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If so, I encourage you to attend the premiere, on U-Mich campus, of a new film: Life is for the Living, a documentary about the people, the politics and the science of stem cell research. It will be shown on March 12 at the Michigan Theater (603 E. Liberty St.) at 7:30 pm.

The film has added relevance as Michigan will be voting on a stem cell ballot initiative this fall.

The film includes the stories of five American families living with the painful realities of Juvenile Diabetes, Parkinson’s, and Spinal Cord Injury.

It is in the context of the statewide ballot initiative in Michigan this fall and the national debate over embryonic stem cell research.

As that debate continues in Washington and across the country, three generations of Americans reveal their challenges, their frustration with the President’s policy, and the hope that more funding for embryonic stem cell research will lead to new treatments and cures to relieve their suffering and save their lives.

Life is for the Living also explores the science behind stem cell research and the political debate taking place across the nation.

The film includes an introduction by CBS 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace and interviews with the nation's leading scientific researchers, political leaders, and advocates.

Here's a partial list of those who are in the documentary:

  • The Honorable Janet Reno, Former United States Attorney General
  • Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)
  • Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
  • Congressman Michael Castle (R-DE)
  • Former Congressman Joe Schwarz (R-MI)
  • Dr. Sean Morrison, Director, University of Michigan Center for Stem Cell Biology
  • Dr. Clive Svendsen, University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Dr. David T. Scadden, Co-Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute
  • Dr. Stuart H. Orkin, Chair, Department of Pediatric Oncology, Harvard Medical School
  • Dr. Amy Wagers, Harvard Stem Cell Institute
  • Dr. Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado, University of Utah School of Medicine
  • Dr. Robert Lanza, VP Research, Advanced Cell Technology

Again, if you are in the area tomorrowthis evening, March 12, go see Life is for the Living at 7:30 pm at the Michigan Theater.

P.S. Oh and one more thing: the filmmaker, Michael Rubyan, is my son. He's 20 and a junior at U-M. I couldn't be prouder of him!

Ana Marie Cox:

I've long believed that the Venn diagram of political junkies/indie rock fans/baseball nuts/sci-fi fanboys would be just about circular. What they have in common: controlled alternate universes that reward obsessive list-keeping and don't penalize lack of social skills....)
I do SO have social skills. They are just manifested in weird ways...
McCain's problem has never been that he tells jokes, it's that he re-tells them. And re-tells them. And re-tells them...

D'oh! Busted.

Committee Caller is an automated web service that will connect you, by phone, to the front office of all Congressmen for the committee of your choice. No more fumbling for the phone numbers; in fact you don't even have to dial any numbers at all; Committee Caller will call you, in sequence, and patch you in to each of the offices.

Here's how it works:

  1. Visit
  2. Select the appropriate committee from the list provided.
  3. Enter your phone number in the form provided.
  4. Click the 'Put me in touch with democracy!' button.
  5. Wait for Committee Caller's automated voice application to call you.
  6. Pick up the phone and stay on the line while Committee Caller starts connecting you to the members on the committee you selected -- in sequence.

Once connected, Committee Caller will tell you which representive you're calling, who their legislative director or chief of staff is, and what district they represent. At any point you can use the asterisk-key on your phone to hang up the call and move on to the next one. After each call you will have the opportunity to rate how your call went.

Visit Committee Caller and give it a test drive: they've set up a list of fake committees for you to demo the app.

Better yet: contact the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- and urge them to vote against retroactive amnesty for telecommunications companies in S. 2248, the FISA Amendments Act. Urge them to support Senator Dodd and others by allowing them to have a full debate on this issue. Urge them to vote "no" for cloture on the motion to proceed to the FISA bill.

Cali Fires: Interactive Map

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KPBS of San Diego has done a terrific mashup of Google Maps and the latest information on the wildfires. You have to see it to believe it.

View Larger Map

Information R/evolution (Video)

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More information is better. But only if you have the ability to find what you are looking for when you need it.

Michael Wesch

This video explores the changes in the way we find, store, create, critique, and share information. This video was created as a conversation starter, and works especially well when brainstorming with people about the near future and the skills needed in order to harness, evaluate, and create information effectively.

Comcast hates the Bible

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Wake up: This is what happens when you lose Net Neutrality, people.

Steve Fossett?

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In their quest to find missing aviator Steve Fossett, searchers have come across uncharted plane wrecks six times. But none of the wrecks shed light on what may have happened to the multimillionaire.

Hopes that a crashed plane spotted on the side of a hill might be Fossett's were dashed quickly Friday when ground crews learned the plane last was registered more than three decades ago in Oregon.

All due respect, but doesn't this sound like the plot of Back To The Future IV?

  • Patrick Fitzgerald for ... Attorney General?
  • Hillary asks SecDef Gates if he supports Under Secretary Edelman's smear of her. I think she's being far too 19th-century-polite. I would have gone all Harry Truman on his -- and Edeleman's -- ass.
  • And while we're at it, let's define what a smear really is: attacking someone's reputation instead of their message.
  • Colbert finally gets his free iPhone.
  • Wake me up when September ends. LIke, for example, in November.
  • A couple of weeks ago, dick Cheney declared there were four branches of government. Now, the White House is claiming there are only two.
  • And in a related story, Sen. Leahy points out that charging Harriet Miers with "inherent contempt" of Congress would likely result in a trial in the Senate presided over by -- wait for it -- dick Cheney.
  • Saturday night at midnight the last Harry Potter book will be released from captivity. Or not. The NYTimes has already gotten a copy -- from a legit source, they say -- and published a review. Sorry, no link -- Miss Julie made me promise. JK Rowling is shocked -- and saddened. Noting the tremendous costs associated with sequestering the book copies until the witching hour ($20 million, not counting Fedex shipping costs), Seth Godin has a solution, should a publishing phenomenon like this occur ever again. "Books are great at holding memories," he says, "They're lousy at keeping secrets."
  • Supreme Court reverses itself on Gitmo case. Why do I have a creepy feeling they're going to rule for the Bushies this time?

  • No Satisfaction this Year. This year the Rolling Stones will not be performing in...Israel. Insurance costs are sky-high. I guess this means they won't be performing for the troops in Iraq either?

  • Lots of first impressions of the iPhone by new owners. Here's one from TechMeme. Here's a fetishistic photo spread on the actual unboxing of a new iPhone. Here's Xeni's report (calling it the Jesusphone). Here's a guy who tears the iPhone down -- literally.

  • Fred Thompson in New Hampshire: Republicans say his speech there was underwhelming. I'd say "where's the beef," but that would be so 80s. Or so Walter Mondale.

  • Woz spotted in line for an iPhone. When the crowd recognized him, they stepped aside and put him at the front of the line. Awwwww.

  • Prince is releasing his new CD ... in Sunday's edition of London's Daily Mail. The recording industry is pissed. I'm trying to imagine who's still reading a newspaper on any day of the week. Answer: nobody in Prince's audience.

  • When I saw that that iPhones are turning up on eBay, I remembered one important fact: "i" before "e" except after "c" (for "cash").

  • ...and finally, after watching the one laugh-out-loud moment of Thursday's Dem debate, I wondered: is Barack Obama a dutiful husband, homophobic, or just seeing Joe Biden on the down-low? You decide...and don't miss Al Sharpton's scowl -- it'll melt the hair off your arms:

by shep

It is now becoming clear that, without some dramatic progress on carbon sequestration or an even more dramatic and potentially dangerous act of desperation, the earth’s climate is headed toward a disastrous tipping point in our, or our children’s, lifetimes.

To recap:

Arguments against:
It gets hot every epoch or so
Scientists are sometimes wrong
We might get hit by an asteroid, so WTF
The commies hate my Hummer
The Sun is hot
Even if true, it probably wouldn’t kill everything and I could grow coconuts in Minnesota
Science is hard

Arguments for:
Spiking CO2
Measurable warming
Melting glaciers, ice sheets and frozen tundra
Increasing cycles of floods and droughts
Rising sea levels
Dying tropical reefs
Dying species and strange migrations of animals, plants and diseases.

So, what should be done? If the methane-spewing cow is out of the barn, why go out in the heat to close the barn door now?

Because, even if we learn how to capture and sequester carbon and filter the sun by blasting sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, we still have good reasons to wean ourselves off our carbon fuel addiction:

1) We can. We started using fossil fuels for our energy needs in the century before last. It replaced whale oil. Considering how far our technology has come since then, to say that this is a cultural throwback is an understatement of epoch proportions. Even though the idea gives the CEO of Exxon Mobile the dry heaves, he and his ilk are the only ones who won’t profit mightily by developing new alternatives.

2) It makes us wage stupid, bloody wars. Need I say more here?

3) Since a great deal of our energy consumption goes to complete waste, the cost of doing something can be quite small. What does it cost to build our houses facing south to take advantage of solar gain? Who doesn’t want to be able to work from home when there’s no need to slog through traffic to the office? You actually save money by walking or riding a bike instead of driving.

4) It would be good for us in many other ways. Dismantling the factory farming system and Chinese food imports in favor of locally cultivated food might cost a little more money but at least you’ll be alive to regret it. And advanced nations that get out of the business of making things lose lower skill jobs and become beholden to other nations to lend them money to buy the stuff they make.

Or, let’s all take a fossil-fueled cruise down that river in Egypt. Let’s face it: our technology expanded faster than our wisdom. Natural systems seeks stasis; wiping mankind off the planet is Mother Nature’s way of restoring earth’s equilibrium.


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