Archive for July, 2003

Sometimes, I'm just friggin' amazed.

July 31, 2003 Leave a comment

Israeli physicists working at Ben-Gurion University have developed a cheap alternative to lasers used in operations like destruction of liver tumors in humans. It relies on an energy source that is cheap, abundant and is widely available in both developed countries and the most remote areas on Earth – sunshine.

That’s right, they came up with a solar-powered surgical tool.

“The working prototype made by Israeli physicists concentrates sunlight down a fibre-optic cable to provide a tool for surgeons. Jeffrey Gordon and his colleagues at Ben-Gurion University in Israel hope it might one day replace the expensive surgical lasers used in operations such as the destruction of tumours in the liver.”

“The light for the surgical “suntrap” is gathered by a parabolic mirrored dish, 20 centimetres across. This concentrates the light, which is then focused on to the tip of an optical fibre. The fibre can be up to 100 metres long.”

“The device delivers less than a third of the light flux densities of surgical lasers, which have a typical output of 100 Watts per square-millimetre. “But in our clinical trial, we found that the optimal light density was just 3 W/mm2 for destroying liver cells,” Gordon told New Scientist. “We were able to reach temperatures of 60 °C in the cells, which is enough to kill them.” ”

“The equipment relies on a commercially available sun-tracker and can only be used on cloudless days. But Gordon points out that “in Israel, we have clear skies for 300 days of the year. And most laser surgery is not emergency surgery, it is scheduled and so can be rearranged to fit with climatic conditions.” ”

“They believe the equipment can be produced for a few thousand dollars, compared to about $120,000 for laser equipment. The team will now test their device on rats with tumours, and then on other animals including pigs, which have similar-sized livers to humans.”

Wow. The added bonus? Most of the countries that can really use a cheaper alternative to expensive surgical lasers just happen to be the ones that are generally the most bathed in sunshine.

Moment of Zen

Court Ruling Allowing SMS Divorce Is Overturned

Categories: Personal

Aha! The connection I've been seeking for so long!

July 30, 2003 Leave a comment

Taken from

Subject: Re: What are the names of the Nazgul?
From: jmbay@Stanford.EDU (Joseph Michael Bay)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.sf.written

David Cowie writes:

>Are the names of the kings who became the Nazgul recorded anywhere in
>Tolkien’s oeuvre?
>And if they are, could someone list them here?

Dashur, Daensir, Prantsur, Vicksinn, Comuet, Cupuid, Dondor,
Blitsun, and Rodulf, Witch-King of Angmar.


I knew the “gifts for being good” scam was too good to be true. 😉

Moment of Zen

Stranded Rower Phones Mom for Help

Categories: Personal

Laughing extremely hard.

July 29, 2003 Leave a comment

I’m watching an episode of Stargate SG-1 on the SciFi channel and I’m howling. Tonight’s episode is about the wonderful crew of the SGC being caught in a loop, where Colonel O’Neill and Teal’c are stuck in a loop where they’re repeating the same day over and over again. The reason I’m howling is because Daniel Jackson makes a terrible, terrible mistake: he points out “Hey, if you guys are the only ones who remember the time loop, isn’t this a golden opportunity to do things you’ve always wanted to do with absolutely no responsibility?” O’Neill and Teal’c proceed to do just that, so we see such scenes as:

Colonel O’Neill and Teal’c whacking golf balls through the Stargate while getting yelled at by General Hammond. I especially loved the golf pants.
Colonel O’Neill taking up pottery
Teal’c and O’Neill taking up synchronized juggling
O’Neill showing up to work in his pajamas, resigning and laying one hell of a kiss on Carter.

I think my favorite scene was Teal’c’s. He always starts his loop getting hit in the head by someone opening a door unexpectedly. He finally just shoves the person back through the door, slams it then walks on with a little smile.

I love this show, and episodes like this are why.

Moment of Zen

Steward Stuns Passengers with In-Flight Streak

Categories: Geeky

New DVD/VCR players are a good thing.

July 27, 2003 Leave a comment

I finally got a new DVD player since Yess is trading me her television for some of my surplus computer equipment when she comes down tomorrow. So right now I'm watching Stargate SG-1, Season One on DVD, and it's a beautiful thing.

Moment of Zen

Legendary Dog-Eating Catfish Dies

Categories: Uncategorized

Apparently, the Hussein brothers are dead.

July 22, 2003 Leave a comment

From what I know of Qusay and Uday, it couldn’t have happened to two more deserving gentlemen. The reaction from Baghdad?

Celebratory gunfire in Iraq on word of Saddam sons

“Widespread and sporadic gunfire crackled across Baghdad after dark on Tuesday as word spread that Saddam Hussein’s feared and hated sons may have been killed in a gunbattle with U.S. troops. ” 

” ‘It’s celebration. People have heard about what happened,’ a U.S. military spokesman said.”

Categories: Personal

Googling myself.

July 21, 2003 Leave a comment

Every once and so often, you run across yourself in the oddest of places. At least, I ran across my name in the oddest place: on a tax list for East Marlborough Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1765. I don’t know if I’m related to the gentleman in question (it’s not all that farfetched, and my last name’s a fairly rare one, with only 76 people in the United States sharing it) but at least I can reasonably certain I’m not running across evidence of a time travel experiment that strands me in the past.

Just something unusual uncovered on a slow Sunday night, which led to some unusual thoughts about what I would be doing in 1765. I got as far as contemplating a career in medicine (after all, just knowing about bacteria’s relationship to disease, proper sanitation and use of sterilization would put me ahead of most doctors of the era) before getting distracted by my email dinging for my attention.

Moment of Zen

Hey! We’re Tryin’ to Eat Dinner Here!

Categories: Geeky, Personal

It's not all gloom and doom and complaining.

July 20, 2003 Leave a comment

Looking over my past two actual journal entries (I’m not counting the bear as a journal entry for this purpose,) the reader may conclude that, at this point, I’m miserable. I’m not, I just happened to write down the two small problems that I’d had the past two weeks. Here’s what went right.

1. I got a promotion – I’m an acting team lead now at work, which means I head up a team of Mac techs . If I do a good job, I get to keep the job.

2. I got some more frames to hang my new pictures that I brought back from my April vacation. This makes me extremely happy, because now I’ve gotten something I’ve always wanted: a Renaissance-era map of Europe hanging on the wall. I’ve also hung my copy of Quoting Shakespeare by Bernard Levin and reframed my copy of an architectural drawing of St, Paul’s Cathedral.

3. I got a weekend off. That’s right, I don’t have to be anywhere or do anything.

4. I got to talk with . That automatically makes me happy.

5. I’m catching up on my movies. I saw The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen yesterday and plan on seeing Pirates of the Carribbean today.

Moment of Zen

Legal Review Urged in Voodoo Murder Case

Categories: Personal

Apparently, I am the clumsy.

July 19, 2003 Leave a comment

YOU are the clumsy.

Moment of Zen

Magazine Suspended for Nude Statue Cover

Categories: Personal

Power to the people?

July 19, 2003 Leave a comment

*shaking head* I just got off the phone with my power company about my electric bill, or rather my lack of one. I moved into my apartment around the beginning of June and have, as of yet, received no electric bill. In June, I figured that maybe I set up just past their billing cycle and I’d be picked up in July with a higher-than-normal bill. Yesterday, I checked my mail again for a nonexistent electric bill. At this point, I was starting to get worried that Allegheny Power had sent my bill somewhere wrong, was now marking me as past due, and was going to shut me off any minute now. So I called this morning. What I learned from the customer service guy reassured me that I was not in fact going to get shut off. Now I’ve got all new worries. Why? Well, apparently my account hasn’t been set up yet. That’s right, I’m getting power but not getting billed. Yet. The apartment complex is brand new and Allegheny is setting up a hundred or so accounts to for the new apartments. I was told that I’d be getting a bill in August, when they began reading the meters. When I asked “So, am I going to get a $200 bill or something in August?” I was assured that, in that event, Allegheny Power would work with me to spread it out. Based on the fun I’ve had with them so far in first setting up my electric service and now my vain attempts to get billed, I am far from reassured.

I do have one good thing to say about Allegheny: the customer service people have been unfailingly polite, knowledgeable and helpful when I called up with my concerns. Which is good, because otherwise I’d really be scared.

Moment of Zen

Bride to Wear $300,000 Diamond Gown

Categories: Personal

Well, now I know what the anti-war cry's going to be for Liberia.

July 16, 2003 Leave a comment

I heard this on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal call-in show this morning. The topic was “Should the United States intervene in Liberia?”

“How do we know the intelligence about Liberia’s any good? No blood for rubber! No blood for rubber!”

And the sad thing was…..the guy was dead serious.

Moment of Zen

What Your Cat Is Trying to Tell You

Categories: Personal
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