April 16, 2012

Experts Forecast Global "Catastrophe of Death and Disease" From Asbestos Use Posted by Gary Cohn

Experts Forecast Global "Catastrophe of Death and Disease" From Asbestos Use
by Gary Cohn

Asia is heading for a huge jump in asbestos-related diseases in the coming decades, according to numerous scientific studies and two of the world’s most prominent experts on public health and asbestos exposure. Not surprisingly, the consequences are expected to be felt most severely in India and China, two emerging economies and most populous countries in the world.

“What we can expect is very predictable – an absolute catastrophe of death and disease,” Dr. Arthur Frank, chairman of environmental and occupational health at Drexel University, said in a recent interview with this reporter. He added that the coming catastrophe is “all preventable.”

“What we can expect is very predictable – an absolute catastrophe of death and disease”
- Dr. Arthur Frank, Chairman of Environmental and Occupational Health, Drexel University

Frank’s cautionary words parallel numerous scientific studies and expert predictions forecasting a surge in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases in Asia in the coming decades. This is primarily because India, China, and other countries on the continent continue to use – or in some cases, even increase – their dependence on asbestos for cheap roofing insulation, in cement, and other widespread applications.

Another expert, Dr. Amir Attaran, a scientist, lawyer and acknowledged expert on global health issues, said that the consequences of continued heavy use of asbestos will be felt particularly hard in India, a growing nation of 1.2 billion people with few limits or controls on the use of asbestos.

“It’s a scientific failure, a clinical failure, and a social and moral failure of India. It is a failure of culture and science”
-Dr. Amir Attaran

When asked about the consequences of the country’s widespread use of asbestos, Attaran, a leader in the fight to stop exports of the material to Third World countries, quickly replied: “In disease terms, incalculable. India has no public health controls. They will pay dearly for this with an epidemic of mesothelioma.”

“It’s a scientific failure, a clinical failure, and a social and moral failure of India. It is a failure of culture and science,” Attaran added.

Asbestos and Asia

Asbestos has historically been used as cheap insulation material in construction, ships and cars. In the United States and Europe, it has been banned for most uses because of its clear-cut links to mesothelioma and other diseases, but it is still widely used in Asia and other nations because it is effective, yet relatively inexpensive. In Asia, it is used primarily for cheap roofing insulation, and in cement and power plants. The health hazard of exposure is compounded by the fact that Asian workers often toil in factories with poor ventilation.

A few Asian nations, such as Japan and South Korea, have banned asbestos, but they are the exceptions.

In recent years, numerous studies have documented the anticipated rise in mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases over the next several decades in Asia. One recent study, in the Journal of the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology, said that Asia, with its large, developing countries, currently accounts for about 64% of the world’s asbestos use. This represents a steady increase -- the continent accounted for a 33% share from 1971 to 2000, and 14% from 1920 to 1970.

Medical experts say that it generally takes people 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos to develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases. This timetable clearly forecasts that Asia’s current rate of usage is likely to lead to a huge hike in asbestos-related diseases in the coming decades.

An Asbestos Tsunami


Ken Takahashi, the lead author and acting director of the World Health Organization Collaborative Center for Occupational Health, has said that Asia can anticipate an “asbestos tsunami,” in the coming decades. In response, WHO has identified asbestos as one of the most dangerous occupational carcinogens in the world, and says there is an urgent need to stop asbestos use in order to curtail the enormous associated health damages.

An estimated 107,000 people worldwide die each year from asbestos-related diseases, a number that will continue to grow if efforts to curb its usage fail.

While already substantial, this assessment is probably low, according to leading public-health experts, as it is difficult to categorically track deaths from asbestos-related diseases in Asia because India, China and other countries do not to keep reliable data on them.

In recent years, some Asian nations, including Japan and South Korea, have banned or limited asbestos use. But in most other Asian nations, most significantly India and China, the use of asbestos has continued with little or no regulation or oversight. (This reporter got a first-hand view of the problem in the late 1990s while investigating India’s notorious shipbreaking facilities in Alang, where thousands of unprotected workers worked on large, retired vessels with high asbestos content).


Many public health experts, such as Frank of Drexel University, have called for a ban on asbestos exports to Asia. Last year, Frank led a group of 120 medical doctors and other health professionals in a campaign to stop Canada from exporting asbestos to developing nations. Canada, which has largely banned asbestos for domestic use, is the second-largest exporter of asbestos to Asia, behind only Russia.

In an appeal to Canadian medical experts, Frank and his colleagues warned that Canada is morally obligated to consider the “enormous harm to health for generations,” if the exports continue – a plea that so far has gone unheeded.

In the recent interview, Frank reiterated the urgency to stop developed nations such as Canada from exporting asbestos to the Third World, along with the need for Asian nations to ban asbestos and start using available non-lethal substitutes.

“What needs to be done is very simple,” Frank told me. “They should stop using asbestos in Asia.”


However, this is unlikely to happen as long as established countries continue to chase the profits from exporting the carcinogen. “Canada is the world’s biggest hypocrite when it comes to asbestos,” said Frank. “It is taking it (asbestos) out of Parliament buildings but willing to sell it overseas.”

Next up: The hypocrisy of asbestos-exporting nations. Canada, for example, has banned the use of asbestos domestically and is scheduled to begin a $1 billion renovation project to clean its parliamentary buildings of asbestos this summer. Yet Canada remains one of the world’s biggest exporters of asbestos to the Third World.

Tags: asbestos, Asia, Canada, China, Dr. Amir Attaran, Dr. Larry Frank, Gary Cohn, India, mesothelioma

Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/gary/experts-forecast-global-catastrophe-of-death-and-disease-from-asbestos-use.htm#ixzz1sEJAQpLV

Posted on April 16, 2012 at 02:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 24, 2011

Come To My New Blog And Web Site!

I have a new blog and web site, and I'm inviting everyone to it. This blog/web site focuses on my erotic writing. I will continue to post sex toys reviews on this blog. So, if you want to keep up with me, visit me at my new digs.

Elizabeth Black - Blog and Web site

See you there!

Lizzie

Posted on March 24, 2011 at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

December 02, 2010

More On Warshak, Parental Alienation, and Brainwashing Of Children

[From Miss Fidget.com.]

Canadian Brainwashing Custody Battle

Posted by on May 17, 2009 in FELONIOUSNESS, FORTEANA

With divorce as common as it is it’s about time, “parental alienation syndrome” were recognized, however as this story shows, how to handle it in a legal setting is still being figured out. For a story about the legal resolution of this case, click here. Kudos to P.F. for being an advocate for his younger siblings.

BRAINWASHING BATTLE

The 18-year-old who negotiated the truce between mom and dad

Son’s birthday pact with parents leads to ceasefire in bitter eight-year dispute

KIRK MAKIN | April 28, 2009 | JUSTICE REPORTER | www.theglobeandmail.com
When an 18-year-old man arrived for a birthday dinner at his mother’s house a few days ago, he never dreamed it would end one of the most bitter disputes in Canadian family court history.

Having barely spoken to one another in years, the young man and his Brampton, Ont., mother found themselves calmly discussing a resolution to an eight-year battle that caused a judge to order deprogramming therapy for the man’s two younger brothers and turned parental alienation syndrome into a nationally recognized phenomenon.

“We realized that we were talking all right with each other,” the young man, known as P.F., said in an interview yesterday. “We weren’t jumping at each other’s throats. The idea occurred to us that we might be able to work this out with each other.”
That birthday pact led directly to a firm agreement, signed over the weekend at an emotional meeting attended by lawyers and family members. Under its terms, the family’s three sons cannot be separated or forcibly sent to a parental alienation centre for treatment. All three children will live with their mother, and P.F. may contact his father freely.

His 12- and 14-year-old brothers can contact their father with their mother’s consent.
“My dad came up and shook my mom’s hand,” recalled P.F., a tall, long-haired teen with a reflective intellect and an articulate, soft-spoken manner. “That was something I hadn’t seen in a very long time. It was generally a very happy situation.”

The family burst into the news last fall, when a judge ordered that the two youngest boys be sent to a U.S. treatment facility to be deprogrammed. A judge gave the youth legal standing in the case after he said he wanted to raise his brothers apart from either parent.

Yesterday, in a revealing conversation, P.F. criticized therapists and child welfare authorities in the case for clutching to pet theories about parental alienation syndrome. Under the controversial PAS diagnosis, children who are seen to have been systematically poisoned toward one parent by the other cannot evaluate their emotions accurately.

“I think they have done a lot more harm than good for our family,” P.F. said. “I think they were tilting the whole case in a direction that was more favourable to them, which was a more costly and stressful and damaging alternative for us. We don’t need all these people getting into our lives and directing the way things go.”

He also criticized the justice system for too easily sidelining children who are caught up in their parents’ warfare.

“Where people are making decisions, the kids should at least be heard and their opinions thoroughly considered; not interpreted or cast aside, as they were here,” he said. “When it is possible to simply walk up and say, ‘This kid is parentally alienated,’ that instantly takes away all their credibility. Our family made their minds up for themselves. In a way, we emancipated ourselves from these professionals that have been breathing down our necks the whole time.”

Those who signed the weekend peace accord included P.F., his parents and their lawyers: Jeffery Wilson, Marvin Kurz and Terrence Edgar. P.F. said his mother and her former lawyer, Beverley Martel, wept from the emotion of the moment.

In brokering the deal that ended the family hostilities, P.F. also put the lie to allegations that his father had transformed the youth into his agent.

The agreement provides for all of the family members to be enrolled in therapy sessions – at the mother’s expense – “to achieve the objective of the children eventually enjoying a relationship with both of their parents, wherever they reside.”

Mr. Wilson said in an interview yesterday that the parties were optimistic that Ontario Court Judge Steven Clark would endorse the agreement this week.

P.F. agreed, saying: “I trust that Justice Clark will respect our efforts and our sacrifices and our trust for each other. Because this is really what it is. We are trusting each other.”

Posted on December 2, 2010 at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

November 27, 2010

Richard Warshak Dances Around Parental Alienation - Part Two

[Part one of this article is here.]

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A father's abusive behavior towards the mother is most definitely a problem with the label of parental alienation because these same abusive men are using parental alienation (with their lawyer's and psych's blessings) as a weapon in court to get child custody away from protective mothers! Ms lc pointed out all that below. Also, see my quote from Silverberg in my previous post. Warshak continues to ignore that parental alienation is used as a weapon by abusive, controlling, and hostile men!

Warshak makes it sound like parental alienation is a problem of epic proportions - an epidemic in contested custody and divorce cases. How common is alienation, after all? Meier reported in "Parental Alienation Syndrome and Parental Alienation: Research Reviews" that "no more than 10% of all children were alienated in a way that fits the alienation paradigm, for example, alienating conduct by an otherwise non-abusive aligned parent. In short, alienation theorists’ own research demonstrates that wrongful “child alienation” (that which is not simply part of a pattern of abuse) is remarkably rare in divorcing and separating families." Johnson, one of alienation's primary researchers, found that (per Meier) "even where the vast majority of both parents used alienating behaviors, only 6% of children were "extremely rejecting" and only 20% "showed indication of being consistently negative." Those percentages included mothers who were victims of domestic violence who were counted as victims of alienation. Those children are more accurately described as victims of abuse rather than victims of alienation.

Warshak6disc


Ms lc's responses to Warshak's comment below never went live, presumably because he doesn't want to bring any attention to that Canadian case where a judge ruled against forcing a teenaged Canadian boy into deprogramming from alienation at Warshak's Bridges treatment program in California - at a cost of $40,000 for four days worth of "treatment". Another activist had commented about the case earlier this month, and her comment never saw the light of day.

"I appreciate your passion..."??? So he demeans ms lc by saying she's too emotional? Slick way to insult your critics.

Note Warshak's vague and circular statements about the nature of "alienation" below. Then read more from Meier:

Johnston and others have acknowledged that "there is very little empirical data to back up . . . [their] clinical observations" that alienated children are significantly undermined in their emotional and psychological development (Johnston & Kelly, 2004b, p. 84). In fact, Johnston and Kelly (2004b) forthrightly state that "there are no systematic long term data on the adjustment and well-being of alienated compared to non-alienated children so that long-term prognostications are merely speculative" (p. 84). Evaluators and alienation theorists commonly assert that alienation is a devastating form of emotional abuse of children. To the contrary, Judith Wallerstein, the groundbreaking researcher of divorce who first pointed out the problem of children’s sometimes pathological alignment with the custodial parent after divorce or separation, found in her follow-up study that children's hostility toward the other parent after divorce was temporary, and resolved of its own accord, mostly within one or two years (Bruch, 2001; Wallerstein et al., 2000).

Warshak7disc


Warshak8disc

Notice how vague he is in describing alienation? No wonder everyone commenting "sees" alienation. That kind of behavior is common in all kinds of families, even married ones, as ms lc wrote. Alienation doesn't take into account normal behavior children and teens exhibit as a reaction to their parent's divorce. It also doesn't take into account normal and expected belligerent and surly behavior from children and teens that they exhibit as their way of distancing themselves from their parents - as a normal part of of the stages of childhood development. Since parental alienation isn't concerned with the causes of behavior it won't detect any of this. Keep in mind that Wallerstein found that typically children grow out of difficult divorce-related behavior in about two years.

In addition, in his paper "Current Controversies Regarding Parental Alienation Syndrome" (2001), Warshak admitted that "To date, no study has directly measured the extent to which different examiners, with the same data, can agree on the presence or absence of PAS (or, for that matter, alienation in a child). Until a sufficiently high rate of agreement on the presence or absence of PAS is established through systematic research, the diagnosis will not attain the empirical support which is probably necessary to achieve acceptance on a par with the disorders recognized in the American Psychiatric Association’s official description of diagnoses. And, until such data exist, the reliability of PAS cannot be supported by reference to scientific literature."

Even Warshak admitted that parental alienation is hooey.

Warshak9disc


And now the Canadian alienation case. For more on this case, go to this web site: Deprogramming Treatment Blocked In Child Custody Case (2009):

Pertinent sections about Warshak:

An Ontario judge yesterday blocked an attempt to forcibly send a Toronto child for deprogramming treatment in a controversial parental-alienation program in California.

[...]

Treatment at the clinic – founded by Richard Warshak – involves isolating a child from the parent who is identified as having poisoned his or her emotions toward the other parent. Therapists then attempt to undo the child’s hostile feelings.

[...]

In her ruling, Judge Herman concluded that the arbitrator placed too much stock in an opinion that Dr. Warshak offered to the effect that the children would benefit from his program.

She said that the independent assessment should focus, in particular, on whether the 14-year-old boy, who has Klinefelter’s Syndrome, would undergo psychiatric suffering if his older brother opts out of treatment and he is sent alone.

Mr. Weir said in the interview that he was shocked when the arbitrator ordered treatment since he had little more than Dr. Warshak’s say-so that the program is effective.

“Warshak saw only the mother - but not the father or the boys,” Mr. Weir added. “He said that he wasn’t giving a definitive opinion, but he actually did.”

Mr. Weir said that, at a cost of $40,000 for four days of treatment, the program is expensive as well as unproven.

“Warshak came up a year and a half ago and did his first seminar,” he said. “My impression at the time was, I think he has failed to establish himself with the psychologists or psychiatrists in the U.S., and now he’s coming to Canada.

Earlier this week, Dr. Warshak rebuffed a request to discuss his program. “I have been very generous with my time speaking to journalists at your newspaper and other Canadian media outlets, but now I must turn my attention to other tasks,” he said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail.

Ms lc didn't bring up the case of Bianca H. (Texas) so I will. It's another case where Warshak recommended his "treatment" for parental alienation and the court put a stop to it. As in the Canadian case, Warshak never met with the child. He viewed a tape of the child interacting with the plaintiff.

Warshak testified that when conflict between “parents” causes a child distress, a court should order counseling and sanction the parent that instigated the conflict. Warshak believed any harm Bianca suffered because of the conflict would be less than the harm she would suffer if she lost Alfano. Indeed, Warshak testified the best way to remedy the conflict would be to increase Alfano's access to the child.

After the testimony, the trial court stated that Alfano had been put in the position of an uncle since the child was twenty months old. The trial court noted that it had attempted to resolve the situation for four years with no progress. The trial court considered limited visitation, but determined that it would only put off the inevitable. Accordingly, the trial court terminated Alfano's visitation rights.

In its findings of fact, the trial court found that (1) Alfano is not legally or biologically related to the child, (2) a great deal of conflict exists between Mother and Alfano, (3) the conflict was unlikely to abate in the future, (4) the conflict was injurious to the child's best interest, (5) the circumstances of the child have materially and substantially changed since the date of the order sought to be modified, (6) the order has become unworkable and inappropriate under existing circumstances, and (7) modification would produce a positive improvement for and be in the best interest of the child. The trial court modified its prior order eliminating Alfano's right to possession of and access to the child.

The appeals court affirmed the ruling.

In conclusion, Richard Warshak's own statements show how specious and vague parental alienation really is. It is a layman's description of an opinion about observed behavior. There are better ways to deal with problems in divorce and custody cases than pretending they can be solved by smacking them with a parental alienation label. And abused mothers and children are not alienated. That label undermines the seriousness and importance of what they experience. They are victims of child abuse and domestic violence, intimate terrorism, control, and hostility. Parental alienation belongs in neither a court of law or in a psychiatrists or therapists office. It's a money-maker for greedy people taking advantage of the new cottage industries springing up around family law cases.


Posted on November 27, 2010 at 02:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Richard Warshak Dances Around Parental Alienation - Part One

[Part two of this article is here]

Dr. Richard Warshak, one of the top promoters of the debunked and unscientific Parental Alienation, now has a column at the Huffington Post in its new Divorce section. Domestic violence activists and protective mothers descended upon his first article, "Stop Divorce Poison", to alert readers as to how bogus parental alienation really is. I won't link to the article, but here is the URL for reference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-warshak/stop-divorce-poison_b_778889.html

The response? The Huffington Post (and most likely Warshak himself) have removed nearly all the comments critical of parental alienation, leaving up the glad-handing ones from parental alienation supporters. Two domestic violence activists saw their HuffPost accounts cancelled. What's the matter? Can't take the heat? In addition, possibly due to reading the massive amount of critical commentary all over the web about the Warshak/HuffPost/censorship/parental alienation issue, Warshak had even tried to present himself in a few comments as a friend to abused women. He is anything but.

While a few comments remain up, most notably ones by Morning Show, ms lc, and FamilyCourtInAmerica, Warshak saw fit to respond only to ms lc. This post will critically analyze his own statements and show how specious parental alienation really is and how Richard Warshak is no friend to abused women.

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He is completely missing the point. The kids aren't brainwashed by an abusive father. They are terrified of him and want to be out of his line of fire. They want to be with their mothers, but they are afraid, and the mere act of bringing up child abuse or domestic violence is enough for a mother to be labeled an alienator. In addition, domestic violence is not "divorce poison". As ms lc wrote below, call it was it is - abuse. Domestic violence. I'll add wife-beating, intimidation, and terrorism. The problem is that if you call it what it is and refrain from downgrading it to something as vague and dismissive as "divorce poison", you can't get the kids into expensive treatment designed with parental alienation in mind and make tons of money from the allegation of alienation. First and foremost, parental alienation is a huge moneymaker for the psychs who make their livings from it. To admit that it's vague and specious junk science means the cash cow disappears.

Warshak2disc

Take special note of what Warshak writes below. He dances around ms lc's statement that abusive men use parental alienation as a weapon in court against mothers and children reporting abuse. He refuses to even acknowledge this is happening.

Also notice how he defines "alienation". Does he get the definition from a peer-reviewed journal? No. From the DSM-IV? No, he can't because parental alienation is not considered a valid medical disorder by the American Psychological Association so it doesn't even appear in the DSM-IV. It's not going to appear in the upcoming DSM-V, either, despite heavy lobbying by father's rights groups and parental alienation supporters and profiteers. Richard Gardner, the founder of parental alienation (back when it was called "parental alienation syndrome" - more on that in a minute), had even tried to get parental alienation into the DSM to no avail. Did Warshak look to a medical journal for a description of parental alienation? No.

He looked to the dictionary. Webster's definition. In other words, "alienation" is a layman's term, as ms lc says. It has no scientific basis at all, and Warshak outright admitted it.

Warshak also admitted that "alienation, like the word "attachment", carried no implication about the causes of the state of the relationship." So there is no concern or investigation into why a child may reject a parent? Only behavior that in someone's opinion is "alienation" (whatever that is) and it must be "treated"?

And how can you treat something that isn't medically based? After all, Warshak's definition of alienation came from the dictionary, not a valid, peer-reviewed medical journal. If it's only a layman's term, i.e., anyone can "see" it and "diagnose" it, why the need for expertise to treat it?

There has been lots of criticism that "parental alienation syndrome" and "parental alienation" are not the same thing. In some respects that's correct since Gardner's parental alienation syndrome was primarily used by fathers as a defense against child sexual abuse allegations raised by the mother. It's much more limited in its application. Gardner also stated that in his caseload, 90% of alienating parents were mothers. With the evolution from PAS into the more general parental alienation, the focus has broadened from child sexual abuse allegations to include any complaint by a parent about behavior by the other parent or child. There doesn't have to be allegations of abuse for a charge of parental alienation to be tossed out. Now, both fathers and mothers may be accused of parental alienation although the primary accused alienators continue to be mothers. In addition, parental alienation has become quite a lucrative cottage industry for psychs, especially since the advent of new HMO rules that affect those working in the mental health profession. There's money to be made in contested custody cases and divorces and parental alienation is one great way to make a lot of cash. Regarding the switch from parental alienation syndrome to parental alienation, Richard Gardner himself admitted in his article "Basic Facts About The Parental Alienation Syndrome" that several reasons for the switch in terminology were that parental alienation supporters wanted to distance themselves from him ("lest they be somehow tainted" - because of his misogynistic statements and statements praising pedophilia and incest) and they moved away from the use of alienation as a syndrome because it was "politically incorrect" and falling out of favor in courts. He also wrote "changing the name of an entity because of political and other unreasonable considerations generally does more harm than good." Gardner said that for all intents and purposes, parental alienation syndrome and parental alienation were the same thing. So, it evolved to be the vague moneymaker that it is today.

Warshak stated that he "helped many parents, women and men, whose former spouses, though not violent, have turned the children against them." How does he know this? On the say-so of the allegedly "alienated" parent? After all, there is no search for a cause for alienation, only treatment of it based on lay observation of vague behavior. In addition, Warshak did not state the main scenarios in which so-called alienation plays out, which is between warring parents where the child does not exhibit "alienating" behavior. What about those cases? If parents are so easily able to brainwash their children into hating the other parent, why do most cases involve children of warring parents who don't reject either parent? And what about the other common scenario, that of children who do reject a parent yet the "aligned" parent is not badmouthing or otherwise demeaning the other parent? Since the cause is of no concern when it comes to so-called alienation, these children are likely to end up in treatment just because the rejected parent hires a psych partial to "treating" parental alienation.

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He pays lip service to abused women by continuing to try to claim that abused women who have difficulty interacting with their children because of the abusive behavior of their ex's are experiencing alienation. That's not what it is. As I've already stated, it's abuse, domestic violence, terrorism, dealing with a controlling and hostile man (as ms lc wrote). Another term for what these women go through is "domestic violence by proxy", but alienation proponents don't like that term because they think it sounds too feminist.

And finally, Warshak still does not acknowledge that abusive fathers, their lawyers, and their hired-hand psychs use parental alienation in court to take child custody away from abused mothers. Parental alienation is now the leading defense for parents accused of abuse in custody cases. Harvard's Jay Silverman found in his 2004 survey in Massachusetts that 54 percent of custody cases involving documented spousal abuse were decided in favor of the batterers. Parental alienation was used as an argument in nearly every case.

What does Warshak have to say about all that? Nothing. And he presents himself as a friend of abused women.

More in the next post.

Posted on November 27, 2010 at 02:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 11, 2010

It's The End Of The World!

This is your last chance to have sex before the world ends on Friday. Wanna know why?

1. There's going to be a planetary alignment.

2. The Perseid meteor shower is Thursday and Friday.

3. Friday is Friday the 13th.

My husband and I want to see all this so we are heading for the beach around 3 a.m. on Friday morning. I can't even bring my dildos with me because I don't think they'd work well filled with sand. We'll watch the Perseids in the pitch darkness because we'll be far from urban lighting and the moon will have set by then. Oh, boy! And there are Venus, Saturn, and Mars lining up for our pleasure. Too bad I can't find the binoculars. I'd love to see those planets close up. We can even make out at the beach since I guarantee no one else will be there. There's nothing as sexy as a deserted beach during a meteor shower.

So, if you're superstitious, have one last screeching orgasm and get ready for the End Times. If you're not superstitious, get a bottle of wine, some Stilton cheese, Genoa salami, and crackers or French bread, and make a party of it. The Perseids are supposed to be especially fine this year. I love meteor showers. And I won't go blind, either, or turn into a zombie. I've been watching far too many bad horror movies.

Posted on August 11, 2010 at 08:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 23, 2009

BC Earth Explorer Widget

My husband and I just finished watching the BBC Earth three hour special, and it was incredibly good. We love nature shows.

Here's the BBC Earth Widget. Testing it here to see if it's too big for my sidebar.

Posted on June 23, 2009 at 03:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 21, 2009

I Found The Coolest Toys - Plush Microbes!!!!

Microbes

I found these while goofing off on Facebook, and they are so cool!!! Now you too can own your own plush microbes. They are only eight dollars - very reasonable. Above is a group photo of all the plush microbes, but the web site also includes a link where you can see each one individually. I bet P. Z. Myers would love his own plush microbe. There are about two dozen different microbes to choose from, including egg and sperm cells, the common cold, mono (my disease of choice when I get sick), some sexually transmitted disease microbes, Mad Cow, and head lice. Yummy!! I want the ebola and flesh eating disease plush microbes, but plague also sounds like fun. They also have eyes so they look really cute. The egg cell has a cute little bow. LOL!

Posted on May 21, 2009 at 02:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 21, 2007

Science Blogging

Bora is blogging about the science conference blogging he's been doing. There are scads of links on his page - too many for me to link to. Go to his blog for all the dirt. Also, if you want to buy his Science Blogging Anthology, go to this link.

Posted on January 21, 2007 at 02:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 01, 2006

Stardust@home Is Starting

Today at 11am PDT, Berkeley University of California and The Planetary Society will launch a new internet collaborative effort called stardust@home. This effort will ask for the help of interested world wide web users in identifying particles of interstellar dust hopefully brought back to earth in aerogel collectors by the Stardust spacecraft.

Berkeley already  has an ongoing collaborative effort called seti@home (SETI stands for Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) which uses the power of distributed computers, via a screensaver volunteers can download, to perform Fast Fourier Transform analysis of radio telescope data collected over the years in the search for non-naturally occuring radio signals from space. The idea being that these radio signals may be voluntary or involuntary communications from an extraterrestrial intelligence.

The gist of what is asked of you is as follows:

By asking for help from talented volunteers like you from all over the world, we can do this project in months instead of years. Of course, we can't invite hundreds of people to our lab to do this search—we only have two microscopes! To find the elusive particles we are using an automated scanning microscope to automatically collect images of the entire Stardust interstellar collector at the Curatorial Facility at Johnson Space Center in Houston, we call them focus movies. All in all there will be 1.6 million such focus movies. These are available to Stardust@home users like you around the world. You can then view them with the aid of a special Virtual Microscope (VM) that works in your web browser. The VM downloads and displays these images, so that you can do just what someone sitting at real microscope would do: focusing up and down in each movie to look for tracks. To use the VM you will need a relatively fast internet connection, and the latest version of just about any web browser. To find out more about the system requirements for the VM visit our Technical FAQ.

Together, you and thousands of other Stardust@home participants will find the first pristine interstellar dust particles ever brought to Earth.

First, you will go through a web-based training session. You must pass a test to qualify to register and participate. After passing the test and registering, you will be able to login to the virtual microscope. The VM will automatically connect to our server and download focus movies. The VM will work within your web browser, under your control. You will search each field for interstellar dust impacts by focusing up and down with a focus control.

Posted on August 1, 2006 at 03:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)