Annual Perseid meteor shower underway: “Early-rising sky watchers this week have spotted 10 to 25 meteors per hour in the pre-dawn sky. Even more will appear on August 12th and 13th when the shower peaks.” SpaceWeather.com
Donald Dutton PhD: “A new theory is proposed to account for individual differences in the tendency to be abusive, assaultive, or homicidal in intimate relationships. The focus of this theory is on men whose abuse is specific to intimate relationships and is manifested through cyclical mood swings. This group, which appears to comprise about 40% of all men who present for treatment for wife assault, appears to have a borderline personality structure. For these men, abusiveness is triggered by internal mood states rather than by external events. Several studies are cited indicating that intimate attachment generates rage in wife assaulters. The origins of this attachment-rage are traced to early development. This template generates a complex of perceptions (attributions and projections) and behaviors (abusiveness) specific to intimate relationships.” Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2002 July;8(4):216-228.
Malcolm Gladwell reviews Eric Klinenberg’s Heat Wave: The great Chicago heat wave, and other unnatural disasters
The United States has cities that are often humid—like Houston and New Orleans—without being tremendously hot. And it has very hot cities—like Las Vegas and Phoenix—that are almost never humid. But for one long week, beginning on Thursday, July 13, 1995, Chicago was both. Meteorologists measure humidity with what is called the dew point—the point at which the air is so saturated with moisture that it cannot cool without forming dew. On a typical Chicago summer day, the dew point is in the low sixties, and on a very warm, humid day it is in the low seventies. At Chicago’s Midway Airport, during the heat wave of 1995, the dew point hit the low eighties—a figure reached regularly only in places like the coastal regions of the Middle East. In July of 1995, Chicago effectively turned into Dubai. The New Yorker [thanks, Adam; thanks, David]
“Suburban assault vehicle not coming to a dealer near you…
The sport utility vehicle that rolls out of the Ibis Tek shop looks just like those driven by millions of soccer moms.
But with a flip of the switch, out of the sunroof pops weaponry ranging from a .50-caliber M2 machine gun to an MK-19 40 mm grenade launcher…” CNN
Zappa Fest Descends on German Town: “…(T)he little town of Bad Doberan, in an economically depressed area near the Baltic Sea, has become the unlikely site of an annual Zappa festival. This week, the town also dedicated a bronze bust of the late American musician in its central square.” Yahoo! News
Has Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD, or BSE) entered the Canadian food supply? Authorities insist the man must have contracted the disease in Britain, where he lived and worked in the ’90’s. The cattle industry fears that a North American case will impact beef sales as has been the European and Japanese case after BSE scares. Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a spongiform encephalopathy (or prion disease) similar to BSE that affects ungulants, has been known in Canadian elk and deer populations since 1996, and three deer near where the victim lived in Saskatchewan have recently died of CWD, but he apparently did not eat venison or elk. Although CJD was suspected in the man’s case since April, the definitive CJD diagnosis was not made until a brain biopsy after he died, and now fears have arisen of “possible transmission to 71 other patients at a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, hospital who came into contact with medical equipment previously used on the vCJD victim.” Reuters AlertNet Shares of McDonald’s and Wendy’s stock fell sharply on the news; Taco Bell and Outback Steakhouse as well…. Reuters
“Three Indian computer scientists have solved a longstanding mathematics problem by devising a way for a computer to tell quickly and definitively whether a number is prime…
Prime numbers play a crucial role in cryptography, so devising fast ways to identify them is important. Current computer recipes, or algorithms, are fast, but have a small chance of giving either a wrong answer or no answer at all.
The new algorithm — by Manindra Agrawal, Neeraj Kayal and Nitin Saxena of the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur — guarantees a correct and timely answer. Though their paper has not been published yet, they have distributed it to leading mathematicians, who expressed excitement at the finding.” NY Times
You can download a .pdf file of the paper itself from here
Joan Houlihan: How contemporary American poets are denaturing the poem (part V) Web Del Sol
Tom Ridge’s school daze: ‘Rarely is there any good news for the benighted czar of the “homeland,” Tom Ridge. His difficult job is made no easier by widespread doubts about his competence in the Capitol. Lately , however, the worst news for Ridge is emanating from his own homeland of Pennsylvania. The national press hasn’t caught onto this story yet, but the Philadelphia papers are strongly suggesting that the former governor left behind a festering scandal when he departed for Washington last fall.’ Salon
“Actuality Systems has gazed into the future, and what it has seen looks more like a crystal ball…, a type of 3D display with a basketball-size glass dome that connects to an ordinary workstation to display 3D models and animations.
On Tuesday the company announced its first customer, the Adelphi, Md.-based U.S. Army Research Laboratory, which carries out research for the Army, the Department of Defense, NASA and other government bodies.” ZDNet
“A coalition of groups led by the Natural Resources Defense Council said it would file suit on Wednesday to block the U.S. Navy from using a powerful new sonar that scientists say could injure whales and other marine mammals.”
“Norway, which is first in the world in income, health care, life expectancy and education, is also home to Europe’s drug overdose capital.”
Amidst the dramatic and spectacular examples of people’s inhumanity, the quiet but insistent plight of Southern Africaattracts little of the attention such a massive human emergency should.
“The World Health Organisation has issued a warning that the situation in southern Africa is deteriorating, with a severe shortage of food, drought and a dramatic decrease in the standard of sanitary conditions, affecting between 12 and 14 million people.
Degraded public services, AIDS, drought and flood cycles have all wreaked havoc with the social tissue of southern African countries such as Zambia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland. Gro Brudtland, the Director-General of the WHO, has issued figures which indicate that the maternal mortality rate in child-birth has deteriorated by 50%, while tuberculosis, acute respiratory infections and malaria are expected to provoke 300,000 deaths over the next six months.
Apart from the well-known scourge of AIDS, which has seen life expectancy figures plummeting to the thirties in many regions, there is also a pandemic of cholera, which sweeping through Mozambique and Malawi, where it has claimed hundreds of lives.” Pravda
Flying Snake Aerodynamics Explained: “Study results published today in the journal Nature reveal how.” Scientific American
“There are good reasons for women suicide bombers, and anyone who knows what’s happening to women in the Middle East can’t be surprised…
The female suicide bombers are idealists who crave committing a pure act, one that will wipe away the stigma of being female. The Palestinian community is not sacrificing low women, women of no accomplishment, women with no future. Instead, the women suicide bombers are the society’s best in terms of human resources, a perverted example of the best and the brightest. ” Feminista!
Bob builds a lead over Barney: “Bob the Builder has stolen Barney’s spotlight.
The English construction worker, armed with his signature tool belt and hard hat, has hammered his way past the purple dinosaur and into the hearts of children around the world.” But, uh oh: “While Barney’s popularity has declined, he’s not giving up without a fight.” Boston Globe
Board says surgery halted for bank trip: ” The patient was on his stomach, anesthetized, with an open incision in his back. Six hours into spinal surgery, according to the state medical board, the surgeon told the operating staff at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge that he needed to ‘step out…’ ” Boston Globe … to cash a check.
“The Lesbian Baby Boom Is Also a Baby Boy Boom. How Are These Lads Being Raised?” Village Voice
Jonathan Chait: “Is President Bush too incompetent to be immoral?” The New Republic
The Memory Hole:
Paul Krugman: “Every government tries to make excuses for its past errors, but I don’t think any previous U.S. administration has been this brazen about rewriting history to make itself look good.” NY Times op-ed
Irreconcilable Differences: “Al Gore has had it with Joe Lieberman. Why is Lieberman so pleased?” The New Republic
Awful thought — Lieberman as the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.