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Saturday, April 26, 2008



Talk about dedication. At the fall of the Communist government of East Germany, in 1989, thousands of documents were saved from total destruction by the Stasi (East German secret police). People stormed the various Stasi offices and seized those items which hadn't been burnt. 15,500 bags worth of shredded or torn sheets of paper. For the last 19 years, a small cadre of between 9-45 persons have painstakingly pieced these files back together. About 400 bags worth. Now the German government has purchased and set up a computerized system to scan each scrap and automatically recreate the damaged documents. The programming is on going and intuitive as the electronic brain learns all the "tricks of the trade" from its human counterparts. The recreation of these vital records has already uncovered some spies that worked for the Stasi in the west.

Also, in Berlin, the famed 'Berlin Wall" has all but disappeared. But the city of Berlin now offers virtual tours of the infamous landmark. They provide handheld multimedia devices, for a nominal fee, to guide scholars, students and curious history buffs to all the significant and historical locations. Not a bad idea, considering that this year's college freshmen were born after the wall was razed.

If everything goes according to Hoyle, the very first Genetic Civil Rights Law should be enacted this year.
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act bans US employers from using genetic information in hiring, firing, promotion and compensation decisions, and from collecting genetic information from employees.

Also, in genetics, two different studies have shown that the human population almost went extinct 70,000 years ago. It dropped to just 2,000 individuals, scattered in small tribes across Africa, during a catastrophic drought period. Think about that. 70 millennium to grow from 2K to 6.6 billion. We are all descended from people who were the toughest sob's on the face of the Earth.

Some Finnish researchers are about 3 years away from launching a space craft that will derive its thrust from the solar wind. And, at a cost of only $8,000,000, this prototype is very inexpensive. Theoretically, this type of spacedrive could reach heretofore unbelievable speeds as it slides through the cosmos. While the prototype will be relatively small, only 5 miles across, a full-sized version could traverse the distance from Earth to Mars in just a few weeks. Journeys to the outer planets and beyond would become feasible for manned craft. Maybe hunting asteroids of ice and retreiving them to provide fuel for more conventionally powered craft, from the Asteroid Belt, the Ort Cloud and the Kuiper Belt. It would also allow the exploration of space beyond our Sun's area by using the interstellar winds.

For 76 minutes yesterday a gas station in Philadelphia sold gas for 76¢ a gallon. That city's basketball team, the 76ers, are in the NBA playoffs for the first time in 3 years. Obviously it was a promotional stunt but a well done one.

Every 5 years, or so, the Congress pieces together a new "Farm Bill". Included in it are new tariffs on imported foodstuffs, and "pork-barrel" give-aways to the wealthy. One of the "pork-barrel" items this time around is a tax depreciation incentive for breeders of racehorses. Hey folks, horseracing isn't a sport for needy people. Thats why its called "The Sport of Kings". And Kings don't need tax breaks.

Earlier this year I mentioned that Popular Photography Magazine was having a photo contest. Entitled "Magical Maui! How Bad Do You Want It", it drew some interesting entries. The winner has been selected. The photo (left) is the winner.

The active volcano, Kilauea, is having some gas problems. This forced the closure of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park and has placed parts of the State, Including Mau'i, under a VOG alert. The winds shifted from their normal "Trades" to "Kona". Its not really a problem, unless you have OCD about breathing.

As always. Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you find it entertaining and/or informative.

Have a utterly fantastic weekend. Catch ya later.




Over The Limit?
Please don't drink and drive

"Let's all be careful out there!"