Hidden Nook

"Because in Cyberspace, no one can hear you scream."

Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Fastest Growing Religion

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(Hat Tip: The Black Kettle, Cross Posted on Blogger News)

According to this report it isn't Islam.
In "Megashift," author Jim Rutz coins a new phrase to define this fast-growing segment of the population. He calls them "core apostolics" – or "the new saints who are at the heart of the mushrooming kingdom of God."

"The growing core of Christianity crosses theological lines and includes 707 million born-again people who are increasing by 8 percent a year," he says...

"There will be pockets of resistance and unforeseen breakthroughs," writes Rutz. "Still, at the rate we're growing now, to be comically precise, there would be more Christians than people by the autumn of 2032, about 8.2 billion."

Despite facing persecution in places ranging from Nepal to Russia , the Christian faith seems to show no signs of slowing down.

In 1960 Western Christians outnumbered non-westerners by two to one. As of the year 2000 non-western Christians outnumbered the Western Christians by a factor of four to one. According to Rutz by the year 2010 this will increase seven to one. With approximately 175,000 being saved (i.e converted to the faith) a day, mostly in underground churches who are not affiliated with the mainline denominations (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox) it will only be a matter of time until the goals of Christ are fulfilled in this generation.

While most of this evangelic activity is mainly in nations lying in the "10/40 Window," some extremely conservative churches in the West are reporting an influx of new members, although it seems mostly from other denominations.

DALLAS-The Eastern Orthodox Church, as far removed from a nondenominational or evangelical congregation as you can get, is nevertheless attracting a growing number of converts who are drawn by the tug of an ancient faith...

The Antiochian Orthodox Church, the most evangelistic of the American Orthodox churches, has tracked conversions for several decades. The number of its churches in the U.S. has doubled in 20 years to more than 250 parishes and missions. About 80 percent of its converts come from evangelical and charismatic backgrounds, 20 percent from mainline denominations.

Although Christianity seems to be on a decline in the west, it has gained a substantial increase in places like India capturing about 2% of the population. With ministries such as Gospel For Asia (as well as a host of others) encouraging new forms of "native evangelism," it may not be long until the entire globe has heard about the message of Christ.

By Darnell Clayton • 8:41 PM • Email Post • •


Friday, April 29, 2005

Can Japan Afford The Space Race?

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(Cross Posted on Blogger News)

"If the present rates of decline continue, the space program will collapse," said Keiji Tachikawa, a former private sector executive who assumed leadership of the space agency, known as JAXA, four months ago. "We are almost in a crisis situation."

Ironically this comes after Japan announced to the world that they not only plan on sending astronauts into space, but also establishing a base on the moon. Tachikawa does not think that the government will allow it's space program to collapse, but with a budget of only 200 billion yen (US$2 billion or 2.6 billion Euro) the land of the rising sun will have to get serious if it plans on establishing a lunar base in 15 years, especially if they desire a prime spot for a colony.

The agency sent the plan to a government space panel for review, asking for a budget increase to roughly US$2.6 billion (euro2 billion) a year, up from US$2 billion (euro1.6 billion) last year. Tachikawa acknowledged that funds were hard to come by with Japan's economy still trying to rebound from more than a decade of stagnation.

Despite their economic situation (as well as the looming threat of North Korea) it would be a shame if a country known for being technologically savvy was unable to send a man into space, let alone establish a lunar beachhead. Although Japan was stimulated towards action by China launching a man into space, what Japan needs to do is examine a way to inspire the public (who could in turn influence their government) the potential benefits of launching an aggressive space program as well as the financial rewards of doing so.

If Japan fails to do this, they may find themselves (along with NASA and other government space agencies) out done by the American private sector and possibly used only for "militarily purposes." Tachikawa may be able to turn things around, and potentially change the current Japanese program into a successful one.

By Darnell Clayton • 1:42 AM • Email Post • •


Commercial Space Elevator

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(Cross Posted on Blogger News)

"We see the development of carbon nanotubes as critical to the building of the space elevator," said [Michael] Laine. "Opening a commercial production facility enables us to generate revenues in the shorter term by meeting the growing market need for this material. At the same time, it enables us to conduct research and development in this arena for our longer term goal of a commercial space elevator."

News such as this often conjectures images such as this or that but what they really mean is something closer to an "elevator" as this artist basic sketch suggests. This commercial space elevator would be about 62,000 miles high and the company Lift Port aims to have the base of this elevator anchored somewhere offshore in the Pacific ocean near the earth's equator.

Building such a feature would allow for an inexpensive way to transport satellites to space as well as astronauts which would greatly cut down on the cost of putting an object in space. Shuttles (if light enough) could also be deployed from the space elevator saving fuel and expanding the travel distance as scientists could concentrate more on getting to a particular destination (say the moon) rather than on breaking away from earth's orbit.

The challenges with this technology (which is more of a question of "when it will be accomplished" rather than "if") would be how one would secure the cable in the event a Tsunami or hurricane approached the facility (assuming such a base would weather your average storm). Also securing the "elevator" in the event a cable breaks (so that the cargo doesn't kill someone) would also be a necessary precaution to take, something the company will have to factor in (as well as who would insure such a measure in case something goes wrong).

If these challenges can be overcome then projects like these might become more of a familiar site that could transform not only ourselves but also the the world around us. But if the space elevator proposal does not work, we could always be satisfied with space stations orbiting our world instead.

By Darnell Clayton • 12:59 AM • Email Post • •


North Korea Gassing Citizens

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(Hat Tip: North Korea Zone)

One man, a 55-year-old chemist, claimed he was in charge of an experiment to test the effect of deadly nerve gas on political prisoners.

"He said he was involved in the killing of two people – one who did not expire for 2½ hours, and the second didn't die till 3½ hours had passed," Cooper told CBC for a documentary airing Wednesday night on the radio program Dispatches.

It appears the regime is also starving people to death as well (intentionally that is). As the world tries to bring North Korea back to the table over it's nuclear program, perhaps they should mention it's human rights record that tends to violate every standard of life putting oneself in the ranks of Hitler and Stalin.

But what do the prisoners have to say?

Soon Ok Lee, a North Korean now living in the United States, said she spent years in a political prison camp before escaping.

"When I was in jail, there was at least once or twice in the prison camp, chemical testing on humans that I witnessed," she said.

There are probably thousands (if not millions) of stories similar to these (if not far worse) but unfortunately most of those will not be heard unless the communistic regime collapses from internal or external pressure. Fortunately though it seems that some people are doing something about this issue.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (a human rights organization) is staging coordinated demonstrations in Asia, North America and Europe to protest what North Korea is doing to it's own citizens. Their aim is to bring awareness of this issue before the international community and are calling the events that they are staging "North Korea Freedom Day" and hope to bring about global awareness of these atrocities. Hopefully consciences will be pricked (and action created) but it may actually take some strong measures before North Korea ends it's terrorization of it's own citizens.

By Darnell Clayton • 12:15 AM • Email Post • •


Thursday, April 28, 2005

NATO Helping Out In Darfur

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(Hat Tip: KOTP)

NATO is to study how it can help African Union forces in the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur after being approached by the AU for talks, an alliance spokesman said on Wednesday.

It would be the 26-nation alliance's first involvement in a mission on African soil, although NATO officials stressed talks would centre on options for logistical support rather than any major deployment of NATO troops.

Finally their seems to be some "effort" to help end the chaos in Dafur, but from the looks of it these may just be "talks" of getting involved rather than preparation for active engagement. France it seems is a little reluctant to enter into the "fray," but as long as the United States, Germany and England are involved, help may be on the way for this war torn region.

And help is definitely needed in a region, especially when one does not understand the word "genocide."
The U.N. defines genocide, "as an act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, or religious group." The phrase "in whole or part" has the international community debating how much is too much, as if we are waiting for the whole to be fulfilled with no regard to the part that has already been fulfilled. Compared to the South Sudan, Darfur hasn't lost as many civilians. Are we waiting for Darfur to catch up? The genocide in Darfur is fulfilling the reasoning behind genocide which is to destroy cultures and/or re-induct the survivors into the image of the conqueror through language, education, and customs.

Although the African Union might be nervous about NATO's involvement on the dark continent, (after all, it was once viciously colonized by Europe) the West's display of support in the Sudan region could possibly go a long ways towards curbing some of the violence happening in Dafur. With European and American backing, the soon-to-be 6,000 infantry powered AU peace keepers could what is needed to stabilize a complex situation, and restore some degree of civility to an area known mostly for it's brutal violence.

By Darnell Clayton • 11:41 PM • Email Post • •


President Bush Thanks U.N.?

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(Hat Tip: U.N. Dispatch, Cross Posted on Blogger News)

"I think the United Nations is important. As a matter of fact, I'll give you an example: Today I met with the United Nations representative to Lebanon. He's delivered a very strong message to the Syrian leader, though, that the world expects President Assad to withdraw not only his military forces, but his intelligence services, completely from Lebanon. And now he is in charge of following up to make sure it happens.

Although a complete withdrawal of intelligence services is something doubtful of Syria (after all, everyone has their double agents) the fact that the United Nations is actually doing something productive throughout the world body is astounding. After mismanaging the entire "Oil-for-Food" program (not to mention the "Sex-for-food" scandal) the U.N. is quickly getting it's priorities in order by helping nations who desire to be free from foreign influence remain free.

The question now remains as to whether or not the United Nations can effectively root out (or "reform") the insurgent/terrorist group known as Hezbollah who currently is refusing to disarm.

The leader of Hezbollah, Sheikh Hassan Nasrullah, recently reiterated that his group will not give up their weapons. In an interview with Reuters he said that his party will keep its weapons and will not give it up, noting that this decision is because of the continued Israeli occupation and the risks of occupation against his country. He even snubbed the UN, saying that its Security Council resolution demanding Hizbullah to hand over its weapons is 'meaningless' and 'of no value'.

Perhaps the United Nations could add "weight" to it's words with "actions." If the United Nations passed and enforced it's resolutions against Hezbollah then perhaps they would be taken more seriously. Lebanon is a testing ground for the U.N. and if they can prove themselves successful here then it will go a long way towards restoring their credibility as an institution that promotes (and enforces) world peace.

By Darnell Clayton • 11:33 PM • Email Post • •


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Star Wars TV Show?

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(Cross Posted on Blogger News)

LOS ANGELES : "Stars Wars" creator George Lucas has revealed that Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia may turn their talents to television following the release of the last Star Wars film next month...

But Lucas revealed at the gathering of hard-core fans in the midwestern US city of Indianapolis that his company Lucasfilm is working on two television shows that would keep his famed series alive.

Both series will be set in the years between the end of "Revenge of the Sith" and the beginning of the original "Star Wars," he said.

The shows will not be released for another year as Lucus is insisting on writing the entire script out before launching both programs (a wise move as one could learn from watching The Matrix Trilogy bomb out). One of these shows appears to be a 3-D cartoon of some sort and centers around the "clone wars." It will probably be another "Saturday morning cartoon hit" but could possibly bring in profits through video game spin-off's.

The other show seems to be more "live action" and will unfortunately leave out some of the main characters of the story (although focusing on other characters may add a new life to Star Wars). My guess is that it will take place between "Revenge of the Sith" and "A New Hope" and will further cement the two trilogies together.

Lucus is taking a huge gamble here--if either of these series fails it will be something of an embarrassment to all six movies (five, as the "Phantom Menace" was not that great of a film). If successful however, it will still prove that Lucas has his "mojo" and will lead to not only bigger revenues for his company, but perhaps instilling yet another media cultural phenomenon within our generation.

By Darnell Clayton • 12:04 AM • Email Post • •


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Melting Moon Dust Into Solar Panels

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(Cross Posted on Blogger News)

Here's how local scientists propose to power the first human outpost on another world: Launch a rover to the moon and melt its dusty soil into acres of electricity-generating solar panels. A year later, when astronauts arrive, all they have to do is plug into the grid...

The scientists simulated in a vacuum chamber what their rover would have to do -- melting a sample of soil identical to that brought back from the moon by astronauts and solidifying it into a smooth sheet of glassy material that could convert light into electricity.

If fully developed this technology would shave off some of the cost of transporting solar panels to the moon. Although it is doubtful that this technology would replace the current solar panels who are able to convert 17% of the energy that hits them into electricity while these melted "lunar panels" so far only convert 1% (but scientists are claiming they can raise that as high as 5-10%). Either way it won't matter as long as they establish a base at this location, otherwise it would be more efficient to just ship them to the lunar surface.

Although it seems that these guys have more on their minds than just providing a few colonies on the moon with electricity.
If powering a moon base seems ambitious, it's a mere steppingstone to an even grander goal of Freundlich and other colleagues at UH, including physicist David Criswell. The plan, originally conceived by Criswell, calls for covering much of the moon's surface with solar panels and beaming the electricity by microwave back to Earth.

About 13,000 terawatts of sunshine falls on the moon, about 100 times the amount of all the energy used on Earth. By harvesting just a fraction of that solar energy and returning it to Earth, there would be cheap and unlimited power for all.

Although this idea does seem noble, the very thought of electrical beams dropping from the skies towards Earth may be disconcerting to the masses on the planet (since unlike many satellites the moon would be in constant orbit around Earth). Also if their ever was an eclipse (solar and lunar) there would be massive power outages for any nation depending upon that energy.

The idea is brilliant for the lunar surface however and hopefully NASA will take a cue and begin to explore these and other options coming from the private sector.

By Darnell Clayton • 12:57 AM • Email Post • •


Marines Using Dummies

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US marines who suffered the highest casualty rate of any unit in Iraq have revealed that they were so short of soldiers that they used cardboard dummies to fool insurgents into believing that they faced more men.

Company E of the First Marine Division dressed the cutouts in camouflage shirts and placed them in observation posts to trick Iraqi rebels into thinking that they were manned.

If the terrorists are too scared to even approach U.S. "dummies" for fear of getting thrashed by the military, what are they going to do when Iraqi soldiers really beef up their security? These "dummies" are showing how low moral must be among the terrorists, as they are realizing that a full functioning Iraqi democracy is becoming an ever closer reality as each day goes by. I wonder what Ali, Omar and Mohammed would say about this?

By Darnell Clayton • 12:41 AM • Email Post • •


Beauty Becoming The Beast?

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An alarming number of American girls, some as young as 9, are using bodybuilding steroids — not necessarily to get an edge on the playing field, but to get the toned, sculpted look of models and movie stars, experts say.

Apparently this is at an all time high and many girls are using steroids for things ranging from bigger muscles on the field (slightly) to trimming down themselves. Ironically, it appears vanity is the same reason that many guys use it as well, although their is no excuse for messing with a drug that can potentially shorten ones life.

It appears that Oregon is having some problems with this as well, with up to two thirds of high school girls (in a survey) admitting to trying this drug as well as riskier ones in order to get thin. What they don't realize is that steroids can make the most beautiful girl into a "beast."
In teenage girls, the side effects from taking male sex hormones can include severe acne, smaller breasts, deeper voice, irregular periods, excess facial and body hair, depression, paranoia and the fits of anger dubbed "roid rage." Steroids also carry higher risks of heart attack, stroke and some forms of cancer.

Apparently many of these girls are getting it from their relatives and friends, as well as the internet and black market. Ladies using the drug would be advised to stop and seek help. For more information regarding this issue, visit Steroid Abuse.org.

By Darnell Clayton • 12:17 AM • Email Post • •


Monday, April 25, 2005

Jackie Chan Fighting AIDS?

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(Hat Tip: UN Dispatch, Cross Posted at Blogger News)

Taking time off from battling fictitious villains, action film superstar and United Nations ambassador Jackie Chan wrapped up a visit today to Viet Nam, joining in the real-life fight against AIDS and sending a powerful message that more must be done both for prevention and advocacy.

"I may be a movie hero, but the real heroes are the people I’ve met in Viet Nam, among them grandparents, mothers and wives, and many young people and children, who are showing real courage in dealing with living with HIV/AIDS and who just be supported much more," said the star of such films as Rush Hour and Rumble in the Bronx.

Jackie Chan was acting as a "Goodwill" Ambassador on behalf of the U.N. Children's Fund. He toured Vietnam for about three days and one of the places he visited was Quang Ninh province which not only has one of the highest HIV rates in the nation but also has reports of discrimination against those infected by the deadly virus.

With approximately 215,000 people infected with this deadly disease, Jackie Chan's visit goes a long way towards tearing down walls as those who are infected are often associated with drug dealers, prostitutes, etc. and other forms of "bad behavior."
"Jackie Chan’s visit has been enormously popular," UNICEF’s Anne Attard declared. "Clearly he is an important role model for young and old alike, and his visit has done much to accelerate Viet Nam’s fight to help combat the disease. It is important that we build from Jackie Chan’s visit to continue to strengthen our prevention and advocacy efforts."

This isn't the first time Jackie Chan was picked as "Goodwill" Ambassador, as he visited neighboring Cambodia to highlight the dangers of buried landmines.

By Darnell Clayton • 11:58 PM • Email Post • •


Sunday, April 24, 2005

Of Mice And Men (Induced Hibernation)

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Scientists for the first time have induced a state of hibernation in mice, a technique that could lead to new treatments for diseases in humans...

In order to force the mice into hibernation, researchers exposed the creatures to high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas. By allowing the mice to breathe fresh air the condition was reversed without any signs of harm to the animals.

This technique was pulled off by Mark Roth, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center which could provide scientists with a way to combat severe fevers that are known to occur in humans. This could also be used potentially for space travel for astronaut's traveling for long periods of time reducing the need for extra food, water and oxygen tanks (which can become quite expensive). This technology looks promising and only time will tell whether how effective this will be in the future.

By Darnell Clayton • 10:30 PM • Email Post • •


Former Israeli President Dies

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Former Israeli President Ezer Weizman has died. Mr. Weizman, who had recently suffered from a series of respiratory infections, is being remembered as a war hero and public servant who made an important contribution to Mideast peace.

Ezer Weizman was best known for playing an instrumental role in the 1979 Camp David Accords, the peace treaty with Egypt that was Israel's first with an Arab state. Mr. Weizman was a former air force commander who underwent a political transformation, from a hardliner to a dove who supported territorial compromise with the Palestinians.

Weizman was a man of peace who basically pursued the goal of a lasting peace in the region. He was a man ahead of his time who (when he was a Cabinet minister) met with the PLO when such contacts were illegal (and was later fired for it by Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir). Although with all the complexities of the "holy land conflict" such pursuits of peace made him look naive, Weizman at least had the courage to back what he believed.

He later on became President having not only held a cabinent position but was a distinguish war hero as well. He was later on elected as the seventh President of Israel in 1993 but resigned in 2000 over allegations of him taking a large amount of money from a friend. Despite his tragic ending he will be remembered for his charm and wit. Shalom to his family.

By Darnell Clayton • 9:36 PM • Email Post • •


Is John Kerry Jealous?

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(Hat Tip: Power Line)

It seems that way.

A fuming John Kerry had "daggers in his eyes" after a fellow Democrat promoted Hillary Rodham Clinton for president — suggesting the 2004 loser is green with envy at a potential rival...

Two days later, Kerry came over to [Sen. Mark] Dayton [(D-Minn.)] on the Senate floor "with daggers in his eyes and said, 'What are you doing endorsing my 2008 presidential opponent?' . . . He was very serious," Dayton told the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

If John Kerry is "serious" on running for the presidency in 2008, he better start off by first signing his Form 180 otherwise it won't matter how many people support him he will suffer an embarrassing defeat in 2008. If Kerry continues to stone wall the masses after promising to release his military records, the only chance he will ever have in being in the White House will be for a photo op.

Kerry is already trailing Senator Clinton in the polls and after his last bid failed, it does not look like his party will be handing out second chances anytime soon as Dayton best sums it up.

Dayton was also quoted as offering a blunt explanation — not very flattering to Kerry — about why he favors Clinton for 2008 after backing Kerry last year: "As Winston Churchill once said, I'd rather be right than consistent."

John Kerry should probably retire with Al Gore and just simply watch as the "bigger players" step up to the plate in 2008. His presidential run will only hurt his party and give Republicans another reason to laugh at the Democratic party. John Kerry gave his shot at running for president and lost to President Bush in 2004. It is time that Kerry steps aside and give Senator Clinton a shot at the White House and save all of America a potential headache in political re-runs.

By Darnell Clayton • 6:30 PM • Email Post • •


Florida Snubs Space Tourism

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(Cross Posted on Blogger News)

X Prize Cup organizers narrowed the field to Florida and New Mexico last year, but Florida officials showed scant interest and didn't offer any cash incentives as a lure. When New Mexico lawmakers came up with $9 million, the organizers grabbed it.

Florida had a budget of approximately $64 billion, yet they did not have the resources to help spur an industry that is potentially worth up to a billion dollars (excluding the extra tourism an event would draw to the state). Cape Canaveral (the place of interest) lost it's luster because of security concerns (via the Pentagon) as well as the bureaucratic red tape needed to gain access to the Air Force Station.

Costing between $25,000 to $100,000 to even gain of conversation of using the base (and up to $3 million in additional fees) Florida may have scared away it's future into the lap of competitors like Australia and New Mexico. As NASA continues to be viewed as "inactive" towards it's heavenly vision, it will only be a matter of time before Florida is only remembered for it's "glory days" as it sent men to the moon.

The space industry seems to have a strong demand in it's market--Virgin Galactic alone has 29,000 people interested in flight with tickets starting at $200,000 a piece (flights start in 2008). Despite the potential earnings Florida seems to be "little inclined" to dip it's feet in the private space sector, probably because it already has large contracts with the Pentagon as well as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. If Florida desires to embrace this industry they are going to have to implement the following items lest they be overlooked by other states around the nation.

Unless Florida takes an active role in this, New Mexico will gain the fame of sending men to the moon (tourist style) while Florida will continue to dwindle down as the private sector takes aim at establishing colonies on the lunar surface as well as Mars. If their desire is for government usage, then they can keep their dying "space culture" to themselves.

New Mexico seems interested in hosting these new space pioneers, and if Florida is not interested in having a $5.8 billion dollar industry within it's borders, (which would bring them fame and more tourists) then they will have nothing to complain of when all they are known for is having beautiful beaches and amusement parks. Florida is crossing the stage of history once again, and because they have forgotten their role they may have perhaps missed out on an opportunity to affect the world for generations to come.

By Darnell Clayton • 5:02 PM • Email Post • •


What About The Father?

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After birth, does a father have the same rights as the mother? Yes, assuming the couple is married, they make all the important life decisions together, such as what to name their baby, and where to send the child to school. It’s hard to imagine a happier picture than that of a proud papa cradling his newborn baby in his arms.

Ironically though the Father does not have many rights during the pregnancy of the baby, even if he desires to keep the child! And one wonders why so many "dead-beat dads" are arrogant enough not to pay child support.

But it’s high time we gave some serious thought to the rights of the father, who really is the third victim of any abortion. After all, at least one-half of every child is the biological and genetic product of the father. That father may want to see his son learn to throw a baseball, or watch his daughter learn to dance. That father deserves a voice.

In order for this to happen Father's are going to have to band together and demand equal rights in regards to the child. Just as they have equal rights under the law in regards to custody, so they should be granted when the child is in the womb. Not doing so brings mockery to the system that demands financial resources for a birth (along with rights) but disallowing jurisdiction during the pregnancy. Some great thoughts about this over here.

By Darnell Clayton • 4:50 PM • Email Post • •


Friday, April 22, 2005

Iranian Bloggers Cleared

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Tehran, April 21, IRNA-The court of justice examining lawsuits of several women accused of weblogging cleared them of the charge, Judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimi-Rad said on Thursday.

He told IRNA that the Disciplinary Court of Judges reached the conclusion that the webloggers had not intention of violating law and cleared them of the charge.

With all of the other issues surrounding Iran (i.e. nuclear, human rights, etc.) it is quite surprising to see a regime that is known for cracking down on bloggers to actually acquit some. Iran is not exactly a popular regime amongst it's own citizens who seem a bit jealous as their neighbors who are experiencing freedom within "arms reach."

The popular contempt for the regime is so blatant that the mullahs' usual pretense that all is well, has been openly discarded, and replaced with mounting repression. Like the North Koreans and Chinese, the Iranian leaders' greatest fear is that their own people will bring down the regime, and the mullahs have taken desperate action against the spread of ideas within the country. Bloggers have been arrested and tortured, along with editors and writers from the dead-tree press. [National Review]

Perhaps this might be Iran "softening it's stance." Perhaps not. Either way the march towards freedom is gaining ground and it is only a matter of time before the regime is brought down either through activist means or external pressure (or perhaps both) and the whole world learns of the real history of what has happened in Iran.

By Darnell Clayton • 6:10 PM • Email Post • •


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Arnold Says "Close The Borders"

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"Close the borders. Close the borders in California, and all across Mexico and the United States," Schwarzenegger told hundreds of newspaper publishers at Newspaper Association of American convention the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco.

"Because I think it is just unfair to have all of those people coming across, and to have the borders open the way it is," the California governor said. "We in California have to still finish the border. That is the key thing -- to have borders and to keep the law, enforce the law."

Ironically Arnold isn't the best at articulating his words but what he clearly means is that the borders should be closed to illegal immigrants which has been a huge problem in the Golden State costing them up to $9 billion annually according to last year's report. Something has to be done about this, especially with MS-13 showing hints of smuggling Al Qaeda members through our borders.

Arnold later apologized for his comments (after clarification of coarse) but may have hinted upon a major problem facing America. Illegal immigration is out of control, and one only needs to visit the fields or construction sites to find plenty of them now-a-days. This response to undocumented aliens entering our nation is provoking outrage amongst the citizens of this great state, and if the politicians refuse to get involved then maybe the citizens will.

Fed up with a largely unresponsive government, an understaffed Border Patrol and the daily flood of illegal immigrants into the United States, civilian patrols have volunteered to guard a 23-mile stretch of the border in southeast Arizona. They are members of the Minuteman Project, a grassroots effort designed to call attention to what has become a virtual invasion from south of the border.

The fact that the Minuteman Project draws people from all walks of life, faith and politics is revealing that this is a main issue for America, and not just the "border states." Arnold (along with other politicians) are probably wondering why this is such an issue today and although "close the borders" is not what he meant to say ("secure the borders" is what he should have said) our government should close the borders to illegal immigrants and provide a system (an effective one) where they can enter in legally.

This issue is a pretty "hot button" but until Congress decides to act upon it, the citizens will have to continue to pay the cost and may end up defending the boarder themselves.

By Darnell Clayton • 9:37 PM • Email Post • •


New Google Feature

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It looks like Google has unleashed a new feature that allows you to track your "Google History."

How many times have you used Google to find an obscure funny website or fun facts about "The Wizard of Oz," but then got distracted by other web pages and tasks? I know - me too. Wouldn't it be great to find them again, and for that matter review all your Google searches over time? Which is exactly why we built My Search History.

This seems pretty cool. Basically all you have to do is sign into your Google Account and you will have access to all of your favorite Google features (such as Google Alerts, Froogle Shopping, Gmail, and Google Groups). Google seems to continually amaze me, and if they could just somehow improve Blogger then life would be great!

By Darnell Clayton • 9:24 PM • Email Post • •


Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Iranian Women Getting Frisky?

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At least it seems that way to the Iranian government who is ordering a crackdown as temperatures heat up.

IRANIAN police have vowed to crack down on the way women dress this summer, when soaring temperatures typically tempt many to flout the country's strict Islamic dress code, newspapers reported.
Sartorial battles have become a regular feature of Iranian life in the summer months when police try to confront growing numbers of young women who test the limits of the law with shorter, brighter, skimpier clothing.

Iran's Islamic dress code obliges women to cover all but their face and hands and to disguise the shape of their bodies.

Violators can receive lashes, fines or imprisonment.

But it seems that many women, being the true feminists that they are, shun the "official" dress code and are eager to display their bright summer clothes in public view. Despite the threats from Tehran's Police Chief Morteza Talaei, who seems to be preparing for an aggressive stance against the "social vices," many women seem either unconcerned about a future confrontation with the fashion police.

Although dressing scantly reveals a person's inner character, threats of violence are probably not the best way to discourage such behavior. If the Iranian regime was serious about the current status of the people, they probably would be better off launching a PR campaign than a public beating session. Then again with the popularity of the regime at an all time low, a PR campaign would probably bear the same results of their current "motivational methods."

By Darnell Clayton • 10:20 PM • Email Post • •


European Woes

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(Hat Tip: Retrophisch, Glenn Reynolds, The Black Kettle)

(Cross Posted at Blogger News)

An interesting article came across the NY Times depicting a very sorry picture of the European Union.

Contrasting "the American dream" with "the European daydream," Mr. Norberg described the difference: "Economic growth in the last 25 years has been 3 percent per annum in the U.S., compared to 2.2 percent in the E.U. That means that the American economy has almost doubled, whereas the E.U. economy has grown by slightly more than half. The purchasing power in the U.S. is $36,100 per capita, and in the E.U. $26,000 - and the gap is constantly widening."

Ironically the "pinnacle of the west" is sadly one of the worst examples. As the crowning example as why Socialism does not work in a society, Europe is constantly proving to America (and those in it with common sense) why government moderation of a capitalistic society is bad. The case becomes even worse when one takes the EU and compares it to all 50 states of America. If the EU was a state of America, it would rank fifth from the bottom, just ahead of Arkansas, Montana, West Virginia and Mississippi.

In Oslo alone their seems to be a lack of "public care" as the outdated libraries and swimming pools give testament to the "inspiration" of the once mighty continent. Glenn Reynolds gives feedback on what he sees as the main problem of Europe today.

It's almost as if high taxes, heavy regulation, and an extensive dole sap people's desire to work hard, making the society as a whole worse off so that those policies don't just redistribute wealth, but actually destroy it. That's probably because they do, and have done so everywhere they're tried. People are usually pointing to some socialist paradise or other where life is wonderful, but -- not to put too fine a point on it -- those places are basically a lie. Socialism just doesn't work, anywhere, for very long. You'd think people would learn.

The sad part is that on top of these economic issues it seems that Europe's population is slowly shrinking in size.

The replacement level to keep a population intact is 2.1 babies: One baby to replace a father, one to replace a mother, and the 0.1 because some children die before they reach adulthood, and some adults don't have any children at all.

In Western Europe today the birthrate is 1.5, some 30% below replacement level. Meyer notes if this continues when his college age children reach his age there will be 70-80 million fewer 'Europeans' than there are now.

"Three H-bombs and a plague couldn't accomplish that." [Herb Meyer]

The current trend does not fare too well for Europe (although Japan is probably in a worse position while America is at a "turning point") and if this trend continues Europe will have to import even more foreigners, many who despise their way of life. A European collapse is something that would not benefit the world, and hopefully their is some "light" in the political realm across the ocean that may be able to steer Europe away from this tragedy (cough, Tony Blair) before it is too late.

By Darnell Clayton • 10:15 PM • Email Post • •


Got Jesus?

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(Cross Posted on BNN)

It looks like a new form of extreme Christian T-Shirts has entered the market.

Along with ones saying "Got Jesus?" and "Fear God" are shirts declaring, "Satan Sucks," "My God can kick your god's butt" and "To Hell with the Devil."

"Our shirts are a little extreme, but I think God is spreading the word and having the youngsters shout out their faith," [Lori] Devins said. "I think teenagers want to evoke a response."

It looks like Lori Devins is part of a new "breed" of the faithful redefining a market that many Christian retailers have had not much success in--clothing. With her new extreme T-shirts depicting messages that may potentially offend your local high priest of paganism, (or rather those who do not appreciate Christianity) anyone proudly displaying those clothes on their body is bound to catch some attention from their peers (whether it be good or evil).

"There is a little bit of shock value to this because this is a generation that feels very strong in their convictions," Stellin said. "So if they believe in something, they are going to shout it out. Subtlety is not their strong point."

Ironically, it wasn't Jesus of Nazareth's either. Whether Devin's motivation was spiritual or financial one thing is quite certain--she is well ahead of the curve in her arena and it wouldn't be surprising to see her apparel quickly becoming the "norm" in her industry (religious that is).

By Darnell Clayton • 1:23 AM • Email Post • •


Al Qaeda Terrorist Pleads Guilty

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Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person in the United States charged in connection with the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has told the government he plans to plead guilty, The Washington Post reported in its Tuesday editions.

It looks like the families of September 11th can sleep a little easier now. After defending himself with the aid (and sometimes refusal) of lawyers Moussaoui finally decides that he is guilty. The decision is pending as a judge has to decide if Moussaoui is "mentally competent" to understand whether or not he is guilty.

Moussaoui plead guilty after first being charged but took back his "plea" within a week firing off the judicial circus of whether or not he had the mental ability to represent himself. But here may lie the reason for him giving up:

In March the Supreme Court agreed with a lower appeals court that Moussaoui could not have access to three Al Qaeda witnesses and that the government could seek the death penalty.

It seems that Moussaoui ran out of options and has finally decided to accept fate and join his fellow brother's in Paradise (or if you are of the other faiths his fate in the "hot spot"). Regardless of whether or not the judge accepts his plea Moussaoui will be missed by few people on the American continent and perhaps by Al Qaeda as well (since he did not fulfill his mission).

By Darnell Clayton • 12:57 AM • Email Post • •


Sunday, April 17, 2005

Pro Abortion Forces Limiting Ultrasound?

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(Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin)

SPRINGFIELD -- Pro-abortion forces won a victory in the Illinois House Wednesday as State Rep. Rosemary Mulligan (R-Park Ridge) successfully passed HB 2492 which would make it a criminal offense for an ultrasound to be administered without a doctor's order...[Rosemary] Mulligan said that the Federal Drug Administration had warned that muscle and nerve development could be affected by long exposure.

It seems silly that a two minuet ultra sound can be that "dangerous" to a fetus/baby (depending on your view of life) that laws would need to be created to govern it's use. Although this seems more of a political measure than a medical one (as Junk Yard Blog reasons) lets give the opposition the benefit of the doubt and actually see what the FDA had to say about using ultra sound technology.

Ultrasonic fetal scanning, from a medical standpoint, generally is considered safe if properly used when information is needed about a pregnancy. Still, ultrasound is a form of energy, and even at low levels, laboratory studies have shown it can produce physical effects in tissue, such as jarring vibrations and a rise in temperature. Although there is no evidence that these physical effects can harm a fetus, the FDA says the fact that these effects exist means that prenatal ultrasounds can't be considered completely innocuous. (emphasis mine)

Despite doing studies on animals, "most animal studies have not identified any fetal harm with low-dose ultrasound exposure." Although a few studies found "delayed speech" to be a side affect, one wonders whether or not the children already had the problem before the ultra sound (something that should be determined before jumping to conclusions) since so few of them did.

The only other "side effect" found to be consistent from studies were a "subsequent left-handedness" in boys (and how does that hinder children?). This argument seems to be falling on it's face as Junk Yard Blog explains his reasoning why the opposition seeks this bill to become law.
Why would Planned Parenthood, an industry leader that aborts children and makes millions doing it, care a bit about the safety of children in the womb? Simple. It's hard to see an ultrasound and remain pro-choice. Once you see that your potentially aborted wad of tissues has fingers, toes, eyes and a nose and all the rest it becomes a person in your mind, and that makes you less likely to become one of Margaret Sanger's company's customers.

Abortion is a volume business, after all. Gotta keep that cash flow out of the red.

Ultra Sound could be the potential death for the abortion industry as people would believe their "own lying eyes" over what the doctor claims is merely tissue. The Pro-Abortion crowd seems more interested in keeping their industry profitable than in allowing the truth to be exposed. Giving mothers the chance to see their baby is a more reasonable measure which would allow them to decide for themselves whether or not they are merely carrying a bulk of "tissue" or a human baby.

Fortunately, our folks in Indiana have the right idea about implementing this measure and probably should contact their Illinois friends and reveal the ridiculousness of this proposed bill.

By Darnell Clayton • 7:09 PM • Email Post • •


Fighting Trackback Spam

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(Inspiration: Boing Boing, Hat Tip: Wizbang Tech)

After viewing some of my favorite blogs via feed reader, I noticed that several prominent bloggers have been disabling track backs, most notably Power Line and Michelle Malkin (with Captain's Quarters getting fed up with the spam as well). Below might be a possible solution using Technorati.

http://www.technorati.com/cosmos/search.html?rank=&url="your permalink code here"

Although this is not a permanent solution it may provide a temporary one until something more reasonable can be figured out. One thing I noticed about the Technorati Search is that it does give a little "summary" of what other blogs have posted (as you can see a demonstration here).

I am going to email Technorati to see if there would be a way for them to add a feature displaying the "number results" of who links to you. If anybody has any other solutions to help out our BSB (Big Stream Blogger) friends, let me know.

Also I recommend visiting Wizbang Tech for those of you with other types of blogs as he has plenty of codes to help you out.

By Darnell Clayton • 5:42 PM • Email Post • •


Saturday, April 16, 2005

Umbilical Cords Could Save Lives

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Another reason why we should not use fetal stem cells.

In 2000, a woman donated the blood from her newborn daughter's umbilical cord so scientists could pull precious stem cells from it and freeze them. Two years later, those donated cells saved Kathy Conway's son from leukemia.

"It came to us in this unassuming little syringe, from a mom who had no idea what she was truly doing," said Conway of Poland, Ohio, whose son Daniel is now a healthy 16-year-old.

Ironically despite the fact that the umbilical cord can treat thousands of people who suffer from diseases (such as leukemia) whether it be through the blood within it or the stem cells, many umbilical cords are simply discarded by many hospitals and mothers round the country. This is mostly due to cost and ignorance, as many people do not realize how useful these cords can be (not to mention the expense at keeping one for yourself).

Umbilical cords have immense value medically speaking and one should think twice before considering "throwing it away."

Cord blood is rich in stem cells, the building blocks that produce blood — the same stem cells that make up the bone-marrow transplants that help many people survive certain cancers and other diseases. Freeze stem cells from cord blood shortly after a baby's birth, and they're ready to be thawed and transplanted at a moment's notice, a much easier process than traditional bone-marrow donation. [Fox News]

Fortunately Congress is also realizing the value of umbilical cords and has approved $20 million in order to help establish a national cord blood banking system that would enable doctors to find donor matches throughout the country. It would also inform pregnant women about their options regarding the uses of the umbilical cord and how it can be used as an asset for their kids and next of kin.

The umbilical cords of coarse can be donated (if one is not interested in acquiring it for themselves) but if one is interested in storing it for their own personal benefit they can simply contact Cord blood or Stem Banc for more information.

By Darnell Clayton • 11:19 PM • Email Post • •


Oregon Strikes Down Gay Marriage

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(Hat Tip: World Magazine Blog)

In a unanimous ruling that disappointed gay-rights advocates and buoyed opponents of same-sex marriage, the court said that marriage laws are a matter of state, not local, jurisdiction and that Multnomah County lacked authority to issue the licenses last spring. The court noted that Oregonians in November passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as strictly a union between a man and a woman.

This all started when a renegade Multnomah County commissioners decided that they had the authority to issue such licenses (something only states have the power of doing). Although gay activists are upset by the ruling, they are seeking legislative action (something successfully being done in Connecticut).

Gay marriage should never be resolved by judicial decree but rather through the legislative will. By allowing the "masters in black robes" to create law only creates a backlash culturally and such measures will only lead to a federal amendment banning gay marriage. If the pro-gay marriage side desires to have themselves recognized as "one," then let them put pressure on their local legislature. Such actions will not only legitamize their efforts but if victorious cement it as it was the "will of the people."

America is a democracy and not an aristocracy, and having laws defined (i.e. created) by how the judge "interprets" the law undermines the legislative branch as well as lower the respect of the courts throughout the nation. If the gay rights movement continues to push through the courts to get their way, they should not be surprised if a backlash occurs and their view of marriage is outlawed. And if that happens, they will not find much sympathy with the general public, from the right or the left.

By Darnell Clayton • 10:39 PM • Email Post • •


Hamas Is Worse Than Israel?

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(Hat Tip: Israpundit)

Hamas has mounted a desperate damage-limitation exercise after one of its units shot dead a 20-year-old Palestinian woman for "immoral behavior" as she enjoyed a day out with her future husband. [Source]

Ironically this never would have happened if Hamas had simply done a little "investigation" before proceeding with their "honor killings" (a horrible practice usually performed by the family members of the victim). The fiance of the victim, Ziad Zaranda, who saw his love killed right in front of him while they were in a taxi declared that "Hamas is worse than Israel, worse than Sharon"--which is a pretty strong statement coming from a Palestinian (whom last I recalled doesn't have a much favorable outlook on their Jewish neighbors).

According to some eyewitnesses, five gunmen in another car gave chase and shot Azzami (who was sitting in the front seat) killing her instantly. The Fiance as well as the sister were then brutally beaten in public view of the populace. What they did to the dead body next is something you would only expect from theocratic governments.

"It was the most horrific crime I've seen in my life," said a university student who witnessed the attack. "What they did to the body while it was lying on the ground was barbaric. This does not represent Islam." The student, who asked not to be named, said he and several other people at the scene were too afraid to interfere. "We waited until the gunmen left the area before we called the police and an ambulance," he added. [Source]

While the police and family demand an apology and arrest from the terrorists who carried out this incident unfortunately little restitution may come towards the families in this situation. Unless Abbas gets serious about reigning in these "renegade factions" more unlawful deeds such of these will continue. Unless their is public outrage over this brutal custom, such atrocities will continue to undermine the Palestinian women and unfortunately the rest of Palestinian society as well.

By Darnell Clayton • 10:38 PM • Email Post • •


Friday, April 15, 2005

Iraqi Troops Outnumber U.S.

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Finally the MSM is reporting some great news from Iraq!

FORT HOOD, Texas (Reuters) - President Bush said on Tuesday trained Iraqi security forces now outnumber U.S. troops in Iraq and are playing a greater role in fighting insurgents...

"Like free people everywhere, Iraqis want to be defended and led by their own countrymen," Bush said. "We will help them achieve this objective so Iraqis can secure their own nation and then our troops will come home with the honor they have earned."

President Bush has offered no time table for the withdrawal of our troops from the region (although we may need them for an offense against Iran) but the fact that Iraqi's outnumber U.S. forces in the region (150,000 to 140,000) is quickly proving to the world that Bush may be right after all (or at least deserves some credit for what is happening in the region).

By Darnell Clayton • 11:35 PM • Email Post • •


Eat Cloned Meat!

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(Cross posted on BNN)

And don't forget the milk!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Meat and milk from cloned cattle are virtually identical to the same products from prize animals bred the old-fashioned way, researchers in Japan and the United States reported on Tuesday.

While cautioning that their study is not the definitive report on whether it is safe to eat cloned animals, the researchers said it suggested they might be.

The only differences that researchers found between the cloned animals and their "home grown" friends was that the clones had extra fat associated with them. Not only will they be able to standardize our way of getting meat to the table but increase our chances of obesity as well (as if we have enough problems with being overweight already). And you wonder why Europe is scared to eat our food?

"The fact that both clones had consistently higher amounts of mesentery fat and fatty acids compared with the comparators is hardly surprising because these two clones are genetic copies of a top breeding bull and they both exhibited the most preferable values as expected," [Xiangzhong] Yang's team wrote.

If cloned meat is what's for dinner, give me a salad. I rather eat the animals grown by God then ones grown by government/private labs. At least I know what could go wrong by eating these beasts, and from the looks of it devouring nature's beasts will lead to a healthier life as their is enough obesity in America today.

By Darnell Clayton • 11:14 PM • Email Post • •


Iraqi Mass Graves Found

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Several mass graves have been recently discovered in Iraq, including one site holding an estimated 5,000 soldiers massacred after a failed uprising against Saddam Hussein after the 1991 Persian Gulf war, Iraqi officials say.

Another is believed to contain 2,000 members of a Kurdish clan, the officials tell the New York Times.

The graves have not yet been dug up due to the lack of "qualified forensic workers." Since Iraq was liberated over 290 grave sites have been discovered containing approximately 300,000 bodies. These "bodies" were once people with hopes, dreams and (until they angered Saddam) a future just like any other ordinary citizen. Unfortunately, it seems that Saddam might escape the justice he once sentenced towards his fellow citizens.

Saddam Hussein could avoid the gallows under a secret proposal by insurgent leaders that Iraq's new administration is "seriously considering", a senior government source said yesterday...

"We are trying to reach out to the insurgents," the source said. "We don't expect them to stop fighting unconditionally. Sending Saddam to prison for the rest of his life is not a huge price for us to pay, but it will save them a lot of face."

Why don't you tell that to the dead? If a man can escape with 300,000 deaths to his name then what becomes of justice?

By Darnell Clayton • 10:59 PM • Email Post • •


Thursday, April 14, 2005

Modifing Blog

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In the process of modifing this blog in order for it to be "optimized". Will work on more template changes later on.

Update: As some of you may have noticed I have moved the "search" feature towards the top of the screen as well as added the ability to search this blog for key words (although the Nav Bar does this as well).

I will also reduce the number of blogs on the blog roll to about 80 and no more (too many to read as life is busy enough). Some of these blogs...

...will be added to my other site as they are more personal than political (something this blog strives to be more...idealistic in a sense). Blogs that I don't read (or become inactive without warning) will be "axed" to make way for other blogs to be read. I will also get rid of any blog that lacks an RSS Feed, (with one exception) since it takes more time to simply visit a blog site instead of just viewing it via feed reader.

Also, in order to continue keeping this blog site "optimized," I will not be displaying as many pictures (so my dial up friends can view the site within reasonable time).

Since I mainly blog at night (because of work and studies) you will continue to see me during the "night hours" blogging away. But don't just stand their idle holding your mouse in your hands--get a blog today! And if you are still clueless about it's potential, try reading this book by Hugh Hewitt and it will get you started in the right direction. Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 5:36 PM • Email Post • •


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Perfect Spot For A Moon Base

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(Cross posted on BNN)

Researchers have identified what may be the perfect place for a Moon base, a crater rim near the lunar north pole that's in near-constant sunlight yet not far from suspected stores of water ice.

Permanently sunlit areas would provide crucial solar energy for any future Moon settlement, a goal for NASA outlined last year by President George W. Bush. Such sites would also have resort-like temperatures compared with other lunar locations that fluctuate between blistering heat and unfathomable cold.

Scientists are still trying to determine whether or not there may be ice on the surface (perhaps frozen in the shadow of a crater?) but if verified the question will not be "if" or even "when" we go to the moon but rather "who" will get their first (whether it be Japan or the U.S.).

With Space Tourism becoming more affordable in the foreseeable future it may not be long until we see people back on the moon again.

The "prime real estate" on the moon is located near the north pole on the rim of a crater called Peary. Because of the moon's axis (or tilt) is only 1.5 degrees, (compared to Earth's 23.5) there would be portions of the moon which would in essence be always exposed towards the sun. This would enable colonists to have a constant source of electricity via solar panels for power and heat.

It seems now that the debate is over which pole to start a colony on, since the North may have the exposure of light but the South may have some valuable resources on it, such as iron and possibly water too. With interest in space tourism gaining in the private sector (evidenced by space corporations like these) we may see a colony on the surface of the moon in 15 years or less.

By Darnell Clayton • 2:41 PM • Email Post • •


First Woman Governor (Afghanistan)

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(Hat Tip and Partial Source: Afghan Warrior, Cross Posted on BNN)

Afghanistan named its first female provincial governor. President Hamid Karzai appointed Ms Habiba Surabi as the governor of Bamian province last month and made a step forward in the slow political progress of women since the fall of Taliban more than three years ago. Surabi, who was selected from an all-female short-list, served as a Minister of Women's Affairs in President Karzai's previous transitional government for almost three years.

The previous administration of President Hamid Karzai approved the constitution enshrining equal rights for women last year. Conditions for women in Afghanistan have gradually improved since the overthrow of the Taliban in late 2001, who barred women from education. Ms Surabi, the 48-year old wife and mother of three children, is an ethnic Hazara.

Ironically their were protestors who came out to show their disdain of her appointment, but they were quickly outnumbered by supporters of her appointment. Having a woman in office sends a powerful signal to many of the men in the region (who hold the view that women are something "less than equal") and will go a long ways in helping restore humanitarian rights for all.

And it looks like Ms. Surabi not only has some "goals" to achieve but does something most feminists usually don't: giving credit towards the other half of the human species (aka as men) as she praises her husband for allowing her to accomplish them.

Ms Habiba Surabi said behind every great woman is a strong and liberal-minded man, "it would not be possible to do such a tough job without my husband's support". Almost all Afghan people are happy with Ms Surabi's appointment as the first woman governor. After the successful elections, the new administration contains three women ministers and for first time a woman governor.

Unfortunately stories like these will not make the front page of the MSM unless you hunt for it. Probably one of the reasons why blogging has become so popular lately.

By Darnell Clayton • 1:29 PM • Email Post • •


Assassination Art?

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(Hat Tip: Power Line)

You tell me!

Photo from Yahoo News

The exhibit, called "Axis of Evil: The Secret History of Sin," opened last week at Columbia College in Chicago. It features stamps designed by 47 artists addressing issues such as the Roman Catholic sex abuse scandal, racism and the war in Iraq.

This represents nothing more than how the "fringe groups" on the left who simply can not get over the fact that they were wrong on Iraq and wrong on Social Security. Michelle Malkin has more on this story (with some pretty disturbing "accessories" to go with the stamps).

The Secret Service were notified by about the exhibit and much to the dismay of the curator Michael Hernandez de Luna.

"It starts questioning all rights, not only my rights or the artists' rights in this room, but questioning the rights of any artist who creates — any writer, any visual artist, any performance artist. It seems like we're being watched," he said.

What do you expect when you depict a gun pointing at the Presidents head? If you think that is funny, why don't you try doing something similar in Russia, or Israel, or even China perhaps? Your American citizenship wouldn't protect you in those scenario's (except for Israel since they actually like us).

Artwork reflects the artists, and I have to say that these pictures are quite despicable indeed.

By Darnell Clayton • 1:05 PM • Email Post • •


Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Google X Reincarnated?

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A long time ago in a place not so far away the Google Blog announced the release of a fun new feature called "Google X." Approximately 24 hours later the site "vanished" (due to Apple concerns?) which promted the many fans of Google to create clones of their own.

Many forms of Google X have appeared over the internet, with some copies mimicking the original while others simply add their own signature to their version of Google X. Their are even versions of Google X in different languages.

While some designs are hosted by companies (something Google is not happy about) some Google fans have taken the liberty to improve on the overall layout of Google X by providing a host of new features. Here are some examples of some of the best (and worst) Google X clones on the net:

The last version provides a combination of Google features ranging from Gmail Notifier to Google Suggest. Although if one has dialup Jay's Site may not be exactly "modem friendly" but for those with broadband may find his site enjoyable to say the least.

By Darnell Clayton • 11:24 PM • Email Post • •


Sunday, April 10, 2005

Postal Service Increasing Price?

[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

Postal department officials confirmed that they had indeed approached the Postal Rate Commission, with a request proposing a hike in the regular mail by 2 cents. The current rate is 37 cents and consequent to the hike it will go upto 39 cents.

Although this may not hinder a person from sending a letter to their best friend, they are also proposing to increase prices of registered mail ($7.50 to $12.75), certified mail ($2.30 to $2.40) and last but not least priority mail ($3.85 to $4.05).

The agency blames the proposed price increase over a law that Congress had enacted forcing the Postal Service to place $3.1 billion in an escrow account. The law was created because Congress had felt that the Agencies retirement fund was in excess of the requirement. The Postal Service has commented that they will not seek an increase in rate if the law is dropped, but since Congress has more pressing issues to deal with it looks like that is not going to be happening anytime soon.

By Darnell Clayton • 8:26 PM • Email Post • •


AOL Spammer May Get Justice

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(Hat Tip: GOP Bloggers)

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) - He was once considered among the top 10 spammers in the world, using the Internet to peddle pornography and sham products and services like the "FedEx refunding processor," prosecutors say.

It looks like Jeremy Jaynes has been caught red handed (email users shout with joy). Although punks like him are probably the reason Gmail exists (it has caught most if not all of my spam). My suggestion is that they should lock him in a room and throw away the key...

Unfortunately though, this he may be able to appeal the decision.

Judge Thomas Horne said that because the law targeting bulk e-mail distribution is new and raises constitutional questions, it was appropriate to defer the prison time until appeals courts rule. "I do not believe a person should go to prison for a law that is invalid,'' Horne said. "There are substantial legal issues that need to be brought before the appellate court."

In either case though it looks like Jaynes has learned his lesson (although punishment would be nice).

Jaynes told the judge that regardless of how the appeal turns out, "I can guarantee the court I will not be involved in the e-mail marketing business again."

I say give him six months probation from all technology (including cell phones). Or simply extradite him towards North Korea where there isn't much useful technology. In either case another spammer has been "de-spammed" and hopefully we will all notice one less annoying email (in whatever language) entering our boxes.

By Darnell Clayton • 7:42 PM • Email Post • •


Saturday, April 09, 2005

Civil Union's For Gays In CT

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(Posted on BNN)


HARTFORD, Connecticut (AP) -- The state Senate easily approved a bill that would make Connecticut the first state to recognize civil unions between same-sex couples without being pressured by the courts.

Although this is not something that will thrill those of faith, the fact that the legislature is carrying this out (instead of the courts) is something to be relieved about. Although many residents in Connecticut support Civil Unions, over half oppose gay marriage according to a poll. The bill will most likely pass the house which will grant gay partners some of the rights as married folks.

Update: Somewhere In the Middle responded to my link challenge below (providing this article from Slate). Interesting article...I wonder what Dobson would say to it (although I will verify their claims and post about it probably in the future).

From CNN:

"We stand today before a portal to history," said Democratic Sen. Andrew McDonald, one of a handful of openly gay lawmakers. "I ask you to pass through it."

Although Republican Governor M. Jodi Rell has not made her stance on the bill clear, she is an advocate of civil unions so it is expected to pass into law. Although gay marriage proponents hoped to pass a bill advocating gay marriage like in Massachusetts but politicians agreed that their was more clout towards extending rights through civil unions than in granting the marriage licenses.

We may soon have a country divided between "gay and straight," something that will not be too healthy for our nation. Andrew Sullivan has an interesting take on this scenario, and gives his two cents regarding the issue.

We may well soon have a situation in which there are states that are safe for gay couples, and states that are unsafe. Gay people can move to the free states, rather as inter-racial couples moved across country to states where equality and freedom were respected. And in the process, we can see whether the gay-friendly states see marriage collapse, as opposed to the flourishing of marriage in those states which are constitutionally hostile to gays.

Although it too early to tell how gay marriage has affected Massachusetts, one can simply look overseas towards our European neighbors to see how this "new trend" has affected the culture of marriage.
MARRIAGE IS SLOWLY DYING IN SCANDINAVIA. A majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock. Sixty percent of first-born children in Denmark have unmarried parents. Not coincidentally, these countries have had something close to full gay marriage for a decade or more. Same-sex marriage has locked in and reinforced an existing Scandinavian trend toward the separation of marriage and parenthood...

More precisely, it has further undermined the institution. The separation of marriage from parenthood was increasing; gay marriage has widened the separation. Out-of-wedlock birthrates were rising; gay marriage has added to the factors pushing those rates higher. Instead of encouraging a society-wide return to marriage, Scandinavian gay marriage has driven home the message that marriage itself is outdated, and that virtually any family form, including out-of-wedlock parenthood, is acceptable.

If marriage is simply a "convenience between partners" that can be simply updated then accepting homosexuals into the fold will not be such a big deal. If on the other hand marriage is merely the "foundation of our society" then changing it could alter it for the worse.

Heterosexual marriage generally serves a purpose since it provides a nurturing environment to rear up children (since most couples can have them without state assistance) as well as guard the family economically and socially. Gay marriage has not proven to be as stable throughout mankind's history and if someone would provide a link pointing where it has (over a ten year period) then this blogger would consider changing his faith. Any takers?

By Darnell Clayton • 1:52 PM • Email Post • •


Google Billionaires Reduce Their Salary

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(Posted on BNN)

It seems that the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as well as CEO Eric Schmidt reduced their salaries to one dollar last year, around the time of their initial public offering of Google.

Before the concessions, Google paid Page and Brin an annual salary of $150,000 apiece. Schmidt collected a $250,000 annually before lowering it to a buck. In the months leading up to the pay cuts, Page and Brin each collected $43,750 of their former salaries while Schmidt pocketed $81,432, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last month, Google disclosed that Page, Brin and Schmidt weren’t paid a bonus last year except for a $1,556 holiday reward paid to all company employees.

What makes these guys great is the fact that they refused an increase in pay (something recommended by the board) in order to qualify for a company bonus this year in 2005. CEO's are known to reduce their salaries to one dollar only under two conditions. Either their company is struggling to make ends meet (which is not the case for Google) or the CEO's have a treasure chest somewhere else.

That treasure chest is Google itself with the founders (Page and Brin) owning 27.8% of Google stock (or $7 billion on paper) while Schmidt owns 10.6% of Google Stock (or $2.7 billion). Although Schmidt has the smaller piece of the pie, he seems to be doing well financially as his generosity towards his company is not limited financially.

Schmidt apparently isn’t having trouble making ends meet. In February, he bought a corporate jet that he leases to the company for $7,000 per hour — a below-market rate, according to the company’s evaluation. Google has agreed to reimburse Schmidt up to $2.1 million this year for using his jet.

Each of these men make their living off of selling their stock (in small doses of coarse). It seems their focus is the longevity of their company, rather than the amount in their paycheck, something most CEO's have the other way around (something that a Microsoft Employee will probably confirm for you over at his blog site).

Google seems to have a bright future ahead of it, mainly because of it's leadership and if it continues in that direction people will no longer be talking about how "Yahoo got it's Mojo back" but rather how Google "dominated the world."

By Darnell Clayton • 12:57 PM • Email Post • •


Friday, April 08, 2005

Japanese Lunar Landing (2025)

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As NASA figures out it's next steps in space exploration and Europe contemplates robots on Mars, it seems the "Land of the Rising Sun" is finally deciding to reach for the stars (or rather the moon that is).

TOKYO (AP) -- Japan's space agency mapped out a new, ambitious plan Wednesday for manned flights to the moon by 2025 as a first step to explore the solar system's farflung planets, but said decisions about whether Japan will go it alone or collaborate with other nations won't be made for another decade...

"Until now, the question has been, 'Can Japan develop its own manned spaceship?' We will know the answer in another 10 years'' when the agency will review its options, JAXA Chairman Keiji Tachikawa said.

"Going alone" may not be that beneficial to Japan as their budget for solar exploration is only $2.6 billion compared to NASA's $16.2 billion (something China found to be too expensive to pursue). Japan's best options may be to encourage more if it's own citizens to explore the realms of space for themselves (as some are) until an adequate budget is established that can seriously launch people into not only into space (a feat they have yet to accomplish) but also onto the moon as well.

Photo from Tribune India

By Japan declaring their desire to visit the moon they have set themselves up towards success or for failure. The Japanese in the past have displayed an aggressive approach when it comes to technology and if successful they will take their place along side of the United States as a space power.

Since China has already had a head start in the space race against Japan, launching a lunar landing would solidify their preeminence in the Asian sphere and would be a testament for Asian democracies in the region as well. Whether they receive assistance from the U.S. or not, it is important that we support such efforts by democracies to visit (and possibly colonize) other worlds and hopefully Japan will be able to meet the U.S. there on that white chunk of rock in the sky.

By Darnell Clayton • 11:43 PM • Email Post • •


U.N. Wants To Govern Internet

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(Hat Tip: Junto Boyz)

"The whole world is looking for a better solution for Internet governance, unwilling to maintain the current situation," Houlin Zhao, director of the ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, said last year...

n a series of speeches over the last year, Zhao has suggested that the ITU could become involved in everything from security and spam to managing how Internet Protocol addresses are assigned. The ITU also is looking into some aspects of voice over Internet Protocol--VoIP--communications, another potential area for expansion.

Although currently the Internet, an international "network" (or rather network of networks) is in the control of nobody (although the U.S. has major influence) the U.N. has bigger things to worry about right now (like the "sex-for-food scandal" rocking the African continent). Why should we hand them custody of the information superhighway when then can not properly manage custody of the citizens they are suppose to protect?

Junto Boyz has an interesting response towards this issue:

The U.N.'s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) wants a say in Internet policy. Can you imagine the headaches of dealing with such a bureaucracy? And how much other nations will try to leverage the ITU for their economic and political benefit? Such as China who constantly monitors and regulates their citizens' Internet usage, and now a representative from their nation, Houlin Zhao (director of the ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau), is spearheading this effort for more power and influence. &@%# no!

I agree (except for the "&@%# no" part). Having the United Nations run our internet would probably amount to one massive (and extremely unorganized) big brother. What if their was an ITU board and every regime that censors the internet (such as China, and semi successful Iran) was able to "sit in" at the table? Such a board would become a mockery of the very intentions of it's existence (much like the Human Rights Commission at the U.N. is) and instead of enforcing the laws and guaranteeing a free flow of information, censorship would probably develop (especially with the bloggers).

The last thing we need is government controlling the information flow (something the Canadian government is now learning) and having the U.N. in charge would not only be a mistake, but quite possibly a threat to freedom of speech itself. If the U.N. desires to rule over the World Wide Web, they need to first begin taking real responsibility of our world's political climate (instead of trying to please everyone around them) and if they are successful with doing that then they can approach the world body with how they are going to make the internet "better."

Until then, (and I quote Junto Boyz as he quotes Secretary General Annan) &@%# no!

By Darnell Clayton • 10:22 PM • Email Post • •


Another Terri? (Mae Magouirk)

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(Hat Tip: GOP Bloggers, Blogs for Terri, also posted on BNN)

A Deja'vu nightmare if you ask me.

In a situation recalling the recent death of Terri Schiavo in Florida, an 81-year-old widow, denied nourishment and fluids for nearly two weeks, is clinging to life in a hospice in LaGrange, Ga., while her immediate family fights desperately to save her life before she dies of starvation and dehydration.

Mae Magouirk was neither terminally ill, comatose nor in a "vegetative state," when Hospice-LaGrange accepted her as a patient about two weeks ago upon the request of her granddaughter, Beth Gaddy, 36, an elementary school teacher.

Several weeks ago Mae Magouirk was admitted to the hospital after an aorta dissection. Her conditions was determined to be severe and she was transferred to an intensive care unit (all the while being lucid it seems). Gaddy later on transferred her to Hospice-LaGrange and once there has not allowed food or water to be brought to her Grandmother claiming she wants to be with "Jesus" instead.

The sick part about this is that all this is happening against the wishes set out in Mae Magouirk's "living will" and without the agreement of her two closest siblings (as well as her nephew). Mae Magouirk's doctor, Dr. Raed Agel has determined that her aorta dissection is contained and that this is not life threatening.

Update: Cao's Blog and Instapundit have picked up this story as well...

Update 2: It looks like Mae is safe. The Black Kettle has details and her Nephew thanks Terri's friends. On a side note it seems Judge Boyd is pro life and will be expressing his side of the story with Blogs for Terri. Should be interesting...

Despite actually having the immediate family, the Doctor and the law on Mae's side, it seems that once again (in)justice has turned a deaf ear and that (in)justice goes by the name of Judge Donald W. Boyd (the new Judge Greer).

Under the terms of his ruling, Gaddy was granted full and absolute authority over Magouirk, at least for the weekend. She took advantage of her judge-granted power by ordering her grandmother's feeding tube pulled out, just hours after it had been inserted.

Georgia law requires that a hearing for an emergency guardianship must be held within three days of its request, and Magouirk's hearing was held April 4 before Judge Boyd. Apparently, he has not made a final ruling, but favors giving permanent guardianship power to Gaddy, who is anxious to end her grandmother's life.

The sad part about this is not that another human being is being denied food, but that a new culture of death is emerging in America, and it seems that our Euthanasia friends have found a new market in the "hospice sector."

Ron Panzer, president and founder of Hospice Patients Alliance, a patients' rights advocacy group based in Michigan, told WND that what is happening to Magouirk is not at all unusual.

"This is happening in hospices all over the country," he said. "Patients who are not dying – are not terminal – are admitted [to hospice] and the hospice will say they are terminally ill even if they're not. There are thousands of cases like this. Patients are given morphine and ativan to sedate them. If feeding is withheld, they die within 10 days to two weeks. It's really just a form of euthanasia."

Blogs for Terri has the latest updates on this issue (as well as Pro Life Blogs) and if you have a phone (as well as an email address) and desire to do something worthy for your country (for it might be you in that hospice later on) you can contact these people and politely explain why an 80 year old woman deserves the same respect established by law and request to live.

By Darnell Clayton • 7:02 PM • Email Post • •


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