Oh, Now I Get It

Politician turns blue from drinking ‘health’ solution

Stan Jones, Montana’s Libertarian candidate for Senate, started taking colloidal silver in 1999 for fear that disruptions linked to the millennium might lead to a shortage of antibiotics.

He made his own concoction by electrically charging a couple of silver wires in a glass of water.

His skin began turning blue-grey a year ago.

“People ask me if it’s permanent and if I’m dead,” he said. “I tell them I’m practising for Halloween.”

He does not take the supplement any longer, but the skin condition, called argyria, is permanent.” Ananova

I may be the only one around who hadn’t already heard of this, but I’m posting the news item as a public service to any FmH readers who may be as clueless as I had been about the Stan Jones jokes you may have noticed around the internet recently.

Down on Your Ni’s:

The ancient sacrificed remains of 200 fishermen have been excavated from a beach in Peru. Archaeologists believe they were kneeling, tied and blindfolded, facing the waves, then stabbed through the heart as an offering by their conquerors to Ni, god of the sea.

The grisly find represents the biggest case of human sacrifice discovered in South America. Hector Walde, chief of the excavation project at Peru’s National Institute of Culture, says the men probably died in a victory ceremony conducted by the Chimu people in about 1350.” New Scientist

BugBear computer virus rolls on

“The computer virus BugBear, also known as Tanatos, is shaping up to be the nastiest released in 2002. Since its first logged occurrence on Sunday, anti-virus company Message Labs said on Thursday it has stopped at least 70,000 copies, 22,000 of which were identified in the last 24 hours.

It can also capture passwords and credit card details entered on an infected machine using a hidden program that stores keystrokes. The worm bundles up this information into a local file and emails it to a set of encrypted email addresses stored within the worm.

Patches to fix the hole that BugBear exploits have been available for 18 months. But Cluley believes the worm will persist for several more months before it dies out. He says the fundamental problem is that end users are lazy: “They just don’t install the patches and update their anti-virus programs frequently enough.” New Scientist.

More about BugBear here, also from New Scientist.

Strikingly Underappreciated:

Housewife seeking appreciation quits housework CNN [Not to be a stick-in-the-mud, but why is this story getting played for its laugh value? Are we that post-feminist? The undervaluation of women’s labor in the home remains a grievous fault with our society. Perhaps it is an example of that adage, “If you tell the truth you had better be funny or they’ll kill you”? — FmH]

Ostrich Sex, Barking Dogs Score ‘Ig Nobel’ Prizes

12th Annual ‘Ig Nobel’ Prizesarrive the week before the Nobels: “Ever wonder why belly button lint tends to be blue? Curious about the sex life of ostriches? Want to know what Fido is really trying to say or how best to bathe him? The answers to these probing questions are included in research honored this week by the irreverent and quirky science magazine Annals of Improbable Research.

The 12th annual ‘Ig Nobel Prizes’ are awarded to scientific achievements that ‘cannot or should not be reproduced.’ ” Yahoo!

Hopes and Limits …

…of Bionic Parts: an interview with Dr. Willem J. Kolff, “the inventor of the artificial kidney and the leader of the team that created the first artificial heart, (who) was awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research last week. He is now working on a wearable artificial lung.” NY Times

Is This It?

They Are It: a ridiculous groupie piece on the Strokes (I don’t see the point; to paraphrase, I knew the Velvet Underground and they’re no Velvet Underground…) that tries much, much too hard to tie any significance they may have to the post-9/11 mindset in New York:

“Which is to say the Strokes are a better band than they were a year ago, maybe even more of a band, in the way that all sorts of ”brotherhoods” in the city — and not just firemen — seem tighter now. One rap that the members of the Strokes have had to endure is that they grew up privileged (in Upper Manhattan, mostly) and met at one or another private school and can’t possibly be, you know, authentic. But class got a little more complicated in New York after the trade center dead were tallied and described, and rock ‘n’ roll was never about authenticity anyway but about the contingencies of place and time, identity and pose, inspiration and drive. Who knows for how long, but for now, in New York, and not only in New York, the Strokes are for real.” — Gerald Mazorati in the NY Times

Red Dragon is no Manhunter

I haven’t seen Red Dragon, but am glad its release is prompting a reappraisal of Manhunter, the previous filmed version of the Thomas Harris novel, which was entirely overlooked despite Michael Mann’s Miami Vice cachet: “…(I)ts scenes of Graham wandering the crime scene and murmuring into his tape recorder are mesmerizing. Manhunter sired and John Doe and Profiler and Millennium and all the other TV shows and movies that borrowed both Harris’ theme and Mann’s hypnotic tone. After this, thrillers would not only become positively fetishistic about forensics, they’d also tend to fixate on a single protagonist who would wander fresh murder sites and re-live the slaughter from the killer’s point-of-view — who would be able, at a terrible cost, to plunge deep into a psycho’s roiling psyche. Manhunter ushered in the age of empathy for the devil.” — David Edelstein in Slate

Justice, Interrupted:

Why Winona Ryder will do time for O.J.’s crimes

The most common theory for Steve Cooley’s ferocious zealotry is that this is an easy way to restore the sheen to an office so tarnished by failure. Cooley’s predecessor—former District Attorney Gil Garcetti—left office in a welter of criticism over failed prosecutions ranging from Rodney King and Charles Keating to the debacle that was O.J. Simpson. Garcetti will be remembered by history as the guy who never could win the big one.

That Garcetti’s successor, Steve Cooley, thinks nailing Winona Ryder might be a “big one” is either evidence of desperation or a uniquely Hollywood lack of proportion.

There’s one other, more pernicious theory circulating for why Ryder is paying for the long string of failed prosecutions coming out of Los Angeles: According to a new study by Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, Ryder is paying for a national gender bias against wealthy, successful women… Slate

Extinction of Blondes Vastly Overreported

The World Health Organization says there is no such study — and that most journalists didn’t call to check.

“We’ve certainly never conducted any research into the subject,” WHO spokeswoman Rebecca Harding said yesterday from Geneva. “It’s been impossible to find out where it came from. It just seems like it was a hoax.”

The health group traced the story to an account Thursday on a German wire service, which in turn was based on a two-year-old article in the German women’s magazine Allegra, which cited a WHO anthropologist. Harding could find no record of such a man working for the WHO. Washington Post