debunking its premise. Thank God I have smart people around to do my thinking for me! (Ken wants you to know that this is just off the top of his head.) 09/15/99

Organic farming is a viable economic option, especially for developing countries. Ever since reading Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe, founder of Food First, I've believed that world hunger is in no way related to inadequate food production, but to devoting farmland to luxury crops, feeding grain to animals to produce meat (another luxury crop), and political systems that keep food from people. 09/15/99

Meanwhile, the Japanese have just been informed that they've been enjoying cloned meat for years.09/15/99

Here's a listing of human rights sites that encourage activism. (via The Scout Report) 09/15/99

The World Trade Organization seeks to refurbish its image. 09/16/99

Bacteria News: A bacterial infection may be responsible for the fact that there are two sexes. Yes, yes, that's very interesting. What I will take from this article is the following fact: Mushrooms have 36,000 sexes. 09/16/99

The United Nations Environmental Programme report recommends that the developed world must cut its use of natural resources by 90% to give the rest of the world a chance of emerging from poverty. I don't even know what to say about this. It will simply never happen. 09/16/99

In response to the UN Environment Program's recommendation that the developed world cut resource consumption by 90%, the Oxford Commission on Sustainable Consumption is set to develop an action plan for sustainable consumption. "Nobody is suggesting policies that could achieve this, because that would mean questioning the consumerism that is at the heart of the economic myth." 09/17/99

Gravity News: Scientists were anxious to test Maurice Allais' wacky observation that a Foucault pendulum changes its motion during a full eclipse. Well, guess what? It seems like maybe it really does.... 09/17/99

I'm sympathetic to the difficulty in dealing with large classrooms of unruly students, but while I can forgive the teacher who occasionally yells at an entire class, there's no excuse for emotional abuse. 09/17/99

Well Deserved Notice: I'm very pleased to see that Jorn Barger's Robot Wisdom has been featured in Brill's Content's Stuff We Like. Well done! Let me also draw your attention to Jorn's excellent Weblog FAQ. I love this document! Jorn has been at this longer than practically anyone else, and he's still one of the weblog nation's greatest enthusiasts. His FAQ is a valuable resource for anyone interested in weblogging. Thanks, Jorn. 09/17/99

Extreme Bridge 09/18/99

A Boston gynecologist wants to educate US doctors about the complex and delicate practice of caring for women who have undergone female circumcision. (This article contains descriptions that made me very uncomfortable.) 09/20/99

Splash Mountain Performance Art. These guys rock my world! (via Cardhouse) 09/20/99

Friday from Slate, Today's Papers: "The fronts feature the now-routine day-after shooter profiles of the man who killed seven churchgoers and then himself in Texas on Wednesday. The LAT headline is almost a template, calling him a "loner, full of rage." The NYT effort is typical in finding out that he was prone to mood swings, fantasized about murder, and was feared by several of his neighbors. Since this sort of information can evidently be put together in 24 hours, wouldn't it be better to require authorities to do so before a gun purchase could legally be made, rather waiting for reporters to do so after a shooting?" 09/20/99

Two male emus have begun nesting together in order to raise a clutch of chicks, leaving experts confused about their sexuality. 09/20/99

Today I came up sixth on an AOL search for "pocket rocket". :) 09/20/99

Point: "One hundred years from now, democratically determined population-control practices and sound resource-management policies could have the planet's 2 billion people thriving in harmony with the environment. Lacking these approaches, a new Cornell University study suggests, 12 billon miserable humans will suffer a difficult life on Earth by the year 2100." (Thanks, Ken!) 09/21/99

Counterpoint: "The future Dream Society will be the fifth techno-economic system in which humans have lived...it now appears that the Information Society will not last more than a few decades longer before yielding to a society focused on dreams, adventure, spirituality, and feelings. When our future grandchildren look back on our age, they will see it as dull and gray, dominated by technology and neglecting human values...They will also think of us today as being poor. Historically, the production of material wealth has increased at the rate of about 20% to 25% per decade, and this trend must be expected to continue. This implies that our grandchildren will likely consume twice as much as we do...The highest-paid person in the first half of the next century will be the "storyteller"..." (via INNOVATION) 09/21/99

Gay Bird News: The trend continues. Two male vultures have set up housekeeping in Israel. The godless secular humanist agenda continues to corrupt the innocent.... 09/21/99

Antibiotic honey (via iBoy) 09/22/99

Sears has decided to halt sales of their gun-carrying trenchcoat-wearing collectable doll. Will trenchcoats ever be politically correct again? 09/22/99

WTO News: The Seattle Times' WTO page. Does anyone know where I can get some really balanced information about the WTO? I've looked around, and I keep feeling like I'm just getting massive propaganda from both sides. 09/22/99

What do moths eat? Do moths eat? 09/22/99

A Princeton bioethics professor's conviction that parents should have the right to euthanize severely disabled newborns is drawing protest. "Peter's strength is making us rethink our first, fundamental ideas," (Paul) Armstrong said. "His weakness is trying to translate that into public policy."

To state my opinion as succinctly as I can: I am pro-choice (if only to keep women and girls safe from self-inflicted and and back-alley abortions); and this idea horrifies me. The value I find in this article is twofold. First, I realize that my reaction to his statements is identical to that of a pro-lifer's reaction to abortion--and I've long maintained that if you believed abortion was murder, you would be obligated at least to try to change the minds of those who disagreed with you.* Second, it makes me consider where I do draw the line, and why; and I believe it's essential that I periodically consider and re-evaluate my assumptions and beliefs.

*I think that pro-lifers and pro-choicers would be most effective by working together in preventing unwanted pregnancies by making birth control available to whomever wants it, and by promoting responsible sexual activity. To me, this means consistently using birth control each time you have sex, unless you are prepared to (happily) have a child, and abstaining from sexual activity if, for whatever reason--including religious belief--it's not right for you at that time.

Would you like to discuss any of these issues? Go to the greenspun rebecca blood forum, and click on "where do we draw the line?" Let's talk. 09/23/99

Medicinal Makeup News: Ancient Eqyptians' eye shadow kept them healthier. 09/23/99

Medicinal Goat News: One biotechnology firm is producing pharmaceuticals in goat's milk, and plans to apply to the FDA next year to become the first US firm cleared to produce a human drug in an animal. "...when Genzyme was building its showcase Boston factory it did not fully understand the scientific potential of goats." 09/23/99

More Futurism: The world's population should peak at about 8 billion people in 50 years, and then begin rapidly and consistently to decline. "The rapid increase in population during the past two centuries has been the result of lower death rates...values, not biological imperatives, are the unfathomable variable in population predictions." (Thanks, Carlos!) 09/23/99

A German construction worker found a 5,000 pound WWII-era bomb in the shovel of his excavator the other day.... 09/23/99

Finding the spiritual in daily life. 09/24/99

Breast News: A new study shows that breast-fed babies are better protected from asthma, and another claims that breast fed infants grow up to be smarter. So maybe it's just a residual self-protective strategy on men's part? 09/24/99

Fall came quite suddenly today. 09/24/99

Experts have finally come to the conclusion that teenagers should sleep in. Well! It's official. Now, what about the rest of us? 09/24/99

Man charged with punching horse. 09/24/99

Homegrocer.com has sent me a flier that promises that their delivery person will don surgical booties before they walk into my house with my groceries. That prospect alone makes it practically impossible for me to resist placing an order.... 09/24/99

Does the upcoming Nightline series Biowar sound a little sensationalistic to you? 09/26/99

Geologists to apologize after "test quake" rattles residents. 09/26/99

Hero Joy, born so severely disabled that she cannot control any of her body movements, produces an acclaimed web zine called From the Window. "'Some adults would kill me up until the day of my birth, some adults think I should be put down even though I am alive, well and kicking, some ... see me as someone who is being punished for wickedness in an earlier life, some people feel sorry for me,' she wrote in one issue. 'These people are unable to see past disability, see the whole of me. They ... fail to see the whole person is just the same as them.'" (via Robot Wisdom) 09/26/99

Medicinal maggots Ewww. 09/27/99

WTO NEWS: Jessamyn believes that the information on Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch is more balanced than some out there.... 09/27/99

I reworked my portal page a little tonight. 09/27/99

Monsanto has created a plant that can grow biodegradable plastic. 09/28/99

The Angel Scroll, a mysterious and legendary religious text, has surfaced in Jerusalem and may be related to the Dead Sea Scrolls. 09/28/99

Good News: Click for a cause is another feed-the-world website. Here, you have a choice of several sponsors, all of which will donate a different amount of food (sometimes a larger portion if you sign up with their site). Click-for-a-Cause stresses that it is not in competition with The Hunger Site, but hopes to augment their efforts, using a similar model. Both will live at your left. 09/28/99

Irresponsible Energy Solutions News: A giant radioactive souffle is growing at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, despite efforts to slow or stop it. "I don't make any claims about this tank," said Donald Oakley, a retired environmental expert from Los Alamos National Laboratory, hired by the Energy Department as an outside consultant. "I'm not convinced anyone understands the chemistry and physics involved in this crust." And that, in a nutshell, is why I don't trust nuclear energy. (Thanks, Lizard!) 09/28/99

Scientists are concerned that the continued use of antibiotics in food animals is speeding the creation of superbugs around the world. One woman has already died. 09/28/99

Smarter Living has the scoop on low airfares and a smart step-by-step process that enables you to investigate weekly specials, consolidator offerings, auctions, etc. I'm linking it permanantly in exotic rebecca blood. (via the nubbin) 09/28/99

Scientists have developed the first of a new class of antibiotics that they expect will be effective even against superbugs. 09/29/99

Doctors using botulism shots to stop facial tremors noticed that it smoothed forehead wrinkles in patients who received the treatment. Now cosmetic surgeons performing that procedure have observed another side effect: it cures migraine headaches. 09/29/99

I dreamt all last night about php and server side includes; what scares me is that they were good dreams. 09/29/99

The World Trade Organization's Global Free Logging Agreement threatens to destroy hard-won enviromental agreements that protect our forests. 09/30/99

Nose blowing may make your cold worse. 09/30/99

Weeping: Fact vs Fiction 09/30/99

comments? questions? rebecca blood