Archive for September 5, 2008

Obama’s Sermon on the Mile-High Mount

1Then it came to pass in the Land of Entitlement that the Word became Change and the Change became Hope and the Hope became Change You Can Believe In. 2And The Obamessisah went about all fifty-seven states, teaching at their Caucuses and Primaries, healing malaise among the poor in spirit, and preaching the gospel of Progress. 3Then His fame went throughout all the land; and they came to Him all people who were afflicted with Bush Derangement; and those who were hopenitized; moonbats and troofers; and He wooed them. 4Great multitudes followed Him – from Chicago to Jersey, and beyond the Hills of Beverly.

If your sense of humor has been properly titillated and is in good working order, read the rest at The People’s Cube.


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Universal Flu Vaccine?

OXFORD, England, Sept. 5 (UPI) — British researchers are testing a universal flu vaccine on humans in hopes of ending the need for yearly injections. 

Current vaccines only work on certain strains of flu, which means a new vaccine must be formulated each year.

“This approach to influenza vaccination is unsatisfactory for use against seasonal influenza, and of little use when new types of flu begin to infect humans from birds,” Dr. Sarah Gilbert of the University of Oxford said Friday in a statement.

Gilbert said existing flu vaccines work by inducing protective antibodies to proteins on the outer surface of the influenza virus, while the new vaccine targets internal proteins essential to the flu virus that change very little over time or between strains. Researchers said it is hoped the new vaccine could also offer immunity to a bird flu pandemic.

“By targeting the internal proteins of the virus, we can come up with a universal flu jab,” Gilbert said. “The same vaccine would work against all seasonal flu and protect against bird flu.”

 Twelve volunteers are receiving a single injection of the new vaccine as part of this Phase 1 clinical trial, the university said in a release.

Source: UPI.

I certainly hope this works. I certainly am tired of getting a flu vaccine (like last year’s) that doesn’t protect against the strain of flu that I contracted.

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National Agricultural Summary 8/25/2008-8/31/2008

Corn: Dryness continued during the week in the Corn Belt, while temperatures remained mostly within 2 degrees F of normal. Nationally, corn at or beyond the dough stage reached 83 percent, 12 points behind last year and 8 points behind the 5-year average. Major advancement was evident in Colorado, Minnesota, and North Dakota. Acreage in Colorado was reaching dough 9 points ahead of last year and 22 points ahead of normal, while North Dakota’s development was 37 points behind last year and 24 points behind the 5-year average. All other States were within 15 points of average, but mostly behind. Development to the denting stage, at 45 percent nationally, was 30 points behind last year and 20 points behind the 5-year average. In Michigan, 29 percent of the acreage moved into the dent stage during the week. Corn in Colorado, Michigan, and Pennsylvania was denting ahead of the average pace, but all other States remained behind. In Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, and North Dakota, corn acreage was developing to the dent stage 30 or more points behind the 5-year average. Six percent of the Nation’s acreage had reached maturity, 15 points behind last year and 10 points behind the 5-year average. While maturity in the Ohio Valley was slightly ahead of normal, all remaining States were at or behind the average pace. Corn condition ratings declined 3 points to 61 percent good to excellent.

Soybeans: Most of the Nation’s soybean growing area remained dry. Above-normal temperatures prevailed in the northern Great Plains, with southern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota as much as 6 degrees F above normal. In the central Corn Belt and Delta, temperatures were slightly below average. Nationwide, development to the pod-setting stage reached 94 percent, 4 points behind last year and 3 points behind the 5-year average. Other than a 25-point delay in Missouri, all States were within 4 points of average. Pod-setting was complete in Michigan, North Dakota, and Ohio, and was nearly complete in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Mississippi. Nationally, 4 percent of the soybean acreage was dropping leaves by week’s end, 8 points behind last year and 6 points behind the 5-year average. Delays of 32 and 16 points were evident in Mississippi and Arkansas, respectively; however, other soybean-producing states were within 10 points of the 5-year average. Condition ratings declined 4 points to 57 percent good to excellent.

Cotton: Ninety-four percent of the Nation’s cotton acreage was setting bolls by week’s end, 2 points behind last year and 3 points behind the 5-year average. While boll-setting was 10 points ahead of average in Kansas, development elsewhere was within 5 points of the 5-year average. Bolls were opening on 21 percent of the Nation’s acreage, 11 points behind last year and 7 points behind the 5-year average. In Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, and Louisiana, bolls were opening ahead of the 5-year average. Development was behind schedule elsewhere. In Mississippi and Virginia, bolls were opening more than 25 points behind the 5-year average. Cotton condition was rated 50 percent good to excellent, a 2 point improvement from the previous week.

Sorghum: Heading of the sorghum crop, at 88 percent nationally, was 8 points behind last year and 2 points behind the 5-year average. Sorghum heading ranged from 16 points ahead of normal in New Mexico to 17 points behind average in Oklahoma. Heading was complete in the Delta. Sorghum coloring reached 55 percent, 13 points behind last year and 3 points behind the 5-year average. Nationally, 30 percent of the sorghum acreage had reached maturity, 4 points behind last year and 1 point behind the 5-year average. Progress in all States, except Colorado, Louisiana, and Texas, was behind the normal pace. A quarter of the Nation’s acreage had been harvested, 2 points behind last year but equal to the average pace. Harvest was active in the Delta and on the southern Great Plains, and was most advanced in Louisiana and Texas. Sorghum condition, at 51 percent good to excellent, declined 2 points from the previous week.

Rice: Nationally, 94 percent of the rice acreage was heading, 3 points behind last year and normal. Heading was complete in Louisiana and Texas. Producers had harvested 12 percent of the rice acreage, 11 points behind last year and 8 points behind the 5-year average. Other than in Texas, where rice growers reaped 14 percent of the crop during the week, progress was slow and remained behind the normal pace. The lag was most significant in Louisiana, where progress was 30 points behind the 5-year average. Rice condition was rated 70 percent good to excellent, 2 points below last week.

Small Grains: Barley producers had harvested 79 percent of their crop, 16 points behind last year’s pace and 6 points behind the 5-year average. When compared with the 5-year average, progress was 22 points behind in Idaho and 30 points behind in Washington. Elsewhere, producers were reaping the crop within 8 points of the average pace. Oat harvest reached 96 complete, 3 points behind last year and the same as the 5-year average. Harvest was within 1 point of normal in all States except Minnesota, where progress was 3 points behind. Harvest was complete in several States, and was within 10 points of completion elsewhere. Eighty one percent of the spring wheat crop was harvested, 12 points behind last year and 2 points behind the 5-year average. Major delays were evident in Idaho and Washington, where harvest progress was 26 points behind the 5-year average. Progress was near the normal pace in all other States.

Corn prices actually declined at the local feed store this week, a reflection of (slightly) lower transportation costs and expectations of a normal to above-normal harvest this fall.

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TV Crime Shows

I was walking along the beach this afternoon enjoying the gusty weather and storm grey sea when suddenly I could smell the foul miasma of decomposition on the wind. Eeesh. I turned away from the sea into the breeze, trying to pinpoint where the decomposition odor was coming from, and it seemed to be ahead and to the left. I noted a small lump on a sand dune about 150 feet away and, as I got closer, the shattered body of a horseshoe crab with flies busily laying eggs in the remains became apparent.

So how could it be that in so many crime dramas, people such as real estate agents or housekeepers stumble upon a decaying body and it comes as a complete surprise? Are all of the writers and actors and directors so insulated from reality that they do not realize that dead bodies smell really, REALLY bad and that all the people would need to do is open the door to realize sumpin’ ain’t right inside.

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Goodbye, Hannah!

Walking along the (nearly deserted) beach late this afternoon, I noted that there were several surfers out braving the rip tides and high waves. There are no lifeguards on duty, no lifejackets were seen, and many were lone surfers. If any of them were to run into trouble, nobody would be there to notice or summon help. Hope that everybody got out okay.

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