Archive for December, 2007

Study Explains Why Pregnant Women Don´t Fall Over

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CAMBRIDGE – A hugely pregnant woman teetering along is actually a sublime feat of evolutionary engineering – ages of adaptations have gone into her backbone to make sure she doesn’t fall on her face, scientists say.

Women’s spines have evolved differently from men’s to better carry the weight and awkward proportions of pregnancy, according to research being published today by the journal Nature.

from the Boston Globe

We have always wondered about that….Actually, we thought it more logical if evolution had put the necessary equiptment on her back, like a backpack or papoose, like all intelligent cultures do with babies once they come out. Easier to carry the weight,  sleep and use a computer.

One more piece of evidence that God is a man, and is responsible for other forms of female torture  like high heel shoes and foot bindings.

Resurgent Celtics Crushing Opponents

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As we watch the resurgent Boston Celtics in another methodical demolition of another supposedly worthy Atlantic Division opponent, we can’t help but marvel at what the Celtic’s brain trust hath wrought. In what other professional sport is it possible to go from worst to first in one off-season?

As a matter of fact, it is not an unprecedented feat in any American sport. In baseball, within relatively recent times, the 1991 Twins and Braves and the 1997 Giants rose from last place to a division or league crown the following season.

And in football, it turns out that worst to first is practically pedestrian; in the last 30 years, starting with the 1967 Houston Oilers, it has happened fourteen times. The  Bungals have accomplished it three times — in 1970, 1981 and 1988.

The two biggest turnarounds in football history were the 1975 Colts, who improved from 2-and-12 to 10-and-4 and the 1988 Bengals, who improved from 4-and-11 to 12-and-4, both winning their divisions.

But let’s not let that detract from the truly delightful brand of basketball being played these days down on Causeway Street. For a Boston round-ball junkie, watching the Celtics these days is like a long cool glass of lemonade after a forced march through Death Valley. Now, after 20 years of wandering in the doormat desert, the promised land is in sight.

We are even willing to concede a modicum of credit to Dastardly Danny Ainge. Six months ago were were ready to tar and feather his whiney ass out of town, holding him personally responsible for the decay and denigration of one of our favorite franchises of all time.  Had we accidentally run into him at a Mitt Romney rally, we would have had to be physically restrained from strenuously expressing our displeasure. From the perspective of the best record in the NBA, however, we have to admit Danny Boy’s dim bulb is looking a bit brighter these days.

Like all of the aforementioned worsts to firsts, the Celtics are doing it with defense and team play. A rigorous statistical analysis of these teams show that although their offensive production rose marginally (less than 8% on average) their defensive statistics jumped big time. After years of preaching Defense First to little apparent effect, Doc Rivers finally has a choir of players who are listening. While a respectable 10th in the NBA in scoring, the Celtics lead in just about every defensive category ever defined; opponents points, opponents field goal percentage, opponents 3 -point field goal percentage (tied for 1st); and margin of victory.

They are not just winning games, they are embarrassing teams, and making it look easy. Last year, the Celtics led opponents by 20 points or more in nine of the 82 games they played. This year, so far, they have had 20-point-plus leads in 12 of the 18 games they have played. At one point they led the hapless Knicks by 50. That’s sick.

They are doing it through defense, teamwork and unselfish play. They have thrown together three superstars with different games and skill sets, but with one thing in common. Each of them has been ‘The Man’, carrying a franchise on his shoulders, setting scoring records, accumulating personal awards and recognition, and found it ultimately hollow. They are no longer driven by the lust for money (all are mega-millionaires) or fame or points or playing time. All they really care about is the one reward they haven’t yet achieved – the Ring.

To that end they are willing to sacrifice the individual stats for the only number that really means anything – W’s. In the process they are rediscovering what a beautiful thing basketball can be; a veritable ballet of highly coordinated, enormous athletes, improvised on the fly after arduous hours of practice and laid down on a preconceived structure of organized chaos. Kinda like a jazz quintet, when they know what they are doing.

We’ve seen this kind of basketball before in Beantown, and for those of us old enough to remember, it’s been a long dry spell. Let’s try to enjoy the visual and vicerous feast which will be laid before us in the coming months, and try not to gloat at the teams near the bottom of the tables, going nowhere fast, and looking an awful lot like the Celtics did last year, and the year before, and the year before that……..

Accidents Cannot Happen

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A federal review of a controversial laboratory being built by Boston University was “not sound and credible” and failed to adequately address the consequences of highly lethal germs escaping from the project, according to a blistering report released yesterday by an independent panel of scientists.


Despite the pointed rebuke, the analysis presented yesterday at a Washington press conference does not have immediate implications for construction of the nearly $200 million Albany Street project that is 70 percent complete.

The lab building, scheduled to open in about a year on BU’s medical school campus, has as its centerpiece a Biosafety Level-4 facility, designed to allow scientists to work with the world’s deadliest germs, including Ebola, plague, and Marburg virus.

from the Boston Globe

The BU Dental School, where faculty gets treated by faculty, is also on Albany Street, directly across from the swiftly rising biolab. Although we understand on an intellectual level that our unease is at the very least premature, we must confess we have not been to the dentist since construction began.  Between the BU bio-hazards in Boston and the residue from the Watertown nuclear reactor in our backyard, we seem to be stuck in an environmental disaster waiting to happen.

We don’t really understand why they need to play with pathogens in the first place. The official line about keeping up our defenses in case of bio-terrorist attack not only ring false, but seems counterintuitive: wouldn’t the presence of so many deadly bio-weapons in the middle of a major American city be but an attractive target for maniacal malfeasors? Why does the damn thing, even if it needs to exist, have to be in the middle of a city anyway? Just so the doctors, technicians and administrators have a shorter commute? For that we are risking panic, plague and pandemic?

As for what to do with the brand-new, $200 million state of the art building across from Boston City Hospital and BU Dental, we are sure there are lots of wards and programs dedicated to killing germs and viruses rather than preserving and playing with them which could use the space…