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Monday, August 30

when nerds protest

Anti-Republican Protest Pictures from NYC
I didn't go but apparently a lot of people did. I guess I missed out. I could've been thrown in jail for taking a picture.

Slate blogs the RNC

Tuesday, August 24

Signals sent by Sonic Hedgehog Help Ensure a Healthy Baby
Interfering with developmental signals sent by the sonic hedgehog protein to a fetus can cause debilitating birth-defects. Although interference early in development creates cyclopic embryos, progressively later interference mimics the entire range of symptoms seen in children with the birth-defect holoprosencephaly, or HPE. Intriguingly, interference after sonic hedgehog has already established itself in the divided brain affects only the embryo's face, and holding off just a bit longer results in no detectable malformation of either brain or face.

Scientists believe that HPE may arise from a combination of a faulty sonic hedgehog gene, present from conception, and varying times of exposure to environmental factors that further compromise the protein's signaling. In this scenario, early exposure leads to more severe defects and sometimes death, while later exposure can leave a child with only minor facial abnormalities.

Play Sonic the Hedgehog | About Sonic Hedgehog (the protein)

Wednesday, August 18

Marine Drive
Marine Drive in Mumbai
:from Mumbai Photo Blog

Mumbai or Bombay? The UN is Confused
The UN has now decided to publish two manuals to standardize names across the world. The names of countries, cities, hills and rivers have been changing so frequently that postal services, search and rescue workers, tourists and public transport companies are struggling to cope.

Some of the most high profile name changes are those of Bombay to Mumbai and Peking to Beijing, and there are many more across Africa and India where local names are being re-adopted to throw off colonial associations. The problem has been made worse by the collapse of the former Soviet Union, where large numbers of countries in central Asia are changing the names of their cities in order to revert to pre-Communist times.

The former Yugoslav republic, which now calls itself Macedonia, found itself close to war with neighboring Greece over its new name because Greece feared an attempt at annexation of its northern province, also called Macedonia.

In Gulf War I, wrong places were reportedly bombed because Western defense forces were not up to date with the changes in names.

Wikipedia on the Calcutta/Kolkota Name Confusion
| Guardian article

Monday, August 9

Condom industry line
Many condoms in India are
used for industrial purposes.

Condoms Oil Wheels of Industry
The Indian city of Varanasi is getting through around 600,000 condoms a day, but this is no population control exercise. Instead, condoms are being used to make waterproof roofs and roads and Banarasi saris.

The latex in condoms mixes with concrete to make road surfaces smooth and resistant to cracks. Similarly, on roofs, contractors are spreading condoms on the layer beneath the cement plaster. As heat penetrates, the condom spreads out to make a waterproof layer that prevents water seepage through the roof. In the garment industry, some weavers registered with fake identities to get their hands on the precious prophylactics that soften fabrics and make the process of weaving faster.

Professor Ramakant of King Georges Medical College estimates that only 20 to 25 percent of condoms produced in the HIV-infested country are used in sexual

Condoms Move Out of the Bedroom: Discussion | Boing Boing Post

Friday, August 6

Homemade Cruise Missile
Homemade Cruise Missile

Missile Found Outside Lansdale City Meeting
Police evacuated Borough Hall shortly before Borough Council’s 8 p.m. meeting – interrupting two separate council committee meetings being held at the time – after discovering that a missile in the back seat of a car was pointed straight at the building.

The missile arrived in the LeSabre of Lansdale resident Mark Shotwell. Shotwell‚ who was not taken into custody or suspected of wrongdoing in the event‚ was driving south on the Pennsylvania Turnpike earlier in the evening when he pulled over for a moment’s rest and found the object.

“I was traveling back from Wilkes Barre and I pulled over to the side of the road to take a leak‚” Shotwell said. “I didn’t realize it was real until I got it here.”

Shotwell said he found the device‚ which he initially thought was just a toy‚ leaning up against a trash can on the turnpike‚ not far from the Allentown exit.

He drove the remaining 45 minutes back home and showed the item to his father‚ a retired officer with the United States Air Force.

Shotwell said his father told him what he had and advised him to report the item directly to the police department.

“I was a little shaky‚” he said. “I was handling the thing‚ playing with it like a toy.”

The object weighed about 5 pounds and was about 2 feet long. The object resembled a surface-to-air missile.

Monday, August 2

The Rocket

Roger Clemens Ejected From Son's Little League Game
Houston Astros pitcher Roger Clemens was asked to leave a youth baseball game over the weekend for arguing a close call and spitting sunflower seeds at an umpire's leg.

Clemens has racked up 322 wins and 4,240 strikeouts in his 21-year major league career.

The Rocket