Friday, May 28, 2010

English Russia » The Most Unusual Metro In The World

English Russia » The Most Unusual Metro In The World: "The Most Unusual Metro In The World
Category: Photos, Russian People, Technology |

The Most Unusual Metro In The World 2

Once we had a story about some personal railway, no another Russian hero Leonid Murlyanchik has been building his metro alone since 1984. All materials are bought for his retired fee. Construction is not over yet.

By the way Leonid has all necessary documents and permits for this metro.

An entry to the station. Here the ceiling is high and the walls are plastered.

The Most Unusual Metro In The World 4

Homemade concrete mixer.

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Apart from the transport function Leonid is going to plumb the metro and to make fireplugs.

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When neighbors want to have metro too, through such niches in the walls the tunnel can be prolonged to them.

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The tunnel carries the weight of 60-tons’ truck going above.

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Soon here will be going full-automated cars, carrying 3-4 passengers.

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The tunnel deepening for 1 meter takes one day. Three days more - for concrete casting of the walls and the arch.

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The Most Unusual Metro In The World 16

It’s hard to believe that all this has been made by one person only!

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A way to the main entry goes along the parallel tunnel. Everything has been made in accord with safety measures.

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And here is Leonid himself - a person who never gives up!

The Most Unusual Metro In The World 20

Tags: cool, creative, metro, self-made, underground

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World Map Of Touristyness

World Map Of Touristyness: "« Because Every Country Is The Best At Something
World Map Of Touristyness
May 23, 2010

Word Map Of Touristyness

Great places-to-avoid heatmap using distribution of photos on Panoramio. Nice idea! By

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The Last Psychiatrist: NY v Junco: Sex, Civil, Hygiene, and Mental, All In One Post

The Last Psychiatrist: NY v Junco: Sex, Civil, Hygiene, and Mental, All In One Post: "May 27, 2010
NY v Junco: Sex, Civil, Hygiene, and Mental, All In One Post
gavel and stethescope.jpg
when you lay down with dogs, you come up with fleas

Forensic psychiatrist James Knoll writes The Political Diagnosis: Psychiatry in the service of the law. You should read it (short) now, I'll wait.

If you have the great misfortune to live in NY, as I once did, for three years in a miserable art deco apartment building near 180 and Broadway, sandwiched between Hellfire and Damnation, fighting thugs to get into an apartment you had to fight roaches to get out of-- but I digress.

In any event, the state of New York is pleased to offer civil commitment of sex offenders. How do you determine who is 'a sex offender requiring civil management?'

According to the Mental Hygiene Law (yes, it's called that)

' '[s]exual offender requiring civil management' means a detained sex offender who suffers from a mental abnormality. A sex offender requiring civil management can, as determined by procedures set forth in this article, be either (1) a dangerous sex offender requiring confinement or (2) a sex offender requiring strict and intensive supervision.'

The second sentence is indecipherable. I think it says, 'a person requiring commitment is a) a dangerous person requiring commitment or b) a person requiring commitment.'

Leaving us with the first sentence: '... is a sex offender who suffers from a mental abnormality.'

Mental abnormality is: a condition that 'predisposes him to the commission of conduct constituting a sex offense and that results in his having a serious difficulty in controlling such conduct.'

Which makes sentence 1: 'a sex offender requiring commitment is a sex offender who suffers from a condition that makes him a sex offender.' Which, of course, means anything you want it to.


Douglas Junco was sentenced to 15 years for attempting to rape a woman because she gave him a ride home from a bar. After serving out his sentence, the state tried to civilly commit him further, but the jury refused to play along, so Junco went to Georgia and raped a 48 year old relative.

You'll probably want to say that he should have been civilly committed after all.

So what psychiatric testimony was presented to get him committed? The psychiatrist diagnosed him with:

Axis I: Impulse Control Disorder NOS.
Axis II: Antisocial Personality Disorder.

I will post a naked picture of myself punching a dolphin if anyone can tell me what the difference between those two diagnoses is in this case. Which one of these constitutes the mental abnormality? Explain your answer using evidence. It's a trial, right?

The judge:

...the court expresses its concern that although the respondent had been subjected to numerous psychiatric evaluations while in custody over a prolonged period of time (since 1992), he never was diagnosed with impulse control disorder NOS until the evaluation by Dr. Gonzalez on March 15, 2007. The court is further concerned that Dr. Gonzalez was generally not aware of the circumstances surrounding the numerous 'tickets' issued to the respondent while in custody; that the doctor apparently gave some consideration to a criminal charge against the respondent in 1991 which was in effect immediately dismissed; that a determination had been made in a separate proceeding that as to the instant offense there was a lack of sexual contact; and, finally, that the doctor apparently was not provided with, nor did he therefore consider, any favorable reports submitted as to the respondent while he was in custody.

If you are thinking the psychiatrist didn't do a good enough job of presenting evidence to commit, you're missing the pointmissing the point. The psychiatrist did everything exactly the way every other psychiatrist does things, i.e. half-assed and disinterestedly. But that same evidence could easily have gotten a man committed forever. The reason he wasn't diagnosed with Impulse Control Disorder while in prison is because there was no external reason for the diagnosis. There were no services to provide or deny him on the basis of a diagnosis. And the reason Gonzalez did diagnose him with that is because that's what he needed for a commitment, in the absence of good stuff like psychosis. Expediency. It's that simple.

In addition to reviewing numerous documents and reports concerning the respondent, Dr. Gonzalez conducted a telepsychiatry interview of Mr. Junco which lasted approximately one hour. Incredibly, the doctor did not take any notes during the interview.

Incredibly? Your Honor, what was incredible is that it lasted an hour, and by incredible I mean completely and utterly impossible.

Again, to clarify: we're upset he didn't do a good enough job to commit, but a judge could easily have just taken the psychiatric testimony at face value and locked him and his mom and his fish and his car for a century. The hoax is that there is any evidence to present at all. What evidence? What does a shrink know about future behavior, of human nature? I'm not saying intelligent things aren't known; I'm saying they are not more known by shrinks. Hell, why wouldn't you just ask other sex offenders for their testimony?

The reason this guy was able to get out and rape again is the same reason why other people who won't ever hurt anyone will be held indefinitely with no recourse: political expediency masquerading as science.


Just a piece of advice. If you are ever arrested, make sure to ask for a jury. As for two juries. If your lawyer says the words 'bench' and 'trial' at any point in the same paragraph, flee to Argentina. Those 12 idiots, imperfect as they are, are one of the only things protecting you from a top down, hierarchical, classist, flow chart wielding government clusterfuck that has no time, interest, or money to deal with people as individuals, so it dealsdeals with them as groups, types, diagnoses and organ banks.

- Sent using Google Toolbar" Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age (9781594202537): Clay Shirky: Books Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age (9781594202537): Clay Shirky: Books: "The author of the breakout hit Here Comes Everybody reveals how new technology is changing us from consumers to collaborators, unleashing a torrent of creative production that will transform our world.

For decades, technology encouraged people to squander their time and intellect as passive consumers. Today, tech has finally caught up with human potential. In Cognitive Surplus, Internet guru Clay Shirky forecasts the thrilling changes we will all enjoy as new digital technology puts our untapped resources of talent and goodwill to use at last.

Since we Americans were suburbanized and educated by the postwar boom, we've had a surfeit of intellect, energy, and time-what Shirky calls a cognitive surplus. But this abundance had little impact on the common good because television consumed the lion's share of it-and we consume TV passively, in isolation from one another. Now, for the first time, people are embracing new media that allow us to pool our efforts at vanishingly low cost. The results of this aggregated effort range from mind expanding-reference tools like Wikipedia-to lifesaving-such as, which has allowed Kenyans to sidestep government censorship and report on acts of violence in real time.

Shirky argues persuasively that this cognitive surplus-rather than being some strange new departure from normal behavior-actually returns our society to forms of collaboration that were natural to us up through the early twentieth century. He also charts the vast effects that our cognitive surplus-aided by new technologies-will have on twenty-first-century society, and how we can best exploit those effects. Shirky envisions an era of lower creative quality on average but greater innovation, an increase in transparency in all areas of society, and a dramatic rise in productivity that will transform our civilization.

The potential impact of cognitive surplus is enormous. As Shirky points out, Wikipedia was built out of roughly 1 percent of the man-hours that Americans spend watching TV every year. Wikipedia and other current products of cognitive surplus are only the iceberg's tip. Shirky shows how society and our daily lives will be improved dramatically as we learn to exploit our goodwill and free time like never before.
About the Author
Clay Shirky teaches at the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, where he researches the interrelated effects of our social and technological networks. He has consulted with a variety of groups working on network design, including Nokia, the BBC, Newscorp, Microsoft, BP, Global Business Network, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Navy, the Libyan government, and Lego(r). His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times (of London), Harvard Business Review, Business 2.0, and Wired.

- Sent using Google Toolbar" / Science fiction and fantasy / Stories / The Cockroach Hat by Terry Bisson and Red Nose Studio / Science fiction and fantasy / Stories / The Cockroach Hat by Terry Bisson and Red Nose Studio: "Ad Banner
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The Cockroach Hat
By terry bisson
illustration by red nose studio

Sam Gregory woke up one morning and found, to his dismay, that he had turned into a big cockroach. “Oh, no,” he thought. He had some idea of what was happening because of the Kafka story. He hadn’t exactly read it, but he had heard all about it back when he was in college. Sam’s roommate, Cliffe with an E, had taken a course called Shape Shifters in Modern Lit, thinking it would be an easy A, like the video games he played in the Student Union, taking on all comers, or Eco-Alternatives. Instead, it required a paper, and Cliffe felt betrayed. Sam said I told you so (the wrong thing to say) and Cliffe suggested he shut the fuck up. That only made things worse and soon they weren’t speaking at all. Several times, they almost came to blows.

Instead, they became the best of friends.

Here’s how that happened: Cliffe’s girlfriend was a Conflict Resolution major, and she suggested they go bowling blindfolded (neither of them bowled) in an effort to change the subject through creative misdirection while she monitored the experiment for credit. They even rented the shoes. It might have worked, too, but she didn’t know how to keep score, plus they had forgotten the blindfolds, so they played the pinball machine instead; there was just one, between the Men’s and the Ladies’, a leftover from some previous universe of bells and flippers.

“What I don’t like about it,” said Cliffe, “is that is it’s just a metaphor instead of something real.”

“What if it was real?” I (Sam) asked. “What if it was me and I actually turned into a cockroach someday?”

“Then I would do everything I could to help you out,” said Cliffe.

I was to remember that promise later when I actually turned into a cockroach.

Meanwhile Cliffe’s girlfriend, who I will call Anna, tagging along to monitor the experiment, was pleased with the results so far. She was cute, not as cute as some but cuter than others, and I immediately fell in love with her. It made me angry how Cliffe always criticized her for everything and I told her so.

We were sort of a threesome.

She was dying of a disease and told me so. Cliff already knew. She only had a year to live. We both felt sorry for her, me sorrier, but it was Cliff who died. This happened unexpectedly one afternoon.

It was time to make a new start so Anna and I moved to Park Slope, in Brooklyn. We pretended we were married and even got a baby carriage. We rolled up a towel in a blanket and pretended it was a baby and rolled it around the streets and sidewalks.

Then we discovered it really was a baby. I say “we” but Anna had known it all along. It was crying like crazy. Luckily by then we had a house. Now this had to happen!

Here I was, a big cockroach!

I tried to think of what to do. The bedroom door was shut but I knew that sooner or later Anna would come in and see me, flat on my back with six legs in the air. I had to figure out a way to communicate with her and let her know what was what, before she freaked out.

I was still figuring when the door opened and she came in and immediately started screaming. I could see she wasn’t going to be much help, so I scurried under the bed as fast as lightning, cockroach style. Meanwhile she ran out of the room to get a broom, I figured, or something to kill me with.

I was on my own. That was when I remembered Cliffe’s promise and wished he was still alive. But if wishes were pennies we’d all be rich. I scurried down through the walls and out of the house, making quick work of the front steps.

Here on the streets of Brooklyn I was less noticeable. Fast-moving, too. It was raining, and after lots of adventures which involved things like making a boat out of a leaf and riding on a roller skate like it was a bus, I made my way to the Gowanus Canal. I had a plan. I knew that with all the renovations in Brooklyn all the writers had ended up in one building, an old warehouse that wasn’t hard to find. There were their names on the mailbox: Auster, Lethem, Whitehead, etc., and a bunch of unknowns.

“This is not how you spell metaphor,” they said, when I explained what had happened by walking through ink on scrap paper. I had spelled it with an F. I met with them all separately and together as well, but they were no help. Plus, the canal smelled good and I was beginning to face facts: the cockroach thing was for real.

I ate some paper. It was almost noon. I had to figure out a way to call in sick, at least. Then I might at least still have my job when things got straightened out.

I walked in a circle, thinking.

Then I met this old Jew. It was in the park. He almost stepped on me, then he picked me up and put me on the cuff of his shirt and started talking to me. It was in Hebrew but that was the least of my problems. His children had all died of this and that and he was fond of me. It turned out he was even older than he looked and knew lots of secrets, many of them Kabbalistic. He took out his pencil and outlined a Quest that would return me to normal.

I was off!

It took all day and involved more things like leaf boats and jumping onto the back of a pigeon and riding it like a dragon. I got to know the sewers too. I wished I had six little shoes.

But never mind, it worked, and by midafternoon I was normal, that is human, and full-sized. I was in the Bronx, but I made it home and knocked on the door at precisely five p.m.

To my surprise it was unlocked and swung open on its own. There was Anna with another lover, both of them nude.

“I thought you had turned into a cockroach,” she said.

“It must have been your imagination,” I said. I didn’t want to get into it. Especially in front of this other dude who was pulling on his pants.

If you are thinking I was devastated, you’re right. But at least I was no longer a cockroach. I looked in the mirror to make sure.

I’d had nothing to eat all day but paper, so I fixed a bowl of Cheerios while Anna got rid of her lover, who it turned out she hardly knew.

“Maybe we can make a new start,” said Anna, pulling on her panties and replacing the barrettes in her hair. That was okay by me, I told her, and we were just about to watch TV when we heard the baby crying like crazy. We had forgotten all about it!

Well, it had turned into a cockroach too. There it was with six tiny legs, waving about, and I could see why Anna had screamed so on seeing me.

I looked at her. She looked at me. I knew what she was thinking. We had neither of us wanted this baby and now it was a cockroach.

She was just about to step on it when the phone rang. It was her father, the doctor.

“Your year is up,” he said.

Was our happiness about to come to an end? She had agreed as part of a medical experiment to come into his office after a year and be killed. It wasn’t a disease at all.

“My father pressured me into it,” she told me.

“I’ll go with you,” I said. I felt sorry for her. Plus I had a plan. I got a gun out of the box of them I had won in the lottery and stuck it into my belt. My plan was to kill him before he killed her.

“What’s with the gun?” she asked and I told her.

“You’ll need an alibi,” she said, mysteriously. Her father’s office was also near the Gowanus Canal, so I found myself retracing my steps, following her. It didn’t smell so sweet this time. It turned out Anna had a plan as well. On the way, she showed me the items in her purse: a huge pair of scissors and a weird thing.

“What’s this thing?” I asked.

“It’s a cockroach hat.” She showed me how it worked. When she put it on, she looked exactly like a cockroach, six legs and all. I tried it on myself. We were passing a health food store and I saw myself reflected in the plate glass window. It worked!

She had made it herself out of stuff around the house. “You gave me the idea,” she said. “I thought it might come in handy.”

Indeed it did. “Before you kill me,” she told her father, “I want you to try on this hat. I made it myself.”

Like a fool he did. I shot him and she cut him up with the scissors, careful to leave the hat on his “head.” When the police came they were puzzled but we had an alibi.

“He looked to us like a big cockroach,” said Anna.

“We believe you,” said the police.

“I love you,” she said (to me, Sam), but that came later.

First, they let us go and we walked home, hand in hand, along the canal part of the way, holding our noses comically. It was a beautiful spring night in Brooklyn and I had learned a thing or two about love. It was time to make a new start.

We quickened our steps. We had forgotten to step on the baby.

© Terry Bisson

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Synthetic life breakthrough could be worth over a trillion dollars | Science | The Guardian

Synthetic life breakthrough could be worth over a trillion dollars | Science | The Guardian: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Synthetic life breakthrough could be worth over a trillion dollars

US geneticist Craig Venter's ambition is to create organisms that are not only new, but lucrative

Genetic entrepreneur Craig Venter explains how his team of researchers created a new life form – and what happens next Link to this video

It was a dream that began nearly 15 years ago, when Craig Venter, a Vietnam veteran turned geneticist, resolved one day to create a genome from scratch – and with it, make the first ever synthetic life form. Last night, in a dramatic announcement that led some to accuse him of playing God, Venter said the dream had come true, saying he had created an organism with manmade DNA.

The feat, hailed as an epochal scientific breakthrough by some but an alarming development by others, was achieved by scientists at the J Craig Venter Insititute in Rockville, Maryland using little more than a computer, some common microbes, a DNA synthesizer and four bottles of chemicals.

The result – after $40m (£28m) and more than a decade – is the first microbe that thrives and replicates with only a synthetic genome to guide it. Every "letter" of its genetic code was made in the laboratory and stitched together, forming an artificial chromosome 1m characters long.

Despite the scale of the achievement, the organism in question could scarcely be more lowly – it is based on a bacterium that causes mastitis in goats.

While scientists and philosophers have already begun to debate the potential consequences and moral implications of the work, the motivating force for Venter is commercial. His team has an even more ambitious dream: to create organisms that are not only new, but also lucrative. Venter has secured a deal with the oil giant ExxonMobil to create algae that can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into fuel — an innovation he believes could be worth more than a trillion dollars.

The new bacterium, Venter said, is "the proof of the concept that we can make, in theory, changes across the entire genome of an organism, that we can add entirely new functions, eliminate those we don't want, and create a new range of industrial organisms that put all of their effort into doing what we want them to do. Until this experiment worked, the whole field was theoretical. Now it is real."

To create the organism, Venter's team began with a computer reconstruction of the genome of a common bacterium, Mycoplasma mycoides. The information was fed into a DNA synthesizer, which produced short strands of the bug's DNA. These strands were then stitched together by inserting them first into yeast and then into E coli bacteria. The bugs' natural repair mechanisms saw the strands as broken fragments and reassembled them.

After several rounds, the scientists had pieced together all 1m letters of the bacterium's genome. To mark the genome as synthetic, they spliced in fresh strands of DNA, each a biological "watermark" that would do nothing in the final organism except carry coded messages, including a line from James Joyce: "To live, to err, to fall, to triumph, to recreate life out of life."

The crucial step came next. The scientists took the synthetic genome and transferred it into another kind of common bug. As this bug multiplied, some of its progeny ditched their own DNA and began using the synthetic genome. Then the transformation began.

"It's pretty stunning when you just replace the DNA software in the cell. The cell instantly starts reading that new software, starts making a whole different set of proteins, and in a short while, all the characteristics of the first species disappear and a new species emerges," Venter said.

Venter calls the organism a "synthetic cell" because it survives thanks to a manmade genome, but apart from the watermarking woven into its DNA, it behaves like any other M. mycoides. Some scientists argue it is not a new kind of life, but others say that does not detract from the feat. "This is a remarkable advance," said Paul Freemont, a synthetic biologist at Imperial College London. "The applications of this enabling technology are enormous."

But the work drew immediate criticism from others who fear it could trigger an environmental disaster or hand a gift to terrorists bent of developing weaponised microbes. "This is a step towards something much more controversial: creation of living beings with capacities and natures that could never have naturally evolved," said Julian Savulsescu, an ethicist at Oxford University. "The potential is in the far future, but real and significant: dealing with pollution, new energy sources, new forms of communication. But the risks are also unparalleled. These could be used in the future to make the most powerful bioweapons imaginable."

Pat Mooney, of the ETC group, which opposes synthetic biology, said: "This is a Pandora's box moment. Like the splitting of the atom or the cloning of Dolly, we will all have to deal with the fallout from this alarming experiment."

Venter agrees that stringent regulations are needed to ensure synthetic organisms do not escape and cause damage. "It's clearly a dual-use technology and that requires immense responsibility for whoever's using it," he said. "We are entering an exciting new era where we're limited mostly by our imaginations."

And if the microbe were, somehow, to escape the tight security of Venter's lab? "It will not grow outside the lab unless it is deliberately injected or sprayed into a goat. And we don't work with goats."