Walking with Dinosaurs robot stolen in Mexico

A remote-controlled dinosaur robot worth about 100,000 Australian dollars has been stolen from a Walking With Dinosaurs show in Mexico. Staff noticed the 1.5 meter tall robot was missing after the show closed on its opening day in Guadalajara on Friday.

The Australian show based on the BBC series has toured worldwide and been seen by more than four million people.

“Only in Mexico! How it happened we don’t know,” said the show’s spokesman, Karla Arroyo. It is the first time an exhibit has been stolen from the show, she added.

She said the stolen robot was the least expensive from the show – some measure up to 13 meters and cost up to 1 million Australian dollars.

Well, I can think of a dozen countries where this might happen – including the United States. But, it is a reasonably weird item to steal.

I know a few geeks who would try to take control of a robot and make it walk out of the building. Come to think of it – I wonder if anyone might try to fence it to the creationist museum in Cincinnati?

Men charged for convening Sharia court in Spain

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

Nine Muslims were arrested in Spain – seven of whom are being held in prison – for allegedly trying to kill a woman they had “condemned” for adultery under Islamic Sharia law, police said.

The arrested men formed a “court” that subjected the woman to a “trial” for alleged adultery according to Islamic law in a country house in the province of Tarragona, but the victim was able to flee when her captors were distracted.

The incident occurred in March, and the arrests of the nine suspects came in November after several months of investigation and raids conducted by police on their homes, police said.

The seven men who have been placed in prison have been accused of illegal detention, criminal conspiracy and attempted murder.

I sort of remember when immigrants to just about any country in the West felt it useful – even necessary – to get along with the customs and laws of their adopted country. When did that disappear?

Autopsies determine H1N1 Flu replicates 1918 flu damage

In fatal cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza, the virus can damage cells throughout the respiratory airway, much like the viruses that caused the 1918 and 1957 influenza pandemics, report researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

The scientists reviewed autopsy reports, hospital records and other clinical data from 34 people who died of 2009 H1N1 influenza infection between May 15 and July 9, 2009. All but two of the deaths occurred in New York City.

A microscopic examination of tissues throughout the airways revealed that the virus caused damage primarily to the upper airway—the trachea and bronchial tubes—but tissue damage in the lower airway, including deep in the lungs, was present as well. Evidence of secondary bacterial infection was seen in more than half of the victims…

“This study provides clinicians with a clear and detailed picture of the disease caused by 2009 H1N1 influenza virus that will help inform patient management,” says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “In fatal cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza, it appears the novel pandemic influenza virus produces pulmonary damage that looks very much like that seen in earlier influenza pandemics.”

The new report also underscores the impact 2009 H1N1 influenza is having on younger people. While most deaths from seasonal influenza occur in adults over 65 years old, deaths from 2009 H1N1 influenza occur predominately among younger people. The majority of deaths (62 percent) in the 34 cases studied were among those 25 to 49 years old; two infants were also among the fatal cases…

This pattern of pathology in the airway tissues is similar to that reported in autopsy findings of victims of both the 1918 and 1957 influenza pandemics,” notes Dr. Taubenberger.

You’ll find a range of support info about influenza over here.

It’s not like we have too many regular readers here at Eideard.com – please get your flu shot!

This will be the warmest decade on record

The first decade of this century is “by far” the warmest since instrumental records began, say the UK Met Office and World Meteorological Organization.

Their analyses also show that 2009 will almost certainly be the fifth warmest in the 160-year record.

Burgeoning El Nino conditions, adding to man-made greenhouse warming, have pushed 2009 into the “top 10” years…

World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and Met Office scientists have been giving details of the new analysis at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen…

“We’ve seen above average temperatures in most continents, and only in North America were there conditions that were cooler than average,” said WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud…

Mr Jarraud emphasised that the final analysis would not be complete until early next year; but the UN agency always issues a summary during the annual climate negotiations in order that delegates have the latest information.

The WMO uses three temperature sets – one from the UK Met Office and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), and two from the US, maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the space agency NASA.

There’s always someone present who cares most about pop-science and junk-science reporting.

Asked whether the controversy surrounding e-mails hacked from CRU could have any bearing on the results, Mr Jarraud replied that all three datasets showed the same result.

Vicky Pope from the UK Met Office made the same point: “The datasets are all independent, and they all show warming,” she said.

RTFA for a bit more detail. If you care to press further, well – Google is your friend. Or whichever search engine you actually use. The information provided by peer-reviewed scientists ain’t going to change regardless of your ideology.

Blair omits that secret WMD info came from a nosey taxi driver

An Iraqi taxi driver was the source of the discredited claim that Saddam Hussein could unleash weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, a Tory MP claimed today.

Adam Holloway, a defence specialist, said MI6 obtained the information indirectly from a taxi driver who had overheard two Iraqi military commanders talking about Saddam’s weapons.

The 45-minute claim was a key feature of the dossier about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction that was released by Tony Blair in September 2002. Blair published the information to bolster public support for war.

After the war the dossier became hugely controversial when it became clear that some of the information it contained was not true. An inquiry headed by Lord Butler into the use of intelligence in the run-up to the war revealed that MI6 had subsequently accepted that some of its Iraqi sources were unreliable, but his report did not identify who they were.

Today, in an interview with the Daily Mail, Holloway said the key piece of information about 45 minutes came from an Iraqi officer who was using a taxi driver as his own sub-source.

Just so you know how rinky-dink the politicians are that some of you trusted with your votes, your lives, the lives of the men and women sent to die in Iraq.

Turns out drinking dirty water is OK with Republicans – other people drinking dirty water, that is!

More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data.

That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage.

Regulators were informed of each of those violations as they occurred. But regulatory records show that fewer than 6 percent of the water systems that broke the law were ever fined or punished by state or federal officials, including those at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has ultimate responsibility for enforcing standards…

“This administration has made it clear that clean water is a top priority,” said an E.P.A. spokeswoman, Adora Andy, in response to questions regarding the agency’s drinking water enforcement. The E.P.A. administrator, Lisa P. Jackson, this year announced a wide-ranging overhaul of enforcement of the Clean Water Act, which regulates pollution into waterways.

“The previous eight years provide a perfect example of what happens when political leadership fails to act to protect our health and the environment,” Ms. Andy added.

Federal regulators fined or punished fewer than 8 percent of water systems that violated the arsenic and radioactive standards. The E.P.A., in a statement, said that in a majority of situations, state regulators used informal methods — like providing technical assistance — to help systems that had violated the rules.

But many systems remained out of compliance, even after aid was offered, according to E.P.A. data. And for over a quarter of systems that violated the arsenic or radioactivity standards, there is no record that they were ever contacted by a regulator, even after they sent in paperwork revealing their violations.

When government is run by ideologues who only answer to corporate directives, draw only conclusions friendly to extractive industries and investors – the needs of a healthy nation are of little interest.

We probably could spend an equivalent eight years just uncovering all the dirty secrets swept under the rug by the Bush/Cheney gang.

Year of the Tiger ready to be ushered in – in gold

A salesclerk shows a gold bar with the sign of tiger at the Caibai department store in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 7, 2009. The gold bars carrying the sign of tiger ranging from 50 grams, 100 grams, 200 grams, 500 grams and one kilogram will be on sale at the store Dec. 8. The year of 2010 is the Year of Tiger according to the Chinese traditional lunar calendar.

I don’t get excited about hoarding gold. So-called luck never enters into any part of my life’s decisions. What few spare pesos I ever have I’d rather spend on something for family and home.

But, I can appreciate the beauty of history expressed in calligraphy and gold. A different aesthetic.

Cardboard windshield not o.k.? Is there no end to their list of complaints.

“Is there a problem, officer?”

A lorry driver was pulled up by police in China – after driving for hundreds of miles with a sheet of cardboard covering his broken windscreen.

Mr Li drove by sticking his head out of the side window – in freezing conditions – or by peering through tiny holes in the cardboard, reports China News Network.

Traffic officers ordered him to pull over after spotting him on the Jinggang’ao Highway in Henan province.

“The weather was extremely cold, but we saw a lorry with a cardboard windscreen – and the driver had his head out of the side window all the time,” said a police spokesman.

Mr Li jumped down from the cab with a face that was purple from the cold. He told officers he had been in an accident in Hubei province several days earlier but did not have time to repair it properly because of his tight delivery schedule.