Hello aliens, this is Earth calling

“A group of engineers has offered a solution for people who want a direct line to aliens – by broadcasting their phone calls directly into space.

People wanting to contact extraterrestrial beings through www.TalkToAliens.com can dial a premium rate US number and have their call routed through a transmitter and sent into space through a 3.2-metre-wide dish in central Connecticut, US.

The service, launched on 27 February, will cost users $3.99 per minute, says Eric Knight, president of the company. He says that a large radio receiver – like the Arecibo dish in Puerto Rico – situated on a distant planet might be large enough for an alien civilisation to receive the calls.” (New Scientist)

Charge a battery in just six minutes

“A rechargeable battery that can be fully charged in just 6 minutes, lasts 10 times as long as today’s rechargeables and can provide bursts of electricity up to three times more powerful is showing promise in a Nevada lab.

New types of battery are badly needed. Nokia’s chief technologist Yrj? Neuvo warned last year that batteries are failing to keep up with the demands of the increasingly energy-draining features being crammed into mobile devices…” (New Scientist)

Our Godless Constitution

“It is hard to believe that George Bush has ever read the works of George Orwell, but he seems, somehow, to have grasped a few Orwellian precepts. The lesson the President has learned best–and certainly the one that has been the most useful to him–is the axiom that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. One of his Administration’s current favorites is the whopper about America having been founded on Christian principles. Our nation was founded not on Christian principles but on Enlightenment ones. God only entered the picture as a very minor player, and Jesus Christ was conspicuously absent.” (The Nation)

When Torment Is Baby’s Destiny, Euthanasia Is Defended

“Babies born into what is certain to be a brief life of grievous suffering should have their lives ended by physicians under strict guidelines, according to two doctors in the Netherlands.

The doctors, Eduard Verhagen and Pieter J. J. Sauer of the University Medical Center in Groningen, in an essay in today’s New England Journal of Medicine, said they had developed guidelines, known as the Groningen protocol. The guidelines have been described in some news reports over the last several weeks, and the authors said they wrote their essay to address ‘blood-chilling accounts and misunderstandings.’

‘We are convinced that life-ending measures can be acceptable in these cases under very strict conditions,’ the authors wrote. Those conditions include the full and informed consent of the parents, the agreement of a team of physicians, and a subsequent review of each case by ‘an outside legal body’ to determine whether the decision was justified and all procedures had been followed.

Stephen Drake, a research analyst at Not Dead Yet, an organization based in the United States that views euthanasia and assisted suicide as threats to people with disabilities, said ‘there’s nothing surprising about the medical profession wanting to formalize and legitimize practices that have wide acceptance in the medical community worldwide,’ and added, ‘Obviously, we’re against that.’ The Groningen protocol, he said, is based on ‘singling out infants based on somebody else’s assessment of their quality of life.’

Doctors commonly abort fetuses when grave medical conditions like Tay-Sachs disease are diagnosed in utero, and after birth will commonly withdraw treatment from infants with no hope of survival, or even end the lives of some of those newborns. In a telephone interview, Dr. Verhagen said that he and Dr. Sauer were trying to bring a measure of accountability to acts that go on every day around the world. ‘Given the fact that it is already happening,’ he said, ‘we find it unacceptable that it is happening in silence.'” (New York Times )