February 04, 2005

LinkNews Digest [02/04/2005]

Alleged US Hostage Confirmed as "G.I. Joe"

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The U.S. military said Tuesday that no U.S. soldiers were known to be missing in Iraq after Iraqi militants claimed in a Web statement to have taken a soldier hostage and threatened to behead him.

“No units have reported anyone missing,” said Staff Sgt. Nick Minecci of the U.S. military's press office in aghdad. Doubts were also raised about the authenticity of a photograph posted on the Web site, which the militants claimed depicted the kidnapped soldier. A toy manufacturer said the figure in the photo resembled one of its military action figures, originally produced for sale at U.S. bases in Kuwait.

The figure in the photo, who the statement said was named “John Adam,” appeared stiff and expressionless. Liam Cusack, of the toy manufacturer Dragon Models USA Inc., said it bore a striking resemblance to the African-American version of its “Cody” action figure.

“It is our doll,” Cusack told the AP. “Everything the guy is wearing is exactly what comes with our figure.”

Georgia's Groundhog to Retire

LILBURN, Georgia (AP) -- After 15 years as the South's favorite furry forecaster, the groundhog known as Gen. Beauregard Lee may be hanging up his weather vane.

Old age could force the critter known as Beau into retirement before the next Groundhog Day rolls around, said Art Rilling, founder of the Yellow River Game Ranch outside Atlanta where Beau lives. "He's getting a little slower, sleeping in a little later, getting a little fatter," Rilling said. "This could be his last Groundhog Day."

He did not see his shadow when he emerged Wednesday morning amid light rain, forecasting an early spring. The prognostication differed from the forecast of the world's most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, in Pennsylvania. Phil saw his shadow, suggesting another six weeks of wintry weather.

At 15, Beau already has lived the life of at least five groundhogs, which have a life expectancy of two to three years. His predecessor and uncle, Gen. Robert E. Lee, gave the Groundhog Day predictions for 10 years before retiring.

If he leaves, Beau would take with him a 97 percent accuracy rate. His prognosticating prowess has earned him honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Georgia and Georgia State University.

Sanyo Employees Ordered to Buy Company Products

Japan's third-largest consumer electronics maker, Sanyo Electric Co Ltd, is asking employees to buy its products to help limit what is expected to be its biggest net loss ever this business year. Executives have been asked to spend up to 2 million yen ($19,290), division chiefs 500,000 yen and other employees 200,000 yen on Sanyo products, which include televisions, refrigerators, mobile phones and insurance.

"This is not the first time that we've conducted the 'buy Sanyo campaign'. The campaign is to have employees buy Sanyo products, as well as to invite friends and family to do the same," said company spokesman Ryan Watson.

Sanyo's earnings have been hit hard by an earthquake in the Niigata region, 250 km (155 miles) north of Tokyo, last October that forced it to suspend operations at chip-making subsidiary Niigata Sanyo Electronic Co due to structural damage.

Video Game Thwarts Robbery

(12/11/04 – SANTA FE, TX) — A video game notorious for violence and mature content may have actually saved a Santa Fe family.

Back in March, Sandy Wilson was taking care of her three grandsons when a group of men attempted to burglarize her home, pointing a gun at the kids.

The children happened to be playing a video game called Grand Theft Auto at the time. The game has dozens of random police scanner messages, which blare out calls such as "This is the police! You’re surrounded!" Believe it or not, Wilson says the burglars heard that message and thought police were outside the door waiting for them.

Galveston County Asst DA Michael Elliott explained, "The police in the game were staying, 'Stop, we have you surrounded. This is the police.’ The burglar, unknowingly, thought this was the actual police and panicked ... being apprehended by Playstation."
LINK (Thanks to Justin)

Scientists Discover Pokemon Causes Cancer

A central problem in combating cancer has been its molecular complexity; each cancer cell has numerous mutated genes contributing to the disease. However, a study, funded in part by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which appears in the January 20 Nature identifies a new cancer gene, named Pokemon, that may act as a master switch. Pokemon is an oncogene, a gene that can cause normal cells to become cancerous when mutated, but its role is unique in that it controls the activity of other oncogenes.

"Pokemon is a main switch in the molecular network that leads toward cancer," said senior author Dr. Pier Paolo Pandolfi of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). "If we could turn Pokemon off, it may block this circuitry and stall the malignant process."

1 comment:

  1. The Ewok head is all well and good, but getting tape dispensed from a happy and reclining C3PO's crotch is just a little weird.