Hidden Nook

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

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Verichip For Kids?

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(Hat Tip: Engadget)

Lauren Scott of California will launch a line of kid's pajamas sewn with RFID tags. Readers placed in a house will be able to scan the tags within a 30-foot radius and trigger an alarm if boundaries are breached.

Although this may be potentially useful for famous parents who need to know when their kids sneak off to "party," this whole security measure seems pretty useless as all the kids have to do is sneak an extra set of clothes in the house and change into their "party costumes" and sneak out. Unless implanted this hi-tech big brother system is pretty much a waste of money.

"It's an interesting use of RFID tagging, but this application could end up like the global positioning system watches advertised six to eight months ago that were suppose to allow you to track your kid, and they just didn't catch on at all," [Michael Overly, an attorney at Foley & Lardner LLP] says. "It would make more sense to license the technology to a securities company that would offer the service in an addition to the alarm system they're selling now."

This hi-tech security wear costs around $500 and would probably make more sense for the Pentagon to have in place than for little Johnny who wants to sneak out to his neighbor's tree house. In either case it seems that Verichip is being smart by avoiding the "big brother-end times" stigma by sticking with hospitals and cute babies. Although the only way for this technology to be truly successful would be to implant it underneath the skin, such a move would probably spell certain financial doom to this company as well as it's parent company ADSX, especially in red America.

By Darnell Clayton • 11:07 PM • Email Post • •


UN Airlifting Food To Niger

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(Hat Tip: UN Dispatch)

(ABC) A flight chartered by the United Nations (UN) World Food Program has arrived in the west African state of Niger, as efforts intensify to relieve the famine there.

It is carrying more than 40 tonnes of emergency rations. It is the first of a series of planned airlifts over the next few days. Two-and-a-half-million people in Niger are at risk of starvation.

Although the United Nations has a host of problems often reported in the news, here is a glimpse of some of the good that they are contributing across the globe. It seems that the infrastructure in Niger is worse than what this blogger expected, as supplies (once flown in) have to be loaded onto trucks in order to reach faraway communities in desperate need of aid.

"Shipments are arriving at some of our centres starting from Sunday," [British Red Cross spokesman Mark Snelling] said.

"What we're still waiting for is what's called Unimix, which is a kind of enriched flour which we're going to be distributing to the vulnerable under five. It's very hard. What we'd love to be able to do is to distribute anything as soon as it arrives. But it's really quite a delicate procedure."

Supplies took so long to reach Niger due to the lack of donors and international interest. Fortunately it seems the world is quickly becoming aware of Niger's need for food, and hopefully will be able to relieve these people from their food shortage crisis.

By Darnell Clayton • 10:37 PM • Email Post • •


German Opposition Meets With Bush

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In a significant move for US-German relations, a senior German politician from the conservative opposition was invited to the White House on Thursday to meet president George W. Bush.

Wolfgang Schauble, the foreign policy expert in Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Party (CDU), expected to win the general elections next month, held an unscheduled 45-minute meeting with the US leader.

This comes as good news as Germany and the United States have not enjoyed the best of relations ever since the current chancellor Gerhard Schroder called the Iraqi liberation an "adventure." Schauble is expected to win in the general elections next month (along with his party) and although he is on a "fence mending mission" across the ocean, he is making it clear that Germany's stance regarding Iraq is no troops.

The head of the Christian Democratic Party, Mrs. Angela Merkel is challenging the current chancellor Schroder for his seat. Elections will be held on September 18th, and some expect Germany to elect it's first female chancellor, and a conservative at that.

Although any religious figure would probably appear conservative in Europe, Merkel holds more towards the middle ground ideologically, although she seems to be a fiscal conservative, more in tune with "Governator" Arnold or Rudolf Giuliani. Regardless of the case, her election should help set Germany on a new path economically, as well as ease the ties between Berlin and Washington.

By Darnell Clayton • 10:12 PM • Email Post • •


The 10th Planet

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Astronomers have discovered a new planet orbiting our Sun, which is larger than Pluto. It's located 97 times further than the Earth from the Sun. This new, 10th planet was actually first photographed in 2003 by the Samuel Oschin Telescope at Palomar Observatory, but it took this long to study and confirm its size and orbit. A name has been proposed to the International Astronomical Union, which is making its decision.

The discovery of another planet not only expands the "size" of our known solar system but also ignites the debate of whether or not Pluto should be classified as a planet. Although the nay-sayers will probably lose this debate as Pluto has been designated with it's planetary status for over 70 years, it seems that Pluto's status regardless of one's opinion will solidify this yet un-named world as planetary object.

This world lies approximately 97 times further from the Sun than earth and it seems scientists have yet to determine it's orbital path let alone any other characteristics of this world. Scientists were able to determine this world's size by it's brightness, although the only thing they seem sure about is that it is at least as large as Pluto (some estimates suggest up to 1.5 times the size of Pluto.

By Darnell Clayton • 9:52 PM • Email Post • •


Editor's Note

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Editor's Note: Basically was able to update the blog roll and remove a ton of links that this blogger was no longer reading anymore. Some of them were too painful to leave up but fortunately this blogger was able to swap them out with other links that resparked some hope (i.e. Blogs for Terri for Freedom's Zone).

After a year of blogging one acquires a "ton" of wealth and after being disciple by Hugh (via his book) it is about time this blog become more focused back to it's original roots.

As far as updates about this author are concerned, here are a list of the things that have happened in the background (or will be happening in the future).

That's all for now...hmm...now I have to figure out some minor "details" for this blog...will probably be back later on tonight...Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 3:38 PM • Email Post • •


Thursday, July 28, 2005

That's My Bush!

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Here is President Bush watching the launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery in his Oval Office's Private Dining Room two days ago. The President made a brief statement about the launch below.

"On behalf of all Americans," the President said, "I wish the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery a safe and successful mission. Today's launch marks NASA's Return to Flight following the tragic loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia crew in February 2003. I thank the men and women of NASA who have dedicated themselves to putting our space program back on track. Our space program is a source of great national pride, and this flight is an essential step toward our goal of continuing to lead the world in space science, human space flight, and space exploration."

Editor's note: Amen to that!

By Darnell Clayton • 12:13 AM • Email Post • •


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Cross Stays (For Now)

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(Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin)

SAN DIEGO-A ballot measure to preserve the Mount Soledad cross on public land in La Jolla easily surpassed the two-thirds support it needed for approval Tuesday night.

But the voters' decision on Proposition A won't be the final word. The controversy heads back to court next month.

In the "never ending war against Christians" it seems that the faithful have one a temporary victory of those opposed to religious symbols across the land. Although over two thirds of voters supported keeping the structure, Attorney James McElroy who is representing a client trying to remove the religious symbol said the vote, "doesn't mean a d--- thing...Voters should have never voted on it. It's a waste of taxpayers' money."

(Editors note: And one wonderss why Christ never really liked lawyers)

"I think they've acknowledged this is the last chance to save the cross," McElroy said. "And when the court tells them this is not going to work, what else have they got?"

McElroy may be partially right in this approach as Judges have overthrown the will of the people on more than one occasion, inserting their personal views and creating federal mandates (on the left as well as the right). This judicial battle will probably find it's way in front of the judges of the Supreme Court, although the cross will probably stay as the high court has shown some favor towards religions expression.

Cases like these will probably be dismissed in the future, especially with a confirmation of John Roberts to the high court (something very much needed in this new age of "Judicial Aristocracy").

By Darnell Clayton • 11:17 PM • Email Post • •


Grandmother Suing 'Grand Theft Auto'

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A woman upset that she bought the video game "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" for her 14-year-old grandson without knowing it contained hidden, sexually explicit scenes sued the manufacturer Wednesday on behalf of consumers nationwide.

Although a person would have to wonder why a parent (let alone a grand parent) would by a game rated "M" for mature for their loved one, (isn't that violent for a 14 year old?) this Grandmother does apparently have a unique case against the manufacturer of Grand Theft Auto, and is suing on behalf of America.

It seems that the makers of one of the hottest games around forgot to mention the "adult content" that can be unlocked by a series of codes (available from the internet of coarse). Although this may seem funny to some, this Grandmother doesn't seem to be smiling about this matter, and neither does Uncle Sam.
On Tuesday, Take-Two announced that it had been notified by the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Advertising Practices that it was conducting an inquiry into the game’s advertising claims. The company said it planned to cooperate fully with the probe.

The company under pressure from both parties (as morality is the political norm now-a-days) released a statement apologizing for releasing the game in it's present state and promised to "refine the process" before re-releasing it again to the public (they have recently halted production of the video game in order to "cleanse it"). Several stores have already dropped the game from their shelves, including Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and even Circuit City. It appears that in a nation that is increasingly becoming "morally conscious," sin doesn't pay after all.

By Darnell Clayton • 10:49 PM • Email Post • •


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

What Defines A Terrorist?

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

UNITED NATIONS - U.N. diplomats have revised their blueprint for reforming the world body to include a definition of terrorism, indicating nations are moving toward consensus on a contentious global issue.

World leaders are to consider the plan at their summit in September and, if approved, the definition could break the impasse over a comprehensive treaty against terrorism.

This treaty has been stalled for approximately five years as nations have wrangled over the definition of a terrorist. Some countries have drawn up specific characteristics of terrorism, while other's simply label them as "insurgents" or freedom fighters. Although the United Nations is not known best for defining criminal international problems, (i.e. genocide) it seems that they have boiled down the terminology that determines who is a terrorist and who is not (at least on an international scale).

The new draft would have world leaders affirm "that the targeting and deliberate killing of civilians and noncombatants cannot be justified or legitimized by any cause or grievance." They would also affirm that any such action "to intimidate a population or to compel a government or an international organization to carry out or to abstain from any act cannot be justified on any ground and constitutes an act of terrorism."

Along with this proposed "new" definition of terrorism, two new other departments are being proposed that may help "keep the peace" as well as aid in the war on terror. The first is the Peacebuilding Commission which would be responsible for ensuring that nations who have just ended from a major conflict do not pick up arms against each other again. The purpose of this is to ensure factions from employing "guerilla warfare" via terrorism against each other so that another war is not sparked causing chaos throughout a region.

The second department would be the Human Rights Council which would replace the Commission on Human rights which has been filled with some of the worst offenders, ranging from China to (in the past) Syria as well as Sudan. Hopefully both of these new measures (along with the definition of terrorism) can not only be recognized by the majority of free world nations but implemented by them as well.

If the United Nations is unable to convince the world populace on a consensus when it comes to terrorism, then it will be up to the free nations themselves (acting independently) to shoulder the burden of defending civilization. For the United Nations to remain "relevant" that scenario may be something that they can not afford.

By Darnell Clayton • 1:37 PM • Email Post • •


We Have Lift Off!

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Discovery and seven astronauts blasted into orbit Tuesday on America's first manned space shot since the 2003 Columbia disaster, ending a painful, 2 1/2-year shutdown devoted to making the shuttle less risky and NASA more safety-conscious...

"Our long wait may be over. So on behalf of the many millions of people who believe so deeply in what we do, good luck, Godspeed - and have a little fun up there," launch director Mike Leinbach told the astronauts right before liftoff.

It was a beautiful site to see an American shuttle back into space as China has thoroughly dominated the media regarding its space program (with an annoucement that the government plans on sending women into space no later than 2010).

Over 100 camera's and two chase planes documented the shuttle's accent from every possible angle in order to observe any signs of debris that doomed the last shuttle Columbia. NASA will not release whether or not the shuttle safely flew without incident until half way through the flight, but from all indications the lift off has gone extremely well.

NASA's chief acknowledged a lot is riding on the flight: the shuttle program, the space station program, President Bush's plan to send astronauts back to the moon and on to Mars - and seven lives.

"It's about hope, it's about imagination, it's about the future, and when you take away a great space program, you take away a lot of people's future," [NASA Administrator Michael] Griffin told the AP. "What's riding on this flight is people's hope for the future."

Indeed it is. The very fact that this shuttle has launched indicates America is ready to resume the space race once again. God speed and good luck!

By Darnell Clayton • 1:14 PM • Email Post • •


Nearby Similar Solar Sytem?

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A young and relatively nearby star has an environment that looks a lot like home, with collisions between planet-sized objects that resemble the early days of our solar system, astronomers said last week.

The star, catalogued as BD +20 307, sits just 300 light-years away. It is slightly larger than our Sun.

Although no planets have been discovered this star system is extremely dusty, suggesting not only an asteroid belt but perhaps planets similar in size to Earth. Although scientists have mostly theories to go off of on why this star system is dusty (i.e. planetary collisions, etc.) until more powerful telescopes are developed this system will continue remain a mystery to both scientists and astronomers alike.

"The dust we detected is exactly what we would expect from collisions of rocky asteroids or even planet-sized objects, and to find this dust so close to a star like our Sun bumps the significance way up," said astronomer Inseok Song at the Gemini Observatory.

Although there is not much data about this solar system, the very aspect of this star system existing gives scientists new hope of discovering a habital world orbiting a hospitable star. Over 150 stars have been documented hosting planets of their own, but until mankind can develop faster than light travel most of these worlds will simply be "out of reach."

By Darnell Clayton • 12:47 PM • Email Post • •


Verichip Saving Lives

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(Cross Posted on Blogger News)

VeriChip Corp. has said its infant protection system prevented a baby from being abducted from Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.

The subsidiary of Delray Beach-based Applied Digital said its "Hugs" radio frequency identification system went into alarm mode, July 15, when someone removed the infant from the hospital's seventh-floor nursery.

Apparently the baby snatcher did not realize that this baby was being protected by "an invisible guardian." After the alarm was tripped off, the Hospital went into "code pink" which alerted security who were able to thwart the abduction and return the child back into the hands of maternity ward staff. Although deemed by some as the mark of the beast, Verichip has proven itself to be an effective measure security wise, at least in this scenario.

The company's infant protection systems are also designed to prevent accidental infant mismatching. It cited Journal of Healthcare Protection Management data showing mismatching occurs about 20,000 times a year.

VeriChip said about 900 U.S. hospitals have installed its infant protection systems.

Verichip seems to be courting hospitals in order to remove any stigma of being known as the "big brother device." This is probably a wise move as many in America are naturally suspicious of any monitoring devices, and placing the companies image alongside of defending new borns helps curb the negative image received from conspiracy groups.

Verichip's baby protection system, known as the HALO Infant Protection System, has already displayed it's effectiveness and unlike the traditional chip, is not implanted underneath the skin. This enables parents to leave the hospital with the right child and not worry about "big brother" watching their child from afar.

By Darnell Clayton • 12:20 PM • Email Post • •


It's Raining Ads?

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YOKOSUKA, Japan (AFP) - After being bombarded by commercials on the way to work and watching promotions pop up on the Internet, the Japanese consumer could soon be hit by advertisements where they least expect it: on their hands.

Researchers are working on "information rain", taking advertisements to the realm of mock meteorology.

It seems the Japanese are one step ahead of the Americans when it comes to marketing, although this new technology gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "rain drops are falling on my head hands." This new form of marketing strategy is being developed by NTT Cyber Solution Laboratories who believe that by displaying ads on a person's palm, not only will it receive the customer's attention but that it will feel more "personal" instead of the usual bill board or electronic ads.

Although having a mini film appear on one's palm would intrigue Japanese citizens, Americans may be less thrilled about the idea. Then again, there are people who tattoo ads upon their body so this may have some potential in the states.

In order to display these ads upon a person's hands, the person would have to be standing in a certain location (because simply flashing ads on one's hands would be difficult, especially if they are "on the move").
A projector on a tall tripod shows images of raindrops hitting the ground and making ripples, in hopes that people will enter the "rainy" area and hold out their palms.

A camera tracks the entrants' movements and sends the data to connected computers. Then the projector shoots out a round-shaped advertisement -- which can post words such as "SALE" -- right onto their hands.

If this become successful in Japan, this technology may soon become common place throughout the western world, especially for little kids. As long as the ads do not become intrusive (like spam) then they may be a worth while investment for stores and companies in the future.

By Darnell Clayton • 11:52 AM • Email Post • •


Monday, July 25, 2005

Space Tourism Facing "Speed Bump?"

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"The biggest difficulty we’ve faced in the space business is the lack of volume," said Peter Diamandis, Chairman and Founder of the X Prize Foundation, based in Santa Monica, California.

Diamandis said that volume brings increased learning, safety, robustness and decreased cost. "The potential for hundreds and thousands of flights driven by the personal spaceflight market will end up benefiting the rest of the space market, from military to satellite launch," he told SPACE.com.

Although the dream of traveling in space is share by millions across the globe, it seems that the price tag may seem that many miles away for the average world citizen. Although prices have dropped dramatically for space tourism (as governmental trips are several times more expensive) the price tag still hangs around $200,000 for only a fewminutess of space travel. Although the market for space tourism is indeed large, unless the corporations can find a way to extend the micro gravity sensation, they may find themselves selling a dying dream.

By Darnell Clayton • 3:39 PM • Email Post • •


Have You Seen This Terrorist?

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(Hat Tip: Jihad Watch)

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Police have identified two of the four suspects they believe were behind last week's failed bomb attacks on the London transit system.

Peter Clarke, head of the Britain's anti-terror branch, said police were looking for Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, and Muktar Said Ibrahim or Muktar Mohammed Said, 27.

As the war on terror expands towards Europe, it seems that England is taking the necessary steps in combating this horror, something that can not be said of many of it's "neighbors" throughout the continent. This is just a blog alert. Photo of the other terrorists below.

Police say this man attempted to set off a bomb on the northern line between Stockwell and Oval stations.

Police want to question Yasin Hassan Omar, pictured here at Warren Street station.

If anyone has any information that can lead to these terrorists arrests, they can contact The UK Police Service.

By Darnell Clayton • 3:15 PM • Email Post • •


Friday, July 22, 2005

Why Google Moon Is A Great Idea

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(Hat Tip: Google Blog, Keyhole Community, Cross posted on Blogger News)

On July 20, 1969, man first landed on the Moon. A few decades later, we're pleased to cut you in on the action. Google Moon is an extension of Google Maps and Google Earth that, courtesy of NASA imagery (thanks, guys!), enables you to surf the Moon's surface and check out the exact spots that the Apollo astronauts made their landings.

Although Google launched this "project" as a commemorative piece celebrating the anniversary of the lunar landing in the 60's, it would be in their best interests to fully launch this application as there are many science teachers who would probably be willing to purchase this for their classroom (not to mention the many "trekies" out there in cyber space).

With the chatter of space tourism increasing around the world a product like this would not only add an extra "flavor" to Google, but help distinguish it from it's rivals Yahoo and Microsoft.

Before a person can claim that such a feat would be difficult as their is little data about the moon available, it seems that the rocket scientists from NASA may have a solution for that problem.
(Guardian Unlimited) US scientists are planning a 240,000-mile trip down memory lane - a tour of inspection of all the Apollo landing sites on the moon.

In 2008 a powerful camera aboard a new spacecraft called the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will photograph the moon's surface in fine detail - fine enough to pick out the Apollo 17 moon buggy abandoned 33 years ago, along with lunar landing platforms and other relics.

But what other features should Google Moon contain other than old landing sites and dusty craters? One suggestion is that they could point out Maria (or mountians) suspected of having metals (such as iron and titanium, or craters potentially holding water, or even favorable sites for future colonies. Adding these (as well as a host of others) would definitely make Google Moon worthwhile, and perhaps installing it as an addition to Google Earth would make it profitable as well.

There already seems to be discussion about Google Mars in the Keyhole Community (Keyhole was renamed Google Earth by Google), as some have found a way to view the Red Planet. A lunar model might be more profitable (if not more enjoyable) than it's distant "red cousin," but one thing that is certain is that mankind is quickly heading to the stars and Google may just be the company to help bring us there by sparking the next generation of space travelers.

By Darnell Clayton • 9:58 PM • Email Post • •


Can Homosexuality and Christianity Mix?

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(Hat Tip: World Mag Blog)

(IRD) The official conference center for the United Methodist Church's conservative Southeast Jurisdiction is hosting a four-day pro-homosexuality rally September 2-5. Lake Junaluska is located near Asheville, North Carolina.

Called "Hearts on Fire," the convocation is organized by Reconciling Congregations, the main pro-homosexuality lobby group attempting to overturn the United Methodist Church’s teachings on marriage and sexual ethics.

Although the argument for gay rights (as in marriage, etc.) will probably never end in the next century, the very idea of mainline churches (or at least serious ones)condoning this lifestyle is moot. Homosexuals are welcome to enter into a church, just as much as prostitutes, atheists, adulterers, pornographers, etc., but for a church to simply turn a "blind eye" towards this (as well as the other listed life styles) would be to contradict the very teachings Christianity, in the Old Testament as well as The New.

Although some may debate the interpretation of scripture regarding this lifestyle, the scriptures seem pretty clear about God's view (that is if a person believes in the Bible) about homosexuality as well as any other type of sin.
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."

Source: 1 Corinthians 6:9

Regardless of a person's particular belief, they must realize that joining the Christian faith requires a cost; submitting one's will to the Word of God. To not do so leaves open the debate of one one is a disciple of Christ which can leave a person open to "unforeseen circumstances."

Sin is sin, and although some may be worse than others, all paths lead towards destruction. Regardless of whether a person is a typical liar, womanizer or an axe murder, all are required to repent (i.e. renounce your former ways and do a "180" in the other direction) and if someone disagree's with this point of view, perhaps they can explain their perception to God on judgment day. After all, He wrote the book.

By Darnell Clayton • 8:39 PM • Email Post • •


Online (Finally)

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After all those hours of studying...I have finally passed my state exam (now if I can just pass the federal one). I am officially back into the blogosphere. I have been reading blogs posted by others, and seem to have missed the opportunity to add my opinion about what is happening around the world (shucks!).

And for those who commented (as well as emailed), thanks, although I think I have had enough survey requests (paid and unpaid...mostly paid) for the rest of my cyber life and although I appreciate the effort...no more. More below.

I feared a complete absence from the blogosphere would "alienate" me from cyber space (as one can get lost out here) so I took whatever free time I was able to acquire to implement minor changes to the site. Audio blogger also kept the blogging spirit alive, but you can hear that for yourself over here.

Nothing more to add. I think it's about time I redid my blog roll and delete links that I find annoying and add ones which I find are pretty good. But who should I add? Only time will tell...Selah!

By Darnell Clayton • 6:53 PM • Email Post • •


Monday, July 11, 2005


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Unfortunately work is calling me once again. I will be offline mostly (including chat programs) and sadly blogger as well. The only thing I will be checking is email but expect the reply factor to drop around about zero (I get 70 plus messages a day so don't hate me if I don't respond). I should be back around the 21st. In the meantime you can check out these fine bloggers as they usually keep me up-to-date with what is happening around the world.

I'll be back into the blogosphere in about ten days (well, I'll be over at my audio blog but that's because I can post via phone).

By Darnell Clayton • 7:06 PM • Email Post • •


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

NASA Being Sued For What?

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(Fox News) NASA's mission that sent a space probe smashing into a comet raised more than cosmic dust — it also brought a lawsuit from a Russian astrologer.

Marina Bai has sued the U.S. space agency, claiming the Deep Impact probe (search) that punched a crater into the comet Tempel 1 late Sunday "ruins the natural balance of forces in the universe," the newspaper Izvestia reported Tuesday. A Moscow court has postponed hearings on the case until late July, the paper said.

Apparently when NASA sent their probe on a collision coarse with a comet (Tempel 1) it apparently was enough to disturb the pychic forces of her astrology charts. Despite scientists assurances that the crash was not enough to alter the orbit of the comet (let alone pose any danger to the universe or earth) she apparently is suing NASA for $300 million for "moral sufferings."

By Darnell Clayton • 11:34 PM • Email Post • •


Blogger Delights

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After a long delay (due to studying for exams) Blogger Delights has returned at last! Today's Blogger Delights features the nation of Guinea which is a beautiful land surrounded by chaos. With insurgents in neighboring Sierra Leone fighting the French, one must be careful when traveling to this beautiful, yet deadly paradise.

Our first featured blogger from Guinea seems to be someone who has just stumbled into the blogosphere and simply goes by the name of Guy. The Universal Translator could not decipher this blogger's site, but this photo blog looks really cool displaying all types of skate boarding tricks.

La Guinée appears to be another photo blogger, although one wonders what she is fixing from her fridge (or is she stocking?). Guy Auguste Crozat seems to have also just entered the blogosphere and seems to be interested in rail road tracks. Now onto some blogger birthdays.

Blogger Birthdays

Thad turns 22 today and tells about his adventures flying to Vermont and back. Blog Note: bring a snickers, it might be a while.

Martien from the Netherlands turns 47 and photo blogs about what appears to be some very unique photo art. Hmm...

Calvin from Singapore turns 20 and but unfortunately his blog is not Fire Fox friendly (although errors are also appearing in IE as well).

Cindy from the US turns 22 today and seems to be...umm...discombobulated right now. For those of you who do not know what discombobulated means, a definition can be found here.

David turns 31 today and has a nice web site. David blogs about some good times at the office (don't work too hard).

Ethanolic from Singapore turns 30 today and has a very nice smile. His photo blog has some pretty cool pictures of Singapore, with this photo being one of the most interesting.

Jonathan turns 28 today and has a very nice blog layout. Jonathan seems to be a Bengal fan and his latest post gives some "advice" to Drew Rosenhaus.

Blogger Delights brings highlights from various nations as well as celebrating birthdays throughout the blogosphere. If one is interested in visiting some of these blogs, simply click here.

By Darnell Clayton • 10:25 PM • Email Post • •


Blog Spin

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Here is a glimpse of what is happening around the blogosphere from some very prominent bloggers (and highly recommended reads). Our featured top blog story is from One Free Korea which reports some saddening news from North Korea.
Disturbing reports of a dramatically worsening famine continue to filter out of North Korea, notwithstanding the regime's Maoist mobilization of schoolchildren and office workers to the countryside. It's not working, according to South Korean agricultural expert Kang Jong-Man, via the L.A. Times:

"The rice paddies are thin and uneven. Potato plants are pale and stunted. The fields are not properly graded. Barley still on the stalks should have been harvested weeks ago so that the same fields could be used for rice. There are hardly any tractors in sight, only oxen--and even they appear too small and weak to properly till the land."

Things do not look too good for the North Korean regime as it is not only facing hostile reactions from Washington, but the inability to take care of it's own citizens (the fuel for revolution). Perhaps Communism isn't as "satisfying" as one hoped it would be. Other blog stories below.

By Darnell Clayton • 9:53 PM • Email Post • •


New Species Of Dolphin Discovered

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(Reuters) Australian researchers have identified a new species of dolphin which was once thought to have been the same as an extremely rare mammal predominantly found in Asian coastal waters and rivers...

"It means that Australia now has an endemic species living in its waters and it's a higher conservation priority now," [Isabel] Beasley told Reuters by telephone.

The new species of dolphin has been named Snubfin (as one can see from the photo's below) which has been declared a separate species from the Irrawaddy dolphins of Southeast Asia making them one of the more rare mammals to ever swim the oceans.

An Australian snubfin dolphin is seen in this undated handout picture released by researchers at James Cook University.

It is estimated that approximately 200 of them are off the coast of Townsville which is located in the far northern part of Australia's Queensland state, and although somewhat awkward and beautiful, Australia may have to do more in order to insure that this species does not become extinct in the near future.
Because the new Australian species also lives in shallow waters, Beasley fears they face the same threats as Irrawaddy.

"Unfortunately, because they live in these environments, they are susceptible to many human threats including accidental catch in shark and fishing nets as well as the effects of coastal development," she said.

Hopefully this new species will not share the same fate as the dinosaurs and can be viewed in person by future generations instead of on archaic video screens. Although many scientists are learning everything they can about this new mammal, unless governments become more active in preserving the rare species that are on this planet, we may lose another creature towards human ignorance.

By Darnell Clayton • 9:30 PM • Email Post • •


Tsunami Has Raised AIDS Risk

[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

(Hat Tip: UN Dispatch)

(Relief Web) One in four new infections occurs in Asia, home to more than half the world's people, and 1,500 in the region die from the disease each day. Another 12 million could be infected over the next five years if prevention programmes are not stepped up...

"We're extremely concerned about the disaster and the increased risk of HIV and AIDS," said Jan Leno, from the UNAIDS secretariat, at a session of an international conference on AIDS in the Asia-Pacific held in the western Japanese city of Kobe.

According to the article the two main reasons for the increased risk. The first one is due to the break down of the basic health care system, which after a devastating event like the one that hit the Indian Ocean last year can leave hospitals over burdened and under supplied. The second seems to be more behavioral (which means preventable), as it seems many of nationals have run out of condoms, although this "preventive" measure is not as effective as age old abstinence.

"Our men all want sex. But how can I have sex when I have lost two children?" one woman in a tsunami-hit area of Sri Lanka told Kiran Bhatia, a U.N. regional adviser.

One aid worker said the areas in southern Thailand hit hardest by the tsunami had high levels of HIV/AIDS before the disaster, and funds earmarked for fighting the disease had been diverted to relief efforts.

Probably what needs to be done by the international community is simply more distribution of the funds promised instead of more money which can be implemented best by purchasing the necessary medical equipment as well as deploying more skilled doctors to the region.

A second initiative would be teaching the nationals the "ABC's" approach that has working in Africa as that would cut down on not only the infection rate in the area but potentially on costs (because shipping condoms would require using resources that can be better spent on aiding the afflicted).

Either way, private donations to this region are welcome and if people are still interested in giving they can visit Google's Tsunami site as well as GFA and find out ways to contribute to those helping out in the region.

By Darnell Clayton • 9:00 PM • Email Post • •


China In Space

[Expand Full Post] [Media Source*]

(Red Nova) China has narrowed the list of astronauts for the country's second manned space mission later this year to six candidates, according to media reports. The space vehicle is to blast off in September or October, carrying two astronauts on a four- or five-day flight. Officials will pick the two astronaut shortly before the flight.

The Beijing Times newspaper quoted Huang Chunping, the chief launch vehicle designer, as saying that the remaining six candidates might include Yang Liwei, who became China's first man in space in October 2003.

Although another nation launching an astronaut into space might seem "cliche" to some people, one must not forget that only three nations have successfully launched their own citizens (as in not relying upon NASA) into space. Russia and the United States were the first two, and China's addition adds more "flavor" to the mix.

Details about what the astronauts activities will be once in space are being closely guarded by the Chinese government, but a relaunch of Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut into space (and practically a celebrity at home) would partially redeem China after he was apparently unable to see the Great Wall from space.

Although other nations such as Japan and more noticeably Europe have entered the space race, no other group of people have been able to launch astronaut's on their own. China probably does not have the economy to fund a trip beyond Earth's orbit (let alone to the moon) but so far it seems to be the only real competition the U.S. has in the space race.

By Darnell Clayton • 8:29 PM • Email Post • •


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