Since I’ll be heading out after this for the break, you get the link list early.
Buddhadharma 2.0 continues at Buddhist Geeks, exploring some of the ways that technology has changed the teacher-student relationship.
Sneaking in a pair of articles on biotech (and hoping I don’t get hit by any of the biologists around), San Diego researchers are making a strong claim - they can prevent (or at least heavily retard) bacteria from mutating into resistant strains. The process involves a molecule that stops the bacteria from utilizing segments of DNA that tend to replicate with errors (Errors? What kind of errors?). In conjunction with antibiotics, it is thought this will prevent bacterial strains from developing resistance through mutation, and possibly give new life to antibiotics long since passed. The other bit is MIT and Stanford researchers have developed a method of turning neurons on and off by exposing them to specific light, using genes to envelop cells with objects that will either positively or negatively charge neurons (triggering or inhibiting them, respectively) depending on the light exposure. The on/off switch hopes to be useful for people who have problems caused by errant neuron firings, or to help gain more precision in the mapping of the brain and what fires when certain tasks are used.
Strange stuff involving matters of NC-17 nature. First, always make sure that the person you think is of age is of age. The girl who looks 16 may be 10. The gent is spared jail but is registered as a sex offender. Elsewhere, a judge considered looking at child pr0n to be a matter of weak impulse control while he was sentencing someone who had more than 800 images of such. He didn’t suggest there would be lighter sentencing to those caught with it, just that the people who do have it should know better and be able to control themselves. In Florida, because of strict regulations of convicted sex offenders, some sex offenders are being housed under a bridge, because of the restrictions on where they can and cannot live and go. This probably borders on the cruel and unusual punishment stage, but it runs up against “zomg! Think of the Childrens!”, and so will likely persist.
Veering into politics and international affairs, Mr. Bush continues to say that leaving Iraq would be disaster. Even more disturbing, National Guard brigades could be sent to Iraq. Aren’t the guard supposed to only be used to defend the country, not go out and fight wars in others? Or did that get changed through a quiet provision in a bill somewhere?
An opinion in the Telegraph today suggests that IRan's about-face on the matter of the British soldiers is a way of currying favor and appearing positive, while hiding other intentions. An opinion in Townhall.com from Oliver North looks at the consequences of the action and concludes because the world depends on oil prices, Iran will act lawlessly and with impunity. The suggestion at the end of his article, though, is to build an alternative project that will free the country from oil dependence. I me wonder if we can pitch renewables to liberals as a clean, non-polluting energy, and to conservatives as a way of ensuring that America can continue to act as a power, rather than having to bow to oil-rich governments. There’s a bi-partisan accord for you.
The Speaker continued her Middle East tour, visiting Saudia Arabia and engaging in talks with the king of the country. Although the article seems to be more focused on her talks with Syria and the state of the Middle East than saying much about her experience in Saudi Arabia. Filler of some sort, perhaps?
The obvious Orwell reference, made. The semi-obvious V for Vendetta reference, made. Now, observe, if you will, the introduction of CCTV cameras in England that tell people when they are breaking laws or being anti-social. I would like to know if anyone has plans for them to broadcast the 1812 Overture on the day they all become operational.
More attorney oddities. Four attorneys resigned their posts collectively, citing an inability to get along with their newly-appointed boss, even after Washington sent a mediator down to try and dissuade them. TPM may be making a mountain out of a molehill in this occasion, but we’ll watch for further developments and see if anything more comes to light.
Finally, Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon on Truthout remind us that Dr. King fought for a lot more than just civil rights in his lifetime, but the parts that don’t make him into an American hero often aren’t shown.
Stuck in Customs has a beautiful picture of Times Square at dusk. The first thing I notice, though... is all the advertisements. That’s where the color comes from. And now I wonder how pretty the place might look if all the ads were off.
Google announces a means of making Google Maps even more useful - MyMaps, which lets users do some map tagging of their own. Scientific American has more about the new service, and some of the maps that have already been created, like the origins of programming languages or the places where monsters have been sighted worldwide.
I’m not sure how well these will go over, but you can get a sticker set for the Tube that says which stop to wake you at. This probably breaks the rules of Underground Etiquette, and it also relies on someone else actually waking you at the requested point. So it may not work to well at all.
The last laugh is Post Modern Barney's take on the Globe Theater Internet Message Board, circa Shakespeare. I laughed a lot at these, as they skewer the fandom and the Bard at the same time.
And, like yesterday, it was snowing out. Mother Nature is two to three months late on this. We need to recalibrate, either the seasons or Nature herself. This snow in April bit is just not cool. Maybe, to express my rage, I’ll learn how to rip a phonebook in half and do it. Or maybe I’ll just enjoy the company of family.