Today's Headlines

US News

96 Dead in Rhode Island Concert Hall Fire
A pyrotechnics show at the start of a concert by the band Great White triggered a fire at the nightclub The Station in West Warwick, Rhode Island, quickly consuming the club and resulting in 96 deaths. The sparks from the pyrotechnics ignited the soundproofing foam that covered the rear of the stage; the fire consumed the club in three minutes. Attorneys representing the owners of The Station claim that the pyro show was done without permission of the club owners.

Staten Island Oil Barge Blast Kills 2
A barge unloading gasoline in Staten Island exploded with tremendous force Friday, shaking businesses and homes around the city as a thick cloud of black smoke rose to the sky, bringing about visual memories of 9/11. Two people died in the explosion, which authorities are calling an accident, not an act of terror.

Emails Reveal Concerns About Space Shuttle Columbia
NASA engineers at Langley Research Center in Virginia sent scores of frustrated emails both during and after the last flight of the space shuttle Columbia, decrying the lack of investigation into potential damage due to debris. The emails, made public yesterday, make it clear that the engineers were greatly concerned about shuttle safety, and that blame for ignoring these warnings falls higher in the chain of command.

International News

Inspector Orders Iraq to Dismantle Disputed Missiles
Chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix yesterday ordered that Iraq start destroying all of its Al Samoud 2 missiles and anly illegally imported rocket engines which exceed the allowed range of 92 miles. The destruction of the weaponry must begin within a week, giving US president George W. Bush the March 1, 2003 deadline he has been waiting for to begin military action against Iraq.

Non-Aligned Movement Divided on Iraq
In the days leading up to the Non-Aligned Movement summit on Monday, member nations are divided on the current state of affairs in Iraq. Arab members of NAM want a soft resolution "encouraging" Iraq to comply with the UN resolutions, while other nations feel a statement demanding that Iraq comply should be made. Both sides, however, are in agreement in condemning the United States' plans to invade Iraq and disarm the nation by force.

United States to Send Food Aid to North Korea
US Secretary of State Colin Powell said today the United States will announce in the next week a new food donation to North Korea despite a developing crisis over the country's nuclear weapons programs. "We don't use food as a political weapon," Powell told reporters, reaffirming a long-standing U.S policy. "You go through all the politics, and there are kids out there that are still starving." The United States donated more than 150,000 tons of food to North Korea last year, more than any other country, but in 2003 there have been no food donations from the United States to North Korea.


FCC Decision Hurts Baby Bell Stock Prices
Shares of US local telephone providers fell Friday after federal regulators reaffirmed rules requiring the Baby Bells to provide low-priced access for their competitors to their phone networks. However, if the companies install fiber optic cables for high-speed internet usage, these lines won't have to be shared. The net result is that the large long distance carriers like AT&T and Sprint have guaranteed access to the local phone networks, ensuring their survival and continued growth.

US Consumer Prices Rise 0.3% in January
The Consumer Price Index showed a 0.3% jump for the month of January 2003, making it the largest one-month increase in almost a year. Gasoline and other energy prices were the catalyst for the increase, reflecting concerns about the global oil market.

Stock Markets Up For Week, Look Forward To Economic Numbers Next Week
This week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to 8018, a rise of 110 ponts from its week ago close; the Nasdaq rose to 1348 from its week ago close of 1310. A bevy of economic numbers could trigger a bigger rise next week, including numbers on existing home sales and new home sales as well as indicators on consumer confidence and a summary of the fourth quarter's domestic product for 2002.

Science & Technology

Hubble Looks At Coldest Place In Known Universe
On Friday, images from the Hubble Space Telescope depicting the Boomerang Nebula were released. Located in the constellation Centaurus, the nebula is roughly 5000 light years away and is the coldest place in the known universe, hovering at a temperature only one degree above absolute zero, colder even than the background radiation that permeates the universe.

Attacks Expose ATM Vulnerabilities
A pair of Cambridge University researchers have discovered a new attack on the hardware security devices employed by banks that makes it possible to retrieve ATM PINs in an average of 15 tries. Although this technique has not yet been used in the wild, the technique would potentially allow a cracking team to recover 7000 PINs in thirty minutes.

Microsoft Rolls Out Privacy Technology
On Friday, Microsoft introduced its Windows Rights Management Services, a series of technologies that allows companies and governments to carefully control who can see their documents and emails. The procedure is based around a sophisticated public key-based encryption system. This technology will be fully integrated into the next version of Microsoft Office, which ships this summer.


Double Transplant Teen Has No Brain Activity
Double transplant recipient Jesica Santillan, 17, has no brain activity, said a Duke University Hospital spokesman early Saturday. Although the hospital has not officially declared her brain dead, an EEG showed no brain activity and a blood flow scan showed no blood flow to her brain. Santillan received a heart and lung transplant on February 7, but the operation was botched because the organs didn't match her blood type; a second surgery was done Thursday with matching organs.

Five Children Die of Flu-Like Symptoms in Virginia
Five children have died in the past week in southeast Virginia as a result of a flu-like sickness that has local doctors baffled. The children had no contact with each other and in each case took different medicines. The symptoms were simliar, however; all of the children had a sore throat, wheezy breath, coughing, ear infections, and low fevers.


Kobe Bryant's Near Unstoppable Streak Continues
Kobe Bryant scored forty points again last night as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Portland Trailblazers 92 to 84. This was Bryant's eighth straight game with 40 or more points, and twelfth straight game with 35 or more points. The Los Angeles Lakers have won ten out of twelve games and have moved into sole possession of the final playoff slot in the Western Conference.

Ferguson Considering Staying at Manchester United Beyond 2005
After postponing retirement after the end of last season and signing a contract keeping him as Manchester United's coach through 2005, Sir Alex Ferguson today stated a desire to continue coaching at Old Trafford beyond the end of his contract. Ferguson also apologized to The Times Magazine for occasionally losing his cool, including last weekend's incident where he booted a football shoe across the locker room, cutting David Beckham's forehead.


No Big Winners Expected At Grammys
With eight artists (including Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, and Norah Jones) leading the nominations with five apiece, no artists look poised to dominate the awards show in a trend that has been apparent since Santana's dominance at the show three years ago. In the critical album of the year category, though, Bruce Springsteen's album The Rising is seen as the clear favorite.

Michael Jackson Interviewer Contradicts Himself
Thursday night's special depicting behind-the-scenes footage of Martin Bashir's huge ratings-winning documentary on Michael Jackson shows that Bashir repeatedly contradicted himself between what was said in the interview and what appeared on air. Among these was an about face where Bashir told Jackson "Your relationship with your children is spectacular and in fact it almost makes me weep when I see you with them," but during the documentary said "They are restricted. They are overly protected. I was angry at the way his children were made to suffer," in reference to Jackson's children. The whole situation brings into question the integrity of modern documentary production.

And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

Go back. Read through those headlines above. Look at the myriad of ways the United States is being damaged by continuing to pursue a war with Iraq.

Most nations in the world are condemning the United States even considering a war. Prices are skyrocketing. Stocks are dropping. Basically, the United States hasn't even entered the war yet and on diplomatic and economic fronts, we've already lost.

Even more interesting to me is the fact that I can't eludicate why exactly we are over there. The only reason I can state is that this is an action to prevent Iraq from obtaining weapons similar to what the United States has in abundance. We're saying, "You can't have what we have, and if you think you can, we'll bomb you and kill thousands of your civilians." That's simply murderous.

Open up your history books, ladies and gentlemen. One hundred years ago today, Teddy Roosevelt was President of the United States. His general policy was to speak softly and carry a big stick. We're about as far away from that policy as can be right now... we're carrying a very big stick, but we're sure not talking softly.

Since World War II, the United States has not been in a military conflict that was actually necessary. The Korean War and the action in Vietnam were both vestiges of McCarthyism. The Gulf War was fought so America could save a few dimes on oil. All of our other minor military actions were mostly to cover up botched CIA secret operations.

Maybe now's the time the United States should look into the nation's past. What was the policy in the middle of our longest periods of peace? The policy was generally isolationism: we spoke softly and carried a big stick (well, the stick wasn't very big until recently, but I digress).

Maybe now is the time to return to an isolationist approach. Let's let the other nations of the world make their own decisions, and only deal with them economically. If we don't agree with their policies, don't trade with them; if we agree with their policies, offer them trade benefits. We have the financial wherewithal to influence policy just by doing that.

If the United States adopted a hands-off policy in world affairs, the continued anger that the rest of the world shows towards us for our continued policies of interference would strongly decrease. In addition, saving money on all of these military operations would allow our nation to spend money on things of importance, like improving education, spending money on basic research through the National Science Foundation, and developing a lifelong health care system for all Americans that actually works.

Or maybe I'm just dreaming, and we truly have handed the nation over to a militaristic junta.