USDA forbids mad cow testing

Apparently the worst thing you can do is "break ranks with the industry." That, or test the safety of your product without first examining the "trade implications raised."

A beef producer in Kansas has proposed testing all its cattle for mad cow disease so it can resume exports to Japan, but it is encountering resistance from the Agriculture Department and other beef producers. [...]

Creekstone Farms of Arkansas City, Kan. wants to use rapid diagnostic tests that are routinely used in Japan and many European nations. But no rapid tests have been approved by the United States Department of Agriculture, and department officials pointed out yesterday that it was against the law for any company to sell or market any unapproved diagnostic test. They said they would not respond to Creekstone's request until they evaluated the legal, regulatory and trade implications raised.

Other meat producers are upset by the company's request, saying it has broken ranks in an industry besieged by bad news. Dan Murphy, vice president for public affairs at the American Meat Industry, said American beef was so safe that widescale testing was unnecessary. [...]

"We have been looking at the idea of testing all our animals for some time," Mr. Stewart said. "This moved to the forefront with the most recent episode in Washington State. The problem we're having now is that the U.S.D.A. is not wanting to do this. They don't want to test. They don't want to recognize B.S.E. is a problem. They are not going to allow anyone to test until they decide how or when. We believe that may be never." [...]

According to a statement from J. B. Penn, the under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, the Agriculture Department will respond to Creekstone when it has completed its evaluation. A press spokesman, Jim Rogers, said that the reply will "take some time" and that anyone interested should "check back in future."

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now this is an even worse idea

Yes, an Extremely Bad Idea Indeed:

Charlize Theron will star in Aeon Flux, an SF movie based on the MTV animated series, Variety reported. The film will shoot near Berlin in July. Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) is directing a script by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, the trade paper reported.

Incidentally, I just love this style of reporting:

The animated series was created by Peter Chung, the trade paper reported.

They couldn't just say who created the series, you see -- that would require them to actually verify their facts. Maybe fire up Google or something. Any time you see the phrase "the paper reported", it means "I'm not actually a writer, I'm a paraphrase-bot."

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xscreensaver 4.15

XScreenSaver 4.15 out now! The big news is that the apple2 and phosphor hacks now include pty support and vt100 emulation: that means you can now run curses-based programs under them like "top" and... emacs. If you are utterly loony, you can even use them as your regular terminal window.

    phosphor -scale 2 -geom =1280x1024 -program 'top'
   phosphor -scale 4 -geom =1280x1024 \
            -program 'mtr'
   phosphor -program 'xemacs -nw -q -f life'
   phosphor -scale 5 -geom =1280x1024 \
            -program 'xemacs -nw -q --eval "(hanoi 5)"'
   apple2 -text -fast -program 'xemacs -nw -q -f life'
   apple2 -text -fast \
          -program 'xemacs -nw -q --eval "(hanoi 5)"'

"Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can."

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effective against both vampires and prophets

Rodolfo Esqueda removes solid silver nails from the mold used to make one of the pieces of jewelry in the 'The Passion of Christ' line of jewelry at the Bob Siemon Designs plant in Santa Ana Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004. The film opens Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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Sin City movie

This strikes me as perhaps not the best idea ever:

"Robert Rodriguez is already at work directing a big-screen version of Frank Miller's black-and-white comic-book series Sin City, according to Variety. The trade paper reported that Josh Hartnett [The Faculty] and Marley Shelton [Valentine] are starring in the film and have shot the opening sequence in advance of a full shoot slated to begin in March, with Miller on board as co-director."
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for all your barrel-scraping needs shows you images that have been /topics on IRC channels around the net within the last 24 hours. (Requires cookies.)
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DNA Lounge: Wherein we contemplate the Nina/Storm show.

Photos of Nina Hagen / Storm and The Balls are up now. Man, what a fantastic show! Storm and The Balls totally blew me away. Most of what they played was these fantastic loungey, bluesy mash-up cover songs: like the lyrics from "Bring The Noise" with the music of "Sweet Home Alabama", and "Take a Chance On Me" to the tune of "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida". It sounds gimicky, but they did it so well! (And this wasn't some beat-matching remix trick like that Grey Album that's getting so much press at the moment: this was the real thing.) I'm listening to the show again right now, and so should you!

This show almost didn't happen, because Nina Hagen had a lot of trouble getting her visa to enter the country. It would seem that in These Uncertain Times, our government must do its best to keep potential terrorist-slash-recording-artists out of the homeland. In the last couple of years, it's apparently become a lot harder for foreign bands to get in the country; the work visas are nearly impossible to come by, and I'm told that the old tricks that small bands used to use, like just pretending that they're going on vacation and renting instruments when they get here, no longer work.

One of the more egregious examples of this recently was when Cuban guitarist Ibrahim Ferrer was unable to pick up his Grammy award at the ceremony because he couldn't get into the country: "Mr. Ferrer can't be with us tonight".

Nina's agent actually called us to cancel this show, thinking the tour was dead, but Alexis call the Goethe Institute (who put on the Maximilian Hecker / Barbara Morgenstern show a couple weeks ago) and apparently they have some pull in situations like this... She ended up having to cancel her show in New York, though.

What a messed up world.


I, for one, welcome our new quad-kidney transhuman Bosnian hard-drinking overlords.

Extra kidneys give hard-drinking brothers the edge:

Two Bosnian brothers who say they can drink as much as they want without feeling drunk have been told they each have a spare set of fully functioning kidneys.

Josip Galic, 69, from Kucetine in Bosnia said: "I had a car accident and doctors discovered I had four kidneys. That surprised me, but at least it explained why I could drink all my friends under the table, and never had a hangover."

He added it was a further surprise when his brother found out after a visit to the doctor that he had four kidneys as well.



Immortel -- A live-action Enki Bilal movie!

The 9MB teaser and 35MB trailer are here, and I think this is already my new favorite movie.

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how to make your own prison hooch

Remember To Feel The Hate:
"Pruno, a prison wine created from fruit, sugar and ketchup, is such a vile and despicable beast in the California state penal system that prisoners can't eat fresh fruit at lunch. Back in December 2002, the warden at Lancaster prison in Los Angeles County removed fresh fruit from box lunches in the maximum-security lockup, as an effort to reduce violence. Apparently, sober, scurvy-addled felons are much easier to control than drunken, violent convicts."