Cassidy Deline, The Stanford Daily, reports:

Ever since BIC pens worth pennies have proved capable of defeating expensive, steel bike locks, campus cyclists have worried about the safety of their bikes. [Ed: What about the bomb?]

PhysOrg relays:

New scientific findings suggest that a large comet may have exploded over North America 12,900 years ago, explaining riddles that scientists have wrestled with for decades, including an abrupt cooling of much of the planet and the extinction of large mammals.

JOHN MULCAHY, Ann Arbor News Staff Reporter, reports:

At the busy Bello Vino food market in the Plymouth Road Mall, customers are used to getting fresh, locally grown produce much of the year. They just may not know how local.

About 4.5 miles from the store, Bello Vino owner Louis Ferris has turned 85 acres of his 107-acre estate in Superior Township into a farming operation that includes a 1-acre-plus vegetable garden, an orchard with peach, pear, apple, cherry and plum trees, 750 blueberry bushes, raspberry bushes, strawberries, a 2,100-square-foot greenhouse, eight bee hives and a flock of 128 breeding ewes to produce lambs.

All of that food is used to supply Bello Vino with up to 30 percent of its produce over the course of the year.

On the Time-Nuts mailing list, Randy@synergy… writes


Sorry to post again, but it just dawned on me that I meant to post some
info concerning M12+, M12, GT, UT+, and probably even VP receivers. This
issue is one of the reasons the M12M is late coming out of the chute. If
I have posted this before I apologize. Just too many things rattling
around in my brain.

CRITICAL: Whenever you run a Self-Test on any of these receivers, MAKE
ABSOLUTELY SURE that you wait until you have gotten the response message
before you issue any additional commands. If you get REALLY lucky and
send your command at EXACTLY the wrong time while the UART is in limbo
you can get stuck in a lovely “do…while” loop that can only be exited
by cycling power to the receiver. A clue that this has occurred is that
the 1PPS also stops. The Self-Test code in the M12M has been changed to
keep this from happening.

Looking back, this explains a lot of the unexplained random failures in
cell towers reported over the years by a couple of the carriers.
Absolutely unrepeatable. Almost impossible to troubleshoot. We just
found it by accident.

Now, before any of you wise guys try to repeat this problem, bear in
mind that statistically it seems to happen maybe once per 200,000 Self


WX radar image of may flies
This radar image from the National Weather Service shows a gigantic hatch of mayflies last Friday evening along the Mississippi River in portions of Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. (Photo/AP)

LEE BERGQUIST (lbergquist journalsentinel com), Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, reports:

It wasn’t rain. It certainly wasn’t snow.

So what was it last Friday that turned the radar in the La Crosse area into a sea of white?

It turns out that it was a gigantic hatch of mayflies.

The bugs were so thick that they showed up as a rainstorm of mayflies on National Weather Service radar.

For about 1 1/2 hours starting at 9 p.m., the insects drifted north, with the radar showing them blanketing areas along the Mississippi River.

“They were dive-bombing in the root beer floats,” said Gary Rudy, owner of Rudy’s Drive-In, whose family has been slinging burgers and soft drinks since 1966.

“It hasn’t been that bad in a long time.”

At Riverfest, the city’s summer festival, the mayflies were buzzing revelers, and folks were scraping the insects off the bottoms of their shoes.

“They have a fishy smell when you step on them,” said Gar Amunson, superintendent of parks for the city. “They are an annoyance.”

The weather service reported that “some roads across the Mississippi River in and around La Crosse were covered with bugs, piling into ‘drifts’ on bridges over the Mississippi River and its tributaries.”

Photo: Three Armed Baby
A doctor inspects a 59-day-old baby boy who was born with three arms, at a hospital in Shanghai, in east China Monday, May 29, 2006. Doctors are checking the boys physical condition before deciding whether to remove his third arm. (AP Photo)

Date: Mon, 15 May 2006 20:56:12 +0100 (IST)
Subject: Free calls to any phone within the US and Canada with Skype
From: “Skype”

Free calls within the US and Canada to all phones.


Calls to friends and family on Skype have always been free. Now we’ve made calls within the US and Canada to all phones totally free till the end of the year.

Starting from today it doesn’t matter if it’s a Skype-to-Skype call or a call to landline or mobile phone - it’s free as long as you’re calling from within the US or Canada to US or Canadian phone number.

Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 11:56:37 -0500
From: “NuFone Operations”
Subject: NuFone Update: DID Outage

Telesthetic has chosen to terminate our DID services before allowing us
to properly migrate the network elements to our new carrier.

A solution is in progress, but due to Telesthetic’s lack of cooperation
in this situation, your Toll-Free and Michigan DID services have been effected.
Outbound calling has not been effected by this situation whatsoever.

Unless Telesthetic elects to do the right thing and restore our services,
your Toll-Free numbers will be down for a few hours if not most of the day
although we hope it will be much shorter.

As for Michigan DIDs, we currently have no other carrier that is capable
of porting those numbers and Telesthetic has been completely uncooperative
with providing us with recommendations on who we could turn to. If anyone
has any suggestions, we more than welcome them.

We will post updates on our website as we have more information to provide.

Thank you for your continued support.

The NuFone Network

Steven J. Vaughn-Nicols,, reports:

Sun Microsystems Inc. is ending its Cobalt server product line, but that’s not the end of the Cobalt story. Sun has elected to release the Cobalt RaQ 550 server appliance source code under a Berkeley style open-source license, thus giving the old product line new life.


On BoingBoing, Mark Frauenfelder writes:

I’ve been opening my bananas stem-side first all my life. On Friday, David showed me how monkeys open bananas. They pinch them on the other end. Boy, it’s a lot easier. I’ll never open a banana the dumb way again.

Reader comment: Kevin says: “I learned this genius monkey technique a few years ago and it was a defining moment in my life. An added bonus is that the stem end of the banana pops out easily once you’ve eaten down that far.”

Jonny Evans,, reports:

Microsoft has killed Internet Explorer on the Mac.

The software giant will end support for it at the end of the year ( 13 days) and will make no additional security or performance updates available from that point.

joris Evers, Staff Writer, CNET, reports:

A new worm that targets users of America Online’s AOL Instant Messenger is believed to be the first that actually chats with the intended victim to dupe the target into activating a malicious payload, IM security vendor IMlogic warned Tuesday.

According to IMlogic, the worm, dubbed IM.Myspace04.AIM, has arrived in instant messages that state: “lol thats cool” and included a URL to a malicious file “clarissa17.pif.” When unsuspecting users have responded, perhaps asking if the attachment contained a virus, the worm has replied: “lol no its not its a virus”, IMlogic said.

Editors at write about The Pebble and the Avalanche by Dr. Moshe Yudkowsky:

Important revolutions of the past 30 years include the Internet, personal computers, the XML programming language, and the breakup of AT&T. What do they have in common? All are based on innovations that break technology apart. After breaking a technology apart, it still works — phone calls could still be made after the breakup of AT&T — but it is composed of smaller and more flexible pieces that can be used to create new innovations. This process is called “disaggregation,” so named because the pieces of the technology that were formerly stuck together are pried apart but not destroyed. Using the simple metaphor of the pebble and the avalanche — prying rocks loose from a mountaintop releases tremendous energy — this book explains the workings and benefits of disaggregation. Author Yudkowsky uses case studies from familiar companies and industries to explain how to generate similar innovations, in the process identifying strategies and tactics that maximize these innovations.

Silly String on a Trip Wire

Rob at reports, that Alex says:

I’m a former Marine I in Afghanistan. Silly string has served me well in Combat especially in looking for I.A.Ds., simply put, booby traps. When you spray the silly sting in dark areas, especially when you doing house to house fighting. On many occasions the silly string has saved me and my men’s lives.


Inexplicata - The Journal of Hispanic Ufology, via Scott Corrales (), via reports:

CIUFOS-La Pampa (Raul Oscar Chaves)

(Editor’s Note: One of the most startling aspects of the 2002 cattle mutilation wave in Argentina was the disappearance of tremendous amounts of water from the large cisterns known as “tanques australianos” (literally, Australian tanks) in Argentina’s cattle ranching communities. Entire swimming pools were drained empty in Santa Rosa, Argentina, around this same time. As a curious aside to this situation, psychic Silvia Browne, a regular guest on TV’s Montel Williams Show and radio’s Coast to Coast with George Noory, mentioned a year ago that a similar swimming pool draining in the USA had been brought about “by UFOs”. Food for thought. — Scott Coralles)

In the early morning hours of October 31, 2005, 70,000 liters of water were found to be missing from a tank habitually employed to provide livestock with water.. Miguel Garrone, who leases the “La Caba’a” ranch, says that the tank was filled to the maximum on Saturday evening and was found completely empty in the early morning hours of Monday. No signs of breakage or filtration were found, nor signs of moisture in its perimeter that could provide an answer to such a strange phenomenon.

The livestock rancher indicated his astonishment, stressing that this is not the first time that such an event occurs in the area.

Hippo Water Roller

The Hippo Water Roller, via BoingBoing:

Millions of people worldwide are forced to walk long distances on a daily basis to collect their water requirements for the day. Traditional methods of collecting water include the use of 20-liter (5-gallon) buckets, which are laboriously carried on the head. Extensive suffering occurs in the process. This method is very time and energy consuming and is also the cause of many serious health problems.

The Hippo Water Roller was specifically designed to alleviate the suffering caused by a lack of access to water. The Hippo Water Roller is a barrel-shaped container designed to transport 90 liters (20 gallons) of water. It comprises of a drum with a large screw-on cap and a clip-on steel handle.

Family Photo
Family Photo (Sharon Cekada/Associated Press)

Associated Press, reports:

APPLETON, Wisconsin — When Emily the cat went missing a month ago, her owners looked for their wandering pet where she had ended up before — the local animal shelter.

But this week they learned Emily sailed to France.

Lesley McElhiney figures her cat went prowling around a paper warehouse near home and ended up in a cargo container that went by ship across the Atlantic Ocean and was trucked to Nancy, a city in northeastern France near the border with Germany.

Employees at a French lamination company found her in the container, checked her tags and called Emily’s veterinarian back in the U.S., John Palarski.

On Slashdot, xbmodder writes:

 ”Two tier one ISPs are down today. At about 23:30PST both Verio and Level 3 starting having problems with routes. According to Level 3 this is a software upgrade gone awry. Is this the end for Level 3?” Many, many reports about this are coming in, and if you’re wondering why the stories were rather sparse overnight, it’s because it’s difficult to post them without internet access. Hope everyone else is back online too.

By DAWN WALTON, Friday’s Globe and Mail, reports:

Calgary — Forget the stereotype about dopey potheads. It seems marijuana could be good for your brain.

While other studies have shown that periodic use of marijuana can cause memory loss and impair learning and a host of other health problems down the road, new research suggests the drug could have some benefits when administered regularly in a highly potent form.

Most “drugs of abuse” such as alcohol, heroin, cocaine and nicotine suppress growth of new brain cells. However, researchers found that cannabinoids promoted generation of new neurons in rats’ hippocampuses.

Hippocampuses are the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory, and the study held true for either plant-derived or the synthetic version of cannabinoids.

“This is quite a surprise,” said Xia Zhang, an associate professor with the Neuropsychiatry Research Unit at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

Chronic use of marijuana may actually improve learning memory when the new neurons in the hippocampus can mature in two or three months,” he added.

The research by Dr. Zhang and a team of international researchers is to be published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, but their findings are on-line now.

The scientists also noticed that cannabinoids curbed depression and anxiety, which Dr. Zhang says, suggests a correlation between neurogenesis and mood swings. (Or, it at least partly explains the feelings of relaxation and euphoria of a pot-induced high.)

AFP reports

WASHINGTON (AFP) - More bicycles than cars have been sold in the United States over the past 12 months, with rising gas prices prompting commuters to opt for two wheels instead of four.

Not since the oil crisis of 1973 have bicycles sold in such big numbers, according to Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong, an industry association.

“Bicycle sales are near an all-time high with 19 million sold last year — close to the 20 million sold during the oil embargo in the early 1970s,” said Blumenthal, whose association is based in Boulder in the western state of Colorado.

The US Chamber of Commerce says more bicycles have been sold than cars over the past 12 months.

CNN reports:

MOBILE, Alabama (CNN) — More than 656,000 homes and businesses across Alabama were without electricity Tuesday, and water and debris still closed off many roads.

In a demonstration of Katrina’s wide reach, more than 182,000 customers in the Birmingham area and another 132,000 in and around Tuscaloosa — both cities more than 150 miles inland — were without power.

Alabama Power spokesman Bernie Fogarty warned customers they would be in for a “prolonged outage.”

Photo: Helicopter
U.S. Border Patrol Yuma sector public affairs officer Michael Gramley pulls the cover off one of the rotors of a Border Patrol helicopter that was struck by a rock Tuesday night. Sun photo/Alfred J. Hernandez

Dan Whitcomb, Reuters, via Google News, reports:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A U.S. Border Patrol helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing after illegal immigrants pelted it with baseball-sized rocks, damaging a rotor, a spokesman for the agency said on Thursday.

Photo: James Doohan
Doohan’s last public appearance was in October 2004 when he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The BBC reports:

Actor James Doohan, who played the chief engineer Montgomery Scott in Star Trek, has died at the age of 85.
Doohan, whose role was immortalised in the line “Beam me up, Scotty”, had been suffering from pneumonia and Alzheimer’s disease, his agent said.

His wife of 28 years, Wende, was by his side, Steve Stevens added.

Image: Play Pump

via BoingBoing:

The Playpump is an ingenious made-in-Africa water pump driven by a childrens’ roundabout. The kids spin, water is pumped.

The Playpumps are specifically designed and patented roundabouts (1) that drive conventional borehole pumps (2), while entertaining children. The revolutionary pump design converts rotational movement to reciprocating linear movement by a driving mechanism consisting of only two working parts.

This makes the pump highly effective, easy to operate and very economical by keeping costs and maintenance to an absolute minimum. The pump is capable of producing 1400 litres per hour at 16 rpm from a depth of 40 metres and is effective up to a depth of 100 metres. A typical hand pump installation cannot compete with this delivery rate, even with substantial effort.

Playing on a roundabout or merry-go-round has always been fun for children, so there is never a shortage of ‘volunteers’. As the children spin, water is pumped from underground (3) into a 2500 litre tank (4), standing seven metres above the ground. A simple tap provides easy access for the mothers and children drawing water (5).

China Daily reports:

(Xinhua) — Two persons died of bubonic plague and three others are recovering from the disease in the Tibet Autonomous Region in southwest China, the regional government’s information office reported on Saturday.

Next Page »