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2008 Muzzle Awards

3) Lancaster County (Nebraska) District Judge Jeffre Cheuvront

For forbidding all witnesses, including the alleged victim, from using the word ‘rape’ and other terms in a trial for first-degree sexual assault, a 2008 Jefferson Muzzle goes to…Lancaster County (Nebraska) District Judge Jeffre Cheuvront.

Full Story: The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Speech.

(Thanks Bill!)

Rent your own exoskeleton

Cyberdyne HAL exoskeleton

Are you a feeble, pasty pansy? For the low price of $1000 a month, you could overcome your physical limitations with a HAL exoskeleton from Cyberdyne. While HAL prototypes have been around for a few years now, Cyberdyne has just begun building a lab that will mass produce 400-500 of the suits per year starting this October.

Full Story: Gizmodo.

(via Coilhouse)

US school book: “Global warming will avoid high heating bills”

Friends of the Earth is calling via an email campaign on one of the US largest textbook publishers to correct a school book containing a discussion of global warming "so biased and misleading it would humble a tobacco industry PR man."

"American Government", 11th edition is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and approved for use in high school Advanced Placement courses in the United States. On page 559, the textbook’s authors write that "it is a foolish politician who today opposes environmentalism. And that creates a problem, because not all environmental issues are equally deserving of support. Take the case of global warming. (..) On the one hand, a warmer globe will cause sea levels to rise, threatening coastal communities; on the other hand, greater warmth will make it easier and cheaper to grow crops and avoid high heating bills." (Full)

Whether or not global warming is a proven scientific fact (see this post), I can not imagine what a simplistic mind would even think of putting this in a student’s text book.

via The Road to the Horizon

A look at the unreleased sequal to the Infocom Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy game

Andy Baio’s gotten a hold of an entire backup of an Infocom shared network drive from 1989, and it includes a look into the history of the aborted sequel, and a peek at what it would have looked like:

MILLIWAYS or RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE

Takes up where “Hitchhiker’s” left off. Manufactured planets, Deep Thought, white mice, time travel, 1001 verb tenses, digital watches, the Frogstar, Total Perspective Vortex, the End of History! (Does Douglas really want to work on this at this time? Does it matter?)

1. It seems natural to include a scene in the restaurant, Milliways. Could be a bit of fun: strange parties, unctuous compere, self-introducing food. Perhaps there’s an object there that you need to get. (It could be a SPORK, a spoon with sort of forky tines on the end. Or would that be a FOON?) It could be a vehicle from the car park — Marvin has the keys. If you manage to re-enter Milliways at another time (oops! on another occasion), you will not meet yourself, “because of the embarrassment that usually causes.” What about a visit to the Big Bang Burger Bar?

Full Story: Waxy.

(Thanks Gabbo!)

Abortion art prank

A Yale University art student is causing a national controversy with her senior art project that revolves around self-induced abortions. Aliza Shvarts says she artificially inseminated herself ‘as often as possible” in order to become pregnant and reportedly used herbs to cause abortions.

Shvarts, a senior art major, intentionally caused the death of the babies with the herbs.

Afterwards, she allegedly saved her blood and the blood from each of the babies she killed to create an art display.

The display consists of a cube with video footage she took of the miscarriages on either side and a canvas in the middle with paintings created from the blood.

Full Story: Life News.

It was a hoax, a Yale spokesperson claims:

Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art. Her art project includes visual representations, a press release and other narrative materials. She stated to three senior Yale University officials today, including two deans, that she did not impregnate herself and that she did not induce any miscarriages. The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body.

She is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art.

Had these acts been real, they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns.

(via Hit and Run)

Update: Maybe not a hoax after all…

Only Scientologists are worse than atheists according to Americans

poll on the perception of various religions in the us

Full Story: Gallup.

(Thanks Bill!)

‘I Love the World’

Another one for today. Can’t get much better than this! xo
Kudos to agency 72andSunny and creative director Glenn Cole for this inspirational piece of advertising.

Amazing what a power a positive note can have on one’s day. When’s the last time you made a stranger feel this way?

LET GO

We interrupt your regularly scheduled blogging activities for this brief Fight Club moment. Thank you.

Peak Population

Sometime in the latter half of this century, human population will peak. Having swelled to a bit over nine billion people, our numbers will begin to drop as people age and women worldwide pass through the urban transition, gain control over their own life-choices and have fewer children.

After that, population will proceed to decline by the middle of the 22nd century to a number somewhere between 8.5 billion and 5.6 billion (depending it seems largely on whose assumptions about longevity growth you find most credible).

That’s pretty much the consensus position among demographers (though there is a range of belief about when the peak will happen and whether we can expect to more or less plateau at 8.5 billion or experience a long bumpy slope to a stable-state population of about 6 billion). Note that we don’t need to assume any sort of apocalypse here: this is the orderly progression of human beings passing through a post-industrial demographic threshold you can already see in cultures from Japan to Italy to Finland.

[…]

The standard response to these facts is that some new technology will “save” us, and make limits irrelevant. But I am consistently impressed, when I speak with folks who are hard at work in the fields of biotechnology, molecular engineering and software design, at how real a sense of limits actually exists among the smarter ones. There are things we don’t know how to do now and may never (in any foreseeable time span) know how to do; there are others that seem like good ideas until you start doing them and encounter the unintended consequences; there are still others that work, but work in ways that mean something different than we expected. Where in the 90s we expected emerging technologies to unleash the boundless, more contemporary thinking about these technologies seems to me to be all about seeing them not as magic but as tools: profoundly useful, if used right, but perhaps far less transformative than once we hoped. They may greatly extend the range of actions we can take within the fundamental limits we face, but they most likely won’t change the limits themselves.

Full Story: WorldChanging.

Cut in half man walks again

cut in half man walks again

He survived against all the odds; now Peng Shulin has astounded doctors by learning to walk again.

When his body was cut in two by a lorry in 1995, it was little short of a medical miracle that he lived.

Skin was grafted from his head to seal his torso – but the legless Mr Peng was left only 78cm (2ft 6in) tall.

[…]

Doctors at the China Rehabilitation Research Centre in Beijing found out about Mr Peng’s plight late last year and devised a plan to get him up walking again.

Full Story: Metro UK.

(via Lupa).

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