November 30, 2004

Voice of "Juan Valdez" Dies at 87

Thanks for watching out for that coffee, Juan Posted by Hello

Norman Rose, a veteran stage actor whose sonorous baritone gained him national attention as the voice of Juan Valdez, the fictitious coffee grower and advertising spokesman for Colombian coffee, died Nov. 12 at his home in Upper Nyack, N.Y. He was 87. Mr. Rose produced and acted off-Broadway, translated and dramatized foreign plays, appeared in movies and television, narrated modern ballet and television specials and recorded books for the blind. He was a co-founder of New Stages, an early off-Broadway repertory company, and more recently appeared in benefit readings at Symphony Space. Mr. Rose was born in Philadelphia and joined the Washington Civic Theater while attending George Washington University.
Read more here
Mr. Rose is survived by his wife of 60 years, Catherine Vagnoni Rose; three daughters, Elizabeth Rose and Margaret Wood of Nyack, and Johanna Maria Rose of Piermont, N.Y.; a son, Jack, of Holly Hill, Fla.; a sister, Arlene Gordon; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

November 28, 2004

Arctic Countries Agree on Perils of Climate Change but Not Solution
Andrew C. Revkin
Nov 25 2004

The United States and the seven other countries with Arctic territory jointly expressed concern yesterday about profound changes in the Arctic climate and said they would consider new scientific findings concluding that heat-trapping emissions were the main cause.

The circumpolar region Posted by Hello

But they did not agree on a common strategy for curbing such emissions, to the disappointment of environmental groups and Arctic indigenous groups.
The joint statement on Arctic climate, which emerged after several days of negotiations in Reykjavik, Iceland, reflected the continuing opposition by the Bush administration to anything other than voluntary measures to slow the growth in such gases...

Read the rest here

More on the Kyoto Protocol

More on the Arctic Council

More on "Impacts of a Warming Arctic" (Large document - pdf)

More on the Inuit Circumpolar Conference

November 27, 2004

Girl Is First to Survive Rabies Without a Shot

Associated Press
Wauwatosa, WI - A unique combination of drugs has made a 15-year-old girl the first known human to survive rabies without vaccination, doctors said.
A team of physicians gambled on an experimental treatment and induced a coma in Jeanna Giese to stave off the usually fatal infection, said Dr. Rodney Willoughby, a pediatric disease infection specialist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
"No one had really done this before, even in animals," Dr. Willoughby said.
"None of the drugs are fancy. If this works, it can be done in a lot of countries."

Only five persons worldwide before Jeanna are known to have survived rabies after the onset of symptoms, said Dr. Charles Rupprecht, chief of the rabies section at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But they had received standard treatment -- a series of rabies vaccine shots -- before experiencing symptoms.

* * *

John and Ann Giese, of Fond du Lac, said they did not hesitate when doctors approached them about trying the experimental treatment. They already had been told their daughter probably would die.

"Miracles can happen," Mr. Giese said. "We believed it from Day One. We had to convince everyone else."

Read the rest here.

November 25, 2004

Thankful for the settlers

George Will
November 25, 2004

WASHINGTON -- When giving thanks this year, think of Lena Woebbecke. She and many others paid a terrible price for misreading the prairie sky on the afternoon of Jan. 12, 1888.
That day was unseasonably balmy, by prairie standards -- some temperatures were in the 20s -- and many children scampered to school without coats or gloves. Then, at about the time schools were adjourning, death, in the shape of a soot-gray cloud, appeared on the horizon of Dakota Territory and Nebraska.
In three minutes the temperature plunged 18 degrees. The next morning hundreds of people, more than 100 of them children, were dead beneath the snow drifts. David Laskin, a Seattle writer, reconstructs this tragedy in a terrifying but beautifully written new book, ``The Children's Blizzard.''
It picks up the many threads of the story in Norway, Ukraine, Germany, Vermont and other tributaries to the river of immigration set in motion partly by the 1862 Homestead Act. In return for an $18 filing fee and five years farming, the act conferred ownership of 160 acres. By the tens of thousands the homesteaders came, to live in sod houses, heated by burning buffalo chips and twisted hay.
Of immigrants, the saying was that the cowards stayed home and the weak died on the way. One in 10 crossing the Atlantic in steerage did die. But Laskin says ``the mystique of the Dakotas'' was such that the territory's population nearly quadrupled in the 1880s. Those who made it, with a trunk or two and the clothes on their backs, reached towns that were perishable scratches on the prairie. They got land, freedom and hope.
And prairie fires. And grasshoppers, 100 billion at a time in roaring clouds a mile high and 100 miles across. And iron weather in which children, disoriented by horizontal streams of snow as hard as rock and fine as dust, froze to death groping their way home from a school 150 yards away.
Lena was five in 1882 when her father, a German immigrant, died of smallpox. Her mother remarried twice, having 11 children, eight of whom survived. In August 1887 Lena, her marriage prospects diminished by her smallpox scars, was sent to live with the Woebbeckes and their three children in a two-room house. It was half a mile from the school where she was, five months later, when a cataclysmic cold front came dropping southeast out of Canada at 45 miles per hour.
``To those standing outside,'' Laskin writes, ``it looked like the northwest corner of the sky was suddenly filling and bulging and ripping open.'' In four and a half hours the temperature at Helena, Mont., fell 50 degrees. The prairie air tingled with the electricity of a horizontal thunderstorm. All over the region, school teachers, many of them not much older or more educated than their pupils, had to make life and death decisions about how to get the children home.
``The fear came first,'' Laskin writes, ``but the cold followed so hard on its heels that it was impossible to tell the difference.'' In minutes nostrils were clogged by ice. Eyelids were torn by repeated attempts to prevent them from freezing shut. Unable to see their hands in front of their faces, people died wandering a few yards from their houses, unable to hear, over the keening wind, pots being pounded a few yards away to tell them the way to safety.
``For years afterward,'' writes Laskin, ``at gatherings of any size in Dakota or Nebraska, there would always be people walking on wooden legs or holding fingerless hands behind their backs or hiding missing ears under hats -- victims of the blizzard.'' Lena learned to walk on a wooden foot. In 1901, at 24, she married. At 25 she died, perhaps in childbirth, or perhaps of a complication from the amputation necessitated by frostbite.
``Lena was laid to rest in her wedding dress in the graveyard of the Immanuel Lutheran Church near the country crossroads called Ruby. If there ever was a town called Ruby, it has disappeared, as has the Immanuel Lutheran Church. The church cemetery remains -- a fenced patch of rough grass studded with headstones between two farmhouses not far from the interstate. A tiny island of the dead in the sea of Nebraska agriculture.''
This Thanksgiving, when you have rendered yourself torpid by ingesting an excess of America's agricultural bounties, summon thoughts of thanks for the likes of Lena, those whose hard lives paved the stony road to America's current comforts.


November 19, 2004

If you're into health food, read no further -- for calorie hunters and fast food fanatics only

Hardee's unveils the 'Monster Thickburger'
Really hungry? How about 1,420 calories and 107 grams of fat?
Kevin Tibbles
NBC News Correspondent
Nov 16 2004

CHICAGO - In the beginning there was simply the burger and the bun. But with fast food competition, things got complicated.

Now, Hardee's has thrown down the burger gauntlet, serving up what it calls a $5.49 "monument to decadence": the "Monster Thickburger."

Here's how they build it:
Two-thirds of a pound of beef ... 664 calories
Three slices of cheese ... 186 calories
Four pieces of bacon ... 150 calories
Mayonnaise ...160 calories
Butter ... 30 calories
Bun ... 230 calories

Just reading the rest might give you a heart attack.

What happened on November 19 in American history.

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Thus begins the Gettysburg Address, delivered this day, November 19, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln on the battlefield where 50,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in a three day battle. This ten-sentence speech ends with the words: "We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
That these dead shall not have died in vain.

November 18, 2004

Do you remember the Industorious Clock?

Well check out Clockblock 1.0

Go look

November 16, 2004

Who in the world are the Friends of Tuva?
And what does Tuva have to do with Throat Singing?
And what does that have to with the Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman?
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November 13, 2004

"Cmdr. Buzz Corry",of Star of 'Space Patrol,' Dies

Nov 13

Los Angeles(AP) - Actor Ed Kemmer, who played the intrepid Cmdr. Buzz Corry in the popular 1950s children's television show "Space Patrol" before becoming a regular on daytime soap operas, has died. He was 84.

Kemmer died Tuesday at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City after suffering a stroke on Nov. 5, family friend Jean-Noel Bassior told the Los Angeles Times.

"Space Patrol" chronicled the adventures of Corry, who fought intergalactic villains of the 30th century while flying around in his Terra V spacecraft with comic sidekick Cadet Happy.

The series, which also spawned a radio version, ran from 1950 to 1955 and was broadcast live on ABC as a weekly half-hour program.
Kemmer said he took the role seriously.

"I played it as straight as I could," he told the Columbus Dispatch in 1994. "You don't play down to children. A lot of shows make that mistake. Kids see through that right away."

Kemmer said the show was his most important work. "One engineer at NASA told me that he first got interested in space because of our show," Kemmer once said.

He later switched to playing bad guys with appearances on shows including "Perry Mason,""Gunsmoke" and "Maverick." He moved to New York in 1964 and spent the next 19 years starring regularly on soap operas such as "The Edge of Night,""As the World Turns,""All My Children" and "Guiding Light."

Kemmer spent 11 months in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II after his P-51 fighter plane was shot down over France in 1944. He and others in the POW camp staged plays, and after the war he studied acting.

Kemmer is survived by his wife of 35 years, former actress Fran Sharon, and three children.
Now I know I'm getting old...

Since when are there four states of matter?

Learn all about Plasma at the Space Weather Center.

November 11, 2004

It's Veterans' Day today, so don't forget to kiss a veteran today, and welcome him or her home.
The Department of Education has provided a bunch of resources, including a teachers guide that suggests classroom activities and provides information about organizing a school assembly, the Veterans History Project, the history of Veterans Day, respecting the flag, and more. It's interesting for evryone, though, not just students.
The Story of Veterans Day" will air nationally on Thursday, Nov. 11, at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. ET/PT on the History Channel.