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Friday, December 08, 2006

Oh, This is Scary

People with genetic defects are using genetic pre-screening of embryos prior implantation, to 'introduce' genetic defects, rather than avoid them. Apparently, the reason for doing this is that they're afraid their children would grow far from them if they do not share the same impediments...

Wake up, dumb asses!!! your children are going to leave the nest anyway!!! at least try to give them the best start in life.

God sometimes I'd like to be able to deny the use of hi-tech remedies to people who abuse them...

As usual thanks to the NY Times

Nuclear paranoia...

from the NYTimes: The US want every ports which send them cargo to pass it through X-Ray and radiation detectors in order to make sure that no 'hidden bomb' will arrive through that way...

This is an incredibly stupid idea, first of all 'cause a measure like this is completely ineffective if applied to only three ports (Southampton-UK, Pakistan and Honduras). The terrorist as someone pointed out would just use some other ports. Also, they don't scan all cargo, only the one boarded on container ships. Then, you also see
that they can't afford to scan EVERY item, so they'll just scan a tiny sample. Finally, they will not trust custom officials in the ports, they will require the pictures to be sent to them, and then they'll decide accordignly. Oh I forgot, the scanners apparently can't see properly in common cargo such as frozen food.

So, what's the point of all this?

Well, some company is going to pocket 60M US$ to provide and operate the scanner, for a start. I'm sure the ticket price will go up a little more... and most of all, all this creates a fake sense of safety in the US citizens, although its efficacy is (judge yourself) absolutely risible...

I'm starting to think along the same lines of Michael moore. may be the US government want its citizens to be afraid, 'cause they'll be more subdued and controllable, happy to give up their civil liberties in this perpetual state of terror...

I pity you, America...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tiny Particle with No charge discovered

Oh, this is a slashdot /. thread where instead of informative comments about the recent discovery (or confirmation thereof) of Axions (whatever they are), slashdotters have gone berserk posting jokes.

some examples:
An atom walks into a police station and says "One of my electrons has been stolen!"
The police say "Are you sure?"
And the atom replies...

"Yes! I'm positive!"


They find an axion??

Hire them to find Bin Laden!!

Well, physicists can do this, but this would involve smashing Earth to pieces and looking at its debris.

BTW, and they would need about $10000000000000000000 funding for LEC (Large Earth Collider).

Dear Sir,

Your proposal intrigues us. If you can flesh it out with further details, we are certain that a mutually satisfactory agreement can be reached. Eagerly awaiting your reply.

Sincerely Yours,

Galactus, LEXX, and Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz

Again on Pfizer's Torcetrapib

This guy (or girl?) makes an interesting point, which I also brought forward today at lunchtime. what's the point in letting people eat like stupids, then selling them drugs to keep their body healthy no matter what?

wouldn't it be better if we could use the same money to educate this people? mah...

and a nice quote from my boss (I hope he won't mind): "Not a scientific decision at all but a reaction to the American culture of litigation. This will kill drug discovery."

I have to admit...

There are some things of Science Fiction TV series which I don't understand.

Why, whenever a situation of danger arise, the most important person on the ship/station take the scouting role? I mean, Capt Kirk is always the first to descend on a planet, so is the commander in chief of Babylon 5 station, who in three episodes has already gone out ona fighter jet twice, once just to grab a spaceship out of control. I mean, it's not like in a station full of pilots he can be the best one...

I mean, this people are often old, kind of, like in their fifites, surrounded by twenty-something years old top-gun pilots, yet they go on the first line...

May be it has something to do with American history? Did Patton advance at the head of its tank divisions? What did McArthur did? what about Gen.l Grant? mah...

The only nice exception to this is BattleStar Galactica, where Admiral Adama stays in C&C Centre whereas those who do the dangerous flights, and dogfights are Starbuck and (once) his son Apollo. Except when Adama went down to explore a planet with Boomer, and most opf the important characters in the saga, I can't remember another time when he did steal the scouting role to who was supposed to perform it.

That's nice in BSG, I must admit. Every person has its role, and that's enough to flesh out the character, without having to resort to jack-of-all-trades captains which smell more of fantasy than science-fiction to me...

just my two cents.

However, I'have seen the latest episode (9) of BSG series 3: revolves around the boxing matches organised on board the battlestar to ease the tensions. if you have someone on your ass, you just call him up on the ring and pummel him like a potato bag. Not very practical, as someone at GalacticaBlog pointed out, if you're a fighter pilot, since having bruises and broken ribs when performing high-G maneuvers can be a real pain. but what the hell... Anyway, in this episode, for a reason not very clear, the old Adama is angry at chief and call him up on the ring. then starbuck and apollo beat each other up and re-fall in love... lame lame lame...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


visitors in this blog!!! are you the lucky one? comment posting your IP and I'll let you have a nice present - that is, if I don't eat the chocolate santa claus I received today before I post it... ;-)

Too late, The 500th visitor was some bloke (or gal) from Norway!!!

Zelda, and The Ship.

Here's two games I'd like to try out.

The Ship, which reminds me of "The Hunt" by (Damn I don't remember): you're on board opf a ship, where every person has to kill another one... so you're hunter and prey at the same time.

This one, instead, doesn't need introductions: the latest instalment of the best videogame franchise ever, this time link has to travel between his own realm and the darkness realm, where he has to solve the (un)usual puzzles in wolf shape... Zelda and Lycanthropes. what more can you ask for?

Bashing the PS3

The NY Times jumps on the PS3-bashing bandwagon, suggesting instead to go for the X360 or the Wii...

the pice goes on comparing things like games selection at the moment, online services, ability to play DVDs, and so on...

in fact after reading it, i don't see many reasons for either buying the 360 or the PS3. I think I'll stick with my proposition of getting myself a Wii once the PhD is done. it'll look gorgeous on my soon-to-come 3X" LCD TV... ;-)

Stereo, for Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory

Ehy, this is a great idea... a pair of satellites to observe solar events in stereo!!!

They'll sit in the same orbit or so, but slightly spaced so that more precise measures of coronal mass ejections cam be made. This billion-tons ejection of hot plasma from the sun do cause harm to communication satellites, which orbit 36000Km far from Earth, and satellites (or stations) orbiting lower but closer to polar orbit, where they are less protected by Earth magnetic field...

Wouldn't it be nice if Nasa were to release Stereographic picture of the sun, similarly to the Hubble Heritage?

I wouldn't mind something like it in the saloon (but something tells me that my girlfriend might...)

Good Morning!!!

early wake up today, I just dozed off ten minutes waiting for my heating to warm up the rooms, then off for a quick breakfast, a glass of milk+nescafe+cocoa powder (yum!), then onto some Yoga (LOL)... and I'm at work since 7 o'clock, isn't it crazy?

I have to (finish to) compile a list of pKa prediction softwares, with their own strengths and weaknesses, for the meeting with my supervisors, in three hours time. Then, you'll wonder why are you wasting time blogging? mah... who knows... back to work now. it seems to be a warm day, pity I haven't seen real sun in like three months otherwise I'd like to eat in the company garden... if the wind wasn't strong enough to make chicken wings fly (even when cooked)...


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


The Mars Global Surveyor, the oldest human construct orbiting the red planet, died on nov 22. I know I'm incredibly late, but... please a minute of silence to mourn our loss...

That's enough. Good luck in crashing down, old sat...

Russia, Outer Space and the Profit Motive

Utterly interesting piece from the NY Times (again, I know) talking about the various ways the russian have found to make money out of space. Ads, Tourism, and so on... It's nice to see someone doing it the right way... may be I'll be able to fly up there before my bones crumble... :-(

thinking twice, I don't think i'll ever manage to save 20M US$ to fly on the Soyuz. but if prices go down a little...

Son of Trident under way

Blair has revealed its plan for the Trident successor(s).

I have very mixed feelings about this...

On one side, I'd rather see the UK leading the world to Nuclear disarmement. Those money (20Bn GBP, roughly 30Bn Euros) would possibly be better spent in any other endeavour including a new series of ThunderBirds.

On the other side, I see the current political climate and the new nuclear proliferation in non-democratic states, and I think that may be the UK can NOT afford NOT to have a trident system...

more from me here (in italian)

No Mars-Direct I am afraid...

At least not unless we pass through the Moon first (things which makes it Mars-Indirect by definition, I'd say).

NASA Plans Permanent Moon Base

The agency’s deputy administrator, Shana Dale, said the United States would develop rockets and spacecraft to get people to the Moon and establish a rudimentary base. There, other countries and commercial enterprises could expand the outpost to develop scientific and other interests, Ms. Dale said.

So, it's open to everybody who wants to join, like the ISS...

“The door is open for international and commercial interests,” she said.

and they seem intentioned to suck away money from the ISS and Shuttle itself...

Ms. Dale said money would be shifted to the lunar exploration program from the shuttle and the station.

I don't know, but all this doesn't ring right to my ear... it looks more like something to show that even them can do it, now that the chinese have announced it... mah... we'll see...

I still believe that there's more to learn from mars, and money and efforts would be better spent there. also, the popular support would be larger, than for repeating something that has been already done thirty-five years ago.


Thanks to Science Base


Good morning everybody...

I thought I'd let you know, that, since I'ven't been training in the gym since April, now, and the back pain is still annoying me, I started looking for alternatives...

I've been through swimming, which is pleasant but doesn't really help, sauna, ditto,
massages, which actually makes it worse, stretching, which seems to ease the strain.

My last attempt is Yoga, a dynamic form of it known as Ashtanga, which I see in truth
as nothing more than a series of stretching exercises chained to each other. I'm certainly not the spiritual kind of guy, even if Marie is making fun of me saying that in a few months I'll be dressing with an orange robe and converting people in the streets... LOL...

anyway, let's see how it works out. the book I'm learning from was heavily discounted
, 3 €, so let's hope it's good... ciao a tutti!


It looks like Pfizer has tripped over a CV safety problem with their new (wannabe) blockbuster drug.

Torcetrapib, a compound suppose to reduce (bad) cholesterol production, turned out to cause more heart attacks than it would prevent, possibly due to pressure raising.

This goes a long way to show the importance of my last six months of work. Good feeling. Although I feel bad for Pfizer... Well, not exactly bad, but you know... May be they'll want to hire me, though?