Monday, April 16, 2007

Abstinence Sex Ed Useless

Sexual abstinence class is about as effective in preventing premarital sex as those who didn't attend the classes at all, according to a recent study.

It's funny. It's mostly religious social conservatives who back abstinence sexual education. These people are largely aware of the story of Adam, Eve, the Apple, and how making something mysterious and forbidden leads to undesirable results.

from the BBC:

The students in this study, which was ordered by Congress, came from a range of big cities across the United States, such as Milwaukee and Miami and from rural communities in Virginia and Mississippi.

They were 11 and 12 years old when they entered the abstinence programmes, which lasted one to two years.

The researchers also looked at the behaviour of their peers from the same communities who did not attend the classes.

The findings show that those who attended first had sex at about the same age as their peers - at 14 years and nine months.

The Bush administration has warned against drawing sweeping conclusions from the study.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Spy chief wants to spy exponentially

National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell is peddling a bill that would expand the government's surveillance authority. Because too much is never enough, especially with phone taps.

From the AP:

National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell has circulated a draft bill that would expand the government's powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, liberalizing how that law can be used.

Known as "FISA," the 1978 law was passed to allow surveillance in espionage and other foreign intelligence investigations, but still allow federal judges on a secretive panel to ensure protections for U.S. citizens — at home or abroad — and other permanent U.S. residents.

The changes McConnell is seeking mostly affect a cloak-and-dagger category of warrants used to investigate suspected spies, terrorists and other national security threats. The court-approved surveillance could include planting listening devices and hidden cameras, searching luggage and breaking into homes to make copies of computer hard drives.

Bio-Crops can escape, kill

An article from the New York Times on bio-engineered crops. A bit of an eye opener, as I'm ignorant on this topic. Rather scary. I don't read horror novels or sci-fi anymore, you know. I just read the news. The need for fear and strange is filled nicely.

From the New York Times:

Despite science-based concerns voiced by farmers, environmentalists and even its own researchers, the United States Department of Agriculture has approved more than 100 applications to grow so-called biopharma crops of corn, soybeans, barley, rice, safflower and tobacco in the United States.

Developers say these crops are the best way to achieve the economies of scale and cost savings that will let them meet rising demand for drugs like human insulin.

They acknowledge that growing pharmaceutical crops is riskier than making drugs in factories. They know that the plants contain potentially toxic drugs and chemicals, and because they look like ordinary crops, they can be mistaken for food, both before and after harvest.

The most important thing, then, is to keep biopharma plants, pollen and seeds confined to the fields where they are planted. Otherwise, they may contaminate other crops, wild relatives and the environment.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Insurgents capture bomb disposal robot; why?

It's not exactly a major point of the linked story, but I found it terribly interesting nonetheless. Just what on Earth are they doing with that bomb-bot? Conversion doesn't mean the same thing for machines as it does for humans. More of a software process, really.

from CNN:

A spokesman for al-Sadr said Saturday that militia fighters in Diwaniya had destroyed three American vehicles and captured a robot used to detonate roadside bombs, AP reported.

Conneticut's State Polka and Punk Rock songs

So, shall we soon see state rap and death metal songs?

from the Hartford Advocate:

Currently, two bills are being considered by the state government that would shore up our state’s musical heritage. Proposed Bill No. 5328 is also known as “An Act Concerning the State Polka.” Ansonia native Peter J. Danielczuk, a radio DJ who hosts polka shows on Bridgeport’s WDJZ 1530 AM and WNHU 88.7 FM, has been lobbying members of the legislature to make “Ballroom Polka” the state’s official polka song.


The polka song proposal led to another music-related bill. When State Planning and Development Committee Clerk Eric Stroker heard the bill, he decided Connecticut needed to be the first state to adopt an official punk-rock song.

“I’m dedicated to the idea of expanding the scope of how government looks at youth and culture,” Stroker said.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Blood flow, movement power nanogenerator

I can't help but think of mice on excercise wheels powering light bulbs.


Researchers have demonstrated a prototype nanometer-scale generator that produces continuous direct-current electricity by harvesting mechanical energy from such environmental sources as ultrasonic waves, mechanical vibration or blood flow.
Based on arrays of vertically-aligned zinc oxide nanowires that move inside a novel “zig-zag” plate electrode, the nanogenerators could provide a new way to power nanoscale devices without batteries or other external power sources.

“This is a major step toward a portable, adaptable and cost-effective technology for powering nanoscale devices,” said Zhong Lin Wang, Regents’ Professor in the School of Materials Science and Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “There has been a lot of interest in making nanodevices, but we have tended not to think about how to power them. Our nanogenerator allows us to harvest or recycle energy from many sources to power these devices.”

About Me

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I'm Troy Doney. I'm on the internet. I'm the writer of the blog "Off the Reservation" at New West. I also write a blog at Reznet. My personal blog is Man Bites Dog. I post my pictures at Flickr and I write short sentences at Twitter.