Washington DC = 1st US city offering free female condoms

Washington, D.C., will become the first city in the United States to give away female condoms.

The project will distribute 500,000 free condoms at beauty salons, convenience stores and high schools in sections of the city that are plagued with high HIV rates.

The effort could begin within the next three weeks.

A 2008 report showed HIV rates in D.C. to be at 3 percent, making it a major epidemic. Nationally, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among black women between the ages of 25 and 34…

The free female condom effort comes after a decade-long campaign to combat the HIV and AIDS epidemic by distributing free male condoms in Washington, D.C. The effort was largely seen as ineffective.

The female condom was first approved by the FDA in 1993, but its use has been limited. A second version was approved last year and consists of special polyurethane that conducts body heat to enhance sexual sensation for both men and women, the makers say.

All I can ever picture when the topic is female condoms is Edina’s mom in Ab-Fab slipping a couple over her hands and lower arms and enquiring if they’re for dish-washing?

Oz underwear has gone bananas!

Australian underwear company AussieBum has been monkeying around and the result is a range of men’s underwear made with bananas.

The new eco-friendly banana range of undies incorporates 27 percent banana fiber, 64 percent cotton and 9 percent lycra, AussieBum’s Lloyd Jones said on Friday.

The banana fiber used in the underwear is made from a bark weave from the banana plant and makes the underwear not only lightweight, but also very absorbent, he said. “Naturally you can’t really add anymore banana fiber than that because it might be a bit squishy,” said Jones, adding that wearers did not have to worry about real monkeys, as the underwear does not smell like a banana.

Where’s Donovan Leitch when you need him?

DNA sequence of extinct ancient cattle revealed

Researchers, based in Ireland and Britain, have found the complete mitochondrial DNA genome sequence of ancient wild cattle using a sample from a 6,700 year-old bone.

They assembled the mitochondrial DNA sequence from the well-preserved foreleg bone of an aurochs, originally discovered in a cave in Derbyshire. The team’s findings are published in this latest issue of the journal PLoS ONE…

Co-author Dr Ceiridwen Edwards, a researcher in Ancient DNA Studies at Oxford University, said: ‘This finding heralds what we hope will be the start of a very exciting project to explore the evolutionary history of aurochs and modern cattle. We used newly developed DNA technologies that allow us to extract genetic information much more quickly than we have previously been able to do. This area of research could have implications not only for archaeologists but also for farmers engaged in modern day cattle rearing. In time, we hope to work on sequencing the DNA genomes of thousands of ancient cattle breeds.’

Co-author Professor David MacHugh from University College Dublin said: ‘Our results demonstrate the incredible promise that next-generation DNA sequencing holds for archaeogenetics.’

Previous studies have suggested that ancient aurochs, which lived in the Near East (modern day Iran, Iraq and Syria) and across Europe and Asia, are the ancestor of modern cattle. However, comparisons of European aurochs mitochondrial DNA with modern European cattle suggests that the level of cross-breeding between domestic cattle and the wild, fierce European aurochs must have been very low.

Professor Mark Pollard, Director of Oxford University’s Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art, said: ‘We need more research into ancient DNA if we are to complete the jigsaw of evolutionary development, not only of cattle but also other species. In the long term, we hope that an Oxford led team could conduct an ambitious DNA project into the migration of plants, livestock and humans across Britain, from the end of the Ice Age to the modern day.’

Cripes. There is so much interesting research going on worldwide.

The Web makes so much of this accessible. Still – Google around for whatever variations on this research you may think interesting. Any occurrence in a news source, even an educational source, is negligible.

Though my personal blog is occasionally noted for politics, this is why I won’t separate my interest in science from the rest of this conversation with the cyberworld.

Pain clinics raided – pipeline to pillheads!

Narcotics investigators have raided three South Florida pain clinics suspected of feeding a black-market pipeline of prescription painkillers stretching to Kentucky and other Appalachian states.

Agents with the DEA, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office carted away boxes of records after serving search warrants at American Pain in Lake Worth, Executive Pain in West Palm Beach and the East Coast Pain Clinic in West Palm Beach on Wednesday morning.

The clinics are owned or managed by Christopher and Jeffrey George, 29-year-old twin brothers from Royal Palm Beach. Neither one is a licensed medical professional. Both have criminal records.

What sort of patent-leather regulatory authority allows thugs like this to run medical clinics?

The Miami Herald highlighted the George brothers in an investigation of the pain clinic business published last year. The Herald investigation showed that loose regulations have made South Florida a haven for storefront clinics selling oxycodone and other painkillers at a pace unseen anywhere else in the country.

Several sheriffs in Kentucky — a prime hot spot for illegal painkillers — told The Herald they routinely arrested people trafficking oxycodone bought from a Wilton Manors clinic called South Florida Pain, also owned by Christopher George, records show. South Florida Pain later merged with American Pain in Boca Raton, and then relocated to Lake Worth…

The George brothers have run afoul of law enforcement before. In 2003, Jeffrey George pleaded guilty to felony charges of dealing in stolen property and resisting arrest, records show. Christopher George also pleaded guilty to grand theft and possession of steroids with intent to sell, records show.

Their criminal pasts, however, did not prevent the Georges from owning or managing pain clinics selling dangerous narcotics — a loophole some lawmakers hope to close during the legislative session.

Under current law, the state licenses only medical facilities that take insurance — and most pain clinics only take cash. So while the state requires criminal background checks for employees at licensed facilities, there is no such requirement at cash-only pain clinics.

Sounds like the Florida legislature is willingly incompetent. Ready and able to comply with the demands of gangsters at a moment’s notice. Until someone gets caught.

Pilot arrested for fake license – flying airliners for 13 years!

A Swedish pilot without a valid licence to fly has been arrested at Amsterdam as he was about to fly a jet with 101 passengers to Turkey, Dutch police say.

The 41-year-old man said he had been flying for European airlines for 13 years and had logged 10,000 hours.

Police said he once had a licence to fly small planes but it had expired and it did not allow him to fly large jets…

Turkey’s Corendon Airlines said he had been flying for the airline for two years and had “expertly misled the company with his false papers”.

The airline said it had been alerted by police and had a pilot standing by to fly the Boeing 737 from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport to Ankara.

Was he doing a decent job of piloting – or was he just fooling people into thinking he was good enough – or were the authorities just doing a lousy job of checking standards?

Pope’s sainthood on hold after ‘miracle cure’ nun ill again

Get that fracking bird. He crapped on my tiramisu!”

It was the miracle that set Pope John Paul II on the road to sainthood and provided faithful followers with proof of his holy powers. But hopes that the former pope’s canonisation would be fast-tracked by Sister Marie Simon-Pierre’s recovery from Parkinson’s disease have been set back by reports that the French nun has fallen ill again.

Simon-Pierre described three years ago how she regained her health after a night of prayer to the then recently deceased Polish pontiff. John Paul also suffered from Parkinson’s disease, which is incurable.

“It’s like a second birth,” she said at the time. “I feel like I’ve discovered a new body, new limbs.”

In 2007 Simon-Pierre could barely move her left side, could not write legibly, drive or move around easily and was in constant pain.

Her disease worsened after the pope’s death, and her order prayed for his intervention to ease her suffering. Then after writing his name on a paper one night, she woke up the next day apparently cured and returned to work as a maternity nurse with no traces of the disease.

But according to the Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita, one of the doctors charged with scrutinising the nun’s case believed she might have been suffering from a similar nervous disease, not Parkinson’s, which could go into sudden remission. A report on the paper’s website went further, saying that the 49-year-old nun had become sick again with the same illness.

The Vatican was making no comment on the grounds that the late pope’s case was still under examination.

Ah, the irregular course of miracles. Not that it means anything to True Believers. Say that “it’s so” – and it is so.

Sort of like American foreign policy or a creationist history of the world.

French warship destroys mother ship – captures pirates

Three pirate skiffs captured by the, um, somewhat larger Nivose in the background
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Twenty-eight suspected pirates were taken into custody Friday by the European Union Naval Force after a handful of failed attacks on fishing vessels in the Indian Ocean.

In the first incident, the mission intercepted a mother ship and two skiffs early Friday in the southern Indian Ocean between the Seycelles and Mombasa, Kenya. The mission said the suspected pirates were in an area where an earlier attack had occurred.

A helicopter from the French warship FS Nivose then tracked the vessels and saw the suspects throwing things overboard, the mission said.

When a French team arrived at the scene, it found 11 suspected pirates and “pirate paraphernalia” in the skiffs: a rocket launcher, grappling hooks and several fuel barrels.

The forces destroyed the pirate ship and a skiff and took the suspected pirates into custody. The fate of the second skiff was not immediately known.

Soon after, pirates tried to attack a French fishing vessel near two other fishing boats, said Cmdr. John Harbour, spokesman for the EU Naval Force.

The French fishing vessel collided with the suspected pirates’ vessel and sank it, Harbour said. Six suspected pirates were picked out of the water by the EU force, he said. It was not immediately clear if they had been transported to the FS Nivose, although that had been planned, he said.

Later, pirates tried to attack a Spanish fishing vessel, Harbour said. The boat alerted the EU Naval Force, and air and naval units intervened, he said.

Eleven suspected pirates were taken into custody and were on board the Nivose, Harbour said.

Harbour said an increase in pirate attacks was likely over the next few weeks as the monsoon season was ending and the ocean was becoming calmer, he said.

The pirates have been preparing for it. … We are prepared as well,” he said.

I like that man’s style. I think I detect a theme.

Part of the drumbeat underneath that theme is these are navies from nations that remember when they were invaded. The US trots out the B&W footage of Pearl Harbor once a year. Marines in boot camp get the Tripoli lecture. But, the country club set in Congress want to make everything a question of ideology – when sometimes it’s just gangbangers in different t-shirts and no sneakers we’re dealing with.

You stop crime by no longer accommodating criminals.