Tarry for the Nonce

August 31, 2004

Diamonds are Forever

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 4:58 pm

Lose a loved one. Gain a diamond.

Nancy Wodziak wanted to honor her husband Richard in a special way after he died from a brain tumor last October. So, she became the first person in the state to turn a loved one’s remains into a diamond.

The Poor Become Richer

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 4:40 pm

The horrors of the Bush economy:

Using working-class Daly City as his backdrop, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Friday charged that millions of American are caught in “a debt trap” because of unsavory lenders, while the Bush administration has done nothing to help the middle class gain financial security, jobs or health insurance . . .

At the Daly City event, Lori Guy, a 35-year-old high-tech worker from San Jose, was held up as an example by Kerry as a victim of bad credit-card policies.

She told the crowd how her employer, a large semiconductor manufacturer whom she did not identify, cut her salary after she moved West in 2000 to take a job. Her credit card bills piled up and she got socked with late payments, but she had no place to turn until she finally got back on her feet . . .

In an interview later, however, Guy said she is still employed by the company and after two merit raises in the past year she now makes more money than she ever had.

Um . . . what was the issue again?

Jerky Video

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 11:29 am

Because cell phones always interest me . . .

Sleek and Slim

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 11:27 am

The new iMac has a nifty design:

Apple Computer unveiled, after a two-month delay, its new iMac desktop computer on Tuesday which integrates disk drives and processors into a flat display less than two inches thick.

“Now we have the world’s thinnest desktop computer,” Phil Schiller, head of worldwide product marketing, said in a keynote presentation at the annual Apple Expo in Paris.

Shipping from mid-September, Apple said the computer would be available in versions with a 17-inch and a 20-inch display, with a wireless keyboard and mouse . . .

The new model, designed by the same team that developed the iPod portable music player, works on G5 microprocessors.

Violent Dissent

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 11:22 am

Never mind France’s public opposition to the “infidel” United States. The French hostages in Iraq will probably be killed. The violence is ostensibly due to Chirac’s idiotic headscarf ban, but I think it’s really because the terrorists are evil people to the core.

On Tuesday, French President Jacques Chirac, refusing to back down on the ban on headscarves in public schools, led the effort to save the French hostages’ lives and envoys explored other ways to appeal to militants holding Georges Malbrunot and Christian Chesnot, shown on Arab television on Monday fearing for their lives . . .

The kidnappings stunned France which staunchly opposed the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, objected to pre-war sanctions against Baghdad and which is now intent on gaining support from its strong ties with the Arab world in securing the men’s release . . .

The kidnappers on Monday night gave France a further 24 hours to repeal its ban on headscarves in schools which is part of a broader law aimed at anti-Semitism that bars Jewish skullcaps and large Christian crosses.

Now will the French agree that the terrorists are the bad guys – no matter where they are?

August 27, 2004

John Kerry, Almost a Man to Be Pitied

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 3:37 pm

This is a credible-sounding account indicating that – once again – Kerry’s campaign missed a key opportunity to keep its mouth shut:

Retired Rear Adm. William L. Schachte Jr. said Thursday in his first on-the-record interview about the swift boat veterans dispute that “I was absolutely in the skimmer” in the early morning on Dec. 2, 1968, when Lt. (j.g.) John Kerry was involved in an incident that led to his first Purple Heart.

“Kerry nicked himself with a M-79 [grenade launcher],” Schachte said in a telephone interview from his home in Charleston, S.C. He said, “Kerry requested a Purple Heart” . . .

Two enlisted men who appeared at the podium with Kerry at the Democratic National Convention in Boston have asserted that they were alone in the small boat with Kerry, with no other officer present. Schachte said it “was not possible” for Kerry to have gone out alone so soon after joining the swift boat command in late November 1968 . . .

Washington lawyer Lanny Davis has contended that Schachte was not aboard the Boston whaler and says the statement that Schachte was aboard in Unfit for Command undermines that critical book’s credibility . . .

Patrick Runyon and William Zaladonis are the two enlisted men who said they were aboard the skimmer and did not know Schachte. However, two other former officers interviewed Thursday confirmed that Schachte was the originator of the technique and always was aboard the Boston whaler for these missions . . .

When asked to support the Kerry critics in the swift boat controversy, Schachte said, “I didn’t want to get involved.” But he said he gradually began to change his mind when he saw his own involvement and credibility challenged, starting with Davis on CNN’s “Crossfire” on Aug. 12 . . .

Schachte said he never has been contacted by or talked to anybody in the Bush-Cheney campaign or any Republican organization. He said he has been a political independent who votes for candidates of both parties.

So thanks to Lanny Davis’ attack on the Swift Boat Veterans, this reluctant officer now feels a necessity to defend his honor, bolstering both the veterans and the credibility of the book.

At least Kerry still has George Bush on his side:

“I think Senator Kerry should be proud of his record,” Bush said. “No, I don’t think he lied.”

Well, that’s one, at least, but I still stand by my opinion that if Vietnam must be dredged up at all, we should be viewing Kerry’s political activities against American interests, not his war record:

Former POW Jim Warner today told HUMAN EVENTS that he first learned about Lt. John Kerry in a North Vietnamese prison camp. When his captors brought him out of solitary confinement in the infamous Skid Row punishment camp for an interrogation, they made him read the typewritten transcript of a statement by Kerry, speaking in the United States. His interrogator kept pointing at Kerry’s words, saying, ‘See? This officer from your Navy says you deserve to be punished'” . . .

Tom Collins, another Vietnam POW whose plane was shot down in 1965, was made to listen to Kerry’s testimony on tape during his captivity. He explained that the North Vietnamese were constantly trying to elicit confessions of war crimes from Americans, promising them better treatment.

“What they wanted to do was get us to make statements that they could use for propaganda, no matter what it took to get it” he said. “They would torture us, some were even killed for it…For over seven years, their goal was to get propaganda out of me. And then I see somebody like John Kerry and the Vietnam Veterans [Against the War] giving them the same propaganda they want me to give them, free of charge, on American television.”

“He knew he was putting us at risk,” Warner went on. “And he was demanding unilateral withdrawal, which means our value as bargaining chips would be gone. And what do you think would have happened to us then?”

“We can forgive and forget,” said Collins. “But then when he decides to bring it up and run for the highest office in the land based upon outright lies, we’re not going to stand for that.”

Meet the Jetsons

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 3:24 pm

Wouldn’t it be swell if flying cars happened in our lifetime?

Within five years, NASA researchers hope to develop technology for a small airplane that can fly out of regional airports, costs less than $100,000, is as quiet as a motorcycle and as simple to operate as a car. Although it wouldn’t have any road-driving capabilities, it would give regular people the ability to fly short distances.

To make flying simpler, NASA is working on technologies that would automate more pilot’s functions.

In 10 years, NASA hopes to have created technology for going door-to-door. These still wouldn’t be full-fledged flying cars instead, they’d be small planes that can drive very short distances on side streets, after landing at a nearby airport.

In 15 years, they hope to have the technology for larger vehicles, seating as many as four passengers, and the ability to make vertical takeoffs.

It will probably take years after these technologies are developed before such vehicles are actually on the market. And Moore says it will take about 25 years to get to anything “remotely ‘Jetsons’-like,'” a reference to the futuristic cartoon that fed many flying car fantasies.

The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 3:09 pm

They are meant to detect terrorists, but might also be useful for equivocating friends and family:

An Israeli firm has developed a miniature system that can provide unobtrusive lie detector tests . . .

The system uses a miniature computer chip that can provide voice analysis of those responding to questions . . . Executives said the technology which they termed Poly-Layered Voice Analysis, measured voice for such traits as deception, excitement, stress, concentration, hesitation, anger, love and lust . . .

Executives said a chip small enough to fit in an eyeglass frame could read a subject’s voice frequency. The chip was meant to provide nine analyses and flash a light upon detection of a lie. Conventional lie detectors measure the heart beat in an effort to detect whether a subject is telling the truth.

Grow Me a Bone Here

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 2:52 pm

A stem cell success story:

A German who had his lower jaw cut out because of cancer has enjoyed his first meal in nine years — a bratwurst sandwich — after surgeons grew a new jaw bone in his back muscle and transplanted it to his mouth in what experts call an “ambitious” experiment.

According to this week’s issue of The Lancet medical journal, the German doctors used a mesh cage, a growth chemical and the patient’s own bone marrow, containing stem cells, to create a new jaw bone that fit exactly into the gap left by the cancer surgery . . .

Warnke and his group began by creating a virtual jaw on a computer, after making a three-dimensional scan of the patient’s mouth.

The information was used to create a thin titanium micro-mesh cage. Several cow-derived pure bone mineral blocks the size of sugar lumps where then put inside the structure, along with a human growth factor that builds bone and a large squirt of blood extracted from the man’s bone marrow, which contains stem cells.

The surgeons then implanted the mesh cage and its contents into the muscle below the patient’s right shoulder blade. He was given no drugs, other than routine antibiotics to prevent infection from the surgery.

The implant was left in for seven weeks, when scans showed new bone formation. It was removed about eight weeks ago, along with some surrounding muscle and blood vessels, put in the man’s mouth and connected to the blood vessels in his neck.

Scans showed new bone continued to form after the transplant.

Huzzah for successful stem cell research that doesn’t require the termination of a life!

August 26, 2004

The Wisest Men Do Not Speak in Vain

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 5:30 pm

Deborah Orin has a relevant point about the Kerry kerfuffle:

AS THE Swift vets furor rages, even some fellow Democrats are lamenting that Sen. John Kerry’s campaign war room looks pretty inept for escalating and prolonging it . . .

The Democrats let “Fahrenheit 9/11” filmmaker Michael Moore have a seat in the presidential box at their convention, but they ignored a basic marketing lesson from his anti-Bush film controversy sells.

Every time Kerry blasts the Swift vets, donations for more anti-Kerry ads go ka-ching on their Web site $2 million so far cable news goes all-out, and the anti-Kerry book “Unfit for Command” now tops best-seller lists.

Yup. If Kerry wanted the controversy to die away, he should have responded once and then ignored it.

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