Toto (the toilet maker) and Daiwa Housing are teaming up once more to offer a sequel to their infamous 2005 “Intelligence Toilet.” The new “II” is equipped with all of the original health monitoring features (urine sugar analysis, blood pressure check, BMI and body weight measurement), plus an additional function designed to appeal to women: urine temperature measurement and analysis.
According to the press release, this data can be used to determine one’s basal body temperature and hormone balance—information which can help women keep track of their menstruation cycles, in addition to increasing physical awareness with the aim of “smarter” dieting and skin care. Like the original, all of this information collected by the toilet is beamed through your home network to your PC where it can be monitored in the form of charts and graphs.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
In yet another potential last minute rule change, “the Bush administration appears poised to push through a change in U.S. Forest Service agreements that would make it far easier for mountain forests to be converted to housing subdivisions.” Though President-elect Obama has opposed the move, Mark E. Rey, the former timber lobbyist who heads the Forest Service, has signaled that he intends to finalize the plan before Obama’s inauguration. As a presidential candidate, Obama vocally criticized Rey’s plan while campaigning in Montana, calling it “outrageous.”
The steel industry, having entered the recession in the best of health, is emerging as a leading indicator of what lies ahead. As steel production goes — and it is now in collapse — so will go the national economy.
That maxim once applied to Detroit’s Big Three car companies, when they dominated American manufacturing. Now they are losing ground in good times and bad, and steel has replaced autos as the industry to watch for an early sign that a severe recession is beginning to lift.
The industry itself is turning to government for orders that, until the September collapse, had come from manufacturers and builders. Its executives are waiting anxiously for details of President-elect Barack Obama’s stimulus plan, and adding their voices to pleas for a huge public investment program — up to $1 trillion over two years — intended to lift demand for steel to build highways, bridges, electric power grids, schools, hospitals, water treatment plants and rapid transit.“What we are asking,” said Daniel R. DiMicco, chairman and chief executive of the Nucor Corporation, a giant steel maker, “is that our government deal with the worst economic slowdown in our lifetime through a recovery program that has in every provision a ‘buy America’ clause.”
I don't know about a Gilligan's Island movie, but Paul Rudd and David Cross playing Cain and Abel in the Old Testament flick sounds awesomely awesome.
From Yahoo! News:
BISMARCK, N.D. – Police get calls about drunken drivers all the time, but rarely do they come from the alleged offender. A 17-year-old girl in Bismarck called 911 on New Year's Eve "to report herself driving under the influence," police Lt. Randy Ziegler said. "I've never heard of such a thing happening, and neither has anyone here."
The girl told authorities her location shortly before midnight Wednesday and officers found her in a parked car near downtown, Ziegler said. She failed a sobriety test and was arrested for failing to have control of her vehicle while intoxicated.
The girl, whose name was not released because of her age, was not cited for drunken driving, Ziegler said.
"Her keys were in her purse and she was parked," Ziegler said. "She did tell us that she had been driving around for hours."
The call probably was a plea for help, he said.
Doctor Who? After months of febrile speculation the BBC tonight revealed the identity of the 11th Doctor. Not a prominent black actor, nor a woman, nor any of the high-profile names touted to play the iconic Time Lord.
Instead, the honour of wielding the sonic screwdriver and battling Daleks and Zygons has fallen to relative unknown Matt Smith – at 26 he is the youngest Doctor in the 45 years since the Tardis first landed at the BBC.
Smith, from Northampton, whose TV debut was in the 2006 adaptation of Philip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke, which also starred former Doctor Who companion Billie Piper, said he was so excited at landing the coveted role he paced his room for three days smiling to himself. "I'm flabbergasted. I haven't slept, really, to be honest," he said.
His unveiling as the next extraterrestrial scientist came during Doctor Who Confidential – The Eleventh Doctor, broadcast on BBC1 at the same time as being simultaneously cast on giant screens in city centres all over Britain.
Smith will replace David Tennant, 37, who will leave after filming four specials, and take over the role in October 2010.
Doctor Who executive producer Steven Moffat said he knew he had found his Doctor at the start of auditions. "The way he said the lines, the way he looked, his hair. Everything was spot on," he said, praising Smith's dynamism and swagger.
Whovians, too, were impressed. "We think it is a great choice to have someone so young. David Tennant was the most energetic Doctor ever, and you need somebody with youth and energy to take that forward," said Sebastian Brook, editor of the drwho-online fan website.
Warmer temperatures and earlier melting of sea ice are causing polar bears to go hungry. The number of undernourished bears has tripled in a 20-year period.
Seth Cherry of the University of Alberta, Canada, and colleagues monitored the health of polar bears in the ice-covered Beaufort Sea region of the Arctic during April and May in 1985, 1986, 2005 and 2006.
[...] In 1985 and 1986 the proportion of bears fasting was 9.6 and 10.5 per cent respectively. By 2005 and 2006 this had risen to 21.4 and 29.3 per cent.
Cherry's team believes that the increase in fasting bears is explained by warmer temperatures and earlier spring melts. Polar bears use sea ice as a hunting platform, catching seals by sitting next to their breathing holes and waiting to pounce. Spring is usually a time of feasting for polar bears, filling up before summer when the ice retreats.
"It is clear that the changes in the sea ice are affecting the hunting opportunities available to the bears," says co-author Andrew Derocher of the University of Alberta.
Israeli ground forces crossed into the Gaza Strip from multiple locations after nightfall Saturday, reportedly engaging Hamas forces in an escalation of an offensive designed to stop the militant group from launching rocket attacks against Israel.
"It will not be easy or short, but we are determined," Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters shortly after the invasion began.
"We are peace seekers," Barak added. "We have restrained ourselves for a long time. But now is the time to do what needs to be done."
Around the same time, Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan said in a television appearance that Israel was falling into a Hamas trap and vowed that Hamas would fight until defeating Israeli forces."Gaza will not be a picnic," a Reuters translation quoted Radwan as telling the Israelis. "Gaza will be a graveyard for you."
As Israeli warplanes continue to bomb Gaza, attention is turning to the role of American-made weapons in the deadly attacks, which have now killed over 400 and wounded 2000, including many civilians.
CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr believes that Israel's use of American weapons against civilians "is becoming very problematic." She notes, for example, that the 2000 pound bomb which killed a Hamas leader and members of his family on Thursday "is part of the billions of dollars that Israel has spent buying weapons from the United States."
Israel's use of American-made weapons in attacking Gaza has been a matter of offical concern for years. In 2002, the State Department announced it was monitoring possible violations of the Arms Export Control Act after the Israeli military used an American-made jet to drop a laser-guided bomb that killed a Hamas leader and 14 civilians in a crowded Gaza City neighborhood.
Just last September, Congress approved a $77 million dollar deal to sell a thousand Boeing GBU-39 bunker-buster "smart bombs" to Israel. The Jerusalem Post reported on Monday that these small, GPS-guided missiles have now been used on underground tunnels and launchers in Gaza.
"Precision guided bombs are only precision in that they hit the target they are aimed at," Starr explained. "We're getting these civilian casualties. These weapons are supposed to be used for a country's self-defense. Israel, obviously, believes this is its self-defense against Hamas, but you see these civilian casualties. That's not why the US sells weapons abroad -- for the killing of innocent civilians."
Friday, January 2, 2009
While millions descend on Washington for the historic Inauguration of Barack Obama on Jan. 20, some Republicans see it as an occasion to get out of town.
Out of power on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and mostly out of favor on K Street, many emasculated elephants in the GOP herd will begin the Age of Obama with what amounts to an extended holiday vacation. Instead of fighting the quadrennial cold and what are expected to be record-setting crowds, they're heading out to greener pastures, with better temperatures, less hassle and more agreeable company.
“What better way to mark the Obama Inauguration (and his millions of adoring fans that will be in D.C.) than to get out of town to fabulous Las Vegas!” Charlie Spies, a Republican lawyer and former CFO to Mitt Romney’s campaign wrote in a blast e-mail to GOP friends. “We hope you can join us for dinner and a fun evening on Monday, Jan. 19, to celebrate the last few hours of our Republican president in the White House.”
Thursday, January 1, 2009
1. Become thin, sexy, and rich so that people have a legitimate reason to hate me.
2. Help the Beastie Boys stop when they can't, won't, or don't.
3. Have something named after me in the DSM-V.
4. Finish my screenplay for Indiana Jones & the 11 Secret Herbs and Spices.
5. Create a rock so heavy that God can't lift it.
6. Never, EVER go to where the wild things are.
7. Some nicknames are given. Others are earned. "Pickles" is one I must earn.
8. Try to stop mentioning Gary Carter whenever I'm on #8 of a list.
9. Work out my Snarf issues with a licensed therapist.
10. Convince media-savvy blog readers that Coozer Files is totally worth bookmarking. snarf snarf
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
As many as one in eight teens in the United States may take a virginity pledge at some point, vowing to wait until they're married before having sex. But do such pledges work? Are pledge takers more likely than other teens to delay sexual activity?
A new study suggests that the answer is no. While teens who take virginity pledges do delay sexual activity until an average age of 21 (compared to about age 17 for the average American teen), the reason for the delay is more likely due to pledge takers' religious background and conservative views -- not the pledge itself.
According to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, pledge takers are as likely to have sex before marriage as other teens who are also religious, but don't take the pledge. However, pledge takers are less likely than other religious or conservative teens to use condoms or birth control when they do start having sex.
Monday, December 29, 2008
From ABC News:
Vietnam has approved new regulations banning bloggers from discussing subjects the government deems sensitive or inappropriate and requiring them to limit their writings to personal issues.
The rules ban any posts that undermine national security, incite violence or crime, disclose state secrets, or include inaccurate information that could damage the reputation of individuals and organizations, according to a copy of the regulations obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
The rules, which were approved Dec. 18, attempt to rein in Vietnam's booming blogosphere. It has become an alternative source of news for many in the communist country, where the media is state-controlled.
The new rules require Internet companies that provide blogging platforms to report to the government every six months and provide information about bloggers on request.
The companies are also required to prevent and remove content the government deems harmful.