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Archive for April 25th, 2007


Seed Newsvine

I know of no gun that up and walked itself into a building and began shooting, reloading and shooting some more by itself. That being said, it is a certainty that without the gun attached to the hand of the person doing the shooting there would be far less carnage in this world.Seung-Hui Cho was a well prepared assassin ten days ago. He was prepared to shoot at least one round every three seconds for as long as he was the only armed person in the building. I know, I know, wouldn’t it be just ducky if we had a concealed weapons law so that students or professors or the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker could have shot Cho before he did more damage. Or would that just lead to more carnage? I suggest the latter. The more guns the more gun violence. Cho would not be deterred by the fact that some bozo carried a weapon in his pants, around his ankle, or under his jacket. It would just have made the situation more interesting for him. He knew he was going to die anyway the cake was sliced.

The real question is why did the cops take over 5 minutes to enter the building. The Tribune article points out that since Columbine the police policy is that the first 4 officers that arrive on the scene of a mass shooting wait for nothing and storm in. Since Cho killed himself at the first recognition that the police were in the building think about how many more lives could have been saved if the armed police wearing body armor reacted more quickly. This speaks to the need for more and better training of university police forces as they would be the first responders to this type of crisis when it happens again.

clipped from www.chicagotribune.com
BLACKSBURG, Va. —
The bloodbath lasted nine minutes — enough time for Seung-Hui Cho to unleash 170 rounds from his two pistols, or about one shot every three seconds.
During that time, Virginia Tech and Blacksburg police spent three minutes dashing across campus to the scene. Then they began the agonizing process of breaking into the chained-shut building, which took another five minutes.
The five minutes police spent breaking into the building proved to be crucial. During that time, Cho picked off his victims with a hail of gunfire. He killed himself after police shot through the doors and rushed toward the carnage.
In addition to the 170 rounds Cho fired inside Norris, investigators found unused ammunition in the building, though Flaherty was unsure how much was left. Investigators have compiled 500 pieces of evidence from Norris Hall alone.

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Seed Newsvine

So what’s not known about this new planet? A lot, it seems. But isn’t that what science is all about. Peeking into the unknown to find answers to what was previously unanswerable is what drives scientific inquiry. If in our galaxy alone there are something like 100 million planets that could support life and only 10% actually do there are 10 million planets that do support life. If only 10% of those support some form of intelligent life then there are 1 million planets in the Milky Way Galaxy that support intelligent life. If only 10% support advanced civilizations then there are some 100,000 planets in our galaxy alone that support advanced civilizations.I am willing to bet that none of those folks out there look anything like human beings. In spite of the fact that Star Trek confirmed that everyone in the galaxy speaks English, I doubt that as well. The point here is that we may not be so isolated or unique as we might want to think.

I, for one, am excited about living in a time when reason may finally push aside reasons to believe in the fairy-god of the heavens by erasing the need to fear the unknown. Not knowing, Richard Dawkins reminds us, is the inspiration for either rigorous inquiry or closing off inquiry and pushing the god default button by attributing everything to some unknown creator.

What an exciting new discovery. I can’t wait to learn more.

clipped from www.chicagotribune.com
European astronomers say they have found the first Earth-sized planet beyond this solar system with temperatures mild enough to allow liquid water—a crucial step toward answering whether our cradle of life is unique in the universe.
The planet circles the star Gliese 581 in the Libra constellation, and at 20 light years away is among the 100 stars closest to Earth. Dubbed Gliese 581c, the planet orbits very close to its star—closer than Mercury is to our sun. But astronomers with the European Southern Observatory say the star is dim enough that average temperatures on the planet would fall in the range of an ordinary Chicago spring day.
If the planet has water—a big unknown—its size and climate could make it habitable, experts said. The planet appears to be about 50 percent larger than Earth and has five times more mass, making it one of the smallest far-off planets ever detected.
Our galaxy alone could be home to 100 million habitable planets,

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Seed Newsvine

The White House finds itself fighting battles in Iraq and in the West Wing. The excess use of power and the abuse of that power is now rivaling that of the Nixon administration during Watergate (gosh weren’t we fighting an unpopular war then as well?). Where are the Republicans, those that were so eager to impeach Clinton for failure to keep his pants zipped, as REAL scandal rips at the very fabric of our republic. Where are the voices of outrage when REAL abuses are happening right before our eyes. Where does George II stand in all the scandal that is percolating around him? 636 Days more is 635 too many.

clipped from www.chicagotribune.com
WASHINGTON — A little-known federal investigative unit has launched a probe into allegations of illegal political activity within the executive branch, including a White House office led by President Bush’s close adviser Karl Rove.
The new investigation, which began several weeks ago, grew out of two other investigations still under way at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel: the firing of U.S. Atty. David Iglesias from New Mexico and a presentation by Rove aide Scott Jennings to political appointees at the General Services Administration on how to help Republican candidates in 2008.
The office enforces the Hatch Act, a 70-year-old law that bars federal employees from engaging in political activities using government resources or on government time.
Whether executive-branch employees violated federal laws that restrict them from using their posts for political activity also is at the center of the controversy about the January meeting at GSA.

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Seed Newsvine

Mo Amer uses humor to address crucial issues in America. In this clip he speaks about his 8-year-old nephew, Osama. I laughed so hard my side hurt. Funny thing about humor though, it generally gets the audience right in its softest spot. Look for yourself.

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More Bushisms

Seed Newsvine

This brief clip ends with perhaps the most frightening non-gaff made in his long history of mis-spoken English. Does he have so little respect for the American people that he finds a joke about dictatorship appropriate? As of this post only 636 days left in office–WE HOPE.

clipped from www.youtube.com

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