February 2004

From Wired:

Soldiers’ moms will no doubt be horrified. But the Pentagon is looking into ways for GIs to fight for up to five days — without eating a single meal.

During a mission, soldiers in the field typically don’t have the time, or the inclination, to chow down. That lack of food can affect their battlefield performance. So Darpa, the U.S. military’s far-out research arm, wants scientists to figure out if soldiers can operate at top levels — without lunch breaks.

“The question is: ‘Are there temporary biochemical approaches we can use to squeeze the last ounce of performance out of soldiers when they’re already worked to exhaustion?'” said a Darpa life sciences consultant, who asked not to be named.

The agency has a couple of ideas on how this might be done: A cocktail of nutrients or so-called “nutraceuticals” could help build endurance. Lowering soldiers’ core body temperature might keep them from overheating. Or, perhaps, the change could be made at the microscopic level, by turbo-charging mitochondria — the cell’s energy suppliers. MORE


Courage, Not Denial: An Interview with Dr. David Buss

BC: Why does evolutionary psychology evoke such strong reactions in people? I’ve noted that when I discuss basic principles with those who have never heard of it before I am met with either enthusiasm or anger. There seems to be little in between. Why might this be so? You are the perfect person to ask.

DDB: I think the strength of reactions is caused by several factors. One is religious, since evolutionary psychology threatens beliefs about divine creation. A second comes from political ideologies–people have agendas for making the world a better place, and evolutionary psychology is erroneously believed to be at odds with social change.

People think “if things like violence or infidelity are rooted in evolved adaptations, then we are doomed to have violence and infidelity because they are an unalterable part of human nature. On the other hand, if violence and infidelity are caused by the ills of society, by media, by bad parenting, then we can fix these things and make a better world.”

It’s what I call the “romantic fallacy”: I don’t want people to be like that, therefore they are not like that [interviewer’s emphasis]. The thinking is wrong-headed, of course. Knowledge of our evolved psychological mechanisms gives us more power to change, if change is desired, not less power.


“Pessimists always do better at the gaming table and in the markets because they adapt behaviour to results, say psychologists.” Telegraph


“The Dutch parliament has accepted a plan to expel thousands of failed asylum seekers.

The law clears the way for the deportation of about 26,000 people, including some who have lived in the Netherlands for years and who have had families there.” BBC


“The leader of a gang responsible for an “appalling and terrifying attack” on a group of four people was jailed today for nine years.

Jason O’Brien, 18, lashed out with a knife, leaving three of the four with horrific injuries after they had tried to stop him attacking someone else.

Six other youths aged from 15 to 18 were jailed for between six and 18 months for their part in the attack in Kingston town centre in April last year.

Judge Kenneth Machin said the victims, Daniel Roberts, Wickus Vlok, Matthew Derbyshire and his girlfriend Kristen Bye, would carry mental scars all their lives. The four intervened when they saw the gang pursuing a young man.” Evening Standard


Outsourcing goes to a new level… [NY Times]

by Limbic on February 17, 2004

Reuters Takes Outsourcing to a New Level With Journalists. Hacks sniggered when programmers and call Centre staff got the chop. Now it is their turn:

Outsourcing has become all the rage in recent years, and India has become a favorite destination for Western companies that want to send jobs to cheaper markets. Companies as different as Delta Air Lines and Dell Computer have hired workers or subcontractors to perform customer service, data entry or other computer-related jobs once done in the United States.

Now, Reuters is going a step further. It told its editorial employees in an electronic posting late last week that it planned to hire six journalists in Bangalore, India, to do basic financial reporting on 3,000 small to medium-size American companies.

“It’s a place where you can get people who understand English, understand financial statements, understand journalism and who are educated to a very high standard and eager to do this kind of work,” David Schlesinger, global managing editor of Reuters, said in a telephone interview. They are also relatively inexpensive, he added. MORE


retrosexual [Word Spy]

by Limbic on February 17, 2004

(ret.roh.SEK.shoo.ul) n. A man with an undeveloped aesthetic sense who spends as little time and money as possible on his appearance and lifestyle.


Aborigines go on the rampage in Sydney [More]

by Limbic on February 16, 2004

False rumours provide excuse for riot. False community leaders praise the revolution. Sensible Aussie politicians call for ghettos to be bulldozed.


“Cvilization as we know it is coming to an end soon. This is not the wacky conclusion of a religious cult, but rather the result of diligent analysis sourced by hard data and the scientists who study global “Peak Oil” and related geo-political events.

So who are these nay-sayers who claim the sky is falling? Conspiracy fanatics? Apocalypse Bible prophesy readers? To the contrary, they are some of the most respected, highest paid geologists and experts in the world. And this is what’s so scary.

The situation is so dire that even George W. Bush’s Energy Adviser, Matthew Simmons, has acknowledged that “The situation is desperate. This is the world’s biggest serious question.”

According to Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, “America faces a major energy supply crisis over the next two decades. The failure to meet this challenge will threaten our nation’s economic prosperity, compromise our national security, and literally alter the way we lead our lives.”

If you are like 99% of the people reading this letter, you have never heard of the term “Peak Oil”. I had not heard the term until a few months ago. Since learning about Peak Oil, I have had my world view, and basic assumptions about my own individual future turned completely upside down. ” MORE


Wonder why kids get shot in Palestine?

by Limbic on February 13, 2004

Find out why…