Italy’s Court of Cassation rules for gay adoption rights

Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, has ruled homosexuals should be able to adopt children.

The court Friday rejected a claim by a Muslim man in Brescia that his child was being damaged because his former partner is now living with a woman, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. The court called the belief that being brought up by a gay couple is damaging to children “mere prejudice.”

Flavio Romani, president of the group Arcigay, called it a “historic ruling” and said it will allow future governments to enact laws allowing same-sex marriage.

“The Cassation Court today reaffirmed what we’ve been saying for a long time,” Romani said. “Love is what makes children grow, and not the sexual orientation of their parents…”

Politicians across a broad swath from Left to Rightwing [but interested in re-election] said the same.

The Rev. Domenico Sigalini, a Catholic priest speaking for the Italian Episcopal Conference, said courts should not decide on family matters.

Sigalini, of course, is only centuries out of date.

I don’t think anyone interviewed the Pope.

Tennessee suspends gun permit of nutball who said he’d “be glad to fire the first shot” in a civil war over gun control

Tennessee has suspended the handgun carry permit of a firearms trainer who said he’d “be glad to fire the first shot” in a civil war over gun control.

James Yeager, chief executive officer of Tactical Response in Camden, Tenn., said in a video posted Wednesday, “Vice President Biden is asking the president to bypass Congress and use executive privilege — executive order — to ban assault rifles … to impose stricter gun control.

“I’m telling you that if that happens it’s going to spark a civil war and I’ll be glad to fire the first shot,” he said. “I’m not putting up with it. You shouldn’t put up with it. And I need all you patriots to start thinking about what you’re going to do. Load your dam mags, make sure your rifle is clean, pack a backpack with some food in it and get ready to fight…”

The number one priority for our department is to ensure the public’s safety,” Tennessee Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “Mr. Yeager’s comments were irresponsible, dangerous, and deserved our immediate attention.”

The department said Yeager is not a Department of Safety and Homeland Security certified instructor, and Tactical Response also is not certified, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported.

Yeager should run for Congress. Tennessee Tea Party buffoons would register and vote as often as needed to get him into office. If he’s halfway articulate he can get a show on Fox Noise and last at least as long as whatsername from Alaska.

White House response to the petition request for a Death Star

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:

The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.

The Administration does not support blowing up planets.

Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

However, look carefully and you’ll notice something already floating in the sky — that’s no Moon, it’s a Space Station! Yes, we already have a giant, football field-sized International Space Station in orbit around the Earth that’s helping us learn how humans can live and thrive in space for long durations. The Space Station has six astronauts — American, Russian, and Canadian — living in it right now, conducting research, learning how to live and work in space over long periods of time, routinely welcoming visiting spacecraft and repairing onboard garbage mashers, etc. We’ve also got two robot science labs — one wielding a laser — roving around Mars, looking at whether life ever existed on the Red Planet…

We don’t have a Death Star, but we do have floating robot assistants on the Space Station, a President who knows his way around a light saber and advanced (marshmallow) cannon, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which is supporting research on building Luke’s arm, floating droids, and quadruped walkers.

We are living in the future! Enjoy it. Or better yet, help build it by pursuing a career in a science, technology, engineering or math-related field. The President has held the first-ever White House science fairs and Astronomy Night on the South Lawn because he knows these domains are critical to our country’s future, and to ensuring the United States continues leading the world in doing big things.


Thanks, Ursarodinia

Synthetic poop created to treat gastrointestinal infections

If the clostridium difficile bacterium becomes over-abundant in a person’s colon, the results can include gastrointestinal problems such as severe diarrhea. Ordinarily, c. difficile populations are kept in check by the usually-present beneficial gut bacteria. If those “good” bacteria are killed off as a side effect of taking antibiotics, however, the nasties can take over. The treatment? Well … it often involves having another person’s stool implanted in your gut via enema. Yikes. Fortunately, a less icky treatment is in the works, that involves the use of a “synthetic poop” known as RePOOPulate.

The reason that feces are implanted is because they contain beneficial gut bacteria from the donor – the idea is that those bacteria will replace those that were killed off by the antibiotics. Unfortunately, there’s also the risk that they could contain disease-causing pathogens that get passed along to the recipient.

Emma Allen-Vercoe, a microbiologist at Canada’s University of Guelph, is part of a team that set about creating a more hygienic alternative to regular feces. The resulting RePOOPulate is made from purified intestinal bacterial cultures, that are grown in the university’s “Robo-gut” – a set-up that simulates conditions within the large intestine.

Because the synthetic poop’s exact composition and bacterial content are known and controllable, it is said to eliminate the risk of disease transmission associated with traditional stool transplants. The substance is reportedly easy to produce, and can be tailored to particular patients’ needs. Of course, it also has less of a “yuck” factor.

I guess the health store “Bottle of Bugs” doesn’t work as well for some people as it does for me. Whenever I’m facing a course of antibiotics – as I recently did as part of prep for dental surgery – I just started taking the bugs in parallel with the prescribed antibiotics. Kept it going afterwards for a spell and functioned normally through the whole process.

Of course, they’re not bugs. They’re the culture of living organisms found in most traditional yogurt – but, lots more of them.

GM and Ford open their cars and trucks to app developers

Chrysler’s new hood ornament

Auto companies have experimented with software that connects phones and cars, but Ford and GM are the first to open the way for any software developer to create an app that runs on a vehicle. The move is intended to make cars more attractive to younger buyers. But giving third parties some control over the driver’s experience isn’t without potential risks to driving safety and to security.

Ford was the first to make its pitch to app developers at a press conference on Monday. The program is an expansion of the company’s Sync software, which is already found in many vehicles and was developed in collaboration with Microsoft. Up to now, the apps created for Sync were made with close partners of Ford.

The new system is closer to Apple’s App Store. Anyone can access the tools needed to create a Ford app and submit it for approval and distribution through Ford’s store. Unlike Apple, Ford makes those apps available free.

Apple’s App Store hasn’t any free apps?

GM announced a similar program soon after Ford, saying that apps made by third-party developers would appear in an “app catalogue” that will be available for GM cars in 2014. Ford and GM will allow apps to interface with cars’ audio and display systems and to access some data from the engine, such as mileage and speed. They will access the Internet through a tethered phone or a car’s own Internet link.

Both Ford and GM demonstrated some prototype apps at CES, including radio apps TuneIn and iHeartRadio and a Weather Channel app…

An example of a mobile app suited to cars was provided by Glympse, whose app is already available for Ford’s Sync system; it lets drivers share their location with family or friends with a single voice command or the press of a dashboard button. “We knew that with the right experience it could be more intuitive and easy to use in the vehicle,” said Brian Trussel, the founder of Glympse. User data shows that many people already use the app while in the car, he added, and a version integrated with the car is safer to use that way than one on a mobile device. Both Ford and GM also discussed the potential for apps that recommend nearby businesses…

Predictable worry-wart commentary appears here and there in the article. Questions of security are as relevant as they are in any communications system. Nothing new.

Questions of distractions while driving are more to the point. People stupid enough to text while driving will have to limit themselves to their cell phones. I doubt if anyone in the car biz will put that facility into their software. My wife has a new Ford and she’s more bemused by cruise control – a new experience for her. Though the new and improved Sync does everything it’s supposed to do – and very well. Voice control works as advertised.