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August 12, 2007

Virginia Putative Father Registry — Dial 877-IF-DADDY

Just launched on July 1 of this year, it's "... an online database that collects information from men who think they might have gotten a girl pregnant," according to Amy Biegelsen's article in the August 8, 2007 Style Weekly; the piece follows.

    Are You Baby’s Daddy? State Asks Potential Dads to Register Online

    Um, guys? The government wants to know if you’re doing it. You know, having casual sex.

    The Virginia Department of Social Services has launched an online database that collects contact information from men who think they might have gotten a girl pregnant.

    Alerting the government to your casual sex life can be a ticklish proposition, but there’s a serious point here, says Pamela Fitzgerald Cooper, the state’s acting adoption program manager.

    If a sexual escapade results in a woman conceiving a child and she decides to let another family adopt the baby, Cooper says, the mother must attempt to let the biological father know his parental rights are about to be terminated. That gives him the opportunity to claim the child.

    The database is intended to help the mother locate the father, Cooper says: “It will help to protect the man’s rights to the child.”

    Registering will also streamline efforts traditionally used to contact the father, like taking out newspaper advertisements and tacking notices to the courthouse door.

    “This is going to spare the mother some public scrutiny and puts some responsibility on the father,” Cooper says. “They need to step up and protect their interests.”

    It will also help avoid painful circumstances for adoptive parents who take a child home only to have the biological father show up and sue for custody, claiming he was not made sufficiently aware of the adoption proceedings.

    A father has until 10 days after his child is born to register on the database by filling out a short questionnaire providing a physical description, address, Social Security number and a few other details.

    If the database, known as the Putative Father Registry, sounds wild, consider this: 34 other states already have such registries. The database is searchable only by mothers seeking to put their children up for adoption, lawyers representing a family wishing to adopt or authorized state agencies.

    State officials cannot disclose how many putative fathers have registered since the database launched July 1, citing confidentiality concerns.

    King Salim Khalfani, executive director of the Virginia NAACP, says he likes the idea, but it might not work in practice.

    “The premise sounds good, but I’m always suspect whenever the state and Big Brother wants you to put [your personal information and Social Security number] in. You don’t know what it could be used for at some point in time,” Khalfani says. “The people who it might be of benefit [to], might not trust it” — or, he adds, even be aware of it.

    The Virginia Putative Father Registry is located at www.vaputativefather.com, or by calling (877) IF-DADDY.


Here's Michael Felberbaum's August 6, 2007 Associated Press story on the new database.

    Virginia joins ranks of states with registry for possible fathers

    Barbara Jones has seen them hundreds of times — newspaper ads featuring the name of a mother seeking the father of the child she's ready to put up for adoption.

    It is one of the last steps before a mother can legally give her child away without the father's permission — a burden that Jones, a longtime adoption attorney, said is ineffective and one most new mothers could live without.

    "You expose this mother who maybe sacrificed a lot to carry this pregnancy because she didn't want to abort the baby and now her name's in the paper," the Fairfax County attorney said.

    That burden is shifting.

    Virginia has joined about three dozen states that have developed registries designed to identify potential fathers and make it their option to take part in parental decision-making.

    "Before this registry we were totally dependent on the veracity of the birth mother," Jones said. "This way the balance of protection is phenomenal because any man that wants to know whether there's a child... merely protects his right by registering."

    Men who have been sexually active with someone who they are not married to are required to register if they want to know if the potential child is being put up for adoption or if the mother is looking to terminate the father's parental rights.

    In Virginia, a possible father has 10 days from the child's birth to register, though there are other circumstances in which that timeframe differs.

    The registry, which was enacted July 1, will help expedite some of Virginia's about 2,500 adoptions a year, said Pamela Fitzgerald Cooper, acting adoption program manager for state Department of Social Services.

    To register, men are asked to fill out a one-page form or register online with the social services department. The form asks for information such as Social Security numbers, ethnicity and information on where and when they may have conceived a child.

    Cooper said men have begun using the registry but couldn't say how many have registered, citing privacy laws.

    Registering does not establish paternity, which is a separate legal process, but failure to register means that the potential father waives his parental rights.

    "The objective of giving men their rights as fathers is genuinely important in the adoption world. We've spent an awful lot of time separating men from fatherhood," said Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in Massachusetts.

    But Pertman said, however well-intentioned, the problem with the registries is that most people don't know they exist.

    "It is not a natural course of people's human instincts to go sign up every time they have sex," said Pertman, author of the book "Adoption Nation." "If the intent is to engage and empower fathers, so far I don't see the evidence that that's happening."

    Pertman suggested that there could be a benefit with a well-advertised national registry, an idea being floated by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. The bill, first introduced in 2006, awaits action from the Finance Committee.

    While the registries shift the responsibility to the possible father, it also protects their rights, said state Sen. Jay O'Brien, the patron of the Virginia legislation, which resulted from a state adoption study.

    "The fundamental issue about the registry is that it protects the privacy of a birth mother at a very, very stressful time for many of them," said O'Brien, R-Clifton. "At the same time it protects the paternity interests of the father."

    O'Brien said the new law means that no adoption attorney can proceed without checking the registry and a birth mother can't go anywhere in Virginia to get an adoption if the possible father is registered.



August 12, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Experts' Expert: Sending Large Files


Nate Herpich addressed this problem in a short item which appeared in the July 31, 2007 Wall Street Journal; it follows.

Sending Large Files

Problem: Sending files too big for email.


Solution: File hosting services like YouSendIt, Mega Upload, and LeapFile allow you to quickly share files over the Internet that are too large to send in an email. A simple upload procedure (similar to adding an attachment to an email) allows you to store large files on the Web sites' secure servers, where they can be accessed by designated parties for a certain period. An email lets intended recipients know how they can retrieve the files. YouSendIt (www.yousendit.com) offers a free service that users send files of up to 100 MB, enough to hold about several hundred photos. Megaupload (www.megaupload.com) offers a free service that lets users store up to 50 GB of information with a 1GB maximum per download. Leapfile's (www.leapfile.com) basic service is $10 a month and lets users transfer up to 1 GB a month; additional transfers cost five cents per MB.


Caveat: Files may be removed from the sites after a number of downloads or a period of time, so read the fine print carefully.

August 12, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Going Jägermeister — Woman goes crazy in Seattle bar when karaoke singer belts out Coldplay's 'Yellow'

I don't make 'em up, folks.

The headline above has the gist of Hector Castro's August 9, 2007 Seattle Post-Intelligencer story, which follows.

    Karaoke singer attacked after starting song

    Woman punches man on stage

    It could have been the Coldplay song "Yellow" [top] that upset the patron of a Wallingford neighborhood bar. Or perhaps it was the karaoke singer who belted it out.

    Employees at Changes, on North 45th Street, said they don't know, but the ensuing melee just past 1 a.m. Thursday was one unlike anything seen at the bar before.

    As soon as the man on stage started singing about the stars in his best Chris Martin impersonation, the woman reportedly said: "Oh, no, not that song. I can't stand that song!"

    Witnesses said her distaste for Coldplay quickly took a violent turn, and she leaped at the would-be crooner, shouting expletives and telling him that his singing "sucked," while expressing the same opinion of the song, according to a Seattle police report.

    She pushed the man and punched him, all in an effort to stop his singing.

    Other patrons went to the singer's aid and hauled the 21-year-old woman outside.

    "It took three or four of us to hold her down," said Robert Willmette, one of the bartenders at Changes.

    The woman, Willmette said, "went crazy" when she got outside, punching him twice in the face, and throwing blows at the others gathered around her.

    But the person who drew most of the music critic's ire was an off-duty Seattle police officer. The off-duty officer identified herself as a cop, gave her badge number and had another patron call 911 to request help for an officer.

    The response was fast and overwhelming, with both patrol officers and Gang Unit detectives converging on the normally tame neighborhood bar.

    "They blocked the whole street off," Willmette said.

    According to the police report, the woman's rage only grew when the uniformed officers arrived.

    The officers took the woman, whom Willmette described as "a little hippie girl," to the ground, but she was still able to head butt the off-duty officer several times before she was handcuffed.

    After treatment for injuries she suffered in the scuffle, the woman was booked into the King County Jail for investigation of assault. She was also held on a warrant issued for a previous theft charge.

    The off-duty officer also went to the hospital, for treatment of several cuts, scrapes and bruises.

    Later Thursday morning, bar employees were shaking their heads over the woman's bizarre behavior.

    According to the night bartender's notes, she had just one drink — a single shot of Jägermeister.

    She didn't appear to be one of the regulars who flock to the bar for its karaoke nights on Sundays and Wednesdays.

    Most are regulars who come for the pleasure of the singing, and the police are rarely needed.

    "She was just crazy," Willmette said.


I'll bet the Jägermeister folks are in a quandary about whether to ignore this or ride it for all it's worth.

You know what I'd do — but then, some things are kind of obvious, aren't they?

August 12, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Cashmere Fiber Lip Balm


That's different.

Here's Michelle Thomas's review as it appeared in the August 5, 2007 Washington Post.

    Borba Cashmere Fiber Lip Balm

    I suspect I'd adjust pretty easily to a life of luxury — you know, caviar snacks, lounging by my Olympic-size pool. My real life involves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a blow-up baby pool, but I can still buy a bit of the Good Life with Borba's cashmere-infused lip moisturizer. How much the posh cashmere fibers factor into the Lip Kix balm's silkening powers is unclear, because the company also throws in well-known softeners such as coconut oil, vitamin E and shea butter. At first, the almond-scented balm goes on a little gritty, as if you could almost feel the cashmere fibers. But the treatment quickly becomes soft and moisturizing — nothing like rubbing a pricey sweater on your pout. Now if only the caviar and pool were this attainable.



August 12, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google 3D Warehouse — 'An interconnected suite of tools for experiencing your 3D world'


Many of you will find this Google offering useful.

I envy you.

August 12, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

August 12, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Where's the best place for a soccer goalkeeper to stand to stop a penalty kick?

Science has the answer.

Long story short: Standing 2.5 to 4 inches off center will increase the likelihood that the attacker will aim for the larger side by more than 10 percent.

The study was performed by researchers at the University of Hong Kong's Institute of Human Performance and reported in the March, 2007 issue of the journal Psychological Science.

Here's a short item by Rick Weiss from the March 5, 2007 Washington Post summarizing the work along with two other related studies.

    Insight Into Soccer Strategy

    You are a soccer goalkeeper, staring at an opponent about to take a penalty kick. You've got a big space to defend, and you know the odds of blocking the kick are slim — typically less than 20 percent. Wouldn't it be great if you could influence the kicker's decision about which side of the net to aim at, so you'd be prepared to lunge in that direction?

    Science to the rescue.

    A new study concludes that by standing imperceptibly off-center, a goalie can nudge a kicker to kick toward the slightly larger space.

    Researchers at the University of Hong Kong's Institute of Human Performance studied 200 video clips of penalty kicks from professional matches. They noted that even though goalkeepers stood, on average, four inches off-center — creating a space difference of less than 3 percent on either side of them — most kicks were aimed at the slightly larger space.

    In additional tests with video monitors, using a scale model of the German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn shown in front of a goal, observers playing the role of the kicker were confident about which side the goalkeeper was closer to when the off-center difference was greater than 3 percent.

    A third study, in which players were told to kick only if they believed the goalkeeper was exactly on center, found that people nonetheless kicked when the goalkeeper was off center by up to 3 percent — and more often toward the imperceptibly larger side.

    Best results come when the goalkeeper stands 2.5 to 4 inches off center — a distance that increases the odds the kicker will aim at the larger side by more than 10 percent — the team reports in the March issue of the journal Psychological Science.

August 12, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

HandFree Party Plate


'Bout time.

This'll have to do until next century when we've mastered low-cost levitation — only then will the HandsFree iteration appear.

But I digress.

From the website:

    HandFree™ Picnic Plates

    HandFree™ Picnic Plates hold your food and drink all in one hand, leaving your other hand free to use your fork or shake hands with a new acquaintance.

    Divided plastic plate also keeps foods from mingling while you mingle.

    Microwave- and dishwasher-safe.

    Set of 8 plates.

    11" diameter.



Bag the party or picnic — one of these plates will be treadmillside ("to the left, to the left" — but I digress yet again) this coming football season here at bookofjoe World Headquarters™.

That glassholder looks seriously capable, what?


Four Aqua + four Red or eight White ones cost $15.99.

August 12, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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