|Monkey News! |
Virtual Reality, Stolen Brains,
Buffy Good, TV News Bad!
Get Yer Name in Space & More!
|Flying Monkeys! |
WASHINGTON May 11, 2003 (AP) - Airline passengers who rely on cats, monkeys or other animals for emotional support may be able to bring the animals into a plane's seating compartment under revised federal guidelines.
Previously, cabin permission generally was given only for animals that helped people with physical disabilities, usually a blind person who needed a guide dog.
The airlines industry and advocates for the disabled asked the government to clarify and expand the definition of a "service animal," since more people now use other animals like cats or monkeys.
Transportation Department officials say these animals are used for a wider variety of functions, such as helping to pull wheelchairs or alerting a person with epilepsy that a seizure is imminent.
Other animals now can be taken aboard for emotional support. However, passengers who take advantage of this provision may be required to show proof from a doctor or psychologist that the animal is required to help with a mental health condition.
Each situation should be considered on a case-by-case basis, the department said in guidelines released Friday.
The revised guidelines also clarified that animals that pose a public risk would not be allowed in cabins, such as snakes, ferrets, rodents or spiders.
Transportation Department release: http://www.dot.gov/affairs/dot03903.htm
[I couldn't believe the next one! One of the oldest and dearest stars in Hollywood is still around! Maybe Cheeta and Bob Hope ought to party together on May 29th - Hope's 100th. Ed.]
Chimpanzees in the wild tend to live for 40 to 45 years and to the mid 50s in captivity, according to chimpanzee researchers.
Activists for the proper care and treatment of chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates applaud Cheeta's age record, but caution against celebrating the lifestyle of chimpanzees that were stars in the entertainment industry.
"Would you go to a movie if you knew the child actors had been kidnapped and been forced through abuse by their kidnappers to perform silly, demeaning acts?" asks Roger Fouts, co-director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute at Central Washington University in Ellensburg.
Activists say that retired entertainment chimpanzees engage in human behaviors such as watching television and reading magazines because they were deprived of a natural lifestyle and were instead trained to behave like humans, often through physical abuse.
"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that they are pretty dysfunctional," said Gloria Grow, co-founder of the Fauna Foundation which cares for neglected and abused animals in Quebec, Canada.
The Good Life?
Cheeta now spends his days socializing with other apes and human caregivers. At times he seems fascinated by looking at other animals on television and in the pages of magazines like National Geographic, said Karajerjian
In his earlier years Cheeta had a penchant for beer and cigars, reportedly drinking several cold ones a day. Westfall and Karajerjian said booze and smoke have not been a part of the old chimp's life since he came into their care ten years ago.
She is social and gets along well with her mates, who she lives with on a series of islands in the drive-through zoo, said Wolf.
Infinite Number of Monkeys - Phooey!
Eventually, monkeys Elmo, Gum, Heather, Holly, Mistletoe and Rowan produced five pages of text, composed primarily of the letter S. Later, the letters A, J, L and M crept in.
Mathematicians have also used it to illustrate concepts of chance.
|Virtual Reality Without Goggles!|
|University of Pennsylvania Press Release |
PHILADELPHIA May 13, 2003 -- The University of Pennsylvania has installed a virtual reality system that allows a participant full-body interaction with a virtual environment without the hassle of bulky, dizzying 3-D glasses. The system will be demonstrated for journalists and others Thursday, May 15.
Key to the installation, dubbed LiveActor, is the pairing of an optical motion capture system to monitor the body's movements with a stereo projection system to immerse users in a virtual environment. The combination lets users interact with characters embedded within virtual worlds.
"Traditional virtual reality experiences offer limited simulations and interactions through tracking of a few sensors mounted on the body," said Norman I. Badler, professor of computer and information science and director of Penn's Center for Human Modeling and Simulation. "LiveActor permits whole-body tracking and doesn't require clunky 3-D goggles, resulting in a more realistic experience."
LiveActor users wear a special suit that positions 30 sensors on different parts of the body.
As the system tracks the movement of these sensors as an actor moves around a stage roughly 10 feet by 20 feet in size, a virtual character -- such as a dancing, computer-generated Ben Franklin, Penn's founder -- can recreate the user's movements with great precision and without a noticeable time lag. The system can also project images onto the array of screens surrounding the LiveActor stage, allowing users to interact with a bevy of virtual environments.
Check out some free VR for yer PC at http://vrcontinuum.com
|Fed Subpoenas Tape of Environmental Conference|
|FRESNO CA May 13, 2003 (AP) — A federal grand jury has subpoenaed a videotape of a California State University conference attended by environmentalists who employ extremist tactics. Organizers of the conference criticized the university for going along with the subpoena. |
Federal authorities would not give details of the investigation Friday, and Janette Redd Williams, Fresno State's attorney, would say only that it involved "complicated issues we need time to research."
The February conference, "Revolutionary Environmentalism: A Dialogue Between Activists and Academics," included animal rights groups and others that have employed militant tactics. One panelist, Rodney Coronado, spent four years in prison for a 1992 firebombing of animal research laboratories at Michigan State University.
Organizers defended the conference, calling it an examination of the groups' tactics. But farmers and ranchers in the San Joaquin Valley criticized the gathering, saying it was a platform for eco-terrorists.
Fresno State officials said they supplied a videotape of one conference session to the grand jury.
Conference participants called the subpoena a threat to academic freedom and their privacy.
|Brains Stolen in the UK!|
|London May 13, 2003 (Reuters) - British pathologists removed the brains from tens of thousands of human corpses over 30 years without permission from the victims' relatives, the government acknowledged on Monday. |
In a sinister reminder of scandals in the late 1990s, when hospitals were found to have secretly kept the hearts of dead children for research, the government said the illicit removal of brains had been "widespread in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s".
It said the true scale of the scandal would never be known because records from the 1970s were sketchy and many of the brains had been used for research or destroyed.
But the government's Inspector of Anatomy, Jeremy Metters, told a news conference that of 30 000 brains in storage in 2000, when a major count of stored organs was carried out, between 50 percent and 70 percent had probably been taken without permission.
He made 34 recommendations to ensure the scandalous practice was not repeated and said the removal of all organs without consent should be made a criminal offence.
The scandal was brought to light by Elaine Isaacs, a widow from Manchester whose mentally ill husband Cyril committed suicide in 1987.
Medics took his brain for research without asking permission from his wife, who found out about this three years ago while sifting through letters written by doctors at the time of her husband's death.
Elaine Isaacs, seething with anger at the way her husband's corpse was used, welcomed Metters's recommendations, but told the news conference - during which she broke down - that more should be done.
Under British legislation, the organs of dead people may be kept and used for research only if their relatives give explicit consent.
Metters found that, in many cases, hospitals had not bothered to ask the relatives.
The British Medical Association (BMA) welcomed the report, but said it should not be used to undermine organ donation.
"The practice of taking organs without consent began at a time when medicine was far more paternalistic and doctors thought it was better that bereaved families did not have to make difficult decisions about organ donation," said the BMA's head of science and ethics, Vivienne Nathanson.
"It is important to realize that the health service desperately needs organs for research."
The case has invited comparisons with the Bristol and Alder Hey scandals of 1999, when doctors in the south-west of England and Liverpool were found to have stripped thousands of children's corpses of organs and other parts without parental consent.
|Klingon Interpreter Needed|
|Portland, Oregon May 12, 2003 (AP) - Position Available: Interpreter, must be fluent in Klingon. |
The language created for the Star Trek television series and movies is one of about 55 needed by the office that treats mental health patients in metropolitan Multnomah County.
"We have to provide information in all the languages our clients speak," said Jerry Jelusich, a procurement specialist for the county's department of human services, which serves about 60 000 mental health clients.
Although created for works of fiction, Klingon was designed to have a consistent grammar, syntax and vocabulary.
And now Multnomah County research has found that many people - and not just fans - consider it a complete language.
"There are some cases where we've had mental health patients where this was all they would speak," said the county's purchasing administrator, Franna Hathaway.
Officials said that obligates them to respond with a Klingon-English interpreter, putting the language of starship Enterprise officer Worf and other Klingon characters on a par with common languages such as Russian and Vietnamese, and less common tongues including Dari and Tongan.
|Buffy Evolves To Pop Icon|
|By Charlie McCollum |
Hollywood May 11, 2003 (Mercury News) - Even at its peak of popularity, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" rarely drew more than 6 million viewers a week.
Last season, its audience dropped to an average of just 4.6 million, No. 124 in viewership among all TV shows, and this season, it's down to around 4 million. The only time it was nominated for an Emmy, it lost.
He's also right.
And for much of its 6 1/2 seasons, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" has been one of the best things on U.S. television, a series whose finest episodes rank with anything done on, say, "The Sopranos." Sure, it was nominally about a young blond who went around staking and slaying things that go bump in the night. But it was also delightfully camp, wickedly witty, loaded with knowing culture references and surprisingly insightful in matters of love, alienation, friendship and death.
Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) was the ultimate outsider as a slayer who moved to 1630 Revello Drive in Sunnydale after burning down the gym at her old high school in Los Angeles. (It was infested with vampires.) Even her divorced mother Joyce (Kristine Sutherland) didn't quite understand her place in the universe, telling Buffy once that "I know you didn't chose this. I know it chose you. I've tried to march in the Slayer pride parade but . . ."
Xander Harris (Nicholas Brandon) was a geeky guy who was stuck on Buffy.
Over the years, Xander -- the one member of the Scooby Gang who never acquired magical powers -- would become Buffy's tether to humanity. Even Buffy's high school nemesis -- popular girl Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) -- proved to be an outsider in her own way.
"I thought, homecoming queen; I could open a yearbook someday and say, `I was there. I went to high school and had friends and for just one minute, I got to live in the world.' And there'd be proof, proof that I was chosen to be something other than this."
There is a lot of speculation -- spoilers -- on the Internet about what happens in the showdown, about whether Buffy finally gets her wish for a normal life, about who lives and who dies.
Whedon promises a finale that will, hopefully, satisfy devoted fans but he suggests that no matter what the outcome, "Buffy" has already made its mark.
|UK Police Shoot Down Guns|
|By John Steele |
London May 13, 2003 (Telegraph UK) - Rank and file police officers remain strongly opposed to the routine arming of the force, despite rising firearms crime, according to a survey.
A poll of its members by the Police Federation showed a similar vote against routine arming to that seen in a survey eight years ago.
Though nearly half of officers felt their lives had been placed in serious danger at least once in the past two years, the federation report also showed that 78 per cent did not want to carry guns on everyday duties.
The figure against routine arming in 1995 was 79 per cent.
The survey also showed that 47 per cent of "front-line officers" in England and Wales supported the mandatory wearing of body armour and eight out of 10 said more officers should be trained to use firearms.
Only 4.6 per cent of officers said they wanted to be armed both off and on duty.
The federation carried out the research after Home Office figures showed gun crime had risen by 35 per cent last year in England and Wales, including a rise of 46 per cent in the use of handguns.
|TV News May Turn People Off|
|Cardiff University Press Release |
May 13, 2003 - Television news may be contributing to current political apathy, according to research at Cardiff University.
An in-depth study of more than 5600 TV news reports in both Britain and the USA between September 2001 and February 2002 reveals that the news media may be encouraging a disengaged citizenry by representing the public as generally passive and apolitical.
"This study was prompted by growing concern about the poor and declining voter turnout in both Britain and the United States," explains Professor Justin Lewis of the University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies.
"Although we have recently seen people taking part in huge protests - whether for the countryside or against the war - this engagement doesn’t seem to connect to an interest in representative politics."
The report asks what model of citizenship and public opinion the news media provides. Crucially, do the news media encourage or discourage citizens to engage with politics and public life?
A team of researchers analyzed news reports for any reference to public opinion, whether through polls, ‘vox pops’, demonstrations, or simply off-the-cuff remarks made about what people think about the world. Some of the findings, suggests Professor Lewis, are surprising.
Many assume, for example, that the main form of public representation in the media is the opinion poll. In fact, less than two per cent of references to public opinion on British television involve polls or surveys of any kind.
The most common references to public opinion (44 per cent) are inferences - claims made (generally by reporters) without any supporting evidence. And public opinion in Europe is almost completely ignored, especially in British media.
"Polls, for all their flaws, are the most systematic form of evidence we have about what people think about the world - yet we found that they’re used surprisingly rarely in television news," said Professor Lewis. "While television often refers to public opinion, these results suggest that we rarely hear any evidence for the claims being made."
Similarly striking is the extent to which citizens are represented as non-ideological. In the sample, 95 per cent of references in Britain (90 per cent in the US) expressed no clear political leaning at all - even though the most common subjects of references to public opinion such as health, crime and terrorism, are all matters of political debate. Overall, only around five per cent of references to public opinion on British news involve citizens making suggestions about what should be done in the world.
The report argues that this risks conveying an impression of a citizenry either unable or unwilling to put forward a political view. Instead, the most common type of citizen representation is a member of the public talking about their experiences, impressions or fears. According to Lewis, "On television, citizens may raise problems, but it’s left to politicians or experts to offer solutions."
The research team acknowledge that many in the news media and politics are concerned about public apathy in politics and that there is now a willingness among the media to broadcast citizens playing a more active role in political debate. "This might involve some radical departures from time-honored conventions, but it might also be a prerequisite for engaging a population increasingly disenchanted with political parties," Professor Lewis concludes.
The report, Images of citizenship on television news: breaking the cycle of decline in political participation, was written by Professor Justin Lewis, Dr Karin Wahl-Jorgensen and Sanna Inthorn. The research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.
|Total Lunar Eclipse May 15th|
|LOS ANGELES May 11, 2003 (AP) - If the weather cooperates, a total lunar eclipse will be seen across North America late Thursday — the first visible in the United States in three years — and just before dawn Friday in western Europe and western and southern Africa. |
A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth casts its shadow on the full moon, blocking the sunlight that otherwise reflects off the moon's surface. Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view with the naked eye.
In North America, the moon will remain totally eclipsed for 53 minutes, and should turn substantially darker and reddish in color.
The total eclipse will start at 8:13 PDT in Los Angeles, 11:13 p.m. EDT in New York.
A second lunar eclipse, on Nov. 8, will be visible from North and South America.
Eclipses once helped prove the Earth is round, because its shadow on the moon is curved.
Naval Observatory: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/LunarEclipse.html
Griffith Observatory: http://www.griffithobs.org/lunareclipse.html
|Make a Deep Impact - Get Your Name on a Comet!|
|NASA Press Release |
May 8, 2003 - People worldwide may celebrate July 4, 2005, as the day their names reach a comet. NASA is launching a campaign to send hundreds of thousands of names to comet Tempel 1.
The names will be carried on board NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft, the first deep-space mission designed to really reach out and touch a comet.
Mission scientists are confident an impact on a comet's nucleus will answer basic questions about the nature and composition of these celestial wanderers.
|Genre News: Angel Is Renewed! Jimi Hendrix, Jolene Blalock, Wonder Woman, Dawn of the Dead & More!|
|Angel Renewed for 5th Season - Maybe More! |
Hollywood May 12, 2003 (eXoNews) - Great news for Angel fans! David Boreanaz and company will not only return for a full fifth season, but they also get a super-strength lead-in for season five and a possible shot at season six.
According to an article by Josef Adalian in Sunday's Variety, Angel has definitely been renewed by The WB. Variety reports that the "Frog has ordered another full season of the Joss Whedon-creative skein and will air the show Wednesdays at 9 p.m., with relocated hit Smallville as its lead-in. Frog has an option for a sixth season."
Jeffrey Bell and Tim Minear will continue to produce the series. Minear, who was once on the Chris Carter Fox team for X-Files, also partnered with Joss Whedon for Firefly last season and wrote and directed this year's Angel season finale.
Minear is also said to be slated to produce a summer show called Wonder Falls, airing in August.
Variety also said that Charisma Carpenter "is not expected to return as a series regular." This may contradict what Miss Carpenter said in a recent chat on E! Online, but that was before the actress gave birth to her real-life baby, not to be confused with her Angel baby Jasmine (Gina Torres) who turned out to be the fourth season ultimate Big Bad.
Angel co-stars Alexis Denisof, Amy Acker, J. August Richards and Andy Hallett will presumably return.
Variety confirms that James Marsters (Spike) "has signed on [to Angel] to reprise his Buffy role as punker vamp Spike.
Other Buffy regulars may also make guest appearances next season, while Whedon has vowed to write several scripts and direct episodes of the show."
WB Entertainment chief Jordan Levin said: "Until we knew at what price we could close a deal for the series, as well as what the rest of our schedule cost, we couldn't make the call."
The official WB fall lineup announcement will be out by the time most of you read this. Other WB genre favs Smallville and Charmed were renewed previously.
Buffy's final episodes air for the next two weeks with David Boreanaz guesting as Angel on UPN, Tuesdays at 8 PM. Smallville airs a two-part season finale starting this week, following Buffy.
Official Angel Site - http://www.thewb.com/Shows/Show/0,7353,||139,00.html
LONDON May 12, 2003 (Reuters) - Swirling rainbow images penned by 1960s guitar legend Jimi Hendrix are set to go under the hammer in London later this week, auctioneers said Monday.
"Some recurring motifs include petals, leaves, blazing suns and hooded figures."
Official Jimi Hendrix website - http://www.jimi-hendrix.com
T'Pol Gets Married
Official UPN Enterprise site - http://www.upn.com/shows/enterprise
As yet no start date has been set for the production, and it is uncertain whether it will be Silver's next pic. Silver, whose WB/Village Roadshow pic "The Matrix: Reloaded" will be released Stateside on Thursday, is currently shooting "Gothika" under his Dark Castle banner.
That pic, helmed by Mathieu Kassovitz, stars Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz.
"Wonder Woman" is being overseen at the studio by senior VP of production Courtney Valenti and veep of production Dan Lin and at Silver Pictures by Susan Levin.
Levens, repped by WMA, has worked for the past two seasons as a writer and co-producer on the WB network's take on the Superman story, "Smallville."
Official DC Comics site - http://www.dccomics.com
Museum Gets Mulder's Office
The museum is located at 7021 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood Entertainment Museum site - http://www.hollywoodmuseum.com
Official X-Files site - http://www.thexfiles.com
Get some X-Files music at http://flatdisk.net/keyofx
Ving Rhames and Sarah Polley Remake Dead
Hollywood May 09, 2003 (Hollywood Reporter) - Ving Rhames and Sarah Polley are in final negotiations to star in Universal Pictures/Strike Entertainment's horror feature "Dawn of the Dead" for director Zack Snyder.
The project, a reinvention of the 1978 horror film of the same name, goes into production next month.
Written by James Gunn, "Dead" is about a mysterious plague that causes the newly dead to rise from their graves and begin to eat the living.
During the chaos, a core group of remaining humans takes refuge in a shopping mall. These include a young nurse (Polley), the police-uniformed Kenneth (Rhames), a mall employee who works at Best Buy, a gangbanger and his pregnant Russian girlfriend.
Strike's Marc Abraham and Eric Newman will produce "Dead" with the film's rights holder Richard P. Rubenstein.
Polley, repped by WMA, is best known for her work in such films as "The Sweat Hereafter," "Go," "Guinevere" and "The Weight of Water."