Monday, January 31, 2005

spontanious movement!

Flight of the fly caught in X-ray image


Part of the scientific buzz about flying insects has to do with their amazing ability to turn their powerful flight muscles on and off so quickly.

“For an insect, it is too difficult to have an electrical signal go from the brain to the muscle 200 times per second,” says Tom Irving of the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Instead—for many insects—the wing-moving muscles, which are located in the thorax, operate by something called stretch activation, wherein one set of muscles automatically fires when the contraction of the opposing muscle group causes it to stretch.

(You can see the X-ray movie at the Argonne National Laboratory site.)

This internal feedback loop goes on without any nerve impulses from the brain.

“Iím not sure how it turns off,” Irving admitted to LiveScience in a telephone interview.

But he and his collaborators have uncovered some of the molecular processes of stretch activation using X-ray images of fruit flies taking wing. The results could provide insight into the beating of heart muscles.

X-ray movie
The molecular structure in a flyís muscle causes incoming X-rays to change direction, resulting in a distinctive pattern on an X-ray image.

For their project, Irvingís team used the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory, which provides an X-ray beam millions of times more intense than those available in most other labs.

This beam—if left on—is powerful enough to “cook” the flies, so individual exposures had to be kept to about 0.3 milliseconds. Fried flies was not the intent. To build up a decent image, though, the scientists would need 150 of these short exposures.

The challenge, then, was to synchronize the flapping of the flyís wings with the timing of the shutter, so that separate exposures would coincide with the same point in the beat cycle. Such synchronization required a little bit of virtual reality for flies.

Tethered flight simulator
The first step was gluing each fly head to a tungsten wire, so they would remain at the exact focal point of the X-ray beam. In this configuration, a fly will beat its wings continuously for an hour or so before running out of energy.

“If its feet are not touching the ground, a fly will think itís flying,” Irving said.

But getting them to fly was not enough. To control the flapping speed, Michael Dickinson of Caltech designed a “virtual-reality flight simulator” for flies.

“We had to fool the fruit fly into thinking it was moving,” Irving said.

The flight simulator consisted of an array of light-emitting diodes, which flashed in such a way that the tethered insect thought it was flying through a tunnel.

The beat goes on
A fly, it turns out, will adjust the frequency of its wing beats to match what it believes to be its forward motion. By timing the opening of their shutter with the flyís frequency, the researchers were able to record eight separate time steps of a wing beat. (You can see the X-ray movie at the Argonne National Laboratory site.)

“We were actually seeing the movement of the molecules in a cycle,” Irving said.

The data indicate previously unsuspected interactions of various proteins as the muscles stretch and contract. The implications may go beyond insect flight. “We might look for this mechanism in heart muscles,” Irving said. “It opens up new questions for us.”

Irving is quick to point out that the heart will not beat without a signal from the brain, but the processes in the flyís muscles could play some part in how heart muscles work. If so, it may be possible to genetically engineer fruit flies to mimic some kinds of heart problems. 

Posted by bbeard on 01/31 at 05:14 PM
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Does anybody like the new Logo?

That’s it.

Does this page appear properly on your web browser?

If you are using IE, your vote doesn’t count.  I’m sorry, but MS’s IE isn’t compliant with W3C’s recommendation so my website may or may not display properly with that browser.


Posted by SPN on 01/31 at 01:38 PM
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Ironic Rescue Humor

This is funny because in rescue “we’re having a baby” is the top reason why people abandon thier pets....I don’t know why people think it has be a baby OR a pet.  I am afraid of people who give up thier pets for this reason....should people that SHALLOW and HEARTLESS be entrusted with a human life????  It sure does sound ridiculous when turn it around.....


Please help!!!! After two long years of being on a waiting list for an agility dog, we have been notified by the breeder that, at long last, our number has come up and ...WE ARE HAVING A PUPPY!!!

We must IMMEDIATELY get rid of our children now, because we just KNOW how time consuming our new little puppy is going to be! Since our little puppy will be arriving on Monday we MUST place the children in new homes this weekend!

They are described as:

One male - His name is Ryan, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), light blonde hair, blue eyes. Four years old. Excellent disposition. He doesn’t bite. Temperament tested. Does have problems with peeing directly in the toilet. Has had chicken Pox and is current on all shots. Tonsils have already been removed. Tommy eats everything, is very clean, house trained & gets along well with others. Does not run with scissors and with a little training he should be able to read soon.

One female - Her name is Lexie, Caucasian (English/Irish mix), strawberry blonde hair, green eyes quite freckled. Two years old. Can be surly at times. Non-biter, thumb sucker. Has been temperament tested but needs a little attitude adjusting occasionally.  She is current on all shots, tonsils out, and is very healthy & happy (mostly). Gets along well with other little girls & little boys but does not like to share her toys and therefore would do best in a one child household. She is a very quick learner and is currently working on her house training-shouldn’t take long at all. 

We really do LOVE our children so much and want to do what’s right for them; that is why we contacted a rescue group. But we simply can no longer keep them. Also, we are afraid that they may hurt our new puppy.  I hope you understand that ours is a UNIQUE situation and we have a real emergency here!!! They MUST be placed into your rescue by Sunday night at the latest or we will be forced to drop them off at the orphanage or along some dark, country road. Our priority now has to be our new puppy.


Posted by rosevine69 on 01/31 at 07:37 AM
Pet People • (4) Comments • (0) TrackbacksPermalink

Sunday, January 30, 2005

From my cousin.

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting weak?

Why do banks charge a fee on “insufficient funds” when they know there is not enough?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why doesn’t glue stick to the bottle?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?
Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an “S” in the word “lisp”?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Does a clean house indicate that there is a broken computer in it?

Why is it that no matter what colour bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end you first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those closed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart than apologizes for doing so, why do we say, “It’s all right?‚Äů Well, it isn’t all right so why dont we say, “That hurt, you stupid idiot?”

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that’s falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter, why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we omplained about the heat?

Why do you never hear father-in-law jokes?

If at first you don’t succeed, shouldn’t you try doing it like your wife told you to do it?

And obviously if at first you don’t succeed, then don’t take up sky diving!

And my FAVORITE......

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends, if they’re okay, then it’s you.

Posted by SPN on 01/30 at 11:50 AM
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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Boys arrested for stick figure drawings - Jan 26, 2005

Wednesday, January 26, 2005 Posted: 7:29 AM EST (1229 GMT)

OCALA, Florida (AP)—Two boys were arrested for making pencil-and-crayon stick figure drawings depicting a 10-year-old classmate being stabbed and hung, police said. The children, charged with a felony, were taken from school in handcuffs.

The 9- and 10-year-old boys were arrested Monday and charged with making a written threat to kill or harm another person. They were also suspended from school.

One drawing showed the two boys standing on either side of the other boy and “holding knives pointed through” his body, according to a police report. The figures were identified by written names or initials.

Another drawing showed a stick figure hanging, tears falling from his eyes, with two other stick figures standing below him. Other pieces of scrap paper listed misspelled profanities and the initials of the boy who was allegedly threatened.

The boys’ parents said they thought the children should be punished by the school and families, not the legal system.

Posted by SPN on 01/29 at 11:27 AM
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Friday, January 28, 2005

Why Women Can’t Read Maps

The subtitle is, “Why can’t men ask for directions”.

There is a reason why many women (not all! but many) have trouble reading maps. The brains of men and women function in markedly different ways, which means they really do think differently, according to researchers from the University of California, Irvine and the University of New Mexico.

The human brain is composed of two types of tissue--gray matter and white matter. While men and women have about the same amount of gray matter and white matter, men appear to use more gray matter, while women use more white matter. Before we proceed further, it’s important to note that while the two genders may think differently, this does not affect their intellectual performance or overall intelligence.

The study: Using magnetic resonance imaging equipment, the researchers performed a series of brain scans on 26 female and 22 male volunteers, all of whom were in good health and had no history of brain injury. The average IQ scores of the two genders were similar. The brain scans occurred while the volunteers carried out tests designed to assess their general intelligence.

Posted by SPN on 01/28 at 03:51 PM
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US staff lose jobs over smoke ban

Only in America!!!

Weyco says it is proud of its stance on smoking

Four workers in the United States have lost their jobs after refusing to take a test to see if they were smokers.

They were employees of Michigan-based healthcare firm Weyco, which introduced a policy banning its staff from smoking - even away from the workplace.

The firm says the ban is to keep health costs down and has helped 14 staff to stop smoking, but opponents say the move is a violation of workers’ rights.

If the firm survives a potential legal challenge, it could set a precedent.

Weyco gave its staff a stark ultimatum at the end of last year - either stop smoking completely on 1 January or leave their jobs.

The four workers who refused to take the test left their jobs voluntarily, although a lawyer for Weyco confirmed the company was preparing to dismiss them.

The firm says that, as its business is to help other firms save money and improve employee health through its benefit plans, it is only natural it should take a lead on the issue.

“For every smoker who quits because of it, there will be many people - family members, friends, co-workers - who are very thankful the person won’t be going to an early grave,” said Weyco President Howard Weyers, in a message on its website.

Posted by SPN on 01/28 at 02:29 PM
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Third columnist caught with hand in the Bush till

The Bush machine just can’t do anything immoral.  Everything they do is right.

Michael McManus, conservative author of the syndicated column “Ethics & Religion,” received $10,000 to promote a marriage initiative.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Eric Boehlert

Jan. 27, 2005 | And three makes a trend.

One day after President Bush ordered his Cabinet secretaries to stop hiring commentators to help promote administration initiatives, and one day after the second high-profile conservative pundit was found to be on the federal payroll, a third embarrassing hire has emerged. Salon has confirmed that Michael McManus, a marriage advocate whose syndicated column, “Ethics & Religion,” appears in 50 newspapers, was hired as a subcontractor by the Department of Health and Human Services to foster a Bush-approved marriage initiative. McManus championed the plan in his columns without disclosing to readers he was being paid to help it succeed. 

Posted by SPN on 01/28 at 12:28 PM
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Ray Charles Robinson


Posted by SPN on 01/28 at 12:01 PM
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“SpongeBob is gay”, say right-wing Christians.

Here we go again! I say nuke the right-wing Christians (or insert any extremist religious fanatic).  They aren’t helping anyone except the intolerant.

Friday, January 21, 2005 Posted: 10:26 AM EST (1526 GMT)
LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters)—Conservative Christian groups accuse the makers of a video starring SpongeBob SquarePants, Barney and a host of other cartoon characters of promoting homosexuality to children.

The wacky square yellow SpongeBob is one of the stars of a music video due to be sent to 61,000 U.S. schools in March. The makers—the nonprofit We Are Family Foundation—say the video is designed to encourage tolerance and diversity.

But at least two Christian activist groups say the innocent cartoon characters are being exploited to promote the acceptance of homosexuality.

“A short step beneath the surface reveals that one of the differences being celebrated is homosexuality,” wrote Ed Vitagliano in an article for the American Family Association.

Posted by SPN on 01/28 at 11:20 AM
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Thursday, January 27, 2005

SBC Said to Be in Talks to Buy AT&T

I hope that this means good news for ALL OF US!!!

Posted by SPN on 01/27 at 06:16 PM
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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

california rains

here is a ink to many of the national aricles that have hit southern california in the past week and also some current weather related flooding and evacuations in southern californi as another series of storms blows through

Posted by bbeard on 01/26 at 05:15 PM
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LosAngeles making history

Early this morning an abandoned vehicle caused the derail and crash or three trains in glendale california.  amongst the many 250 people affected by this event some 10 people died in th crash and some 14 still remain in critical condition emergency efforts continue at the crash site.

the youn man leaving the abandoned jeep cherokee on the tracks has been arrested for 10 counts of murder which are expected to rise later this afternoon - he is currently on suicide watch in protective custody of the LA county sheriff

eniter story - plus:

Posted by bbeard on 01/26 at 05:05 PM
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wierd email

this is a wierd email i got - it was posted to many family members its um… strange

To those who agree with the fear-filled racist bunch of crap,

If you spent as much time researching whats really going on around you instead of watching fox network,(which by the way is not a source for factual news), you would already know the muslim world isn’t out to get you. 

History lesson # 2 for y’all.  No multiple choice, just read the questions.
How many people were killed by Lenin, Stalin, Hitler?
How many civilians have we, and I say “WE”, because as americans and taxpayers it is being done in our name, especially if you do nothing but perpetuate the lies, how many civialians have we killed in Iraq and Afganistan?

The 72’ Munich Olympics thing, was against Israeli’s, and Ali Hassan Salemah, the mastermind behind it became a CIA asset. 

The people behind 9-11 are in our whitehouse. They let and helped it happen.  6 of the alleged 19 hijackers on 9-11 are still alive.  There is no evidence a Boeing 757 hit the pentagon.  The eye witness accounts say flight 93 was shot down by the military.  You don’t believe the Kean-Zelikow conspiracy theory about 911 do you?  That was the one they called the 911 commission report.  I have a secret for you.  They were going to invade Afganistan and Iraq with or without 911. 
Wake up!
Where in Afganistan are the military bases?  They are all along a proposed pipelineroute. 
What ministry buildings in Iraq didn’t get looted when the citizens where looting their museums, and Ministies of education, and healthcare and numerous others?  If you said “OIL” you were right.

What would Jesus do?  I’m pretty sure he would be finding something positive to spend his time on, not spreading lies, violence, and hate. 

I refuse to live in fear of imaginary radical islamists hunting me down.  Odds are you will commit suicide before you are the victim of a terrorist attack. 

You should be more afraid of the man in the big white house.  And what the hell is that hand sign all the neocons keep flashing each other?  No, it is not the sign for ‘I Love you’ in sign language, that has the thumb facing out away from the hand.  Ever been to a rock concert where the guys have better hair than the girls?  Yeah, it’s the sign of the devil.

Meanwhile our borders are being pried open farther and farther.  If you think it’s harder to get into the US today than it was before 911, keep listening to rush.  Last time i checked his show was just him talking to himself because everyone was listening to the new progressive and liberal stations popping up all over the country because some of us refuse to be lied to any more, by anyone.
I think that is enough for now. If you believe the history test, think about the other histories being lived daily across the globe.  I know God isn’t
wishing harm on anyone, not my God anyhow.  Maybe yours is.
Peace love happiness

Posted by bbeard on 01/26 at 03:03 PM
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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

It must be hard to be a politician.

I mean I’d hate to be in chambers now as Pres. Bush asks for 80 billion dollars more for his war in Iraq.

I’d be one of the few people voting against the money.  Although I agree with the adage, “You break it; you buy it”, it wasn’t me the taxpayer that broke it.  It was the lame politicians that can’t see the costs of this war far outweigh the benefits.  From what I hear, more people are dying now than when Saddam was in power. 

Where were these people when Saddam was in power?  These insurgents that is.  Where were they?  They seem to be hell bent on killing everyone that is trying to make a difference.

This whole badword war has me all confused.  I mean we shouldn’t be there, yet we should uphold peace and freedom whenever we have the chance.  We have the chance to make a difference in Iraq, but our damned President was lied to and he lied to us about the reason he sent our troops over there.

Now, our soldiers are dying on a daily basis.  Recruiters are pressuring HS students and faculty to enlist in the military.  And now he wants another $80,000,000,000 to overspend on contracts to the rich and powerful contractors that lobby the beltway.

Is there anyone out there that I know that is savvy enough to figure out how we can get some of this $80,000,000,000 to spend on the homeless and uninsured here in the United States of America?


Posted by SPN on 01/25 at 10:49 AM
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