- Using the same technology that adds wrinkles to the drawings of Mafia bosses to identify them after decades on the lam, the Italian police have shaved years, and a beard, off an image taken from the Shroud of Turin to create what newspapers here this week hailed as the very visage of a young Jesus.
The angelic face is reminiscent of the prayer cards sold in Vatican souvenir shops and of the New Age portraits displayed at Venice Beach. The image shows a 12-year-old boy with fair, smooth skin, glassy blue eyes, fleshy lips and waves of dirty blond hair streaked with just enough purple and pink to suggest a sprinkling of cosmic dust.
The scientific unit of Rome’s police force created the image at the behest of reporters of another investigative report about Jesus to be televised the night after Christmas. For that program, the police took photographs from the Shroud of Turin and subtracted about 20 years of aging.
Just in case you missed this story on Dec 25th because you were doing something else, like having a life, you can find it here at the 10 x 10 website if you hit the History button.
Ohio residents selling goods on eBay would have to get a license and be bonded under a law set to go into effect May 2, although authors of the legislation vow to make changes before that date to exempt individuals.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the law, signed by Gov. Robert Taft on Feb. 1, was meant to insure that auctioneers were abiding by the established rules and regulations. The law, as written, requires Ohio residents who sell products online to get a state auction license.
Besides costing $200 and posting a $50,000 bond, the license requires a one-year apprenticeship to a licensed auctioneer, acting as a bid-caller in 12 auctions, attending an approved auction school, passing a written and oral exam. Failure to get a license could result in the seller being fined up to $1,000 and jailed for a maximum of 90 days.
The primary author of the legislation, State Sen. Larry Mumper, told the paper the legislature never intended it to apply to individuals selling items over eBay. But Mumper, while vowing changes, couldn’t say exactly who would or would not be exempt from the license requirement under any changes in the pending law.
“It certainly will not apply to the casual seller on eBay, but might apply to anyone who sells a lot,” he said.
Well, there’s certainly no ambiguity in that statement.
Sounds like a method to get a License Fee into the state coffers…
What do you do if the scientific evidence suggests one thing but political realities push you in the opposite direction? Chris Mooney provides the answer today: If you’re Slick Willie, the president who supposedly had a hidden agenda even for his hidden agendas, you suck it up and tell the truth. “Yes, the science is sound, but we’ve chosen a different policy anyway.”
But if you’re George Bush, the president who supposedly means what he says and says what he means, you lie. You pretend that the scientific evidence is the opposite of what it really is.
The subject at hand is needle exchanges as a way of curbing the spread of AIDS, and Chris points to what he calls “an extraordinary editorial” in the Washington Post last week. He’s right: it is extraordinary. Check this out:
The administration claims that the evidence for the effectiveness of needle exchange is shaky. An official who requested anonymity directed us to a number of researchers who have allegedly cast doubt on the pro-exchange consensus.
One of them is Steffanie A. Strathdee of the University of California at San Diego; when we contacted her, she responded that her research “supports the expansion of needle exchange programs, not the opposite.”
Another researcher cited by the administration is Martin T. Schechter of the University of British Columbia; he wrote us that “Our research here in Vancouver has been repeatedly used to cast doubt on needle exchange programs. I believe this is a clear misinterpretation of the facts.”
Yet a third researcher cited by the administration is Julie Bruneau at the University of Montreal; she told us that “in the vast majority of cases needle exchange programs drive HIV incidence lower.” We asked Dr. Bruneau whether she favored needle exchanges in countries such as Russia or Thailand. “Yes, sure,” she responded.
Note the familiar MO of an administration official who demands anonymity on a subject that should be perfectly open. Why? Because he knows perfectly well he’s lying and doesn’t want his name associated with it in case he gets caught. He’s not just bullshitting, either: he’s flatly lying and hoping that it’s not a big enough story for anyone to bother tracking down his sources.
There are two lessons here. First, the Post should feel no obligation to keep this person’s name anonymous. He lied to them. Second, even in a blatant case like this the Post was still unwilling to flatly call these statements lies. What does it take, guys?
Oh, and a third lesson too: the press should never believe a word the Bush administration says unless they confirm it themselves. Maybe that’s really lesson #1.
In all, with additional paperwork delays, the Defense Department took 167 days just to start getting the bulletproof vests to soldiers in Iraq once General Cody placed the order. But for thousands of soldiers, it took weeks and even months more, records show, at a time when the Iraqi insurgency was intensifying and American casualties were mounting.
By contrast, when the United States’ allies in Iraq also realized they needed more bulletproof vests, they bypassed the Pentagon and ordered directly from a manufacturer in Michigan. They began getting armor in just 12 days.
While all soldiers eventually received plates for their vests, the Army is still scrambling to find new materials to better protect the 10,000 Humvees in Iraq that were not built for combat conditions.
Army generals say a more effective answer to the threat of explosives may lie in electronic instruments that have proven successful in blocking the detonation of homemade bombs, called improvised explosive devices, or I.E.D.’s. They have caused about a quarter of the more than 1,500 American deaths in Iraq, including those of two National Guard members from New York City just last week.
Such an electronic countermeasure was used at the start of the war to shield Iraqi oil fields from possible sabotage. But some members of Congress and security experts say shortsighted planning and piecemeal buying on the part of the Army has resulted in too few of the devices being used to protect the troops.
Well, the oil has always been the most important part of the war…
The insurgency had already taken root in Iraq when General Cody made his decision on April 17, 2003, that enough soldiers had bulletproof vests. As more casualty reports flowed in during the next month, he came to recognize that the advice he had gotten from staff members in Washington did not reflect the reality of the war.
The company, ArmorWorks of Tempe, Ariz., and its supplier of ceramics, the beer-making Coors family of Colorado, had ramped up their operations to meet the demands of the war, but ArmorWorks’ president, William J. Perciballi, says Defense Department delays in awarding contracts for more plates forced him to lay off workers and shut down his assembly line for two months.
Some soldiers waiting for the body armor say they felt punished for speaking out about the delays. Specialist Joseph F. Fabozzi of the New Jersey National Guard complained publicly during a visit home in late 2003.
Returning to Iraq a few weeks later, he said, he was handed a $912 bill for having rear-ended a truck the previous summer while on a convoy. His National Guard unit did not respond to requests for comment.
Mr. Fabozzi appealed the bill and won, records show, in part by explaining precisely how his gas pedal had jammed – because the trucks did not have armor plating, he and others had been told to place sandbags on the floors. “They would break and spill into the pedals,” he said.
A California military contractor developed a countermeasure during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. Known as the Shortstop Electronic Protection System, it evolved into a portable device that was heralded for its ability to jam the radio frequencies used by insurgents to detonate their bombs.
Col. Bruce D. Jette, a participant in the meetings of the Strategic Planning Board, the panel led by General Cody, used a jamming device to protect the oil fields in Iraq. Colonel Jette was heading up a new unit called the Rapid Equipping Force, which was given license to ignore the lumbering ways the Army traditionally fills orders from the field.
So protecting the oil was more important than protecting the troops…
The Defense Department had been producing various I.E.D. countermeasures. But the Pentagon did not start ordering large quantities of one of the most promising ones, known as the Warlock, until December 2003, nine months after the war began, according to GlobalSecurity.org, a research firm based in Alexandria, Va.
The firm said in a report that EDO Communications and Countermeasures of Simi Valley, Calif., has received three orders totaling $31 million for 1,899 Warlocks. EDO declined to comment, citing the secrecy constraints imposed by the Pentagon.
The Pentagon has declined to say publicly how many devices it still needs in Iraq to protect all of the troops. But after learning the Army had so few that it could not spare any for training exercises, the House Armed Services Committee in December pushed the Pentagon for a big increases in its spending on I.E.D. countermeasures, to $161 million, in the next few months, until next year’s budget is approved.
“There is the technology to prevent the detonation of most improvised explosive devices that exist,” Mr. Taylor said, speaking with frustration. “We’ve allocated money for it. And yet that number remains classified, Mr. Secretary, not because the insurgents don’t know how few are protected, but because I’m of the opinion the American people would be appalled if they knew how few are protected.”
Girls as young as six say they are unhappy with their bodies and want to be thinner, a study has suggested.
A team from the Flinders University of South Australia interviewed over 80 girls aged five to eight.
The British Journal of Developmental Psychology study found 47% wanted to be slimmer, and most thought that would make them more popular.
The UK Eating Disorder Association said it was known that children as young as eight had been diagnosed with anorexia.
Because of the girls’ age, the researchers asked them about their awareness, rather than actual experience, of teasing and likeability on the basis of body shape.
They were also asked what they thought about their peers’ level of body dissatisfaction, and how much body shape was discussed accepted amongst the girls they knew.
Researchers also questioned the children on how much they knew about dieting.
Forty-five per cent said they would diet if they gained weight, with older girls in the group more likely to do so.
Most girls believed being thin would increase likeability, yet very few claimed to discuss their bodies with their friends.
A spokesman for the UK’s Eating Disorders Association said: “Eating disorders have been recorded in children as young as eight, and there may have been instances in children of an even younger age.
“Low self esteem is a major contributory factor of eating disorders: media images, peer pressure and family situations can also affect people.
“We believe there are lots of pressures from many areas on young people to be thin. We are concerned but not surprised that school children as young as six are affected by them.”
Instead of “media images” why not call them what they are: advertising. I’m getting more and more convinced that any positive results from advertising (such as sponsoring of sports and web sites) is offset by a much larger negative influence such as the one in this article. Why is it that mankind has lived happily and developed civilization for many millennia but suddenly we all think things cannot be done if there’s no advertising involved? Compare sports footage from as little as 50 years ago with today… the sooner we get rid of all advertising the better.
The Global Research in International Affairs Center in Israel, a highly reputable and reliable think-tank, has published a paper titled “Arab volunteers killed in Iraq: an Analysis,” available at e-prism.org. Authored by Dr. Reuven Paz, the paper analyzes the origins of 154 Arab jihadists killed in Iraq in the last six months, whose names have been posted on Islamist websites.
The sample does not account for all jihadists in Iraq, but provides a useful and eye-opening profile of them. Saudi Arabia accounted for 94 jihadists, or 61 percent of the sample, followed by Syria with 16 (10 percent), Iraq itself with only 13 (8 percent), and Kuwait with 11 (7 percent.) The rest included small numbers from Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Algeria, Morocco (of which one was a resident in Spain), Yemen, Tunisia, the Palestinian territories (only 1), Dubai, and Sudan. The Sudanese was living in Saudi Arabia before he went to die in Iraq.
The predominance of Saudis in Iraqi terrorism also goes a long way toward explaining the other fact that Western media and government have been reluctant to admit: the role of Wahhabism as an inciter of violence against Shias. Wahhabis hate Shias even more than Christians and Jews, because, as Saudi schools (including those like the Islamic Saudi Academy in the United States) teach, Christians and Jews have their own religions that are openly opposed to Islam, but Shias want to “change Islam,” which the Wahhabis consider the personal property of the Saudi rulers. Few in the West seemed to notice earlier this week when 2,000 people assembled in Hilla, near Baghdad, to protest a car bombing that killed at least 125. The demonstrators chanted “No to terrorism! No to Baathism and Wahhabism!”
Paz concludes his study with words difficult to surpass for their clarity and relevance: “The intensive involvement of Saudi volunteers for Jihad in Iraq is . . . the result of the Saudi government’s doublespeak, whereby it is willing to fight terrorism, but only if directly affected by it on its own soil. Saudi Arabia is either deliberately ignoring, or incapable and too weak, to engage in open and brave opposition to Jihadi terrorism outside of the Kingdom . . . Their blind eyes in the face of the Saudi Islamic establishment’s support of the Jihad in Iraq may pose a greater threat in the future, as the hundreds of volunteers return home.”
Apple has found itself facing a pair of intellectual property challenges that separately claim its FairPlay DRM system and its iPod music player contain technologies to which the Mac maker does not have a right.
First up, Lake Forest, Illinois-based Advanced Audio Devices (AAD) alleges its patent, number 6,587,403, for a “music jukebox”, filed in August 2000 but granted in July 2003, covers the kind of thing Apple has brought to market as the iPod.
According to the patent’s abstract, AAD’s concept covers a “music jukebox which is configured for storing a music library”. The device includes a “housing, audio input structure… for receiving audio signals, and a data storage structure… for storing audio signals”.
And how the fuck is that innovative, an invention, or even simply new?
And to see how stupid this whole patent thing really is check out the highlighted paragraph below:
Meanwhile, Hong Kong company Pat-rights claims FairPlay violates its US patent, number 6,665,797, which details a method of “protection of software against unauthorised use”. It discusses a “central program comprising a EI sub-program for providing identity information of the rightful user thereof for accessing a network central computer to obtain service(s) or software product(s) or alike, in which a secure operation on an account of the rightful user for payment therefore involved; and a AS sub-program for using the existence of the EI sub-program in a computer as a precondition for authorising use of those software products obtained on that computer. The central program is for managing the use of the individual sub-programs therein so that the AS sub-program can be protected from being copied individually”.
According to this blog, Pat-rights maintains that FairPlay, when used in conjunction with iTunes, does the same thing to ensure the listener of a protected song has been authorised to do so.
Pat-rights makes the assumption that since Apple didn’t patent such a technique, it can only be because someone else has.