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a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Specialty blogwatch

Posted by Thomas Nephew on October 20th, 2005

This is just a quick survey of recent posts from some of the interesting, specialized blogs I read now and then from my “specialty” blogroll — maybe you’ll start reading one or the other of them, too.

Schneier on Security — Those tiny little yellow dots you never noticed? They’re Secret Forensic Codes in Color Laser Printers: Many color laser printers embed secret information in every page they print, basically to identify you by. Here, the EFF has cracked the code of the Xerox DocuColor series of printers.

Mystery PollsterGetting Past the Noise: Bush Slide Continues (10/19/2005): The bottom line: the President’s approval has fallen all year, declining about 1% every month since January. But since August we’ve seen a sharper drop. Call it the “Katrina effect.”

Lunar DevelopmentShall McArthur return?: “Russia has met all the engagements on transferring NASA employees to the ISS. Formally, we even do not have to return McArthur to the Earth,” Russia’s space agency Roskosmos senior official Alexey Krasnov said.[Moscownews.com] Karen Cramer writes that the story is connected to the Iran Non-proliferation Agreement as well.

Savage Minds — No more “Bushmen of the Kalahari.” Bushmen expelled from Homeland: All but a few of the Bushmen living in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve have been forcibly removed from their homes in recent days in what spokesmen for the affected communities said is a final push by the government to end human habitation there after tens of thousands of years. [Washington Post, 10/10/2005] … Before forced removals started in the late 90s, there were over 2,000 Bushmen living there.

The Panda’s Thumb — Covering the “intelligent design” case in Pennsylvania with Waterloo in Dover: The Kitzmiller v. DASD case: The defense needs to defeat the plaintiffs’ arguments concerning both the purpose and the effect of the “intelligent design” policy. For the second, they are most likely to try to convince Judge Jones that “intelligent design”, and specifically the policy adopted by the DASD, are scientific in character, and thus have a place in the science curriculum regardless of any secondary effect they might have in the way of having implications for religious belief. DASD is the Dover Area School District, which is trying to enforce ‘intelligent design’ teaching in biology classes. The post is now updated with new developments every couple of days or so as the case proceeds.

RealClimateGlobal Warming On Earth discusses the latest NASA Goddard Institute surface temperature data analysis: The 2005 Jan-Sep land data (which is adjusted for urban biases) is higher than the previously warmest year (0.76°C compared to the 1998 anomaly of 0.75°C for the same months, and a 0.71°C anomaly for the whole year) , while the land-ocean temperature index (which includes sea surface temperature data) is trailing slightly behind (0.58°C compared to 0.60°C Jan-Sep, 0.56°C for the whole of 1998).

Chris Mooney — Henry Waxman (D-CA-30) is Busy, busy on a number of Bush vs. science fronts, including avian flu, misinformation about sexual health on a government web site, and the ongoing Plan B “morning after pill” fiasco at the FDA. On the latter: The chronology ends with yet another resignation: that of Frank Davidoff, a former FDA advisory committee member who voted for the approval of Plan B and who wrote, “I can no longer associate myself with an organization that is capable of making such an important decision so flagrantly on the basis of political influence, rather than the scientific and clinical evidence.” (link added)

BlogrelReturn to Gyumri: What lessons could Pakistan learn from Armenia’s sputtering reconstruction process, which, 17 years later, has 3,500 families in the city still living in “temporary accommodation” – a euphemism for shacks, metal containers and disused railway wagons? [Guardian]

Effect MeasureYou can’t stop a wrecking ball in mid-swing: As state and local health departments gear up to battle a possible avian flu outbreak, they face a sharp cut in funding from the Department of Health and Human Services. However, the loss could be fixed through funds intended to cover the costs of controlling a pandemic, added as an amendment to the 2006 Defense Department Appropriations bill.

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