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may 2000
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.--Preamble, US Constitution 05/02/00

US Imperialism News: The US military is gathering around the small Puerto Rican Island of Vieques to forcibly remove locals who are protesting the US plan to resume military exercises on the island, which have devastated the island environmentally and economically. Use of depleted uranium and the toxins put in the air by the explosions are probably responsible for the high rates of cancer and other diseases on the island.

The bombing range encampments were born over a year ago in the wake of the April 19, 1999, death of civilian security guard David Sanes Rodriguez, who was killed by an errant Navy bomb during a botched practice run. The accident unleashed pent-up resentment in Vieques and across Puerto Rico that had been building since land was expropriated from local residents in the 1940s to create the bombing range. [Note: the US Navy owns 22,000 of Vieques' 33,000 acres]
Various local and national news media reports, citing a variety of Pentagon and Clinton administration sources, have said the raid to remove protesters would be led by the FBI and the Justice Department.

It would be a miracle if the military backed down, but as world citizens we must voice our condemnation of this government "of the people, by the people, for the people" which adheres to those standards only at its convenience, and only in response to those with economic power.

Michael Moore has some links and information in his sidebar; Vieques Libre has information in English, Spanish, and French; Washington Post has a newstory timeline.

I love the principles on which my country was founded. I want to be proud of my country and its actions. I want my government to behave responsibly and compassionately. I know that more often than not this isn't the case, but unless we--all of us--hold the US accountable for its actions, it will never be so. 05/02/00

RIP: Steve Reeves is dead. 05/03/00

Temporary Tattoos for Teeth 05/03/00

PSA: Vending Food Recalled for possible Listeria contamination (Minnesota and the Dakotas) 05/03/00

Big Duh News: Lidocaine gel greatly reduces pain for men undergoing rectal prostate biopsy. Why, yes. Yes, it would. I suspect that even a little OraGel would make a difference... 05/03/00

1955 Redux (thanks, Lizard!) 05/03/00

Time to Stop Tinkering with the Machinery of Death, Senator Russ Feingold.

Since 1985, more than 35 countries have abolished the death penalty or, having previously abolished it for ordinary crimes, have abolished it for all crimes. These countries span the globe, from Angola to Azerbaijan, from Canada to Cambodia, from Moldova to Mozambique. During the same period only four countries reintroduced the death penalty, and one of those – Nepal – abolished it again.

It used to be that the United States stood with only the Soviet Union and South Africa in the industrialized world in its embrace of capital punishment. But Russia’s former President Boris Yeltsin imposed a moratorium on all executions in August 1996. And South Africa’s Constitutional Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 1995 and then its parliament voted to abolish it.

In 1998, the United States was one of just four countries that together accounted for 86 percent of all executions recorded by Amnesty International worldwide. We now stand in the company of China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Iran. Amnesty International has also received reports of hundreds of executions in Iraq, but could not confirm the reports.
(Lizard again) 05/03/00

Today eight planets are lined up with the earth. Will there be spectacular disasters? Astronomers say no. Astrologer Rob Brezsny believes, though, that there will be an effect, and he advises us to hunt down and conjure up what's beautifully useful, while Antero Alli counsels us to proceed as if action is sacred. Good advice whether or not you believe in astrology. 05/03/00

As homosexuality gains mainstream acceptance, is gayness becoming boring?

'No one has ever gone broke overestimating the insecurity of the gay consumer,' says Dan Savage. 'It's horrifying. The rainbow has become the gay version of the Mud-Flap Girl.'
(Thanks, Jean!) 05/04/00

The Ohio State Motto has been ruled unconstitutional. Oh, geez. That's in marble on the State House floor and everything! 05/04/00

Stone tools found at a fossil reef on Africa’s Red Sea coast may show that humans took up coastal life 10,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Did you know that Kalaloch (a spot on the Washington peninsula) is a Quinault word meaning "paradise" and "lots of clams"...which, if you think about it, is exactly the same thing to a culture whose main sustenance is shellfish. 05/04/00

Oh, Ick! News: I didn't know that bacon comes from pork bellies. 05/04/00

Tiny Johnson Island, a wildlife refuge surrounded by 50,000 acres of coral reef, is being considered as a dumping place for PCB-tainted waste that Seattle declined to accept. The island had been used as a weapons-testing range, but is being cleaned up and was slated to be turned over to the Fish and Wildlife Service. (Thanks, Lizard!) 05/04/00

Geek News: A proposal to include Klingon in Unicode. 'Klingon enjoys both scholarly and popular use.' (Thanks, Kevin!) 05/04/00

I have to point you to Ribbit!, which continues to make me laugh out loud every time I go there.... 05/04/00

Yin/Yang News: Organic molecules in space; Extraterrestrial gases on Earth. 05/04/00

I received a spam last night that ended with this disclaimer to try to prevent you from reporting it:

Copyright (c) 2000, All rights reserved. The information in this document is proprietary and confidential and is protected under United States and International Copyright and Trademark laws. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form by any means whatsoever. Any such use of this document in any form, without the express prior written consent of the author is prohibited by law.
Of course, I sent it to SpamCop anyway.... 05/04/00

The media has finally picked up the story of the terrible famine in the Horn of Africa. Many countries have pledged aid, but it will probably take months for any of it to arrive. Make a free donation today through the Hunger Site, and if you have a bit to spare, consider donating to a relief agency working to feed these people.

These organizations are working to get food to the hungry now:
Food for the Hungry What can one person do about hunger? Plenty. (donate here)

World Food Program Horn of Africa Relief

Interaction.org is a clearinghouse of relief agencies working for sustainable development, refugee and disaster assistance, and humanitarian aid. Here is a list of agencies working in the Horn of Africa. (Thanks, Ken!) 05/08/00

Starving Africans: Why Americans Should Care

Despite the skepticism some have towards helping the poor outside our borders, we can point to many successes. Worldwide humanitarian aid has helped to increase life expectancy by 20 years since 1960, to eradicate smallpox worldwide, and to immunize 80 percent of all children in developing countries. Each year, aid programs help save the lives of an estimated seven million children, deliver essential food and medicine to disaster victims and assist refugees fleeing persecution.

In 1835, Englishman James Smithson, a man with no discernable ties to the United States, bequeathed $500,000 'to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men.' 05/08/00

Spy News: Former CIA agent Antonio Mendez has written a book detailing his life and the adventures that earned him the title 'the master of disguise.' 05/08/00

If reverse-engineering becomes illegal, only criminals will reverse-engineer. 05/08/00

News of Real Progress: Last week Arkansas swore in its first two black sheriffs since Reconstruction.

'If this had happened in southern Arkansas in the late '60s or early '70s, there would have been rioting in the streets,' [Sgt. Wayne] Morris said. 'Today we just took it for granted that Bobby would be the logical choice to fill the term because he was the chief deputy sheriff.'

'Bowing to the egg industry, House appropriators agreed Thursday to weaken the Clinton administration's plan to require more extensive testing of eggs for harmful bacteria.' Meanwhile, Clinton is asking that prepared meats be tested for the deadly listeria. 05/08/00

Lego and Director Steven Spielberg are teaming up to create the Lego Studios Steven Spielberg MovieMaker, a kit that includes a digital camera, lego sets, and editing equipment that will allow users to e-mail their completed films to others.

The camera has Lego pieces on the outside so that users who have trouble keeping a steady hand can build a stand out of Legos and attach the camera to it.
Planned add-on sets include a car stunt area and a rotating city. 05/09/00

Tests done on a few strands of Napoleon's hair have experts wondering whether traces of arsenic indicate that he ate shellfish before he died...or was poisoned. 05/09/00

Nordic Biker News: The trial of three Finnish gang members accused of killing rival gang members during a break in a court hearing is being held under heavy security in a bomb shelter.

'We felt it was safer to hold the hearing in the air raid shelter,' Hirvonen said. 'There's no doubt, there have been threats. After all, we are dealing with bikers.'
(Thanks, Amy!) 05/09/00

A judge has ruled against a film company that sought damages from an animal wrangler after her mule failed to cooperate while filming. 05/09/00

German scientists have developed a razor that smells of lemons when it begins to dull. 05/09/00

Swiss psychologists studying indirect reciprocity have concluded that it pays to be nice. (via Twernt) 05/09/00

It may have had the most profound effect on women in all of human history. The Pill is 40. 05/10/00

Japanese Police are seeking the leaders of a foot cult, which claims to be able to diagnose illness by examining the soles of people's feet. 05/10/00

A journalist examines the media and asks Where have the poor disappeared to ?

To a notable extent, the problem isn't the "invisible poor"; it's the vision-impaired rich, including the sizable upper middle class...these fortunates inhabit an increasingly insular world of their own, far from the customary venues of the poor or even the working class...And when they are forced to be in the presence of a sub-millionaire...their cell phones keep them safely sheltered from all but the most minimal verbal contact.

A new study shows that the status and well-being of mothers is a reliable predictor of the well being of children, identifying 'female education and use of voluntary family planning as most closely associated with improved status of mothers and children.' 05/10/00

Tragic Domino News: Wild Turkey Bourbon Plant Burns 'Fire consumed a bourbon warehouse this afternoon and threatened the city’s water supply.' Got milk? 05/10/00

Fashion News: Prehistoric Venus figurines have been commonly identified as deities, but a new theory proposes that the decorations on these figurines were made by pressing textiles onto the clay, indicating that humans manufactured sophisticated textiles much earlier than previously thought, and suggesting that the figurines may have been used to advertise clothing available from individual craftspeople.

...an enormous amount of effort was spent on making textiles for the figures, but little time appears to have been devoted to making the figurines themselves...'Whoever made the Venus figures wanted us to notice the intricate details on the clothing.'

India reaches 1 billion people today. 05/11/00

Most of us can spot a liar about half the time. But those suffering from aphasia--difficulty understanding words--are accurate lie detectors almost 3/4 of the time. It may be that their perception isn't masked by the words being spoken, or perhaps they are taking a more holistic view of the face. 05/11/00

The School of Seduction 05/11/00

'Friedensreich Hundertwasser...was already a painter and an environmental activist in the early 1980s when the municipal government, knowing that he would oppose yet another boxy, gray housing project were they to propose one, challenged him to design an apartment building.'

His buildings feature wavy floors, rooftop gardens, and all of his apartments have 'window rights' allowing tenants to alter the interior and exterior of their space to their liking. He considered architecture to be the third skin, and felt deeply about the relation of art to man:

Art must again be a bridge between the creativity of nature and the creativity of man.
Art must regain its universal function for all and not be just a fashionable business for insiders...
Art should not suffer speculation and cultural industrialisation...
Art must have a purpose.
Art must create lasting values.
The courage to strive for beauty in harmony with nature.
More examples of Hundertwasser's work. 05/11/00

Why is it that some people, confronted with obvious wrongdoing, respond with: "What would you have done?" Really. If everyone you knew--knowing that they wouldn't be caught--jumped over a cliff, would you follow? 05/11/00

Two 1.7-million-year-old fossil human skulls discovered in the republic of Georgia may be remnants of the first humans to migrate out of Africa. 05/12/00

The first thing I'm going to do when I move into this house is to paint the Subterranean Fortress in non-websafe colors. (Thanks, Lizard!) 05/12/00

Physicist Freeman Dyson has been awarded the Templeton prize, given for outstanding originality in advancing the world's understanding of God or spirituality. His nomination notes that he 'has written extensively on the meaning of science and its relation to other disciplines, especially religion and ethics.... He is truly a man of a third culture that is in the making.'

Stewart Brand's 1998 interview with Dyson.

During our three-plus hours together, we talked about his childhood and his daughter Esther, about some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in history, about why he thinks that PhDs and theology should be abolished - and we covered an array of cosmic ecology ideas he has for a better future.

The substance of what he said changed my mind on nearly every subject he addressed.

Mr Cranky reviews Battlefield Earth (review rated PG)

It's "Plan 9 From Outer Space" made with 60 million dollars. Had Ed Wood actually made it, people would expect an apology.

Dutch scientists have found a group of seals infected with an infectious strain influenza-B, previously thought to be carried only by humans. 05/12/00

Oh, GREAT News: After observing their reaction to electrical shocks, scientists have determined that cockroaches, snails, and slugs feel pain. (No more salt in the garden for me....) 05/15/00

World War II research on radar detection indicates that changing the way in which mammograms are read could improve early cancer detection by reducing the rate of human error. 05/15/00

Things of Beauty News: The winner of the Million-dollar-moment photo contest makes me very happy indeed; looking at it and the other finalists makes me long to photograph the world around me.... (via Metafilter)05/15/00

Columbia University's Madelyn S. Gould says that 'suicide contagion' is real, and urges the media to take steps to avoid playing an unwitting role in encouraging depressed individuals to take their lives.

Imitating a suicide appears to be more likely if a news story provides details on methods, minimizes the influence of mental illnesses, and portrays the victim in heroic or romantic terms...

Over 90% of persons who commit suicide have a significant psychiatric problem at the time of their death, most of which have existed for months or years before the suicide.

The nation's second largest flour processor has developed a procedure that grinds whole wheat so finely, now Wonder Bread aficianados can enjoy a better white bread. 05/15/00

In short: gender assignment doesn't work. 05/15/00

The web has created a renaissance for short film, and enabled a revolutionary enhancement to the medium. Cannes Film Festival entry The New Arrival breaks new ground by allowing the (PC) user to control the camera's perspective as they watch the film. This film kicks off AtomFilms 360 Degrees Forward interactive movie contest: one film treatment using the new technology will be chosen. The prize? AtomFilms will produce the film. 05/16/00

Re-live the excitement: In 1997, against all odds, the record-breaking Land Shuttle regains its World's Record for a journey by a mechanical excavator.

...the Landshuttle arrived at Lands End with the World Record regained. This, despite the BBC Record Breakers Crew wanting to stop and re-shoot certain parts of the trip and having to argue with Mr Jobsworth at the Fourth Road Bridge.
(Thanks, Lizard!) 05/16/00

When Con Men love too much. 05/16/00

Medecins Sans Frontieres has advised 15 African countries not to ratify new patent laws it says would obstruct access to drugs by preventing signatories from locating alternative suppliers, and reinforcing the monopoly given to patent-holders. 05/16/00

Penis News: Sumo wrestler Asanokiri lost Saturday due to a rule forbidding exposure of one's privates during a match after his belt came loose.

Asanokiri was in a hard fought match with Chiyohakuho but it was stopped immediately when a Sumo elder sitting ringside saw the offending member and invoked the exposure rule.

The UN Committee Against Torture has rebuked the United States over prison brutality and called for an end to specific practices prohibited by the international convention against torture. 'This is the first time the United States, the world's most vocal defender of human rights, has been put in the dock before the Geneva-based body alongside the usual suspects such as China.' 05/16/00

Right now you can donate an extra 5 cups of food to feed someone in need at the Hunger Site. Make your usual donation, and then click the link below to receive their bi-monthly newsletter about hunger and the Hunger Site. Unsubscribing is easy if you decide you no longer want to receive this information. 05/17/00

Media Madness! Thursday at 11am EST (8am PST) Christopher Lydon's The Connection will be doing a show on weblogs! The one-hour show will feature Mad Genius Ev Williams, National Treasure Brad Graham, and me.

You can listen on your local station (check your local air-time) or on the web. Call in live during the broadcast at 1.800.423.8255. I'd love to talk to you. 05/17/00

Happy Birthday, J. You Rock my World. 05/17/00

'JumpStart Baby™ breaks new ground by offering a peripheral designed just for babies!' (Thanks, Lizard!) 05/18/00

A new study has found that hostile young adults are 2.5 times more likely than others to develop heart disease later in life; given heart scans for calcification of the arteries ten years later, they confirmed that they literally were hard-hearted. 05/18/00

It's getting worse. In the last week

  • Mattel has sent Matt Lavalee a cease and desist letter over his weblog mattl.com

  • Chiquita/Naked Juice has sent a cease and desist to Jessi demanding that she not use the title "Naked Juice: Journal of a Tangerine Girl" for a section of her personal website
The media seem to be focused on the "domain squatter," those who buy up specific domain names planning to sell them for outrageous amounts of money to targeted companies. I'd like to see more attention paid to situations like Matt's and Jessi's, in which innocent individuals are threatened by corporations with massive banks of lawyers over a perceived infringement of a trademark.

The fact that a corporation makes loads of money doesn't mean that they own any word they decide they want, only that they have the means to be a bully.

On Metafilter, Jesse James Garrett has this to say:
...steps must be taken to ensure that the Internet will be a place where art and commerce can peacefully co-exist.

All of the parties empowered to handle these disputes...have systems in place that betray the deep assumption that commercial interests automatically outweigh all other interests. That any business's rights are more important than those of any individual.
If you think these corporations' actions are outrageous write to Mattel and Naked Juice and tell them so. Then come over to Metafilter and discuss this situation. (You'll need to register to post your thoughts, but it just takes a second.) 05/18/00

Motley Fool reports that there are only five domain names left. Which, I guess, goes a long way toward explaining why five automotive companies have elected to name their new automotive internet exchange Covisint. (via Jim and Anil) 05/18/00

In 1989, Manhattan developer Seymour Durst put the National Debt Clock, marking the second-to-second growth in US debt, on top of a building near Times Square. Now that the government is promising to reduce the debt, his son has decided to retire the clock.

The sign has run with only intermittent interruptions since then, though it once had to be turned off for a few months in the mid-90s when the debt was increasing so fast it crashed the computer.
Now, really. Don't you think everyone would enjoy watching those numbers decrease after all these years? 05/18/00

He's six, he has a weblog, and he already speaks in lingo I can never hope to understand. He calls himself 5TrainMan. (via TheConnection Blog) 05/19/00

Important News from Click for a Cause (feeditsomemore on the left): Respond.com pays for 600 (!) servings of food for the hungry if you submit a free request for offers on something you'd like to buy. There's no obligation and, unlike their usual sponsors, there's no once-per-day limit. See if you can get a good offer on a guitar, a TV and a dishwasher and feed 1,800 people at the same time. It's easy to do good. 05/19/00

Convergence News: Concerned about high rates of sexual activity and gonorrhea among African-American teenagers, public health practitioner Tamera Coyne-Beasley has polled black clergy in North Carolina to see if they would be interested in extending the health education role of the church to include sex education--and a majority say they would.

'When we leave out the spiritual dimension, then talk of sexuality ... is all about pleasing the body,' said the Rev. Carl Kenney, pastor of Orange Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Durham...In his church youth ministers, doctors and other health professionals begin talking to children about sex as early as age 10. No sex-related question is off-limits.

More Convergence: After decades of resisting their influence, doctors, aid workers and government officials have begun to work with the traditional healers of Ghana to improve basic health care in the country.

'There is no rivalry at all,' said Sofo, a young and charismatic healer whose patients are mostly women. 'If there is a spiritual aspect to the problem, I take care of it. Problems that I find are physical, I refer to hospital.'

Let's say it together: These are just Bad Men. 'A study from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health showed a 33 percent increase in tobacco advertising in magazines with at least 15 percent youth readership.' 05/19/00

When Drag Queens Go Bad

Denise Maillot...whose credit card was used to fund the boys' alleged girls' night out, says she still can't believe that she is a victim of a cross-dressing crime. 'If I hadn't lived through this, I'd say it's a lie. It's like a UFO story.'
(via Ribbit!) 05/19/00

Last night on the way home from dinner we saw a cat on the street. It was one of those hairless cats with the oversized ears. It seemed agitated, as if it were lost, or scared to be on the street. Another woman stopped when we did. She said it was a very expensive kind of cat.

I coaxed the kitty over and read the address on its tag. As we walked around looking for the kitty's home, a girl stopped and asked me if it was a "dog-cat". The people from the record store came outside and said they let the kitty into their store every day and pointed to the owner's apartment. We rang the bell, but no one came to the door.

We took it home and phoned. They answered immediately. We gathered the cat back up and walked back to its apartment. I didn't really want to leave the cat with the man who met us at the door. He seemed uninterested when I told him that the kitty had seemed scared, alone on the street when we found him.

He blamed the cat for getting away. "He's always trying to sneak out. I don't know why he does that. He knows he's not supposed to go outside." I nodded, thinking "And do you know that the cat's not supposed to go outside?" 05/20/00

Be paged whenever there's a live cop chase on TV. Enough said. (via RRE) 05/20/00

Media portrayals of religious committment tend to revolve around the most intolerant factions, the most frequent 'newsmakers.' It is easy to forget that this is not an accurate reflection of the vast majority of religious humanity.

So it is a real pleasure to present to you The Rt. Rev. John Shelby Spong's essays. Thoughtful commentary on important issues informed by an inclusive faith.

Today: My Thanks to John Rocker.

Racism is not an occasional insult. Racism is the inability to see a human being outside the definitions of your own prejudice.

Rocker's comments revealed that racism is alive and well inside his mind...He seems blissfully unaware that race, gender, nationality and sexual orientation are givens in life, not chosens.

To hate, minimize or denigrate people on the basis of their being is what this sin of racism means. Racism is itself a disease of the soul that must be rooted out over a lifetime of conscious effort.

(via ShinyBlueGrasshopper) 05/21/00

I buried Paul. (thanks, Lizard!) 05/22/00

After years of boycotting their fradulent elections, Haitians have registered en masse, and, threatened with violence, have traveled in groups to their polling places to vote in an election that is expected to restore democracy to their desperate country. 05/22/00

Nothing too detailed
Just the essence of the film
at Haiku Movies.
(thanks, Lizard!) 05/22/00

A new study suggests that the traditional 'fight or flight' response is not be universal. It seems that the female response to stress--in humans and numerous other species--is to tend and befriend. (Or the modern version: massage and exfoliate.) 05/08/00

'Locked in mortal combat for 80 million years,' a fossil of two dinosaurs fighting will be on display this summer at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan. 05/22/00

Goth News: Summer is almost here. Get a step ahead at Goth theme gardens (via Invisible Broadcasting System) 05/22/00

Wow! I just found BlueGreen, a weblog centered on environmental news and commentary. I'm adding it to my portal page. 05/22/00

There's a forty-percent chance that I'm a man. 05/23/00

AT & T, which has been airing promotions to customers making long-distance calls before connecting them to their party, thnks they're helping out. 'We don't view it as advertising, we view it as providing information to AT&T customers.'

Ken nicely sums up my position: 'Well, I don't. I find it just as offensive as spamming---using resources I PAID FOR to BLARE ADVERTISING AT ME. What's next? Posters plastered to my house? Ads carved into my lawn?' 05/23/00

Bengladesh scientists report at the annual Digestive Disease Week meeting that an inexpensive traditional folk remedy is effective for treating persistent childhood diarrhea. 05/23/00

Good News: The Oberammergau Passion Play has been performed every ten years since 1634 to honor a pledge made by villagers when their village was delivered from the plague. This year's version represents a milestone in a decades-long effort to expunge Jewish stereotypes from the play.

The most virulent stereotype perpetuated in the Passion story...is the notion of Jewish collective guilt for Jesus' death.... In 15th-century Frankfurt, city officials protected the Jewish ghetto during performances. Rome's Jewish quarter was regularly attacked following reenactments in the 16th century.

Galileo has beamed back pictures of the Io's surface, showing the geysers, lava lakes and snow of Jupiter's moon, which has the 'greatest temperature range of anything in the solar system.' This week: Ganymede. 05/23/00

Think you need funding? In spite of a lack of access to expensive equipment, amateur scientists continue to make significant contributions in the observational sciences.

'I have time to sit down and study things. My next meal doesn't depend on how rapidly I do the work,' says Howell. 'While (professionals) have multiples of hours and days, I have multiples of years.'

Wretched Excess (when are you going to start your own weblog, Lizard?) 05/24/00

'A study by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health concludes that G-rated animated films contain a surprising level of violence, and that the violence is increasing.' 05/24/00

Egyptian archeologists have uncovered the tomb of Gad Khensu Eyuf 'a provincial mayor who dared in his lifetime to represent himself in temples in the same style as kings.' 05/24/00

Baldrick has joined Britain's Labour party's national executive committee. 05/24/00

Animals in the Kabul Zoo, once on the frontline Afghan's fighting, are now being tortured by zoo visitors while guards on duty do nothing. (Warning: rough link ahead!) 05/24/00

Common wisdom has it that they are more creative, but why are some people left-handed? One researcher believes that it comes from the lack of a right-handed gene. (NY Times, free registration required.) 05/24/00

American and Syrian archaeologists have discovered the ancient city of Tell Hamoukar, which was apparently a thriving urban community from 3700 to 3500 B.C, suggesting that civilization as marked by urbanization developed hundreds of years earlier than has been believed and before the invention of writing. 05/24/00

It has long been an mystery to Americans that Europeans eat course after course of rich foods without suffering the chronic obesity the US has been struggling with for decades. Is it the wine with meals? Is there a magical combination of foods? A new study indicates that 'half of European adults will be obese by 2030, partly because of an emerging epidemic of obesity among children and adolescents.' Why? It seems that young people aren't exercising as much as their elders did. 05/25/00

The EPA has proposed new rules reducing acceptable levels of arsenic in tap water by 90% as an important public health measure. Water agencies agree that it's necessary, but say those levels will be too expensive to achieve; environmentalists say the proposed levels are still unsafe. (NY Times; free registration required) 05/25/00

'The highest court of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a denomination long divided on issues of homosexuality, ruled today that its ministers may conduct religious "holy union" ceremonies for same-sex couples, as long as the ceremonies are not regarded as marriages.' (NY Times; free registration required) 05/25/00

British researchers are developing a breed of non-GM "super-broccoli" jam-packed with the natural compounds that fight cancer.

'This is classical breeding. But we speeded that breeding program up by using DNA fingerprinting technology.' Normally the breeding program would have taken about 10-15 years but thanks to DNA technology Mithen has done it in four.

I'm taking the day off. I'm reading for pleasure, I'm answering email for pleasure, and I may just take a walk up to a bookstore and browse for a bit. I'll be back Tuesday. Meanwhile, enjoy these always-reliable voices: bradlands, Bird on a Wire, iBoy, jessamyn, and MISCmedia. Have a great weekend! 05/26/00

This turned out to be website-beautification weekend (® Brad L Graham). I've added and subtracted and rearranged my books, domestic, web basics, design, and html pages, moved my fonts reference page to the menu bar, and added a few more goth group names (and one not!). Whew! 05/26/00

A nation of phone-callers finally pays off the Spanish-American War. (Thanks, Jim!) 05/30/00

To promote the importance of reading, this elementary school principal visits his students in his pajamas to read them a bedtime story. (via weberrific) 05/30/00

More from Bishop Spong:
Anglican Battle Over Homosexuality Takes a 'Bizarre' Turn

Let me say this carefully, but clearly. Anyone who elevates their prejudices to the position where they are defended as the will of God is evil.

Anybody who justifies their denigration of another person's being based upon a quotation from an ancient sacred text called the Word of God is simply out of touch with contemporary scholarship.

Anybody who will not open themselves to the new knowledge readily available in medical and scientific circles because it calls into question their uninformed attitudes is profoundly ignorant.

Jeff has begun a fascinating-looking list of Postmodern signifying practices and intertextuality. 05/30/00

You know you're overlooked when greedy corporations won't even market Barbie to your little girls. 05/30/00

The madness continues. I've re-vamped my reference page and added a directories page. 05/31/00

Truth in Advertising is "a Collection of Cigarette Advertisements from the Age of Innocence." This guy cracks me up.... (Thanks, Lizard!) 05/31/00

Cyber Box Tops 05/31/00

The British Medical Association says that media images are contributing to the rise of anorexia in young women.

There are almost no positive role models of women not in this undernourished group... What we are arguing for is a mixture. Let's see many different sizes and shapes reflected in the images of women we see in the different types of media.

Hire a Vet! 05/31/00

Against all odds, with internet companies in need of 'knowledge engineers' and 'vocabulary-resource managers,' linguists find themselves in demand. 05/31/00

Sebastian attended Convergence VI. Looks like it was fun.... 05/31/00

comments? questions? rebecca blood

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