"I got a politician on deck that could choke a rhino"

A carnival float shows paper mache figure of German conservative opposition leader Angela Merkel emerging from the buttocks of Uncle Sam during the traditional Rose Monday carnival parade in Duesseldorf, March 3, 2003. Merkel has strongly criticized the German government's anti-Iraq war stance and recently visited Washington. The Rose Monday parades in Cologne, Mainz and Duesseldorf are the highlight of the German street carnival season. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

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making fire with ice

Bookmark this for the next time you're trapped in the arctic with no technology.


Derek "Muammar" Flint

An unidentified member of Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi's female bodyguards looks on after being prevented, by force, from entering a complex where an Arab League summit takes place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, February 28, 2003. Arab foreign ministers dismissed on Friday U.S. pressure to urge President Saddam Hussein to resign, as Arab leaders meet for talks on bridging long-standing rifts and averting war. REUTERS/Aladin Abdel Naby

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nature's self-regulating effects in action?

"fertility rates will be below replacement levels in three-quarters of the world by 2050"

[...] Joseph Chamie, the head of the UN population division in New York, said he now expected 8.9 billion people on Earth in 2050, rather than the 9.3 billion that he forecast in 2002. The current figure is 6.3 billion.

The 400-million reduction equates to the current populations of the US, Canada and Mexico combined. Chamie said half arose from birth rates falling faster than expected and the other half was due to rising forecasts of the death toll from AIDS. [...]

He warned that "fertility rates will be below replacement levels in three-quarters of the world by 2050". The great majority of women worldwide will be having fewer than two children. [...] In fact, the new projections assume that most countries will eventually approach a fertility rate of 1.85 children per woman. This represents a clear break with past thinking - demographers had always assumed countries would settle down to replacement fertility levels. [...]

The population of South Africa and three neighbours is also expected to reduce, but as a result of the AIDS. Chamie predicts the disease will have claimed 278 million lives by mid-century. [...]

The next five decades are also set to see a massive ageing of the world population. The number of people over 80 will rise fivefold. The median citizen - the one with half the world older than him or her and half younger, will be aged 37 in 2050, compared to 26 today.

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jury duty for ex-presidents!

"Civic Duty, Sure, but Wasn't the White House Enough?"

The jury selection questionnaires in a case involving a gang shooting were supposed to be confidential, but there was a glaring clue to the identity of Prospective Juror No. 142 in federal court in Manhattan yesterday.

Where it asks for previous jobs held, he filled in President of the United States.

[...] Reached by phone, Mr. Clinton's lawyer, David E. Kendall, said: "The former president is subject to jury duty, he's done his part, and if selected he would serve."


longevity, morphology, incept dates

The World's Oldest Eye

The sparkle in the world's oldest eye belongs to Shirley Gordon, who celebrates 50 years of second sight on Wednesday. As Australia's first successful dual corneal transplant recipient, she will toast the donors whose rare gifts kept blindness at bay.

Her left eye operation was carried out on March 5, 1953 by ophthalmologist Sir Thomas a'Beckett Travers in Melbourne's St Ives Hospital.

The donor was believed to be aged 80, making the graft 130 years old and still going strong.

[...] "It is incredible to think I have living tissue older than anyone has lived - the blessing of sight has given me a very different life," she said. Professor Doug Coster, who now cares for Mrs Gordon, said: "It is unusual to have a transplant that has lasted for 50 years... it is very encouraging for other recipients."

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