Baring It All for Breast Cancer

Titilllating idea starts out as a joke but becomes ‘bona fide bosom buddy’ to breast cancer research:

“The Blogger Boobie-Thon began in 2002 when its founder, Robyn of Shutterblog fame, launched a campaign to bring her friend to Florida for the holidays. Thanks to a growing collection of ‘rack shots’ — pictures of breasts in various states of undress — the donations mounted quickly.

Robyn soon realized she had an effective fund-raising method on her hands. She donated to breast cancer research all monies above and beyond the cost of the plane ticket.

It’s a clever event, with a strong geek appeal. Both men and women are encouraged to submit pictures of their breasts, either bare or clothed or otherwise decorated.

Creativity counts. Many participants adorn themselves with paint, jewelry, lace, chocolate, you name it — and many work the pink-ribbon motif into the overall design.

Editors sift through the submissions, publishing the clothed breasts in the free area of the site and the bare bosoms in a special, password-protected section. To see the bare breasts, viewers must donate a minimum of $50.” (Wired News)

Eye-Popping Streaming Film Debuts

Bandwidth-intensive information can now be streamed live from remote locations, over ultra-fast optical networks, as demonstrated at this week’s iGrid conference in San Diego:

“Jaw-dropping demos abounded, promising just as much for scientists as for Hollywood.

One experiment on Tuesday featured the first-ever live, IP-based transmission of high-definition video from the bottom of the sea.

HD video cameras nearly two miles below the ocean surface and 200 miles off the Washington/Canada coastline relayed impossibly crisp live footage of sea life near 700-degree Fahrenheit volcanic thermal vents known as ‘black smokers’ on the Pacific floor.

Back at iGrid, that 20-mbps MPEG2 video stream was projected in such high resolution that close-ups of tiny, translucent tubeworms the size of quarters filled the entire wall-sized screen. It was as if the theater itself became a gigantic microscope.

During a subsequent demo session, the cameras were aimed in the opposite direction — at the scientists on board the ship above the ocean’s surface. This time, high def proved to be a little too real for comfort when powerful ocean storms pitched and rocked the research vessel Thomas Thompson. The ship’s crew were visibly woozy, but audience members more than a thousand miles away reflexively turned from the screen to avoid seasickness.” (Wired News )

‘The swagger is gone from this White House’

“There is still much to learn about Harriet E. Miers, but in naming her to the Supreme Court, President Bush revealed something about himself: that he has no appetite, at a time when he and his party are besieged by problems, for an all-out ideological fight.

Many of his most passionate supporters on the right had hoped and expected that he would make an unambiguously conservative choice to fulfill their goal of clearly altering the court’s balance, even at the cost of a bitter confirmation battle. By instead settling on a loyalist with no experience as a judge and little substantive record on abortion, affirmative action, religion and other socially divisive issues, Mr. Bush shied away from a direct confrontation with liberals and in effect asked his base on the right to trust him on this one.

The question is why.

On one level, his reasons for trying to sidestep a partisan showdown are obvious, and come down to his reluctance to invest his diminished supply of political capital in a battle over the court.

…Looked at another way, the choice is much harder to explain. In selecting Ms. Miers, Mr. Bush stepped deeper into a political thicket that had already scratched up his well-tended image of competence, the criticism that he is prone to stocking the government with cronies rather than people selected solely for their qualifications.” (New York Times )

A New Measure of Well-Being From a Happy Little Kingdom

“In 1972, concerned about the problems afflicting other developing countries that focused only on economic growth, Bhutan’s newly crowned leader, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, decided to make his nation’s priority not its G.D.P. but its G.N.H., or gross national happiness.

Bhutan, the king said, needed to ensure that prosperity was shared across society and that it was balanced against preserving cultural traditions, protecting the environment and maintaining a responsive government. The king, now 49, has been instituting policies aimed at accomplishing these goals.” (New York Times )