Pat Robertson: Loonier than you know

Televangelist Robertson warns town of God’s wrath – Yahoo! News:

Conservative Christian televangelist Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting “intelligent design” and warned them on Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.

This from a guy who prays for deaths on the Supreme Court and calls for assassinations of foreign leaders…. Who holds Pat Robertson accountable? I guess we just have to assume there a demon sitting in Hell with a red-hot pitchfork waiting for this guy?

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Cool—Nature has a Podcast

Nature Podcast

Welcome to the Nature Podcast. Each week we’ll be publishing a free audio show, presented and produced by Chris Smith, a doctor, virology researcher and radio presenter from the University of Cambridge, UK. In this week’s show, Chris Smith talks to the scientists behind the hottest research, including avoiding catastrophic collisions with the Earth, what happens when you pass an electric current through a structure only one atom thick, and all the latest news from Nature.

For you science geeks, like me, a great podcast. Subscribe.

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Proof that a fat man can be an athlete

ESPN.com – MLB – Colon wins AL Cy Young:

Bartolo Colon won the American League Cy Young Award on Tuesday in a surprisingly one-sided vote, becoming the first Angels pitcher in 41 years to take home the honor.

Twenty years or so back I was watching a baseball game with another competitive skier who said he could not believe that baseball could be a sport if someone as out of shape as the pitcher in the game could be a professional. I explained that because anyone who honed one skill could be very successful in baseball it is the greatest of the sports invented by mankind. Needless to say, I was scoffed at.

Colon, at 5-11 and 250 lbs. is proof that fat can be projected toward home plate with ample control, even finesse, to win more games than anyone else in the league.

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Pass the benzoic acid to stretch Tamiflu supplies….

news @ nature.com – Wartime tactic doubles power of scarce bird-flu drug – Use of common drug could stretch world stocks of Tamiflu.:

Doctors think they have hit on a way to effectively double supplies of a drug that fights bird flu. Administering Tamiflu alongside a second drug that stops it being excreted in urine means that only half doses of the treatment would be needed. As bird flu threatens to spread, officials are keen to find better treatments…..

The technique was invented during the Second World War to extend precious penicillin supplies. Scientists found that a simple benzoic acid derivative called probenecid stops many drugs, including antibiotics, being removed from the blood by the kidneys. Probenecid is readily available and is still widely used alongside antibiotics to treat gonorrhoea and syphilis, and in emergency rooms, where doctors need their patients to have high, sustained levels of antibiotics in their blood.

Good to know.

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Monkeys, humans count in similar ways

Monkey Math Machinery is Like Humans’:

Monkeys have a semantic perception of numbers that is like humans’ and which is independent of language, Duke University cognitive neuroscientists have discovered. They said their findings demonstrate that the neural mechanism underlying numerical perception is evolutionarily primitive.

This is really interesting. it suggests that the ability to group and compare things, the concept of a set, and other basic math skills are native to other species, not just humans. If the basic processes of numeric cognition are the same, George Lakoff and Rafael Nunez’s Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics Into Being suggests that, if this is the case, the mind of other animals probably work metaphorically, as ours do.

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H5N1 in Canada?

Canada finds flu in wild birds, checking strain:

Canada has discovered a strain of H5 avian flu in wild birds and is now checking whether it is the same H5N1 killer strain which has spread to Europe, an official said on Monday.

Oy! If you wanted proof of how fast a pandemic can get out of control, look at the potential spread of the avian variety of H5N1 from Southeast Asia and Siberia, the two areas it was identified just three months ago, to today, when it is in Europe and, potentially, Canada.

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Pollution: A great way to get chicks

news @ nature.com – Pollution makes for more girls – The stress of dirty air skews sex ratios in Sao Paulo.:

Toxic fumes favour the fairer sex, a group of researchers in Brazil has found.

Jorge Hallak and his team at the University of Sao Paulo turned up the surprising result by studying babies born in their city. They divided the metropolis of 17 million people into areas of low, medium and high air pollution, using test results from air-quality monitoring stations. They then studied birth registries of children born from 2001 to 2003.

The team found that 48.3% of babies were female in the least polluted areas, but 49.3% were female in the dirtiest parts of town. After measuring the ratio of boys to girls born in all the areas, they calculated that 1,180 more babies would have been boys in the polluted areas if they had the same sex ratios as the cleaner areas.

History is a male-orchestrated scam to increase the number of women available for dating, sex and marriage. It’s all about getting women.

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After Katrina, is the $200 billion going to the right things?

History is the source code of the future:

Facing more than $200 billion in charges for hurricane recovery along the Gulf Coast, the most natural comparison has been to the Marshall Plan, the U.S. project to reconstruct Europe after World War II. The scope of destruction in southern Mississippi and Louisiana, along with the northern Gulf Coast of Texas is certainly comparable to that wreaked by war, but is destruction the only thing to which we need to be responding?

I’m having some fun with history over at History is the Source Code of the Future. If you’d like to contribute, please let me know.

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There’s a flu going around and around….

Contrast…

WHO cautious over Indonesia bird flu outbreak – Yahoo! News:

The growing number of people with bird flu-like symptoms in Indonesia does not mean the outbreak is becoming worse, and there is no sign the virus can be passed easily among people, top U.N. health experts said on Thursday.

…with this:

BBC NEWS | Technology | Deadly plague hits Warcraft world:

A deadly virtual plague has broken out in the online game World of Warcraft.

Although limited to only a few of the game’s servers the numbers of characters that have fallen victim is thought to be in the thousands.

Now, can you explain whether life imitates art or is it the other way round?

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And this is makes Newark more or less attractive as a tourist destination?

news @ nature.com – Lab loses trio of plague mice – Risk to public is thought negligible.:

Three mice infected with the bacteria that cause bubonic plague have gone missing from a laboratory in Newark, New Jersey. Authorities have launched a search for the animals and an investigation into how they might have escaped. But researchers are quick to add that the mice, even if they are on the loose, pose little risk to the public.

As though Newark would be any more dangerous with three plague-carrying mice on the loose.

The notable thing about the story is that plague research is supposed to take place in high-security labs and scientists aren’t even sure the mice escaped.

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