COLUMBIA, Md. — The U-shaped street in Columbia was supposed to be named Satin Wood Drive, based on an obscure poem by a whimsical poet. But the devil, it turns out, was in the details. About 30 years ago, somewhere between the developer’s plans and the county’s official map, a misplaced letter doomed the residents … Continue reading “Satan?”


COLUMBIA, Md. — The U-shaped street in Columbia was supposed to be named Satin Wood Drive, based on an obscure poem by a whimsical poet. But the devil, it turns out, was in the details.

About 30 years ago, somewhere between the developer’s plans and the county’s official map, a misplaced letter doomed the residents of Satan Wood Drive.

“You almost feel ostracized, like you’re the black sheep of the village,” said Jamie Aycock, 31, an electrical engineer who lives on the block in Hickory Ridge Village. “Sometimes they look at me like I’m a devil worshipper.”

Residents have adopted a variety of coping mechanisms. A priest who lives on the street sprinkles holy water around his house each year. Another man obscures the name by giving it a French pronunciation. Others simply call it S Street.

But patience has run thin, and the residents of Satan Wood Drive are petitioning Howard County for a name change. They have collected signatures and begun to raise money, hopeful their days as the butt of demonic jokes are coming to an end.

Their biggest obstacle has been getting people to take the problem seriously: At a recent town budget hearing, as the residents made their case, the meeting erupted in guffaws. “They wouldn’t think it was so funny if they had to live on the street,” muttered Barbara Chapman, who has lived there for four years.

All the residents on the block seem to have a story about how they came to live on Satan Wood Drive and how they have learned to cope.

The Rev. Duane Johnson understands the problem acutely. The Orthodox priest lives with his wife, Sandy, in a two-story house on the northern end of Satan Wood Drive.

It wasn’t their first choice. His wife didn’t even want to look at it, he explained. But the market was tight, the prices astronomical, and here was the perfect house in a great neighborhood, a minute’s walk from a charming park and community pool.

The Godlight heals the sick

Angel Tech?

When we last checked in on Canadian mad scientist Troy Hurtubise, his Angel Light — a homebrew device that he said could see through walls and stop electronics from working — was the subject of speculation, ridicule and financing (he got $40,000 from the French government for the project). Now the eccentric inventor has upped the ante: According to Hurtubise, his latest toy, the God Light, can make blind men see and lame men walk, and he’s backing up his claims with a $20,000 reward to anyone who can prove him wrong (we’re sure Chirac & Cie. are glad their euros are going to such a worthy cause). Hurtubise says that the God Light, developed with the aid of a German physicist, has already reversed Parkinson’s symptoms in one test subject and shrunk cancer tumors in mice. The device uses 67 lenses and five gases to produce 80,000 lux of full-spectrum light. William Rieken, a PhD candidate at the Chihara Laboratory, at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology, in Osaka, Japan, told Canadian news site that the God Light will “revolutionize physics and change the understanding of the concepts of science.??? Or, at the very least, it should be able to really light up Hurtubise’s lab during those long, dark Canadian winters.

from engadget….

Nazitown, Tennessee

Okay, so it’s not really called Nazi town…but check out this story from Yahoo news. I used to be stationed near there back in my USMC days. It’s strange…you would go from the racial mix that is Memphis to lily white Germantown…

GERMANTOWN, Tenn. – Some residents of this upscale Memphis suburb say ordinances have gone to far. The final straw may have been rules proposed about when garage doors can be opened.

Among other directives, the city codes would tell homeowners to open their garage doors only when entering or exiting or for “short periods of time” for cleaning and maintenance.

“I’m in favor of reasonable codes, but I think some of these things go to extremes,” said resident Robert Scallions.

Because of such criticism, officials in this town known for a sharp eye for community decorum have agreed to give the proposals another look before a final vote.

Jean Wallace said she fears town regulators could come down on her because the street address on her house is spelled out in words. The rules would call for numbers only, from 4 to 6 inches tall.

“That seems very strange, especially when the house is 30 years old,” Wallace said. “The builders put them up, and they used to always be like that.”

More Dead Monkeys

curious dead monkeys

3 Endangered Monkeys Die at Chicago Zoo

Published: May 15, 2005

CHICAGO, May 14 (AP) – An endangered monkey is in quarantine while experts at the Lincoln Park Zoo try to determine what killed three others, the latest in a series of animal deaths at the zoo.

The United States Department of Agriculture is looking into whether the zoo violated the Animal Welfare Act, and the group that accredits American zoos is now reviewing all animal care practices there.

Officials at the zoo say the deaths of the monkeys this week may be linked to their recent move to a new exhibit that gave them access to the outdoors. Their deaths follow those of two elephants, two gorillas and a camel at the zoo since October, and the death of another elephant earlier this month as it was being transferred to Utah.

The surviving monkey, an 8-year-old female Francois langur, is under observation at the zoo hospital, said a zoo spokeswoman, Kelly McGrath.

The monkey showed no signs of illness Friday morning, Ms. McGrath said, but veterinarians were watching for the slightest change in its physical state or behavior.

The Agriculture Department’s investigation covers all the deaths, said an agency spokeswoman, Suzan Holl. She declined to discuss further details.

The American Zoo and Aquarium Association, the accrediting group, is overseeing an audit of the zoo’s policies and procedures. A group of experts will report their findings to the zoo’s board of directors, said a spokeswoman for the association, Jane Ballentine.

Monkeys Killing Bushmen

scary monkeys

Monkeys infect bushmeat hunters
Emma Marris
Cameroon survey suggests viruses often jump from primates to people.

The transfer of viruses from animals such as monkeys to human populations is a relatively common event, suggests a study of African hunters.

A survey of a group of 1,000 bushmeat hunters in Cameroon has turned up two viruses that the researchers suspect come from primates. The result should remind us to stay on guard against diseases that spread from one species to another, say the researchers.

“These are not rare historical events. This is an ongoing phenomenon,” says Nathan Wolfe, a field virologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, who led the study.

HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is thought to have migrated from primates to humans. Ebola, an often fatal fever, is also thought to have entered the human population from primates in Africa. And last year, Wolfe and colleagues showed that a fairly innocuous bug called simian foamy virus had made the leap to hunters in Cameroon.

Now a survey of those same hunters has turned up two more viruses, the researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences1. The viruses, called HTLV-3 and HTLV-4, are from a group known as the human T-lymphotropic viruses. Such viruses infect many millions worldwide, causing neurological disease in a small percentage of cases.

Wherever you go in the world, people hunt local animals.

Wolfe’s team chose to study hunters in southern Cameroon because they are known to hunt and eat many different types of primates, as well as keeping them as pets. The man whose blood turned up the mysterious HTLV-4, for example, is a 48-year-old who has hunted monkeys, chimpanzees and gorillas.

The researchers, including scientists from the Army Health Research Center in Yaounde, Cameroon, are continuing their survey of the population. They say they hope to catch viruses in the act of leaping species.

Wolfe is also working on creating a network of hunters to help collect data. He says the best way to stem the spread of disease is to educate these hunters, and to give them incentives to hunt or raise different types of animal.

He hopes his work will also help to educate others about how and why primates are hunted in the first place, given that the activity often incites feelings of disgust in the Western world. “This shouldn’t be portrayed as some dark and evil phenomenon that is happening in deepest Africa. Wherever you go in the world, people hunt local animals,” he says.