November 2003

Protesters topple a statue of US President George W. Bush during a ‘STOP BUSH’ protest organized by the Stop the War coalition in central London(AFP/Eva-Lotta Jansson)

Herald-Sun (Australia) reports:

LONDON Tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators, shadowed by thousands of police, yesterday marched through the heart of London to tell US President George W. Bush he is not welcome in Britain.

In a theatrical climax, they cheered the toppling of a statue of the President in the heartland of his staunchest ally.
Throngs of demonstrators pulled a flag over the head of the 8 metre effigy and heaved it down with ropes, in a symbolic echo of the destruction of Saddam’s statue in Baghdad.

Then protesters tore it to pieces and stamped the remnants, Iraqi style, into the flagstones of Trafalgar Square.


Eric W. Weisstein reports:

November 18, 2003–This week, German mathematician and teacher Walter Trump and French mathematician Christian Boyer announced the discovery of a perfect magic cube of order 5, thus settling the long-open question of the existence of such a cube.

New Scientist reports:

A functional electronic nano-device has been manufactured using biological self assembly for the first time.

Israeli scientists harnessed the construction capabilities of DNA and the electronic properties of carbon nanotubes to create the self-assembling nano-transistor. The work has been greeted as “outstanding” and “spectacular” by nanotechnology experts.


A reconstruction of the growth of Baltimore, Maryland, over the last 200 years. The U.S. Geological Survey used historical records as well as Landsat satellite data to create this sequence. Courtesy USGS via NASA.

Frozen North (via writes:

At the risk of sounding much older than I really am, I’ve been on the Internet since 1987. In that time, I’ve seen a number of Internet fads come and go. Some were excesses of the bubble years, but others weren’t.

A fad, for purposes of this article, is an idea or technology which is briefly popular, but can’t outlast its own novelty value. Once people get over the newness of it all, there isn’t really anything special left. Here are the ten which stand out most in my mind.

The FDA on Friday approved a spearmint-flavored chewable version of Northern Ireland-based Galen Holdings’ oral contraceptive Ovcon 35, the Baltimore Sunreports (Baltimore Sun, 11/15). The pill is the first chewable oral contraceptive pill for women, according to an FDA release. The chewable pills, which Bristol-Myers Squibb will manufacture and Rockaway, N.J.-based Warner Chilcott will market, contain progestin and estrogen — the same hormones used in standard birth control pills. The pills will be available in a 28-day regimen with 21 white tablets containing norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol and seven green placebo pills that induce a menstrual period (FDA release, 11/14). Women will be able to chew the pills or swallow them whole; women who chew the pills must drink an eight-ounce glass of water afterward to ensure that the full dose reaches their stomachs. The chewable version of Ovcon 35 has similar side effects to other birth control pills, such as an increased risk for blood clots, heart attack and stroke, Reuters reports (Reuters, 11/14). (via Daily Reproductive Health Report)


U.S. Army combat engineers inspect the damage November 14, 2003 to a building in a former Republican Guard compound in Baghdad, which was shelled by the U.S. Air Forces. U.S. forces destroyed a building in the compound that they said resistance fighters used to launch attacks and struck more suspected mortar and rocket-launch sites. (Goran Tomasevic/Reuters)


Julian Borger in Washington and Rory McCarthy in Baghdad, The Guardian, report:

The White House yesterday drew up emergency plans to accelerate the transfer of power in Iraq after being shown a devastating CIA report warning that the guerrilla war was in danger of escalating out of US control.

The report, an “appraisal of situation” commissioned by the CIA director, George Tenet, and written by the CIA station chief in Baghdad, said that the insurgency was gaining ground among the population, and already numbers in the tens of thousands.

LYNDA EDWARDS, Miami New Times, reports:

Captured on South Beach, Satan later escaped. His demons and the horrible Bloody Mary are now killing people. God has fled. Avenging angels hide out in the Everglades. And other tales from children in Dade’s homeless shelters.

BBC reports:

This week computer viruses celebrate 20 years of causing trouble and strife to all types of computer users.

US student Fred Cohen was behind the first documented virus that was created as an experiment in computer security.

A correspondent in Texas writes:

A FORMER shipping clerk pleaded guilty in a US court today to shipping himself from New York to Dallas in a wooden cargo crate.

Hiawatha Bray, The Boston Globe, writes:

MANILA — To hear how far and deep the outsourcing of American jobs has traveled, listen to Christian Mancenon in barely accented English take an order over the phone for HBO from a man in Lebanon, Ill.

“I’m showing here that you love movies,” the 25-year-old Filipino said, while looking at his computer screen in a low-rise building in Makati, Manila’s business district. Mancenon and 600 others work for a subsidiary of Philippines Long Distance Telephone Co. that fields customer calls for Dish Network satellite TV of Littleton, Colo.

Like India, Pakistan, and Russia, the Philippines has a growing share of the world’s high-tech jobs that have fled high-cost places, such as Massachusetts and California’s Silicon Valley. But even workers filling customer orders, with few skills, have trouble competing with the $300 a month Mancenon is paid in the Philippines, one-fifth of what a worker in the United States would get for doing the same job.

Chris Gaither, The Boston Globe, writes:

FRAMINGHAM — Andre Brassard keeps sending out resumes but has largely given up on the profession that employed him for a decade: writing software.

In his old department at Mindspeed Technologies Inc., most of the software engineers are gone. The work Brassard and his colleagues did is now largely done in Ukraine for one-quarter to one-third the cost.

“What has happened to me is irreversible,” Brassard said. “It’s not like the downturn of 10 years ago. Then it was just bad times.”

D.C. Denison, The Boston Globe, writes:

HANOVER, N.H. — From where Diane Noyes is sitting, in a modest college cafe near the campus of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, outsourcing is not a threat.

She’s thought about it, studied it as a member of Tuck’s class of 2004, but instead sees the business trend that is sending thousands of American jobs overseas as a mixture of opportunity and necessity, both for her and the US economy.

“Outsourcing may actually work to the advantage of American-trained business students,” Noyes, 29, said. “Management is something that developing nations will probably outsource to us.”