Archive for March 20th, 2004

French Nutricionists Endorse Big Mac – Stock Drops


PARIS (Reuters) – Want to stay fit and healthy? Two top French nutritionists
are telling people to go for a Big Mac and keep their fingers off the
traditional French quiche.

In an unexpected message to a country priding itself on the superiority
of its food, a new food guide praises the McDonald’s burger for having
a higher and healthier protein-to-fat ratio than France’s Quiche Lorraine.

"Strangely enough, the products which are the most demonized are
not necessarily the worst," Jean-Michel Cohen and Patrick Serog
write in their book "Savoir
Manger," in which they analyze 5,000 dishes available in shops and

McDonalds stock was down 3.13% last week, according to Yahoo! Finance

from Reuters

Video Aggregator 1.0


Great News! Andrew
over at MIT has
taken a giant step towards one of the hottest applications of RSS on
the horizon – the video aggregator.  ReadRSS, released
today in version 0.4d, is a nifty piece of software that sits in your
TiVo and
allows it to download and compile video feeds contained in RSS streams. You
can even schedule the thing to record certain feeds at certian times.

We aren’t quite to the point we had imagined, when we get
home from work to find a couple of hours of aggregated video waiting
for us including Strong-Bad, the weather, the Adam Curry video feed,
live independent reporting from wherever the battlezone is at that time,
a video postcard from an ex-student in China, the Glenn Reynolds Show,
snippets containing
every mention of "Ecuador" "Big Tent Movement" "artificial intelligence"
and anything else on my list of filtered buzzwords which has appearred
on the major news channels over the previous 24 hours, buffered with
a minute or so of air time on each end, BluntTV from Canada, and maybe
some additional streams we can’t imagine because they haven’t been invented

But anyway, out hat’s off to Andrew, and when we see him
we want to be the first to tell him – What took you so long? No, really, Great work!
Now all we have to do is

a) buy a Tivo ($150 and up)
b) subscribe to a service ($13 a month and up)
c) find RSS feeds with video enclosures, and
d)figure out how to tell it what to do

The Dowbrigade trembles at the very thought of these daunting tasks.
Yet the goal of the quest merits the effort: our dreamed-of video aggregator.
And luckily, we have some VERY smart friends who can help even a digital
idiot like the Dowbrigade to figure these things out….

Addendum: Oopps, looks like the Dowbrigade got it wrong again, or at least is a bit premature. Check out Andrew’s comment, or better yet, the complete explanation on Andrews Blog

Satan Dethrones Jesus at the Boxoffice


Early report have the Day of the Damned Zombie flick "Dawn of the Dead"
doubling the take this weekend of the winner the past two weeks, "The
Passion of the Christ". Sounds to the Dowbrigade like a Dynamite Double

lastest figures from Box Office Mojo

Why My Son Was a Sourpuss


For about a week last months, the back bedroom
belonging to Number 2 son had a distinct stink of vinegar, in Addison
to the usually ripe male teenaged bouquet. Upon repeated inquiry and
investigation (not so easy to pull the wool over the Dowbrigade’s eyes)
we were informed that it was part of an intense short-term therapy designed
to get him past
the drug
test and into the US Marines, and recommended by his Marine "sponsor",
the 20-year-old stationed down at the local recruiting station.

you can imagine the multidimensional ethical dilemma that revelation
set off in the Dowbrigade family.
We won’t even get into it other than to say said son is about to head off to
Peru to help his brother run an adventure tourism hotel in an idyllic
Andean valley known as the "Switzerland of South America" rather than
reporting to Camp Pendelton as originally planned, and that we have
dropped plans to sue the Marines. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Now it turns out our son could have pulled the wool over our eyes by
claiming he was guzzling vinegar to lose weight! Who knew? As we are
all moving to South America it will be up to the next tenants in this
beautiful apartment to try to get the vinegar smell out of the rug.


in Chile
have issued a
warning over a craze by women to drink apple vinegar
to try
their weight.

They say there is no scientific evidence that it works and that it could
cause stomach problems, including gastroenteritis.

According to Las Ultimas Noticias, the new diet craze started out in
Chile with women taking apple vinegar pills to lose weight.

But then they started drinking liquid vinegar instead and some supermarkets
have reported a 100% increase in sales.

Doctor Gladys Vallet said: "Since ancient times, women have used
vinegar to lose weight. It seems to work but it is not scientifically

But she said doctors had noticed a big increase in the number of patients
complaining of stomach upsets in surgeries.


from Ananova

Anniversary Marked By Protests Worldwide


 Two Spanish protesters
dressed up as U.S. President George Bush and Former Spanish Prime
Jose Maria Aznar attend a rally commemorating the first anniversary
of the U.S.-led war in Iraq in Oviedo in Northern
Spain March 20, 2004

The anti-war movement worldwide is gaining traction as
a wave of protests swept through sites around the globe, many nominally
members of the "Coalition of the Willing" (aka the Sorearm
Gang). It is questionable what if any effect foreign protests will have
on domestic political developments, as anecdotal evidence suggests that
the number of Americans who actually care about what people in other
places think is roughly equivalent to the number who would run right
out and buy an authentic Davy Crockett Coonskin Hat if there was a protest
against them in Paris, effectively cancelling each other out.

Where are the massive public protests and million-man marches (with apologies
to the linguistic feminists, but delicious alliteration can prompt up
to make use of poetic licence) we saw in this country during the Vietnam
war? In part, the answer is that the Iraq war and occupation is only
recently a year old, and that massive opposition to the war in Vietnam
didn’t really ignite across the country until we were 5 or 6 years into
the thing.

In addition, perhaps it is that the baby boomers are older and wiser,
or at least more cautions, and it seems unpatriotic to be publicly protesting
against the war when there are American soldiers over there just trying
to do their jobs and get out alive. The fact that many of these young
Americans are the sons and daughters of baby boomers may be a factor
as well.

One interesting matter for speculation is what the effect on the election
would be of another major blow from the terrorists on American soil.
Up until recently, we had assumed that this would be playing into the
Republicans hands, the conventional wisdom being that when the country
is under attack, Americans back their leader even if they have misgivings
about his politics or leadership abilities. However, in light of the
erosion of Bush’s "war-time" image under repeated exposure
of his superficial smugness and the underlying ineptitude which lies
beneath, we are starting to think that another major attack could actually
help Kerry. With the right spin, he could make people feel that we AREN’T
any safer than we were before, and Bush’s whole approach is a sham.

Obviously, this isn’t the kind of real-world intervention in the political
process one can predict or plan for. Still, many knowledgeable observers
feel that this race is so close it will be decided on events in the news
which cannot be foreseen.

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Protesters
took to the streets worldwide on Saturday to mark the first anniversary
of the Iraq war, saying the U.S.-led occupation had incited more
terrorism and demanding the withdrawal of troops from the Mideast

Australia kicked off a wave of worldwide rallies. Protests were also
held in Japan — where 30,000 people turned out — South Korea, New
Thailand and Hong Kong. Demonstrators in the Philippines clashed with
riot police, but no injuries were reported.

In London,
meanwhile, two Greenpeace activists wearing helmets and harnesses scaled
the Big Ben clock tower at Parliament and unfurled a banner that
read “Time for Truth.” Greenpeace said they were protesting the war.

Thousands more demonstrators were expected to march through central London
and other European capitals later Saturday to protest the U.S. military
action. The anti-war umbrella group United for Peace and Justice also
planned protest rallies in the United States.

Protesters in Sydney held a 5 foot-high effigy of Prime Minister John
Howard in a cage, saying it represented Australian terror suspects detained
the U.S. military prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Protesters in Rome today (Saturday)

from AP via the New York Times feed