Wednesday, April 26, 2006

News Roundup for 26 April '06

Fun Science News of the Day

Today's top story is about echidnas, of course. A Russian paleontologist suggests that monotremes are not the ancestors of more modern mammals, but instead branched off from a common ancestor several hundred million years ago. Yowsers.

Science Magazine asks "Ever Seen a Fat Gibbon?". The answer to that is probably "no"; researchers think they've found a sort of primate fat gene, and gibbons just happen not to have it.

The latest advances in neutron star seismology(!!!)

Notes from the Long, Long, Long War:

A heartbreaking story about the victim of one of Baghdad's "everyday" sectarian killings, the ones that don't normally make the papers. We've improved everyday life in Iraq how exactly?

Meanwhile, in the other Baghdad, Rummy and Condi have made yet another of those endless "surprise visits": Fly in, swagger around the Green Zone a bit, strike heroic poses for the TV cameras, brag about yet another damn milestone on the road to somewhere-or-other, and get the hell out, ASAP. Everything's getting better every day, so far as they know.

A manual for how Rummy could try to court martial those pesky generals who've been hassling him. Yes, even though they're retired and everything. Wouldn't that be a fun PR debacle? While the Busheviks are at it, they may as well go after Wesley Clark for criticizing Bush back when he was running for president in '04.

Gas prices are spiking, right in the midst of primary season, and Congress is demagoguing the issue like there's no tomorrow. The R's want to cut everyone a check for a hundred bucks. Which is not, we repeat, not an election-year bribe, of course. Oh, and if you want your hundred bucks, you'll have to let Big Oil drill in that pesky wildlife refuge up north in Alaska. The D's aren't doing much better, pushing a temporary suspension of the federal gas tax. In either plan, presumably, any resulting revenue shortfalls will just be tacked onto the federal deficit, and we'll let our grandkids, and their grandkids, pick up the tab. That, or just hope the Rapture happens before the bills come due.

Sweet, Sweet Schadenfreude

The head of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has resigned, after getting nailed for a DUI. In the immortal words of Esker Melchior, "HAR!!!! HAR!!!! HAR!!!"

From the Litigious Bastards Dept.:

The Cadbury candy conglomerate does not own the color purple. At least not in Australia. The way that IP laws work in the US, it's anyone's guess. They'll probably have to sue Alice Walker over the rights, at minimum. The famous Augusta National golf course claims to own a certain shade of green, as seen in those hideous Masters jackets, so Cadburys may have legal precedent on their side here in the states.

Oh, and SCO's at it again, of course. It seems that in their lawsuit against Novell, they're hoping to make use of a vague Utah law on "unfair competition" that was passed after the suit was filed. And the number one guy lobbying for the law? Why, SCO's own chairman, Ralph Yarro, of course. Like PJ says, you gotta admit these guys are never boring. The law, it should be noted, passed over the governor's veto, which is really odd for a piece of esoteric technology legislation. This smells really bad. If I was Novell, which I'm not, I'd start sending out subpoenas to key state legislators and their staff, and try to figure out just what the quid pro quo was.

Today's Vocabulary Word: Folksonomy

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