Friday, June 29, 2007

Science 29 June 2007:
Vol. 316. no. 5833, p. 1827
DOI: 10.1126/science.316.5833.1827a

News of the Week

Replacement Genome Gives Microbe New Identity

Elizabeth Pennisi

For decades, molecular biologists have genetically modified microbes and other kinds of cells by adding short DNA sequences, whole genes, and even large pieces of chromosomes. Now, in a feat reported in a paper published online by Science this week (, one group has induced a bacterium to take up an entire 1.08-million-base genome in one gulp. In doing so, microbiologist John Glass and his colleagues at the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, have transformed one bacterial species into another.

"This is a significant and unexpected advance," says molecular biologist Robert Holt of the Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre in Vancouver, Canada. But the advance remains somewhat mysterious. Glass says he doesn't fully understand why the genome transplant succeeded, and it's not clear how applicable their technique will be to other microbes. Nonetheless, "it's a necessary step toward creating artificial life," says microbiologist Frederick Blattner of the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Glass and his colleagues are among several groups trying to build a microbe with the minimal gene set needed for life, with the goal of then adding other useful genes, such as ones for making biofuels. In anticipation, Glass and colleagues wanted to develop a way to move a complete genome into a living cell.

As a proof of principle, they tried transplanting the single, circular chromosome of Mycoplasma mycoides large colony (LC) into a close relative, M. capricolum. Both of these innocuous goat pathogens lack the cell walls typical of many other bacteria, eliminating a possible impediment to genome transfer.

At the Venter Institute, Carole Lartigue and her colleagues first added two genes to M. mycoides LC that would provide proof if the transfer of its genome worked. One gene conferred antibiotic resistance, and the other caused bacteria expressing it to turn blue. Lartigue removed the modified chromosome from M. mycoides LC, checked to make sure she had stripped off all proteins from the DNA, and then added the naked genome to a tube of M. capricolum. Within 4 days, blue colonies appeared, indicating that M. capricolum had taken up the foreign DNA. When they analyzed these blue bacteria for sequences specific to either mycoplasma, the researchers found no evidence of the host bacterium's DNA.

Microbial geneticist Antoine Danchin of the Pasteur Institute in Paris calls the experiment "an exceptional technical feat." Yet, he laments, "many controls are missing." And that has prevented Glass's team, as well as independent scientists, from truly understanding how the introduced DNA takes over the host cell.

Glass suspects that at first, both genomes are present in M. capricolum. But when one of those double-genomed microbes divides, one genome somehow goes to one daughter cell and the other to the second. By exposing the growing colony to an antibiotic, the researchers selected for cells that contain only the M. mycoides LC genome.

Figure 1 Species makeover. Blue signals successful genome transfer in these bacterial colonies.


Other researchers are not sure the strategy will work on bacteria with cell walls. And Danchin expects it will be difficult to swap genomes among bacteria that aren't as closely related. Regardless, George Church of Harvard University questions the need for genome transplantation; instead of starting with a minimal genome, he's making useful chemicals by simply adding customized genes to existing species' genomes.

Nonetheless, Markus Schmidt of the Organisation for International Dialogue and Conflict Management in Vienna, Austria, predicts that the mycoplasma genome swap will force more discussions about the societal and security issues related to synthetic biology. "We are one step closer to synthetic organisms," he says.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

US holds rare meeting with Burma
Indonesian protesters demand the release of Ms Suu Kyi 25/05/07
Ms Suu Kyi has been in detention for most of the last 18 years
A senior US diplomat has held talks with Burmese government ministers in Beijing, in the first such high-level meeting since 2003.

The US pressed for the release of the democracy activist, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Ms Suu Kyi, 61, has spent 11 of the last 18 years in detention. Her latest period of house arrest began in 2003.

Washington described the discussions as frank but that there was no sign the Burmese military government had changed its basic opinions.

Fight for democracy

Eric John, a deputy assistant secretary of state, met Burma's ministers of foreign affairs, culture and information in the Chinese capital, Beijing.

US state department spokesman Tom Casey said it was "a very frank discussion of our concerns about the regime, about its behaviour".

"It gave us an opportunity to express our opinions directly," he said.

Last month members of Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy marked the 17th anniversary of their party's landslide election victory.

However, the victory was never recognised by the junta.

They have ruled the country - which it calls Myanmar - since a coup in 1962.

In 1991, Ms Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to bring democracy to Burma.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Entire CIA MKULTRA Collection (Source: The Black Vault)


Project MKULTRA (also known as MK-ULTRA) was the code name for a CIA mind-control research program that began in the 1950s.[1][2] There is much published evidence that the project involved the use of many types of drugs to manipulate peoples' mental state and to alter brain function.[3]

It was first brought to wide public attention by the U.S. Congress (in the form of the Church Committee) and a presidential commission (known as the Rockefeller Commission) (see Revelation below) and also to the U.S. Senate.

On the Senate floor in 1977, Senator Ted Kennedy said:

The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over thirty universities and institutions were involved in an 'extensive testing and experimentation' program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens 'at all social levels, high and low, native Americans and foreign.' Several of these tests involved the administration of LSD to 'unwitting subjects in social situations.' At least one death, that of Dr. Olson, resulted from these activities. The Agency itself acknowledged that these tests made little scientific sense. The agents doing the monitoring were not qualified scientific observers.[4]"



The following directories contain .tif images of the released MKULTRA documents, and two other files. The .txt file is a poor excuse for a OCR (optical character recognition) of the document, which means they put the documents through a software title to make it text. You will see these are usually useless, because the process does not work on poorly photocopies documents. The .dat file in these directories is the one line description, as found in the index.

Please Note: If you need a FREE .TIF viewer - you can download Brava!® Reader. Brava!® Reader is a free application that opens, views, and prints TIFF files.

  1. MKULTRA CIA Document Index - Start here! This will list the contents of the following links, which are the documents on the CD-ROMs. Or, you can just start browsing the CD's below - it's up to you!
  2. CD-ROM #1: ( DOC_0000017481 - DOC_0000149499 | DOC_0000149500 - DOC_0000197284 )
  3. CD-ROM #2 ( DOC_0000017352 - DOC_0000017437 )
  4. CD-ROM #3 ( DOC_0000017392 - DOC_0000148094 )
  5. Discuss MKULTRA documents

Mind Control

  1. Communist Control Techniques [123 Pages]
  2. Parapsychology in Intelligence [12 Pages]
  3. Project MKUltra, The CIA's Program of Research in Behavioral Modification [172 Pages]

Related Documents of Interest

  1. Interrogation: Science and Art [371 Pages] - U.S. military personnel and intelligence officers in particular are expected to gain accurate information from detainees or prisoners and thus need to know “what works” in “educing” information through interrogation, strategic debriefing and information elicitation. This book presents the work of 13 specialists in law, psychology, military intelligence, neuroscience, computer science, conflict management and library science. The authors review what is known and not known about educing information.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

How incredibly cool is this?

A Pocket-Sized Convective PCR Thermocycler
Nitin Agrawal, Yassin A. Hassan, and Victor M. Ugaz*


Human genome further unravelled (blatently stolen from BBC News)

Coloured chromosomes (SPL/Bsip Ducloux)
The researchers hope to scale the work up to the whole of the genome
A close-up view of the human genome has revealed its innermost workings to be far more complex than first thought.

The study, which was carried out on just 1% of our DNA code, challenges the view that genes are the main players in driving our biochemistry.

Instead, it suggests genes, so called junk DNA and other elements, together weave an intricate control network.

The work, published in the journals Nature and Genome Research, is to be scaled up to the rest of the genome.

Views transformed

The Encyclopaedia of DNA Elements (Encode) study was a collaborative effort between 80 organisations from around the world.

It has been described as the next step on from the Human Genome Project, which provided the sequence for all of the DNA that makes up the human species' biochemical "book of life".

We are now seeing the majority of the rest of the genome is active to some extent
Tim Hubbard, Sanger Institute
Ewan Birney, from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European Bioinformatics Institute, led Encode's analysis effort. He told the BBC: "The Human Genome Project gave us the letters of the genome, but not a great deal of understanding. The Encode project tries to understand the genome."

The researchers focussed on 1% of the human genome sequence, carrying out 80 different types of experiments that generated more than 600 million data points.

The surprising results, explained Tim Hubbard from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, "transform our view of the genome fabric".

DNA molecule, BBC
The double-stranded DNA molecule - wound in a helix - is held together by four chemical components called bases
Adenine (A) bonds with thymine (T); cytosine(C) bonds with guanine (G)
Groupings of these "letters" form the "code of life"; a code that is very nearly universal to all Earth's organisms
Written in the DNA are genes which cells use as starting templates to make proteins; these sophisticated molecules build and maintain our bodies
Previously, genome activity was thought of in terms of the 22,000 genes that make proteins - the functional building blocks in our cells - along with patches of DNA that control, or regulate, the genes.

The other 97% or so of the genome was said to be made up of "junk" DNA - so called because it had no known biological function.

However, junk DNA may soon need a new moniker.

Dr Hubbard said: "We are now seeing the majority of the rest of the genome is active to some extent."

He explained that the study had found junk DNA was being transcribed, or copied, into RNA - an active molecule that relays information from DNA to the cellular machinery.

He added: "This is a remarkable finding, since most prior research suggested only a fraction of the genome was transcribed."

'Complex picture'

Dr Birney added that many of the RNA molecules were copying overlapping sequences of DNA.

He said: "The genome looks like it is far more of a network of RNA transcripts that are all collaborating together. Some go off and make proteins; [and] quite a few, although we know they are there, we really do not have a good understanding of what they do.

"This leads to a much more complex picture."

The researchers now hope to scale up their efforts to look at the other 99% of the genome.

By finding out more about its workings, scientists hope to have a better understanding of the mechanics of certain diseases.

Dr Birney said that in the future, they would hope to combine their findings with some of the larger studies that are currently investigating genes known to be associated with particular conditions.

He added: "As we understand these things better, we get better insight into disease, and when we get better insight into disease, we get better insight into diagnosis and the chances to create new drugs."

--BBC News

Evolution vs Intelligent Design: Not Worth My Time

The debate involving Evolution vs Intelligent Design is not a debate worth having. It is not worthy of being called a debate. It is not worth millions in lawyer fees. It is not worthy of a blog entry by a sarcastic undergraduate on summer vacation. It is, however, worth its own slot on Comedy Central. It honestly gets ridiculous sometimes. The two sides aren't even having the same conversation:

Scientist: The Sun is about halfway through its main-sequence evolution, during which nuclear fusion reactions in its core fuse hydrogen into helium. Each second, more than 4 million tons of matter are converted into energy within the Sun's core, producing neutrinos and solar radiation.
IDer: No! The sun feels like sunshine!! ...from Jesus...

It's positively absurd! No one argues over why gravity makes things fall. Newton didn't have to amend Principia Mathematica with "This textbook contains material on gravity. This concept, while appearing to be fact, might be real, might be driven by God, or might be an illusion orchestrated by God to test our faith. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered." Yet, evolution, a law of nature just as tried and true as gravity itself, is challenged by wealthy Republicans and their trailer trash groupies who don't even attempt to understand it?

These people view science as viciously attacking the very foundations of their way of life, come forth to destroy morality, to promote sex, drugs, rock n roll, and research on microtubule binding proteins. Well, I do have the Religious Right to thank for making scientists unwittingly cool, but I assure you that scientists are frequently too busy in their labs to run around sacrificing children, practicing witchcraft, and becoming lesbians (although this statement is not necessarily inclusive of all scientists).

And thus I propose gifts for teachers of evolution in our public schools:

  • Body armor. Great for making presentations to creationist school boards, but light enough for daily use in the classroom. Rated for small arms, crossbow, and stones weighing up to 14 pounds.
  • Jonathan Weiner's The Beak of the Finch. A great read, even if you think science is just for geeks. Buy a copy for yourself while you're at it, and talk about it loudly at cocktail parties.
  • Cell phone stun gun. Uppity students will be 23% less creationy if they know there are consequences for spreading ignorance. "Hey, Jimmy, the Intelligent Designer wants to talk to you!"
  • Defending Evolution. Tips on teaching evolution, dealing with wacko parents, and more. This book is endorsed by plenty of people who believe in God, and by God.
  • Unprotected sex. If your kid's teacher is single, set him or her up with a VMAT2 wild type and tell them to have lots of kids, and to hurry.
  • Noah's Ark play set. Add a bucket of large plastic dinosaurs and it's the perfect gift for the science-inclined kindergarten teacher.
  • Subscription to Natural History, which is read by people "likely to influence the opinions of their friends and colleagues." Once the home of the late Stephen J. Gould's column on sports metaphors in biology.
  • Darwin's favorite plant: Dionaea muscipula. You can buy these little beasties, native to N. and S. Carolina, at Home Depots nationwide. Big specimens will even eat small frogs.
  • Adventure vacation to a Creationist town. Travel to Dover, Cobb County, or Grantsburg. Bring kids, courtesy of the Federal "No Child Left Behind" travel fund.
  • A book by Darwin. Perhaps On the Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, or, everyone's controversial favorite, The Formation of Vegetable Moulds through the Action of Worms with Observations of Their Habits.
  • An e-card. If your teacher is doing a good job with evolution instruction, tell him or her you care. It's free! Find his or her email address on the school's web site.

This is just a snippet from the Pennsylvania Science Standards, available here as MS Word or PDF files.

If all 4th graders ended the year with this ability, I don't think there would be any problem teaching evolution in middle school -- children would be fully equipped to identify beliefs that might conflict with scientific facts, and be able to reject such beliefs.

Now the real challenge is getting some "fact versus belief" lesson plans in circulation. Anyone know of any?

Take that, Intelligent Design...

This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.
This textbook asserts that gravity exists. Gravity is a theory, not a fact, regarding a force that cannot be directly seen. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.
This book discusses heliocentrism, the theory that the Earth orbits around a centrally located sun. Students should be encouraged to fully consider the evidence for, and the evidence against, this interesting idea.
This textbook suggests that the Earth is spherical. Because a few delusional wackos still think the Earth is flat, while others insist it is oblate spheroid, teachers are urged to skip over this controversial topic in lesson plans.
This textbook states that the Earth is over 4 billion years old. Because this fact conflicts rather directly with a hugely popular fictional account, both sides of the argument should be taught to impressionable children.
This book promotes the theory of plate tectonics, the gradual movement of the major land masses. Because nobody actually witnessed the land masses moving, teachers should refer to the theory as unprovable.
This textbook used to contain material about general relativity. General relativity is a scientific theory that promotes relativism, plus few scientists fully understand it. The offending section was therefore cut out of the book with a razor blade.
This textbook suggests that the origin of life was a wholly natural event, not a holy magic trick. Because this view makes fundamentalists go off their medication, readers are encouraged to burn this book along with the author.
This book does not contain the word "evolution," the unifying principle in biology and an important component of the National Science Standards and the Scholastic Achievement Test.
This textbook claims that evolution is not fully accepted by scientists because it is just a theory. The author hopes to confuse you into equating scientific theory with cockamamie theory.
This book discusses God. The existence of entities with supernatural powers is controversial, and many believe that myths, especially other people's myths, are entirely fictional. This material should be approached with a sense of humor.
This book mentions Intelligent Design. Scientists first rejected supernatural explanations for life in the 1800s, and still do today — regardless of how these explanations are named.
This book contains an evolution disclaimer sticker mandated by your local school board. For fun, submit an article that analyzes the impact of weakened science instruction on the success of students' college applications.
This book was anonymously donated to your school library to discreetly promote magical, religious alternatives to the theory of evolution. When you are finished with it, please reshelve the book in the fiction section.
This book discusses evolution. President George W. Bush said, "On the issue of evolution, the verdict is still out on how God created the Earth." Therefore, until 2009 this material shood be aproched with an open mind, studeed carefuly, and critcly consid'rd.
Got Jesus? Isn't it time you got over it?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
-Soren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855)

Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 - 1882)
I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.
-Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised.
-Dorothy Parker (1893 - 1967)
No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.
-Lily Tomlin (1939 - )
I once said cynically of a politician, 'He'll doublecross that bridge when he comes to it.'
-Oscar Levant (1906 - 1972)

The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
-George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

A cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin.
-H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

My pessimism extends to the point of even suspecting the sincerity of other pessimists.
-Jean Rostand

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cambodian monk takes a picture of human skulls at Choeung Ek killing field in Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 31/05/07
Two million people are believed to have died under the Khmer Rouge
The long-awaited Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia to are ready to start, after a panel of judges approved ground rules.

"These rules will ensure us fair and transparent trials," co-prosecutor Robert Petit told reporters.

The deal was reached in a week-long meeting, after a delay of more than six months because of disagreements between local and UN-appointed legal officials.

The tribunal, which has a budget of $56.3m, is expected to run for three years, starting trials in 2008.

Mr Petit said the rules had been agreed unanimously by the panel.

"Now that the rules are adopted, we can move forward," he said.

A UN appointed judge recently said the investigation phase, including arrests of potential defendants, could begin within weeks of the rules being adopted, the Associated Press reported.

Long hiatus

A meeting in November last year over ended in disarray - and the future of the process looked bleak.

Meeting of Cambodian and foreign judges in Phnom Penh, Cambodia - 04/06/07
A similar meeting last year ended without agreement

But this time the mood was cordial.

Earlier officials told the BBC that there were no serious disagreements during the meeting.

Many of the legal officials have had little to do during the long hiatus caused by the dispute.

BBC correspondent Guy De Launey said the prosecutors have continued to compile evidence - and they are now ready to give their files to the investigating judges.

It means that there should soon be official confirmation of which former Khmer Rouge leaders will be charged - and with what crimes.

As many as two million people are thought to have died during the four years of Khmer Rouge government in the late 1970s.

The movement's former leader, Pol Pot, died nine years ago.

But the former head of state, Khieu Samphan, and Foreign Minister Leng Sary have both been living freely in Cambodia.

Well, it's about damn time...

"Theravada Buddhism does not privilege the mind in the way that Western and Eastern Vedantic philosophy do. It does not separate the mind out from the body, treat it as an independent thing, and give it special powers like everlasting life. Buddhism treats the mind as an interdependent piece of the whole developing person; the human personality is a striving, growing, composite thing, not a transcendental identity that eventually moves on to acheive perfect happiness. Buddhism rejects not only the idea of an immortal soul, but also the humbler idea that a centralized immaterial person lives inside the body and runs the show. There is no essential 'me' that persists throughout all the changes of my feelings, perceptions, streaming conscious thoughts, and so on: there is only a loose confederation of experiences that can be called 'Steve'."
- Steve Amsa
Other myths about Buddhism:
- Reincarnation and Karma are not geniune aspects of Buddhism, and are even "cultural baggage" which the Buddha tried to get rid of, along with all supernatural explanations of the universe.
- Followers of Tibetan Buddhism, complete with all the trappings (like the Dalai Lama) constitude only 6% of all Buddhists. Western emphasis on this relatively small sect would be similar to the whole of of Asia holding the impression that the biggest branch of Christianity was Amish or Mormon.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

SagarSays ShutUp (1:47:03 AM): how else could you develop a theory of it all?
SagarSays ShutUp (1:47:07 AM): and is a theory necessary?
SagarSays ShutUp (1:47:21 AM): i'm skeptical about a lot of the applications of syn bio
JataVincitOmnia (1:49:55 AM): a theory is necessary in general for the obvious necessity of a framework; once you have some data, where does it fit? and if by skeptical of synbio's applications, you mean, don't think they will be that catalyzing and exciting, you're probably right. synthetic biology will be like synthetic chemistry; interesting to those in the field, revolutionary to anyone familiar with the fundamental concepts, but will eventually be as boring, commonplace, and taken for granted as plastics are in our everyday lives.
SagarSays ShutUp (1:51:01 AM): by skeptical i also mean that i don't think most of the applications will work
SagarSays ShutUp (1:51:08 AM): because we don't really understand the systems we work with
SagarSays ShutUp (1:51:13 AM): we put a lot of effort into engineering systems
SagarSays ShutUp (1:51:20 AM): we put a lot of effort into characterizing systems
SagarSays ShutUp (1:51:39 AM): but we don't put a lot of effort into developing a deep foundational understanding of how and why our system works
JataVincitOmnia (1:52:56 AM): ah, gotcha. yeah, thats probably the problem with modern science, aggravated by pressure to publish, desire for grants, fame, etc., and the fact that most scientists are egotistical bastards who dont actually care
SagarSays ShutUp (1:54:20 AM): i think publish/perish promotes run of the mill science
JataVincitOmnia (1:54:58 AM): yes it does
JataVincitOmnia (1:55:05 AM): and i hate it
SagarSays ShutUp (1:55:13 AM): what i don't get is
SagarSays ShutUp (1:55:16 AM): if all the scientists
SagarSays ShutUp (1:55:20 AM): run the damn academia
SagarSays ShutUp (1:55:26 AM): and they must all think this as well
SagarSays ShutUp (1:55:31 AM): then why don't they change it?
SagarSays ShutUp (1:56:02 AM): i guess
SagarSays ShutUp (1:56:04 AM): many of them
SagarSays ShutUp (1:56:11 AM): enjoy doing run of the mill science

The scary thing is, that's probably true...

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Parable of Maha Ghosananda

A bit of background: Maha Ghosananda is considered to be the most holy person in Cambodia. Even the Dalai Lama actually prostrates himself on the ground when he visits the Venerable Maha. An elderly monk, he has played an unparalleled role in the modern history of Buddhism (which is my new fascination; leave me alone). He resisted the Khmer Rouge during their rule of starvation, execution, and forced labor, resulting in the death of 1.5 million. (The Khmer Rouge were Pol Pot's communist psychopaths; one of their mottos was "To keep you is no benefit. To destroy you is no loss.") He constructed makeshift temples in refugee camps, led peace marches throughout Cambodia, and helped to fight the spiritual demoralization of Buddhists from the 1970s to this day. The parable he relates, horribly paraphrased below, describes the need to balance compassion with wisdom; you should strive for tolerance, openness, and compassionate acceptance, but you shouldn't be stupid about it.


A violent dragon meets a bodhisattva* on the road one day. The bodhisattva tells the dragon that he shouldn't kill anymore, and instead adopt the Five Precepts** and care for all life. This inspires the dragon, and afterwards the dragon becomes completely nonviolent. But now the children who tend to the animal flocks nearby, seeing that the dragon has become gentle, lose all fear of him. They begin to torment him, stuffing stones and dirt into his mouth, pulling his tail, and jumping on his head. Soon the dragon stops eating and becomes very sick.

When he encounters the bodhisattva again, he complains: "You told me that if I kept the precepts and was compassionate, I would be happy. But now I suffer, and I am not happy at all." To this the bodhisattva replies: "My son, if you have compassion, morality, and virtue, you also must have wisdom and intelligence. This is the way to protect yourself. The next time the children make you suffer, show them your fire, after that, they will trouble you no more."


This little story applies not only to the personal quest for that middle ground between tolerance and self-defense, but to he Buddhist cultural response to Christian missionary zealots (who are a serious problem in Southeast Asia; honestly, we don't need anymore Mormons in the world, no offense).

The message is simple: don't let people push you around, even if you're a Buddhist.


*Bodhisattva: One who seeks Enlightenment; also, all the previous incarnations of the Buddha.

**Five Precepts:
1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech (lying, etc).
5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

Friday, June 08, 2007

It has commenced... finals week is upon us in full force, seizing what sanity I have left after a menacing term. The thought of a pure, utopian society has faded while the University of Chicago has captured the last breath of any rational existence and conquered our self-worth. In coming days it is likely to see a plethora of unpleasant faces staring into an oblivion that can only be experienced by the masochistic idiots who attend this school. The underlying prolifigacy in which this institution so loves to put forth has taken a toll on our already feeble carcasses, in result of consuming repulsive dining hall rations. The possibility of survival is a distant notion. God help us all...

Monday, June 04, 2007

"If the draft (depth) of your vessel exceeds the depth of the water, you are most assuredly aground."
-- US Navy Saying


"Aaaaaaarrrf!! Arf! Arf! Arf Aaarf Aa--"


Sunday, June 03, 2007

On Friendship

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."
--George Washington

"He who has a thousand friends has not a friend to spare,
And he who has one enemy will meet him everywhere."
--Ali ibn-Abi-Talib
"The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed."
--Carl Jung

"Never explain yourself: your friends won't need it and your enemies won't believe you anyway."
--Elbert Hubbard

"We are friends and I do like to pass the day with you in serious and inconsequential chatter. I wouldn't mind washing up beside you, dusting beside you, reading the back half of the paper while you read the front. We are friends and I would miss you, do miss you and think of you very often."
--Jeannette Winterson

"True friends stab you in the front."
--Oscar Wilde

"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words."

"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked."
--Bernard Meltzer

Sometimes we put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down. I'll miss a lot of great people this long, hot, lonely summer faraway.
I love you guys :'-) Truly exceptional friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.

That's us, but we're cuter.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Just when you think life has stopped bitch-slapping you, it pulls out a shotgun. Ours not to question why, ours but to do and die. Such is life at the University of Chicago...