Friday, December 31, 2004

Mice: seven down, more to go.

A mouse stumbled into a live trap last night and spent the night in a plastic prison. I released it into the wild this morning. That was mouse seven for this season, and I was hoping it was the last (silly me, I always hope that).

Minutes ago we spotted another one well away from the kitchen.

After a brief search with a flashlight, I left it alone, but our dog has more patience. After I sat down, he pounced on something. We couldn't tell if he actually ate the mouse, but we still can't find it.

Which do I prefer? Doggy tummyache or mouse infestation? I suspect we'll have both.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Is DRM evil? Does a bear shit in the woods?

Cory Doctorow (whose DRM talk is known far and wide) says that this Wired article is "a little soft on DRM." This post responds with the "DRM on the market is better than nothing on the market" argument that I argued against in another thread by saying that this means "lousy products on the market are better than nothing on the market." Later, I also said that when a monopolist puts a lousy product into the market that sells well, that can't be considered a "success" for the market the same way a well-sold product with competition is a success. Cory's response is longer and more thorough, but there's something that still bothers me.

The iTunes Music Store has been successful. As I say, this is not the same kind of success as a market with competition, and if you've read the links above, you know what's bad about what they're selling. Still, I fear The Market may really believe that bad products are good enough. If that's true, it's a sad day for the masses who've consigned themselves to suffer with DRM, but it's also a sad day for me. Since I'm already trying to be patent-free, I already see a limited market before me to support my ideals. If DRM becomes the standard, Cory and I might find ourselves without the same toys as the unenlightened kids down the block.

Ex-hostage says Rebels wanted Bush re-elected

I heard about this story while I was out of town for the holiday. My lazy Googling didn't bring it up, but Cursor had a reference.
French journalists held hostage for four months in Iraq said their militant captors told them they wanted President Bush to win re-election.
Remember that al Qaeda said they wanted Bush to win. It's impossible to know for sure if these people are telling the truth, and it's not as if there's a spokesperson who articulates the Official Position of The Terrorists. Still, I find it interesting that stories that come "from the source" as much as possible seem to agree on this point: Bush is good for terrorists.

The Indian Ocean earthquake

I didn't hear about the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake when it happened. My Disneyfied daughter had mandated round-the-clock showings of "Cinderella", and we were without an Internet connection that I'd normally use to get news.

I can't comprehend the thousands and thousands dead. It's staggering.

Impeach Bush.

David Weinberger rounds up some of the latest on detainee torture. Shortly before the election, I alluded to what a disgrace this is, but David came out and said it. I'm starting to hope Bush will be impeached, that his low approval rating is an indication of things to come.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Pestilence, war, death...

The mouse pictured earlier died after drop-off in the park. It was left outside overnight and when I dropped it off, it was alive but lethargic. When I returned with another one, it was in the same place, apparently frozen to death. Since then, overnight prisoners stay in the basement (away from the dogs).

I don't want to kill the mice. I've remarked time and again that I think they're very cute. I'd like to think this is some kind of humanitarian quality, but the truth is that I just don't want to look at dead mice.

We poisoned some that we'd seen outside this summer, and what I didn't like about it was finding (and disposing of) dead mice on the lawn.

We got old fashioned killing traps, and I didn't hesitate to put them were I thought they'd be effective. What I didn't like about them was—again—getting the corpses out of them to reuse them.

Anyway, I'm glad that with the live traps, and the trip to the park, the last I see of the mice is them scampering off into the bushes.

Said over food.

Me: You call them trees at your house too?
Her: Yes, she won't eat broccoli, but she eats trees.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Meta: I'm not here.

  1. There's some holiday going on.
  2. I'm not here (and neither are you).
  3. I made it my goal some time ago to average a post per day, and I'm way ahead of that goal, so I feel comfortable taking the Holiday That Shall Not be Named off.
  4. You know what really stinks? Zombies.
  5. Regular posting on important matters will resume sometime between this weekend and next year.
I encourage you to enjoy yourself, unless you've made other plans.

The True Spirit of Xmas

Reason: The True Spirit of Xmas: How 4/5 of the country became an oppressed minority

Says it much better than I did, though I'm still sinfully proud of my work.

Voting irregularity.

I registered to vote in my home town when I turned 18, and I voted in that election, against the incumbent. I didn't vote again until recently.

This summer I registered to vote where I now live. I was at some fair, and we stopped at a booth to fill out the forms. I don't remember much about it other than the expectation that I was then registered locally.

I never saw the voter registration card in the mail, so I wondered if I missed it. Between the registration deadline and the election, I made a phone call and asked if I was registered. They said I wasn't.

On election day, I went to the right polling place and voted with a provisional ballot. The folks there were polite and patient in confirming that I was at the right place. Again, I voted against the incumbent.

Last week, a voter registration card appeared in the mail.

So, what happened? Did they finally find the registration form I filled out half a year earlier? Was my provisional ballot taken as a registration?

I'm not worried about it, but I thought it was odd.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The war for 'hearts and minds' is lost.

US admits the war for 'hearts and minds' in Iraq is now lost
The war on terror and the invasion and occupation of Iraq have increased support for al-Qaeda, made ordinary Muslims hate the US and caused a global backlash against America because of the "self-serving hypocrisy" of George W. Bush's administration over the Middle East.
This is from a report written by the Defense Science Board for Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.

I haven't read the 111 pages in the PDF, but I notice that page 2 says, "Statements, opinions, conclusions, and recommendations in this report do not necessarily represent the official position of the Department of Defense." So, maybe it's not as official as the Herald's headline implies.

I notice also that page 4 says "This page is intentionally blank." (I'm not making this up) and page 5 actually is blank.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Captured: two mice.

At 6:30 this morning, I received an unconfirmed report of a mouse rattling around in a trap in the kitchen. Upon further investigation, I discovered that both traps were occupied by Mouse Invaders. I dispatched them to the big plastic holding cell and left them to contemplate their predicament in the basement.

Are these the same two mice I saw Saturday night? I know not. One of this morning's mice is clearly larger than the other, so this further confirms that we have old and young (the fourth insurgent captured was also a bit long in the tooth compared to the first three).

The last few days we've heard squeaking in the kitchen area. We've assumed it was a mouse distress signal, but we were never able to find the source. The idea of one of them getting in trouble and croaking somewhere we can't find gives me the creeps.

After releasing the prisoners down the street this morning, I dropped the tub over the fence onto concrete before going back in the house. A peice broke out of the corner on impact. Now I'll have to repair it or use something else for confinement. Since it now reeks of mouse odor, I'd much rather repair than ruin another. I suspect I'll stuff the hole with steel wool and then duct tape over that.

Scared of Santa photo gallery

I laughed out loud at the Scared of Santa photo gallery. I hope you do too.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Bill O'Reilly loves Christmas

Bill O'Reilly: Christmas haters have an agenda

I guess Bill O'Reilly is the Champion of Christmas now. I suspect that he witnessed the huge response from earlier remarks and decided to troll for more attention. I feel a little ashamed giving it to him, but answering shoddy arguments always was a guilty pleasure.
The fall of religion in Canada has corresponded to a change in public policy. Canadians have legalized gay marriage and any kind of abortion, and the age of consent for sex is 14. Can you imagine American adults being allowed to fool around with children that age? I can't.
Age of consent in some United States has been as low as 14, and may still be. I see that the South Carolina state Constitution Article III, Section 33 puts the age at 14 for "unmarried women", and this is dated 1999, not some left-over from the birth of the state. It's also interesting that this page says confusingly that some South Carolina laws outside its constitution place the age higher. In any case, if Mr. O'Reilly really finds it hard to imagine, perhaps a visit to Missouri could help with that.

(As an aside, I can't help but notice that all states that are listed as having an age-of-consent of 14 also voted for President Bush in the most recent election. Not that that means anything.)

My point?
  • Bill O'Reilly is out of touch with the reality of age of consent in the United States.
  • Bill O'Reilly didn't check his facts about age of consent.
  • Quit knocking Canada.
I don't know where I'd set age of consent if it were up to me. I notice that in at least one state, the age depends on the age of the other partner (e.g., you can fool around with a 15-year-old, but only if you're under 21), so clearly it's not as simple as a line in the sand.
The anti-Christmas forces say it's all about diversity, protecting the sensitivities of those Americans who get offended by the mere mention of the birth of Jesus. Somehow I haven't been able to locate any of these folks who find a baby in a manger so off-putting it ruins their day.
This is in something published December 13. On December 3, someone called into O'Reilly's show who said he, "grew up with a resentment because I felt that people were trying to convert me to Christianity." The caller also said, "Christmas carols or gift exchanges being done in school, that kind of sets the kids up to being converted." Perhaps the article published ten days after the call was actually written before, but I suspect Mr. O'Reilly is disingenuous here when he says he can't find anyone who holds the beliefs he's discussing.

I'm going to summarize some of Mr. O'Reilly's other points.
  1. Most people marginalizing Christmas think they're supporting the minority of Americans who don't celebrate the birth of Christ.
  2. The secular-progressive movement knows that organized religion stands in the way of their causes (e.g., legalized narcotics).
  3. "Committed secularists in the media, courts and education system" support the causes in question (referred to as an "agenda").
  4. Canada already has some of those causes supported and has also secularized Christmas.
  5. Marginalizing Christmas is a strategy to make it easier to push on these other progressive causes.
Let me tease out some implications here. The best is that "committed secularists" have duped people into supporting the secularization of Christmas, that those people support it for reasons other than what they themselves actually believe. This is like saying Arkansas is against same-sex marriage because Jerry Falwell told them so. I also like how support of same-sex marriage in Canada is a result of the secularization of Christmas, as opposed to being simply two things that Canadians have agreed on.

Ultimately, what really bugs me about a piece like this is how cheaply it lies. Forming a solid argument is difficult. It's easy to vomit onto a page and see what sticks, and it's comparatively hard to clean up the mess.

There are good reasons for celebrating Christmas in public. None of those reasons involve insidious secularists or legal narcotics. If Bill O'Reilly really wants to keep Christmas alive, I suggest that a piece about the wickedness of Christmas's enemies is a lousy way to champion the cause. Write a piece about what makes Christmas great. That's something I'd love to read.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Sighted: two mice.

I'm sitting at our table, next to the kitchen, and I see a mouse run right in front of me from under the table to the kitchen. I figure by the time I got out of my chair, it would be under the fridge, so I let it go.

Seconds later, a second mouse runs from the other side of the table also to the kitchen. The nerve! That one goes down the air duct that comes out under our trash. Again, gone faster than my reaction.

Before this, I knew there was at least one left to catch, and we haven't caught any for a couple of days. Now, I'm starting to imagine a mouse army amassed in our basement.

Right now our dog is standing in the middle of the kitchen ignoring the bags of groceries and staring at the edges of the floor. He's intent, and I'm just sitting here musing.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Fourth Amendment protections good for security.

Quickly,Seth draws an analogy to doctors. Doctors learn of illegal drug use but are required not to reveal that to police. If patients are afraid of the police, it makes it harder for the doctor to do a good job.

Likewise, if innocuous travelers are afraid of the police, they are induced to behave suspiciously (hiding things), which distracts screeners from real threats that also behave suspiciously. We're less secure as a result.

And, oh yeah, it's unconstitutional.

Christmas time conversions

Media Matters for America highlighted remarks by Bill O'Reilly in which he told a Jew to go to Israel if he doesn't like Christmas. Then O'Reilly attacked Media Matters. That's interesting enough, but I want to talk about a particular argument the caller made.

He said he, "grew up with a resentment because I felt that people were trying to convert me to Christianity" and "Christmas carols or gift exchanges being done in school, that kind of sets the kids up to being converted."

First, many Christians (and people of most other faiths too) believe that converting others is part of serving God, just as saying, "thank you for choosing Domino's" when answering the phone is part of serving that employer. In Christianity, this derives from Matthew 28:19-20 which drives Jehovah's Witnesses to go door to door trying to spread the Word. So if people think that Christians are trying to convert them, it may be true.

Second, the Christmas holiday was originally a pagan holiday. The church decided to celebrate the birth of Christ at the same time as the pagans were having their winter parties as a way to convert them to Christianity. In that sense, Christmas has always been about conversion.

I don't expect Christmas to go anywhere. It's very popular (whether that has anything to do with the Lord or not). That having been said, I don't think it's fair to dismiss concerns about its possible converting nature.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Fornicating for chastity.

A wise guy once said that fighting for peace is like fornicating for chastity. Today we have a call to complain to the FCC about a conservative commentator who made some remark to which I personally didn't have much reaction. It was kind of boring, really.

We know that Activists Dominate Content Complaints to the tune of 99.8%, which is to say that most FCC complaints are motivated by a political agenda rather than actual outrage over content. That's an outrage, but also boring.

Can we not find something better to do than emulate the childish behavior of our enemies? I thought it was hilarious when Howard Stern fans swamped the FCC with complaints about Oprah, but this is getting silly.

It reminds me of something else a wise guy once said. Stupidity got us into this mess; why can't it get us out?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Vitamin E reduces ALS risk.

Vitamin E May Stave Off Lou Gehrig's Disease
  • Patients who used vitamin E for 15 or more days per month for at least 10 years had a reduced risk of ALS death of 62 percent.
  • Most cases in the study were spontaneous, so this may not apply to hereditary ALS.
  • Study included 1 million patients, over 11 years, and 525 died of ALS.
The article also talks about how Vitamin E is an antioxidant, as is Vitamin C, but only E confers the benefit, and they're not sure why.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Mouse arrest.

Since Saturday night we've apprehended two more of our invader mice. This brings the total to three this "season."

While we had one in a tub outside, our dog tried to eat it, so we're extra careful to keep the lid on now. We've shown the prisoners to our curious daughter, and she gets a kick out of that. Of course, she wants to interact with the mice, but we tell her that they're not pets (like Baby, the hamster). The tub I'm using for confinement has clear sides, so the dog can stare at the mouse in it...and paw at the tub, and jump around when the mouse moves, and scare us into thinking he's going to tip the thing over.

In confinement this time, I got some good pictures with the good camera. Here's one.

Mouse mug shot

I'll note here that last season the live traps worked a lot better than the death traps. I set out baited death traps only to find them the next day still cocked but without the bait. No mouse has ever stolen the bait from a live trap and escaped. The best use I found for the death traps was just to put them in the path I knew they used. I put an unbaited death trap in an often used escape route, and it killed a mouse who didn't even know he was in danger when he was making his escape.

The problem with live traps is you have to tend them. The house was empty for a weekend last winter, and a mouse starved to death in a "live" trap in that time.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Napoleon Dynamite

I finally got to see Napoleon Dynamite recently. I didn't like it at all, but near the end I finally figured out what the movie was about. It's a whole movie based on the "Weird Al" Yankovic song, "That Boy Could Dance."
Well, his hair was a mess, and his clothes didn't fit
He'd smell pretty bad, and he'd drool just a bit
But you got to admit
Boy, that boy could dance
I await the sequel in which Napoleon owns half of Montana, but I won't be going to see it.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Mouse warfare.

I'm alone in the house tonight, and by that I mean, I'm here without my wife. My sleepy daughter is peaceful in a way she has not been all day, and the dogs, well, you'd think they'd chased off an army of postal workers the way they're sprawled across the floor in exhaustion.

Last year in the cold months, we had some mice in the house, and we deemed this a problem. We caught or killed maybe a dozen of the critters in all. The prisoners we banished to a less-inhabited area down the street. I think they froze to death out there since it was so cold then that in the time it took me to carry them from the car to the park, the cold had convinced my unprotected face that it didn't exist.

We've heard them in the kitchen again recently, like the little sounds that lure hapless characters to their untimely deaths in horror stories since the first campfire. If we make enough racket in there, they don't come out, but tonight, the TV is off, and the laptop makes its noise only via headphones. I'm quiet as the baited trap I left on the stove. Not a creature is stirring, not even our hamster.

The quiet lured one to that live trap, and I heard it in the next room. Rattling around in there, it was the loudest thing in the house. It's now outside in a plastic tub with walls too high to jump and too slick to scale.

Later, I was in the kitchen and heard one in the bread box. I heard a rumor that they'd been in there, but I couldn't figure out how they could get in and out. With the door closed, there aren't any holes. These must be mice of limited teleportation because it was pretty clear from the loud potato chip chewing sounds that Something was in that box, unconcerned with any locked room mystery I'd concocted.

I removed an item at a time until I found the critter in one corner. At that point, I ran for my Palm to snap a picture. Holding the flashlight in one hand and the Palm in the other, I got a pretty good shot.

After that, I scared it into the opposite corner which is harder to see, and as I was looking for the new hiding place, the thing dropped from the ceiling of the bread box! Startled, I jumped back, and it took the opportunity to run right off the counter and across the floor to the ultimate safety of the stove.

It was just like some one-man-army movie where the ultimate bad-ass gets the drop on pursuers by hiding above their heads. It was like Richard Kimble jumping off the dam into the river. It was like Han Solo attacking the star destroyer head on. "They'll never see this coming!"

This is what I have to look forward to: another winter of mouse warfare.

The Costs of Staying the Course

The Costs of Staying the Course (registration required) tries to rebut the argument that the Iraq war has been cheap compared to earlier conflicts. The basic points are:
  1. Our military is smaller now, so each soldier lost costs more.
  2. More soldiers are surviving their wounds, so our attrition rates are higher than would appear from the death toll.
See the article for the details.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Good Results for ALS Drug CytRx Reports Good Results for ALS Drug

Of course, it's from Forbes, so it has to start with information about how the company's stock is doing.

The results really sound good, though. In animal trials, they saw some regeneration, so it's possible this drug could help ALS patients get better in the future. That future is, however, a way away.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

My white board is here.

My white board had:


I consider this a combination of YOU ARE HAPPY and "no matter where you go, there you are" from Buckaroo Banzai.

After that, I noticed a couple of boards around the office with notes like "gone until [date]", so I put up this:


I'm really enjoying including the reader in my message. I think my next white board will be:


Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Overlooked Films of the 1990s

The Online Film Critics Society's "Top 100 Overlooked Films of the 1990s"

Most of the movies on this list I couldn't remember at all. A few of them I recognized but hadn't seen, and a few of them I've seen and liked. There were a couple that I saw but didn't like.

All this leads me to believe that this is a list of movies I'd mostly like if I took the time to watch.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Mom's progress.

About five months ago, I said that Mom was considering how to keep living once she could no longer eat or breath naturally. Mom has ALS, a rare neurological disorder which has paralyzed most of her body without affecting her mind.

Her feeding tube is working fine. It's a plastic bag on a pole with a machine to regulate flow. Her husband periodically pours a can of fluid food into the bag. He disconnects the machine to take Mom to the bathroom or when he needs to use the same tube to give her medicine. Mom never swallows.

She sleeps with a machine on her face to push air in and out of her lungs. During the day, she has to pay attention to breathe. One day in the bathroom, she forgot to take a breath and passed out. When my stepfather noticed her, he pushed a few breaths into her himself, and she awoke.

Mom now has a machine to talk for her too. There's a big purple button we can velcro behind her, and she operates it with her head. A screen in front of her offers a selection of words or letters, and she spells out (slowly) what she wants to say. The machine gives the words a voice, but we typically read the text over her shoulder because the voice is hard to understand.

A lot of Mom's machinery is paid for by the MDA, and it will go back to the MDA (and to other patients) after she's passed away.

I've been more and more afraid of Mom's death. As much time as I have had to prepare for it, I do not feel prepared. I've spent a lot of time avoiding any kind of confrontation of what's to come, and I fear what will happen when that reality looms too large to be denied.

Mom asked her doctor how long she had, and he predicted six months to two years. I would not have guessed that she'd survive six months, but I'm not a doctor. In months past, I feared a day when Mom could not communicate, a day I thought very near. I see now that was premature, that communication will go on much longer. Maybe I'm wrong also about how long she'll last.

I think Mom's passing will eventually be something I grow from. I think I may recover from it as more of a family man and less as a son. Thinking that is comforting, and I think it also avoids fear. I can think about being stronger later because it keeps me from thinking about the funeral, the grief. I take it personally. It scares me like a nemesis, as if Death is vindictive and waiting to visit some wrath upon me by taking my mom.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Genetic risk factor for ALS

Important genetic risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
In the ALS group, 30.6 percent of the subjects carried the mutation, compared to 14.3 percent of those in the group without ALS.
That was in a study with 121 people.

They can't say that when you have this genetic defect, you get ALS, but it apparently makes you more prone to get it.

Work or stay at home?

My dad got a degree in electrical engineering from a good university. After that, he went to work for his father driving trucks and busses. Some people view that as a waste. Why get an engineering degree and take a job that doesn't require a college education?

The other day on the Dr. Phil show, a working mother asks of stay-at-home mothers, why go to college merely to raise children? This question was taken as an insult. Raising children is not to be taken lightly. I agree, raising children is not to be taken lightly, but isn't this the same question asked of my dad? Is it a waste of a college education to live a life that doesn't utilize it, even if that life is spent in an important pursuit?

The stay-at-home mothers responded that they go to college to enrich their minds and become well-rounded individuals so that they might be better parents.

My answer has always been much simpler: it's my life, and I can do what I want with it. You got a problem with that?

If I have an interest, and I want to spend time studying it, there's nothing wrong with that. If I then want to pursue some other occupation not related to my interest, that's fine too. Fulfillment comes by many paths.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Meta: Some thoughts on this blog and its future.

I have some ideas for "improvements" to this blog, and I'm writing this both to crystallize my ideas and to solicit feedback. So, if you're reading this, consider yourself invited to make a comment on what you like or don't like about these ideas.

Linking to my own comments. I write comments on other blogs sometimes, and I can link to those places for "my" readers to enjoy. I could do this periodically (e.g., weekly). I've done this already, but it's not a regular practice.

Reprints. I've been writing things in various places since long before I started writing things here. I can "reprint" those things. Again, I've done this already.

Favorites in the sidebar. I don't have a blogroll at the side, and I don't plan on it. Listing the blogs I follow feels like listing my video rentals or the books I check out of the library. What I do want to add there is a list of my own posts from the past that I consider my best. Maybe I'll limit myself to ten.

How to protect the anonymity of people around me. I've been careful not to mention any names other than my own even though it's probably easy to find those names. Exercising that care is difficult, and I'm looking for a way to make it easier. This topic is actually large enough to warrant its own post.

A guide to Toehold. If the blog were more personal, I might want to include a dramatis personae for newcomers. It might also be handy to categorize my entries somehow and collect them by categories. A need like this seems to imply that I want software different from Blogger.

Reprints and linking to my own comments are cheap ways for me to fill my self-imposed quota of seven posts per week. Favorites in the sidebar is already in the works. I've considered having "pride" and "shame" categories for what I consider my best and worst works. When that goes live, I'll invite you, gentle reader, to nominate your favorites for placement there.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

A Hush Over Hollywood by Pat Sajak

In A Hush Over Hollywood, Pat Sajak wonders why Hollywood is silent about the murder of Theo van Gogh. Pat supposes that there would be a great outcry over a similar murder of someone who'd spoken out against anti-abortion activists. He notes no outcry over the murder of someone who spoke against the treatment of women in Islamic countries, and he offers three explanations for the silence:
  1. Fear for themselves.
  2. Criticism of the murder is criticism of Islam.
  3. Criticizing the murder implies agreement with President Bush.
It's a relay race of limping thoughts. There's barely time to notice one idea's leg-to-stand-on problem before it's on to the next idea.

Let me start by wondering who is this "Hollywood" you speak of? Is it the naval aviator played by Whip Hubley in the 1986 smash hit "Top Gun"? Maybe he's thinking of that guy who played Merlin in the same movie. Whether he's thinking of a character or an actor, he doesn't say, but he asks the reader to "picture" some metaphorical "Hollywood" doing something which he doesn't say ever happened.

Let me be clear. There's no Hollywood; there are only people within Hollywood. If some people in Hollywood have something to say about a murder, that's fine with me. If some people in Hollywood say nothing about a murder, that's fine with me too. I have my own opinion about murder, and it doesn't change according to whether I talk about it.

I don't think it's fair to Whip or to Tim to lump them together and assume they have the same views merely because they work in the same place. It's downright idiotic to infer what they think about a murder based on statements they haven't made.

I don't know why entertainers (besides Pat Sajak and Bridget Johnson and Rush Limbaugh) haven't said much about the murder of Theo van Gogh. If I had to guess, I'd say it was ignorance. Y'know, "Don't attribute to malice" and all that.

Complain about what celebrities say, and I may disagree, but I at least recognize some worthwhile debate there. But to complain about what celebrities don't say? My mind reels.

VEGF in the treatment of ALS

New possibilities for the use of VEGF in the treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
VEGF is a signaling substance that controls the growth of blood vessels. To a large extent, a tissue in need of oxygen manufactures the protein, thereby developing new blood vessels so that the need for oxygen again diminishes. VEGF also helps neurons survive under stressful conditions.
Testing the treatment on rats with a severe form of ALS and on rats with a milder form, the researchers found that, in both groups, the VEGF-treated rats contracted the disease later than the untreated animals, and they continued to live considerably longer.