Thursday, August 31, 2006

Towards a carbon-free CA ;)

So California is passing a law to put tighter restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions. The reason being that “We’d all like to see California one day be carbon free." according to Mr. Núñez, a Los Angeles Democrat. hmmm...

Monday, August 14, 2006

How many planets in the solar system?

The New York Times has had a few articles of late on a meeting of astronomers to attempt to define what makes a planet with Pluto's (and Xena's plus a few others) fate hanging in the balance. Since we have a few astrophysicists around, what are their opinions on the matter?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sad End for Landis?

So the B sample is positive too. Doesn't look like Landis has much of a chance to clear his name. I don't know much about doping and cycling, but somehow all of it seems quite shady, including the people in the anti-doping agencies. Something is rather strange with the way Landis allegedly doped as well. First, what does synthetic testosterone do anyway? The joke I heard is that it only helps if there's a hot chick at the top of the mountain. :) Delphine, any thoughts on this, since you are our resident expert? What would actually happen to someone if their testosterone level is 3 times higher than the natural limit in the human body? Would there be any outwardly observable signs? If there should be, then maybe people should be taking another look at the tapes from stage 17.

The other thing is, I thought that one of the arguments used by people who claim Armstrong is a dopee despite never failing a drug test is that there are dozens of banned substances that cannot be detected by any test. If that's the case, why would Landis choose testosterone, and the synthetic stuff at that, when it's almost certain that he'd get caught? It's not like he doesn't know he'll be tested right after the stage when he won. Landis is either incredibly stupid (unlikely), or desperate (possible), or there's something else going on. And let's not forget that he's had a reputation for being a very clean rider. The case against him just seems too neat.

This brings me to the shadiness of the anti-doping guys. In the recent case where Armstrong's sample from 1997 (or there abouts) was tested positive for EPO, the court actually found the anti-doping agency and the lab that performed the test grossly negligent in their handling of the samples. It was unclear who had access to it and for how long. That very same lab was used to test Landis's A sample. My question is, who's in charge of handling the samples and can they be trusted? There seems almost an irrepressible giddiness in the way the positive test was leaked to the press. In a way, the more doping there is and the greater the magnitude of the bust, the more important and powerful the anti-doping guys become. In my book, that's a conflict of interest and it taints every result that they produce.

What do you guys think?