Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Kinda makes ya' want to call home

Sons save mom overseas with webcam
OSLO, Norway (AP) -- A Web camera in a Norwegian artist's living room in California allowed her sons in Norway and the Philippines to see that she had collapsed and call for help, one of the sons said Friday.

The mother had been unconscious for about two hours before her sons checked in, so there was also an element of luck, since they only use the camera a few times a week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Fellowship Position in Switzerland

Check out this fellowship.
DESCRIPTION : Development of optimization algorithms for large scale agent based models of complex physical systems. The emphasis is on stochastic optimization of complex nonlinear problems, as modeled by agents, and their application to traffic simulations.

PREREQUISITES : University degree in any of the following disciplines : Physics, Computational and Applied Mathematics, Computer Science, Electrical/Mechanical/Civil Engineering, Applied Mechanics. PhD studies at ETHZ are conducted in English and a good command of the English language is necessary. ETHZ encourages applications of female candidates.

ENTRANCE : February 2006 or by arrangement.

DURATION OF APPOINTMENT : 3 years (+an eventual 4th year).

FELLOWSHIP : Project funded by the ETH Research Foundation - Fellowships up to
60,000 CHF per year pending on qualifications.

APPLYING : Please send your applications in English by e-mail to :petros@ethz.ch
Please include :
* Curriculum Vitae (including contact information of two references)
* Grades of all University Classes
* A one page statement of your background and research interests
* GRE and TOEFL Scores (if available)

DEADLINE FOR RECEIPT OF APPLICATIONS : January 9th, 2006

CONTACT : Prof. Petros Koumoutsakos
Institute of Computational Science
Universitätstrasse 6
ETH Zurich
CH-8092, Switzerland
http://www.icos.ethz.ch/cse

Now try this Google search: "60,000 CHF/year to dollars/month" The result: "60,000 (Swiss francs / year) = 3,795.93 U.S. dollars / month"

Wow. Now that's an attractive fellowship.

Are you kidding me?

From Single-letter domains might earn seven figures:
Single-letter names under ".com," ".net" and ".org" were set aside in 1993 as engineers grew concerned about their ability to meet the expected explosion in demand for domain names. They weren't sure then whether a single database of names could hold millions -- more than 40 million in the case of ".com" today.

One idea was to create a mechanism for splitting a single database into 26 -- one corresponding to each letter. So instead of storing the domain name for The Associated Press under ".org," it would go under "a.org." In other words, "ap.org" would become "ap.a.org."

Now, engineers have concluded that won't be necessary. They have seen the address database grow to hold millions of names without trouble, so they are now willing to let go of the single-letter names they had reserved.

Are you kidding me?!

If you wanted to "[split] the database into 26 -- one corresponding to each letter" you wouldn't need to change any TLD's to do it. The same mechanism that would direct *.a.org to the "a.org database" could send any *.org that starts in a to the "a database"! Parsing the name to figure out that it has an "a.org" in it is just as computationally difficult as figuring out if its domain name starts with an a!

So maybe I'm overreacting, but I think that article is pretty darn silly. Letting newspaper writers write about technology in popular news is exactly like letting the blind lead the blind.

TING

NPR (This I Believe): There Is No God, by Penn Jillette
Having taken that step, it informs every moment of my life. I'm not greedy. I have love, blue skies, rainbows and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough, but it's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I'm raising now is enough that I don't need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day.

Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.

Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.

Monday, November 28, 2005

New Yuck City

Just Try to Sleep Tight. The Bedbugs Are Back.
But bedbugs on Park Avenue? Ask the horrified matron who recently found her duplex teeming with the blood-sucking beasts. Or the tenants of a co-op on Riverside Drive who spent $200,000 earlier this month to purge their building of the pesky little thugs. The Helmsley Park Lane was sued two years ago by a welt-covered guest who blamed the hotel for harboring the critters. The suit was quietly settled last year.

And bedbugs, stealthy and fast-moving nocturnal creatures that were all but eradicated by DDT after World War II, have recently been found in hospital maternity wards, private schools and even a plastic surgeon's waiting room.

Bedbugs are back and spreading through New York City like a swarm of locusts on a lush field of wheat.

Last year the city logged 377 bedbug violations, up from just 2 in 2002 and 16 in 2003. Since July, there have been 449. "It's definitely a fast-emerging problem," said Carol Abrams, spokeswoman for the city housing agency.

And that new mattress delivered from a reputable department store, which kindly hauled away your old one? It may have spent all day in a truck wedged against an old mattress collected from a customer with a bedbug problem.

"My life has become all about bedbugs," she said as an exterminator arrived last week.

She said that to calm her friends and to ensure that she does not spread the bugs, she takes an extra set of clothing and changes when she arrives at their homes for overnight visits. "The psychological damage is probably the worst thing about it. I mean, how long will it be before I can sleep soundly and not worry about some creature sucking my blood?"

Still, for Ms. Scanlan, there has been a silver lining. The night after she discovered the bugs, she went out drinking, intent on avoiding her own bed. That evening she met a man at a bar, and, contrary to her usual instincts, accompanied him to his apartment. An encounter partly born of desperation soon blossomed into something more, she said.

"We've been together ever since," Ms. Scanlan said with a smile. "Thanks to the bedbugs, I've fallen in love."

I have no hope for the future

Topics similar to These people need to pay some taxes . . .

These people are so quick to give up on people. The church isn't an accepting asylum. Hell and eternal damnation wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the church. "Don't give up on an embryo because it might have a soul, but do give up on a soul because it happened to find itself in the 'wrong' body."

Abortion law goes before Supreme Court
CONCORD, New Hampshire (AP) -- To some, a never-enforced New Hampshire law requiring parental notification before a minor has an abortion is a backward step for women's rights. To others, it protects parents' right to know if their child is having an abortion.

The U.S. Supreme Court will consider those arguments Wednesday as it begins to weigh whether to reinstate a law that requires parental notification 48 hours before an abortion can be performed on a minor.

The 2003 law was struck down, days before it was to take effect, for failing to provide an exception to protect a minor's health.

Under the law, parents or guardians must be notified either in person or by certified mail.

"Can't find the parents in person? That's alright! We'll send a note by certified mail! Child will die if we don't abort in the next few minutes? I hope the USPS is quick about that mail!!!"

And a related story that somehow slipped through the cracks this month... (unless you were paying very close attention) Remember all of that major USAID money for fighting HIV worldwide years ago? Earlier in Bush's first term he re-enacted Reagan's "global gag rule" which prohibited any foreign aid to go to clinics that had anything to do with abortions (even COUNSELING!!). The conservatives were upset that it didn't cut money from clinics that give out condoms too!!!!! Anyway, there was a special understanding that this restriction would *NOT* apply to the USAID money. Well, on November 18 the Bush administration reversed that policy. Now even taht money will be filtered through this very special litmus test.

If these women cannot get healthy abortions in these clinics, they will not have to get very unhealthy abortions that will not only put them in danger but spread disease!

US HIV/AIDS policy under fire
In a separate policy reversal, the Bush administration has imposed its global gag rule on groups seeking funding for a large project to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa.

The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), a Washington-based health policy advocacy group, said it spotted the change in a request for applications (RFA) issued on November 18 by the US Agency for International Development for $193 million in grants for five years of programmes in Kenya.

The administration has broken its own written commitment not to subject global AIDS funds to these onerous restrictions, said CHANGE Executive Director Jodi Jacobson. "This shift in policy goes beyond hypocrisy to sheer irresponsibility and complete disregard for the lives and welfare of women and girls worldwide" she said.

The global gag rule, also called the Mexico City policy, already bars international family planning organizations from providing abortion referrals, counseling or services in their facilities or from discussing abortion laws in public, on pain of losing US. funding. In early 2003, President Bush sought to extend the rule to all State Department programmes, but was so heavily criticized that he issued an executive order exempting AIDS funding from the rule.

On Nov. 18, however, the new RFA twice included eligibility criteria requiring grant recipients to agree to abide by the Mexico City Policy, the Tiahrt Amendment and all U.S. AID policies and regulations. The Tiahrt Amendment, sponsored in 2001 by Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), requires parental notification and consent for all information and medical care supplied to minors.

And on top of all of this, there are additional amendments about parental notification!!!

And this is FOREIGN POLICY!!! It would be bad enough if this just applied to U.S. citizens, but this imperialistic policy is worse than that!

What an AWFUL month!!

These people need to pay some taxes...

Priests urge stem cell opposition
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (AP) -- The battle over embryonic stem cell research moved into the pews Sunday, as Roman Catholic priests across Missouri urged churchgoers to oppose a petition seeking a constitutional amendment that would protect the controversial work.

The petition drive was announced last month by a group of business leaders, patient advocates and researchers as a response to legislative efforts to ban a type of stem cell research known as therapeutic cloning.

Missouri's Catholic dioceses oppose it, and urged their priests statewide to begin a campaign Sunday aimed at keeping Catholics from signing the petition.

It would be nice if these Catholic freaks would realize that sometimes prayer isn't enough. At one point, we're going to have to learn to take care of ourselves. That means we're going to have to grow up and actually think about our own morality. We're going to have to grow up and allow ourselves to do the science that can help relieve pain and increase quality of life. We're going to have to realize that just as the boogie man won't hurt us at night, he also won't heal us during the day.

I can't stand these people.

I just can't stand them. This used to just be political, but then people close to me started to be affected by things that would benefit from stem cell and embryonic stem cell research...

And so before I was willing to accept that these people just thought of scientists as looking at things like embryos and biological laboratory matter as some lower form of life that actually deserves full acceptance into humanity... but now I can't help but feel that these people are saying that the people I know do not deserve acceptance into humanity. Now I can't help but feel like they're saying the people I know are lower forms of life that the boogie man never intended to live conventional human lives. Before I thought these Catholic freaks had a problem with certain forms of life being expendable... now I can't help but feel like these fascists feel that all forms of life are expendable.

"Don't give up on an embryo because it might have a soul, but do give up on a soul because it happened to find itself in the 'wrong' body."

I can't stand these people.

(oh, and regarding the title, there is NO WAY that these people can get away with calling themselves a non-profit non-political organization. Their non-profit status needs to be VIOLENTLY RIPPED away from them, and they need to be charged RETROACTIVE TAXES plus fees for being delinquint and maybe even tried for tax evasion in general; heck, I bet someone could put together a class action lawsuit against these people. How many people have been denied treatment due to the faux-moral objections of these people? All those people should get together and sue)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

NBC Sucks Ass?

The next episode of The West Wing is on December 4. The last three weeks have been filled with half-assed crappy specials and movies that have made me find new things to do at 8pm on Sunday.

Does this piss anyone else off?

That's a lot of lasagna for just two people...

So Liza made lasagna. It was very good (her own little unique recipe), but it was a lot of food just for the two of us... It's not like we were expecting company...

Ahem...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Nature via nurture again!

Orphaned Babies Show Hormone Disruption Years after Adoption
Alison Wismer Fries and her colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison compared 21 typical youngsters from Milwaukee to 18 children who had been adopted by Milwaukee area residents after spending their first year or so in Romanian and Russian orphanages. Using urine samples, they found that the adopted orphans had significantly lower levels of vasopressin--a hormone that plays a role in familial recognition--circulating in their systems than their peers.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Butterfly Wings Share Light Tricks with TV

Butterfly Wings Share Light Tricks with TV

The last paragraph of this snippet is of particular interest to me:
Pete Vukusic and Ian Hooper of Exeter University in England studied the colored parts of the swallowtail's wings and found that the scales that comprised them contain photonic crystals whose atoms are spaced so precisely that only certain wavelengths of light can pass through. The crystals are also saturated with fluorescent pigments that help them create specific wavelengths of light, visible to us as bright colors.

Tiny, mirrorlike structures known as distributed Bragg reflectors reflect this fluorescent light as well as all the other light the photonic crystal allows to pass through. The result: butterfly wings that transform ordinary sunlight into brilliant greens and blues incredibly efficiently.

Thus what the butterflies evolved to do, scientists have built light-emitting diodes to do, employing the exact same components--photonic crystals and Bragg reflectors--in search of ever better ways to project and direct light. The findings are published in the current issue of Science.

I'm sure this will show up as someone's example of another "intelligent design;" however, putting that aside, isn't it neat that we've managed to design something that nature ended up converging to on its own? That's just fascinating.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sweet Snacks May Slacken Stress

Sweet Snacks May Slacken Stress
Rats, like humans, love sugar. So it comes as no surprise that during two weeks of training for a recent lab experiment, the rodents queued up twice daily for small doses of sugar water. What researchers did not anticipate was the apparent effect of the sweet stuff on their stress levels: when they placed the rats in stressful circumstances at the end of those two weeks, the animals were less agitated than expected.

It turns out that naturally sweetened snacks can reduce glucocorticoid stress hormone levels in the blood. This may explain why people have nervous eating habits; their bodies are fighting the stress.

So that's a fun finding. It may relate to the obesity topic of the last post. It may also have philosophical consequences about the difference between quality of life and... quantity of life? Or perhaps it's just a neat little piece of trivia. Regardless, I think it's interesting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Youth obesity solution: regulate school junk food?

I was just sent this e-mail from Jenn.
The balance of this email is pregenerated, but I think this is a
great cause and makes so much more sense than what we've got
going on now! Check it out.

Love you,
j
------

Dear Friend,

With so much junk food in schools and lack of opportunities for
physical activity -- our kids are paying the price with their
health. So I'm working with the Stir It Up campaign, a national
movement of parents bringing together everyone who cares about
kids to work for healthier eating and a healthier lifestyle for
all kids. It's a parents' movement that will put children first.


The first step in Stir It Up is to get the junk food out of our
schools, and the physical activity in.

I'm hoping you'll join me. Taking action online is quick, easy,
and I think it can really make a difference in our kids' lives
-- check it out here:
http://center.parentsaction.org/campaign/stir_it_up?rk=od_GQXd1xmBfW

***************************************
Powered by Parents' Action for Children
***************************************

I responded to her as follows. Here I have tried to add a few links to some of the context of my response. Note that solutions to the obesity problem is a frequent topic between Jenn and me, and so I don't mention some of the many other arguments I have against this idea that I've mentioned before in other posts. (in other words, I recognize that there exist many other arguments; I just wanted to highlight this one here)

Hey Jenn --

   They have done this in California. It was an initiative of Governor SchwartzBeWithYou. The result is a huge black market of junk food in schools. Older kids leave schools, buy junk food, and bring it back to the school to resell. Some parents provide junk food and the kids end up selling it later.

   I imagine that this ingenuity extends far back into elementary school as well. Economists have started to study food markets forming in elementary schools where snacks from home are starting to be traded for other goods and services. (link?) The market seems to follow microeconomics' supply and demand rules too. Things can be as complex and interesting as real money markets.

   As long as there are people willing to eat junk food, I don't think regulation is going to help because there will always be some way to subvert that regulation. In fact, what you end up doing is hurting more people than you hope to help. People who refuse to stop eating junk food pay much higher costs, which encourages more people to trade junk food. In fact, you don't do much to reduce junk food you however you increase it's value to make it impossible for it ever to go away.

   Keep in mind, Jenn, that this is exactly what has gone on in the illegal drug market. By adding regulation, you've made it even harder for drugs to be used responsibly. I know that you understand this argument when it comes to illegal drugs; do you see how it also applies to junk food? (and perhaps to other things, maybe including prostitution, alcohol, cigarettes, and others? (even handguns?))

   --Ted

Friday, November 11, 2005

Pat Robertson: God will punish Dover

Robertson warns Pennsylvania voters of God's wrath
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Conservative Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting "intelligent design" and warned them Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, "The 700 Club."

"And don't wonder why He hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.

In voting on Tuesday, eight Dover, Pennsylvania, school board members up for re-election lost their seats after trying to introduce a statement on "intelligent design" to high school biology students.

It's too bad no group of voters can get rid of Robertson. It's about time he got elected to the afterlife. Does that sound harsh? It's no harsher than the things he says about offing Hugo Chavez, for one, or subjecting Dover residents to natural disasters. If an eye for an eye is this man's game, then it's perfectly legimiate to say that this man has got to go.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Victory for ANWR

There was a victory for ANWR today (primarily due to moderates). This is a small victory; there's no gaurantee of future protection.

NPR has a good little page on ANWR and the history of the debate (which started in the 1970's) that has maps and pictures of the region. (clicking on the picture of the mountainscape brings you to the 8 picture gallery)

For 30 Years, a Political Battle Over Oil and ANWR
 

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Democracy in action!

'Intelligent design' school board booted
DOVER, Pennsylvania (AP) -- Voters came down hard Tuesday on school board members who backed a statement on intelligent design being read in biology class, ousting eight Republicans and replacing them with Democrats who want the concept stripped from the science curriculum.

WOW! Democracy in action! We should have elections more often!! :)

Evolution in the Bible, says Vatican

Evolution in the bible, says Vatican
THE Vatican has issued a stout defence of Charles Darwin, voicing strong criticism of Christian fundamentalists who reject his theory of evolution and interpret the biblical account of creation literally.

Cardinal Paul Poupard, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said the Genesis description of how God created the universe and Darwin's theory of evolution were "perfectly compatible" if the Bible were read correctly.

His statement was a clear attack on creationist campaigners in the US, who see evolution and the Genesis account as mutually exclusive.

"The fundamentalists want to give a scientific meaning to words that had no scientific aim," he said at a Vatican press conference. He said the real message in Genesis was that "the universe didn't make itself and had a creator".

This idea was part of theology, Cardinal Poupard emphasised, while the precise details of how creation and the development of the species came about belonged to a different realm - science. Cardinal Poupard said that it was important for Catholic believers to know how science saw things so as to "understand things better".

His statements were interpreted in Italy as a rejection of the "intelligent design" view, which says the universe is so complex that some higher being must have designed every detail.

Take that, Kansas!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

How to reset a locked up iPod nano

So today I plugged my iPod nano into my laptop and it locked up. Nothing would work. Switching the lock switch on and off wouldn't do anything either. It just locked up!

So I searched on-line and found this link with some instructions about what to do. I just wanted to reproduce them here just to make them more available.

  • Flip the HOLD switch ON.
  • Flip the HOLD switch OFF.
  • Hold down MENU button AND middle button until iPod resets. This should happen after a few seconds.
The author of the page where I got this thinks that this only happens when the iPod is plugged into the laptop while the HOLD switch is ON. I haven't tried to verify this yet.

I just thought I'd pass that along.

Friday, November 04, 2005

What if you couldn't ever logoff AIM?

What if you could not ever turn off your instant messaging client -- if there was no way to prevent people from knowing that you were on-line.

The technology is available to make that happen to some degree.

MIT maps wireless users across campus
CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (AP) -- In another time and place, college students wondering whether the campus cafe has any free seats, or their favorite corner of the library is occupied, would have to risk hoofing it over there.

But for today's student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that kind of information is all just a click away.

MIT researchers did this by developing electronic maps that track across campus, day and night, the devices people use to connect to the network, whether they're laptops, wireless PDAs or even Wi-Fi equipped cell phones.

The maps were unveiled this week at the MIT Museum, where they are projected onto large Plexiglas rectangles that hang from the ceiling. They are also available online to network users, the data time-stamped and saved for up to 12 hours.

"With these maps, you can see down to the room on campus how many people are logged on," said Carlo Ratti, director of the school's SENSEable City Laboratory, which created the maps. "You can even watch someone go from room to room if they have a handheld device that's connected."

Researchers use log files from the university's Internet service provider to construct the maps. The files indicate the number of users connected to each of MIT's more than 2,800 access points. The map that can pinpoint locations in rooms is 3-D, so researchers can even distinguish connectivity in multistoried buildings.

While every device connected to the campus network via Wi-Fi is visible on the constantly refreshed electronic maps, the identity of the users is confidential unless they volunteer to make it public.

Those students, faculty and staff who opt in are essentially agreeing to let others track them.

Rich Pell, a 21-year-old electrical engineering senior from Spartanburg, South Carolina, was less than enthusiastic about the new system's potential for people monitoring. He predicted not many fellow students would opt into that.

"I wouldn't want all my friends and professors tracking me all the time. I like my privacy," he said.

"I can't think of anyone who would think that's a good idea. Everyone wants to be out of contact now and then."


They raise the point that this data viewed in this way can be very useful to city planners who know that a large part of the population is going to do its work in previously unconventional places when WiFi is more readily available. However, if you make this data available to the public (I also think that in MIT's case they log when you login to wired university terminals as well) things get a lot messier.

For example, what if there are services that make use of this information in some way that most people think is beneficial; however, they cannot opt-in to releasing their identity only to these services? In that case, people can basically be forced into releasing their identity to the public at large. Then, like I said, it's like not ever being able to logoff AIM.

On top of all of this, only SLIGHTLY smarter devices installed at each hotspot can use Bayesian analysis to determine the exact physical coordinates of each individual down to 1 foot resolution if not smaller. A little more intelligence will allow them to connect physical coordinates to actual logins. Thus you'll know that your boyfriend is not only in the same coffee shop as your best friend, but they're sitting at the same table together... and that's funny, because usually when you're with them they never talk.

And you know once Wi-Fi becomes more available, other devices will start picking it up. The entire cellular network may oneday be replaced with Wi-Fi phones that use Internet telephony. I know people starting companies to build such phones. (such services will be cheaper to offer to people because there will be no costly cell tower licensing fees to deal with) It was impossible to locate people's cell phones without the cell phones actively transmitting their GPS coordinates. Now, due to the small size of WiFi hot spots, it's much easier to do. Wide area wireless networks will possibly only link hot spots, so the resolution will still be there.

Fascinating times ahead!

[ Note: Take a look at it. See iSpots. I've only gotten it to work in MSIE though. ]

Top Five!

Ohio made it into the top five!

What's interesting is that the deer is Ohio's state animal too!

Top 10 states for auto-deer collisions
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Pennsylvania ranks first among the top ten worst states for vehicle-deer collisions, according to an insurance survey published Thursday.

Coming in second and third were Michigan and Illinois, followed by Ohio and Georgia. Minnesota and Virginia ranked sixth and seventh respectively, while Indiana, Texas and Wisconsin rounded out the list at eighth, ninth and tenth.

It's nice that they make such an effort to mix up the language in that last paragraph to keep from making it look just like a list.

The picture that they put on that article seems appropriate... Aw, what a cute deer... that's going to die someday when it meets a car in one fo these ten states...


Interestingly, there was another anti-deer note just a few days ago.

Deer Decreasing Forest Bird Population
Large populations of deer are edging out forest birds in North America, report scientists in this month's issue of the journal Biological Conservation.

 

Don't you keep records?

Don't you think they would keep records of who visited him that day to see if someone handed him clothes in which he could escape? Instead, they say it was "not immediately clear" if someone actually visited him that day. Apparently attorneys can just come and go as they please. <?>

Convicted killer dons street clothes, escapes from jail
Thompson had been released from his cell block for a visit with his attorney in a private booth, where Plexiglas separates inmates from attorneys, Martin said.

The room is not monitored by authorities and no deputies are present in the room -- an effort to protect attorney-client privilege. Only a few sheets of paper could be slipped under the window, he said.

"He managed to change out of the orange jumpsuit that inmates commonly wear," Martin said. "The inmate jumpsuit was found in the attorney booth."

It was not immediately clear whether Thompson had had an attorney visit him on Thursday, or whether he had merely gone to the area on the pretense of seeing his lawyer.

Drat...

Drat... Norm Coleman AND Mike DeWine do something right... This makes it harder for me to identify them as the epitomes of evil that they are.

Senate passes bill to slash spending
The measure also permits exploratory oil drilling in an Alaskan wilderness area. Five Republicans in the GOP-controlled Senate who oppose the drilling voted against the bill.

The Senate Republicans who opposed the budget bill over the drilling issue were Norm Coleman of Minnesota; Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine; Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island; and Mike DeWine of Ohio.