Day: May 2, 2007

Not cellular transmissions after all?

Experts may have found what’s bugging the bees: “A fungus that caused widespread loss of bee colonies in Europe and Asia may be playing a crucial role in the mysterious phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder that is wiping out bees across the United States, UC San Francisco researchers said Wednesday.

Researchers have been struggling for months to explain the disorder, and the new findings provide the first solid evidence pointing to a potential cause.

But the results are ‘highly preliminary’ and are from only a few hives from Le Grand in Merced County, UCSF biochemist Joe DeRisi said. ‘We don’t want to give anybody the impression that this thing has been solved.'” (LA Times)

A Case Against Cheney

Richard Cohen: “Kucinich is an odd guy for whom the killer appellation ‘perennial presidential candidate’ is lethally applied. But he is on to something here. It is easy enough to ad hominize him to the margins — ya know, the skinny guy among the ‘real’ presidential candidates — but at a given moment, and this is one, he’s the only one on that stage who articulates a genuine sense of betrayal. He is not out merely to win the nomination but to hold the Bush administration — particularly Cheney — accountable. In this he will fail. What Cheney has done is not impeachable. It is merely unforgivable.” (Washington Post op-ed)

Guess what movie may make you sick…

Babel is immensely popular in Japan, in part thanks to a memorable and powerful role by Japanese actress Rinko Kikuchi. But, reminiscent of a memorable incident caused by an episode of the Pokemon cartoon series a decade ago, a number of Japanese have been sickened by a one-minute scene in Babel involving a visit to a club in which strobe lights flash for about a minute. The phenomenon has prompted the posting of a health advisory on the distributor’s website and on posters at theatres showing the film. (Yahoo! News) While strobe-induced seizure activity is a well-known phenomenon in patients with preexisting epilepsy, it is quite rare. In contrast, this has some of the hallmarks of communicable hysteria. It is a little different from the Pokemon incident, which affected viewers simultaneously without forewarning, and which probably attracted a much larger viewing population.

World’s cities step up pace of life

“Pedestrians in Singapore were crowned the world’s fastest movers, walking 30 percent faster than they did in the early 1990s, and in China, the pace of life in Guangzhou has increased by more than 20 percent.

Copenhagen and Madrid were the fastest European cities, beating Paris and London. And despite its reputation as ‘the city that never sleeps,’ New York ranked only eighth in the pace race, behind Dublin and Berlin.” (Yahoo! News)

Hell-in-a-Handbucket Dept.

Arctic ice cap melting 30 years ahead of forecast: “…now about 30 years ahead of predictions made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a U.S. ice expert said on Tuesday. This means the ocean at the top of the world could be free or nearly free of summer ice by 2020, three decades sooner than the global panel’s gloomiest forecast of 2050.” (Yahoo! News)

R.I.P. Bobby Pickett

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“Bobby (Boris) Pickett, whose Boris Karloff impression propelled the Halloween novelty song “Monster Mash” to the top of the charts in 1962, making him one of pop music’s most enduring one-hit wonders, died Wednesday in Los Angeles. He was 69. His longtime manager, Stuart Hersh, said the cause was leukemia.

Mr. Pickett’s multimillion-selling single — with the indelible chorus “He did the monster mash, it was a graveyard smash” — hit the charts three times: on its original release in 1962, when it reached No. 1, and in 1970 and 1973. Mr. Pickett’s Karloff impression was forged in Somerville, Mass., where as a 9-year-old he watched horror films in a theater managed by his father. He later made it part of his act when he began performing in Hollywood nightclubs in 1959.

Mr. Pickett also did the voice when performing with his band the Cordials. A bandmate, Lenny Capizzi, persuaded Mr. Pickett to do a song featuring the Karloff impression, and “Monster Mash” was born.” (New York Times )