Frontier Former Editor

July 6, 2008

Club Lecter

Those wacky cost-savers in the Bush Administration are at it again . . . .

Club Lecter
Club Lecter

 

You’ve heard of Plum Island. Just think back to when you last saw “Silence of the Lambs.”

Yep, it’s where Jodie Foster floated a false offer to Anthony Hopkins to be imprisoned there and walk the white sand beaches and enjoy the wildlife – near the Plum Island Animal Disease Center.

Now, in a feat of mental legerdemain every bit as awe-inspiring as the Federal Government’s rapid response to hurricane Katrina, the Department of Homeland Security (I snicker my ass off more each day at that title . . .) is evaluating six possible sites for a new National Bio and Agro-defense Facility. Five of them are on the mainland U.S.

According to our good friends at UPI:

“The department wants to build the new lab, dubbed the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, at one of five potential mainland sites, but is also evaluating the existing site of the lab it would replace, the aging Plum Island Animal Disease Center, in New York state’s Long Island Sound.

The draft Environmental Impact Statement, published Friday, is a 1,005-page federally required assessment of a range of effects the planning, construction and operation of the lab would have at each of the proposed sites.

It says the health and safety impact — including the possibility of an accidental or deliberate release of pathogens from the lab — was “negligible” at all six possible sites, because of its assessment that the risk of such a release “was none to low for all accident scenarios except an over-pressure fire,” which can cause an explosion if flammable gases build up in an enclosed space.

The risk for this kind of accident was “moderate” for all six sites.

The department also assessed the possibility of a terrorist attack releasing pathogens from the lab — which will work on the most infectious animal diseases, like Foot and Mouth; and on those most deadly to humans, like the Hendra and Nipah viruses.

The overall risk assessment for a release at the five mainland sites was “moderate” because of “the potential easy spread of a disease through livestock or wildlife” nearby, the statement said. The Plum Island site overall risk rank was “low or none” because of “the low likelihood of any disease getting off of the island,” the statement concluded.”

It seems to me – pardon my attempt at logical and rational thought here – that one would want to keep a lab dealing in major threats to livestock and humans as remote as possible. Sigourney Weaver grasped the concept quite nicely in the “Alien” movies.

And, according to the Associated Press in a story that ran about two weeks ago, federal officials ran a simulated exercise called ‘Crimson Sky’ to consider the effects of a mass foot-and-mouth disease outbreak . The ‘results’?

  • “Fictional riots in the streets after the simulation’s National Guardsmen were ordered to kill tens of millions of farm animals, so many that troops ran out of bullets.”
  • “In the exercise, the government said it would have been forced to dig a ditch in Kansas 25 miles long to bury carcasses.”

Following that general theme, wouldn’t it be somewhat questionable to consider just how safe putting an animal disease research laboratory in the middle of one of several major livestock centers is when the original laboratory was put out on an island away from such centers?

The only way this could get any funnier is if Halliburton were involved. They aren’t, right?

 

 

June 2, 2008

Something less freakish than the U.S. presidential campaign . . .

Warning: If you’re a PETA enthusiast, don’t watch. If you believe everything that the Stalin-era USSR  and Ensign Chekov spouted, then you’ll enjoy this. If you’re a Tom Savini or Herschel Gordon Lewis Fan, you’ll probably fall asleep.

September 7, 2007

Vicariously nuking David Albo . . . . or, ‘Eet’s a beumb!’

Those wild and crazy guys over at the Federation of American Scientists have another neat piece of learning software that’ll make ‘duck and cover’ absolutely uncool . . . . literally.

The Nuclear Weapons Calculator (or Nucular Weapons Calculator to our dumbass buddy at Pennsy Ave.) lets you decide just how much destruction to wreak on your favorite American city.

Stiletto: the yield range for Washington D.C. will encompass your favorite Virginia state legislator’s house, hint hint . . . .

And while you’re going MAD on your favorite metropolitan area, here’s a little mood music . . . .

August 2, 2007

It’s hydra-matic (sorry, Grease was on the tv last night . . . .)

http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/070731_twoheaded_jellyfish.html

Scientists Create 12-Headed Jellyfish

By Charles Q. Choi, Special to LiveScience

posted: 31 July 2007 08:03 pm ET

“Jellyfish with up to a dozen heads have been created in the laboratory by carefully monkeying with a few genes.

The genetic experiments could shed light on how natural colonies of other multi-headed organisms first originated, including some that build coral reefs.

“Researchers targeted so-called Cnox genes, which help control how the bodies of jellyfish are laid out as their embryos develop. These genes are closely related to Hox genes, which play a similar role in humans.”

First of all, why Cnox genes? If they’re jellyfish, why not use the Knox gene>

Second, Samuel Z. Arkoff beat them to the punch more than three decades ago . . .

                                           rosie.jpg

July 16, 2007

She may have zombie hamsters, but we’ve got a bureaucratic solution!

Filed under: homeland security, immigration, mad science, politics, vampires, zombies — Frontier Former Editor @ 10:51 am

The same guys who gave us radar, the steam catapult and 2010 may be doing this . . . .

http://raincoaster.com/2007/07/16/zombie-hamsters-the-whores-of-lisle-street-the-lord-of-the-flies-and-global-warming/

 but we’ve got a bureaucratic solution with this:

 “Vampires arrived in the United States with the first European settlers and followed the general population shifts of Americans in the early days of the Republic. During this time, fighting vampires was a task left to individual bounty hunters and local militias known as the Vampire National Guard. As the country grew and became increasingly urbanized, a more ambitious vampire abatement program became necessary. The Copper Creek Seige of 1855, in which vampires took over an entire California mining town, underscored the country’s need for an organized, well-trained force to combat the growing plague. The Civil War delayed implementation until 1868, when President Ulysses S. Grant officially formed the Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency.

An early vampire patrol
is organized

Initially, the FVZA was a specialized branch of the Armed Forces, modeled after similar troops in France and Great Britain. The troops were known as the “Vanguard,” a contraction of Vampire National Guard. They worked mostly in large cities. By day, they scoured likely vampire/zombie hiding places; by night, they patrolled areas of high vampire/zombie activity (slums, waterfronts, parks, etc.). Though they were underfunded, ill-equipped and often shuttled off to fight wars on foreign soil, the FVZA made some strides in controlling resident vampire and zombie populations. However, the huge surges of immigrants coming to America helped increase the U.S. vampire population to 300,000 by the turn of the century.”

 And to think that the anti-immigration bill folks haven’t stumbled onto this yet.

Or maybe they have . . . .

June 10, 2007

I’d love to see Rain explain this one away . . . .

Filed under: blood, Canadians, mad science, medicine, red, science — Frontier Former Editor @ 1:20 pm

Vancouver patient oozes green blood

Last Updated: Friday, June 8, 2007 | 7:17 AM PT

The Canadian Press

Doctors at Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital came across something highly illogical when they tried to put an arterial line into a patient about to undergo surgery: his blood was dark green . . . . .

“During insertion, we normally see arterial blood come out. That’s how we know we’re in the right place. And normally that blood is bright red, as you would expect in an artery,” Flexman said in an interview Thursday.

“But in his case, the blood kept coming back as dark green instead of bright red.

“It was sort of a green-black. … Like an avocado skin maybe.”

Well Rain? Is this some horrible side effect of the Lorne Greene School of Broadcasting? Or some mutant offspring of John Dieffenbaker?

March 22, 2007

Modeling can be harmful to your mental health . . .

Filed under: Cold War, mad science, models, nukes, old times, weapons — Frontier Former Editor @ 8:55 pm

I was taking a break from the sheer pleasure of writing HTML code this afternoon and riffling through my pile of unbuilt model kits when I found my F-106 Delta Dart – a true Cold War icon in its own perverse way.

Sorting through the box’s contents, I saw the parts for one of the Dart’s more ‘interesting’ weapons – the AIR-2 Genie. Rain and Metro‘ll both appreciate this one, since Canada’s government also saw fit to get in on the act.

 And what does a Genie do? Well, be thankful that it’s not around anymore to grant its masters’ wish.

Live Test of nuclear AIR-2A Genie rocket

April 29, 2006

Ooohh, I like this . . .

Filed under: cool stuff, humor, mad science, tech, weapons — Frontier Former Editor @ 9:00 am

Just the ticket to deal with those free AOL discs you get in the mail and those malware-loaded Sony music discs

Hammerhead – Lego CD thrower

Now I gotta start buying Legos . . .

April 5, 2006

Once more, from the ‘Star Trek’ book of reality . . .

Filed under: cool stuff, mad science, science, tech, weapons — Frontier Former Editor @ 10:27 pm

Remember Scotty trying to trade the formula for transparent aluminum in one of the Star Trek movies?

Air Force testing new transparent armor from www.af.mil

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFPN) — Engineers here are testing a new kind of transparent armor — stronger and lighter than traditional materials — that could stop armor-piercing weapons from penetrating vehicle windows.

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s materials and manufacturing directorate is testing aluminum oxynitride — ALONtm — as a replacement for the traditional multi-layered glass transparencies now used in existing ground and air armored vehicles. []

Another example that ‘Star Trek’ is fast becoming more fact than fiction . . . .

Filed under: mad science, science, Uncategorized — Frontier Former Editor @ 2:17 pm

This is really cool, in a truly fundamental way . . . .

Professor Predicts Human Time Travel This Century from PhysOrg.com

With a brilliant idea and equations based on Einstein’s relativity theories, Ronald Mallett from the University of Connecticut has devised an experiment to observe a time traveling neutron in a circulating light beam. While his team still needs funding for the project, Mallett calculates that the possibility of time travel using this method could be verified within a decade.
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