‘What a day. Just after I’d hit the publish button on the blog below, musing about what the big news was that the Phoenix lander was rumoured to have discovered about the ‘potential for life’ on Mars, I received a NASA email suggesting Phoenix may have actually found a chemical that might harm life.
It seems that the lander’s wet chemistry lab, part of its MECA instrument, has detected what seems to be perchlorate, a highly oxidising substance, in two soil samples it has studied.
But so far it’s been difficult to confirm the detection with another onboard instrument called TEGA. A soil sample studied by TEGA on Sunday – taken from just above a layer of ice – found no evidence of the compound. But TEGA had found that an earlier sample of soil, taken from near the surface, was “consistent with but not conclusive of the presence of perchlorate”, said principal investigator Peter Smith in a statement.’
‘As opening day for the 2008 Summer Olympics draws near, thousands of Chinese villagers are in training. Loading up artillery shells and readying rocket launchers, they await a call to arms.
The villagers aren’t part of some civilian security corps. They’re part of China’s weather modification program. Their mission: to shoot dust into threatening clouds in advance of the opening ceremony Friday in Beijing.
Rain will not be allowed to dampen this Olympic flame.
China is home to one of the oldest, largest and most costly weather modification programs in the world. [..]
That has meteorologists and weather modifiers in the United States chuckling. The thought of being asked to seed clouds to prevent rain on Super Bowl Sunday, for example, makes them snort. [..]
Recalling the fate of China’s former food and drug administrator, who was executed for corruption amid product safety scandals, Ahlness, at Weather Modification Inc., said his sympathies were with the Chinese scientists charged with holding the umbrella.
“I don’t think I’d want to run their weather modification program,” Ahlness said. “I hope they have clear weather just so they don’t have to try anything.”‘
Followup to Weather Engineering in China.
‘Head bowed and feet shackled, a crazed knifeman suspected of decapitating a sleeping bus passenger and holding the head aloft for other passengers to see, is led into court.
Vince Weiguang Li, 40, of Edmonton, Alberta, was charged with second-degree murder and shuffled into the courtroom in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.
Li, whose face was bruised and one hand bandaged, did not reply when the judge asked him whether he was going to get a lawyer, and only nodded slightly when asked whether he was exercising his right not to speak. [..]
Witnesses said the attacker stabbed the victim up to 50 times and after severing his head he began methodically carving up the body as passengers scrambled to get off the Greyhound bus – which was traveling from Edmonton to Winnipeg in Canada. [..]
“When he was attacking him, he was calm … like he was at the beach.’
‘A baby dying from kidney failure was saved when her doctor designed and built her a dialysis machine from scratch in his garage.
Millie Kelly was too small for conventional NHS machines, so Dr Malcolm Coulthard and a colleague constructed a scaled-down version.
Two years later, her mother Rebecca says she is “fit as a fiddle”. [..]
Rebecca, from Middlesbrough, said: “It was a green metal box with a few paint marks on it with quite a few wires coming out of it into my daughter – it didn’t look like a normal NHS one.
“But it was the only hope for her – even when she got hooked up to the dialysis machine, they said that every hour was a bonus.
“She’s fine now, a normal two-year-old – I just can’t thank him enough for saving my baby’s life.”‘
‘Up to 20 heavy vehicles and large pieces of equipment are stolen from NSW construction sites every week and sold on black markets as far away as South America and South Africa.
Thieves are making off with equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
They are helped by the extraordinary fact that a universal key operates most of the machinery.
There were 1174 heavy vehicle thefts in the year to June 30, with only a 68 per cent recovery rate, the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council found.
The trafficking of stolen heavy equipment is two-way between Australia and the world.
The Australian buyer of a second-hand backhoe from Britain found a 9mm pistol and ammunition secreted in the dashboard. British police found the backhoe, tractors and excavators had been stolen and shipped to Australia.’
‘A Territory man filmed himself speeding at 150km/h while masturbating at the wheel of his drug-laden car, a court heard.
His Holden SV6 was allegedly laden with 5kg of drugs, including two cannabis plants resting on the back seat, the court was told.
Brendon Alan Erhardt, 39, was granted bail so he could marry his girlfriend of six months before he goes to jail.
Prosecutor Sergeant Melinda Edwards said in court the father-of-three told police he “had masturbated while driving” just before he was stopped for speeding on the 130km/h stretch of the Stuart Hwy.
“(He) also video recorded himself masturbating while travelling at a speed of 150km/h.”
Sgt Edwards said Mr Erhardt — who was disqualified from driving — also told officers his act was “not dangerous” as the “only person he could hurt was himself”.’
‘Surgeons have performed the world’s first double arm transplant.
The 16-hour operation was carried out last Friday on a farm worker who lost both arms in an accident.
The 54-year-old man was given the arms of a teenage boy who is believed to have died in a road crash. [..]
The patient, who lost his arms in a threshing machine six years ago, is said to be recovering well from the surgery. Doctors said he regained consciousness on Sunday and smiled at his wife. [..]
He said it was difficult to forecast the psychological effect on the man of having the arms of a youth 35 years his junior.’
‘On the last day of his life, Dallas Carter sat down in his apartment and addressed a letter “TO Whom it my concert.”
He was not a good speller and he could not read well, but the 44-year-old father stitched together, on green construction paper, the last will and testament of a poor man. It ran three pages, 380 words, and it began with the formality of a legal document.
I, Dallas D. Carter, …
This was before the police arrived, before gunshots lit the night and the children fled apartment B28.
… buy the time you get this letter I will be gone or dead. it’s not a good letter. sometime people do dump thing I’m not really a bad person Just life gets away from me sometime …
Before that Saturday night, no one would have expected Dallas Carter to do what he did.’