What happens when you knock up a RealDoll

The Miracle of Birth in the Uncanny Valley

Next up we have our bouncing baby whatever. It's just the cutest little thing. It's got tubes and plunger dealies and a big blue wired control box, just like a real infant.

The real fun is getting the two together so that you can recreate the natural majesty of birth. Once you get everything unpacked, set up, calibrated, tested and filled with the appropriate fluids, you have one more decision to make. Breech or regular birth.

Now gingerly nestle your lovechild into place, making sure to position the birthing piston. After the birth your infant will be comforted by snuggling up to Mommy and listening to the soothing hum of her birthing piston.

Once baby's all set, close the pod bay door and get Mommy ready for the big day. Another helpful blurb from the manual advises us to keep the vulva lubricated.

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up next: locusts!

Chinese PM admits sandstorms are sign of 'ecological destruction'

Beijingers unfurled their face-scarves and wiped the coating of yellow dust off their homes yesterday after days of sandstorms which deposited on to the capital 300,000 tons of sand from the Gobi desert and dust from the thousands of building sites around the city.

By the time the sandstorms whipped Beijing, they had picked up a large dose of heavy metals and carcinogens which, over the past week, caused a suffocating layer of foul air to hang over China's capital.

The head of China's environment watchdog warned yesterday that worsening water and air pollution could soon become a political issue and translate into social tension, riot and protests. [...] His views were echoed by Wen Jiabao, the Prime Minister. "The succession of dust storms is a warning to us. Ecological destruction and environmental pollution are creating massive economic losses and gravely threatening people's lives and health," he said earlier this week.

The premier said China had no problem meeting economic goals but was faltering on environmental targets. China's sulphur dioxide emissions last year were 27 per cent higher than in 2000, despite the goal set by the government to reduce emissions by 10 per cent over that time.

The World Bank says 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China and so far this year the capital has recorded just 56 days with blue skies - 16 fewer than for the same time last year. Environmental damage has sparked widespread anger and many citizens have taken to the streets to protest.

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vegetables no longer good for you, eat meat

Fruits, vegetables not as nutritious as 50 years ago

In spite of what Mother taught you about the benefits of eating broccoli, data collected by the U.S. government show that the nutritional content of America's vegetables and fruits has declined during the past 50 years -- in some cases dramatically.

Davis, who discussed his findings at a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in St. Louis, suspects the trend in agriculture toward encouraging crops that grow the fastest and biggest is a reason for the decline. The past five decades have been marked by the "Green Revolution," which has seen a marked increase in U.S. production and yields as farmers have turned to the fastest-growing and greatest-producing plants.

The tradeoff is that the faster-growing plants aren't able to acquire the nutrients that their slower-growing cousins can, either by synthesis or from the soil. He said there also are differences in the amounts of nutrients lost in differing varieties of wheat and broccoli.

Davis said he doesn't want his study to encourage people to stop eating vegetables on the grounds they lack nutrients.

Ha ha, too late.

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Russian Thieves Break Into Missile Silo to Find it Filled With Money

A team of thieves that broke into an abandoned missile silo not far from the Russian city of Kostroma in search of nonferrous metals was shocked to find the shaft packed with Soviet money bills, Regnum news agency reported on Tuesday.

The incident would have remained secret, had the wind not blown hundreds of banknotes all over the countryside.

Four men from Nizhny Novgorod found the silo that had had missiles dismantled and put on maintenance decades ago in accordance with the Soviet disarmament program. They targeted the metals inside and said they had had no idea about the money hidden in the shaft.

It's the wind-blown money that elevates this from mere Madmaxian doomedness to screwball comedy. Is this what Schneier means by "movie plot threats"?

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Fundamentalism in Spaaaaaaace

How to practice Islam in space?

Malaysia's National Space Agency is holding a conference to consider Muslim astronauts pray in space as the country prepares to send its first citizen into orbit.

Three of the four astronaut candidates selected so far are Muslims. Two will eventually be trained and sent into space by Russia.

Performing ablutions for Muslim prayers with water rationing in space and preparing food according to Islamic standards will be among issues discussed.

The astronaut will also visit the International Space Station, which circles the earth 16 times in 24 hours, so another thorny question is how to pray five times a day as required by Islam. Muslims also have to turn towards Mecca to pray and working out which direction that will be while hovering above the earth might be challenging.

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