Wednesday, September 19, 2007


O-kay... let's see what we have here... A state senator is suing - wait for it - God. The God.

The senator in question, Sen. Ernie Chambers actually started the proceedings against God last week, claiming that he is trying to make the point that anybody can file a lawsuit against anybody.

The defendant in a state senator's lawsuit is accused of causing untold death and horror and threatening to cause more still. He can be sued in Douglas County, the legislator claims, because He's everywhere. Furthermore, in his lawsuit, Chambers goes on to claim that God has made terroristic threats against the senator and his constituents, inspired fear and caused "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants."

Surrrrre. Of course...

The Omaha senator, who skips morning prayers during the legislative session and often criticizes Christians, also says God has caused "fearsome floods ... horrendous hurricanes, terrifying tornadoes."

He's seeking a permanent injunction against the Almighty.

Read it here:

It will be interesting to see if the accused will respond to the lawsuit and whether or not a search warrant will be issued if he doesn't show up for trial...if it goes to trial.

Writers & Friends

Sunday, September 16, 2007


So y' it is in life, there was this male salmon who met a female salmon and they got along really well. So well that they decided they wanted to start a family but after a while and no eggs to speak of, they did what many human-types did: they found a surrogate

Researchers in Japan have put a new spin on surrogate parenting having engineered one fish species to produce another to preserve endangered fish. Scientists in Idaho are continuing this concept in an attempt to produce a sockeye salmon, highly endangered in the state, but using trout as surrogate parents.

Those first experiments, funded by a Japanese research institute, used still fairly plentiful species to develop the technique. Now comes Idaho's attempt to prove if the method is really useful in trying to produce the endangered sockeye salmon.

Last January, YoshiGoro Yoshizaki, a Tokyo University marine scientist who is leading the research helped University of Idaho scientists collect and freeze immature sperm tissue from young sockeye salmon being raised at a state-run hatchery. Next month, he'll be back to help thaw the tissue and implant it into sterile rainbow trout.

In Japan, Yoshizaki is focused on bluefin tuna, noting that standard "marine ranching" techniques are difficult for tuna that can reach man-size.

He has begun experiments into how to produce baby tuna from mackerel, which are nearly a thousand times smaller than adult tuna. If it works, "we can save space, cost and labor," he predicted in an e-mail interview.

Read about the entire cut-and-implant process here:

I dunno. It's not nice to fool Mother Nature... I mean, at some point down the line, a trout just may receive the unexpected (and traumatic) news that his mama was a salmon. Or a tuna may discover it has mackeral-ish tendencies. Who knows where all of this can lead...

Writers & Friends

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


If ever there was a news item that fit into this category - this is it. I mean - c'mon - gimme a break!

Get this... An employee who works for McDonalds, ended up spending the night in jail and what's more is facing criminal charges for - wait for it - a police officer's burger was too salty! What's more the cop is claiming that it made him sick. Some would say that fast food in general sometimes has that effect on people but I digress.

The McDonald's server was arrested last Friday and charged with misdemeanor reckless conduct and freed on a $1000 bail.

In the way of an explanation the McD's server admits to accidentally spilling some salt on hamburger meat and informed her supervisior and a co-worker, who handled the problem by trying to remove the salt by "thumping it" whatever that entails.

Read the salty details here:

Next thing you know somebody is going to claim that ketchup served was too tomato-y or the fries were the wrong color or the coffee was to hot... Hang on - somebody already sued for that. I mean, really...

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I knew it all along! Better be careful what you say in front of your house plant. Seems that scientists believe they have found "a set of sound-responsive genes in plants" in what other experts said would be an astonishing finding.

Astonishing maybe. Surprising not really according to an article focusing on this subject.

Plants are known to respond to light, temperature, touch and vibration, and the South Korean team, led by Dr Mi-Jeong Jeong, decided to investigate whether they could also respond to sound in some way.

They played classical music, such as Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, Clair de Lune by Debussy and Winter from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, to a rice crop. The plants appeared unmoved.

Perhaps - just speculation now - rice prefers rock music...or even elevator-music-type stuff.

However, when single notes were played, the scientists noticed an effect on two genes known to respond to light, New Scientist magazine reports today. These became more active when exposed to a high-pitched sound and less active when a low one was played.

"As far as we know, this is the first report of characterisation of plant sound-responsive genes."
This might cast a different light on the comment by the Prince of Wales, who reportedly told a television interviewer in the mid-1980s: "I just come and talk to the plants, really. It's very important to talk. They respond, don't they?"

So the future King of England talks to plants so there has to be something to it. No? Then again, some people believe that some royals have been known to be - how shall we say - imaginative.

Dr Jeong's team plans to look into the matter further.

"I would be astonished if plants could tell the difference [between types of music]. But you never know," he said. "This would be of large interest to the plant community in general if it were true, but it's a very big claim."

Dr Wigge said vibration caused by sound waves might have something to do with the Korean team's results, but added the effect on the genes was so small it could also be "natural variation".

"We know plants are responsive to wind and sense touch and vibration, so that could be having an effect," he said.

Dr Wigge said people had looked "very hard" for decades for signs of something more to plants.
"There was a claim that plants were sensitive and they had feelings; plants had a mood and it depended on electrical currents," he said. "All these studies, unfortunately, have never panned out."

Those non plant-likers are so negative but we plant lovers know different. Mine like Justin Timberlake and Phil Collins. Don't ask how I know. I just do.

Friday, September 07, 2007


Is there nothing left in life to enjoy? Weight watchers have been told that two cups of popcorn is a healthy and less fattening snack food and recommended for people on a diet. Now researchers are telling us that butter-flavored popcorn may be bad for our health. I mean - c'mon! Popcorn and movies are like...sacred, almost!

The public is being warned by lung specialists that not only factory workers could be in danger as a result of the fumes from buttery-flavored microwave popcorn, in a letter issued by federal regulars from a physician at a leading lung research hospital.

Oh? Somebody is getting research funds to study popcorn and I wasn't asked to participate?

A pulmonary specialist at Denver's National Jewish Medical and Research Center has written to federal agencies reporting that doctors working there believe they have the first case of a consumer who developed lung disease from the fumes of microwaving popcorn several times a day for years.

This begs at least from my perspective, the question as to how many of us actually eat pop popcorn several times a day? This person obviously had a popcorn addiction that went untreated for many years for this to occur. Perhaps had she/he been weaned away... But I digress.

"We cannot be sure that this patient's exposure to butter flavored microwave popcorn from daily heavy preparation has caused his lung disease," cautioned Dr. Cecile Rose. "However, we have no other plausible explanation."

The July letter, made public Tuesday by a public health policy blog, refers to a potentially fatal disease commonly called popcorn lung that has been the subject of lawsuits by hundreds of workers at food factories exposed to chemicals used for flavouring.

Note there is no Latin term as yet for the new syndrome. Popcornus lungitis bad-forus springs to mind.

In response to Rose's finding, the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association issued a statement Tuesday recommending that its members reduce "to the extent possible" the amount of diacetyl in butter flavourings they make. It noted that diacetyl is approved for use in flavours by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

One national popcorn manufacturer, Weaver Popcorn Co. of Indianapolis, said last week it would replace the butter flavouring ingredient because of consumer concern. Congress has also been debating new safety measures for workers in food processing plants exposed to diacetyl.
The FDA said in an e-mail it is evaluating Rose's letter and "carefully considering the safety and regulatory issues it raises."

Fred Blosser, spokesman for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said it is the first case the institute has seen of lung disease apparently linked to popcorn fumes outside the workplace.

A spokesman for National Jewish Medical, confirmed the letter was sent by Rose, a specialist in occupational and environmental lung diseases and director of the hospital's Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic.

"There have been no other cases that we know of other than the industrial occupational ones," Allstetter said.

Rose acknowledged in the letter that it is difficult to confirm through one case that popping buttered microwave popcorn at home can cause lung disease. However, she said she wanted to alert regulators of the potential public health implications.

Perhaps if we don't inhale...

Rose said the ailing patient, a man whom she wouldn't identify, consumed "several bags of extra butter flavoured microwave popcorn" every day for several years. He described progressively worsening respiratory symptoms of coughing and shortness of breath. Tests found his ability to exhale was deteriorating, Rose said, although his condition seemed to stabilize after he quit using microwave popcorn.

Read an up-close-and-personal story about the man who has allegedly experienced first-hand the effects of popcorn lung here:

Writers & Friends