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May 6, 2007

Panda Porn

According to the Contra Costa Times, a report on CNN Monday detailed how Chinese scientists are getting its near-extinct panda population, "back on track." Recently male pandas have not been responsive when it comes to mating season. Scientists have begun playing videotapes of pandas having sex for the male pandas. After footage was shown, CNN reported that scientists saw, "a panda in a cage practically howl at the moon once somebody pushed play on a VCR just outside the cage."

This story proceeds to discuss the debate surrounding human pornography.

The Associated Press reported that in Chiang Mai, Thailand scientists are showing DVDs of uninitiated male pandas mating. It is one of the many techniques that attempt to get captive pandas to do it, and do it right. The efforts have paid off in China, now comes the next test of getting pandas to mate in their natural habitat. The audio-visual approach “is the same idea as chimpanzees seeing people smoke and then copying it,? says the Thai researcher. The results show that in the first 10 months of this year, 31 cubs were born in captivity in China, out of those, 28 survived. That is a change from the 12 births in 2005 and the nine in 2000.

April 15, 2007

Hillary Clinton Talks about American Idol's Sanjaya

According to the Associated Press in the Kansas City Star, the under-talented "American Idol" contestant Sanjaya Malakar is getting the attention of presidential candidates these days. Sen. Hillary Clinton was asked what the United States can do about Malakar, the television show's underdog candidate who critics say lacks talent, during a radio call-in on WOKQ-FM. "That's the best question I've been asked in a long time," Clinton said. "Well, you know, people can vote for whomever they want. That's true in my election, and it's true on 'American Idol.'" Malakar is known for his hairstyles and has prompted controversy on the show by surviving deep into the voting on this season's "Idol."

India eNews reported that Clinton wouldn't say whether she would vote for Sanjaya Malakar as the new 'American Idol'. Clinton came up with a statement that would please the 'desi' and non-desi fans of Sanjaya. The New York senator was not taking any chances as Sanjaya's stock went up on Fox News' 'Bulls and Bears' and Bookmaker.com, the oldest established online gambling site, offered $500 for every $100 bet if Malakar doesn't make it to the next week.

April 1, 2007

Diversity Study with Mice

The Tennessean reported that at the Russell Laboratory for Comparative and Functional Genomics, commonly known as "the mouse house," researchers are building a mouse collection that resembles the human population in its diversity, group leader Elissa Chesler said. Geneticist David Threadgill said that this first-of-its-kind, international project could become a platform for, "a new way of looking at human biology using the mouse as a model." This project is a collaboration between about 300 geneticists from around the world and their plan is to creat 1,000 distinct lines of mice from eight original breeds.

The Associated Press reported that mice have long been used as laboratory substitues for humans. Mice reproduce quickly and are easily mutated. On a genetic level they are about 85 percent identical people. The common approach of examining one mouse gene at a time fails to address the genetice and environmental complexity of human diseases and conditions (i.e. obesity, diabetes, alcoholism, and aging), said researchers. The result of the project will be taking representatives of each racial gruop from each geographical region and putting them together Threadgill said.

March 3, 2007

Chimps Observed Making Tools to Hunt

According to Reuters, U.S. researchers said on Thursday that chimpanzees have been seen using spears to hunt bush babies. Jill Pruetz and Paco Bertolani of Iowa State University said it was only females who fashioned and used the wooden spears. Pruetz thought it was a fluke when he saw an adolescent female chimp use a spear to stab a bush baby as it slept in a tree hollow, pull it out and eat it. But then she saw almost the same behavior over the course of 19 days almost daily. The chimps strip a branch of it's leaves and twigs, trim it down to a stable size and then chew the ends to make a point. They then use it to stab into holes where bush babies could be sleeping. Pruetz said this spear-hunting might produce more competition between males and females because it occurred when the group was foraging together.

The Star Tribune reported that the chimps live in the West African savannah and that this is the first routine production of deadly weapons ever observed in animals other than humans. The multi-step spear-making practice was documented by researchers in Senegal who spent years gaining the chimpanzees' trust. This observation supports the long-debated proposition that females tend to be the innovators and creative problem solvers in primate culture. This enviornment is very similar to the one in which early humans evolved and is different enough from other sites to expect differences in chimp behaviors.

February 25, 2007

Two Women Fall Off of Disneyland Tram

The Los Angeles Times reported that two women were injured after falling off a tram in a Disneyland parking lot on Friday. A spokeswoman for the Anaheim Fire Department said one woman was standing on a tram in the theme park's "Timon" parking lot when she tumbled off as it turned. Another woman tried to grab her but fell off also. The first woman suffered minor injuries to her head and feet and the second, more serious head wounds, Maria Sabol said. Officials said one was discharged. Disneyland Resort spokesman Bob Tucker said the tram was moving at a speed of 5 mph.

According to the United Press International the first woman was standing up and fell off the trolley when it turned a corner. The women were transported to the UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif., Disneyland Resort spokesman Bob Tucker said. Len Welsch, the agency's acting chief, said the accident does not fall within the state Department of Occupational Safety and Health's jurisdiction since trams are not considered amusement park rides.

February 18, 2007

Dead Body Sat in Front of the TV for a Year

According to the Associated Press in the Star Tribune http://www.startribune.com/484/story/1008988.html , in Hampton Bays, New York, the partially mummified body of Vincenzo Ricardo, 70, has been found in a chair in front of his television, which was still on. Ricardo apparently died of natural causes, said Dr. Stuart Dawson, Suffolk County's deputy chief medical examiner, over a year ago. Police were called to the house to investigate a report about burst water pipes. Morgue assistant, Jeff Bacchus said that the home's dry air had preserved his features and that he still had hair on his head. Neighbors said they had thought Ricardo was in a hospital or nursing home.

According to Reuters http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyid=2007-02-17T211521Z_01_N17362175_RTRUKOC_0_US-DEATH-TELEVISION.xml&WTmodLoc=NewsArt-R1-MostViewed-3 , Ricardo had not been heard from since December 2005. Officials could not explain why the electricity had not been turned off. Ricardo was diabetic and had been blind for years and neighbors said they assumed he was in the hospital or a long-term care facility


February 11, 2007

Joe Mauer Signs with Twins for $33 Million

The Star Tribune http://www.startribune.com/509/story/995546.html reported that the Twins signed catcher, Joe Mauer to a four-year, $33 million contract extension on Saturday to avoid arbitration. Last year Mauer became the first catcher to win an American League batting title, batting .347. This is the second biggest guaranteed contract in franchise history, Mauer also gets the chance to hit the free agent market at age 27 in 2010.

According to the Associated Press in the Pioneer Press http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/sports/baseball/16677073.htm, Mauer was the first pick in the 2001 amateur draft and was the first catcher to lead the majors in batting average and the first AL catcher to win the batting title. The Pioneer Press also reported that Mauer's rookie season in 2004 was cut short due to a knee injury which raised questions about whether or not his body could handle all the physical demands of his position.

February 4, 2007

Family Files Claim Against CHP

A few days after Nikki Catsouras, 18, died in a car accident her family began receiving mysterious e-mails including, "gruesome, detailed scenes of the crash, including photos that showed the woman's decapitated body" according to the Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-photos4feb04,0,5770661.story?track=mostviewed-homepage. The photographs had been taken by the California Highway Patrol investigators and improperly released to the public.

On Dec. 28, 2006 a claim was filed with the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, in which the Catsouras family requests $20 million for emotional distress and punitive damages. Currently, the CHP is working with the family to contact more than 800 websites posting the photographs, asking them to stop displaying the images.

According to the Orange County Register http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/news/homepage/article_1538883.php, a CHP official in Sacramento said the agency cannot discuss the claim filed by the Catsouras family and said the issue of the leaked images remains under investigation. The Register also reported that the Catsouras family has hired Reputation Defender to demand that Web site operators remove the offending pictures.

January 28, 2007

Navy Ends Search for Missing Crew

The Star Tribune http://www.startribune.com/484/story/964361.html reported that Saturday a group of Navy and Coast Guard vessels and aircrafts searched for three crew members of a Navy helicopter that crashed. The search included inflatable boats, two destroyers, a guided missile cruiser, a dock landing ship and Coast Guard ships. The pilot radioed a mayday during this training flight but did not indicate any mechanical malfunctions or fires.

CNN http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/01/27/helicopter.crash.ap/index.html reported that the search was called off after one crew member was pulled from the water but died while being treated on the Bonhomme Richard. CNN also said because of the cold water and the amount of time elapsed survivability is extremely unlikely.

Both of the leads did a good job at summarizing the articles. CNN did not release the identities of the members because the article said all of the relatives have not been notified yet. CNN gave a lot more information on the plane, while the Star Tribune focused more on the search.