Inside, the walls of the Cybertectured cinema comprises sculptural, organic shapes molded together to form a U-shaped corridor, creating a journey of discovery at the entrances of each cinema auditorium. The cinema’s design has been configured so that from the moment patrons arrive, they are transported to a totally new cinematic experience.
read more | digg story
Monday, March 24, 2008
its done.....Looks like that seemingly-desperate two month extension XM and Sirius gave each on the merger agreement paid off after all -- federal regulators have finally approved the $5B deal. The Department of Justice's Antitrust Division says that after "thorough and careful review" (we'll say -- it's been over a year), it's determined that allowing the two satellite radio companies to merge "is not likely to harm consumers."
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 4:53 PM
In a prime case of reality imitating art (if you class big-budget Hollywood franchises as art, that is), Pontiac has unveiled an actual Transformer at the New York Auto Show.
Well, sort of. This is the Pontiac Solstice Coupe, a dead ringer for Jazz, the Autobot fella from last year's Transformers film. See, there has been a soft-top Solstice for a while now, but Jazz was a hard-top.
This led to all sorts of conspiracy theories among Transformer aficionados (who do like a good conspiracy) that a proper coupe Solstice was on the way. Which is was. A removable targa-style hard-top, in fact, with a plastic shell and magnesium frame.
The Coupe comes in 2.4-litre naturally aspirated or two-litre turbo petrol flavors, with a proper old-school five-speed stick-shifter to confuse unwary Americans.
Of course, if you haven't seen Transformers, all this will leave you bit cold. In which case, we apologize. But hey, it's a nice-looking car. Don't expect a UK release, though.
Posted by MacDaddy at 4:24 PM
I am going to go through this and comment one by one: These are things as a white person I am supposed to like-- let's just see shall we!
- #91 San Francisco (sucks)
- #90 Dinner Parties (never had one, nor been to one ever and don't like the idea too much either)
- #89 St. Patrick’s Day (Yup A Drinking Holiday for Irish Americans by Irish Americans!)
- #88 Having Gay Friends (Nope, not a bit)
- #87 Outdoor Performance Clothes (functional and non pretentious and they last forever)
- #86 Shorts (Love em)
- #85 The Wire (Just watch New Jack City and Boys in the Hood and you've got the picture. Baltimore sucks worse than I thought I guess)
- #84 T-Shirts (Clothing, Tourniquet, Headband, goo rag, Pillow .... I mean it's the duck tape of apparel)
- #83 Bad Memories of High School (Wrong again Some of the best Memories I have are from High School- )
- #82 Hating Corporations (Love corportations- the more profit the better for my portfolio, how about yours?)
- #81 Graduate School (Damn right- Your 80k undergrad degree is no different than the one the Chinese Kid's government paid for... What are you going to do now--- that's right Grad school buddy.)
- #80 The Idea of Soccer(No way no how-- F*&k Soccer, Soccer Sucks
- #79 Modern Furniture (Looks good yet uncomfortable to wear and super expensive- sounds about right)
- #78 Multilingual Children (Maybe some of these kids should master one language first??)
- #77 Musical Comedy (Vomit Bag)
- #76 Bottles of Water (Pretentious and Wasteful- use the water fountain)
- #75 Threatening to Move to Canada (Bye Bye Eh?)
- #74 Oscar Parties ( Who cares really- I mean it's the only thing you can do. Like you're going to go home after getting all dressed up like that)
- #73 Gentrification ( Big thumbs up- compare Providence in the 70's to now)
- #72 Study Abroad (No real studying and the only time it's "OK" to sleep around with new and interesting people Sounds Educational compared to what is on offer on campus)
- #71 Being the only white person around (Don't really care about that just like my guess is King Henry VIII didn't either)
- #70 Difficult Breakups (Nope- they are easy not difficult- Mom and Dad couldn't come to terms on a new four year deal with an up front SUV bonus)
- #69 Mos Def (Who??)
- #68 Michel Gondry (Who??)
- #67 Standing Still at Concerts (Concerts--- Just buy the CD or download it and it sounds way better)
- #66 Divorce (Divorce sucks and is way more expensive than staying married. I think things would change quickly if people realized that.)
- #65 Co-Ed Sports (Only if its showering. Sorry ladies, I don't want to play competitive football or hockey or basketball or golf with you. We weigh 200-300lbs and you weigh 120-- you follow??)
- #64 Recycling ( Sure sounds good- reuse it if we can)
- #63 Expensive Sandwiches (The Sandwich- one of life's simple pleasures along with a fine cigar)
- #62 Knowing What’s Best for Poor People (Absolutely, maybe getting a shower and a job for starters. If you can show up to panhandle everyday you can work a job- maybe parmesan cheese grater would use those change cup shaking skills)
- #61 Bicycles (No this is a children's toy, not a form of transportation. We don't still ride horses to work either)
- #60 Toyota Prius (What a bunch of nonsense. If you get a clean burning Diesel vehicle you are doing more for the environmemt)
- #59 Natural Medicine (Is it a coincidence that 75% of big pharmas drugs are derived from plants and natural sources- don't think so.)
- #58 Japan (AWESOME- Cherry Blossoms, Samurais, Geishas, Comics, Walkmans, the CD, TV's, Bullet trains, Employment for life, Yakuza, Ginsu knives, Bukake, Ninjas, ....... Need I go on??)
- #57 Juno (Alaska? Hahah)
- #56 Lawyers (Even working at a law firm, I can't really go along with this)
- #55 Apologies (What for- to make yourself feel better. Save it. Unless you really feel like you have hurt someone should you apologize. Do it for them, not for you.
- #54 Kitchen Gadgets (Cast Iron Skillet, Toaster, good set of knives, microwave- DONE_
- #53 Dogs (Overrated)
- #52 Sarah Silverman (WHO- famous by making fun of someone famous in the audience at the time- I think)
- #51 Living by the Water ( Damn right- Us white folks are a sea people. We evolved from the sea, and 70% of us live within 200 miles of it. Coincidence?? No way
- #50 Irony ( I like irony, I surely do. Keeps us on our toes learning)
- #49 Vintage ( If its good then yeah. If it's old and shitty pass.)
- #48 Whole Foods and Grocery Co-ops (Lots of $$ for just OK stuff)
- #47 Arts Degrees (Soft Crap- Only possible through the efforts and sacrifice of the GI, Scientist and Engineer-- )
- #46 The Sunday New York Times (Always good to have a liberal balance and it certainly keeps the timber industry going good heavens )
- #45 Asian Fusion Food (I thought Cold Fusion was proven to be a hoax?)
- #44 Public Radio (Certainly beats the local news outlets by a large margin)
- #43 Plays (Excellent way of reading a book in two hours and connecting with your fellow man)
- #42 Sushi (Excellent- we would be served greatly by eating more of it and more often)
- #41 Indie Music (Some good, a whole lot of garbage)
- #40 Apple Products (Excellent design, and reliability, for a fair price. The world's foremost innovative company. Everyone should like them, not just white people)
- #39 Netflix (Convenience, and useful. A true success story of the online business model)
- #38 Arrested Development (I think I will Curb My Enthusiasm!)
- #37 Renovations (Keeps it fresh and from falling apart)
- #36 Breakfast Places (Absolutely- They're Quiet, no riff raff early in the am. Simple menus. If you can find a good one, hold it close to your bosom and tell only a few people)
- #35 The Daily Show/Colbert Report ( Pass- enough with the tongue in cheek already. If you think John Stewart could run the show you are out of your mind. Just think of his first address from the Rose Garden sans writers!!)
- #34 Architecture ( It's what a great civilization leaves as its mark. Think about it)
- #33 Marijuana (We would be far better off if it were legal and alcohol were banned. Ask any cop who gives them more trouble- Drunks or Pot Heads?? Or any parent who has lost a kid to a drunk driver while people are locked away for years for growing a plant that grows naturally and has so many other uses.)
- #32 Vegan/Vegetarianism ( You need meat-- you really do-- start eating it. We are all creatures of the Flesh)
- #31 Snowboarding (Goofy footed bastards- get two planks!)
- #30 Wrigley Field (Yeah - the brick, balls lost in the Ivy, Hot midwestern corn fed Chicks, the house with The Budweiser Roof. If you don't like Wrigley just go back to where you came from)
- #29 80s Night ( A happy decade for sure)
- #28 Not having a TV ( What F that)
- #27 Marathons ( Depends what kind I guess : -) but running one is out -Hell driving one would be a little tiring on the butt)
- #26 Manhattan (now Brooklyn too!) ( Nope, It's an expensive Armpit that smells like Piss. Don't get it)
- #25 David Sedaris (no idea who that is)
- #24 Wine (It's just something to drink that goes on the table)
- #23 Microbreweries ( Craft beer- it's an American tradition that had lost it's way- Good to have you back frothing tanket of Ale!)
- #22 Having Two Last Names (F you Hyphen lady- Do us a favor and Pick a fu^$kin name.
- #21 Writers Workshops (Isn't it odd that the one who is giving the workshop is probably not a very good writer- )
- #20 Being an expert on YOUR culture ( It's THE Culture, not MY Culture which I guess is what a lot of people can't grasp. It's a fiber continously being woven. We don't start new or throw out what has come before. We add some and use it to refine the existing fiber.)
- #19 Traveling (Seems like such a great idea in theory, much more difficult in execution actually. With great responsibility and family, come lack of travel. Take advantage while you are young and when you are old)
- #18 Awareness (Free punch in the face for those wandering through life unaware of anything going on around them)
- #17 Hating their Parents (Nope- I love my parents, great people)
- #16 Gifted Children ( You would think with so many "gifted children" they would be making a difference by now, but sadly I think being a "Gifted Child" is far easier and should not impress more than being a Gifted Adult. Gifted adults change the world, gifted children can handle Algebra a couple of years earlier)
- #15 Yoga ( Hey Boo Boo! Oh wait you want me to do what with my foot.. F that. Fine for you ladies though)
- #14 Having Black Friends ( Having friends of any kind would be something white people would be into I would think. I don't need to use their background as some kind of reflection on me. I trust their judgement, sense of fair play, drive and compassion as well as their taste in women as a good barometer. Skin color would be about the last consideration)
- #13 Tea (Woooooooo I'm pumped I've been drinking that Green Tea All DAAAAY.
- #12 Non-Profit Organizations (Just because they are not for Profit doesn't mean they don't make a lot of money. If Harvard were a public company they would be one of the five largest companies in teh world!
- #11 Asian Girls (Spicy Latinas over here Muy Caliente!)
- #10 Wes Anderson Movies ( Sorry, Wes Craven Movies)
- #9 Making you feel bad about not going outside ( I like it inside- It's nice, I can see outside and I can go out when I need to.Besides, It's 30 degrees or less for half the year F that
- #8 Barack Obama ( Filled with promises that people don't readily realize cannot be delivered. It would be like running for president of coke addicts and telling them an Eight ball a day and a hot hookers ass to sniff it off but in actuality there is no way to pay for it without cutting off their noses or that of their children)
- #7 Diversity ( We're the melting pot OK give it a rest. We're melting but there's going to be some lumpy portions)
- #6 Organic Food (No I insist on no insects, fungi, mold on my produce. Makes sense right. And I want steroids and Antibiotics and hormones in my meat. It keeps them from dying in their pens while they wallow in their own feces before they can get to the slaughterhouse. It's the American WAY! ) Grill it up Johnny
- #5 Farmer’s Markets (So you want to buy some corn from Skeezix over there with no teeth and a tractor from 1949- hmm give em a good wash first OK sport.)
- #4 Assists ( High five- That's how we build it- brick by brick- every score has an assist)
- #3 Film Festivals (Forget it- It's the one bone we throw to Utah I guess. Just release them to the theaters for 50% off and see what happens)
- #2 Religions their parents don’t belong to (Yeah whole bunch of cults now huh?)
- #1 Coffee (No can do- Pass- Least of all $4 a cup)
Posted by Chismillionaire at 4:13 PM
I can't wait until Ian is old enough for a big wheel... so that *I* can ride it! My big wheel, a Superman model, was my mode of neighborhood transportation for much longer than it should have been when I was a kid. Long after the other kids on the street had transitioned to their training-wheel equipped bikes, I held fast onto my speed machine. The wheels were cracked, but I didn't care - I could come screaming down the small hill that was my parents street and lock those wheels for a vicious skid in the dirt patch under our basketball hoop like a champ and I was damn proud of it.
So... here's a link (via Boing Boing) to some pictures and video from the annual "Bring Your Own Big Wheel" day in sunny San Francisco.
Posted by Gary at 3:16 PM
Posted by gjblass at 2:55 PM
The New York Post has an article today on the Jackson family, who should be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, yet somehow are barely surviving. The Jackson 5 sold more than 100 million albums, second only to the Beetles, yet today Janet is the only one with anything even remotely resembling a career. The rest of them are sort of still musicians, in the same way that dalmatians are sort of fireman. So where is the family now?
- Marlon Jackson, 51: an original Jackson Five member who stocks shelves at a Vons supermarket in San Diego, had to temporarily move into an extended-stay hotel.
- Janet Jackson, 41: the current family breadwinner. She bought her mom a Vegas home in anticipation of losing the family's mansion, Hayvenhurst, to foreclosure. Like their Neverland colleagues, workers at Hayvenhurst have not been paid for months.
- La Toya Jackson, 52: family turncoat who declared Michael guilty during the 1993 molestation case, she earns a living mostly in Europe and in the UAE judging beauty and singing contests. She lives with a wealthy boyfriend in Beverly Hills and has little contact with her siblings.
- Tito Jackson, 55: formed a blues band several years ago and plays at small venues for $500 to $1,500 a gig.
- Michael Jackson, 49: on the verge of losing Neverland ranch as well as the family's Encino, Calif., home. He's hiding out in Las Vegas and repeatedly makes promises to his brothers while sabotaging any attempts by them to ply their musical trade.
- Randy Jackson, 46: does odd jobs like changing tires to support himself. He was Michael's business manager during the 2005 molestation trial but ran into serious problems with friends after he persuaded three people to take out lines of credits against their homes to help Michael pay his attorney fees and Michael stiffed them.
- Jackie Jackson, 56: the oldest son started an Internet clothing business and is trying to produce records by his sons. Nothing has panned out.
- Jermaine Jackson, 54: splits time between the parents' Hayvenhurst mansion and his girlfriend's home in the San Fernando Valley. With more than $5 million in federal, state and other liens against him and a 1995 bankruptcy filing, he doesn't work or have a regular income.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 12:39 PM
Posted by Chismillionaire at 11:43 AM
Olympic torch lighting set to begin
(CNN) -- The Olympic torch begins a 130-day, 85,000-mile journey Monday that will take it from the site of ancient Olympia in Greece to Beijing, China, where the 2008 summer games will begin in August.
Olympic officials insist the torch relay will not detour around Tibet and nearby regions despite violent anti-Chinese protests and calls by Tibetan activists for a boycott of the Beijing games.
About 1,000 police were expected to be on hand to keep demonstrators away from the ceremony, according to reports from The Associated Press. A pro-Tibet independence group had vowed to protest at the official lighting of the Olympic torch, AP reported.
Meanwhile, IOC president Jacques Rogge said he was engaged in "silent diplomacy" with China on Tibet and other human rights issues in advance of the Beijing Olympics, AP reported.
While much of the trip will be aboard a chartered jet, tens of thousands of torchbearers -- 19,400 in China alone -- will carry the flame on foot through 23 cities on five continents and then throughout China.
Organizers plan to light the flame Monday by focusing the sun's rays on a concave steel mirror at the ruins of the Temple of Hera in Olympia. If the threat of rain makes that impractical, they have a back-up plan that would use a flame from a rehearsal last week.
Greek actress Maria Nafpliotou, portraying the High Priestess, will light the first torch. It will be carried the first mile by Alexandros Nikolaidis, a Greek athlete who won a silver medal in taekwondo at the 2004 Olympics.
China's Olympic swimming gold medalist, Luo Xuejuan, will take the flame from Nikolaidis. Another 603 bearers will run the torch through Greece, culminating in Athens on March 30, where the torch will be handed over to China for a flight to Beijing.
After a ceremonial arrival in Beijing, the flame will move around the world through April. At the beginning of May, it begins a three-month trek through at least 111 Chinese cities in more than 30 provinces and regions.
A second flame will attempt a side trip sometime in May -- depending on weather conditions -- to the top of Mt. Everest, the world's highest peak, along the Tibet-Nepal border.
The most controversial leg of the torch relay is planned for June, when it is scheduled to be carried through Tibet and three neighboring provinces where violent unrest broke out this month.
Olympic officials insisted last week that the relay in these areas will proceed as planned.
"All the preparations for the torch relay in Tibet, Xinjiang, Qinghai and Gansu are proceeding very well," Beijing Olympics organizer Jiang Xiaoyu said.
The flame is set to arrive in Beijing on August 6, where it will be paraded around the city until entering the stadium for the Olympics opening ceremony on August 8.
In addition to visiting cities in Greece and China, runners plan to carry the torch to countries including Almaty, Kazakhstan, St. Petersburg, Russia and San Francisco, California.
Just before the mainland China stretch, the flame will also pass through China's two special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macao.
Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.
Posted by gjblass at 10:53 AM
New York 2008: Iconic GTR arrives in Gotham
Click the image above for a high-res gallery of Iconic GTR photos
This is what you need to know about the Iconic GTR: 800 horsepower and 2,200 pounds. Claudio Ballard's dream was to blend the best of modern tech with the best of classic design, and the result is a roadster that takes many of its design cues -- and its monumental power-to-weight ratio -- from another iconic car, the Shelby Cobra. In this case, a carbon fiber body meets F1 tech, heated and cooled carbon fiber seats and synthetic sapphire in the dash. But again, we all know what this car is really about: 724 horsepower/ton. Yeah. Production of the 100 GT's that will grace the planet is to begin in the fall. If you want one, give Mr. Ballard a call once you get your hands on $600,000. Follow the jump for the specs and press release, and check out the hi-res galleries of pics below.
Gallery: Iconic GTR - Live
Gallery: Iconic GTR
ICONIC MOTORS GTR ROADSTER SUPERCAR TO MAKE WORLD AUTO SHOW DEBUT IN NEW YORK
Visionary Custom Car Builder Combines High-End Design, Exquisite Detailing and Innovative Technology
Long Island, N.Y. (March 19, 2008) – The GTR Roadster by Iconic Motors will make its world auto show debut at the New York International Auto Show. A truly groundbreaking automobile, the Iconic GTR boasts 18 pending U.S. patents, a chassis made of high strength chromoly, a carbon fiber passenger tub and carbon fiber body panels, and a high performance air management system with under body inverted carbon fiber wings designed to generate more than 500 pounds of down force at 175 miles per hour.
The Iconic GTR's 1950s inspired body design features many panels constructed of a poly silicate matrix sandwiched between two layers of carbon fiber that results in an incredibly strong light weight and rigid body. With its carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb reinforced chassis having over 20,000 pounds of torsional rigidity, the GTR offers a level of performance handling that rivals that found in many modern race cars.
"I have wanted to build a car that combines the latest innovative technologies with the most exquisite detailing, design and all out performance since the day I began reading car magazines as a kid," said Claudio Ballard, the inventor and visionary behind the GTR Roadster. "Everything from the custom-built, heated and cooled carbon fiber seats to the computerized gas cap that slides open like the glass on a moon roof embodies my vision."
From its luxurious leather and suede hand-stitched interior to its hand-assembled 420-cid/800-horsepower naturally aspirated V-8 engine, the vehicle is a rolling showcase for revolutionary technology shrouded in a racecar. The entire nose clip swings up and forward to reveal the highly detailed engine compartment, showcasing a custom-fabricated engine built to super car racing standards featuring titanium valves, high strength light weight stainless and aluminum components throughout along with the very latest in high performance friction reduction technology. The patent pending shifter mechanism is specifically designed to display its inner workings as a beautiful piece of automotive artwork, and even the gauges, dashboard starter and hazard light push button switches are custom designed from stainless steel and manmade synthetic sapphire with a hardness level just below that of diamond. The dash center console has a 8-inch touch screen display utilizing the same bright-view technology found in military strike fighters and bombers for clear visibility regardless of sunlight exposure in support of its onboard GPS navigation and driver information displays.
The Iconic GTR – proudly designed, engineered and constructed using state-of-the-art computer-aided design and manufacturing technology entirely in the United States with over 99% U.S. sourced materials.
Ballard will build one hundred of these high performance pieces of rolling artwork roadsters. Priced at $600,000, his team will begin taking orders for the Iconic GTR in April with production slated to begin in Fall 2008. For more information, visit www.iconicmotors.com.
Iconic Motors™, the "Iconic" logo, and "GTR" are trademarks of Iconic Motors LLC.
Iconic GTR Specs
- 800+ Horspepower 420 CID (6.9 Liter) Iconic Designed All Aluminum V8
- Fuel Injected, Naturally aspirated, Runs on Premium Pump Gasoline
- 2,200 Pound Curb Weight
- Power to Weight Ratio of 2.75 lb/hp or 727.3 hp per ton
- 200+ MPH Top Speed
- Advanced Carbon Fiber Body Construction
- Hybrid Steel Carbon Fiber Reinforced Chassis
- Chassis Features Integrated Carbon Fiber Passenger Tub
- Torsional Rigidity Approaching 80% of a typical Formula One Race Car
- Formula One Derived Racing Suspension
- Unparallelled Design & Engineering Tolerances
- Hand Assembled Production Vehicle
- Extremely Limited Production of 100 Vehicles
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:52 AM
Posted by gjblass at 10:49 AM
800HP Iconic GTR Roadster
America’s Iconic Motors claims to have built a new roadster weighs just 2,200 pounds and has eight tenths the torsional rigidity of a typical F1 car. The new roadster is the Iconic GTR, which made its official debut at last weekend’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and is now set to enter production.
According to the official specs the car also features an F1-derived suspension system and is capable of reaching speeds of more than 200mph. With a 6.9L all aluminum V8 engine sending more than 800hp to the rear wheels and a power-to-weight ratio of 2.75lb/hp the car should reach 60mph in less than 4 seconds and easily eclipse the top speed claim.
Unique features include patented door handles, a gas cap control system, a special gear shifter and custom door hinges. Only 100 copies are expected to see the light of day when production kicks in later this year.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:46 AM
Readers of London's Sunday Times kept telling the auto reporters that the official mileage numbers for the Prius were overstated by about 15 imperial mpg. Intrigued, the Times decided to test things out by running a Prius against a BMW 520d with regenerative braking from London to Geneva, a 460-mile trip. Then they added 100 miles of urban running to give the Prius a chance to recover ground on its proper turf.
The verdict: the conventional diesel with Efficient Dynamics beat the full hybrid by 2.2 imperial mpg, or 1.8 US mpg. This means that an executive sedan with all the mod-cons and 500 extra pounds beat the mollusk-shaped sip-tastic wunderkind known as the Prius. And the diesel's CO2 emissions are just 32 g/km higher than the hybrid poster-child, to boot.
Admittedly, we find the test a bit unfair -- the Prius is not meant show its muscle at "75-mph into a headwind," and adding 100 miles of urban driving doesn't make up for 460 miles of autoroute. Reverse those driving conditions and then let's see who won. Still, for all of us diesel fans out there, it's a feather we won't mind putting in the cap. Thanks for the tip, George!
Posted by Chismillionaire at 10:45 AM
Posted by gjblass at 10:39 AM
Happy Easter everyone! To spread the holiday cheer to all religions I give you 5 sexy Easter bunnies. This is a post Jews, Muslims and religions all the world over can enjoy.
Posted by gjblass at 10:37 AM
The monks of the Tashi Lunpo monastery, on charge for finding the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama of Tibet, found the child they were looking for. He was 5 years old.When China found out that Dalai Lama was involved, they arrested the FIVE-year old Panchen Lama and his family. No one has ever heard of them since then.
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 10:32 AM
Traveling to different places in the world is always an interesting experience because different cultures have their own versions of what to put in a meal in order to give it that passionately zesty flavor. Below are seven of the hottest chilies you can find, and to my surprise as well, I will draw the line with some of these fiery peppers.
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 10:29 AM
Congressman Barney Frank, representing the 4th district of Massachusetts, plans to file legislation this week that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of Marijuana on the national level. Frank, who filed a bill to decriminalize marijuana as a member of the Massachusetts legislature, believes that the Federal Government unfairly targets medical marijuana patients in California, and believes that drug laws should be left up to the states. Frank also asserts that the public doesnot generally support the current marijuana laws and that the federal government should not have a law in the books which doesn’t make sense to most of the public.
This bill comes at a cruicial crossroads for the legalization movement, with the effort to decriminalize marijuana at the strongest it has been in decades. About a month ago, the American College of Physicians officially backed medical marijuana and told the government to stop prosecuting users of medical marijuana. New Hampshire, Alaska and Illinois are all hearing arguments on new legislation regarding marijuana laws and there are 12 states that have already decriminalized possession. Barney Frank was quoted by the associated press as saying, "Do you really think people should be prosecuted for smoking marijuana? I don’t think most people agree with that. It’s one area where the public is ahead of the elected officials.”
Posted by gjblass at 10:24 AM
A prison is probably the last place on Earth most of us would want to spend the night, right? Well, for some of these converted prison hotels that still holds true: in Latvia, for example, ‘guests’ who pay to stay at a former KGB jail complex are subjected to humiliation and emotional torture. In other cases, however, notoriously terrifying prisons have since become luxurious 4-star hotels where you can cozily enjoy a stay in a former prison library or even the director’s office! Here are 5 examples from around the world that range from luxurious to downright frightening.
Boston, Massachusetts: The infamous Charles Street Jail was originally a model prison in the 1800s that fell into disrepair in the mid-1900s. Prone to riots and subject to physical decay, it was officially condemned to closer decades before it finally shut its doors (as a prison) in the 1990s. Now, however, it has reopened its doors as an amazingly luxurious four-star jail hotel that has former inmates shocked, impressed and perhaps a bit jealous.
Mt. Gambier, Australia: The Mount Gambier Jail experience is anything but luxurious. In fact, this place markets its rooms as budget accommodations for cheapskates and backpackers. Very little has been done to renovate the rooms here which are heavy, rusted and bolted just like they were when the jail was originally in use - the entire experience is rather Spartan. Still, the hotel has some local flavor and features some interesting odds and ends and regularly-scheduled events from a monthly jam sessions to a local produce market.
Luzern, Switzerland: A prison from the middle of the 19th century until just a decade ago, this jail hotel goes beyond simply renting out former prison cells as overnight rooms. For an extra price, visitors can stay in the former library or the director’s office, both of which have been turned into luxury suites. Every part of the prison has been put to some new and creative use without compromising the essence of the original layout (or the prison contents for that matter - the library is still full of old prison books for you to peruse on your stay!).
Liepaja, Latvia: This is one prison hotel where there is no messing around. The hotel brags that it is “unfriendly, unheated, uncomfortable and open all year round.” This former brutal KGB jail has no bells and whistles - just everything it had when it was a fully-functioning detention and torture center, barbed wire included. You are treated like an actual prisoner throughout, complete with threats and warning gunfire and crying fellow inmates. Sounds like a great time, eh?
Posted by gjblass at 10:22 AM
ScienceDaily (Mar. 23, 2008) — In a study of New Zealand's "living dinosaur" the tuatara, evolutionary biologist, and ancient DNA expert, Professor David Lambert and his team from the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution recovered DNA sequences from the bones of ancient tuatara, which are up to 8000 years old. They found that, although tuatara have remained largely physically unchanged over very long periods of evolution, they are evolving - at a DNA level - faster than any other animal yet examined.
"What we found is that the tuatara has the highest molecular evolutionary rate that anyone has measured," Professor Lambert says.
The rate of evolution for Adélie penguins, which Professor Lambert and his team have studied in the Antarctic for many years, is slightly slower than that of the tuatara. The tuatara rate is significantly faster than for animals including the cave bear, lion, ox and horse.
"Of course we would have expected that the tuatara, which does everything slowly -- they grow slowly, reproduce slowly and have a very slow metabolism -- would have evolved slowly. In fact, at the DNA level, they evolve extremely quickly, which supports a hypothesis proposed by the evolutionary biologist Allan Wilson, who suggested that the rate of molecular evolution was uncoupled from the rate of morphological evolution."
Allan Wilson was a pioneer of molecular evolution. His ideas were controversial when introduced 40 years ago, but this new research supports them.
Professor Lambert says the finding will be helpful in terms of future study and conservation of the tuatara, and the team now hopes to extend the work to look at the evolution of other animal species.
"We want to go on and measure the rate of molecular evolution for humans, as well as doing more work with moa and Antarctic fish to see if rates of DNA change are uncoupled in these species. There are human mummies in the Andes and some very good samples in Siberia where we have some collaborators, so we are hopeful we will be able to measure the rate of human evolution in these animals too."
The tuatara, Sphendon punctatus, is found only in New Zealand and is the only surviving member of a distinct reptilian order Sphehodontia that lived alongside early dinosaurs and separated from other reptiles 200 million years ago in the Upper Triassic period.
Journal reference: Lambert et al.:"Rapid molecular evolution in a living fossil." Researchers include Jennifer M. Hay, Sankar Subramanian, Craig D. Millar, Elmira Mohandesan and David M. Lambert, Trends in Genetics. March 2008. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tig.2007.12.002)
Posted by gjblass at 10:03 AM
The Future Is Here: Regenerative Powder, Ink Jet Heart Cells And Custom-Made Body Parts
March 23, 2008
Three years ago, Lee Spievack sliced off the tip of his finger in the propeller of a hobby shop airplane.
What happened next, Andrews reports, propelled him into the future of medicine. Spievack's brother, Alan, a medical research scientist, sent him a special powder and told him to sprinkle it on the wound.
"I powdered it on until it was covered," Spievack recalled.
To his astonishment, every bit of his fingertip grew back.
"Your finger grew back," Andrews asked Spievack, "flesh, blood, vessels and nail?"
"Four weeks," he answered.
Andrews spoke to Dr. Steven Badylak of the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine and asked if that powder was the reason behind Spievack's new finger tip.
"Yes, it is," Badylak explained. "We took this and turned it into a powdered form."
That powder is a substance made from pig bladders called extracellular matrix. It is a mix of protein and connective tissue surgeons often use to repair tendons and it holds some of the secrets behind the emerging new science of regenerative medicine.
"It tells the body, start that process of tissue regrowth," said Badylak.
Badlayk is one of the many scientists who now believe every tissue in the body has cells which are capable of regeneration. All scientists have to do is find enough of those cells and "direct" them to grow.
"Somehow the matrix summons the cells and tell them what to do," Badylak explained. "It helps instruct them in terms of where they need to go, how they need to differentiate - should I become a blood vessel, a nerve, a muscle cell or whatever."
If this helped Spievack's finger regrow, Badylak says, at least in theory, you should be able to grow a whole limb.
Advances That Go Beyond Theory
In his lab at Wake Forest University, a lab he calls a medical factory, Dr. Anthony Atala is growing body parts.
Atala and his team have built, from the cell level up, 18 different types of tissue so far, including muscle tissue, whole organs and the pulsing heart valve of a sheep.
"And is it growing?" Andrews asked.
"Absolutely," Atala said, showing him, "All this white material is new tissue."
"When people ask me 'what do you do,' we grow tissues and organs," he said. "We are making body parts that we can implant right back into patients."
It's very much the future, but it's today. We are doing this today.
Emerging from an everyday ink jet printer is the heart of a mouse. Mouse heart cells go into the ink cartridge and are then sprayed down in a heart shaped pattern layer by layer.
Dr. Atala believes it's a matter of time before someone grows a human heart.
"The cells have all the genetic information necessary to make new tissue," Atala explained. "That's what they are programmed to do. So your heart cells are programmed to make more heart tissue, your bladder cells are programmed to make more bladder cells."
Atala's work with human bladder cells has pushed regenerative medicine to a transformational breakthrough.
In this clinical trial at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, Dr. Patrick Shenot is performing a bladder transplant with an organ built with this patient's own cells. In a process developed by Dr. Atala, the patient's cells were grown in a lab, and then seeded on a biodegradable bladder-shaped scaffold.
Eight weeks later, with the scaffold now infused with millions of regrown cells, it is transplanted into the patient. When the scaffold dissolves, Dr. Shenot says what's left will be a new, functioning organ.
"The cells will differentiate into the two major cells in the bladder wall, the muscle cells and the lining cells," he explained. "It's very much the future, but it's today. We are doing this today."
Repairing The Wounded
Today, one of the biggest believers in regeneration is the United States military, which is especially interested in the matrix that regrew Lee Spievack's finger.
The Army, working in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh, is about to use that matrix on the amputated fingers of soldiers home from the war.
Dr. Steven Wolf, at the Army Institute of Surgical Research, says the military has invested millions of dollars in regenerative research, hoping to re-grow limbs, lost muscle, even burned skin.
"And it's hard to ignore this guys missing half his skin, this guy's missing his leg," Wolf said. "You start asking the question, is there somebody out there with the technology that can do this for us?"
"You mean regrow the tissue?" Andrews asked.
"The answer," Wolf said, "is maybe."
At the burn unit at the Brooke Army Medical center, the very idea of regeneration brings a glimmer of hope.
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Henline was the only survivor of an IED attack on his Humvee north of Baghdad.
"It's a great idea," Henline said, talking with Andrews about the military's investment into the new technology. "If they can come up with something that's less painful and can heal it with natural growth, without all this scarring, it's definitely something to check into."
Regeneration Race Goes Global
Several different technologies for harnessing regeneration are now in clinical trials around the world. One machine, being tested in Germany, sprays a burn patient's own cells onto a burn, signaling the skin to re-grow.
Badylak is about to implant matrix material - shaped like an esophagus - into patients with throat cancer.
"We fully expect that this material will cause the body to re-form normal esophageal tissue," Badylak said.
And in a clinical trial at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, patient Mary Beth Babo is getting her own adult stem cells injected into her heart, in hopes of growing new arteries. Her surgeon is Dr. Joon Lee.
"It's what we consider the Holy Grail of our field for coronary heart disease," Lee said.
The Holy Grail, because if stem cells can re-grow arteries, there's less need for surgery.
"It's a big difference from open heart surgery to this," said Babo. "If people don't have to go through that, this would be the way to go ... if it works."
The Business Of Regeneration
Corporate America, meanwhile, already believes regeneration will work. Investment capital has been pouring in to commercialize and mass produce custom-made body parts.
The Tengion Company has bought the license, built the factory, and is already making those bladders developed at Wake Forest that we told you about earlier.
"We're actually building a very real business around a very real and compelling patient need," said Dr. Steven Nichtberger, Tengion's CEO.
Tengion believes regeneration will soon revolutionize transplant medicine. Transplant patients, instead of waiting years for a donated organ, will ship cells off to a lab and wait a few weeks to have their own re-grown.
"I look at the patients who are on the waitlist for transplant," said Nichtberger. "I look at the opportunity we have to build bladders, to build vessels, to build kidneys. In regenerative medicine, I think it is similar to the semi-conductor industry of the 1980s, you don't know where it's going to go, but you know it's big."
For more on regenerative medicine and organ transplants, check out:
The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The non-profit United Network for Organ Sharing. The non-profit Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. The non-profit organ and tissue donation group, Gift Of Life Organ Donation. Wake Forest University. Tengion Company.
Posted by gjblass at 9:56 AM