Saturday, February 02, 2008
Howard K. Stern took several photographs of Daniel Smith's lifeless body, thinking he could make a profit on the morbid shots, a former companion of Anna Nicole Smith's testified Wednesday during the ongoing inquest into her 20-year-old son's 2006 death."
Friday, February 01, 2008
“Dance Dance Revolution,” the hit video game from Japanese arcades to American living rooms, is now the hot new activity in South Bosque Elementary School’s physical education classes.
“It’s good for cardiovascular, rhythm, coordination, timing,” said South Bosque PE teacher Brenda Schaefer. “It really is a well-rounded blend of things.”"
Beloit College Public Affairs: "Most of the students entering College this fall, members of the Class of 2011, were born in 1989. For them, Alvin Ailey, Andrei Sakharov, Huey Newton, Emperor Hirohito, Ted Bundy, Abbie Hoffman, and Don the Beachcomber have always been dead."
Science fiction is often accused of being The Great Predictor. Which predictions did Golden Age science fiction get right? Which ones were way off the mark?"
Thursday, January 31, 2008
The well-preserved fossil of Montealtosuchus arrudacamposi, a medium-sized lizard-like predator measuring about 5 1/2 feet (1.7 meters) from head to tail, dates back about 80 million years to the Late Cretaceous period.
'This is scientifically important because the specimen literally is the link between more primitive crocodiles that lived in the era of the dinosaurs 80-85 million years ago and modern species,' said paleontologist Ismar de Souza Carvalho of Rio de Janeiro Federal University."
Instead of beings from outer space visiting Big Country skies, the Air Force could be secretly working out the kinks in the next U-2 spy plane or B-2 stealth bomber.
U.S. military pilots could have been at the helm of unidentified flying objects decked out with secret technology, accounting for reports from Erath, Brown and Comanche counties in the past month.
After all, the military possesses experimental technologies the public might not know about until decades after development."
Thanks to Steve Stilwell for the link.
Dwarves zipped in suitcases steal from Swedes - Telegraph: "Criminal gangs are using dwarves in a ruse to steal from the luggage holds of long-distance coaches, by hiding them inside suitcases, according to police.
The bizarre crime is on the rise in Sweden and officers say thieves have got away with thousands of pounds in cash, jewellery and other valuables in recent months.
Gangs are said to sneak the dwarves into the luggage hold, hidden inside baggage.
Then, once the journey has begun, the stowaways are free to rifle through the bags of other passengers without fear of being apprehended."
UN vandals spray graffiti on Sahara’s prehistoric art - Times Online: "Spectacular prehistoric depictions of animal and human figures created up to 6,000 years ago on Western Saharan rocks have been vandalised by United Nations peacekeepers, The Times has learnt.
Archaeological sites boasting ancient paintings and engravings of giraffes, buffalo and elephants have been defaced within the past two years by personnel attached to the UN mission, known by its French acronym, Minurso."
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I just talked to Jim, he seemed in pretty good spirits, all things considered -- he was bein' Jim. Says they don't have any real immediate needs -- Red Cross gave them some assistance, insurance gave them some (and house, truck, etc. were insured, though of course the books and pulps and such are probably irreplaceable). They're staying with his in-laws for now. But in spite of my bringing up the offer several times, he says they don't need any immediate help, they are well taken care of.
He did say that once they get settled and he has the space, he would certainly appreciate donations such as Larry is talking about, books about the West, copies of his own work, etc.
He lost the book he was working on, which was about half done. He emailed his editor when he was at the library and says he was told "I would drive nails through my hands before I'd take that book away from you." Now there's a good editor! Has five books lined up and is going to get working as soon as he can pick up a new laptop.
As to the origin of the fire: as most of you know, it's been dry in Texas, and there are burn bans all over the state. He says the wind was blowing like hell yesterday, and the fire department thinks that some electrical wires blew together and arced, sending sparks into the dry grass, the wind whipped it up and sent it racing right at his house. He was at home alone -- the girls were off at their schools student teaching and Livia was running errands -- and he smelled smoke. He went outside and saw the field on fire, racing toward the house. He grabbed the hose, turned back around and saw how fast the fire was coming, said the hell with it, threw down the hose and ran into the house and grabbed the dog and ran like hell. Said the whole time from when he saw the flames to when he was running for his life was about a minute and a half. That fire must have been damned hot to take the house and studio as quickly and totally as it did. He also lost that beautiful new F-150 I was admiring when I saw him at the REH Birthday Bash just a little over a week ago.
I should let Jim tell his story himself once he gets up and running again -- he promises that once he has the laptop he'll find a wireless joint and get back online and bring us up to date. But like I say, he seemed to be in pretty good spirits. So keep sending good thoughts their way, but we don't need to organize any immediate relief efforts.
If you have or can get copies of his books or the anthologies with his contributions, or books about Texas and the West, I know that when the time comes that he can start putting a library together again he will appreciate it.
But that doesn't mean Brinker is ready to quit his day job.
Based in Houston since 1993, the 47-year-old Brinker is a top-notch orthopedic surgeon, specializing in trauma, acute injury and reconstructive repair. He holds active staff appointments at Texas Orthopedic Hospital and Hermann Hospital."
Thanks to all of you for your support during this tough time. All the good thoughts, prayers, and positive energy were more help than I can say. Don't forget us, but turn some of that stuff Jame and Livia's way.
Hundreds of rat corpses - which had been smoked to improve their flavour - were found at Tilbury Docks, in London.
The grisly discovery was made by customs officials as they made a routine inspection of a shipment of synthetic hair at the docks."
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The Associated Press: Archivist Accused of Stealing
Artifacts: "NEW YORK (AP) — A state archivist was charged with stealing hundreds of artifacts — documents representing 'the heritage of all Americans,' according to the history buff who found some of them on eBay — to pay his household bills.
Daniel Lorello, 54, is accused of taking the rare items from the New York State Library, including Davy Crockett Almanacs, Currier and Ives lithographs and the 1865 railroad timetable for Abraham Lincoln's funeral train. Authorities believe he hawked them for tens of thousands of dollars, using much of that to pay off his daughter's credit card debt."
Police on the northern PNG island of Manus asked licensed firearm holders to form a hunting party after mating crocodiles killed one man last week.
Earlier in the month a youth from nearby Kali Island was diving with friends when he was attacked by crocodiles."
Monday, January 28, 2008
Not that I ever doubted it, but George was right. This is the kind of book I'd have loved when I was 15, which is to say it's got all the stuff I like: deep space, the far future, mystery, exploration, lost planets, and readable prose. And I like it that even many thousands of years in the future, people still read books and remember Byron's line about the Assyrians.
Alex Benedict and Chase Kolrath deal in antiquities. When they come across a cup that appears to have been on a ship presumed lost thousands of years previously, a ship that carried colonists from Old Earth to a new home, they're naturally curious. Their investigation leads to them to some dangerous characters and some wonderful discoveries. This is prime stuff, and I enjoyed it.
Dinosaur tracks could be relocated - Top Stories: "UT's Texas Memorial Museum is pressuring University officials to help salvage the remains of a set of prehistoric dinosaur tracks, one of the last of its kind in the world.
Because of improper preservation during the initial excavation in 1938, the 30-ton slab of fossilized sauropod and theropod dinosaur footprints has been deteriorating for more than two decades in the small trackway house outside of the museum."
'We are expecting baby number 2!” the actor, 31, told Usmagazine.com at the 60th annual Directors Guild of America Awards in L.A. Saturday."
Three days after filing delinquency charges against the youth, prosecutors did a turnaround and decided that the common cleaning gel is not an abusive inhalant under the Texas Health and Safety Code.
"It's not a crime. Hand sanitizer does not fall within that statute," said Jamie Beck, first assistant district attorney in Denton County. "The police agency brought it up mistakenly thinking it was."
Daily Mail: Music fans around the world faced confusion today as it was announced they would be able to download unlimited, free songs without breaking the law.
A revamped online file-sharing service had vowed to offer a catalogue of 30million free songs that are compatible with iPods, but record labels have denied they had granted permission to share the songs.
With CD sales in free fall and legal downloads yet to fill the gap, the music industry has reluctantly embraced the file-sharing technology that threatened to destroy it. Qtrax, a digital service announced today, promises a catalogue of more than 25 million songs that users can download to keep, free and with no limit on the number of tracks."
Sunday, January 27, 2008
The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret.
'Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation,' said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council. 'Numerous satellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause.'"