Tarry for the Nonce

July 30, 2004

Jaws Be Gone

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 3:19 pm

Could you use some shark repellent?

Researchers say they finally have found a potent repellent to drive away sharks, after testing off Bimini island in the Bahamas. It’s a goal that’s eluded scientists for decades.

If proven effective, the repellent one day might protect divers, surfers and swimmers. But researchers say that would require much more study. First they hope it can protect sharks — in decline worldwide due to overfishing — by reducing the numbers caught needlessly by long-line commercial fishermen . . .

The repellent, called A-2 because it was the second recipe tried, is derived from extracts of dead sharks that Stroud gathered at New Jersey fish markets and piers. Fishermen and scientists have long noted sharks stay away if they smell a dead shark.

How many sharks were killed in pursuit of this knowledge? Hmm?

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Ah-nold Amusement

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 1:34 pm

Today is the birthday of the latest actor-turned-politician. In celebration, Austria has issued the Schwarzenegger stamp:

The stamp features an image of Schwarzenegger in a dark suit and tie superimposed over the American and Austrian flags. The text reads simply: “Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.”

The actor-turned-politician best known for the “Terminator” series of action films was born on July 30, 1947, in the village of Thal just outside the southern Austrian city of Graz. He collected stamps himself as a boy, the postal service noted proudly.

The Schwarzenegger stamp is part of a collectors’ series called “Austrians Living Abroad.”

Also in his honor, the first Iraq bodybuilding competition has been held:

Last year, after changing the name to Arnold Classic from “Elegant Bodies,” the gym’s owner wrote to Schwarzenegger to let him know. The governor wrote an appreciative letter back, and he wrote again last week to say thanks after hearing that the gym would be holding its inaugural competition on his birthday.

Continuing the mutual appreciation, Talib, the gym owner, recently changed his son’s name to Arnold. Friday, the five-year-old bravely flexed his skinny frame to the crowd in between changeovers in the competition.

I don’t understand men, but they are wonderful anyway.

Like Life Magazine

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 11:26 am

Much as I dislike MSNBC, I enjoy their Week in Pictures feature.

Monstro, Beware!

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 11:14 am

Avoid the bone-eating worms.

Worms anchored to the skeleton of a young gray whale in a watery canyon off the coast of California are the first known whalebone-eating marine worms . . .

The worms are the latest discovery in a branch of biology focused on the life that springs up on sunken whale carcasses. These carcasses — “whale falls,” in science-speak — dot the ocean floor and sustain colorful and mysterious oases of life, according to Science author Robert Vrijenhoek, a researcher from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, Calif.

The very thought gives me the jitters.

No Recession?

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 10:46 am

According to Reuters, a dispute exists about the nature of the U.S. recession:

Not only was the U.S. recession in 2001 the shallowest on record, it may not have been one at all — at least in the classic sense of two straight quarterly declines, new government data show . . .

The new figures, which reflect more complete source data, show economic activity peaked in the second quarter of 2001, not the fourth quarter of 2000.

Tell that to the people who were downsized the following year.

July 29, 2004

“We” Go to the DNC

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 3:06 pm

Best of the Web had a good Wednesday.

I had not heard the rumor about the $20 bill.

Stop the Press Leaks!

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 2:59 pm

DNC toilets are in short supply.

Twenty portable restrooms, like those used on construction sites, are lined up in front of the media pavilion to service nearly 1,200 members of the print media who will be working around the clock. That’s about 60 serious coffee-drinkers per toilet.

Oh, the jokes that come to mind . . .

I’m Biased . . . But He Is Too

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 2:57 pm

And, by the way – lest anyone missed it during the DNC coverage – the New York Times is a liberal newspaper.

. . . if you’re examining the paper’s coverage of these subjects from a perspective that is neither urban nor Northeastern nor culturally seen-it-all; if you are among the groups The Times treats as strange objects to be examined on a laboratory slide (devout Catholics, gun owners, Orthodox Jews, Texans); if your value system wouldn’t wear well on a composite New York Times journalist, then a walk through this paper can make you feel you’re traveling in a strange and forbidding world.

This admittedly liberal New York Times “watchdog” did a painfully honest self-analysis. I’m impressed.

Playing To Your Audience

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 2:42 pm

So Bill Clinton had to revise some of the more provocative passages of his book because they were potentially libelous.

Before publication in June of the British edition of his memoir, “My Life,” Mr. Clinton authorized changes to a dozen or more passages, most of them related to Mr. Starr, apparently in an attempt to make the book and Mr. Clinton less vulnerable under Britain’s tough libel laws . . .

Britain’s libel laws are almost the opposite of those in the United States. In Britain the burden of proof is on the defendant, with the law essentially assuming that a published statement is false and requiring proof that it is true. In the United States, however, if the plaintiff is a public figure, like Mr. Starr, he or she must prove both that what was reported was false and that the publisher either knew that or printed the statements with reckless disregard for their possible falsehood . . .

The Times of London reported this week that a Mandarin translation of “My Life” on sale in China included several passages that were not in English-language editions, including statements in which Mr. Clinton tells of his appreciation of Mao Zedong.

Moral: American audiences prefer fiction.

Murdering Proud, Take 2

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 1:04 pm

Seeing as the abortion post is spiraling, I wanted to try and use my weblog admin privileges to bring it back to a single question.

If we hold (as I believe we do) the common conviction that the right to life is fundamental and should be protected by society, how do we determine when that “right to life” begins?

I would say that this right (and an indivdual life) begins at the point of fertilization. My reasoning is that at this particular moment, an entirely distinct chromosomal being is present – an individual with their own identity and their own rights. No other point in the embryonic process has such a clear definition.

By framing the argument in that way, one needn’t acknowledge a higher power (although I personally believe that our right to life is universally acknowledged only because it comes from a single God, but I would rather keep the discussion focused).

Response?

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