Painless

This story gets more gruesome as it goes on. A little girl is born without the ability to feel pain. Sounds “cool” eh? Right, Mr. 2,000 piercings, Jim-Rose-Sideshow person? Howabout the fact that she scratched out her eyeball, quite unawares? Brrrr.

The Girl Who Feels No Pain
Gabby Gingras has a disease so rare she’s the only person her parents and doctors can find in the U.S. suffering from it. Like any other three-year-old, Gabby takes her share of slips and falls. Her reaction to each is predictable — at least for her family.
For no matter how hard Gabby hits the ground, she will not shed a single tear. Hard as it is to fathom Gabby Gingras feels no pain. There is no cure, nor will she outgrow it.
“She fell down the stairs the other day in the garage,” her dad says. “She just picked herself up and started climbing up the stairs again like nothing had happened.”
“She never cried,” her mother adds.

By way of Metafilter.

Most vegetables are not vegetables

Steve Cook, who does somethingorother in the Biology department at the Imperial College of London wants you to know exactly what vegetable-looking-things are vegetables and what are not…I guess. I find these things fascinating.

Most of the time, actually. I was recently horrified when my flatmate was surprised to find out that aubergine (eggplant) is actually a fruit, and not a ‘vegetable’, whatever that means. Here, for the greater good and knowledge of humankind, is an exhaustive (well, it exhausted me) list of all the things made from plants you’re ever likely to meet and eat, and what they actually are.
The first thing I’ll clear up is that ‘vegetable’ is pretty much meaningless: it’s not the opposite of fruit (as the aubergine thing clearly demonstrates), and it’s not the opposite of plants you eat for pudding (carrot cake, courgette cake, rocket and raspberry salad, etc.), and it’s not savoury plant products either (sweetcorn, anybody?). Vegetable doesn’t really seem to mean anything, so unfortunately, we will have to leave the cosy world of fruit and vegetables, and get our heads round some nasty botanical concepts, like the difference between a leaf and a flower, and some even nastier words. Nevermind, on we plough regardless…

Ohmigod we’re all going to die! etc. etc.

The most blogged and email story this week–the leaked Pentagon report that says that we will all die from global warming by 2050–is sanely discussed in this Oakland Tribune story.

Futurists see world coming to awful stew
In fact, GBN’s report bears as much resemblance to probable reality as does the London Observer in describing it as “a secret report” predicting that climate change “could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy.” According to unnamed experts quoted by the newspaper, the report concludes that climate change is a “threat to global stability (that) vastly eclipses that of terrorism.”
“We were imagining the unthinkable, a worst-case scenario,” GBN’s Randall said Monday by phone.
The Pentagon’s unofficial futurist, Andrew Marshall, commissioned the report. He heads the internal DOD think tank that is responsible for scoping long-range trends and threats. Scenario-based projections are a staple of business and military planning.
The Defense Department released the report last month to a business magazine writer.
“There’s nothing secret about it, there’s nothing Pentagon about it and there’s no prediction in it,” Randall said.

This of course doesn’t stop the fact that global warming exists–despite what the monkey fascist (and Dennis Miller) believes–and that the BushJunta have made it easier for polluters to destroy even more of our environment.
But it often points out a truth about doomsday scenarios: there’s always part of our darkest nature that secretly wants to see it come true. And here that dark part met with our secret wish to see even the Pentagon point out how wrong Bush is.