25 July 2007

This and that

To pick up the blogging activities where they stopped is a bit difficult. So, to warm up - a few news items that met my wandering attention during the last month or so.

Doctors removed five small growths from President Bush's colon yesterday after he temporarily transferred the powers of his office to Vice President Dick Cheney under the rarely invoked 25th Amendment. "All were less than 1 centimeter (about four- 10ths of an inch) and none appeared worrisome," White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.
That's not necessarily a most important news (even if its subject is the first colon), but what drew my attention was the picture editors have chosen to illustrate the subject of the said surgery:

The only two protein-based objects in the picture that may have been suspected as polyps are clearly too large to match the description in the above quoted article. To avoid the confusion, here is a picture of a polyp and its normal habitat:

The picture makes it clear that a polyp a) does not bark and b) does not manage other people offices (S., please, refrain from the obvious remark).

After less than an year of trying to handle our minister of strategic threats Avigdor Lieberman, Iranians switched to the new policy: if you can't beat them - join them. So they have decided to make him an Iranian Honoris Causa:
Is Avigdor Lieberman a "good Muslim"? An Iranian newspaper apparently thought so when they accidentally used a picture of the Israeli minister of strategic affairs to illustrate an article about Iranians being mistreated in the United States. The article accused the US of discriminating against Iranians living in its territory, citing the example of an Iranian man who was fired from his American job due to his religious beliefs, according to the website Assar-Iran.

This is one strategic threat Lieberman was surely not prepared to cope with. His neighbors started complaining lately about intermittent wailing in several languages spiced by Russian cursing at all hours. (Hat tip to BV).

One of my earliest suspicions (dated even earlier than the suspicion about the bees and flowers story) was confirmed by this news.

A man with an unusually tiny brain managed to live an entirely normal life as a civil servant. Scans of the 44-year-old man's brain showed a huge fluid-filled chamber took up most of his skull. French researchers say it left room for little more than a thin sheet of actual brain tissue. "He was a married father of two children, and worked as a civil servant," Dr Lionel Feuillet of the Universite de la Mediterranee in Marseille wrote in a letter to the Lancet medical journal.
What can one say, aside of idle speculation on the nature of the fluid?

And from the latest news, something picked from the Channel 2 radio today:

Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu published a spate of ideas for improvements in our school education. The improvements according to Bibi should include a 50% salary increase, more stringent requirements to the wannabe teachers, more powers to the school principal etc. The strange thing is that the stuff was published in Russian only, addressed to the Russian-speaking population via good services of a popular Russian language newspaper.

Addressing in this way the slice of population that is (supposedly) more sensitive to the quality of education is a fairly transparent ploy. Obviously Bibi is trying to win back some votes from the above mentioned Lieberman.

The less strange part (well, knowing Bibi a bit) is that this same Bibi, while serving as a minister of finance, cut tens of thousands of hours, causing some serious "downsizing" in the schoolteachers population. Ah, well, what else is new?

And going back to the subject of polyps: some electronic gizmo in Blogger innards has decided to classify me as a spambot and enforced the cursed word verification on this here blog. Dear Google - the countdown has started...