Thursday, August 23, 2007

Best quote I've read today

"In Louisiana they skim the cream, steal the milk, hijack the bottle and look for the cow."

That's FBI agent James Bernazzani talking about corruption in New Orleans, and he seems to really have a way with an idiom. I read it in an Express-News editorial lamenting how the recovery from Hurricane Katrina is hobbled by the corruption of the local officials.

Oliver Thomas Jr., the senior member of the City Council, is the latest politician to show a greater interest in his bank account than in the people of the Big Easy.

Once considered a viable candidate for mayor, Thomas resigned last week after pleading guilty to a federal bribery charge, the New York Times reported.

Thomas admitted taking as much as $19,000 in bribes in exchange for helping a local businessman keep a city parking lot contract.

He is the latest in what seems to be an interminable line of corrupt politicians, including Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., the target of a multinational bribery investigation.

It's been two years since Katrina hit, and the place is still a mess. Sad.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Crane and tower afternoon

Just a picture of the Tower of the Americas framed by cranes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Strange news photo of the day

What an odd photograph to illustrate news about botulism.

Save us, Leonardo, from the bad chili.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fighting panda extinction

Here's why it may be so hard to tell when pandas are pregnant: sometimes it's hard to tell what sex they are.

BEIJING (AFP) - A giant panda first thought to be male, then classified as a hermaphrodite who was unable to bear cubs, has now surprised Chinese scientists by having twins, state media reported on Thursday.


Jinzhu had been classified as male at birth in 1996, a mistake owing to the typically small penis size of pandas, which can sometimes confuse scientists as to a panda's sex, Xinhua said.

The mix-up led to an ill-fated attempt in 2000 to mate Jinzhu with a female panda in Japan.

The two animals showed "complete disinterest" in each other, the report said.

Well, at least it makes sense, now. Scientists confused by the "small penis size of pandas". It's a wonder they can get the animals to reproduce at all.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fighting panda extinction

In the quest to save the panda from extinction, promoters play up the animal's cute qualities to encourage awareness and donations, and the media outlets happily play along. But no one should ever lose sight of the fact that pandas are still animals, and they will tear you up if you get too close.

BEIJING - A zookeeper needed more than 100 stitches after a 3-year-old panda viciously bit and scratched him during feeding time at a zoo in northwestern China, a newspaper reported Monday.


Zhang was feeding the panda from outside the enclosure, sticking his arms through the wire, when the panda, Lan Zai, grabbed his arms and began biting them and then scratched his legs, the newspaper reported.


Last October, a panda cub bit off part of the thumb of an American visitor who was feeding the animal at a reserve in southwestern China. A month earlier, a drunken Chinese tourist bit a panda at the Beijing Zoo after the animal attacked him when he jumped into the enclosure and tried to hug it.

They may be cute, but they ain't cuddly.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Fighting panda extinction

What's odd about a panda getting pregnant? Nothing, really. It's apparently not a commonplace thing in captivity, but it's not really strange that a panda female gets impregnated.

The strange part is that the creature warrants a "24-hour birth watch".

SAN DIEGO - A giant panda at the San Diego Zoo is pregnant again and expecting her fourth cub sometime in August.

The zoo said Tuesday that 16-year-old Bai Yun was put on "24-hour birth watch" after officials detected a fetus and fetal heartbeat through ultrasound images July 18. Additional tests confirmed the pregnancy was going normally. [emphasis added]

Then why the need to watch her 24 hours a day?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Most stunning headline of the day

"Why people have sex: It feels good"

And in other news, people generally avoid sharp, pointy things.