Thursday, March 24, 2005

City toilets rise to the occasion: "Futuristic toilets which rise out of the ground could be used to tackle the problem of men urinating in the street."

Leave it to the BBC to make this story boring. Thankfully, when that happens, there's always The Register to turn to. According to El Reg: "Unless you live in Aberdeen, in which case we advise you to take your chances indoors. The reason? Battalions of remote-controlled stealth cyberloos disguised as manhole covers but capable of rising from the pavement in seconds and devouring up to three urinating Scotsmen in one vicious attack.

"We kid you not. Aberdeen City Council is considering installing two 6ft "Urilift" retractable cubicles in response to a reported lack of late-night toilet facilities. Naturally, it's not enough to knock up a traditional, brick-built Caledonian crapper. Nope, what Aberdeen needs a is hydraulically-powered cyberbog operated by "council employees" from a remote command centre."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

U.S. Probes Sale of GM Corn: "The experimental seed, called Bt 10, distributed primarily in the United States by Swiss firm Syngenta, is not believed to pose a safety risk to humans or the environment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. However, critics of genetically modified foods say the incident is a wake-up call to regulators who have not done enough to monitor the industry."

There are those who suggest that the GM seed companies want their seeds to get into the wild. In Canada, Monsanto has successfully sued farmers who never purchased their seeds, and who deny planting modified crops, when modified (and patented) stock was found in their fields. If enough wind-borne infiltration occurs, Monsanto would (legally) be able to compell all farmers to buy their seed.

There is nothing in this article to suggest that Syngenta did this intentionally, but the effects may be significant as some of the crop was exported to the EU, where political resistance to GM crops is rampant and at times extreme. That Syngenta is a Swiss firm (an EU member state) will probably not matter...

Monday, March 14, 2005

Teen wins lawsuit about dress code: "Fort Wayne Community Schools officials violated an Elmhurst High School student’s free-speech rights when they suspended him for wearing a T-shirt bearing the likeness of an M-16 rifle and the text of the Marine Corps creed, a federal court ruled Friday.

"The district suspended Nelson Griggs in March 2003 for violating a provision of the school dress code that prohibits students from wearing clothing depicting “symbols of violence.”"

Hmmm... Aparently a gun is not a symbol of violence. We should reconsider what constitutes a symbol of violence. If students are prohibited from wearing clothing depicting symbols of violence, they should also be prohibited from wearing American flags or peace signs (inverted broken cross).