latest stories from cyberspace

auto-destruct dvd (story from the bbc)
pope takin’ a drive (story from zenit)
going postal down under (story from ABC-AU)
I have three sites for you today- one a new twist on the video rental arena, another… well, it’s a messy topic and then lastly, what a slow news day looks like for the Vatican.

::auto-destruct dvd::
The BBC reports that a new type of DVD is being developed- a EZ-D. This is a normal DVD in every respect but one: after a short time period, it self-destructs. In short, there is a chemical coating on the disc that oxides in the presence of air so once you open the air-tight packaging, you have only a certain time window the use the disc. After that time period, the disk becomes black and blocking the optics used to read the disc. The article mentions various uses for such technology, namely video rentals.
I find the idea pretty cool all the way around. About to take a road trip? Want to be able to watch a DVD when you get somewhere but don’t want to worry about having to return the disc or finding a rental location? Pick up one of these DVDs whereever and don’t think twice. After a couple of weeks, the disc will be worthless to the rental location (and yourself) so no blood, no foul. What is even better is the company is going to operate a recycling program to take care of the useless discs.

::pope takin’ a drive::
We all know what slow news days look like in America. The nightly news talks more about some human interest story. The front page of the NY Times talks about the latest new technological advance that won’t help anyone really for another five years. The local news spends just a few more minutes talking to the weatherman about his latest fishing trip. I learned today what a slow news day is like for the Vatican. Usually, there are about six good news stories a day mentioning something concret coming out of the Holy See. Today, we get a story from Zenit, an independent news organization who tracks the Church and the Pope, mentioning how the Pope took a morning drive. Today, a morning drive, tomorrow, maybe a walk across the grounds. Stay turned for Thursday though, we might get word that he slept in since he’s on vacation.
In all seriousness, Zenit does an excellent job and I dearly love my church but sometimes, it just makes me laugh.

::going postal down under::
American postal workers have little to complain about in light of this. In New Zealand, farmers are protesting a new tax on livestock by sending manure- that’s right, cow chips and the like- to their Parliament via the country’s postal service. That’s pretty crappy to begin with but what made me laugh is the reason for the tax.
Coming straight from the article: “…the Government said it would levy farmers to help pay for research into livestock emissions of methane and nitrous oxide.
The gases account for more than half the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.”
That’s right folks, it’s a fart tax.

offbeat news for 7/10

Giant preschoolers wrestle, eat ice cream (story from cnn)
Injured dog limps to hospital (story from cnn)
Man wakes up after 20 year coma (story from cnews)
Sony Recalls 18,000 Laptops (story from reuters uk)
Whoa. Everything in this issue is from free sites so I won’t recap it too much. This preschooler is 4 years old and weighs like 130 pounds. That’s a bit much. And to think, Japan makes fun of the United States for being fat.
What can I say about this? It’s just one kick ass dog. I say this dog, who walked to the hospital after being hit by a car, has topped out the cat-like dog for being the coolest dog ever. Seriously. No joking around with a title like that.
All I want to say is I hope he doesn’t dress like they did in 1984…
The headline sounds simple enough. Sony is recalling some laptops. Big deal. Recalls happen. Check out why they are recalling these laptops:
“a user could receive a shock if ‘you have connected your PC (laptop) to external power, you have disabled your phone line, (while) simultaneously being connected to a grounded peripheral, and you are touching a metal part of the PC, and your phone rings’.”
That’s right folks, ya know how often we all do that. I’m glad my laptop is external-power-disabled-phone-line-while-touching-a-grounded-peripheral-and-a-metal-part-and-the-phone-rings certified.

one week down, four to go

Wow, talk about a long week folks. This was the first week of the Summer II semester at Midwestern State University and simply put, it was long.
Classes start at 7 am- I’ve never had a regular, every day event at that time so getting used to such a radical schedule has been something else this week. Likewise, I have a long lab twice a week- something I’ve only had once before and that was once a week and chemistry.
I can’t complain all that much I did want to do this but the transition has been an interesting one. At least I only have 16 more class days with 8 more labs. I’ll be sure to try to write more around Sunday night when I (should) be well rested for the next week. Also, I’ll try to put back some old favorites on here- like the counter. I’m not sure what Shellie is doing now that I don’t have a counter for her to watch ;-). Don’t worry though, I have access logs so I’ll update the counter to the proper number.

summer holiday

Summer Holidays Are a Time to Rediscover Interior Life, Says Pope
VATICAN CITY, JULY 6, 2003 ( John Paul II says that summer vacation is a good time to rediscover the authentic values of the spirit.
“Numerous occupations and the accelerated speed of life at times make it difficult to cultivate this important spiritual dimension,” the Pope said today before praying the Angelus with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
“Summer vacations, which begin for many, precisely, in these days, if they are not ‘burnt’ in dissipation and simple diversion, can become a propitious occasion to give new breath to the interior life,” he said.
John Paul II will head to the papal summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, on Thursday. During his summer holidays, he plans to finish his book on his experience as a bishop.
— Tell me again why I am taking a full-time load during the summer? Ignore all the legit reasons I’ve said before… =)

education is expensive

I went down today to Rother’s Bookstore today to purchase my books for the Summer II term at MSU. The books- all used- cost me $229.33! That’s more than the entire long semester (fall and spring) at UT!!
It included a dissection kit. I never realized the university wouldn’t provide lab tools. That just bothers me. I bought used dissection tools. Ugh.

talk about a grand opening

Mishap Mars Opening of Constitution Museum (registration required)
This tripped me out. There was a new constitutional museum being dedicated and opening yesterday up in Philadelpha. From the story:

The opening of the National Constitution Center, a museum devoted to the United States Constitution, was marred today when a huge wood and steel frame collapsed, injuring several people and narrowly missing Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

The frame, which was at least 15 feet high, slowly toppled as the guests of honor at the ceremony pulled red, white and blue streamers that were supposed to trigger the drop of a screen at the museum’s front entrance on Independence Mall.

Instead, the streamers pulled down the frame, which fell on Mayor John F. Street of Philadelphia, Senator Arlen Specter and other officials.

It was only minor injuries all the way around but all the same.
“A Constitution Center spokeswoman said officials were trying to determine what went wrong.” — how about this idea. Maybe it wasn’t supported? How about that? I mean I know I was only designated a civil engineering student but never took any courses but to me that works. Or here is another idea- it wasn’t supported AND you pulled streamers on it. That might have done it too.