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Monday, January 31, 2005
As Iraqis go to vote, there is skepticism
in the United States that anyone can ever
establish a stable democracy there, according
to public opinion surveys released just before
the Iraqi elections.


Percentage of Americans who disapprove
of President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq,
according to a recent CBS-New York Times poll.


Percentage who believe U.S. should
support the choices of the Iraqi
people, even if they turn to an
uncooperative Islamic fundamentalist

Who's voting

25.4 million people, about 14.0 million eligib;e
in Iraq, 1.2 million overseas

Major ethnic groups
Arab up to 80percnet
Kurds up to 20 percent
(voters are expected to cast ballots
along sectarian and ethnic divides)



Muslim 97 percent
Shite 60 to 65 percent
Sunni 32 to 37 percent
Christian or toehr 3 percent
(several Sunni factions are boycotting
the election and have vowed violence.
Many feel threatened by a Siite majority)


Who's on the ballot?

Ballots includes 111 parties vying for
seats in the national assembly.

Parties will win seats based on the
percentage of votes they win.

Every third name on each slate is a woman's


First tasks

The legislature will draft a constitution
and appoint a central government.

Assembly has 275 members --- President---Two Vice Pres ---
Prime Minister---- Cabinet Members. (assembly appoints presidential council)



1. Ayad Allawi (Iraqi National Accord)
The interim prime minister, 60, is a doctor
and former member of the Baath Party who led
resistance efforts against Saddam Hussein for
thre decades rom exile in London.

A secular Shiite, Allawi has a reputation for
toughness and a long history of working with
the U.S. and Britain. Many Iraqis reportedly
view him as U.S. puppet, which may hurt him
in the elections.

His party's slate, the Iraqi list, is expected
to attract a measure of support but not enough to
challanege the United Iraqi Alliance.

2. Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim
(Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution
in Iraq)(SCIRI)
Al-Hakim has joined with other Shiite leaders
and the country's most influential Shiite cleric,
Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, to form the
United Iraqi Alliance electoral state.

Al-Hakim was a member of the Iraqi government
Council, set up by a coalition forces after the
fall of Baghdad. SCIRI was founded
as a guerilla movement oin 1982 in Iran.

SCIRI once advocated the establishment of an
Islamic state in Iran but now says it supports
a secular democracy.

3. Adil Abdul Mahdi (SCIRI)
Mahdi, a 62-year old Shiite, is the fiance minister
of the interim government.

He was a political activist in 1960's and was
repeatedly jailed until 1969, when the Baath Party
stripped him of his passport.

He went into exile in France, where he studied
politics and economics and became te head of the
French Institute for Islamic Studies. He also
served as a SCIRI representative in Iran.

In 1992-96, Mahdi is the son of a respected
Shiite cleric who was a Cabinet minister in the
Iraqi monarchy.

4. Ibrahim al-Jaafari
(Dawa Islamiyah Paety)
Al-Jaafari, a 58 year old doctor, is a leader of
Dawa and served as a vice president in the interim

Dawa, a Siite oppostion group that fought
Saddam Hussein's rule, has a strong linkls to Iran.

Many of its members were forced to flee to Iran
in 1982 after the government crackdown.

Dawa was the largest Shiite party in Iraq
until 2003, when it split into three factions.
Al-Jaafari heads the most influential of the
factions and has pledged his support for democratic



Sheik Ghazi al-Yawar
(Iraqis Party)

The 45 year old sheik served as interim president
of Iraq, a largely ceremonial post.

He is a Sunni and a member of the prominent Shammar
tribe, born in Mosul, Yawer studied in Saudi Arabia
and the United States; he is a civil engineer.

Adnan Pachachi
(Assembly of Independent Democrats)

The 81 year old Pachachi is an elder statesman of
Iraqi politics.

A secular Sunni, he was foreign minister of the
government toppled by the Bbath Party in 1968
and servced on the Iraqi governing council after
the March 2003 invasion. He turned down an offer
to become president of the interim government.

After initially pushing for a posponement of
the Jan. 30 elections, he decided to join the
political process and is running for a seat
in the transitional assembly.

Jalal Talabani
(Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)

Talabani, 70, is a Kurd and leader of the PUK,
one of the two main Kurdish political parties.

As a youth, he was a member of the other main
Kurdish party, the Kurdish democratic Party (KDP)
He founded the PUK in 1975.

He is running with KDP leader Massoud Barzani on a
joint Kurdish slate, the Kurdish Alliance list.

Massoud Barzani

Barzani, 56, is the son of the KDP's founder and
former leader, Mustafa Barzani.

The younger Barzani took over the party's leadership
after his father's death in 1979 and fought pitched
battles for many years against both Saddam Hussein
and the PUK.

Barzani and Talabani, longtime enemies, have patched
to run together on the Kurdish Alliance List,
the main Kurdish electoral slate.


posted by infraternam meam @ 5:07 AM   60 comments
Sunday, January 30, 2005
139 U.S. troops killed during the
combat operations, March 19-April 30,2003

1,226 U.S. Troops killed since May 1,2003

542 U.S. troops wounded in action during
combat operations

9,960 U.S. troops wounded in action
since May 1,2003

271,041 Number of Iraqi security forces needed
to neutralize insurgency, the State Department says.

126,961 Current number of fully or partially trained
Iraqi forces, including police, national guard and army.

5,000 Estimated strength of Iraqi insurgency
nationwide in November 2003.

20,000 Estimated strength of Iraqi insurgency
nationwide 13 months later, in December 2004.

$18.4 billion amount of money the U.S.
appropriated toward Iraq reconstruction in 2004.

$2 billion amount of the above sum that had been
spent as of Dec. 15,2004

11,000 estimated number of internet
subscribers in Iraq before the war.

110,000 estimated number of
internet subscribers in Iraq as of November 2004.

150,000 number of U.S. troops in Iraq as of May 2003.

150,000 number of U.S. troops in Iraq as of January 2005

(abstracted from TIMEMAG)

Copter crash toll leads to war's worst day

Length: 99 feet, 5 inches
Height: 28 feet, 4 inches
Speed: 173 mph
Range: 621 miles (without refueling)
Arms: two .50-caliber machine guns
Capacity: 55 troops
Crew: three
Cost: $26.1 million

The crash of a Marine helicopter in western
Iraq killed 31 troops. Insurgent attacks elsewhere
combined to make it the deadliest day for U.S. troops
since the war began.

Deadliest incidents for U.S. military personnel in Iraq.

Nov. 2,2003
A Chinook transport helicopter is shot down by
a shoulder fired anti-aircraft missile near Fellujah, killing 16.

Nov. 15, 2003
Seventeen U.S. troops are killed when two Black Hawk
helicopters collide while trying to avoid ground fire in Mosul.

Dec. 21, 2004
A suicide bomber kills 22, inclduing 14 U.S. troops and
three American contractors, in an attack on a mess tent
at a base near Mosul.


posted by infraternam meam @ 1:51 PM   0 comments
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Eating well, exercise slows mental decline
in study of beagles

Perhaps people can learn some new tricks from
old dogs in warding off mental decline that
comes with aging.

Those tricks include good diet, exrcise and
plenty of mental stimulation.

A study -- in which old beagles learn to win a
shell game -- suiggests that aging humans might
benefit from improved diest and habits too,
because dogs and people experience remarkably
similar cognitive declines as they get older.
Dogs even develop plaque deposits in their
brains similar to the ones that can eventually
lead to Alzheimer's disease in humans.

In this experiment, researchers taugth old
beagles to find treats under different colored
boxes. The dogs that ate an enriched diet, got
more exericise and that the benefit of toys
and playmats were far more likely to figure it out.

Some sutdies have suggested that people can ward
off or at least delay the mental effects of aging
by eating a diet rich in antioxidants and other
compounds found in fruits and vegetables. Other
studies have fount that exercise and mental
stimulatiuon may also have a protective effect.

But the beagle study is uniqwue in looking at
diet and behavior together.

"What I thinks is interesting about this study
and somehwat different is the combination,"
said Moly Wagster, a program director at the
National Institute of Aging.


The experiemt is dscribed in the January issue
of Neurobilology of Aging. It involved researchers
from University of Toronto, the University of
California Irvine, the Hill's Pet Technology Center
and the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute.

Though the experiment was small, said Head,
a Professor of neurology at the University of
California Irvine, "these results are relatively striking".

And because the treatments began when the dogs were
middleaged, the study suggest that similar lifestyle
change can improve it cognitive abilities of humans
even when adopted fairly late in life.

(abstracted from CHISUNTIMES/Associated Press by: Matt Crenson)

posted by infraternam meam @ 4:13 PM   0 comments

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posted by infraternam meam @ 4:59 AM   0 comments
OMAHA, Neb ---
A Web-page designer who auctioned off the use
of his forehead for advertising space is letting
it go to his head.

Andrew Fisher, 20, of Omaha, who put his forehead
for sale on eBay as advertising space, received
$37,375 on Friday to advertise the snoring remedy

Fischer will display the SnorStop logo on his
forehead for one month.

"I look forward to an enjoyable association
with Andrew -- a man who clearly has a head for
business in every sense of the word",
SnoreStop CEO Christian de Rivel said.

"People will always comment on something out
of the ordinary," Fischer said his sales pitch.
"People like weird".

But there were limits: He refused from the outset
to be the conduit for any message or products deemed
tasteless or unacceptable in traditional advertising formats.

(abstracted from CHICAGOSUNTIMES/Associated Press)
posted by infraternam meam @ 4:51 AM   0 comments
"The Aviator", "Finding Neverland",
"Million Dollar Baby", "Ray", "Sideways".

Clint Eastwood, "Million Dollar Baby";
Taylor Hackford, "Ray"; Mike Leigh, "Vera Drake";
Alexander Payne, "Sideways"; Martin Scorsese,
"The Aviator".

Don Cheadle, "Hotel Rwanda"; Johnny Depp,
"Finding Neverland"; Leonardo DiCarpio, "The Aviator";
Clint Eastwood, "Million Dollar Baby; Jamie Fox, "Ray".

Annette Bening, "Being Julia";
Catalina Sandino Moreno, "Maria Full of Grace";
Imelda Staunton, "Vera Drake";
Hilary Swank, "Million Dollar Baby";
Kate Winslet, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind".

Supporting Actor:
Alan Alda, "The Aviator";
Thomas Haden Church, "Sideways"; Jamie Foxx, "Collateral";
Morgan Freeman, "Million Dollar Baby"; Clive Owen, "Closer".

Supporting Actress:
Cate Blanchett, "The Aviator";
Laura Linney, "Kinsey"; Virginia Madsen, "Sideways";
Sophie Okenedo, "Hotel Rwanda"; Natalie Portman, "Closer".

posted by infraternam meam @ 4:30 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
European airplane maker Airbus has
unveiled the world's largest passenger
plane, a double-decker behemouth that
will seat up to 800 people. The A380 will
make its first test flight this spring
and begin flying passengers in 2006. But
will U.S. airports be ready? No U.S.
passenger airline has yet ordered the plane,
but three airports- San Franciasco's,
Los Angeles' LAX and New York John F. Kennedy'
-- are gearing up for foreign airlines, such
as Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines, that have .
Some runways and taxiways have to be widened
and terminals expanded for the extra passengers.
Virgin Airways said it postponed delivery of its
A380s, partly out of concern that LAX was not
moving fast enough. Sources say planes at LAX may
at first have to park away from the terminal,
with passnegers then being bussed in. But an
LAX spokewoamn says it will be ready.
"I'm no sure I want to be on a plane for
hours with 500 or 600 other people". says an
aviation observer, "but I sure as hell don't
want to then get on a bus to the terminal
with all of them."

(abstrcted from TIMEMAG by: Sally B. Donnelly)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:17 PM   0 comments
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Estranged brothers-in-law Andrew Cuomo and
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. may run against each
other for attorney general of New York in 2006.

NAME: Andrew Cuomo

OCCUPATION: Former Federal Housing Secretary

FAMOUS DAD: Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo

PUBLIC HUMILIATION: Cuckolded by wife Kerry Kennedy,
R.F.K, Jr's sister in 2003

PET ISSUES: "Financial integrity, reforming state
governament, antidiscrimination, the environment."

ON R.F.K. Jr.: "I don't think it's especially relevant."


NAME: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

OCCUPATION: Environmental lawyer and advocate

FAMOUS DAD: Slain U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy

Public Humiliation: Arrested for heroin possession in 1983

PET ISSUES: "A political system that has not
permitted the discussion of enviromental issues...
and the corrosive impact of corporate power on
American democracy."

ON CUOMO: "It's irrelevant".

(abstracted from TIMEMAG)
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:35 AM   0 comments
The mass customization trend -- in which consumers
can get anything tailor-made to their needs--has hit
the skin care market. A company called Lab21,
headquartered in Stony Brook, NY, creates individually
formulated products based on a quantitative genetic test.
Customers take an at-home DNA test (by swabbing the inside
of their cheek) and answer a questionnaire about health
for their skin, Lab21's SkinProfiler System then creates
a custom formula to treat specific conditions --
for example, acne, redness or aging. Prices range from
$80 for 2.5 oz. of antioxidant fluid with SPF to $600 to
a complete custom skin-care line including face cream,
eye cream and cleanser.

For more information, visit lab21.com

(abstracted from YOURTIMEMAG)
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:29 AM   0 comments
Women have come to depend on seamless support
panty hose to help coax their stomachs and thighs
into a perfect sillhouette. A new seamless bra from
Sassybax aims to accomplish the same for the upper
body, by doing away with underwires and the unsightly
bulges they cause. What's more, Sassybbax eliminates
adjustable clasps and hooks, depending instead on a
stretchy,completely seam-free, nylon-and-acrylic
microfiber to provide support. Result: bulges begone!
Sassybax's appealing styles -- which, best of all,
sit comfortably against the skin--come in various
lenghts and skin-tone colors and are sold at Neiman
Marcus and sassybax.com for $58.00 to $68.00

(abstracted from YOURTIME/MAG by: Desa Philadelphia)
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:13 AM   0 comments
The birth last week, by C-Section, of a 3-lb. 3-oz.
premature baby girl to a 66-year old Romanian woman
who underwent fertility treatments for nine years
may be one for the record books, but it's also Exhibit A
in the debate over whether there should be guidelines
to govern the use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies
(ART).Not only are there no such guidelines for ART clinics
in the U.S., according to a study from the Center for
Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of
Medicine, thee is no agreement about how prepspective
parents should be be screened., it's a far cry, says
Penn's Art Caplan, director fo the center and co-author
of the study, from what we accept in assessing the
fitness of adoptive parents. ART candidates aren't
evaluated in any systematic way (except to determine
whether they can pay). The study reported that fewer
than 20% of ART specialists even bothered with
assessments by psychologists or social workers.
One-third of the doctors said they would have no
qualms about providing their services to a woman
addicted to marijuana. Given the actuarial odds that
she will be dead before her daughter even enters high
school, should the Romanian have received the treatments
that allowed her to have a baby? "Having a 66-year old
involved in a pregnancy that is high risk for both her
and the baby is completely unethical", says Caplan.
"Creating orphans is never a good public policy".

(Abstracted from YOURTIME/Mag by: David Bjerklie
posted by infraternam meam @ 10:48 AM   0 comments
His doctors pronounced him "the luckiest guy ever"
and Patrick Lawler, 23, isn't about to disagree.
The construction worker was building a house
in Colorado when his nail gun backfired,driving
a 4-in. nail through the roof of his mouth and
into his skull. Amazingly, Lawler did'nt realize
anything was amiss until six days later when he
went to a dentist with what he thought was a
nagging toothache. It took surgeons four hours
to extract the nail, which had penetrated his brain.
The uninsured Lawler is expected to make a full
recovery but now must contend with the headache
of a $100,000 medical bill.

abstracted from YOURTIME)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:28 AM   0 comments
Monday, January 24, 2005

Go for an experience instead. A study published
in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
(Dec. 2003) found that experiential purchases like
vacations or concert tickets trigger feelings of
happiness more than material purchases, such as
household items. The researchers, psychologists
Leaf Van Boven, PhD, of the University of Colorado
at Boulder, and Thomas Gilovich, PhD, of Cornell
Unviersity, conducted a nationwide survey of more
than 1,200 adults from various economic backgrounds
and discovered that 57 percent "advanced their
own happiness" when they splurged on something
that was intended to acquire a life experience
(versus 34 percent who bought objects).
Even better -- the experiential purchase were
about half the cost of the material ones.

(abstracted from:EXPERIENCELIFEMAG)
posted by infraternam meam @ 2:07 PM   0 comments
because it often strikes with little warning.
There is a 'cluster of symptoms', according to a
recent study in the Journal of American Medical
Association(june 09,2004). It's just that most
women diregard them.

Lead researchers Barbara A. Goff, Md and
Lynn S. Mandel, PhD, both from the department of
obstetrics and gynecology at the University of
Washington in Seattle, say that women should consult
their doctors, if they suffer from any of the following,
especially if the symptoms last three weeks or more:

** blotaing and increased abdominal size
** pressure to urinate
** constipation
** abdominal or pelvic pain

Having one or more of these symptoms does'nt mean
you have ovarian cancer, Mandel is careful to point out,
but they should be investigated. "It could be a malignancy,
or it could be something else, -- an ovarian cyst or
endometriosis, for example," she says. "In our study,
two thirds of the patients with ovarian masses turned out
to have benign disease and not ovarian cancer."

Both Goff and Mandel stress that the key is to diagnoze
ovarian cancer in its early stages, when it's most treatable.
"Unfortunately, many women do not recognize the symptoms
and are not diagnosed until the cancer is advanced," says Mandel.
"By then the chances of curing are much lower."

(abstracted from :EXPERIENCELIFEMAG)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:56 PM   0 comments
With the blockbuster Alexander, based on
the Greek hero and starring Colin Farrell,
we must admit that there's something about
a man in metal that makes women swoon.
Here are the fellas Redbook readers voted
as the hottest hunks in armor.

Clive Owen....."King Arthur".....23percent

Ruseell Crowe.."Gladiator".......19percent

Colin Farell..."Alexander"....... 5percent

Brad Pitt......"Troy"............53percent

posted by infraternam meam @ 5:27 AM   0 comments
The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln
Was Lincoln gay? In a new book the late pyscholoists
C.A. Tripp claims he found evidence that outs the
16th President --but not everyone agrees.
Here's what you need to know about the controversy.

** Young Abe spent four years sharing a bed with
his friend Joshua Speed; he later shared beds with other men.

** Lincoln once wrote a poem about men marrying each other.

** The President was terrified of wedding Marry Todd;
theirs was a stormy mariage.

** Lincoln had black moods all his life, perhaps because of
his repressed homosexuality.


**Philip Nobile, initially Tripp's coauthor on
the book, now says Tripp fabricated evidence.

** Historians say bed-sharing was common in
frontier times because mattresses were a luxury.

** Lincoln and Todd had four children.

** Most scholars trace Lincoln's melancholy to
the death of his first love, Ann Rutledge.

Whether Honest Abe was living a lie is still in question.

(book review PEOPLEMAG)


Need a good laugh?

1001 Things You hate to Love, by Sam Stall,
Lou Harry, and Julia Spalding.
From Dirty Dancing to Vanilla Ice, this book lists
everything that makes you cringe publicly but you crave

(book review REDBOOKMAG)
posted by infraternam meam @ 5:13 AM   0 comments
Sunday, January 23, 2005

TaiwanA man visitng the Taipei City Zoo
broke into a lion's pen in the hopes of converting
the two resident carnivores to Christianity. Once
inside, 46 years old Chen Cung-ho shouted,
"Jesus will save you!" and
"Come bite me!"
at the killer felines, who kindly hesitated
before attempting to bite off his face.
Zoo employees calmed the kittens with water cannons
and tranquilizers, then rescued the evangelist,
who escaped with mino wound.
Praise Jay-sus!


Germany- Cops busted three geriatric
bank robbers who have been pulling heists for nearly
40 years. The wrinkled trio -- aged 63,72, and 74---
were caught putting on their stealin' masks and are
now being investigated for 30 raids committed in the
last 15 years. According to authorities, the outlaw
fogeys managed their considerable streak for so long
by speaking with Russian accents, living modestly
and staving off senility long enough to remember
not to dress like thives in public.


SWITZERLAND-A swiss men's mag
celebrated its 20th anniversary by offering readers free
sex. Every devotee of OKAY scored a free trip to an
"erotic studio", with complimentary use of the
establishment's "facilities" included. Local radio
stations boycotted the magzine's ads, and members of
parliament dubbed the campaign disgrace.
"Every man wants free sex",explained a magazine
spokesman in defense. In other news, WWII is over.


A recent poll of experts in the U.K. had Jesus
listed as the number one black icon of all time.

(abstracted from MAXIMONLINE.COM)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:00 PM   0 comments
Saturday, January 22, 2005
Looking for a quick passion pick-me-up?
Just add these nutrients to your daily
diet to enjoy a scorching sex life.

This vitamin helps improve vaginal lubrication.
Get your fix from oysters, lean beef, turkey
and almonds.

The muscles that contract and spasm during orgasm
need calcium to function. Eat dairy, brocoli and
sweet potatoes.

Niacin(Vitamin b3)
Testosterone kicks your libido into high gear,
and is produced with the help of the nutrient.
Get a sexy boost from tuna.

Vitamin C daily may prod you and your hubby to hook
up more. A European study found that men and women
who took Vitamin C had intercourse 68 percent more
frequently than those who took a placebo. One reason:
Vitamin C increases the secretion of Oxytocin--
a hormone shown to promote a strong bonding and
closeness in human relationships. So take your
Vitamin C (many experts recommend a daily dosage
of 200 to 500 mg) -- it will boost your immunity,
and perhaps your hanky-panky leverl too!

posted by infraternam meam @ 2:16 AM   0 comments
Friday, January 21, 2005
What is the Difference Between a "Mountain"
and a "Hill

Most American geographers refer to a hill as a natural
elevation that is smaller thatn 1,000 feet. Anything
above 1,000 feet is usually called mountain. In Great Britain,
the traditional boundary line between hill and mountain is
2,000 feet. Some geographers says, "Hill" conjures up a rolling
terrain; "montain" connote abrupt, peaked structures.
(submitted by Thomas J. Schoeck of Slingerlands, NY)

What is the Purpose of the Beard on a Turkey?

All of our poultry experts felt that the beard has no
specific anatomical function, but this does'nt mean the
beard has no purpose. The beard is a secondary sex
characteristic of the male, a visual differentation between
the sexes. How could a hen possibly resist the sexual allure
of the beard on strutting Tom?
(submitted by Mrs. Anabell Cregger of Wytheville, VA)

Why Are MosT Pencils Painted Yellow?

Pencils came in various colors before 1890, but it was in
that year the Austrian L & C Hardtmuth Company developed a
drawing pencil that was painted yellow. Available in a range
of degrees and hardness, the company dubbed their product

In 1893, L & C Hardtmuth introduces their Koh-I-Noor at the
Chicago World's Colombian Exposition, and Americans responded
favorably. Ever since, yellow has been synonymous with quality pencils.
(submitted by Robert M. Helfrich of Pittsburgh, PA)

Why Do Roaches Always Die on Their Backs?

Professor Henry H. Ross, affilited with Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University, said that when a Roach dies,
its legs stiffen and the cockroach falls on the side.
Because most roaches have flattened body form with narrow sides,
the momentum of the fall rolls them onto their sides.

John J. Suarez, technical manager of the National Pest Control
Association, adds that small cockroaches, such as the German
and brown-banded, are more likely to die on their backs.
Larger cockroaches with lower centers of gravity, such as the
American and the Oriental, occasinally die face down.
(submitted by Gloria Stiefel of Orange Park, Fl.)

What's the Difference Between Popcorn and Other
Corn? Can Regular Corn be Popped?

There are five different tpes of Corn: DENT, FLINT, POD,
SWEET and POPCORN. Popcorn is the only variety that will
pop consistently. Gregg Hoffman of American Popcorn, said
other corn might pop on occasion but with little regularity.

The key to popcorn's popping ability is, amazingly, WATER.
Each popcorn kernel contains water, which most popcorn
processors try to maintain at about a 13.5% level. The water
is stored in a small circle of soft starch in each kernel.
Surrounding the soft starch is a hard enamel-like starch.
When the kernel is heated for popping, the water inside heats
and begins to expand. The function of the hard starch is to
resist the water as long as possible.

When the water expands with such pressure that the hard
starch gives way, the water bursts out, causing the popcorn
kernel to explode. The soft strach pops put, and the kernel
turns inside out. The water, converted into steam, is released,
and the corn pops.
(submitted by David Andrews of Dallas,Tx.)

Why Do Doctors Tap on Our Backs
During Physical Exams?

Doctors insist that there is a sound reason to tap out backs.
Short of an Xray, the tap is one of the best way to collect
information about our lungs. The space occupied by the lungs
is filled with air. The two lungs are contained in the two
pleural spaces, full of air, and lung tissue itself contains air.

Dr. Frank Davidoff, associaate executive vice president,
Education, for the American College of Physicians, said:
"In 1754, a Viennese physicain named Leopold Auenbrugger
discovered that if you thumped the at patients' chest,
it would give off a more hollow sound when you tapped over
the air filled lung space, and a more "falt" or "dull" sound
if you tapped over a part of the chest that was filled with
something solid, like muscle, bone, etc." Auenbrugger found
that by thumping a patient's chest, abnormal lessions in the
chest cavity, such as fluid or a solid tremor in the cavity
where air filled lung ought to be, produced a sound different
from the given off in a healthy air filled chest.
(submitted by Ricahrd Aaron of Toronto, Ontario)

What Causes Bags Under Our Eyes?

Let us count the ways, in descending order of frequency:

1. HEREDITY. That's right. It wans'nt that night on the
town that maded you look like a raccoon in the morning.
It's all your parents and grandparents' fault. Some people
are born with excess fatty tissue and liquid around the eyes.

2. FLUID RETENTION. The eyelids are the thinnest and softest
skin in the entire body, four times as thin as "average" skin.
Fluid tends to pool in this portions of the skin. What causes
fluid retention? among the culprits are drugs, kidney or liver
problems, salt intake,. and very commonly, allergies.

3. AGING. The skin of the face, particularly around the eyes,
loosens with age. Ages is more likely to cause bags than mere
sleepiness or fatigue.

4. TOO MANY SMILES AND FROWNS. The expressions noit only can
build crow's feet but bags.

Another less fascinating explanation is given by Dr. Tom Meek
of the American Academy of Dermatology, in NY Times:
"the circles are probably caused by shadows cast from overhead lighting...."
(submitted by Stephen T. Kelly of NY,NY)

Why Do We Seem to Feel Worse at Night
When We Have a Cold?

Dr. Ernst Zander, of Winthrop Consumer Products said:
"Nasal obstruction, produced by a great variety of conditons,
ususally seems worse to a patient when he is lying down.
This is because tissue fluids and blood tend to pool in the head
and more when he is recumbent than when he is standing."

Why Did the Chinese First Use Chopsticks?

Tne conventional wisdom in this subject is that the Chinese
consider it the chef's duty to carve meat or slice vegetables
into bitsize morsels. Chopsticks were then invented to serve
as efficient tools to pick up morsels of food and rice. But
therr is much evidence to suggest that their use was originally
motivated bit by aesthetics but by practical considerations.

Chopsticks were introduced sometime during the Chou Dynasty,
probably a century or so before the birth of Christ. Until the
Chou Dynasty, stir frying did not exist. But China faces a serious
fuel (wood) shortage. Forests were cut down to clear land for
agriculture to feed a burgeoning populations. Stir frying developed
as the most efficient method to use the least amount of food as
fuel for the shortest period of time. Because the food was cut
before stir fying, the meat and vegetables cooked much faster
than by other methods.

During the Chou Dynasty, few people owned tables, a luxury,
especially with the wood shortage, so a utensil was needed that
would allow diners to eat with one hand only --the hand was needed
to hold the bowl of rice. Because most chinese have sauces,
chopsticks enables users to scoop up food without getting goop
all over their fingers.

And why did the Chinese decide to use chopstsiklcs on the middle
of this supposed wood shortage? Only some of the chopsticks were
made of wood. More were made of Ivory and Bone.
posted by infraternam meam @ 5:06 AM   0 comments
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Arachnid's venom has element that may ease
muscular dystrophy

And you thought Tarantula venom was a bad thing.

Not always, according, to researchers who have isolated
a substance in a spider's venom that could lead to drug
treatments for conditions as diverse as muscular dysthrophy,
urinary incontincence and cardiac arrhythmias.

Scientists at the University of Buffalo have shown that a
natural compound called GsMtx4 found in the venom can block
channels through the membrane walls of cells. Speciafically,
it blocks channels that are opened by a stretching in the
surface of cell membranes. These "strecth-sensivtive" channels
are an unusual part of cell biology.

Fred Sachs, professor at the university's Center for Single
Molecule Biophysics and his reaearch team discovered recently
that the mirror image of GsMTx4 can pervent a cell from undergoing
dangerous streaching.

After exprimenting with venom from scorpions, centipedes and
spiders, Sachs said the research team found through "pure luck"
that the compound in the venom of the Chilean Rose Tarantual
worked to numb these mechanical senses in cells - the same
effect that an anetsthetic has on the body.

Study used harmless subjects

The large Chilean Rose tarantula used in Sach's research are
about 6 inches across. They are harmless, he said and are sold
in America as pets. The rare bite that someone might get from
one fells like a bee sting, he said.

"Nature doesn't give up its secrets very easily," Sachs said.

She's a rather private individual and to keep asking these
questions is an ongoing challenge to no end".

The scientist made a singificant advance toward treating muscular
dysthrophy and other conditions when researchers Thomas Suchyna
and Philip Gottlieb synthesized a "mirror image" version of
GsMTx4 that, unlike the original version, may alleviate the
hazardous stretch responses and be indigestible by the body.

Proving it will work as a drug is still a few years off, but
the results are promising, Sachs said. The notion of using
"spider spit" to benefit mankind shows "how basic research,
that does'nt appear to have any practical application, can
often provide the most unexpected results," he said.

(abstracted from CHICTRIB/Gannett News Service by: Justin Dickerson)
posted by infraternam meam @ 8:05 AM   0 comments
WASHINGTON -- Despite saome changes,
China's one-child family planning program remains a
source of coercion, forced abortions, infanticide and
perilously imbalanced boy-girl ratios. State Department
officials said Tuesday.

Testimony before the House International Relations Committee
focused on a Shanghai woman who, since her second pregnancy
in the late 1980's has been assigned to psychiatric wards,
coerced into an abortion, and removed from her job.
She is reportedly subject to torture is labor camp.

Thousands of victims

Mao Hengfeng, said Rep. Christopher Smnith (R-N.J.),
"is the most egregious example of China's mistreatment of
women who donot comply with China's draconian policies,
but there are thousands of other victims".

China in the 1970's launced a one-child policy to slow the
growth of its population, now at 1.3 billion. Couples who
have unsanctioned children have been subject to heavy fines,
job losses and forced sterilization.

There have been some modifications, allowing second children
for ethnic populations and rural families whose first child
is a girl. In 2002, under U.S. pressure, Beijing enacted a
national law aimed at reducing coercion.

(abstracted from CHICTRIB/Associated Press by: Jim Abrams)
posted by infraternam meam @ 7:54 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
After months in a hospital, Patrick Deuel says he has learned a lot-and lost more than 450 pounds.

His recovery was slowed because of an infection, but a man who once weighed a half ton might soon leave a hospital after loosing more than 450 pound.

Patrick Deuel, 42, is scheduled to go home to Valentine, Nebraska, on Jan. 22. He is still receiving treatment for a staph infection he got in November.

Deuel said he isn't worried about returning to a former life style of overeating. He will have health aides at home, and a doctor will check on him regularly.

"I have learned a lot while I've been here", he said Tuesday. "I'll just keep doing what I have been doing, and I think things will be fine."

Deuel weighed 1,072 pounds when he checked into Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center in June. At the time, he was dying of heart failure. His doctor recommended gastric-bypass surgery, but Deuel wasn't healthy enough to undergo the procedure.

The hospital staff structured an exercise program and a 1,200-calorie-a-day diet. The 420 pound Deuel lost by late October helped control his heart problems and other health issues, including diabetes. The gastric-bypass surgery was perfromed Oct. 28.

Deuel, who relies on Medicine to pay his hospoital bills, can't stay at the center indefinitely. He now weighs about 610 pounds and hopes to slim down to another 240 pounds.

A tube that provides extra proten has slowed his weight loss. He has lost just 41 pounds since the surgery.

"He 's making progress", rehabilitation doctor Steven Guse said. "He's walking household distances ... but he's still got a big challenge ahead of him".

Deuel had tried many diets, but the pounds were slow to come off. He wouild get discourage and take comfort in over eating.By the mid-1190's, he was housebound.

(abstracted from CHICTRIBNEWS/Associated Press)

posted by infraternam meam @ 6:44 AM   0 comments
Chicago-area Filipinos honor
their own 'Gandhi'

The four men walked along North Marine Drive on Chicago's
Lake Shore Drive several yards away. They fussed with a
wreath and bunches of roses and other flowers around the
base of the statue of a man with a book in one hand and
a quill in the other.

The four shared some gentle laughter-- partly over their
faltering endurance in the face of the low temperatures
and biting breezes-- and took pictures of each other
standing before the statue.

It may hage lack the pomp of previous years, but the
respectful flower offering to the memory of a revered
Filipino freedom fighter spoke with quiet dignity.
Their action before a cold, lifeless statue honored a man
of legendary passion, a kind of Filipino Gandhi.

"He was the only person that died for our country", said
65 year old Ban Gallardo on Dec. 30, the 108th anniversary
of the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal, whose death in 1896
is observed each year by parades and other festivities all
over the Philippines and by Filipinos in this country and
elsewhere around the world.

The offering at Rizal's statue, was one of several such
celebrations in the Chicago area. It was capped by a dinner
dance hosted by the Order of the Knights of Rizal.
The internationl social service and civic organization was
established in 1911 to spread the teachings of Rizal,
a renaissance man who Gallardo said followed non-violent
practices in helping to wrest Filipinos from Spanish rule
in the 19th century.

Rizal, also a scientist, writer and artist, wrote books
that blasted Spain's control of the Philippines and instilled
national pride. After a series of prosecutions, arrests and
exiles, the Spanish government convicted Rizal of Rebellion,
sedition and illegal association on Dec. 26, 1896.
He died by firing squad four days later at age 36 -- an
execution that inspired a revolt against Spanish colonization,
winning Filipino independence in 1898.

The Filipino culture is strong in Chicago. It is the second
highest Asian based ethnicity in Cook County according to
Naisy Dollar, director and community liaison for the
Commission of Human Relations Advisory Council on Asian Affairs.

Census figures for 2000 showed that Filipinos ranked no. 2 in
the county, with almost 55,000 people, behind Asian Indians
with almost 72,000 people. Overall, there were 260,000 Asians
in Cook County according to the census.

(abstracted from CHITRIBNEWS by: Allan Johnson/Tribune Staff Reporter)
posted by infraternam meam @ 4:03 AM   0 comments
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Greeted by national television coverage of his first
bath, a boy born Thursday was declared China's
1.3 billionth citizen in a blaze of publicity to
promote the government's controversial "one child"
birth limits.

The infant was presented with a certificate of his
status after his birth at 12:02a.m. at Beijing
Maternity Hospital. State TV's evening news showed
his mother, Lan Hui, a 31-year old employee of
Shell China, receiving flowers, and the newborn
getting a bath and a massage.

"I am the happiest guy in the world, and my boy will
be blessed all his life", the father Zhang Tong, 37,
who works for Air China, told the official Xinhua
News Agency.

The baby is the star of a campaign touting what the
communist government says are the successes of its
decades-old policy limiting most urban couples to
one child.

"The family planning policy of the past 30 years has
effectively controlled the over-rapid increase in
China's population", the official China Daily
Newspaper said.

(abstracted from CHITRIBNEWS)
posted by infraternam meam @ 1:39 PM   0 comments

"The Boy King" was a very minor Pharoah. His reign
quite short-- the Egyptian equivalent of
William Henry Harrison.

Tut's tomb was the archeological find of all time.
Other pharoahs crypts had been plundered long ago, but
5,000 objects of incalculable value still lay beside
Tut as they had for 3,000 years. When just 55 of them
toured here (USA) in 1977, a million people came to
the Field Museaum(Chicago)to view them.

King Tut lies in the valley of the Kings. He's likely
the only pharoah still there . A plan to test his DNA to
establish his lineage was nixed in 2000.

Rumors of a curse flew when mere weeks after the 1922
discovery of the tomb by archeologist Howard Carter,
his sponsors, Lord Carnarvon, died. Fed by Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle, the rumors grew when 6 more from the Tut
expedition died within 10 years. But Carter, who should
have topped the hit list, lived till 1940 and Richard
Adamson, his security chief, who SLEPT INSIDE the tomb
for 7 years, died in 1982.

SINCE TUT DIED AT 18 OR SO, and his skull bears signs of
injury, some say he was murdered, sleuths on the case have
included the Hardy Boys and the Two Utah cops who recently
said on TV that Tut was slain by his vizier. Others say
he died of natural causes, and was actually much loved
by his people for bringing back the old Gods after his dad.
An early monotheist, had tried imposing one diety on
his subjects.

(abstracted from CHICTRIBMAG)
posted by infraternam meam @ 5:43 AM   0 comments
FACT: Every year, 43 percent of
Canadians -- a total of eight Canadians -- are
eaten by polar bears.

Silence binds a continent

Church bells rang out across Europe as shoppers,
mass transit systems and stock exchanges paused for
three minutes of silence Wednesday in tribute
to the victims of the Indican Ocesan tsunami.

The gesture united people from many walks of life.
In London, visitors stand respectfully in Parliament
Square, while takeoffs and landings were momentarily
suspended at Heathrow Airport. French firefighters
outside St. Sulpice Church in Paris hold white
flowers brought as a tribute to tsunami victims.
German coal miners shed helmets in Haltern-Lippramsdorf.

(abnstracted/CHICTRIBMAG/Associated Press)


Church receives $40 million from
anonymous family

INDEPENDENCE, Miss.-- A family
has anonymously given the Community of Christ
$40 million, a donation that exceeds the church's
annual operating butget by about a third.

The Independence based church, formerly known
as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of
the Latter Day Saints, announced the gift in
the January issue of its magazine.

Church spokewoman Linda Booth said officials
had known about the pending gift for about
18 months, well before a recent article in
the magazine discussing financial concerns
facing the 250,000 member church, due in part
to a decline in tithes.

Booth interviewed the donors for the magazine,
and one described advice given to him by the father.

"He'd say:'If you've got money in your pocket
that you're not using and you find someone who
needs it, give it to them. If you keep that money,
it would be like having a stone in your pocket
for all the good it does'" she said.

(abstracted from CHICTRIBMAG/NATION Section)
posted by infraternam meam @ 5:24 AM   0 comments
Monday, January 17, 2005
North Ireland robbers looted bak without
even entering it

BELFAST,Northern Ireland---
On an icy, black Sunday night, police officers brought
terrible news to the rural idyll of Kevin McMullan's home:
A relative had just been killed in a crash, they said.
It was a lie -- and it launched one of the world's biggest
bank robberies.

Once inside, the phony officers put a gun to McMullan's
head and tied him up, blindfolded his wife,and took her away
at gunpoint in her own car into the forest.

They told McMullan, a senior executive at Northern Bank
in his mid-30's that he must get the gang into the bank's
major cash vault the next night. If he or another abducted
bank official, Chris Ward, raised any alarm, their families
wouid be put to death.

Alarm at a farmhouse

Police said Wwednesday that the gang got away with more than
$42 million. And the 45-strong detective task force admitted it
would be hard to track down a gang that left no apparent evidence.

Police did'nt learn of the crime until after 11pm. Monday, three
hours after surveillance cameras recorded the gunmen's cash packed
van disappearing down Belfast's major highway. McMullen's wife-- free
of her blindfold but in soaking wet sneakers and suffering hypothermia
-- emerged from the forest to raise the alarm at a farmhouse.

Around the same time, on the edge of Belfast, gang members released
the 23 year old Ward's mother, father, brother and brother's girlfriend.

"This was a carefully planned operation by professional criminals
who obviously had done their homework," Detective Supt. Andy Sproule said.

Trimmed their hair

Sproule said the gang took extensive precaustions against leaving
traces of their indentities. "We have a long way to go before we have
recovered the money or arrested the individuals", he said.

The gang remained masked and gloved and wore workmen's overalls,
which Northern Ireland para military groups wear on operations
then burn afterward. Police said they suspect the robbers also
trimmed their hair to reduce the chance of dropped strands.
The gunmen burned McMullen's car to destroy DNA.

Both McMullan and Ward are "key holders" who work in Northern
Ireland Bank's confidential underground vault, which stores cash
from businesses and supplies the bank's branches and ATM's.
The vault received exceptional volumes of cash Monday, reflecting
the bustling build up to Christmas.

The gang let both executives to work around noon Monday, then
ordered one of them-- the police won't say which -- to carry out
a trial run 90 minutes after the bank closed. He carried a gym
bag containing more than $3million to a man diguised in a scarf,
then went back inside to await orders.

Once the gang decided police had'nt been alerted, they drove a
white van equipped to the bank's vehicle entrance on a side street.
Inside, McMullen and Ward triggered codes that opened an other
street door and internal door.

Joke may be on them

Sproule said no member of the gang acutally went inside the bank,
but remained at the other end of a conveyor belt as Northern Ireland
Bank's own officials below cleared out the vault, one plastic container
of cash at a time -- enough bundles to stack 30 stories high. The van
departed, then returned about an hour later for a scond load.

Despite the smooth operation, experts predicted the thieves will have
a hard time using the currency because almost all of it was specially
produiced by Northern Ireland banks.

Jeffrey Robinson, author of THE MONEY LAUNDERER, said the gang took too
much cash, and of too conspicuous a design, to spend or even hide.
"The money is fundamentally useless", he said.

(abstracted from CHICSUNTIMES/ by Shawn Pogatchnik/Associated Press)
posted by infraternam meam @ 3:01 AM   0 comments
WASHINGTON--- Married people are
healthier than other adults, though husbands have
a tendecny to add pounds, says the National Center
for Health Statistics.

Released Wednesday, the center's report was developed
from a survey of more than 125,000 people. It did not
specify reasons. Health stastistician Charlotte Schoenborn
said there are two major theories.

One is that marriage might be protective of health. For
example, married couples could have advantages in terms of
economic responses, social and psychological support and
encouragement of healthful lifestyles.

A second possibility is marital selection,"the theory that
healthy people get married and stay married!" whereas less
healthy people either do not marry or are more likely to become
separated, divorced of widowed.

"Overall, this association between marital status and health
persists regardless of socioeconomic status, education and
poverty, where people were born or their ethnicity", she said.

The center reported that among adults 18 and over, 11.9 percent
said they were in fair or poor health.

Some 10.5 percent of married people reported being in poor or
fair health,while all other groups were higher. At 19.6 percent,
the widowed were the most likely to be in these categories.

"In general, married adults were the least likely to experience
health problems and the least likely to engage in risky health
behaviors, with the notable exception of being overweight",
Shoenborn wrote.

The report was based on survey of 127,545 people in 1999-2002
conducted by the center, a part of the federal Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.

In addition to reporting better health overall, the study found
that married people said they had less low back pain, fewer
headaches and less psychological stress. They also were less
likely to drink and smoke and were more physically active than
people in general.

However, they were not immune to weight problem. More than half
of all adults,nearly 57 percent, are overweight or obese, the
center said.

Some 70.6 percent of husbands were overweight or obese, compared
with 65.1 percent of all men. Some 46.6 percent of married women
were overweight or obese, virtually the same as the 48.5 percent
of women in general. The largest share of overweight women was
among the widowed, 53.2 percent.

(by Randolph E. Schmid/CHICAGOTRIBUNE/Associated Press)
posted by infraternam meam @ 2:39 AM   0 comments
Sunday, January 16, 2005

1..."Hotel Rowanda"

2..."Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"

3..."The Aviator"


5..."House of Flying Daggers"

6..."Million Dollar Baby"

7..."The Terminal"

8..."Kill Bill Vo. 2"



11.."Garden State"




15.."The Assasination of Richard Nixon"


17.."Finding Neverland"

18.."Maria Full of Grace"

19.."The Passion of Christ"

20.."Spider Man 2"

21.."Friday Night Lights"

22.."Open Water"

23.."The Dreamers"

24.."The Village"

25.."The Woodsman"


1..."Metallica: Some Kind of Monster"

2..."Super Size Me"


4..."Fahrenheit 911"

5..."Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry"


Most Beautiful movie of the year:
"House of Flying Daggers."
If you'd rather go to the dentist than a foreign movie,
take a chance on life and see this one.
You will not be disaapointed.

Ugliest movie of the year:
Mutilation,amputation and other forms of torture,
all brought to you in an overly astray, headache
inducing style.

Funniest sex movie of the year:
Colin Farrell and Rosario Dawson get naked and
hiss and paw at each other.

Sexiest sex scene of the year:
Sabrina Seyvecou and Coralie Revel in "Secret Things."
(It's a French film, Rent it)

Best sequel of the year:
"Spider Man 2"

Worst sequel of the year:
"The Whole Ten Yards"

Worst sequel to a sequel of the year:
"Blade: Trinity."

Best two minute cameo of the year:
"Kinsey" by Lynn Redgrave

Best Mascara:
Jared Leto in "Alexander"

Most impressive debut:
Bryce Howard in the unjustly ripped "The Village"

Best fight scene:
Uma Thurman vs Daryl Hannah in "Kill Bill Vol. 2"

Worst fight scene:
Hugh Jackman takes a bunch of phony-looking, computer
generated foes in "Van Helsing"

Number of sequels in the top four box office films of the year:
Three: "Shrek 2", "Spider Man 2", "Harry Potter
and the Prisoner of Azbakan".
The only non sequel is "The Passion of Christ," which
probably isn't going to have a sequel, but certainly could.

Actors who played themselves in movies in 2004:
Julia Roberts and Julia Roberts in "Oceans Twelve"
Bill Murray, Steve Coogan and Alfred Molina in
"Coffee and Cigarettes"
Neil Patrick Harris "Harold and Kumar go to White Castle"
Chuck Norris " Dodgeball"
David Hasselhoff "The SpangeBob Square Pants Movie"

Scariest movie of the year:
"The Forgotten", "Dawn of the Dead" and "Open Water"

Scary movies that did'nt scare me:
"Godsend", "The Grudge", and "Saw"

Most romantic moments of the year:
Zach Braff kisses Natalie Portman in the driving rain in "garden State"

Least romantic and most intense scene of the year:
Prodded by Clive Owen, Julia Roberts describes
the infideltiy in beyond graphic details.

It's a Cinderella story:
The calendar said it was 2004, but there was a
distinct 1955 feel to these films about young women
falling in love with actual princes:
"The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement"
"A Cinderella Story"
"The Prince and Me"
"Ella Enchanted"

Words to live by:
"If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball"
Rip Torn as Patches O'Houliahn in "Dodgeball"

Right Movie, wrong Corleone:
Premiere magazine's list of the 100 greatest
movie characters of all time was headed
by Marlon Brando's Don Coleone.


1... "White Castle."

2... "The Whale"

3... "Godsend"

4... "Scooby-Doo 2: MOnsters Unleashed"

5... "The Stepford Wives"

6... "Catwoman"

7... "Thunderbirds"

8... "Saw"

9... "Taxi"

10.. "Connie and Carla"

(abstracted from the report of Roepert of CHICAGOSUNTIMES)
posted by infraternam meam @ 4:05 AM   0 comments
Saturday, January 15, 2005
"Most of the crowing takes place in the morning, as
does most singing, because that is when the birds are
most active, and most of the territorial advertisement
takes place then. Many of the other vocalizations heard
throughout the day are for other types of communication,
including flocking calls, which serve to keep members of
a flock together and in touch if they are out of sight
from one another."
(by Rowena Nocom of North Hollywood, CA.)

"There are ways in which fish can return to a pond after
total elimination. The most common is that most ponds
or lakes have outlets and inlets; fish just swim back
into the formerly hosptile area. They are able to traverse
and circumvent small rivulets, waterfalls, and pollution
sources with surpricing efficiency. If they find a pond
with no fish in it, they may stay just because there's
lots of food with no competition in it."
(by Michael J. Catalana of Ben Lamond, CA)


The discoloring is caused by iron and sulphur compounds that
accumulated when eggs are overcooked. Although gray egg yolks
lack eye appeal, the iron and sulphur don't affect the
taste or nutritional value of the eggs.

Probably the most common way of overlooking eggs is
to leave the eggs in hot water after cooking. The American
Egg Board recommends that after eggs are cook, either
cold water should be run over or they should be put
in ice water until completely cooled. Cooling eggs
in this manner will not only avoid overcooking but
will also make the shells much easier to peel.

The core of the tennis ball is made of a compound
consisting of rubber, synthetic materials and about
ten chemicals. The compound is extruded into a
barrel-shaped pellet that is then formed into two
half shells. The edges of the two half shells are
coated with a latex adhesive and then put togehter
and cured in a double chambered press under strictly
controlled temperature to thirteen psi(pounds per square inch),
so that the air is trapped inside and the two halves are
fused together at the same pressure.Once the two halves
have been pressed together to form one sphere, the surface
of the core is roughened so that the fuzz will stick better.
The core is then dipped into a cement compound and over dried
to prepare for the cover application.

The fuzzy material is felt, a combination of wool, nylon and
Dacron woven together into rolls. The felt is cut into a
figure eight shape and the edges of the felt are coated with
a seam adhesive. The cores and edges of the two felt strips are
mated, the felt is bonded to the core, and the seam adhesive is
cured, securing all the materials and for the first time yielding
a sphere that looks like a tennis ball. After the balls are cured,
they are steamed in a large tumbler and fluffed in order to raise
the nap on the felt, giving the ball a fuzzy appearance.

The reason for the fuzzy tennis balls is that the fluffy nap
contributes to increased racket control. Every time a tennis ball
hits a racket the strings momentarily grip the ball and the ball
compresses. With a harder, sleeker surface, the ball would have a
tendency to skip the racket and minimize the skill of the player.
Also, when you get hit hard by a fuzzy tennis ball,you may want
to cry, but you don't feel like you're going to die.

(By Dorio Barbieri of Mountain View, CA)


Other birds that we eat such as quail, duck, or pigeon, have
all dark meat. Chickens and turkeys are among a small group
of birds with white flesh on the breast of wings. Birds have
two types of muscle fibers: red and white. Red muscles with a
high amount of myoglobin are capable of much longer periods
of work and stress than white fibers. Thus,you can guess which
birds are likely to have light fibers by studying their feeding
and migration patterns. Most birds have to fly long distances
to migrate or to find food, and they need the endurance that
myoglobin provides. All birds that appear to have all dark have
white fibers. But the hummingbird, which rarely stops flying,
has pectoral muscles consisting entirely of red fibers because
the pectoral muscles enable the wings to flip contineously.

Chickens are ground feeders and fly only when nesting. Ordinarily,
chickens move around by walking or running, which is why only
their legs and thighs are dark. They fly so little that their wings
and breast don't need myoglobin. In fact the lack of myoglobin in
the wing and breast are anatomical advantage.

Chickens spend most of their time walking. When danger threatens
they fly in a burst of speed for a short distance and then land.
Thus they need flight muscles which deliver a lot of power quickly
for a short time.

(By Margaret Sooane of Capel Hill, North Carolina, Sara Sickle of Perryopolis, Penn. and Annlisa Weaver of Davis, CA.)


Until well into the 19th century, paper money was relatively rare
in the U.S. But banknotes became popular in the mid 1800's. These
bills were printed in black but included color tints to help
foil counterfeiters. However, cameras then in existence saw
everything in black, rendering color variations in bills
meaningless when reproduced photographically. According to the
US treasury, the counterfeiters took advantage:
"the counterfeiters soon discoverd that the colored inks then
in used could easily be removed from a note without disturbing
the black ink, He could eradicate the colored portion, photograph
the remainder and then make a desired number of copies to be
overprinted with an imitation of the colored parts."

Tracy R. Edson, one of the founders of the Amercian Bank NOte Company,
developed the solution. He developed an ink that could not be erased
without hurting the black coloring. Edson was rewarded for this
discovery by receiving a contract from the US government to produce
notes for them. Edson's counterfeit proof ink had a green tint.
In the 19th century, notes were produced by private firms as well
as the treasury. But all notes, regardless of where they were printed,
were issued in green, presumably to provide uniformity.

"the use of green was continued because pigment of that color
was readily available in large quantity, the color was relatively
high in its resistance to chemical and physical changes, and green
was psychologically indentified with the strong and stable credit
of the government"

(by Paul Stossel of NY,NY Charles Devine of Plum,Penn and Kent Hall of Louisville, KY)

(Abstracted from the book. "Life's Imponderables" by David Feldman)
posted by infraternam meam @ 5:45 AM   0 comments
Beatles might bring million to
Louisville, Kentucky

LOUISVILLE,Ky--- As many as 20,000 Beatles fans
are expected in Louisville, Kentucky over Memorial
Day weekend for America's largest Beatles festival,
which is making this city its new home.

"Abbey Road on the River" has been held for the past
three years in Cleveland but will move to Kentucky May 27-29.

Tourism spending from the event is expected to pump
about $3 million into the local economy, according to
Mayor Jerry Abramson. The weekend will include a Beatles
film festival, lectures on the rock group and the sale of
memorabilia, including paintings by well-known artists.

Neither of the surviving Beatles -- Paul Mccartney and
Ringo Starr-- is expected to attend.

About half of the more than 40 bands expected to appear
will dress like the Beatles and imitate their music, said
show organizer Gary Jacon. The others, he said, will do
interpretations of the Beatles, music in styles that includes
classical reggae and blues.

Jacob said it will cost about $500,000 to stage the event.
He said he patterned the event after a weeklong Beatles festival
held annually for the past two decades in Liverpool, England.

For more information, visit www.abbeyroadontheriver.com or call (216) 378-1980

(abstracted from CHICAGOSUNTIMES/Associated Press)

Harrison's guitar gets over half a million
at auction

NEW YORK-- A classical Gibson guitar used by George Harrison
on he beatles "Revolver" a;bum and by John Lennon in the
"White Album" sold to an anonymous bidder for $567,500
Christie's auction house said.

The cherry red SG Standard guitar belonged to Harrison
from 1966 through 1969. He used it in recording sessions
and in several of the band's increasingly rare public
appeaances and loaned the guitar to Lennon during the
"White Album" session, according to Darren Julien, whose
Julien Entertainment co-sponsored the auction.

(abstracted from CHICAGOSUNTIMES/Associated Press)

posted by infraternam meam @ 1:42 AM   0 comments
Friday, January 14, 2005
Coconut oil is being touted as a weight-loss aid,
but some nutritionist are wary.


Look to coconut oil as the latest miracle diet food,
says the author odf the least three new weight loss books.
One argument is that coconut oil is a big part of traditional
diet of strong and healthy Pacific Islanders, who have low
rates of heart diseases. Could it be true? Might this oil
be your diet savior?

Not so fast, say several weight and nutrition experts in the
December issue of Vogue. Although coconut oil has high amounts
of medium chain triclycerides (MCT's), which meatbolize fatty
acids slightly more quickly than polyunsaturated fats such as
canola oil, it's not so different that it will have a big impact
on your weight, says James O. Hill, director of the Center for
Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

As for the Pacific Islanders, they're not like you and me,
says Cindy Moore, director of the Dept. of Nutrition Theraphy
at the Cleveland Clinic Foundatiuon." We have an entirely different
lifestyle, different issues, different diet and different stressors,
so it would be a little naieve to think it's coconut" that will
prevent heart disease.

Cholesterol is another problem, adds Joanne R. Lupton, professor
of nutrition at Texas A&M University. She says there is a
"direct linear relationship between intake of saturated fat and
increase in LDL cholesterol".

The verdict: Don't believe everything you read."

(Abstracted from the Associted Press/Verna Noel Jones)
posted by infraternam meam @ 4:05 AM   0 comments
Sunday, January 09, 2005

EVANSVILLE, Ind -- Two Wal-Mart employees have
been charged with felony animal cruelty after
police said they followed a manager's orders
to shoot and kill a stray cat.

The men, both assistant managers at the Supercenter,
were arrested and released after a court appearance
Wednesday. Christopher Anderson, 29, and Jeffrey
Hardin, 21, told police that the store's manager
ordered them to get rid of the animal that was
living in a storage trailer behind their store.

Anderson and Hardin repeatedly shot the cat with
a pellet gun from the store until it died the
following day, a Vanderburgh County Sheriff's
Department report said.

All three where fired Thursday following an internal
investigation, according to a Wal-Mart news release.

"We were sickened by this cruelty", Kevin Miller,
regional vice rpesident for the Arkansas based

The company also plans to split a %10,000 donation
between the Vanderbaugh County and Warrick County
Humane Society in Indiana, the release said.

"This kind of action is completely inconsistent
with the way we do business," said Wal-Mart
spokeswoman Sharon Weber.

A truck driver who reported tne incident said he
saw store employees placing what he thouhgt to be
a dead animal in shrink wrap a day after he heard
workers joking about shooting the cat.

Store manager Darrel Weitzel told polic that he
told some of his employees to get a gun and get
rid of the cat after attempts to coax it from
the trailer failed, according to a police report.

A hearing for Anderson and Hardin was set for

(Abstracted from CHICAGOTRIB/Associated Press)

posted by infraternam meam @ 11:42 PM   0 comments
Friday, January 07, 2005
A question came up about the devastating
tsunami in the Idian ocean last week:
nWhat lesson is there in this?

For one, the implementation of an early warning
system like that which exists in the Pacific
Ocean would be a good idea, and the excuse that
tsunamis haven't occurred in the Indian Ocean
since the 1880's is ridiculous:
120 years is a droplet in geologic time.

Since 1965, the United States and 25 other
nations have cooperated in using a system of
seismic and tidal monitoring statios around the
Pacific Basin to evaluate the potential is high,
members are warned.

But even this system is imperfect. Sice 1990,
the U.S. reports, more 4,000 people have been killed
in tsuamis, including 2,200 in Papua New Guinea in 1998.

Like other natural calamities, a tsunami is impartial.
it is a true sea monster, something that in the open
sea can travel almost udetected like a viper in tall
grass, and then near shore it rises, leviathan like in
an instant to overwhelm whatever it stands before it.

A rule of thumb in tsuamis:


Nature observes only the laws of physics. If a
tectonic plate moves, there is going to be an earthquake.
If pressure mounts inside a volcano, it has to find a
way out. If the atmospheric stew is right, there will
be a hurricane.

The earth is a giant system governed by these laws,
and their effect often are devastating.

Opening the pages of the almanac and sampling the sections under "disasters" attest to this:

** 526, earthquake, Antioch, Syria: 300,000 dead.

** 1290, earthquakes, Chihli, Chia: 100,000 dead

** 1556, earthqauke, Shaanxi., Chia: 830,000 dead.

** 1642, flood, China: 900,000 dead.

** 1737, earthquake, India: 300,000 dead.

** 1931, flood, Chia: 3.7 million dead.

** 1970, cyclone, Bangladesh: 300,000 dead.

There was no wilfullness involved in these terrible
tolls, and they at least reflect a demographic principle:
The laws apply to everyone.

Humans are less generous.

History abounds with case of political or religious
violence of ghastly magnitude. I the 20th century alone,
millions have died at the willful hands of others:

** 1930, Stalin's purges is the Soviet Union:
700,000 - 1.3 million dead.

** 1932-33, Stali's starvation of Ukraine:
7 million dead.

** 1937-38, Japan's Rape of Nanjing in China:
370,000 dead.

** 1940's, Nazi murder of Jews:
6 milion dead.

** 1970's, Pol Pot's "killing fields" of Cambodia:
1.7 million dead.

** 1994, Rwanda's ethnic massacres:
800,000 dead.

No recitation of numbers can mitigate the sorrow
over the current disaster: Death is absolute, and so is grief.

The effects of the staggering toll in south asia no
doubt will be felt in the region for years. The
nations of the world must do all possible to help.

But nature is inexorable, ad there will be more catastrophes.
This planet is ever changing. Perhaps the tolls will be lower;
yet lives still will be lost. Those of us who remain might whisper to ourselves:
"There but fot the grace of God go I."

On sunny days, it is easy to romanticize nature; odssys
like those the world has witnessed, this past week, it is not.

(Abstracted from CHICAGOTRIB by Scot M. Fincher)

posted by infraternam meam @ 1:08 AM   0 comments
Wednesday, January 05, 2005

At least 123,184 people were killed in 11
countries in South Asia and East Africa,from the
earthquake and tsunami on 26Dec, according
to the official figures. The United Nations
estimates the total number of dead will up to
150,000, while Indonesia and Thailand predict
their tolls will rise to 100,000 and 8,000,

**Indonesia: At least 80,246 people were killed
on Sumatra Island, the government said.

**Sri Lanka: Some 28,729 killed. About 1 million
people were killed.

**India: The geovernment said 8,955 deaths have
been confirmed but nearly 4,000 more people were
missing in India's remote Andaman and Nicobar
Islands, just nore of Sumatra.

**Thailand: Some 4,812 people died, the government
said, including 2,230 foreigners.

**Somalia: At least 200 killed, said Somali presidential
spokesman Yusef Mohammed Ismail.

**Myanmar: About 90 people were killed, according to
reports compiled by international aid agencies.

**Maldives: At least 7.3 people cofirmed dead.

**Malaysia: At least 66 people confirmed dead.
including an unknown number of foreign tourists,
are dead, according to official reports.

**Tanzania: At least 10 people killed, said
Alfred Tibaigana, police commander in Dar El Salaam.

**Bangladesh: Two Killed.

**Kenya: One killed.

(From the Associated Press)

Nations Aid Victims

A partial list follows of countries and organizations
pledging aid for earthquake and tsunami victims,
based on United Nations data and official announcements
by the nations.The UN said Saturday about 2.5 billion
has been promised.

** Japan: $500 million
** United States: 250 million
** World Bank: $250 million
** Britain: $95 million
** Sweden: $75.5 million
** Spain: $68 million
** China: $60 million
** France: $57 million
** Australia: $46.7 million
** European Commission: $45 million
** Canada: $33 million
** Germany: $27 million
** Switzerland: $21.9 million
** Denmark: $18.1 million
** Norway: $16.6 million
** Portugal: $11 million
** Qatar: $10 million
** Saudi Arabia: $10 million
** Singapore: $ 3.6 million
** New Zealand: $3.5 million
** Finland: $3.3 million
** United Araba Emirates: $2 million
** Ireland: $1.4 million
** Kuwait: #2 million
** Italy: $1.3 million
** Turkey: $1.25 million
** Czech Republic: $750,000
** Iran: $627,000
** South Korea: $600,000
** Hungary: $411,000
** Greece: $397,000
** Luxembourg: $265,000
** Monaco: $133,000
** Mexico: $100,000
** Nepal: $100,000
** Estonia:$42,000

(from Assoicated Press)
posted by infraternam meam @ 11:47 PM   0 comments
Monday, January 03, 2005
I am just waiting for the sun to set
and I will be heading to the airport for
my trip to Manila today, Monday 04th.
I need to see my kid brother.

As usual friends from work came to ask
me to bring some of their "Padala"
which I am willing, provided it will not
inconvenince me.

Padala One:
"Mel, isang LETTER envelope lang. kailangang
kailangan ng aking mother this envelope
Dating si envelope.
Yes, it was a small letter envelope, but
the envelope is taped to a shoe box, which
weight at least five pounds, because there
are at least four big bottles of Calcium
supplementary tablets inside.


Padala Two:
"Pare, isang manila envelope lang. It will not
eat a lot of space in your suitcase."

Dating si manila envelope.
Yes, it was a manila envelope but what is
inside is a "Lapida" that has to be placed
at the grave of the Father at Manila Memorial.


Padala Three:
"Mel, this is just a small envelope w/my personal
check inside. My sister need this for her school

Dating si envelope.
Yes, it was a small letter envelope with a check
inside, but the check was written to me, and this
co-worker said that I just give his sister cash
when I arrived and keep the check.
"Paano kung tumalbog ang check?"


Padala Four:
"Mel, this is just a very small envelope with cash
money inside
So, I said fine with me, as long as the envelope
will be sealed infront of me so that I really
know how much cash is inside the envelope.
The envelope arrived at my desk, it was sealed
and I called this person at his station, and asked
him to open the envelope. Refused to open the
envelope said it has been sealed.
"Wala ka bang Tiwala sa akin?" he said.
So I said..."wala!!"
The the cousin came to me and told me, that
she was really running after me not to accept
the envelope, alledged to have money, cuz
her cousin has the habit of saying there is
cash inside, but in reality there is no cash.

Tamaan sana ng kidlat.

Padala four:
"Mel, cel fon lang ang padadala ko. My son said
this is expensive in Pinas
Celfon arrived at my cubicle, I was not there,
it was left on top of my desk. It was in a clear
ziploc bag, and there are six cel fon inside.


The moral of the story.
We Pinoy has the habit of asking favors, and we
are very assuming. Then, if the request was not
granted, then these people will not talk to you

If they dont talk to me....I will be the happiest
man at work. Not being botherd by any Pinoy.

posted by infraternam meam @ 6:13 AM   0 comments
Sunday, January 02, 2005
They're all true.
We wouldn't lie to you honey.

*** One in four homeless South Koreans
has a credit card.

*** Jean-Claude Van Damme was cast as the
original Predator, but quit because he was
too small for the alien's bodysuit.

*** On the Penny Abraham Lincoln faces to the
right, while on every other currently minted
U.S. coin, the president looks left.

*** Citizens of Chile, Austria and Egypt can
be imprisoned for not voting.

*** Five jell-O flavors that failed: Celery,
coffee, cola, apple and chocolate.

*** Hippie fearing Disneyland refused to let
in guys with long hair during the 1970's.


*** If you're asking who is the person ever to act,
then that's likely Paul McCartney, star of
Beatle's movies, and the superlative
"Give my Regards to Broadstreet" who's valued
at nearly $2 billion. Problem is he's only earned
a tiny fraction of that money through acting.

*** Same with Oprah, whose roles in the "Color Purple"
and "Beloved" barely boosted her $1.1 billion dollard worth.

*** And while people tout the Olsen twins as teen billionaies,
the stars of "Full House" and all your dirtiest thoughts
are worth a paltry $300 million combined, mostly for
having a slew products bearing their names.

SO THE RICHEST ACTOR who's made his money
almost entirely through acting is probably TOM CRUISE
His net worth, minus all the Scientology dues, is estimated
at about $300 million. And the sweet deal he struck
to star in teh upcoming "War of the Worlds" trilogy--
taking a share of the box office and merchandising profits
instead of a paycheck--may double his fortune.

posted by infraternam meam @ 5:45 AM   0 comments
Saturday, January 01, 2005
After a campaign that focused on leadership
in atime of crisis, President George W. Bush
won a second term, this time with a definite
popular vote.

In its worst hurricane season since 1851, Florida
was battered by Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne
with a damage to one in five homes.

The company that made its internet search engine
a verb in only six years came up with an unusual
stock offering plan tailored to inidividual investors.

Lifestyle mogul Martha Stewart found guilty of lying to
federal prosecutors--- asked to start serving her term
while she filed an appeal. Meanwhile, her company's
stock shot up.

The super bowl halftime show -- in which Justin Timberlake exposed
Janet Jackson's breast -- sparked outrage and stricter network

An architect of terror, he articulated the cause of the Palestinian
people but could not lead them to peace. His death at 75 begins
a new era in the Middle East.

Michael Phelps, 19, became the first American to win eight medals
in one olympiad-- six gold and two bronze. He led a U.S. Olympic
team that collected 103 medals in Athens, 35 of them gold.

Gay couples rallied in Washington DC for the right to wed after
California nullified about 4000 same sec marriage licenses.

A jury found Scot Peterson guilty of the 2002 murder of his wife,
Laci, and their unborn child. The five month trial of the Modesto,
Calif, fertilizer salesman transfixed the nation.

The release of The 9/11 Commission Report-- a surprise best seller
finally pressured Congress to agree to major reforms in U.S. Intelligence.

The Lord of The Rings: the Return of the King-- the thilling
finale of the Tolkien trilogy, directed by Peter Jackson swept the
Oscars with 11 awards, including Best Picture.

A group linked to al-Qaeda bombed four commuter trains-- killing
191 and helping oust the pro-U.S. government.


Ronald Reagan
The nation's 40th President, a man of charm and principle, died at
93 after battling Alzeihmer's for a decade.

Julia Child
With humor and enthusiasm, she taught Americans how to cook and
changed our palates forever. The popular chef died at 91.

Marlon Brando
The electrifying star, whose naturalistic style changed acting
in the 20th century, died at the age of 80.

Christopher Reeve
He gained fame as Superman but amazed us with his inner strenght
after a spinal injury. He died at 52.

Ray Charles
His musical genius incomparably fused gospel, blues, jazz, rock n roll
and country. He died at 73.

Isabel Sanford
The actress best known as "Louise" on the long running TV sitcom
The Jeffersons, died at 86.

Rodney Dangerfield
"I don't get no respect," he told us for years--- but he did get laughs.
The bug eyed comic died at 82.

posted by infraternam meam @ 3:58 AM   0 comments
About Me

Name: infraternam meam
Home: Chicago, United States
About Me: I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.
See my complete profile
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