53 Brentwood Blog

Friday, September 29, 2006

Senate Wins Fight To Lower Allowable Amperage Levels On Detainees' Testicles

September 29, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC—Led by a bipartisan group of senators critical of White House policy on suspected terrorists, the Senate passed a bill Thursday that prohibits interrogators from exceeding 100 amps per testicle when questioning detainees.

"Even in times of war, it counterproductive and wrong to employ certain inhumane interrogation techniques, and using three-digit amperage levels on the testicles of captives constitutes torture," said Sen. John Warner (R-VA), who has also supported reducing the size of attack dogs and the height of nude pyramids.

"Using amperages of 99 and lower, with approved surge protectors on the jumper-cable clamps, are the hallmarks of a civilized society." The legislation did not address amperage restrictions on suspected terrorists' labia.

Of course, from THE ONION.

Monday, September 25, 2006

A success

Chinese surgeons have performed the world's first penis transplant on a man whose organ was damaged beyond repair in an accident this year. The incident left the man with a 1cm-long stump with which he was unable to urinate or have sexual intercourse. "His quality of life was affected severely," said Dr Weilie Hu, a surgeon at Guangzhou General Hospital.
Doctors spent 15 hours attaching a 10cm penis to the 44-year-old patient after the parents of a brain-dead man half his age agreed to donate their son's organ.

The procedure, described in a case study due to appear in the journal European Urology next month, represents a big leap forward in transplant surgery; it required complex microsurgery to connect nerves and tiny blood vessels.

The surgical team claims the operation was a success. After 10 days, tests revealed the organ had a rich blood supply and the man was able to urinate normally.

Doctors have previously succeeded in reuniting men with their sexual organs after traumatic accidents or attacks, but the Guangzhou operation is the first in which a donor penis has successfully been attached to another man.

Although the operation was a surgical success, surgeons said they had to remove the penis two weeks later. "Because of a severe psychological problem of the recipient and his wife, the transplanted penis regretfully had to be cut off," Dr Hu said. An examination of the organ showed no signs of it being rejected by the body.

Jean-Michel Dubernard, the French surgeon who performed the world's first face transplant on a woman who had been attacked by a dog this year, said psychological factors were a serious issue for many patients receiving certain "allografts", or organs from donors. "Psychological consequences of hand and face allografts show that it is not so easy to use and see permanently a dead person's hands, nor is it easy to look in a mirror to see a dead person's face," he wrote in the journal. "Clearly, in the Chinese case the failure at a very early stage was first psychological. It involved the recipient's wife and raised many questions."

In 2001, surgeons were forced to amputate the world's first transplanted hand from Clint Hallam, a 50-year-old New Zealander, who said he wanted the "hideous and withered" hand removed because he had become "mentally detached" from it. The original transplant was conducted by Prof Dubernard's team at the Edouard Herriot Hospital in Lyons, who have since performed the world's first double arm transplant.

Andrew George, a transplant expert at Imperial College, London, said: "Doing a penis transplant should be no more complex than anything else. But it takes time for nerve sensations to kick in and it's not clear whether the patient would ever be able to have sex with it. The question is whether it's right to be doing a transplant for what may be seen as cosmetic reasons."

Ian Sample, science correspondent
Monday September 18, 2006
The Guardian

Monday, September 18, 2006


Night after night for some 40 years, the US independent filmmaker, Alan Berliner, has battled with his sleep demons.
Recently, he made Wide Awake, a film investigating both insomnia in general, and his affliction in particular. In the film, we watch as night vision cameras capture his nightly torment.
Berliner has a theory that great clangers in history might be down to sleep deprivation. He says: "Former president Bill Clinton is quoted in the film as saying every major mistake he ever made in his life, he made while he was tired. Everyone is engaged in the dialogue of sleep one way or other. It is crucial in whether we function well or how we can cope in our jobs - in times of war, how generals who stay up, night after night, make mistakes."
Guardian Unlimited

Thursday, September 14, 2006


REMEMBER me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.

Christina Georgina Rossetti. 1830– 1894


Sunday, September 10, 2006


One of Britain's newest universities has found more than 200 students guilty of cheating after it launched a crackdown on what university officials admit is one of the biggest problems they face.

Using a computer program to catch students trying to pass off others' work as their own - often simply 'cut-and-pasted' from the internet - Coventry University discovered that 237 students had broken the rules. As a result, seven were expelled from the university, while another 12 cases are pending.

These figures contrast starkly with numbers of cheats uncovered at other universities. Nottingham University disciplined 53 students for cheating and expelled just one, while Oxford, Durham, Edinburgh, Warwick and Newcastle did not uncover any cases serious enough to warrant expulsion.

'We decided we had to tackle the issue head-on to prevent students from assuming they would get away with it,' said Professor Donald Pennington, Coventry's vice-chancellor. 'We're not happy to have caught nearly 240 people cheating, but we're pleased to be so active in trying to stamp this problem out. It was a conscious decision to make it a high-profile issue.'

Like most British universities, Coventry uses a program called Turnitin to check students' submissions against a database of academic texts and other students' work to detect similarities.

Rob Davies
Sunday September 10, 2006
The Observer

Friday, September 08, 2006

HOPE is a subtle glutton;
He feeds upon the fair;
And yet, inspected closely,
What abstinence is there!

His is the halcyon table
That never seats but one,
And whatsoever is consumed
The same amounts remain

Emily Dickinson

Monday, September 04, 2006

Giulio Gambarota Park

There seems to be a park somewhere with my name on it.

I haven't found it yet...