|VX Nerve Agent! |
Scalia Tape, X-Ray Vision
Feral Hogs! Smog! Speak Chimp?
Earth Impact and You!
|VX Nerve Agent - NJ and Delaware Just Say No!|
By Randall Chase
The Army plans to neutralize the VX at Newport by mixing it with hot water and sodium hydroxide. The resulting chemical would be hydrolysate, which the Army and DuPont have compared to liquid drain cleaner.
|Scalia Tape Grab Violates Free Speech|
By HOLBROOK MOHR
Because the marshal failed to do so, her actions should lead to a reprimand or other disciplinary action, according to the letter.
|Most Americans Oppose Gay Marriage|
|LOS ANGELES April 11, 2004 (AP) - Most Americans oppose gay marriage and many believe homosexuality is "against God's will," but otherwise consider themselves tolerant of gays, according to a Los Angeles Times poll. |
By a margin of 55 to 41 percent, those polled agreed with the statement that "if gays are allowed to marry, the institution of marriage will be degraded."
About half favored a U.S. constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman, while 42 percent opposed it, according to the poll published Saturday on the newspaper's Web site.
The telephone poll of 1,616 adults around the country was conducted from March 27-30. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Other recent surveys have found at least half of Americans oppose gay marriage, but fewer support amending the Constitution to ban it.
A CBS-New York Times poll last month found only 38 percent saying gay marriage is an "important enough issue to be worth changing the Constitution for," and an ABC-Washington Post poll found 54 percent saying the matter should be left to the states.
Only about a quarter of those polled for the Los Angeles Times felt homosexuals should be allowed to legally marry and 38 percent believed they should be allowed to form civil unions. About a third said that neither type of union should be permitted.
While about six in 10 people felt homosexual relationships are "against God's will," a similar percentage felt that legal recognition of same-sex marriages was inevitable.
Sixty percent of those polled described themselves as sympathetic to the gay community. About the same percentage said they would be willing to vote for an openly gay political candidate.
|X-Ray Vision - How Superman Sees Lightning|
Florida Institute of Technology Press Release
In so doing, they've learned how lightning might look to the Man of Steel. More importantly, they've learned that lightning is much more complex than once thought.
They discovered that lightning flickers in X-rays just as it does in visible light, but 10,000 times faster. Their research is published in this month's issue of Geophysical Research Letters.
As a reference, one could imagine that, viewed in X-rays, a lightning strike would look like a series of flashes descending from the cloud much like the flashbulbs popping around the stadium during a Super Bowl kickoff.
Further surprising to the scientists are the X-rays' energies.
|Al Qaeda Bomb Threat to Avoid Vacation|
|DUESSELDORF, Germany April 8, 2004 (Reuters) - A Croatian woman was convicted Thursday of disturbing the peace for phoning a bomb threat to Duesseldorf airport to get out of a vacation with her boyfriend. |
The woman was given a suspended sentence after admitting in court that she called authorities and, in a hoax, made an al Qaeda bomb threat because her parents disapproved of her boyfriend.
"I didn't know how I would be able to tell my parents about a holiday with him and I couldn't really say to him 'Listen, my parents wouldn't approve'," the woman, 28, identified only as Marina B., told the Duesseldorf state court Wednesday.
"Then I had the idea that if the trip could somehow be blocked by someone else, for example a bomb threat, then that would solve all the problems," she added. Her flight departed anyway, several hours late.
The threat prompted authorities to shut down Germany's third busiest airport on a busy Sunday in September, stranding 64,000 people for hours, while police searched in vain for a bomb.
Police initially arrested her boyfriend, after tracing the threatening phone calls to his cell phone, when the couple returned from Spain. He denied making the calls.
Prosecutors had demanded a three-year jail sentence for the woman. But the court opted to give her a two-year suspended sentence. Separately, she faces a damage claim of 1.5 million euros ($1.9 million) from the airport and airlines.
Texas A&M University Press Release
But the survey indicated the rate of increase since the mid-1990s was nearly double of that of a few years earlier.
This rapid increase came as a surprise, said Dr. Billy Higginbotham, Extension wildlife and fisheries specialist, and conductor of the survey.
When asked to evaluate the damage feral hogs have done since arriving, most of the landowners put the cost in the thousands of dollars. The average damage reported by all respondents was $4,184.
|Poirot to X-Box?|
LONDON April 5, 2004 (AP) - Enthusiasts of mystery fiction will have the chance to play detective when some of Agatha Christie's classic books are brought to interactive life in computer games.
By John Heilprin
Leavitt told reporters summoned to his office Thursday that the agency will produce next week a final list of counties — up to 506 — that do not meet the more stringent air quality standards for ozone.
State and local officials will have three years to submit plans on how they intend to clean the dirty air and come into compliance.
The tougher smog requirement and a new standard for soot, or fine particles, was issued by the Clinton administration out of concern that vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly, and people with respiratory illnesses were not adequately protected by the old standards.
The new standard is based on an eight-hour, rather than one-hour, measurement of smog averaged over three days. It also requires fewer parts per billion of ozone in the air, from 120 parts per billion down to 85.
|Pipeline Shooter Fined $17 Million|
|ANCHORAGE, Alaska April 9, 2004 (Reuters) — A man convicted of shooting at the trans-Alaska oil pipeline in October of 2001 and causing 285,000 gallons of crude to coat a forested area has been ordered to pay more than $17 million in restitution for the act, state officials said Wednesday. |
It is highly unlikely that Daniel Lewis, now in jail in Fairbanks after receiving a 16-year sentence last June, will be able to come up with such compensation, officials acknowledged. Lewis, who shot the 800-mile oil line near its midpoint, has little employment history and only sparse sources of income, they said.
But at a restitution hearing in state Superior Court Tuesday, Judge Jane Kauvar determined that Lewis would be able to pay something for the damage he caused once he leaves jail, said Assistant Alaska Attorney General Kevin Burke, who prosecuted the case.
"What the judge found was he should be able to pay, while he's on probation, to pay $1,000 (a year)," Burke said.
The restitution is supposed to go to Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., the consortium that operates the pipeline and its marine terminal, Burke said. Alyeska spent at least $17 million cleaning up the spill, he said. The shooting forced the pipeline to shut down for two days, as Alyeska worked to plug the hole through which the oil was spewing. It also forced a near-shutdown of North Slope oil production.
Lewis was convicted in December 2002 of shooting the pipeline and causing the spill, the second-largest ever from a rupture or hole in the trans-Alaska pipeline. A jury found him guilty of criminal mischief, assault, and drunk driving, all felonies, and the misdemeanor counts of oil pollution and misconduct involving a weapon. Lewis is from Livengood, a small community north of Fairbanks and near the pipeline's midpoint. He has a long history of alcohol-fueled crimes.
Burke said the order demanding financial compensation was important, despite Lewis's limited resources.
"He did cause around $17 million, at least, in loss to Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.," Burke said.
And the order also sends a message to others who might contemplate such acts of vandalism, he said.
Zoological Society of London News Release
All completed surveys returned by 31st May 2004 will be entered into a free prize draw to win a family ticket to visit Whipsnade Wild Animal Park.
|Trip to Mars - Cheap!|
Russia April 9, 2004 (BBC) - A group of Russian space experts says it is planning a privately financed manned mission to Mars. One of the team, Georgy Uspensky of the Central Research Institute for Machine-Building, said it would happen within 10 years and cost $3-5bn.
|Earth Impact and You!|
University of Arizona Press Release
It next summarizes thermal radiation, seismic shaking, ejecta deposition (where all that flying stuff will land), and air-blast effects in language that non-scientists understand.
He discussed the project recently at the 35th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference meeting in Houston, Texas.
That person turned out to be Marcus, who is majoring in computer engineering and physics. He applied to work on the project as a paid intern through the UA/NASA Space Grant Program. Marcus built the web-based program around four environmental effects. In order of their occurrence, they are:
If the Chicxulub Crater-impact occurred today, glass in Houston would break. Masonry and plaster would crack. Trees and bushes would shake, ponds would form waves and become turbid with mud, sand and gravel banks would cave in, and bells in Houston schools and churches would ring from ground shaking.
The UA team used that information to describe damage in terms of buildings and bridges collapsing, cars bowled over by wind, or forests being blown down.
|Genre News: Returning TV Shows 2004-5, X-Files: The Movie II, 5 Days, Sky Captain, Joe Strummer & More!|
What's Coming Back Next Fall and What Ain't?
The Handler, Boston Public, Game Over (thank God!), and The Practice aren't on the list.
I don't watch sitcoms much, so I've never even seen of some of these shows (I like Whoopi, but when is it on again?) There are others that I don't care a damn about, but if there is any genre justice in TVLand, you should all go vote for Tru Calling and Fox will see the results and sign our favorite future-seeing rewind gal up for another season.
The only other show we worry about in the USA Today list is Star Trek: Enterprise. I won't go so far as to say I really care if it comes back now that Spike has started re-running DS9 weekdays, but the Federation should always live long and prosper.
Maybe Mr. Berman will hire back some of the writers and co-producers who made the franchise what it used to be - if he can coax them away from Dead Zone and Touching Evil. Maybe he'll get a new theme song?
So check out the USA Today "Save Our Shows" Poll. Voting continues through April 19th. The poll is at http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/save-our-shows.htm
As of this writing, Whoopi, The District and Star Trek: Enterprise were leading in the Keep category.
As for the shows that are definitely coming back, another article on the USA Today site names these: 24, 7th Heaven, 8 Simple Rules, According to Jim, Alias, All of Us, American Dreams, Bernie Mac Show, Charmed (Yea!), Cold Case, Crossing Jordan (Yea!), CSI, CSI: Miami, ER, Eve, Everwood, Everybody Loves Raymond, George Lopez, Gilmore Girls, Girlfriends, Grounded for Life, Half & Half, Hope & Faith, JAG, Jamie Kennedy Experiment, Joan of Arcadia (Yea!), Judging Amy, King of Queens, King of the Hill, Las Vegas (Yea!), Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Less than Perfect, Life with Bonnie, Malcolm in the Middle, My Wife & Kids, Navy NCIS (Yea!), NYPD Blue, One on One, One Tree Hill, Reba, Scrubs, Smallville (Yea!), Still Standing, That '70s Show, The O.C., The Simpsons, The West Wing, Third Watch, Two and a Half Men, What I Like About You, Will & Grace, and Yes, Dear.
[I'm surprised That 70's Show is still on the air, aren't you? Talk about instant reruns! Ed]
Those who ain't coming back (and we don't even get a vote on these) according to USA Today, are: 10-8, A Minute with Stan Hooper, All About the Andersons, Angel, Becker, Boomtown, Boston Public, Century City, Coupling, Cracking Up, Ed, Frasier, Friends, Game Over, Good Morning, Miami, Hack, Jake 2.0, Karen Sisco, Kingdom Hospital, L.A. Dragnet, Like Family, Luis, Lyon's Den, Married to the Kellys, Miss Match, Oliver Beene, Run of the House, Skin, Tarzan, The Big House, The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H., The D.A., The Handler, The Mullets, The Parkers, The Practice, The Stones, Threat Matrix, Tracy Morgan Show, Wanda at Large, and Wonderfalls.
Angel's Bell Rings on Alias
LOS ANGELES April 8, 2004 (Zap2it.com) - Jeffrey Bell, a writer and executive producer on "Angel," is jumping to another cult-favorite series when The WB show ends in May.
Hollywood April 8, 2004 (AP) - David Duchovny expects that Mulder and Scully will ride again one day. Duchovny said a second big-screen installment of "The X-Files" remains in the works. Though he doesn't know the plot, Duchovny said "X-Files" creator Chris Carter has signed off on the story premise.
Mods in the Key of X - http://flatdisk.net/keyofx
Richard Clarke Goes Hollywood
Randy Quaid in Five Days
Quaid added that the miniseries focuses on mystery rather than action.
Insiders close to Rodriguez insist that -- at least for now -- he is unwilling to rejoin the Directors Guild just to direct "Princess of Mars."
When Rodriguez resigned last month, he portrayed his departure as reflecting his unorthodox plans for "Sin City" -- such as having Quentin Tarantino helm part of the film, possibly using a "special guest director" title that would not be available under DGA guidelines.
Lifetime Pulls Plug on Coven
Lifetime also has given a go-ahead to second seasons of "1 800 Missing" and "Wild Card," its two Saturday primetime hourlong melodramas, which premiered last summer. Each will get an 18-episode run.
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
Conran created the movie's story and backgrounds in a computer, then went out and shot real actors (Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law and Angelina Jolie) against blue screens. The actors were then digitally composited into the film's environments, which were enhanced in post-production.
"I do think, given how expensive films have gotten, to some extent, they're going to have to [embrace it]. They have to start thinking of something to do a little differently. I don't think they can keep edging up these budgets the way they are.
"I'm [not so much] concerned about how much these films cost, [but] that they can't afford to be terribly risky with them, and so what you get are films that ... may be very entertaining, but they're very safe. And they're very much generic in their own way."
"Let's Rock Again!" opens with a montage of Clash-era footage of Strummer before ultimately settling into his stint fronting the Mescaleros. The film includes everything from performance footage to interviews with the subject, and spotlights public reaction to Strummer ranging from fanatical in Japan to indifferent in the United States.
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