Archive for January 16th, 2004

And They Call ME Mad…..

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The strange fish created in an Academia Sinica lab

PHOTO: DR. HUANG CHANG-JEN’S LAB

 

In a world first, scientists at the Academia Sinica in Teipei, Taiwan inadvertently developed
a genetically engineered two-headed fluorescent zebrafish with two
hearts.

Researchers conducting the research project said that the existence
of such a creature had never been documented anywhere else on Earth.

Huang Chang-jen, an associate research fellow at the Academia
Sinica’s Institute of Biological Chemistry, last week put a certain
gene into 200 zebrafish embryos at one-cell stage through a microinjection
procedure. One of them unexpectedly developed 24 hours later into
the two-headed fish, which has two hearts.

"Scientifically speaking, we still have a long way to go because
we have not yet created a second two-headed conjoined zebrafish," Huang
said.

Huang and his team repeated the experiment on Wednesday by injecting
the same gene into more than 100 embryos, but only found a few
abnormal creatures which were not conjoined.

According to Huang’s pet-fish sources, a two-headed red dragon
fish has been seen before but never a two-headed conjoined zebrafish.

from the Taipei Times

New Browser War Brewing

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It
seems like only yesterday that the biggest battle in Cyberspace was the
Browser War between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Netscape’s Navigator.

Now, at least on the Macintosh side of the OS divide, the argument defines
moot. Netscape got bought up by America Online, which promptly led it
out behind barracks, shot it full of holes, and left it to die. Has anybody
even looked at Netscape lately to check out how bizarrely it mangles
css? The Dowbrigade on Netscape circa 2004 looks a lot like the Dowbrigade
on that bad brown acid, circa 1974.

IE is barely more vital, although it functions reasonably well and is
still the #1 browser worldwide.  As such, it cannot be ignored by
web designers whatever platform they are using personally.  But
Microsoft has is no longer supporting IE for the Mac, and no new versions
are expected.

But never fear, the human imagination is fecund, and combined with the
capitalist motivational motor seems capable of providing us with an endless
stream
of advancement, innovation and improved functionality. There is a new
browser war brewing, at least on our desktop.  The combatants? Safari and Mozilla.

Safari, as all Macsters know by now, is hands down overall the fastest
browser out there.  It handles css flawlessly, and although Apple’s
implementation of Java continues to be dodgy, most functionality is built
in and plugins
are available for what isn’t.  In addition is has Apple’s trademark
design touches, tabbed browsing (after one gets used to this feature,
it becomes a necessity the absence of which is tremedously annoying)
and good bookmark management.
Everything one wants in a browser, no?

Well, baby, the honeymoon is over.  There’s a new hot babe in the
neighborhood, and she’s got some moves. Mozilla is the latest iteration
of a very polished open-source project which, in my limited understanding
of things technical, shares with Netscape a certain amount of genetic
material and some common ancestors. It’s full-featured but has the feel
of a stripped-down hot-rod.Like early versions of Netscape Communicator
it is a suite including Mail and Newsgroup readers, IRC client and a
Composer module for basic web creation.

There are some sites, particularly ones where we are using the browser
as an interface to do complicated things on far-away servers, like site
administration or blog updating, where Safari tends to bog down.  Not
Mozilla.  In addition, in our blogging tool of choice, Manila,
there is a set of tags which create a very useful formatting pallet on
the "compose post" page. This pallet allows one to format text and pictures,
add links, etc. Although we usually compose our posts in Dreamweaver
and copy and paste an html table into the compose post box, it is nice
to have the pallet for quick and dirty composition, or for when we are
using a foreign computer without Dreamweaver installed.

The problem is that on the Mac, the pallet does not appear on the compose
post page in Internet Explorer.  Or on Netscape, or even on Safari.
None of those browsers support the tags that create the pallet.  Mozilla
does, and that is reason enough to have it ready, if not to use it full-time.

Anyway, the point of the post is that a new
version of Mozilla
was just
released, 1.6.  It
is a free download for Mac, Windows and Linux.The Dowbrigade is going
to install it as soon as we finish posting this, and will compare it
with the Safari/Mail combination we are using now. The results will be reported in this space after testing.

We are rather annoyed
at Mac’s Mail program right now as well, as it just downloaded 600 of
my private email messages to a computer we were using in someone else’s
office at work for like FIVE MINUTES, without asking permission or letting me know, but that’s
another story…

Gore Proposes Final Solution for Global Warming

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In
what political watchers are calling possibly the biggest gaffe in years,
former Vice President Al Gore gave a speech yesterday on the
perils of global warming — on what was the coldest day
in New England in nearly half a century! At the time of the speech the temperature was 4 degrees F, and the wind chill was 35 below zero.

Against the advice of senior advisers, Gore appeared at the
historic Beacon Theatre in Boston on Thursday to issue an indictment
of the Bush administration’s "inaction on global warming."

Gore made the warming case on a day forecasters were predicting the
coldest temps in Boston since 1957, with wind chills in parts of New England
plunging to 100 degrees below zero!

from the Drudge Report

Don’t Mess With Becky

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HOUSTON — After
being divorced by Texas Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez last year, Becky Whetstone
said she felt outmaneuvered, out-financed and
out
of luck.

Angry and frustrated, Whetstone — a writer and family counselor — considered
her options and decided to go public. First, she began writing a book about
life as a congressional wife. Then she created a website, http://www.congressmanswife.com ,
where she aired her grievances and invited others to share their own stories
of love, loss, bullying and powerlessness.

Her latest move came just after New Year’s Day, when she filed to run for
her ex-husband’s congressional seat.

"This is not about revenge," said Whetstone, 45. "I’m not
doing this just because I got a bad deal. Instead of sitting around and
saying,
‘Look what happened to me,’ I’m taking action. I really do believe I’d
make a much better congressperson than Charlie Gonzalez."

from conressmanswife.com