“Charité” Prosthetic Replaces Spinal Disc

Popular science reports that the latest thing in spinal prothetics is the “Charité”, a couple of low-friction polyethylene discs sandwiched between a pair of cobalt-chromium plates which will actually replace a disc in the lower back. This is expected to be approved for use in the US sometime in 2005.
update: the device is currently being used; the FDA did approve it. In fact, there is another device called the ProDisc that is expected to be approved “relatively soon,” according to the medcompare article.
Read the full Popular Science article here. the article is no longer there. Don’t you hate that?
Read a brief mention in PopSci’s Future Body section.
Read about it on BoingBoing.
Read a discussion of the Charité and alternatives on medcompare.com
Read a rather dry but informative article on medscape.com

You Should of Payed Alot more Attention

John Humphrys rants and raves in the Sunday Times about the deplorable state of English as spoken and written by recent generations. He makes some very good points, along with some amusing tidbits:

I won’t go as far as the gauche young man from rural Mississippi who won a scholarship to Harvard. On his first day he approached a couple of cocky young New England socialites. “Hey y’all . . . where’s the library at?” They sniggered and one replied haughtily: “At Harvard we prefer not to end a sentence with a preposition.” The young redneck thought a moment and said: “Okay. Where’s the library at, asshole?” But I will use the word “only” correctly.

Although some parts of the article seem a little too strict to allow for natural evolution of language, it is overall a good read, one that had me nodding at times and the bile raising in my throat at others.

via BoingBoing


See? Told you so.

As I predicted (but not publicly, so I can’t prove it), there is now a group in the States pushing for a constitutional amendment allowing foreign-born citizens to run for president. And of course, Ahnold’s name is being raised in relation to this. See the story on Fox for more details.

via Fark

We’re Awfully Nice to Strangers

According to an article on CNN Immigration Canada is making an overt push to attract left-leaning Americans. And it look s like the response is pretty good too. From the article:

The Canadian immigration Web site had 115,000 hits the day after the election — from the U.S. alone. We usually only get 20,000 hits.

There is also a site set up by the folks at Communicopia, an online communications company, called Canadian Alternative. It urges Americans to consider the benefits of moving to Canada. This is pretty cool. I don’t know that it’ll be terribly successful, but the immigration lawyer behind much of this new movement is optimistic, and already has a few clients in the pipeline.

It’s been said before, but I think it bears repeating: one potential drawback to an exodus is that the percentage of remaining Americans who are right-wing nuts* increases. Taken to an extreme, this means more republican presidents, less equality, more war, less freedom, more wage gaps, fewer social benefits, more poverty, less international support for the obnoxious cowboys across the lake, and more terrorists with a beef agains the US. Well, we’ll see. I doubt enough people will leave to noticeably affect the demographic layout of the country.

* I don’t mean to say that all right-wingers are nuts. I’m specifically talking about those who are nuts.

Medium Lobster Rocks My World

Quoth the Medium Lobster: “Only George W. Bush has the pure, hard determination to stand up to terror. And only George W. Bush has the unswerving, unfailing incompetence to allow terror to spread so he can continue to stand up to it.”

Read Fafblog, the best satirical political blog around. Read it now. Keep on reading it. And vote Giblets.

Republican Voter Deception Tricks

So let’s say you belong to a political party that values the reselection of your candidate over the democratic process. Would you parade around in the guise of someone on the other team, holding placards that announce what you “support” in a way that is designed to scare voters into voting for your party? Well, that’s what some GOP goombas have been doing: dressing up in what they think looks like a gay uniform and holding signs like “SUPPORT GAY ADOPTION: Kerry/Edwards”.

I saw the photos before reading the text, and thought “okay, they’re enthusiastic, but I don’t think they realize they’re being counterproductive.” Then it came out that they were GOP toadies. Bleargh. When confronted one of them apparently said “Our candidate, John Kerry, supports gay marriage, gay adoption, everything gay.” Um. Fortunately, it sounds like the voters weren’t fooled, and as soon as someone turned some cameras on the fakers they slithered back where they came from. Read the article, it’s worth it: Link

Anyway, if you’re able to vote I sure hope you have. And I hope you’ve seen through all the deception to get these scumbags out of Washington.

via William Gibson

Habs Syndrome

So I heard on the radio today that there is a new affliction known as “Habs Syndrome”. A GP was on talking about the depression and listlessness afflicting many Hockey fans now that the idea of a winter without Hockey is sinking in. Apparently this is something he and his colleagues have seen quite a bit, and is similar to the depression observed in a player if for some reason he is forced to miss out on playing with his team.

It seems really silly at first. But I was thinking about the impact Hockey has in cities like Montreal, and it makes sense that people are so profoundly affected. Think about it: from November to March you are in a climate nobody would live in (given decent alternatives) without some serious incentive. The days are windy and bitterly cold, and the nights are the same, but darker. There aren’t all the awesome crazy festivals that make the city hop in the summer, and sunlight deprivation makes everyone cranky. A sport like Hockey is great for morale, especially with a history as rich as the one the Canadians have. Among Montrealers, even people who hate Hockey love Hockey.

So what happens when there’s a lockout, and there is no Hockey for an entire season? I predict lots of scrambling to catch European matches, and certainly a huge increase in attendance at minor league games. We’ll see.