“Comcast, and its predecessor, AT&T Broadband, engaged in a series of unfair practices in the advertising and sale of its cable television services, including advertising limited time offers of free or reduced rate digital cable packages without adequately disclosing to consumers what the actual price of those services would be during and after the promotional period.”
By Bob Nightengale, USA TODAYThe New York Mets have agreed to a trade for two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, giving up four prospects to acquire the left-handed ace of the Minnesota Twins, according to two high-ranking Twins officials with knowledge of the talks and a person close to Santana.
The deal is pending the Mets and Santana reaching agreement on a six- or seven-year contract extension and that Santana passes a physical; they have been granted a 48 to-72-hour window to do so. Santana has a no-trade clause that he will waive if agreement is reached on a contract extension.
The deal would give the Mets the much-needed ace at the front of their rotation. Santana won the American League Cy Young Award in 2004 and 2006 and is 93-44 lifetime. He went 15-13 with a 3.33 ERA for the Twins last season. Santana has struck out at least 235 batters each of the past four seasons.
While the deal drains much of the talent out of the Mets’ farm system, they did manage to hold on to top prospect Fernando Martinez, an outfielder. Instead, they headed the package with Gomez, who turned 22 in December and spent 58 games with the Mets last year.
Gomez is what scouts like to call a five-tool player, a combination of offensive ability that includes power and speed as well as an above-average defensive game and a strong arm. He has worked to cut down a strikeout rate that was high during the early part of a minor league career that began in 2004 after the Mets signed him out of the Dominican Republic. He made his major league debut last May and hit .232.
Humber, 25, is the Mets’ 2004 first-round pick who has made five major league appearances, including one start, over the past two seasons. He won 11 games at Class AAA last season, his first full year after having Tommy John surgery in 2005.
The Twins, meanwhile, would see yet another young star they produced leave the organization. Their Gold Glove outfielder, Torii Hunter, left for the Los Angeles Angels this offseason. Gomez would be a candidate to replace him in center field.
Holy God, have any of you tried to read a column on Pitchfork?
Want to get pissed off? Here’s a tip! Read any column on Pitchfork.
I love that website, but Jesus H., what the fuck? Seriously, who writes this shit? I can’t believe how useless and unnecessary it is. Try reading the column on there today without wanting to drive your own head through a car window.
Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, January 25, 2008; Page A04
Scientists in Maryland yesterday said they had built from scratch an entire microbial chromosome, a loop of synthetic DNA carrying all the instructions that a simple cell needs to live and reproduce.
The feat marks the first time that anyone has made such a large strand of hereditary material from off-the-shelf chemical ingredients. Previous efforts had yielded DNA strands less than one-twentieth the size, and those pieces lacked many of the key biological programs that tell a cell how to stay alive.
On the basis of earlier experiments, the researchers believe the new, full-length loop would spontaneously “boot up” inside a cell, just as a downloaded operating system can awaken a computer — a potentially historic event that would amount to the creation of the first truly artificial life form.
Team members emphasized that they have not done that yet but expressed confidence that they would do so before the end of the year.
Venter said the goal is to design novel microbes whose handcrafted genomes endow them with the ability produce useful chemicals, including renewable synthetic fuels that could substitute for oil.
Critics, however, countered that without better oversight of the fledgling field, synthetic biology is more likely to lead to the creation of potent biological weapons and runaway microbes that could wreak environmental havoc.
"Venter is claiming bragging rights to the world’s longest length of synthetic DNA, but size isn’t everything. The important question is not ‘How long?’ but ‘How wise?’ " said Jim Thomas of the ETC Group, a Montreal-based group that has called for a moratorium on the release and commercialization of synthetic organisms pending further public debate.
Venter’s team started by determining the precise order of all 580,076 base pairs, or “letters” of DNA code, inside one of the simplest microbes known to science: Mycoplasma genitalium, a bacterium that can infect the human genital tract. The scientists bought small pieces of DNA, then perfected painstaking methods to stitch them together inside bacteria and yeast cells in exactly the right order.
The final product — 582,970 base pairs in all — is a near-exact replica of M. genitalium’s genome, with a few intentional differences. The team omitted a DNA snippet that allows the microbe to infect other cells, for example, and added extra DNA as “watermarks” to differentiate their construct from the naturally occurring variety.
"It’s the first synthetic bacterial chromosome," Venter said. "Every one of those base pairs started as a chemical in a bottle."
George Church, a Harvard geneticist leading competing efforts to develop novel life forms — not from scratch but by modifying existing bacteria — said the work marks something less than the dawn of a new era.
"This is not a ‘creating life’ paper. It is not a test of vitalism. It’s an assembly paper," Church said. "The question is: Is it faster or cheaper than other methods? But they don’t lay out their economics. They missed an opportunity there."
Venter said he could not provide an estimate of the project’s cost.
Venter and others have already made synthetic genomes for viruses, which are about one-hundredth the size of bacterial genomes. Some activists contend that synthetic bacteria pose more dangers because, unlike viruses, they can replicate on their own and can survive a long time in the environment.
Venter said the work was green-lighted by government offices, the National Academies and an independent ethics review board.
Oskey sent this link to me last week, and I forgot to throw it up (now it’s on Fazed.org) Hilarious stuff. It’s a bunch of quotes taken out of Christian chat rooms. Here’s a taste:
"No, everyone is born Christian. Only later in life do people choose to stray from Jesus and worship satan instead. Atheists have the greatest “cover” of all, they insist they believe in no god yet most polls done and the latest research indicates that they are actually a different sect of Muslims.”
1. No fucking shit. Who didn’t see this coming. Name the last time you talked to someone who said: “I’m with Sprint, and I love it!” Seriously, I’d rather go to the DMV, I’d rather sit in a ER waiting room at 2AM on a Tuesday night, I’d rather work until 10PM, I’d rather go to Applebees for a steak than go to the Sprint Store. Need a new battery? Too bad, they don’t make them anymore, and anyways, it’s cheaper to sign on for another 2 years and buy a new shitty phone. Need to ad text messaging to your plan? That’s another 2 years. Need to do anything at all? That’s another 2 years. Want a cool phone? No can do. Want anything except a giant cock in your ass? Nope. Notgunnawork.
2. This could be a good thing. Maybe heads will role and they’ll wonder what the fuck they’ve been doing for the last few years and start improving their customer service. Maybe, but I doubt. They’ll probably ‘stay the course’ and piss everyone off for the remainder of their 2 year contracts until they get bought out by some other failing provider and continue a shit storm of horrible business practices and clusterfucks.
I hate this guy’s column on Pitchfork (he tries way too hard, and his writing style is extremely annoying); however, his personal blog is a great little place to listen to a lot of great music. The guy posts a bunch of new songs (that you’ve never heard of/old and new) on there everyday.
So, if you’re looking for new music, try this spot out.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader.
The annual conference now brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).
This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. Almost 200 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.
Besides the fear of death, is there any reason you still get up every morning? Are you planning for your future? Are you building up to something great? Where do you see yourself in five years? 10?
30? Are you retiring? Did you make enough? Who went on ahead of you? Did they deserve it? What sacrifices did you make? What dreams did you abandon? Where is your guitar? Your pen? Your suitcase?
Is that person lying next to you up to par? Do you worry if you’ll be able to stand them later; to swallow the notion of waking up next to them again and again? Can you stand them even now?
Do you have beautiful little children running around your house, pitter-pattering on your new, expensive off-white carpet? Did they turn out how you’d hoped? Are you ashamed and disappointed? How long before you break?
How long is it before you break yourself in? As you stand aside, letting others pass you by, not lifting a finger to warn them of their ‘certain’ impending failure and misery, do you feel content? Is the music loud enough for you sir? Can you stand the ringing in your own ears?
When you hold someone’s hand, do you grow closer or further away? As someone looks you in the eye, do you look back at them or worry about your own good? Do you really even care about them? How important are they compared to your next sixty minutes?
How many people will come and go from your company? How many people will divert their paths to avoid your house? When will you be able to rest assured that the names you call out are not the names of those who have moved on?
How far would you go to keep your friends near? What would you take from them to keep their hand in yours? Would you hurt them, or would you turn away and dissolve into the backdrop, swallowing your own demise for their sake?
When will you stop and sit? How much will you take in? How much damage have you already sustained? When will you rest? Have you gone too far already?
Are your final moments cozy and warm, or are you alone? Who is there with you to mark this momentous occasion? Who is present simply out of a sense of duty? Does anyone notice you, or are they busy planning their escape from the room? Maybe they’ll buy flowers for you at the gift shop downstairs.
Climate change has always acted as an evolutionary force on the planet. Some researchers even believe that adaptation to pre-historic climate change may have lead to the success of human beings as a species. So what’s different about the changes happening now?
Extinction is more ordinary than we think. We’re all just species clinging to the edge of a life raft, and climate change has always been one of the major drivers behind evolutionary change.
In the age of rising global temperatures, this episode of The DNA Files raises the curtain on the opera of extinction and survival—looking at who wins and who loses under the shifting fortunes of climate change.