March 31, 2007

Chocolate Jesus?!

Category: Opinion — jerry @ 1:10 pm

chocolatejesus.jpgNEW YORK (AP) — A planned Holy Week exhibition of a nude, anatomically correct chocolate sculpture of Jesus Christ was canceled Friday amid complaints from Catholics, including Cardinal Edward Egan….[Rest of article]

Apparently many Catholics find this statue offensive, so–of course–it appears here.

I’m not sure if it is the absence of the traditional loincloth that offends (Is his body ugly and not perfect in their eyes? Does it possibly arouse sexual desire for Jesus in some?), or just the idea that the “edible Jesus” does not come in their preferred wafer-form.

In any event: It’s “Art”, folks.  Just move along to the next exhibit if you don’t like it…

 

More Stem Cell Stuff

Category: Technology — jerry @ 7:34 am

stemcell.jpg

 Haven’t written about these critters for a while.

 Here’s some intriguing new possibilities from the SPORTS section of the NEW YORK TIMES:

“The latest curative leap to heal professional athletes and weekend warriors alike may sound like science fiction, but it could transform sports medicine. Some doctors and researchers say that in a few years the use of primitive stem cells from infants’ umbilical cord blood could grow new knee ligaments or elbow tendons creating a therapy that becomes the vanguard of sports injury repair.

“Already, some sports agents are preparing to advise clients about banking stem cells from their offspring or from tissue taken from their own bodies as an insurance policy against a career-ending infirmity. Stem cell blood banks are promoting the benefits of stem cell therapies for the practical healing and rehabilitation of tendons, ligaments, muscle and cartilage. There are skeptics in the medical community who wonder how soon the technology will be viable, but enthusiastic advocates of the therapies say the time is near….[Rest of article]

March 30, 2007

Cuter Than Penguins?

Category: Uncategorized — jerry @ 12:26 pm

No way can you watch this and not go “Awwwww…”  I’d suggest turning the sound off, however, as there is so much of that coming from the mothers filming this little scene that it will otherwise be difficult to not lose your stomach contents:

Hugo Awards Nominees Announced

Category: Books — jerry @ 6:48 am

hugoaward.jpg The nominees for the Hugo Award (for the best science fiction book of the year) were just announced.  I used to read a lot of sci-fi in my youth, and try and read the award winner each year.

 They are:

 Novel
Michael F. Flynn, Eifelheim (Tor)
Naomi Novik, His Majesty’s Dragon (Del Rey)
Charles Stross, Glasshouse (Ace)
Vernor Vinge, Rainbows End (Tor)
Peter Watts, Blindsight (Tor)

Novella
“The Walls of the Universe” by Paul Melko (Asimov’s, April/May 2006)
“A Billion Eyes” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, October/November 2006)
“Inclination” by William Shunn (Asimov’s, April/May 2006)
“Lord Weary’s Empire” by Michael Swanwick (Asimov’s, December 2006)
Julian: A Christmas Story by Robert Charles Wilson (PS Publishing)

Novelette
“Yellow Card Man” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Asimov’s, December 2006
) “Dawn, and Sunset, and the Colours of the Earth” by Michael F. Flynn (Asimov’s, December 2006)
“The Djinn’s Wife” by Ian McDonald (Analog, July 2006)
“All the Things You Are” by Mike Resnick (Jim Baen’s Universe, October 2006)
“Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” by Geoff Ryman (F&SF, October/November 2006)

Short Story
“How to Talk to Girls at Parties” by Neil Gaiman (Fragile Things)
“Kin” by Bruce McAllister (Asimov’s, February 2006)
“Impossible Dreams” by Timothy Pratt (Asimov’s, July 2006)
“Eight Episodes” by Robert Reed (Asimov’s, June 2006)
“The House Beyond Your Sky” by Benjamin Rosenbaum (Strange Horizons, September 2006)

March 29, 2007

Jib Jab’s 2006 Year In Review

Category: Movies/TV,Opinion — jerry @ 5:32 pm

The folks at Jib Jab are consistently clever. Here’s their take on the events of last year. (Rated PG-13. Maybe even 14…)

With God On Our Side

Category: Opinion — jerry @ 7:21 am

saintbusy.jpg

 Recent research linking religion and violence.  No surprises here:

 “Does believing that “God is on our side” make it easier for us to inflict pain and suffering on those perceived to be our enemies? If we think God sanctions violence, are we more likely to engage in violent acts?

“The answer to both those questions, according to new research, is a resounding “yes,” even among those who do not consider themselves believers.

“Social psychologist Brad Bushman of the University of Michigan led an international research effort to find answers to these questions, and said he is very “disturbed” by the results, though he found what he had expected. Bushman has spent 20 years studying aggression and violence, especially the impact on human behavior of violence in the media, but most previous research has focused on television and movie violence, not such things as scriptures and texts held sacred by many.

“He wanted to take it a step further and see if simply exposing someone to a text that implies God sanctions violence would increase their level of aggression….[Rest of article]

March 28, 2007

Saturn Gets Weirder

Category: Technology,Travel — jerry @ 3:55 pm

saturn3.jpg

 Ok, so it’s got rings.

 And the rings actually loopdee-loop around themselves, if I’m not mistaken.

 But check this out.  This is the north pole of Saturn.  You’re looking at a storm which is about 2/3 the diameter of Earth.

 A clearly hexagon-shaped storm.  Hexagonal!

Ummmmm…

[Update: Maybe the shape phenomenon is not so difficult to explain after all]

March 27, 2007

UMaine vs. RIAA

Category: Music,Opinion,Technology — jerry @ 3:41 pm

pirate.jpg

I wrote last week about the University of Nebraska wanting to bill the Recording Industry Association of America for the time they’re apparently spending going over records to help incriminate students who have downloaded music onto their computers while at school.

The University of Maine System has gone further and said they won’t comply without a court order.  “Sue us!”  Good for them:

 

The University of Maine System has refused a request from the Recording Industry Association of America to produce names of students who allegedly downloaded copyrighted materials.

The system has also opted not to forward the RIAA’s pre-litigation letters offering settlements to those students, although the schools those students attend will inform their students of the letters and give them a chance to pick up the letters if they so choose.

At the University of Maine, students with pending RIAA lawsuits were told on Friday….[Rest of article]

 

The International German Beard Competition

Category: Travel — jerry @ 7:00 am

beard.jpg 

 I’ve had a beard most of my adult life–although not currently.

 This guy has me beat, though.

 For a slide show and story of the competition, check this site out.

March 26, 2007

Scientists Create A Sheep That Is 15% Human…

Category: Technology — jerry @ 3:26 pm

mansheep1.jpg

Apparently this news story has nothing to do with lonely Montana cowboys…:

“Scientists have created the world’s first human-sheep chimera – which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs.

“The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells – and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.

“Professor Esmail Zanjani, of the University of Nevada, has spent seven years and £5million perfecting the technique, which involves injecting adult human cells into a sheep’s foetus.

“He has already created a sheep liver which has a large proportion of human cells and eventually hopes to precisely match a sheep to a transplant patient, using their own stem cells to create their own flock of sheep.

“The process would involve extracting stem cells from the donor’s bone marrow and injecting them into the peritoneum of a sheep’s foetus. When the lamb is born, two months later, it would have a liver, heart, lungs and brain that are partly human and available for transplant….”

Rest of article.

Questions brought to mind: Does it have 15% of a soul?  Does it know Good from Baaaaaad?