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by autofran (autofran@mac.com) on Mon Jan 21st, 2008 at 11:12:02 PM EST
Venetian transport leaves tourists high and dry - International Herald Tribune

VENICE: City officials on Monday launched a new waterbus line here with one particular feature: No day-tripper tourists allowed.

The new line - reserved for holders of the Carta Venezia pass - was introduced to lessen the impact of the estimated 20 million people who visit Venice each year on the city's beleaguered residents, numbering about 60,000 in the historic center at the end of last year.

"It's an extra service for residents who are forced bear the brunt of mass tourism," said Mayor Massimo Cacciari.

"It's evident that tourism is growing," the mayor said during an interview on the line's maiden voyage. "If people want to come to Venice they can come, but we have to allow residents to live better."

Marcello Panettoni, director general of the Venice transport authority, said the new line was a response to citizens' complaints that the hordes of tourists cramming onto waterbuses, with luggage in tow, had been leaving residents on dry land.

by Fran on Mon Jan 21st, 2008 at 11:20:32 PM EST
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Satirical Carnival Float: Germany Makes Fun of England's Football Woes - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

Germany's carnival is thumbing its nose at English football this year with a float that reflects pure, unadulterated Schadenfreude at England's failure to qualify for the European Football Championship.

In the design for the carnival float, Germany thumbs its nose at the English knight, condemned to watching the tournament on the television. The message reads: "We're Off to the European Championship Without England." Germany's main carnival parade this year will poke fun at England for failing to qualify for the European Football Championship in June -- with a float depicting a paper-mache English knight in football shorts watching the tournament on TV while the rest of Europe laughs at him.

The float will be paraded through Cologne on Feb. 4, Rose Monday, in a procession that usually attracts well over a million people and is broadcast nationwide.

"We often see the English as very big-headed when it comes to football, and it's good to take a swipe at them," Christoph Kuckelkorn, the director of the procession, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "This is my third year in the job and I've been trying to give the parade a little more bite."

It's the latest salvo in an age-old footballing rivalry between the two nations that has simmered since 1966, when England won the World Cup by beating Germany 4-2. Ask any German over five about that match and they will point out that England's third goal should not have been allowed. Ask any England fan, and they will reply: "So what?"

by Fran on Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 at 12:20:15 AM EST
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'Tree Of Life' Has Lost A Branch, According To Largest Genetic Comparison Of Higher Life Forms Ever
ScienceDaily (Jan. 22, 2008) -- Norwegian and Swiss biologists have made a startling discovery about the relationship between organisms that most people have never heard of. The Tree of Life must be re-drawn, textbooks need to be changed, and the discovery may also have significant impact on the development of medicines.

The discovery by Norwegian and Swiss researchers has gained attention from biologists worldwide. The findings come from the largest ever genetic comparison of higher life forms on the planet. Of 5000 genes examined, researchers identified 123 common genes from all known groups of organisms; these common genes have been studied more closely.

Lost a Branch

"The results were pretty astounding. All non-bacterial life on Earth--called eukaryotic life-- can now be divided into four main groups instead of the five groups that we have been working with up to now," says Kamran Shalchian-Tabrizi, an associate professor from the University of Oslo's Department of Biology who has also worked with the Department of Zoology and Animal Biology and the Department of Genetic Medicine and Development, at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

The Tree of Life (see illustration) has, through the discovery that the two formerly separated branches share a similar evolutionary history, lost one of its branches, and this will both improve and simplify quite a bit of scientific work in the future.

[...]

"The Tree of Life tells the story of life on Earth, and our research can say something about how quickly life developed. Our discovery suggests that there were fewer big "events" than we have previously assumed in the development of higher life forms. The more we know about the branches on the Tree of Life, the more we can find out about life's Big Bang, the beginning of life on Earth," says Shalchian-Tabrizi.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 at 04:34:17 AM EST
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Courtesy of Google in my gmail mailbox...

Discovery Channel: Discovery News (January 17 2008)

In the rush to shore up or rebuild aging highway bridges, dams and other crumbling U.S. infrastructure, one question has been overlooked: Which infrastructures are we better off without?

A team of engineers and ecologists contend the United States is at a critical point in its history, when the smartest strategy for dealing with certain old, nearly useless dams, levees, roads, bridges, offshore oil platforms and other structures is to remove them.

"Rehabilitation might not be rehabilitation, but removal," said Martin Doyle, an environmental geographer and river specialist at the University of North Carolina. Doyle is the lead author of a paper on the challenges and opportunities posed by today's infrastructure crisis published in the Jan. 18 issue of Science. "I'm not talking about blowing up Hoover Dam," he added.



We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 at 05:33:15 AM EST
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