Today's Headlines

US News

US Military Camp In Kuwait Attacked By US Soldier
In an apparent friendly fire attack, one soldier was killed and 13 others were wounded early this morning when grenades were thrown and shots were fired into a tent used by leaders of a brigade from the 101st Airborne Division, military officials said. "An American soldier is in custody," said Major Trey Cate, a spokesman for the division. Major Cate did not identify the detained soldier or suggest a motive, but military sources described him as a sergeant attached to an engineering unit, an American citizen, and a Muslim convert. The attack took place at 1:21 this morning in Camp Pennsylvania, where soldiers from the First Brigade were sleeping; the troops were scheduled to move into Iraq later today.

Anti-War Rallies Continue Across US
Nearly 200,000 anti-war demonstrators took to the streets of Manhattan yesterday, protesting the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq even as bombs rained down on Baghdad again. Smaller demonstrations took place in dozens of cities nationwide, from thousands marching in San Francisco to several hundred protesters snaking through downtown Washington, chanting, "No blood for oil!" In New York, the turnout for a march that was 20 abreast and 40 blocks long surprised some parade organizers. They had worried that the round-the-clock bombing and videotape of U.S. tanks racing across the Iraqi desert might cause some anti-war Americans to despair. Instead, unofficial police estimates of the crowd size grew steadily through the day, and marchers spoke of their determination to be heard a final time.

Nomination Process For Reward In Elizabeth Smart Case Expanded
The two couples who called police when they spotted Brian David Mitchell, Wanda Barzee and Elizabeth Smart in Sandy, Utah on March 12 have filed claims for the $295,000 reward for Elizabeth's safe return, as have eight other groups. Salt Lake City Chief Deputy Attorney Steven Allred would not say who the other claimants are and said he won't look at their claims until after Friday, which is the deadline to apply for the reward. After that, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, police Chief Rick Dinse and the special agent in charge of the Salt Lake City FBI office will determine how the reward will be distributed. The process for nomination was also expanded, allowing second parties to nominate groups or individuals that they feel are eligible for the reward.

International News

UK Confident Of Ground War In Baghdad By Tuesday
A British defense source said this morning that the ground war to capture Baghdad should begin by Tuesday with no plan for coalition troops to get bogged down fighting in Iraq's second city of Basra. "We're looking toward Monday night, Tuesday for the ground offensive on Baghdad," the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. "The important thing is not to take Basra but to get through it and get to the north. We won't get into fighting in downtown Basra." This is something of a change of plan from the original goal, which was to take each city of significance on the route to Baghdad. The US 3rd Infantry Division is now about 100 miles from Baghdad.

Iraq Claims 77 Deaths And Capture Of American Soldiers
Iraqi information minister Saeed as-Sahhaf said Sunday that 77 civilians were killed and 366 injured in coalition air strikes on the southern city of Basra. The civilians are said to be victims of cluster bombs. Meanwhile, Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan said that captured enemy soldiers would soon be shown on state television, adding that the war was going well for Iraq. "Within a few hours you will see the captured enemy soldiers who harassed Souq al-Shuyukh on Iraqi television and you will see the burned tanks in Souq al-Shuyukh," Ramadan told a news conference. Souq al-Shuyukh is a village in southeastern Iraq where troops have met heavy resistance.

Iraqi Troops Fire On Ground Targets In Baghdad
Iraqi troops fired at unidentified targets in the Tigris River in Baghdad on Sunday after reports that US or British pilots may have ejected over the city. Television pictures from the bank of the Tigris showed speedboats searching the river and yelling soldiers firing volleys of shots into water near the edge of the river. The Arabic television network Al-Jazeera, quoting witnesses, said two Western pilots had come down by parachute in or near the river and that troops were searching for them. There are also unconfirmed reports airing on Al-Jazeera that at least one coalition fighter jet has been downed on the outskirts of Baghdad.


Dow Has Best Week In 20 Years
Buoyed by hopes for a quick end to the war in Iraq, the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 8.4% over the last week, the biggest one week gain in twenty years. The entire market jumped, pushing all of the major stock indices into positive territory. The stock rally, which is being referred to as the "Iraq relief rally," is expected to continue into the next week and bolster international stock markets as well. Market insiders said that the start of the war this week, and the early successes, eliminated much of the uncertainty and anxiety that had kept investors on the sidelines for the past six months, and that investors spent much of the week watching the news as the war developed in the Persian Gulf.

Airlines Expected To Lose $10.7 Billion This Year
The nation’s airlines, saying the war with Iraq had frightened travelers into staying home, announced deeper cuts in flight schedules on Friday and layoffs of 8,300 workers, while Hawaiian Airlines, the nation’s 12th-largest carrier, filed for bankruptcy protection. United Airlines, which itself filed for bankruptcy protection in December, made the strongest move by cutting 8% of the flights from its schedule because of a major slump in flight bookings that preceded and accompanied the start of fighting in Iraq. The tightened schedule could result in the loss of 70,000 jobs by the end of the year, according to the Air Transport Association.

Savings Bonds Being Looked At As Serious Investment
Aside from simple bank accounts, few conservative investment vehicles have such a long record serving mainstream America as U.S. Savings Bonds. These government-backed IOUs date to the mid-1930s and helped finance World War II. Interest waned in subsequent decades but has picked up lately with Series I bonds, which guarantee an inflation-beating return. With the current state of the economy, many investors are looking at the stability of savings bonds for a medium-term investment. The bonds themselves are changing, as the Treasury Department gradually converts to an electronic method of keeping bonds. "Over time, we'll be issuing electronic Savings Bonds and converting paper bonds to electronic form," said Stephen Meyerhardt, a Treasury spokesman. "Eventually, we'll stop the issuance of paper altogether."

Science & Technology

Aluminum Examined In Shuttle Probe
Aluminum has become something of a target for investgators while trying to determine what caused the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia. The dominant component in the shuttle's structure, aluminum can change under some circumstances into a fast-burning fuel; this trait of aluminum is often used in armor-piercing munitions, bombs, and rocket boosters. This has led the Columbia Accident Investigation Board to delve into the possibility that parts of the frame of the aircraft might have ignited or even exploded. This theory may explain many of the contradictions that have come up during the investigation, the most confusing of which is the fact that heat moved very quickly through the left wing of the craft.

War Dominates Internet Searching
As traffic to online news sites continues to soar, war has overtaken sex and Britney in the search engine popularity stakes. "War was our top search term today, taking over from perennial favourites sex, Britney and travel," Nadia Schofield, a spokesperson from Freeserve, told Reuters. At Yahoo!, Iraq deposed the country music group Dixie Chicks from first place in Yahoo's Buzz Index of popular US search terms. In the UK, Guardian Unlimited's traffic levels soared by 30% yesterday, as news of the first attacks on Iraq broke. The BBC also reported a surge of 30 to 40% in traffic to its news website.

Microsoft Limits Non-Intel Support For Windows 2003 Server
Many industry watchers had thought that Microsoft was merely being cautious when the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003 only claimed support for Itanium, Intel's 64-bit microchip architecture. It seems that's a long way from the case. In an interview with EE Times, Bob O'Brien, group product manager for the Microsoft Windows Server division, Microsoft hasn't even decided what the non-Intel 64-bit version of the product will look like, let alone when it will be released. The industry speculation is that Microsoft may be slowly pulling back support for 64-bit chips entirely, due to struggles with Intel's Itanium structure.


Death Toll For Mystery Illness Climbs To 12
A team of scientists in Hong Kong said they had identified a new virus believed to be behind the outbreak of a mysterious respiratory illness as the global death toll climbed to 12. The illness, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, has infected hundreds around the world. The disease stems from a Hong Kong hotel visit from an infected doctor from China, from which the virus entered into the ventilation unit and spread to several other residents of the hotel. The virus was detected in the lungs of one of the diseased victims who has undergone extensive tissue and organ testing after the diseased claimed the victim several days ago.

CDC Testing Bioterror Alerts On PDAs
A system is under development to utilize PDAs for transmission of urgent information from the CDC and the World Health Organization. The system could be used to send out details on the presence of various biological and chemical agents to medical professionals, enabling them to be prepared in the event of a bioterror attack. The system will run in conjunction with ePocrates, a physicians' handheld network which already connects about 40% of the nation's medical professionals. The system will create an alert within ePocrates which demands the attention of medical professionals, ensuring that the information is spread quickly.


Woods Dominating At Bay Hill
Tiger Woods has taken a five stroke lead at the Bay Hill Invitational, a golf tournament at which he is the three time defending champion. "On this golf course, if you drive it well you're going to have some pretty good opportunities," said Woods, who is 27-2 when he has at least a share of the lead in PGA Tour events. Woods has never lost when having more than a 1 stroke lead going into the final day of competition. Ernie Els, who was expected to be the primary competition for Woods at the tournament, faded into the pack on Saturday, finishing eight strokes behind Woods. Brad Faxon, at five strokes back, is in second place at the tournament.

Australia Crushes India In World Cup Finale
Australia retained cricket's World Cup today, inspired by captain Ricky Ponting's majestic 140. The Indians, chasing an awesome 360 to win, were dismissed for 234 in the 40th over and lost by 125 runs. Australia became the first side to win three World Cups. The result was clear very quickly, as Australia scored 359 for two, the biggest score ever recorded in a World Cup final. It was also a one-day record for Australia. Ponting, who hit a World Cup record of eight sixes in his 121-ball knock, put on an unbroken stand of 234 for the third wicket with Damien Martyn (88 not out), who played the game with a fractured finger.


The Show Must Go On
Barring unforeseen events such as a terrorist attack on the United States or a major shift in the fortunes in the war with Iraq, the 75th annual Academy Awards will take place as scheduled tonight, Academy spokespersons indicated yesterday. "At a time when American culture and values are under attack all over the world, we think it is more important than ever that we honour those achievements that reflect us and America at our event. We have done so throughout World War II, through the Korean war, the Vietnam war and through the disturbances of the '60s and the '70s," said Frank Pierson, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Razzie Awards Dominated By Madonna, Britney Spears
Madonna and Britney Spears tied for first place in the Razzie Awards, which are held the day before the Academy Awards each year. The awards honor the worst in film over the past year. Britney Spears' film Crossroads tied with Madonna's vehicle Swept Away for the worst film of the year, while Britney's song I'm Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman won the award for worst original song. Madonna won for worst supporting actress for her role in Die Another Day, among others. Attack of the Clones picked up two awards, including one for Hayden Christensen for worst supporting actor.

And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

How the heck do you find time for those day logs?
Since my weekdays usually involve large swaths of working spread throughout them, I thought I'd record my average weekend day for you all. I did this yesterday with a lil' notebook.

A Typical Weekend Day For 18thCandidate

5:31 AM: I wake up
5:33 AM: I make a bowl of cereal (Honey Bunches of Oats with Strawberries)
5:35 AM: I visit Google News (thank god for DSL)
5:36 AM: I start reading top 20 to 25 stories in each category after reviewing headlines. While doing this, I usually jot down headlines for use in my newslog
5:53 AM: I put my dishes in the sink and return to start writing
6:57 AM: As is often usual, I finish the newslog portion and put it aside for a bit as my mind shifts gears to write this "editorial" piece at the bottom. I instead work on finishing up my node on the Bristol sessions
7:09 AM: I have most of the Bristol sessions finished, so I create the node and set my softlinking program to make a few soft links while I finish the writeup
7:21 AM: I finish the writeup to my satisfaction and post it. I then do some editor-related task, burning out my remaining votes by drifting through the nodegel and looking for junk
7:57 AM: I go take a morning stroll, not going anywhere in particular
8:48 AM: I get back from my morning stroll and proceed to read while news coverage flickers on television
9:23 AM: A friend pops in semi-unexpectedly. We converse for a few hours, watch the news, and play a game
1:14 PM: My friend leaves, and I walk out with him, planning on driving to Des Moines, Iowa to pick up some work-related materials
2:01 PM: I arrive at my designated pick-up site, and pick up my things
2:27 PM: I see the Best Buy sign in West Des Moines, Iowa, so I stop in there. I purchase Pokémon Ruby (seriously, my niece got me hooked on the Pokémon Game Boy games) and debate on purchasing the Criterion Collection version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but decide to look for it cheaper online
3:01 PM: I stroll over to World Market and buy some marzipan, some ginger-flavored Altoids, and a jar of strawberry rhubarb jam
3:33 PM: I leave Des Moines, Iowa and head home
4:12 PM: I arrive home once again, and begin to play my new Pokémon Ruby game
5:23 PM: After getting really involved in Pokémon Ruby, I stop, realizing I haven't done my meditations or readings at all that day. So I meditate and read for a long while
6:41 PM: The sun is down, so I begin to prepare supper. I have a chicken pot pie and a handful of carrots as I watch the news
7:03 PM: I plan to sit down to visit e2 for a bit, but a friend challenges me to a game of Civilization III, which I accept
7:26 PM: I am thoroughly trounced at Civilization III, as I make the poor choice of playing as Russia, when I am much better as Persia or Greece. I visit everything2 and browse around
8:11 PM: I choose a DVD at random and watch it. Ahh... the utter cheese factor that is Independence Day
10:23 PM: I make a cup of white tea and eat a bagel smeared with strawberry rhubarb jam as I read a few more pages of Churchill
10:58 PM: I decide to go to bed, turning on my stereo to Uncle Tupelo's Anodyne as I drift off to sleep

Yes, my life is exciting.

Lent Diary, Day 19

In my daylog for February 19, 2003, I outlined my plan for a challenging Lenten discipline: no food or water during daylight hours. Visit that daylog for more details.

The daily routine of my discipline has almost become a regular part of my life. I'm starting to somewhat get used to the pattern, especially physiologically, as my stomach is largely quiet all day until the last hour before sunset.

That's why I've begun to meditate at that time. I find that the hunger in my stomach is a huge reminder of the sacrifices that were made for me, and also a reminder of the choices I make in my life each day, for good or for bad.

It has been a wonderful experience.