More Junkmail from Bob!
Thursday, February 22, 2001
For the web version, go to
There are quite a few pictures this week. You can preview them at the web site. That help makes up for my refusal to proofread.
Leprosy has been around for thousands of years. It's been a problem for researchers because it won't grow in a petri dish. About 700,000 people still get Leprosy every year, mainly in Africa and Asia.
Some English and French researchers have published the genetic map of the Mycobacterium leprae, the leprosy Bacteria. They figured out that a lot of its genes are just flat missing. Apparently the Leprosy bacteria latches onto some human genes and that allows it to grow. This explains why it won't grow in a culture.
Here is the genetic map of Mycobacterium leprae. It's in Adobe Acrobat format. You'll need to zoom in to see the detail.
There are lots of nonfunctional pseudogenes in Mycobacterium leprae with functional counterparts in tuberculosis bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. I think this was a major surprise, but I'm not sure. You can read all about it in Nature magazine.
In case you don't want to buy a subscription, here is some free info:
Napster is Still Kicking
Napster is still alive, for now. There are currently 2,108,377 songs available for download. Napster offered the recording industry people a billion dollars to let them keep at it. The recording industry told Napster to take a hike. I guess a $1,000,000,000 just doesn't go as far as it used to.
Know what a famous spy looks like? Click here.
Excuse me. That would be a famous alleged spy. Here is what the FBI had to say about Mr. Hanssen:
Venus is bright! Look west in the early evening.
Clinton is STILL in the News!
Hillary Clinton's brother got paid about $400,000 to arrange pardons for a drug dealer (Vignali) and a con man (Braswell). Bill Clinton pardoned one and commuted the sentence (let out of jail) the other. Hillary said she knew nothing about the money. Bill said he knew nothing about the money. There was also no connection between Denise Rich giving $1,500,000 to Democrats, Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign and President Clinton's library, and the pardon of fugitive Marc Rich. That was merely a coincidence.
Braswell was already under investigation for tax evasion and money laundering, but Clinton turned him loose anyway. Federal prosecutors were mad. Vignelli, who is from California, got caught distributing cocaine in Minnesota. His dad has a lot of money and a lot of political connections. The Minnesota police were not happy at all.
Clinton pardoned 176 people hours before he left office. About 40 of the cases, including Rich, Rich's partner, Vignelli, and Braswell, did not go through the normal Justice Department review before receiving presidential pardons. It makes me wonder how many others paid off someone to go free. I don't think too much of Bill Clinton after this. But I'll bet he doesn't care what I think.
I do have a lot of respect for Jimmy Carter. I may disagree with him on some things, but he's honest. He's done a lot of good things since he left office. He had a really interesting upbringing. He's pretty smart, too. I recommend reading some of his books. Here's what Carter (Jimmy, not Billy) had to say about it:
"I think President Clinton made one of his most serious mistakes in the way he handled the pardon situation the last few hours he was in office. A number of them were quite questionable, including about 40 not recommended by the Justice Department."
About Rich's pardon specifically: "I don't think there is any doubt that some of the factors in his pardon were attributable to his large gifts. In my opinion, that was disgraceful."
Carter pardoned about 500 people while he was president, most of those in the first three years, and none during the final weeks of his term. "I never pardoned anyone whose pardon was not recommended to me after a complete investigation by the Justice Department," he said.
That's the way it should be done.
Microsoft Wants a Piece of the Action
Ginny was a White House spokeswoman for Clinton. Haley was the Republican Party chairman. Paul was a former adviser to Attorney General Ashcroft. Boyden was White House counsel to former President Bush. Ed was an adviser to George Dubbya's presidential campaign. Now they all work for Microsoft. Microsoft decided that if everybody else can buy politicians, why should they be left out?
These people, along with a mess of other Washingtonoids, were hired to use either their political or their intellectual influence (you decide which) to persuade the government to go easy on Microsoft in the big antitrust lawsuit.
In addition to hiring people, Microsoft gave $1,296,079 to Republicans and $954,792 to Democrats during 1999-2000 campaigns. Microsoft employees a slew of lobbyists, and spent about $300,000 more for lobbying through Haley Barbour's company.
Bill Gates said about the political efforts, "With $26,900,000,000 in cash, we will overcome. I have a dream. You will be assimilated." Gates was slow getting into the political scene because for years he believed that the only Washington was west of the Mississippi.
Pictures of Today
Speaking of Washington, here is a house and a mountain in Washington.
Here is the top of Mount Rainier.
More Washington pictures. (Can you tell I went there last week?)
With the clouds and the snow, these pictures look almost like they're black and white.
A big waterfall:
A wet rock near the waterfall:
A natural totem pole:
I think there will be a long wait to get in here.
Aircraft icing is best done on the ground. This was in Shawnee, OK last week.
(@) 2001, All rights conserved. Any unauthorized duplication of this masterpiece will be viewed with a great deal of curiosity. Any authorized distribution of this masterpiece will be appreciated.
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