no, really, it's not a weekly blog...

...all evidence to the contrary
Yah, okay, I know: I suck. That 'frequent update' resolution has gone right out the window, along with most of the rest of 'em. But, to steal a phrase, "I'm trying. I'm trying real hard". Anyway, onward...

every os sucks
If you think of yourself as even slightly geeky, you need to get over here and download the "Every OS Sucks" cut. Sure, the Barcelona "Shell Account" track was probably good for a smile or two, but this one had me laughing out loud at work on Friday. Granted, it was a bad week; nevertheless, the track is funny as hell. The "Opinion on Abortion" is pretty damn good too.

Of course, it helps that the people behind the music are Clued, as can be seen from Wes' Digital Rant on mp3s.

fish. barrel. tacnuke.
Okay, I know I really shouldn't be picking on GWB and all, but I'm really only pointing out the Bush Watch Top 100 Names for Bush page so that I can mention that a cow-orker has been calling him "Howdy Doody", and that hasn't made the list...yet.

a simple question
While we're on GWB, I saw this story at GitM the other day. So, I have to ask, if the person the majority of the voters selected isn't running the show, and if the person who was awarded the election by the Supreme Court isn't running the show, who is running the show, and how did they end up in the hot seat?

define 'unreasonable'
So, Mike questioned Lyn's reading of the Super Bowl hidden camera thing, claiming that it wasn't a Fourth Amendment question. I'm not a lawyer (look, ma, no horns or tail!), but I don't think I agree. To my mind, it crosses the same border as these hi-tech drug searches.

The issue isn't so much that the police are using these new technologies as it is that they're using them in a surreptitious manner, and that they pretty much have to use them secretly in order for them to be effective. For example, people weren't told about the Super Bowl surveillance, not only because it would have caused an outcry, but because criminals would have then avoided the game and the system. Police in California presumably aren't driving around in vans labelled "Police Thermo-Detector", because then drug producers would be able to tell when they were coming, and turn off the grow lights.

The point that I'm trying to make is that, in the past, searches that are this intrusive have been dependent on warrants, and they weren't indiscriminately applied to large groups of people. That is, these searches aren't equivalent to 'plain view' searches; they're much more akin to phone taps. Using them without appropriate judicial oversight would seem to stomp all over the 'reasonable' part of the Fourth Amendment -- but, like I said, I'm not a lawyer...

namespace collision
For the record, I am not this John Anderson. I do, however, have a newspaper clipping of the story in my cube at work.

common sense isn't
Nice overview of how we should be appropriately using new technologies in the agriculture realm, and the bad things (frex, 'mad cow'/BSE) that can and will happen when and if we don't.

Speaking of scary biological stories, I haven't heard anything new about the Canadian woman who may have Ebola (or some other viral hemorrhagic fever) since the initial story broke early last week. I can't decide if that's good or bad...

celebrate with your loved ones
Today is Darwin Day. Did you get all your gift shopping done in time?

human genome news
In addition to Darwin Day, Monday is the day of human genome press conferences. Celera announced on Friday that they would be living up to the letter of their promise to make their sequence data freely available -- for values of 'free' that involve a click-thru license agreement. This, in my not-so humble opinion, is a load of crap; I don't know any other way to put it. I'd be fine with Celera keeping the sequence data to themselves; they paid to get it, and they should be able to attempt to recoup that investment, I guess. I'm just disgusted at this all-too-transparent attempt to have their cake and eat it too.

Additionally, the Washington Post had a nice front-page article summarizing some of the findings that are going to be announced tomorrow. Nice bit of historical background, and some interesting sounding results regarding the number of human genes, how they're organized in the genome, and how this relates to disease.

For breaking news on the genome announcements, I recommend having a look at GenomeWeb, which should have press release-type material, as well as a bit of analysis.

Finally, Wired News has a bit of sour grapes from a Celera competitor about the real significance of their findings. Personally, I would have choose to attach their failure to really release their data (I know, I'm getting repetitive), but that's probably not how a biotech industry person would perceive the issue...

Last link via (bio,medical)informatics

backdoor ban
Last week, when I talked about life in wartime, I was thinking of stuff like this attempt to restrict RU-486 access. This isn't about medicine, kids, it's all about imposing politics on the bodies of our mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and lovers, and it stinks. Don't like the drug? Don't take the drug. But don't block other people from using something that's been proven safe and effective over more than a decade, here and abroad.

Link picked from Rebecca's Pocket

rsi fear
Need a good reason to have a talk with your doctor about those occasional pains and tingles in your wrists and forearms? Read Ben Wing's chronic pain story, where he explains how his life became hell, and how he's made it through it:

Daily regimen for pain control:
  1. 120 mg sustained release Morphine, a strong narcotic pain reliever
  2. 130 mg sustained release Oxycodone, a strong narcotic pain reliever
  3. 10 mg Methadone, a strong narcotic pain reliever
  4. 2500 mg Neurontin, a strong neuropathic pain reliever
  5. 20 mg Ambien, a sleeping medication
  6. 1 mg Lorazepam, a sedative and sleeping medication related to valium
  7. 0.25 mg Melatonin, a sleep cycle regulator
  8. 15 mg Ritalin, a stimulant for counteracting the sedating effects of the narcotics
  9. 75 mg Zoloft, an antidepressant
  10. 3.7 gm calcium polycarbophil, a fiber laxative for counteracting the constipating effects of the narcotics.

fashion victim
I'm with Anil -- cuffing your jeans went away? Geez, I cuffed my jeans on Friday, because hi-top Chuckie T's with uncuffed jeans just look wrong.

loose ends
A while back, I promised "Major Genehack points" to the first person to explain the allusion in the review I linked to; reader Howard A. Newell wrote in a not too long after to with the correct answer that it was a reference to 'the French disease', as syphilis used to be known.