Tuesday, May 03, 2005

More Random Thoughts

MSM PROPAGANDA: You know, what I REALLY hate about the Mainstream Media today is all the propganda they spew. Here is a good example. In today's paper is an article how Bush torpedoed the "Kyoto Treaty". The message was clear: Bush is an evil villain for not signing the treaty, but a closer look reveals more. Someone would have to be well read to know that Mr. Bill Clinton as President of the USA also refused to sign the treaty. The lack of honesty in this article makes me suspect, and highlights the dishonesty of the typical media outlets today. I am sure that Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr. agree on few things, but they do on Kyoto. The article should have tried to discover WHY both US Presidents didn't ink the treaty, not just spend 3,000 words bashing the current President. Morons....

JDAM: Well the US military has developed a bomb called "JDAM", the Joint Direct Attack Munition. Now 30,072 will be built by Boeing by 2007.

title or description

Key to drawing:
2)Suspension lugs
3)1760 interface
6)Guidance section

The satellite-guided Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is the hottest "smart" bomb in the US arsenal because it is cheap, accurate and can find its target in any weather.

It has been the weapon of choice of the US Air Force and Navy since the Nato air war against Yugoslavia in 1999.

So many were used in last year's Afghan campaign that the Pentagon stepped up production to replenish supplies ahead of any war against Iraq.

JDAMs are much cheaper at about $20 000 a copy than the laser-guided bombs that stunned the world during the 1991 Gulf War.

That means many more will be available than in the Gulf War, when precision weapons accounted for only about seven percent of bombs dropped. In Yugoslavia, the use of smart weapons rose to 30% of the total and in Afghanistan to 60%. Defence department officials say precision weapons will account for 70% of the bombs in Iraq.

Some experts caution that JDAMs are less accurate than laser guided weapons, and may not be optimal for bombing in heavily populated areas in and around Baghdad.

"They are most useful when you're fighting outside the cities, than inside the cities," said Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution. "JDAM misses by 5 to 10m if it's not jammed, and by 30m if it is jammed."

JDAM, which comes in 500, 1000, and 2000 lb variants, is essentially a dumb bomb with a tail kit that uses inertial navigation and signals from a GPS satellite to steer to the target.

The GPS guidance allows it to find its target through atmospheric conditions such as clouds or dust that can foil laser-guided weapons.

But JDAMs have had some spectacular misses.

A B-2 bomber blasted the Chinese embassy in Belgrade with JDAMs on May 7, 1999, killing three people.

The targetting error was blamed on outdated maps that showed the embassy in another part of town, not on the accuracy of the weapon.

In Afghanistan, a JDAM killed three US special forces troops and five Afghans during the siege of Kandahar after it was called in on a forward air controller own position on the ground because of a glitch.

The 38 people injured in that bombing included Hamid Karzai, who went on to become Afghanistan's president.

The bomb was delivered by a B-52 bomber, the giant aircraft built for strategic bombing not for close air support of ground troops.

But close air support is now a mission that can be carried out by any aircraft capable of delivering the JDAM, a Pentagon spokesman said.

The B-2, B-52, B-1, F-16 and F/A-18 are equipped to carry the bomb. The US military is looking to equip every other fighter and attack aircraft in its arsenal to deliver it.

title or description

title or description

title or description

title or description


title or description

Houston Bans Offensive Odor in Libraries
Apr 28, 7:28 AM (ET)

HOUSTON (AP) - Those who want to browse books at Houston's public libraries should get enough sleep, eat and bathe before they begin to peruse the shelves.

On Wednesday, the City Council passed a series of library regulations that some say are an attempt to discourage homeless people from visiting the public buildings.

Library officials said people have been using the libraries as temporary shelters, restaurants and changing stations. The new ordinance prohibits sleeping on tables, eating, using restrooms for bathing and "offensive bodily hygiene that constitutes a nuisance to others."

Two council members voted against the ordinance, saying it was a direct attack on the homeless.

"I understand what they're trying to do, but when you start targeting a community like the homeless, I think that's poor policy," council member Ada Edwards said.

Mayor Bill White said there have been several complaints from the public about abuse of the city's libraries.


Genetic Mingling Mixes Human, Animal Cells By PAUL ELIAS, AP Biotechnology Writer
Fri Apr 29, 8:44 PM ET

On a farm about six miles outside this gambling town, Jason Chamberlain looks over a flock of about 50 smelly sheep, many of them possessing partially human livers, hearts, brains and other organs.

The University of Nevada-Reno researcher talks matter-of-factly about his plans to euthanize one of the pregnant sheep in a nearby lab. He can't wait to examine the effects of the human cells he had injected into the fetus' brain about two months ago.

"It's mice on a large scale," Chamberlain says with a shrug.

As strange as his work may sound, it falls firmly within the new ethics guidelines the influential National Academies issued this past week for stem cell research.

In fact, the Academies' report endorses research that co-mingles human and animal tissue as vital to ensuring that experimental drugs and new tissue replacement therapies are safe for people.

Doctors have transplanted pig valves into human hearts for years, and scientists have injected human cells into lab animals for even longer.

But the biological co-mingling of animal and human is now evolving into even more exotic and unsettling mixes of species, evoking the Greek myth of the monstrous chimera, which was part lion, part goat and part serpent.

In the past two years, scientists have created pigs with human blood, fused rabbit eggs with human DNA and injected human stem cells to make paralyzed mice walk.

Particularly worrisome to some scientists are the nightmare scenarios that could arise from the mixing of brain cells: What if a human mind somehow got trapped inside a sheep's head?

The "idea that human neuronal cells might participate in 'higher order' brain functions in a nonhuman animal, however unlikely that may be, raises concerns that need to be considered," the academies report warned.

In January, an informal ethics committee at Stanford University endorsed a proposal to create mice with brains nearly completely made of human brain cells. Stem cell scientist Irving Weissman said his experiment could provide unparalleled insight into how the human brain develops and how degenerative brain diseases like Parkinson's progress.

Stanford law professor Hank Greely, who chaired the ethics committee, said the board was satisfied that the size and shape of the mouse brain would prevent the human cells from creating any traits of humanity. Just in case, Greely said, the committee recommended closely monitoring the mice's behavior and immediately killing any that display human-like behavior.

The Academies' report recommends that each institution involved in stem cell research create a formal, standing committee to specifically oversee the work, including experiments that mix human and animal cells.

Weissman, who has already created mice with 1 percent human brain cells, said he has no immediate plans to make mostly human mouse brains, but wanted to get ethical clearance in any case. A formal Stanford committee that oversees research at the university would also need to authorize the experiment.

Few human-animal hybrids are as advanced as the sheep created by another stem cell scientist, Esmail Zanjani, and his team at the University of Nevada-Reno. They want to one day turn sheep into living factories for human organs and tissues and along the way create cutting-edge lab animals to more effectively test experimental drugs.

Zanjani is most optimistic about the sheep that grow partially human livers after human stem cells are injected into them while they are still in the womb. Most of the adult sheep in his experiment contain about 10 percent human liver cells, though a few have as much as 40 percent, Zanjani said.

Because the human liver regenerates, the research raises the possibility of transplanting partial organs into people whose livers are failing.

Zanjani must first ensure no animal diseases would be passed on to patients. He also must find an efficient way to completely separate the human and sheep cells, a tough task because the human cells aren't clumped together but are rather spread throughout the sheep's liver.

Zanjani and other stem cell scientists defend their research and insist they aren't creating monsters — or anything remotely human.

"We haven't seen them act as anything but sheep," Zanjani said.

Zanjani's goals are many years from being realized.

He's also had trouble raising funds, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating the university over allegations made by another researcher that the school mishandled its research sheep. Zanjani declined to comment on that matter, and university officials have stood by their practices.

Allegations about the proper treatment of lab animals may take on strange new meanings as scientists work their way up the evolutionary chart. First, human stem cells were injected into bacteria, then mice and now sheep. Such research blurs biological divisions between species that couldn't until now be breached.

Drawing ethical boundaries that no research appears to have crossed yet, the Academies recommend a prohibition on mixing human stem cells with embryos from monkeys and other primates. But even that policy recommendation isn't tough enough for some researchers.

"The boundary is going to push further into larger animals," New York Medical College professor Stuart Newman said. "That's just asking for trouble."

Newman and anti-biotechnology activist Jeremy Rifkin have been tracking this issue for the last decade and were behind a rather creative assault on both interspecies mixing and the government's policy of patenting individual human genes and other living matter.

Years ago, the two applied for a patent for what they called a "humanzee," a hypothetical — but very possible — creation that was half human and chimp.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office finally denied their application this year, ruling that the proposed invention was too human: Constitutional prohibitions against slavery prevents the patenting of people.

Newman and Rifkin were delighted, since they never intended to create the creature and instead wanted to use their application to protest what they see as science and commerce turning people into commodities.

And that's a point, Newman warns, that stem scientists are edging closer to every day: "Once you are on the slope, you tend to move down it."

No comments: