Yearly Archives: 2005

Oh, the perversion of muggles

My inner child has had a crush on Daniel Radcliffe since I first saw him interviewed about the Harry Potter movies and he was so nice to a wheelchair-bound kid in the audience (and Rupert Grint definitely WASN’T). Plus, well, glasses just do it for me. As it turns out, I’m not the only one with latent (and rather inappropriate) Harry appreciation. Check out the Harry Potter Legal Age Countdown Clock.

falcon 1 launches this friday

SpaceX announced that Falcon 1, the first privately-developed liquid-fueled rocket designed to reach orbit, will launch this Friday. If successful, it will mean a new era of safe, low-cost access to space; Falcon has both the lowest cost ($7 million) and highest reliability rating of any American launch vehicle. Go Falcon!

UPDATE: The November 26 launch was scrubbed due to technical problems. The next launch attempt is scheduled for December 17th.

news flash: cuddling babies is good

It’s an obvious one, but it’s good to see the science being done. A “Daily Mail article”: says that recent studies have shown increased levels of oxytocin and arginine vasopressin, hormones involved in social bonding, in children who were held, cuddled, and otherwise lavished with love and attention as babies. The hope is that this research will help to understand why orphaned children have trouble bonding with adoptive families, with the possibility of developing a treatment.

beck + qrio = robotastic

I, for one, welcome our new “robot dance overlords”: (Warning: your choice of crappy Windows Media or crappy Real Media.) Seriously, who knew that one day robots would be dancing like 80s pop stars dancing like robots?

how organic, exactly?

I’m probably late to the party on this one, but I just heard about this one today. A recent Senate vote “weakened the USDA Organic standard”: by allowing the definition of “organic” to include all sorts of artificial substances:

bq. Ominously, the Senate’s act would strip power to decide which synthetic substances can and cannot be used from the National Organic Standards Board, a 15-member panel made up of a mix of farmers, processors, retailers, scientists, consumer advocates, environmentalists, and certifying agents. Although the board is appointed by the USDA chief, it has acted independently — and by most accounts, responsibly — in its ten-year history, approving only 38 synthetic ingredients.

The Grist article (linked above) has some good comments at the end, from both sides of the fence. My favorite quote from one of them:

bq. If the USDA and the dominant companies in the OTA continue to ignore consumer and organic community expectations…, we will set up our own label, certification, and accreditation system and point out to consumers that “USDA Organic” means “grade B organic,” and that consumers looking for “grade A” will have to look for our new label.

Unfortunately, it’s just this kind of label confusion that the USDA Organic program was supposed to resolve in the first place. Sigh.