Monday, May 21, 2007

Bring Out Your Dead

Kenny Johns respects the dead. He just doesn’t want them lying about near his airport.

Last month, Texas State University provost Perry Moore was finalizing plans to build a 17-acre forensic anthropology research field lab—a ‘body farm’ that would use decomposing human remains to investigate outdoor crime scenes—less than a mile from taxiways at San Marcos Municipal Airport.

But after concerns of circling buzzards, which would threaten aircraft there, and a protracted battle with the site’s neighbors, the university got cold feet. It is now searching for another location for the lab, which will be the cornerstone for the Ph.D. program in forensic anthropology, says university spokesperson Mark Hendricks.

The farm—with up to a dozen bodies in various states of decomposition—will allow researchers to sample materials around the remains to pinpoint time elapsed since death. Texas State University is aiming for a facility by fall semester, which will be the third in the nation, joining ones in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Johns, airport manager at San Marcos Municipal, recognizes the importance of the facility and has no qualms with the farm itself. But one buzzard alone can easily destroy a small plane’s engine and, perhaps even more dangerous, shatter windshields of the larger ones. “And that can’t be ignored,” he said.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Innocence Lost

Some say they deserve no respect, not even a passing glance in a crowd of criminals or a clean place to rest when they die.

Jade Sanders and Lamont Thomas, both vegans, fed their 6-week-old baby boy a diet primarily of soy milk and apple juice. They apparently didn't know it would harm anyone.

Now the baby is dead, and the parents were convicted of malice murder, felony murder and first degree cruelty to children.

For all the questions this issue raises, the answers most likely will be few. For the so-called guilty, it looks like there will be none at all.

An article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution provides gruesome detail, which might have been all a jury needed to hear. "At six weeks old he weighed just 3 1/2 pounds and was so emaciated, doctors could count his bones through his skin."

The defense maintains the couple was simply ignorant, that they were doing their best while subscribing to a vegan lifestyle, that they knew nothing was wrong until minutes before... The prosecution says it was a chilling case of murder, a prolonged death to the innocent and defenseless.

Before the verdict was issued, there was a discussion. Seven hours of jury deliberation. Seven hours to end with two life sentences...

Friday, May 4, 2007

Foreign Policy: Always Testy, this time Chesty

You know relationships are strained when something as simple as a 3-minute conversation between American and Iranian officials makes the front page of the New York Times.

What did they talk about? No one really knows. But it was important (we're told), if nothing else simply because of the symbolism.

The real attention-grabber, though, is below. Apparently we have uncovered a wrinkle in our foreign policy relations... Some say it should take cover. Quickly.

"Ms. Rice had planned to approach (Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr) Mottaki at dinner Thursday evening, held by Egypt’s foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit. But Mr. Mottaki left the dinner before Ms. Rice arrived — and apparently before eating.

Iranian officials said that Mr. Mottaki was not avoiding Ms. Rice; rather, they said, he left because he considered the red dress worn by one of the event’s entertainers to be too revealing, according to news services.

Today, Sean McCormack, a State Department spokesman, sounded dubious about that explanation. 'I’m not sure which woman he was afraid of, the one in the red dress or the secretary of state,' he said."

It's the End of the World as We Know It

A dagger is slicing through the heart of the print journalism world. Rupert Murdoch is here to add the finishing touches.

Murdoch's News Corporation is positioning itself to buy Dow Jones & Co., parent of the Wall Street Journal, in a potential move that has 'terrified' reporters at the WSJ.

After all, the deal would unite the most prestigious name in business journalism with News Corp. properties such as the Fox News channel, "American Idol" and

There's something about the above sentence that just don't look or sound right...,0,6642343,full.story

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Corkscrew penises and fancy vaginas

To the right is a duck penis. Apparently it evolved that way to get the girl. What's even stranger, the girl wasn't to be outdone. Her vagina evolved also--to spiral in the opposite direction... Some hypothesize this uncooperative genital response, which occurs only in certain species, is a way to keep guys out--quite literally.

Because really, would you want that stanky hang-down all up inside you?

I didn't write this one for the magazine... but it does make me appreciate how twisted, no pun intended, life can be.

Photo Credit: Kevin McCracken