in lieu of radio ...

a somewhat random collection of pages and thoughts started sept 16 2001. now that i'm not on the radio 6 hours every day, blogger allows all of us to harangue...

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Dog with a 'sixth sense' saves her master's life (Scotsman)


FOR Mark Ryan, Meg the Border collie-cross is more than just man’s best friend - she is also his life-saver.

The two-year-old dog can sense when Mr Ryan is about to suffer an epileptic fit and lets him know by scurrying around his feet - even though Mr Ryan does not yet feel unwell.

When the 45-year-old from Stafford notices the dog becoming agitated and circling him, he immediately braces himself and gets into a safe position to prevent serious injury.

Mr Ryan’s wife, Claire, decided to get a dog following a particularly violent seizure last January, which left her husband with a shattered cheekbone and a broken nose.

A paramedic who was tending Mr Ryan told her that pets helped to calm people suffering from epilepsy, minimising the risk of serious fits.

The couple paid £60 for Meg at the Roden Rehoming Centre in Shropshire. Three weeks after bringing the dog home, Mr Ryan took her out with him and noticed she was behaving in an erratic manner.

The dog began weaving in and out of his legs as if trying to stop him, and kept leaping up at him.

Mr Ryan tried to calm her and carried on walking, but collapsed in the street and was taken to hospital.

Now he has learned to recognised the dog’s signals and has avoided hurting himself during further serious fits by lying down with Meg by his side.

Mr Ryan, a former plumber, said: "Meg has given me my life back. Before I had her I was too scared to step foot outside for long periods in case I collapsed.

"Now, though, I’m much more confident and I know that I can count on her to help me out if I suffer a fit.

"The first time I noticed her strange behaviour I thought she was just overly excited, I never thought for one moment that it was because she was sensing I was about to have a seizure.

"Three weeks after we had picked Meg up from the re-homing centre, I took her to the local shops with me and left her outside. When she saw me she immediately jumped up at me and seemed more animated than usual.

"As I walked off with her, she kept on darting around my legs as if to try and stop me from walking any further, but I didn’t take much notice. We must have got about 30 yards down the road when I collapsed. Luckily I wasn’t badly hurt, but I had to go to hospital as a precaution.

"I have suffered two fairly serious fits since then and each time Meg has acted completely the same. After the first attack I realised what she was doing when she behaves this way and I learnt to brace myself and make sure that I get into a safe recovery position."

Keith Dickinson, a dog behaviour specialist, described her abilities as a "one-off".

He said: "All dogs can pick up changes in mood and can detect fear and adrenaline, but certain breeds are more in tune with their owners than others. Collies have this natural bond and can tap into their owners’ senses. With this case, it appears to be a bit of a one-off though.

"Most dogs - especially collies - would be able to sense that their owners were about to have an epileptic fit. They would pick up a change in body odour just before the seizure.

"But most dogs would not react to it like this dog does: they would probably ignore it."

How Takahiro Omori defied his family, flew to Texas, slept in a van and made his crazy dream come true Bass Fishing in America (Dallas Observer)

US judge strikes down bootleg law (BBC)

Here’s the piece that ‘60 Minutes’ killed for its report on the Bush Guard documents. What a waste! (Valerie Plame and the) "60 Minutes Story" that Didn't Run (Newsweek)

Friday, September 24, 2004

Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, Marvin - HHGTTU is back with new episodes. Hear them over the web! BBC - Radio 4 - The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The George W. Bush Public Domain Audio Archive - I cant' decide if the is an act of lunatic audio scholarship or just the best thing to happend for musical satirists in a while.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Bill Moyers - American Journalistic Hero

A long speech exploring the situation in American journalism, consolidation and all. Awful and brilliant. Our job remains essentially the same: to gather, weigh, organize, analyze, and present information people need to know in order to make sense of the world.

2004 National Convention: Bill Moyers (Society of Professional Journalists - SPJ National Convention) (PDF version here)

Friday, September 17, 2004

The manner in which this story came to light is a lesson in modern journalism Scamming the Media, Parlock Style (TruthOut) Author's Note: The manner in which this story came to light is a lesson in modern journalism. The mainstream fellows simply reported the Parlock perspective, but it was an intrepid band of online newshounds - bloggers Rising Hegemon and Atrios, who picked up on the work of one Rezmutt, member of the forums at - who pieced together the strange coincidences surrounding these Parlock incidents. Once upon a time, stories like this would get missed. The internet has created a whole new phenomenon. If the mainstream media wants to avoid being embarrassed, they might want to think about paying attention to this brave new world of investigative journalism.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Jeeze, now there are more Beatles than Ramones??? Johnny Ramone dies at 55 (AP / CNN)

Iraq war was illegal and breached UN charter, says Annan (Guardian UK)

Mr Annan said that the invasion was not sanctioned by the UN security council or in accordance with the UN's founding charter. In an interview with the BBC World Service broadcast last night, he was asked outright if the war was illegal. He replied: "Yes, if you wish."

He then added unequivocally: "I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal."

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Will ruling on samples chill rap?

Last week, the biggest news in hip-hop didn't concern a concert tour, a hot new album, or a fresh beef between rappers looking for headlines and attention. Instead, it was a federal appeals court ruling that determined artists must pay for every sample they use, even those that are unrecognizable. Will ruling on samples chill rap? (Boston Globe)

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

On Sunday, 13 Iraqis were killed and dozens injured in Baghdad when US helicopters fired on a crowd of unarmed civilians. G2 columnist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who was injured in the attack, describes the scene of carnage - and reveals just how lucky he was to walk away Long, harrowing tale (with only one picture) one in excruciating detail. Cannot be linked to enough ... He's just sleeping, I kept telling myself (Guardian UK)

Friday, September 10, 2004

This time they get it right. - Signs your PC's under siege, and what you can do

Interesting article. But they bury the lead, not mentioning Windows vulns until the penultimate paragraph. And no mention at all of the classic IE/OE vector...???!!! > - Are hackers using your PC to spew spam and steal?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said on Tuesday he would sue electronic voting machine maker Diebold Inc. on charges it defrauded the state with false claims about its products. Calif. to Sue Diebold Over False Claims (Reuters)

Monday, September 06, 2004

I have been using SkypeOut for months now, it rocks!! The more folks who join, the beter for everybody. Cannot recommend highly enough for broadband connected folks. Now the NY Times has a review: Skype in the lead of booming Net phone business -
The Scandinavian company is gaining converts from across the globe with its free and easy-to-use Internet phone service
(Taipei Times, syndicated from NY Times)