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God Found?
911 Souvenirs, Beer Bubbles,
Nanocrystals, Jerry Lewis,
US Media Censorship & More!
God Found?

By Paul Rincon 
BBC News Science Staff 

Switzerland March 10, 2004 (BBC) - A scientist says one of the most sought after particles in physics - the Higgs boson - may have been found, but the evidence is still relatively weak. Peter Renton, of the University of Oxford, says the particle may have been detected by researchers at an atom-smashing facility in Switzerland. 

The Higgs boson explains why all other particles have mass and is fundamental to a complete understanding of matter. The Higgs' importance to the Standard Model of fundamental particles and interactions has led some to dub it the "God particle".

Dr Renton's assessment of the Higgs hunt is published in Nature magazine. His paper in the journal reviews the current state of play. 

"There's certainly evidence for something, whether it's the Higgs boson is questionable," Dr Renton, a particle physicist at Oxford, told BBC News Online. "It's compatible with the Higgs boson certainly, but only a direct observation would show that." 

If correct, Dr Renton's assessment would place the elusive particle's mass at about 115 gigaelectronvolts. 

Unstable particle 

This comes from a signal obtained at the large electron positron collider (LEP) in Geneva, Switzerland, which has now been dismantled to make way for its replacement - the large hadron collider (LHC). However, there is a 9% probability that the signal could be background "noise".

Before the LEP accelerator was decommissioned, physicists used it to send particles called electrons and positrons careering in opposite directions around its circular pipe, which had a circumference of about 27km. 

When these particles collided, they created bursts of high energy. Such collisions themselves are too small to study but new, heavier particles can appear amongst the debris. 

The Higgs boson is thought to be highly unstable and, once produced, should quickly decay. 

Dr Renton cites indirect evidence taken from observations of the behavior of other particles in colliders that agrees with the figure of 115 gigaelectronvolts for the mass of the Higgs boson. 

"It's controversial. The data is possibly indicative, but it needs confirmation," said Bryan Webber, professor of theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge. "Its mass is right at the maximum energy they could run the [LEP] at. But the indirect indications are that the Higgs boson should be close to that value." 

Mass giver

Physicists have observed 16 particles that make up all matter under the Standard Model of fundamental particles and interactions. But the sums do not quite add up for the Standard Model to be true if these particles are considered alone. If only 16 particles existed, they would have no mass - contradicting what we know to be true in nature.

Another particle has to give them this mass. Enter the Higgs boson, first proposed by University of Edinburgh physicist Peter Higgs and colleagues in the late 1960s. Their theory was that all particles acquire their mass through interactions with an all-pervading field, called the Higgs field, which is carried by the Higgs boson. 

Dr Renton said he hoped that once the large hadron collider was up and running in 2007, the Higgs boson would be detected within a year or two. 

The LHC is a more energetic accelerator which will allow a much higher mass range to be explored. It will also be capable of producing much more intense particle beams which means that data can be aggregated much faster. 

It is also possible the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory outside Chicago, US, could make the discovery. 

Researchers there are hopeful they can secure enough data to prove the Higgs' existence before the LHC comes online.

911 Souvenirs - Investigation Reveals Interesting Culprits

Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON March 13, 2004 (AP) - The removal of souvenir debris from the scenes of the Sept. 11 attacks reached the highest levels of government, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and FBI Director Robert Mueller's chief of anti-terrorism, a Justice Department investigation has found.

The practice was so widespread inside the FBI that it even forced prosecutors in Minnesota to drop plans to prosecute a company that had taken a fire truck door from the World Trade Center, according to a still-confidential report obtained by The Associated Press. The report said the Justice Department inspector general confirmed that Rumsfeld "has a piece of the airplane that flew into the Pentagon" inside his Defense Department office. Chief Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said Friday night that Rumsfeld has a shard of metal from the jetliner that struck the Pentagon on a table in his office and shows it to people as a reminder of the tragedy Pentagon workers shared on Sept. 11, 2001. 

"He doesn't consider it his own," Di Rita said.
"We are mindful of the fact that if somebody has an evidentiary requirement to have this shard of metal, we will provide it to them."

Asked whether Rumsfeld's possession of the shard was similar to FBI agents who have been criticized for taking mementos from the World Trade Center, Di Rita said: "It was never that kind of thing. ... It seemed perfectly appropriate." 

The Justice Department investigation also collected testimony that Pasquale D'Amuro, Mueller's executive assistant director for terrorism until last summer, asked a supervisory agent to "obtain a half dozen items from the WTC debris." 

D'Amuro told investigators that he asked for pieces of the building for himself and possibly others who worked the investigation "as a memento." He added he was aware that agents had taken such items from other terrorist crime scenes over the years. 

D'Amuro left FBI headquarters last July to become an assistant director in charge of the New York office. Joe Valiquette, a spokesman for the New York FBI office, declined comment Friday. 

The report also divulged that the FBI supervisor for evidence recovery at the landfill where World Trade Center debris was taken failed a lie detector test and that agents' removal of items like a Tiffany crystal globe gutted a criminal case the bureau was building against a Minnesota contractor that had taken a fire truck door from the same rubble. 

Prosecutors told the FBI they "might not indict the crime regarding the fire truck door due to government misconduct involving the Tiffany globe," the report said. 

Surviving family members were disappointed by the news. 

"Unbelievable," said William Doyle, whose son was killed in the World Trade Center. 

"Everybody has things that they probably should not have from the World Trade Center site," added Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son died in the towers. 

The Justice Department's report has not been officially released, but heavily deleted versions of the report began circulating around Washington last month showing 13 FBI agents had taken rubble, debris and items such as flags and a Tiffany crystal globe paperweight. 

The bureau announced it was banning agents from taking items from crimes scenes, but no agents were being charged with crimes because the bureau did not have such a policy during the Sept. 11 investigation. 

A lawyer for retired agent Jane Turner, who blew the whistle on the FBI's removal of souvenir debris, said agents should have been charged. 

The amount of theft from Ground Zero by federal officials is shocking," attorney Stephen M. Kohn said. "Every federal employee who stole or converted property from that crime scene must be held fully accountable under the law."

The full report obtained by the AP divulges some senior FBI managers were among those cited for having authorized or asked for mementos. 

Besides D'Amuro, the report said the now-retired head of the New York FBI office, Barry Mawn, asked for and received an American flag and a piece of marble from the debris. And the agent in charge of FBI in Knoxville, Tenn., Joe Clark, requested and received a 100-pound piece of steel to display in an exhibit dealing with hate crimes, the report said. 

The report stated FBI agents who worked in New York repeatedly expressed their disgust that visiting colleagues and supervisors would "want to take items, including pieces of the building which were contaminated with blood and human body parts." 

The report disclosed that among the items taken, agents had cut World Trade Center security patches from the sleeves of shirt pieces found in the rubble. 

"It was a ghoulish prospect that anyone would want things from a crime scene where people have died," one agent was quoted as telling investigators. 

Two senior FBI lawyers from New York told investigators they were never consulted by FBI managers about the propriety of taking items, and would have objected. 

The FBI New York office's ethics officer, Steven Carolotto, "emphatically stated FBI agents could not profit from working any location" and the "calamity of the event was inconsistent with the taking of items for personal use." 

Investigators also stated the agent who ran the recovery effort at the landfill, Richard Marx of Philadelphia, gave "inconsistent" answers during the investigation after several colleagues claimed he had given them permission to take items. Marx failed a polygraph last summer, the report said. 

Excerpts of documents available at: 


Bush Slightly Confused on Women's Rights 
WASHINGTON March 12, 2004 (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush has marked International Women's Week by paying tribute to women reformers -- but one of those he cited is really a man.

"Earlier today, the Libyan government released Fathi Jahmi. She's a local government official who was imprisoned in 2002 for advocating free speech and democracy," the president said in a speech at the White House on Friday. 

The only problem was that, by all other accounts, "she" is in fact "he". 

"Definitely male," said Alistair Hodgett, spokesman for the human rights advocacy group Amnesty International, whose representatives tried to see Jahmi in prison during a recent visit to Libya. 

The U.S. House Committee on International Relations listed Jahmi as a 62-year-old civil engineer who was sentenced to five years in prison "after he reportedly stated during a session of the People's Conference ... that reform within Libya would never take place in the absence of a constitution, pluralism and democracy." 

In remarks before a VIP audience, Bush cited Jahmi as a courageous reformer along with Aung San Suu Kyi, the woman democracy icon and Nobel Peace Prize laureate living under house arrest in Myanmar. 

All told, the president made references to more than a dozen other women ranging from his wife, first lady Laura Bush, to last year's Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi of Iran. He also mentioned four men including Secretary of State Colin Powell and Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who were both present. 

"The advance of women's rights and the advance of liberty are ultimately inseparable," the president said. "We stand with courageous reformers."
Beer Bubbles

Stanford University News Release
By Mark Shwartz

March 12, 2004 - A new experiment by chemists from Stanford University and the University of Edinburgh has finally proven what beer lovers have long suspected:

When beer is poured into a glass, the bubbles sometimes go down instead of up. 

"Bubbles are lighter than beer, so they're supposed to rise upward," said Richard N. Zare, the Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Sciences at Stanford. "But countless drinkers have claimed that the bubbles actually go down the side of the glass. Could they be right, or would that defy the laws of physics?" 

This frothy question reached a head in 1999 after Australian researchers announced that they had created a computer model showing that it was theoretically possible for beer bubbles to flow downward.

The Australians based their simulation on the motion of bubbles in a glass of Guinness draught - a popular Irish brew that contains both nitrogen and carbon dioxide gas. 

But Zare and former Stanford postdoctoral fellow Andrew J. Alexander were skeptical of the virtual Guinness model and decided to put it to the test by analyzing several liters of the liquid brew. 

"Indeed, Andy and I first disbelieved this and wondered if the people had had maybe too much Guinness to drink," Zare recalled. "We tried our own experiments, which were fun but inconclusive. So Andy got hold of a camera that takes 750 frames a second and recorded some rather gorgeous video clips of what was happening." 

Bottoms up, bubbles down 

A careful analysis of the video confirmed the Australian team's findings: Beer bubbles can and do sink to the bottom of a glass. Why does this happen? 

"The answer turns out to be really very simple," Zare explained. "It's based on the idea of what goes up has to come down. In this case, the bubbles go up more easily in the center of the beer glass than on the sides because of drag from the walls. As they go up, they raise the beer, and the beer has to spill back, and it does. It runs down the sides of the glass carrying the bubbles - particularly little bubbles - with it, downward. After a while it stops, but it's really quite dramatic and it's easy to demonstrate." 

The phenomenon also occurred in other beers that did not contain nitrogen, said Alexander, now a professor at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. "The bubbles are small enough to be pushed down by the liquid," he said. "We've shown you can do this with any liquid, really - water with a fizzing tablet in it, for example." 

Confirmation of the sinking-bubble phenomenon has relevance beyond settling barroom bets, according to the researchers. 

"There's a certain aspect of bubbles that always make you think it's kids' play and relaxation, but it's serious stuff, too," Zare said, pointing to ongoing research on fluidized beds - the mixing of solid particles with liquids and gases - which have important industrial and engineering applications. 

"It's just paying attention to the world around you and trying to figure out why things happen the way they do," Alexander added. "In that case, anyone that goes into a pub and orders a pint of Guinness is a scientist."

A video of the beer experiment can be viewed online at

Stanford University -

Canada Bans Human Cloning

OTTAWA March 12, 2004 (Reuters) — Controversial Canadian legislation designed to ban human cloning while permitting research on stem cells from embryos received final parliamentary approval Thursday.

The legislation also bans payments to sperm and egg donors, part of an attempt to fill a legislative vacuum in several human reproduction practices.

It will ban the creation of embryos solely for science but will allow stem-cell research on surplus embryos from fertility clinics.

Stem cells hold promise for regenerating damaged organs or tissue and treating maladies such as Alzheimer's disease. Those who hold that life begins at conception say cells should be harvested from adults rather than destroying embryos.

But proponents of the bill say that left-over embryos from in-vitro fertilization are destroyed anyway, so why not use them in research.

The Senate, Parliament's upper chamber, passed the bill Thursday. It was passed by the House of Commons in October. It must now receive royal assent before becoming law, but that is only a formality.

Nanocrystals Tag Cells

Max Planck Institute Press Release

March 12, 2004 - With the help of semiconductor nanocrystals, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany, and their collaborators at the Universidad de Buenos Aires are now able to capture movies of signal transmission processes involved in the control of gene expression (Nature Biotechnology, February 2004 issue).

This breakthrough is expected to speed up the development of new cancer-curing drugs.

Quantum Dots (or QDs) can be used as nano-sized markers to visualize DNA sequences, proteins, or other molecules and track them in the cell.

The complexes consisting of QDs and specific ligands, in this case a cellular growth factor, bind to target molecules such as receptors on the cell surface. The QDs glow in a variety of colors and are up to 1000 times brighter than conventional fluorescent dyes. 

In a study published in the February issue of the acclaimed science journal Nature Biotechnology, Diane Lidke and her colleagues present results of their experiments with Quantum Dots.

These are nano-sized semiconductor crystals a mere ten millionth of a millimeter in diameter that fluoresce in several different colors upon excitation with a laser source.

These crystals enabled the researchers to deliver real-time video-clips of signal transmission in the so-called erbB receptor family, important targets for many anti-tumor drugs such as antibodies directed against breast cancer.

Among other processes, the movies capture the uptake and subsequent redistribution of the receptor-growth factor complexes into the interior of the cell. 

"The in vivo measurements reported in our study revealed new insights into cellular processes and interactions that could previously only be studied on fixed (dead) cells," wrote the researchers, led by Dr. Thomas Jovin, chairman of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry's Department of Molecular Biology. "An understanding of receptor-mediated transduction is essential for rational receptor-targeted cancer therapeutics. Quantitative approaches based on multiple combinations of quantum dots and ligands will be invaluable for such investigations." 

In the same issue of Nature Biotechnology, two leading experts in live cell imaging reviewed the results of the study. "Semiconductor nanocrystals can track movements of individual receptors on the surface of living cells with unmatched spatial and temporal resolution", wrote Gal Gur and Yosef Yarden of Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science. "(Other) imaging methodologies have limited spatial and temporal resolution and either require complex manipulation or are able to provide only very brief snapshots of receptor dynamics." 

Conventional tools, such as fluorescent dyes and polymer spheres, bleach too quickly - sometimes within seconds - to be of use for extended video images of living cells, according to the researchers. Quantum Dots, on the other hand, are not only very photostable but also very bright, making it possible to trace many elements of the cell for minutes or even hours at a time. Today, the length of observation time is a critical factor for the study of cellular processes, since rapid changes can occur over a time span of seconds or minutes. 

Max Planck Institute -

Speed of Thought?

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry Press Release

March 12, 2004 - Max Planck scientists have discovered a speed limits in neural networks.

Many complex systems are composed of a large number of similar units that are connected in a complicated manner. An important example is provided by neural networks where nerve cells in the brain communicate by exchanging pulses via synaptic connections. Unlike atoms in a crystal which are arranged on a regular, e.g cubic lattice, nerve cells in the brain grow synaptic connections in a highly specific but irregular fashion. In such systems, a particular question is how rapid coordination, e.g. synchronization, between units of a complex network can be achieved.

Three theoretical neuro-physicists from the Max Planck Institute for Flow Research in Goettingen have now shed new light on this question for networks of pulse-coupled oscillators, simple models of neural networks in the brain (Physical Review Letters 92: 074101, 2004). To analyze the impact of network structure on its function the scientists use the theory of random matrices.

Initiated by the work of Wigner on correlations of energy levels in atomic nuclei, random matrix theory has been extensively investigated since the 1950s. Its range of application has been continuously growing since then and today includes the study of various phenomena as different as quantum mechanical aspects of chaos and price fluctuations on financial markets. Timme, Wolf, and Geisel have now demonstrated that the theory of random matrices can also be applied to the dynamic evolution of complex networks.

This new approach allows the exploration of the impact of a network's topology on its dynamics, systematically and analytically. From the theory of random matrices the researchers derived mathematical expressions which precisely determined how fast neurons can coordinate their activity, i.e. how fast neural networks can synchronize.

Using these random matrix theory expressions, the dependence on properties of single neurons as well as of the network topology can be accurately predicted. As might be expected, they found that the faster the neurons synchronize the stronger the synaptic connections between the units are. 

Intriguingly, however, the new study revealed that there exists a speed limit to network synchronization: Even for arbitrary strong interactions synchronization cannot achieved faster than an upper limit. This speed limit is set by the complicated connectivity of the network and is absent if every unit is coupled every other.

The limit originates from the fact that even if only a single unit brought out of complete synchrony this information must be spread to all units in the network before synchronization is achieved again.

If this analysis captures key mechanisms of coordinating activity in neural networks of the brain, this would mean that the speed of neural information processing, i.e. thinking and reacting, can be severely limited by network connectivity. For instance, the analysis revealed that in random networks, the speed of synchronization only slowly increases with the average number of connections per neuron.

This would imply that brain areas, within which rapid information exchange is essential, have to be highly connected.

Max Planck Institute -

Jerry Lewis Interviewed at 78

AP Entertainment Writer 

NEW YORK March 12, 2004 (AP) - Jerry Lewis turns 78 on March 16. He never thought he'd see 76. Lewis once was in so much pain from the pratfalls he did in his younger days, he was feeling suicidal — until he was implanted with a Medtronic pain pacemaker that eases the agony when he pushes a button on a remote control-like device. 

Lewis is also being weaned off the steroids he's been taking for a painful lung condition. The steroids caused him to gain 80 pounds. 

Lewis recently sat down in a suite in the Waldorf Astoria for an exclusive radio interview with AP Network News, discussing everything from his health to Janet Jackson to Martha Stewart. 

AP: You've lost a lot of weight since we last saw you on your Muscular Dystrophy Association Telethon in September. 

Lewis: Fifty-eight pounds. And I've got 22 to go. 

AP: You've been promoting this pain pacemaker for a couple of years now. Have you heard from anyone who's gotten one? 

Lewis: I get so much joy out of helping somebody in pain. The satisfaction is beyond comprehension. I've had a couple of people who I've been responsible for getting into the Tame the Pain program. To hear them thank you, it's like they make you an apostle. They really do. They bless you and bless your family and it's perfectly understandable to me because I'm a victim. I know what they're going through.

AP: When do you know you need one of these pain pacemakers? 

Lewis: When you want to kill yourself, unfortunately. You get to a place like I did where the thought process is very, very simple. "I can't take this anymore." or, "You had better succumb to this," or "you're not going to make it another day. Finish it off." 

AP: You'll celebrate two years of being pain-free on April 22. And by then, you should be off the steroids completely, so you should be in pretty good shape for your telethon on Labor Day weekend. 

Lewis: That's actually my goal to get well to do that. I looked at some material after I got out of the hospital and I couldn't believe (demonstrates how he was out of breath during the telethon). I feel like I imposed on the American people with that illness and that fat and that breathing. But I was there for the right reason. 

AP: While you've been recuperating, the entertainment world has been rocked by what Janet Jackson did at the Super Bowl. Are you concerned about what this means for comedy? 

Lewis: It's like a country of people that had nothing better to do on a Sunday. They're watching the Super Bowl and look at what Justin Timberlake did. I thought that he was a skin disease. I didn't know that his name was a person. Justin Timberlake pulls her bra off and from what I saw it was no big deal. I've seen a better set on late-night television. This country has nothing better to do. Look at what they're doing to Martha Stewart. No matter what she did, she shouldn't be so punished that she looks at television and they're showing her the size of the cell that she'll be living in and that maybe she can work in the kitchen. Come on. Isn't that a little gross? That's kicking someone when they're down.

AP: I understand that you think "The Nutty Professor" was the highlight of your movie career. Why? 

Lewis: Cause it was such a love affair. ... I was so in love with project and so pleased with my work that I don't know how to turn my back on it. 

AP: Does it bother you that kids today probably think that Eddie Murphy is "The Nutty Professor" and not you because Murphy remade the movie? 

Lewis: What I'm trying to do right now is release "The Nutty Professor" this summer in theaters and I want to charge two dollars for children to come and see the movie. I have a hunch that I really can start something because I happen to believe that the prices to movies are ridiculous. 

AP: You have six more remakes of your movies in the works. Do you want one person to star in all of them, so they can become the new Jerry Lewis? 

Lewis: The world's not ready for another Jerry Lewis. 

Tame The Pain -

Feds Want Consumers to Pay for Built-in Wiretap Technologies
AP Technology Writer 

WASHINGTON March 13, 2004 (AP) - Technology companies should be required to ensure that law enforcement agencies can install wiretaps on Internet traffic and new generations of digital communications, the Justice Department says. 

The push would effectively expand the scope of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, a 1994 law that requires the telecommunications industry to build into its products tools that U.S. investigators can use to eavesdrop on conversations with a court order. 

Fearful that federal agents can't install wiretaps against criminals using the latest communications technologies, lawyers for the Justice Department, FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration said their proposals "require immediate attention and resolution" by the Federal Communications Commission. 

They called wiretaps "an invaluable and necessary tool for federal, state, and local law enforcement in their fight against criminals, terrorists, and spies." 

"The ability of federal, state, and local law enforcement to carry out critical electronic surveillance is being compromised today," they wrote in legal papers filed with the FCC (news - web sites) earlier this week. "Communications among surveillance targets are being lost.... These problems are real, not hypothetical." 

The FCC agreed last month to hold proceedings on the issue to "address the scope of covered services, assign responsibility for compliance, and identify the wiretap capabilities required." 

Critics said the government's proposal would have far-reaching impact on new communications technologies and could be enormously expensive for companies that need to add wiretap-capabilities to their products, such as push-to-talk cellular telephones and telephone service over Internet lines. 

The Justice Department urged the FCC to declare that companies must pay for any such improvements themselves, although it said companies should be permitted to pass those expenses on to their customers. 

Stewart Baker, a Washington telecommunications lawyer and former general counsel at the National Security Agency, complained that the government's proposal applies broadly to high-speed Internet service and puts limits on the introduction of new technology until it can be made wiretap-friendly. 

Baker said the plan "seeks to erect a brand new and quite extensive regulatory program" that gives the FBI and telephone regulators a crucial role in the design of future communications technologies.
Genre News: Midseason Replacements 2004, Save Angel, Saturn Awards, US Media Censorship & More!

Midseason Replacements
By FLAtRich

March 13, 2004 (eXoNews) - Excited about the prospect of network mid-season replacements? Think again. This is TV 2004 we're talking about. Sure, ABC has given us Kingdom Hospital, for what it's worth.

Yes, Fox has finally shown us Wonderfalls, even if it is a little late in following Joan of Arcadia with a divinely inspired heroine.

I suppose there is some hope for Stargate Atlantis on Sci Fi this summer, and we will get more Dead Zone and Monk from USA.

But there's little else coming up to write home about. More lawyers and sitcoms. More recycled "reality" shows.

A few experiments gone bad, like the perfectly awful Tripping the Rift on Sci Fi and Game Over on UPN. (Ever download a game demo, look at it once and then forget it was on your system? Both of these shows feature rendered animation ala Lara Croft computer games, but neither is a tenth as inspiring.)

Anyway, you'll decide for yourselves. Here's the list of upcoming potential losers, with a notes on the ones you obviously might want to watch. If you really want free entertainment, forget TV. I suggest you apply for a library card.


The Big House - Kevin Hart sitcom - Premieres Friday, April 2 at 8:30 PM / 7:30c
Airs Fridays at 8:30 PM / 7:30c

The D.A. - Lawyer show - Premieres Friday, March 19 at 10 PM / 9c
Airs Fridays at 10 PM / 9c


Century City - Lawyer show set in 2053 - Premieres Tuesday, March 16 at 9 PM / 8c
(Additional episode airs Saturday, March 20 at 10PM /9c)
Airs Tuesdays at 9 PM / 8c
Might be worth seeing for Kristin Lehman (X-Files, Strange World, Andromeda and Chronicles of Riddick), although she's not the lead.

The Stones - Divorced couple still lives together - Premieres Wednesday, March 17 
Airs Wednesdays at 9:30 PM / 8c


The Jury - Lawyer show - Premiere To Be Announced 
Airtime To Be Announced

Still Life - Dead lead character show - Premiere To Be Announced 
Airtime To Be Announced

Wonderfalls - Premiered Friday, March 12 
Airs Fridays at 9 PM / 8c 
Joan of Niagara Falls, but not, according to producers Bryan Fuller, Todd Holland and Tim Minear. Star Caroline Dhavernas has been getting a lot of press, but she'll have to work hard to beat out Joan's Amber Tamblyn, who is already garnering nominations for talking to God.

The opening episode was fast and fun. Jaye is not Joan and the special effects were marvelous. How a mainstream audience will react to talking toys remains to be seen, but we'll be watching for sure!


Come to Papa - Tom Papa sitcom - Premiere To Be Announced
Airtime To Be Announced 


High School Reunion 2 - "Reality" sequel - Premieres Sunday, March 14 
Airs Sundays at 9 PM / 8c 

Summerland - Fashion designer raising children - Premiere To Be Announced
Airtime To Be Announced

CBS Century City Official site -

Wonderfalls Official -

Save Angel Campaign Efforts Span the Globe Press Release

LOS ANGELES March 11, 2004 - ANGEL fans from around the world are showering WB Co-CEO Jordan Levin with signs of devotion to their favorite vampire with a soul. From flower arrangements to advertising to rallies and blood drives, the campaigns to save the cancelled WB series ANGEL have hit full steam. 

Burbank area florists received a mini economic boom as over 100 flower bouquets began delivery Wednesday to the offices of The WB, all aimed at Jordan Levin. Cards expressed sympathy for the potential loss of viewers, as well as words of support if the network reverses its decision. The initial suggestion came from The WB's own online message board, and spread to all the campaign sites. 

On Friday, the Save ANGEL Rally kicked off "Save ANGEL Week" which runs through March 19th. The LA Rally brought hundreds to a peaceful demonstration in front of the Warner Brothers studios in Burbank, California. Rally organizer Pepper Aahz said, "We're going to show the WB executives that there are enough fans to make a difference, that we are willing to fight for ANGEL." 

Next Wednesday, March 17, will be national "Give Blood for ANGEL" day. Fans from around the country will be stopping by their local Red Cross blood bank to donate in the name of the series. Individual donor cards reading "I gave my blood for ANGEL" will be sent to the network in demonstration of how much fans want to see the show continued.

One campaign, at, has ads running in industry magazines, beginning with a March 9th full-page in The Hollywood Reporter. On March 15th, a similar ad will appear in Variety. 

Earlier in the week, viewers were buoyed by insider information that their efforts had already returned the production companies and The WB to the negotiating table. A source with connections to Mutant Enemy posted a tip that talks were currently underway to bring ANGEL back from the dead. An earlier message sent from News Corporation's UK satellite company BSkyB seemed to confirm that the parties were feeling the pressure from both ANGEL viewers and broadcasters. 


The Save ANGEL Rally was originated and organized by Pepper Aahz, a 25-year-old mother of two in San Jose, California.

Aahz feels a strong connection to the show, for a particularly personal reason: her autistic son learned to speak because of it. "Therapists and surgeries didn't have the same impact on my child as a good guy saving the world with a cool sword. After two years of watching, he now has a semi-full vocabulary." 

Said Aahz, "I owe it all to the cast and crew of Buffy [the Vampire Slayer] and Angel." 

Through the series, Aahz has found friendship and escape from daily worries: "Because of this show, I have met the most amazing people. Every Wednesday, the same group of us meet to watch ANGEL, and regardless of personal stress, we can always put it aside for one hour, together." 

Pepper Ahz, 
Save Angel Rally-LA 

Deana Travetti, 
National Organizer, 
Give Blood for ANGEL

More at

Rally at

[It's about time! Lorne speaks out! Read Mika Gill's excellent post-cancellation interview with Andy Hallett (Lorne) - great pictures too -  Ed.]

Saturn Award Television Nominations:
What? No Duck Dodgers?
By FLAtRich

March 13, 2004 (eXoNews) - The 30th Annual Saturn Award Nominations were announced a while back and I admit that I kinda missed that this year. Ironic because for once almost all the right people in the wonderful world of TV are being honored by the Saturns. Take a look at the list below. Some of your favorite TV genre shows and stars have finally received proper recognition! Note that Big Network shows are (for once) in the minority!

The 30th Annual Saturns are for the best shows of 2003, of course, and that seems light years away here in 2004. Joan of Arcadia did manage to make the list in one category (Amber Tamblyn is up for Best Actress), but the kids on Angel and Buffy scored highest and Tru Calling's Eliza Dushku, a Buffy and Angel vet, is even there on her own (also for Best Actress.)

Hell, even Farscape made the list! (Anybody remember Farscape?)

Some tough choices there, too. Especially under Best Supporting. Amy Acker or Charisma? (We know how the Angel fans will vote on this, but Amy has just been possessed / transformed into Illyria and she's working hard there, guys!) Alexis Denisof versus James Marsters versus Michael Rosenbaum versus John Glover? That's an impossible call for everybody except the James Marsters fan army.

Amanda Tapping belongs under Best Actress, BTW, not Best Supporting. She is the only lady left on Stargate and practically the overall lead in Season Seven, what with Richard Dean Anderson doing reduced time. Amanda also directed an ep this year, written by Stargate co-star Michael Shanks, who managed to underscore Amanda's sexist misplacement by making the Best Actor list. She may not be Peter DeLuise as a director, but Amanda Tapping is definitely a lead actress.

I'm not sure what CSI is doing in a science fiction and horror nominee list at all. Truly horrible in the blood and gore, catsup and pig bladder department, but there aren't really any thrills in TV's highest rated Big Network series. In fact, it's getting very hard to stay awake through a whole episode, despite CSI's first-rate actors and actresses. Blood and gore without suspense is booooring! (Come on, Saturn guys, CSI is a cop show! We know you want the Saturn Awards to get on network TV, but give us a break!)

Still, we can't really complain. Everyone on this list deserves a medal. The Saturns will be handed out on May 5, 2004. No word on possible television coverage, but I'm sure Joan and Melissa Rivers would be welcome.

Here are the TV noms.

Best Network Television Series
Alias (ABC)
Angel (WB Network)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (UPN)
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS)
Smallville (WB Network)
Star Trek: Enterprise (UPN)

Best Syndicated/Cable Television Series
Andromeda (Tribune)
Carnivale (HBO)
Dead Like Me (Showtime)
The Dead Zone (USA Networks)
Farscape (Sci Fi Channel)
Stargate SG-1 (Sci Fi Channel)

Best Television Presentation
Battlestar Galactica (Sci Fi Channel)
Children Of Dune (Sci Fi Channel)
The Diary Of Ellen Rimbauer (ABC)
Dreamkeeper (ABC)
Riverworld (Sci Fi Channel/Alliance Atlantis)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon Network/Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Best Actor In A Television Series
Richard Dean Anderson (Stargate SG-1 - Sci Fi Channel)
Scott Bakula (Star Trek: Enterprise - UPN)
David Boreanaz (Angel - WB Network)
Michael Shanks (Stargate SG-1 - Sci Fi Channel)
Michael Vartan (Alias - ABC)
Tom Welling (Smallville - WB Network)

Best Actress In A Television Series
Eliza Dushku (Tru Calling - Fox)
Jennifer Garner (Alias - ABC)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy The Vampire Slayer - UPN)
Kristin Kreuk (Smallville - WB Network)
Ellen Muth (Dead Like Me - Showtime)
Amber Tamblyn (Joan Of Arcadia - CBS)

Best Supporting Actor In A Television Series
Alexis Denisof (Angel - WB Network)
Victor Garber (Alias - ABC)
John Glover (Smallville - WB Network)
James Marsters (Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel - UPN/WB Network)
Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville - WB Network)
Nick Stahl (Carnivale - HBO)

Best Supporting Actress In A Television Series
Amy Acker (Angel - WB Network)
Jolene Blalock (Star Trek: Enterprise - UPN)
Charisma Carpenter (Angel - WB Network)
Victoria Pratt (Mutant X - Tribune)
Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar Galactica - Sci Fi Channel)
Amanda Tapping (Stargate SG-1 - Sci Fi Channel)

For the entire gamut of Saturn Nominations, including movies and DVDs, go to The Academy of Science Fiction Fantasy & Horror Films site at

Isabella Rossellini Does Le Guin on Sci Fi

LOS ANGELES March 12, 2004 ( - Isabella Rossellini has signed on to star in the Sci Fi Channel's miniseries "Earthsea."

Based on the series of novels by Ursula K. Le Guin, the four-hour "Earthsea" is scheduled to premiere in December. Rossellini will play a high priestess named Thar, which the network calls a "pivotal role."

The story focuses on a young man named Ged who discovers he has great magical powers. As he strives to hone his abilities, he begins a journey that may lead him to unite the land of Earthsea.

Sci Fi has enjoyed considerable success with miniseries in each of the past two Decembers. "Taken" set ratings records in 2002 and won the Emmy for outstanding miniseries, and "Battlestar Galactica" performed strongly for the network last year.

Gavin Scott ("The Mists of Avalon") is writing "Earthsea." Robert Halmi Sr. of Hallmark Entertainment is executive producing the miniseries with Lawrence Bender ("Kill Bill") and Kevin Brown.

Rossellini was most recently seen guest-starring in an episode of ABC's "Alias." Her other credits include "Blue Velvet," "Big Night," "Roger Dodger" and the A&E miniseries "Napoleon."

Sci Fi Channel -

US Media Censorship: House Passes Indecency Fine Increases 
Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON March 12, 2004 (AP) - Angered by what they called an increasing coarseness on over-the-air television and radio, House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to raise the maximum fine for broadcasters and personalities who air indecent material.

The House on Thursday voted to set the maximum fine for both broadcasters and entertainers at $500,000 per indecent incident, up from $27,500 for license holders and $11,000 for personalities. 

The bill now goes to the Senate, where the Commerce Committee has also passed legislation raising the maximum indecency fine to $500,000. 

"It's a shame we have to address this issue, but when members of the broadcast industry violate the boundaries of reasonable tolerance, that's exactly what we're forced to do," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. "The House has sent a clear signal to our broadcasters: Enough is enough." 

The vote was 391-22, as members of both parties decried what they said was inappropriate programming during times that children may tune in. 

"As the father of two young boys, I share the disgust of parents around the country who are appalled at what is broadcast on our public airwaves," said Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas. "Parents have a right to expect decent standards for their children." 

Senators went further in their bill, raising the maximum fine to $500,000 and approving provisions to address violence on television and to delay for one year the FCC's media ownership rules that allow, among other things, companies to own both newspapers and broadcasting stations in the same market. During that time, the General Accounting Office would look at whether there is a connection between indecency and media consolidation. 

If those provisions remain in the Senate bill, then negotiators for both houses will try to work out the differences. 

Though introduced in January following FCC Chairman Michael Powell's call for higher fines, the bill wound up on a fast track to passage after the now-infamous Feb. 1 Super Bowl halftime show that ended with singer Justin Timberlake exposing Janet Jackson's breast to 90 million viewers. 

The FCC said Thursday it had received 530,828 complaints just about the halftime show. Last year, the agency received 240,350 indecency complaints for all programs. 

"On Super Bowl Sunday, all of America saw how just how disgusting the industry is intent on being and said collectively they've had enough," said L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Parents Television Council, a conservative advocacy group. 

But the American Civil Liberties Union decried the action, saying that freedom of speech could be impinged as broadcasters try to follow a vague definition of what is indecent. 

Federal law and FCC rules prohibit over-the-air radio and TV stations from airing offensive material that refers to sexual and excretory functions between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children may be tuned in. There are no such restrictions for cable and satellite TV and satellite radio. 

"The vagueness of the language will lead broadcasters and individuals to stifle their remarks and remain silent rather than run the risk of facing an FCC fine," said Marvin Johnson, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "In the end, we are left with no clear understanding of just what is 'indecent' and worse yet, it seems we will only find out when huge fines are levied on broadcasters or speakers." 

The House bill also requires the FCC to act on indecency complaints within 180 days after they are received, and orders the agency to consider revoking license of any broadcaster found with three indecency violations. 

Text of the bills, H.R. 3717 and S. 2056 are at:

FCC website -

US Media Censorship: George Carlin on Sex in the Media 
AP Entertainment Writer 

LOS ANGELES March 13, 2004 (AP) - George Carlin famously dissected "The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television" as a way to explore what everyone was so uptight about. Thirty-two years later the same debate is still raging, now fueled by Janet Jackson's Super Bowl flash, the suspension of Howard Stern's raunchy radio show from six stations and new House legislation that would raise a performer's indecency fine from $11,000 to $500,000.

So what does the 66-year-old Carlin think of the current handwringing over what is indecent, profane, obscene, immoral, lewd or insulting? 

"More of the same, more of the same. What are we, surprised?" Carlin told The Associated Press on Friday 

He blamed it on religious moralism, media commercialism and election-year politics. 

"The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things — bad language and whatever — it's all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition. ... There's an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body. ... It's reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have." 

Mix that with TV or radio, and you've got a problem, he said. 

"What I always remind people is, radio and television and — as it happens — newspapers and magazines too, are advertising media. ... When you have commercialism involved you have the kind of fear that advertisers are very afraid of offending some potential customer. They don't want to lose a sale. So they have this need to inspect and clean up and watch the content in order not to hurt their own sales. It's based on success at the cash register. 

"And yet, they're very inconsistent - on that Super Bowl broadcast of Janet Jackson's there was also a commercial about a 4-hour erection. A lot of people were saying about Janet Jackson, 'How do I explain to my kids? We're a little family, we watched it together ...' And, well, what did you say about the other thing? These are convenient targets." 

He also thinks President Bush is trying to placate right-wing voters. 

The U.S. Air Force veteran compared the recent tension with memories of his military experience. 

"These bursts of interest and decency are just like when you're in the Air Force, Army and Marines, whatever — the discipline in your unit may get a little lax, people live with it, it's fine for months at a time then some colonel notices it and suddenly they crack down ... enforcing all the minor rules and regulations. Then what happens after these bursts of bothering people, that wears off and we get back to normal, relaxed discipline, but things still get done. 

"Society can be counted on to let this fade." 

George Carlin Official site -

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