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December 10th, 2000

Two Men Shoot First, Figure It Out Later

WINNIPEG (Reuters) - Two 20-year-old men in rural western Canada could be banned from handling firearms after what police on Friday called a bizarre experiment.

It began when one of the men brought a military-style bullet-proof vest back to their Swan River, Manitoba, home. He then asked his room-mate to shoot him in the chest with a 22 caliber rifle.

That done, and pleased with the lack of damage, he asked his friend to shoot him in the back with a 12 gauge shotgun.

This time, the duo decided to stuff a phone book inside the vest for a bit of insurance.

The phone book absorbed much of the blow, but the target still suffered cracked ribs and bruising.

"The biggest question is why and it's difficult to come up with a logical reason," said Sgt. Steve Saunders of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Winnipeg.

Neither man faces police charges but the Mounties are seeking a five-year firearms prohibition.

Nifty things.

Am I Hot or Not? gets 7 million hits a day; me-toos could hardly be far behind. You can weigh in on its little brother Am I Hot?, look over the black sheep of the family at Am I Goth or Not?, or decide which father of our country you would like the best at Brunching Shuttlecocks ' Am I President or Not?


Eh, you've probably got a better shot with one of your kissing cousins at the illuminated Monkey Hot or Not?


Here's the latest SF concept to move toward reality: smart dust. Flakes of silicon with sensors and an onboard computer, so small they float like motes of dust, linked by lasers to communicate their findings to each other or a base. Use them for security . . . for research . . . for recon in wartime . . . for spying on businesses or individuals in peacetime. Neil Stephenson wrote about them in "The Diamond Age." Now they're coming. Here's the San Francisco Chronicle story.

Bigger than "smart dust," but self-powered . . . the postage-stamp-sized "mesicopter" is about to make its first trial flight. (Hmm. Imagine a dozen of these as command and control units for a half-million flecks of smart dust.) Here's the New Scientist story.

You can use this great graphic tracking tool, called J-Track , to locate exactly where all those Mind Control Lasers are at any given time . . . if you can just figure out which ones they are.

Fidel Castro, president of Cuba and continual thorn in the side of the United States government, has once again demonstrated his capacity to confound and mystify.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the shooting death of John Lennon, Castro has unveiled a life-sized statue of the Beatle in Havana's El Vedado Park. The sculpture, by artist Jose Villa Soberon, is not in the grand and pompous style of socialist realism, but is actually quite low key. Lennon is depicted in full hippie garb: long hair, jeans, and wire-rimmed glasses. He is sitting crosslegged on a park bench with one arm on the armrest and the other on the back of the bench. Passersby can sit down right next to him, and it's only a matter of time before it becomes a prime stop the tourist photo tour of Havana.

Ironically, back in the 1960s the music of the Beatles was banned in Cuba, branded as "decadent" by Castro's government. But Lennon's activism against the Vietnam War and for other progressive causes have made him a hero there, so presumably it's okay to listen to the White Album in Cuba, provided you can afford a stereo. Or electricity.

Castro called Lennon a "revolutionary", presumably in the socialist sense of the word "revolution", the highest praise you could get in a communist nation. Aping the words of the song "Imagine", he said "I am a dreamer who has seen some of his dreams become reality." He claimed he wished he had met Lennon. Lennon never visited Cuba.

If anyone finds some good pictures of this statue, please let me know. In the meantime. for some small pictures, see:

pictures

music on

"Nihilistic mystics, epistolic alcoholics
Messianic manics, cataclysmic and horrific
In the age of superboredom, hype and mediocrity
Celebrate relentlessness, menace to society..."
-KMFDM, "Megalomaniac"

sing it like it's the 1940s!

Life is a dream, yet it's so real.
Hard to explain, just how you feel.
Deep in your heart, joy seems to dwell.
Like poets say, it's perfectly swell.

In every step, of this old dance,
There is delight, love and romance.
If you are the one, give me the few,
And I am sure there's no one like you.
You are all I dream.
You are a part of my heart and esteem.
And since I've met you,
Now I know that dreams do come true.

Love is a dream, yet it's so real.
Hard to explain, just how you feel.
Deep in your heart, joy seems to dwell.
Like poets say, it's perfectly swell.

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