Monday, February 28, 2005

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Divisions derail Haiti one year on

BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Divisions derail Haiti one year on: "The security problems have deterred international donors who months ago pledged more than $1.3bn in aid to Haiti from disbursing more than a tiny fraction of the money promised.

Without the funds, observers say, there is no way to finance the social programmes needed to kick-start the economy.

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, with formal unemployment reported at around 70% and three-quarters of Haitians surviving on less than $2 a day."

WSJ.com - Health Journal

Optic Nerve Hypoplasia on the rise vs increased detection?!

WSJ.com - Health Journal:
"During Jack Steinberg's six-month checkup last year, his pediatrician detected something amiss in the baby's gaze. Her recommendation that Jack see a pediatric ophthalmologist didn't much worry the baby's parents, who thought a prescription for eyeglasses would be the worst outcome.

It wasn't. Jack turned out to be a victim of a condition whose rising prevalence mystifies opthalmologists. Called optic nerve hypoplasia, the condition, which can cause total blindness, was discovered during the late 19th century but was thought to strike extraordinarily rarely. 'I've searched the literature and found only 36 cases in the Western world' before the 1970s, says Mark Borchert, a University of Southern California pediatric neuro-ophthalmologist.

'It used to be so rare that people would trade slides of the few known cases,' says Michael Brodsky, a pediatric neuro-ophthalmologist at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. Since the 1970s, however, diagnoses of optic nerve hypoplasia have escalated. Dr. Borchert says he alone has seen at least 500 victims, and he estimates there are thousands of cases nationwide. Hard numbers on children who are blind or visually impaired are difficult to obtain. But, says Dr. Brodsky, 'these cases are now filling up our clinics.'

Is the explanation better diagnosis or more cases? 'That's the big unknown,' says Creig Hoyt, chairman of the opthalmology department at the University of California at San Francisco."

Foreign Policy: Full Court Press

A new strategy in Darfur...

Foreign Policy: Full Court Press: "As the Darfur region of Sudan smolders, human rights activists and a growing number of governments have adopted a new strategy. They are calling for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take the lead by investigating and indicting those responsible for the atrocities. The court, established in 1998 and situated in The Hague, Netherlands, is designed to prosecute the worst crimes against humanity. Given the continuing brutality in Sudan, who could object?
But judicial intervention may not be the wisest course�at least not yet. Those clamoring for the ICC to take the lead want to establish the precedent that atrocities will be punished. Instead, they may be handing cautious politicians an excuse for continued inaction while unnecessarily dividing the United States and Europe."

CNN.com - Lebanon's pro-Syrian PM resigns - Feb 28, 2005

CNN.com - Lebanon's pro-Syrian PM resigns - Feb 28, 2005: "The demonstrators, awash in a sea of red, white and green Lebanese flags, had demanded the pro-Syrian government's resignation -- and the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon -- since this month's assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri."

: : Saudi Gazette Online : :

: : Saudi Gazette Online : :: "UGLY is in. Despite good looks counting in one s favor in most countries, locally it can be a drawback.
I fired Jameela because she was too pretty, said Nauf, a 36-year-old mother of four children.
Good looks can be a terrible disadvantage for expatriate females trying to find work in the Kingdom. To avoid competition and to keep husbands and sons free from desire, Saudi women prefer less attractive servants.
Malaysian born Jameela, 22, had the traits and experience of an excellent nanny"

Scotsman.com News - Sci-Tech - Pacemaker 'cure' for depression

Scotsman.com News - Sci-Tech - Pacemaker 'cure' for depression: "SCIENTISTS claim to have developed a 'brain pacemaker' that can cure depression through an electronic stimulus.
The discovery raises hopes for thousands for release from depression by drilling holes into their skull and attaching electrodes to the brain which create a brighter mood. "

Caveman in Beirut

Caveman in Beirut: "Goodbye
Prime Minister Omar Karami just did it - he resigned right in front of the Parliament after a lengthy speech introduction in which he complained of personal attacks in the local Lebanese media. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri objected, saying that proper procedure required that Karami notify him first, but it looks like what's done is done.

The government has fallen. And now the fun begins. "

If You Knew....

If You Knew....

If you knew that 24 hours from this moment you woud lose your vision... What woud you want to see before it happened?

4-D Ultrasound Gives Video View of Fetuses in the Womb

4-D Ultrasound Gives Video View of Fetuses in the Womb: "On TV: Catch In the Womb on the National Geographic Channel in the U.S. on March 6 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT. "

NBC 17 - News - Gang Members Learn Deadly Skills In Military

NBC 17 - News - Gang Members Learn Deadly Skills In Military: "FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- Some of America's most notorious street gangs are turning up in the military. But they aren't just serving their country. Instead, many are taking the opportunity to learn a very deadly trade."

The New York Times > Magazine > Interactive Feature > Oscars 2005: Great Performers

Nice Portraits from the Academy Awards
The New York Times > Magazine > Interactive Feature > Oscars 2005: Great Performers

Sunday, February 27, 2005

African Pilgrims Abandoned Under Bridge

African Pilgrims Abandoned Under Bridge: "JEDDAH, 27 February 2005 � Hundreds of African pilgrims are camped under the bridge near the Jeddah Islamic Port waiting for their turn to be deported.
The pilgrims are left there without food, shelter, money or health care. They do not have the slightest clue as to when they will be deported to their home countries.
If hunger or sickness doesnn'tget them, the cars speeding by will."
...
Arab News followed Abdullah across the street, passing hundreds of Africans lying on the side of the streets. Some pilgrims have built small shelters out of wood and cardboard boxes to keep them away from the harsh sun. We entered a stinking building. Very few were sleeping inside the building; most of them stayed in the yard where they could breathe fresh air. Many simply sat on any available piece of ground. The most unfortunate were the sick ones.

“We only want one thing and that’s to go back to our country,” said Muhammad Tanim Abu Bakr, a 25-year-old Nigerian from Kano. “How can we reach our embassy? We need our problems and complaints to be sorted out,” he said.

Foreign Ministry to Appoint 36 Women

Foreign Ministry to Appoint 36 Women: "Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal revealed last week plans to hire women as part of the country�s political reforms. The minister added that some women would be appointed to key posts.
Prince Saud said the role of Saudi women was changing rapidly. �Our educational reforms have created a new generation of highly educated and professionally trained Saudi women who are acquiring their rightful position in Saudi society,� he told a Saudi-British conference in London on Wednesday."

Anti-Terror Conference Takes Hard-Line Position

Anti-Terror Conference Takes Hard-Line Position: "
Sunday, 27, February, 2005 (18, Muharram, 1426)




Mail Article | Print Article | Comment on Article

Anti-Terror Conference Takes Hard-Line Position
Ibrahim Al-Shiddi, Arab News

AL-HASA, 27 February 2005 � Parents, teachers and Islamic scholars were urged to ensure that children are protected from the deviant ideas of intolerance that lead to terrorism at an antiterrorism conference held at King Abdul Aziz Hospital here recently.
The conference was sponsored by Health Affairs of the National Guard and featured lectures and presentations about the threat of terrorism against the backdrop of the hospital�s multinational staff.
Despite the variety of viewpoints presented, all stressed the need to combating deviant groups and the extremist garbage such groups espouse to children. It was clear that all responsible members of society must give youngsters a consistent message that those ideas are false and belong to no religion or nation and pose a great danger to both humanity and nature."

The New Yorker: The Critics: A Critic At Large

I found this an excellent article about the friendship between Einstein and Gödel’. The article also reviews the major contributions of each to physics and mathematics in an easy to understand manner.
The New Yorker: The Critics: A Critic At Large: "If time travel is possible, he submitted, then time itself is impossible."

The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: Thousands Died in Africa Yesterday

This is an excellent NY Times editorial on the political will that is necessary to eradicate worldwide poverty.
The New York Times > Opinion > Editorial: Thousands Died in Africa Yesterday:

When a once-in-a-century natural disaster swept away the lives of more than 100,000 poor Asians last December, the developed world opened its hearts and its checkbooks. Yet when it comes to Africa, where hundreds of thousands of poor men, women and children die needlessly each year from preventable diseases, or unnatural disasters like civil wars, much of the developed world seems to have a heart of stone.

....

"One hundred years ago, before we had the medical know-how to eradicate these illnesses, this might have been acceptable. But we are the first generation able to afford to end poverty and the diseases it spawns. It's past time we step up to the plate. We are all responsible for choosing to view the tsunami victims in Southeast Asia as more deserving of our help than the malaria victims in Africa. Jeffrey Sachs, the economist who heads the United Nations' Millennium Development Project to end global poverty, rightly takes issue with the press in his book 'The End of Poverty': 'Every morning,' Mr. Sachs writes, 'our newspapers could report, 'More than 20,000 people perished yesterday of extreme poverty.' '
So, on this page, we'd like to make a first step.
Yesterday, more than 20,000 people perished of extreme poverty"

Friday, February 25, 2005

BBC NEWS | UK | Call for action on child exorcism

BBC NEWS | UK | Call for action on child exorcism: "Exorcism is a good thing but it's not meant to be abusive, there's no biblical precedent for that,' she said. "

Prospect - article_details

Prospect - article_details:

The Pursuit of Happiness...a worthwile read!

"Growing incomes in western societies no longer make us happier, and more individualistic, competitive societies make some of us positively unhappy. Public policy should take its cue once more from Bentham's utilitarianism, unfashionable for many decades but now vindicated by modern neuroscience"

Bollywood Bride Posted by Hello

NPR : Bollywood Dance Follows Movies, Music to the U.S.

NPR : Bollywood Dance Follows Movies, Music to the U.S.: "'You don't just watch a Bollywood movie -- you feel it.'"

Exiled white Zimbabwe farmers resettle in Nigeria

Exiled white Zimbabwe farmers resettle in Nigeria: "Exiled white Zimbabwean farmers have begun farming in Nigeria's western
state of Kwara a year after they were invited to resettle from Zimbabwe
where they lost their farms in controversial land reforms."

'Rwanda' writer gripped by story he had to tell

If you have not had the chance to see this movie, I would strongly urge you to do so. By the way earlier this week in this blog I linked to an interview with a general who was an eyewitness to the slaughter. That is a very powerful video that I would also urge you to link to. It is somewhere further down in the blog. If you can't find it email me.

'Rwanda' writer gripped by story he had to tell:

"His initial calls to people in Hollywood were met with dispiriting cynicism. People told him it was a genocide that no one cared about at the time and that they were not going to care about it now."

How wriong they were...

Pearson hopes "Hotel Rwanda" will be a starting point for moviegoers who will investigate the topic further and be moved by the stories like the ones Pearson heard that shook him to his core.

Over a four-hour dinner, during which his Rwandan companion never touched her food, a woman recounted how she saved her life and that of her 2-year-old son. She lived in the bush behind her house for two weeks until she ran out of food and then turned to a local militia head and, essentially, sold herself into slavery. The man, drunk and still covered in the blood of his victims, raped her nightly for two months.

"You sit across from another human being and they tell you a story like this, I felt incredibly indebted. I have to do something about the genocide, tell the story. ... You realize all this happened, we had the power to stop this, we just didn't have the will."




Film Article | Reuters.com

Film Article | Reuters.com: "KIGALI (Reuters)

- Survivors of Rwanda's 1994 genocide criticized newly released films set amid the massacres on Thursday, saying they failed to capture the full extent of the horror or contained historical inaccuracies.

While some Rwandans welcomed 'Hotel Rwanda' as a reminder for the world of the killings of some 800,000 people, survivors who watched copies of the film said it should have contained more graphic scenes of violence.

'I do not think an outsider can really understand the gravity of the genocide by watching that movie ... The terror suffered by the victims was unimaginable,' said Jacqueline Ruhamyambunga, who lost almost 60 family members during the 100 days of slaughter.

'The film does not show the rape, blood, thousands of decomposing corpses and horrible suffering that we people out of that hotel witnessed.'"

World population to rise 40% in 2050 : HindustanTimes.com

World population to rise 40% in 2050 : HindustanTimes.com

he world's population will increase by 40 per cent to 9.1 billion in 2050, but virtually all the growth will be in the developing world, especially in the 50 poorest countries, the UN Population Division said.

Between 2005 and 2050, eight countries — India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Congo, Bangladesh, Uganda, United States, China and Ethiopia — are likely to contribute half of the world's population increase, it said.

The division's revision on Thursday of earlier estimates said the population in less developed countries is expected to swell from 5.3 billion today to 7.8 billion in 2050. By contrast, the population of richer developed countries will remain mostly unchanged, at 1.2 billion.

"It is going to be a strain on the world,
" Hania Zlotnik, the division's new Director, told a news conference.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

glumbert.com | media | Dance, White Boy, Dance

Check it out--this is pretty funny. The guy kind of looks like one of my partners!
glumbert.com | media | Dance, White Boy, Dance

Ex Fed Head--Paul Volker on the Economy...

"Below the favorable surface [of the economy], there are as many dangerous and intractable circumstances as I can remember. . . . Nothing in our experience is comparable. . . . But no one is willing to understand [this] and do anything about it. . . . We are consuming about 6% more than we are producing. What holds the world together is a massive flow of capital from abroad. . . . It's what feeds our consumption binge. . . . The United States economy is growing on the savings of the poor. . . . A big adjustment will inevitably become necessary, long before the social security surpluses disappear and the deficit explodes. We are skating on increasingly thin ice."

Rappers and Bloggers - Separated at birth! By Josh�Levin

Rappers and Bloggers - Separated at birth! By Josh�Levin: "Essentially, blogging is sampling plus a new riff. Political bloggers take a story in the news, rip out a few chunks, and type out a few comments. Rap songs use the same recipe: Dig through a crate of records, slice out a high hat and a bass line, and lay a new vocal track on top. Of course, the molecular structure of dead-tree journalism and classic rock is filthy with other people's research and other people's chord progressions. But in newspaper writing and rock music, the end goal is the appearance of originality�to make the product look seamless by hiding your many small thefts. For rappers and bloggers, each theft is worth celebrating, another loose item to slap onto the collage.
Rap music and blogging are populist, low-cost-of-entry communication forms that reward self-obsessed types who love writing in first person. Maybe that's why both won so many converts so quickly. If you want to become MC I'm Good at Rapping, all you have to do is rustle up a microphone and a sampler. If you want to blog as AngryVeganCatholicGOPMom, bring a computer, an Internet connection, a working knowledge of Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V, and a whole lot of spare time."

Coming Home With New Perspectives and Values

Coming Home With New Perspectives and Values: "When I decided to pursue my education abroad nine years ago, my father called me in to an important meeting on the night of my departure. He addressed me, saying, �Consider yourself an ambassador on behalf of your whole country and thus act accordingly.� He added: �I want you to seek every opportunity to learn what is good and tell people there by your actions how good we are.�
On my arrival in the Kingdom nine years later, the first questions my late father asked me were, �What have you learned over the course of the past years from one of the leading Western societies, and how are you going to benefit your own people from the seemingly good things you have learned?� I have been asked the same questions by my close friends, colleagues and relatives since I returned to the Kingdom.
My answer has always been that I have learned many positive things. Among these are retaining an open mind, respecting people other than my own and learning the art of argument."

MilkandCookies - Johnny Carson Copper Clapper Caper

Classic CarsonMilkandCookies - Johnny Carson Copper Clapper Caper

In a secular ocean, waves of spirituality | csmonitor.com

In a secular ocean, waves of spirituality | csmonitor.com: "But in the shadow of such shocking events are signs of a quieter and less divisive return of religion and spirituality to European lives. 'God is back among intellectuals,' says Aleksander Smolar, a leading European thinker who heads the Stefan Batory Foundation in Warsaw and teaches at the Sorbonne in Paris. 'You can feel there is a problem of soul in Europe; people are con- scious of a void and there is a certain crisis of secularism.'"

Scientific American: Seeking Better Web Searches

I tried out some of the suggested search engines, specifically kartoo and mooter. The results are nicely displayed in a visual algorithm. Check it out!


Scientific American: Seeking Better Web Searches

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Relief Is Not Enough -- Tsunami relief does not replace development

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Relief Is Not Enough -- Tsunami relief does not replace development: "The outpouring of emergency aid will be a great help to the ravaged countries, but disaster relief is an inadequate, expensive substitute for more timely improvements to their infrastructures. The most obvious example was that Indian Ocean nations lacked a tsunami-warning system like the one in the Pacific, but that omission may be forgivable. Tsunamis are rare in the Indian Ocean. Undersea sensors can cost a quarter of a million dollars apiece and have steep maintenance costs. India, Sri Lanka and the other wave-torn nations had far more urgent spending priorities. (In January a chastened India announced belatedly that it would invest $29 million on tsunami detectors after all.)
The real humanitarian fiasco is not the inadequate preparation of these nations, and many others, for freakish catastrophes. It is their inadequate preparation for the day-to-day horrors that routinely slaughter their populations. Millions of people die annually from malaria and AIDS--more than the equivalent of a tsunami a month. Lack of clean water in parts of Africa promotes disease and fuels civil conflicts. Poor countries face chronic crises so dire that the world's sensibilities have been numbed to them. "

Foreign Ministry to Appoint Women for First Time: Saud

Foreign Ministry to Appoint Women for First Time: Saud: "In his keynote address, Prince Saud said the role of Saudi women was changing rapidly. �Our educational reforms have created a new generation of highly educated and professionally trained Saudi women who are acquiring their rightful position in Saudi society. I am proud to mention here that this year we shall have women working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the first time,� he said."

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Malpractice Mess - Do the Swedes have a faultless fix for the malpractice mess? By David�Dobbs

Malpractice Mess - Do the Swedes have a faultless fix for the malpractice mess? By David�Dobbs: "Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and New Zealand have used no-fault malpractice systems for 20 to 30 years, with admittedly mixed results. Yet several academics, most notably Harvard's David Studdert and Troyen Brennan, have studied these countries' systems and concluded that a U.S. system modeled on that of Sweden could more consistently compensate victims of avoidable mishaps and more effectively reduce error and incompetence�all for the same cost. No-fault would also make doctors and patients allies rather than adversaries when something goes awry. "

World's Top Tennis Stars Practice at Burj Al Arab, Dubai

World's Top Tennis Stars Practice at Burj Al Arab, Dubai: " In preparation for the Dubai Duty Free Men�s Open, tennis legend, Andre Agassi and the world No. 1, Roger Federer, couldn't resist the temptation to have a friendly knock about on the world's highest tennis court, the helipad of Burj Al Arab, the world's most luxurious hotel. "

This is an incredible hotel in Dubai. It costs 50 dollars just to tour it. It is apparently the world's only 7 star hotel. We used to stay at its sister hotel just across the causeway

Tennis Pad at Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai Posted by Hello

The downfall of Michael Jackson

The downfall of Michael Jackson: "Home > Opinions

The downfall of Michael Jackson
On the eve of Michael Jackson's new trial, his former rabbi laments the downward spiral his life is now taking.

by Rabbi Shmuley BoteachFebruary 22, 2005

KING OF PERP: Michael Jackson leaves the Santa Barbara County courthouse in Santa Maria, Calif. (AP Photo/Lucas Jackson)

The early death of Diana, Princess of Wales, was a uniquely British tragedy, involving as it did a young and beautiful woman thrown into a crusty, stolid, and obsolete environment that could only crush her character and suffocate her spirit. From the day that Diana -- a headstrong, impetuous, but essentially compassionate woman -- married the British heir to the throne, her fate was sealed. Even if her body had not been mangled in a horrible crash, her soul would surely have atrophied. Either way, she was doomed to be a lifeless corpse.

In a very different way, Michael Jackson is the archetypal American tragedy, destined not to die an early death like his friend Diana or his idol Elvis Presley, but to live on in squalid infamy, reputation in tatters, appearing as more beast than being. It is a quintessentially modern story of corruption and hubris."

Yahoo! News - Family Support Suspect in Alleged Bush Plot

Yahoo! News - Family Support Suspect in Alleged Bush Plot: "ALEXANDRIA, Va. - Family and friends who packed a Virginia courtroom to support Ahmed Omar Abu Ali laughed out loud when prosecutors alleged that the former high school valedictorian had plotted to assassinate President Bush (news - web sites). "

MSNBC - Fat is sinfully complicated

MSNBC - Fat is sinfully complicated: "Yes, of course, Americans are fat, but we're not just fat, we're incapable of dealing in a straightforward way with the fact that we're fat. The federal government mocks us with ever-more-stringent diet recommendations. You thought it was hard to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day? Well, you've got to eat nine now. And shut up, or it's going to be fifteen. We overreact and say I'm only going to lose weight in some excitingly transgressive way, where you eat a lot of butter and bacon.
There are those who want us to be good, and those who like the idea of being bad. We can't think about obesity as a simple problem. We must complicate it � enrich it! � with ideas about sin and virtue. Look, here's Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee showing off his massive weight loss and packaging dieting as a religious ritual: "

Wired 13.02: Revenge of the Right Brain

Wired 13.02: Revenge of the Right Brain: "Our left brains have made us rich. Powered by armies of Drucker's knowledge workers, the information economy has produced a standard of living that would have been unfathomable in our grandparents' youth. Their lives were defined by scarcity. Ours are shaped by abundance. Want evidence? Spend five minutes at Best Buy. Or look in your garage. Owning a car used to be a grand American aspiration. Today, there are more automobiles in the US than there are licensed drivers - which means that, on average, everybody who can drive has a car of their own. And if your garage is also piled with excess consumer goods, you're not alone. Self-storage - a business devoted to housing our extra crap - is now a $17 billion annual industry in the US, nearly double Hollywood's yearly box office take.
But abundance has produced an ironic result. The Information Age has unleashed a prosperity that in turn places a premium on less rational sensibilities - beauty, spirituality, emotion. For companies and entrepreneurs, it's no longer enough to create a product, a service, or an experience that's reasonably priced and adequately functional. In an age of abundance, consumers demand something more. Check out your bathroom. If you're like a few million Americans, you've got a Michael Graves toilet brush or a Karim Rashid trash can that you bought at Target. Try explaining a designer garbage pail to the left side of your brain! Or consider illumination. Electric lighting was rare a century ago, but now it's commonplace. Yet in the US, candles are a $2 billion a year business - for reasons that stretch beyond the logical need for luminosity to a prosperous country's more inchoate desire for pleasure and transcendence.
Liberated by this prosperity but not fulfilled by it, more people are searching for meaning. From the"

washingtonpost.com: The Religious Face of Iraq

washingtonpost.com: The Religious Face of Iraq: "The Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most revered Shiite leader in Iraq, seems through the prism of the Western media to be an elusive character. He has not met with coalition leaders directly, and he doesn't speak to reporters. His views on current affairs are known through statements made by those who surround him, which makes the ayatollah appear a remote, oracular, figure. Although he has avoided jumping directly into the political process, election results announced this week make his Shiite supporters the dominant force in the new government, and Sistani has proved in the past that he can muster tens of thousands of protesters to influence the course of the new Iraq. His impact on U.S. efforts to remake Iraq has been enormous. And yet he remains in many ways an enigma, an unseen hand and a powerful force guiding the country who knows where.
His views on religion, however, are perfectly clear and surprisingly available even to people who don't speak or read Arabic or the Iranian-born ayatollah's native Persian. Some of his works, including 'Islamic Laws: According to the fatwa of Ayatullah al Uzama Syed Ali al-Husaini seestani,' an English translation of his religious edicts, are available from a publisher based in Tehran. And while his works aren't easy to find in U.S. bookstores, Sistani's writings can be found, and searched electronically, online, at www.sistani.org.
They reveal a mind that works with Aristotelian precision, an intellect that thinks through categories, definitions and the fine art of splitting differences. But they also reveal a religious world that would be, even to the most devout Americans, invasive into the details of daily life. "

'The Great Mortality' (washingtonpost.com)

'The Great Mortality' (washingtonpost.com): "It is tempting to say that the horrors of the Black Death are beyond the comprehension of 21st-century readers, but in fact a contemporary comparison is all too painfully at hand: World War II, the effects of which were felt almost everywhere that humans lived and the human toll of which ran into the tens of millions. As Kelly puts it, 'the plague bacillus, Yersinia pestis, swallowed Eurasia the way a snake swallows a rabbit -- whole, virtually in a single sitting. From China in the east to Greenland in the west, from Siberia in the north to India in the south, the plague blighted lives everywhere, including in the ancient societies of the Middle East: Syria, Egypt, Iran, and Iraq. How many people perished in the Black Death is unknown; for Europe, the most widely accepted mortality figure is 33 percent. In raw numbers that means that between 1347, when the plague arrived in Sicily, and 1352, when it appeared in the plains of Moscow, the continent lost twenty-five million of its seventy-five million inhabitants.'
It was a dreadful way to die. People's physiques were grossly distended, unbearable pain rushed through them, they screamed and wept as they died. Though previous and subsequent epidemics moved relatively slowly, this one marched from place to place with such speed that 'several medieval medical authorities were convinced the disease was spread via glance.' As one wrote: 'Instantaneous death occurs when the aerial spirit escaping from the eyes of the sick man strikes the healthy person standing near and looking at the sick.' The considerably more mundane truth is that it was spread at first by rats -- in particular one known then as 'Pharaoh's rat,' now called the tarabagan -- and then by the breath and touch of the humans afflicted. "
: "


THEY say
'tomayto" and we say "tomarto". And now a study has established that the Americans and British also have different smiles.
While we British smile by pulling our lips back and upwards and exposing our lower teeth, Americans are more likely simply to part their lips and stretch the corners of their mouths.
So distinct is the difference that the scientist behind the research was able last week to pick out Britons from Americans from close-cropped pictures of their smiles alone, with an accuracy of more than 90%. "

Morgan Stanley

Interesting comparison between Japan and U.S. recessions
from Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley: "America is not Japan. Market structures of the two economies are different, as are the two financial systems. But both economies have had to cope with the aftershocks of a major asset bubble. And there are similarities to the time profile and mix of the two post-bubble shakeouts. Both economies initially experienced capital-spending-led recessions and consumer resilience. That resilience crumbled in Japan but has yet to do so in the United States. But pressures are building on the saving-short, overly indebted, job- and income-constrained, and wealth-dependent American consumer. The coming normalization of US interest rates could well be the catalyst that takes the US economy into the next phase of its post-bubble adjustment. Financial markets are priced for ongoing resilience of the American consumer. Should that not turn out to be the case, the dollar would undoubtedly fall further and the US bond market could stage a Japanese-style rally. It is far too soon, in my view, to dismiss the lessons of Japan.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure

A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure: "As a lead-in to Grand Rounds XXII Dr. Wilde puts forth a post describing the crises facing the current health care system, and some solutions:Health Care Problems and Solutions. Dr. Wilde discusses problems with health insurance, liability, drug approval, and the topic Mr. McBride took me to task for: board certification and physician licensure:
Licensing and monopoly privilege have harmed the growth of medicine as a field, lowered the quality of care patients receive, and degraded the working environment for many health care professionals. The primary economic effect of licensing is to artificially limit the supply of a good. There are less physicians practicing medicine than would be without licensing. Though such measures are usually justified for safety reasons, there is no reason licensing cannot be supplied privately as it is in other fields. Greater openness would allow different approaches to medical care to compete with each other, result in a more adequate supply of house staff, and produce better overall patient care."
The Coming Anarchy.” Kaplan describes development in the Third World, and why it often sucks. I’ll give you the short version...from thevodkapundit....

Deforestation and desertification, caused in part by overpopulation, force people off of the hinterlands and into the cities. The cities grow shantytowns, where customs and cultures go to die. Crime, unemployment and disease become rampant, further weakening the culture and the nation. In much of West Africa, the government’s writ doesn’t extend much beyond the capital city, and there only in daylight. This breakdown has been less severe in Muslim North Africa and western Turkey, because Islam acts as a glue to help keep cultural norms going, even under shantytown stresses. But in West Africa, Islamic and Christian traditions are much weaker and less well-ingrained – and tribal customs, with their weak senses of nationhood, generally aren’t up to the task.
China falls somewhere in between the animist traditions of West Africa and the stronger ties of Christianity and Islam. While Chinese culture is, perhaps, the world’s most ancient, the country also has traditionally been held together only weakly by the center. That is, when the Chinese tradition of warlordism has allowed for a central government at all.
While China’s rapid development the last twenty years has been great for industrialization and GDP figures, it’s also caused some severe stresses. Arable land has decreased. Deforestation and pollution have both increased. And despite the One Child policy, China still doesn’t really have a handle on population growth.
From there, things get worse. As in West Africa, millions and millions of Chinese have left the countryside for the boomtowns along the coast. The communal existence they knew has been replaced with the most brutal kind of dog-eat-dog competition. Crime is on the rise. Tensions have increased between the cosmopolitan city dwellers and their recently-arrived country cousins. The money and benefits have gone to the coastal elites, but the Army and the government remain largely in the hands of the so-called peasants. And while the cities enjoy increasingly Western-level standards of living, the interior stagnates (at best).
That’s a recipe for the breakdown of a modern nation-state. We’ve seen the same causes destroy West Africa, and fracture much of North Africa, Iran, and elsewhere. Just because China is big and well-developed on the coast, doesn’t make it immune.
That’s what’s so smart (and so worrisome) about China’s Red Tourism plan. The idea, as admitted in Beijing’s press release, is to reaffirm and strengthen cultural ties between the wealthy cities and the poor interior. The plan, in short, is to give Chinese the cultural strength to endure the stresses of unequal development. What’s smart is, Beijing recognizes the problem and is trying to do something about it.
What’s scary is, that the problem exists in a nation as large and well-armed (and occasionally meddlesome) as China.
Well, that and mere tourism is unlikely to undo the effects of mass internal migration, environmental stress, and class resentment. To generate the enhanced sense of nationhood China will need to survive its growing pains will take something more than feel-good junkets to Xibaipo.
But a feel-good war against Taiwan might do the trick

Breaking the Cultural Barrier

Breaking the Cultural Barrier: "Minister of Labor Ghazi Al-Gosaibi caused uproar at the Jeddah Economic Forum when he said that his ministry was finding difficulties hiring women because they demand segregated workplaces. He said he had received many letters from Saudi men saying that their wives or daughters would not work in a mixed environment and if that were the only choice, the women would be better off staying at home without a job. The minister�s remarks were not well received by many Saudi women who said his explanation was a pitiful excuse for not employing women."

Women and Elections: Let Us Wait for the Next Phase

Women and Elections: Let Us Wait for the Next Phase: "Anthropological studies show that the male domination is a major feature of the tribes and clans functioning on a patriarchal pattern such as the Saudi society. However, their travels to the Western countries for higher studies and other purposes following the oil boom in the seventies enabled the Saudi men to have a first hand knowledge of the modernization in those countries including the role of women in social and political life. The influence of the Western-educated people helped the country progress but without ignoring the tribal respect and regard for women�s status. Paradoxically, some other Saudis who also studied in Western universities were terrified of the consequences of loosening the restrictions on women."

Kuwaiti Islamist Party Supports Women�s Suffrage

Kuwaiti Islamist Party Supports Women's Suffrage: "KUWAIT CITY, 22 February 2005 � Kuwait�s Islamist Ummah Party announced yesterday total backing for women�s full political rights, becoming the first Sunni Muslim group in the emirate to support women�s suffrage.
The party �approved by a majority the principle of women�s political participation in voting and candidacy,� said a statement issued after a meeting to discuss women�s rights."

Saudi-born Woman to Contest Polls Again

SAUDI-BORN WOMAN TO CONTEST POLLS AGAIN
: : Saudi Gazette Online : ::
"Masry is a rare Saudi with first-hand knowledge of how the democratic system works from an insider s point of view. She has won endorsements from several Southern California newspapers and suffered none of the rancor from American voters in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, world.
People identify with me, she said. I am the mother of a soldier. I am a success story of an immigrant. And I am a woman people can identify with.
Masry, 56, a schoolteacher, could be the first Saudi female and just one of a handful of Arab-Americans elected to office in the United States.
In Southern California she wants to protect the public education "

ScienceMatters @ Berkeley.

ScienceMatters @ Berkeley.: "Boning Up On Human Evolution
by David Pescovitz
Tim White, a UC Berkeley professor of Integrative Biology, is on what he calls 'a planetary mission,' but the planet he's exploring is Earth, albeit a very long time ago. White and an international team of scientists are digging deep into the geological record of remote Ethiopia to find clues about this planet as it existed 6 million years ago. What was the weather like? What kinds of plants thrived? What animals roamed the terrain? And, of particular interest to paleoanthropologists like White, what did our ancestors look like before evolution transformed them into us? "

John Says...

John Says...
Tell John what to say!

George Says...

George Says...
Tell George What to Say!
This is a fascinating author (Malcolm Gladwell) that I have been reading. I have already emailed many of you about it. The author will be interviewed today on Nightline in the context of the Middle East. It might be worth checking out!


You don't need to be a scientist to understand this one. You've been there. You bang on a ketchup bottle. And nothing happens. You bang some more, and maybe a drop or two of ketchup falls onto your burger. Bang and bang and suddenly, the entire contents of the ketchup bottle pours onto your plate, drowning your meal.
That is, quite literally, the tipping point. It is a scientific phenomenon in which the same small incremental change has little impact until just one more small incremental change has an enormous impact. It was first applied to social situations in the early 1970s by economist Thomas Schelling. Other sociologists followed up on Schelling's work and built a mathematical model for the tipping point of "white flight." They found that in some neighborhoods the tipping point was only 5 percent of the population, but in other neighborhoods, blacks made up 40 percent or 50 percent of the population before the occurrence of "white flight."
Author Malcolm Gladwell has taken tipping point theory one step further. With crime, for instance, he argues that relatively minor, incremental reduction in small crimes can actually bring down the overall violent crime rate. And vice versa, a succession of violent crimes can set off a massive wave of violence. Gladwell's book, "The Tipping Point," has brought this phrase into our discussion of so many situations.
So tonight we will consider this question: are we at the tipping point in Iraq? Have things gotten so bad there that violence is now overwhelming and unstoppable? Or have the elections tipped the scale back toward the direction of peace and optimism?
Tonight Chris Bury will lay out the theory of the tipping point, and hear from the some of the theory's believers and detractors. Ted Koppel will then turn to Gladwell and New York Times columnist and author Tom Friedman, who understands the context and challenges of the Middle East so well.
We hope you'll join us.
Sara Just & the "Nightline" StaffSenior Producer

BBC NEWS | Technology | Global blogger action day called

BBC NEWS | Technology | Global blogger action day called: "The global web log community is being called into action to lend support to two imprisoned Iranian bloggers."

Oddly Enough News Article | Reuters.co.uk

Oddly Enough News Article | Reuters.co.uk: "
Swazi king bans pictures of his many cars
Sun Feb 20, 2005 10:04 AM GMT
Printer Friendly | Email Article | RSS

MBABANE (Reuters) - Swaziland's King Mswati has barred photographers from taking pictures of his growing fleet of royal limousines amid criticism that the luxury car purchases are an embarrassment to one of Africa's poorest countries.
Mswati stirred up a storm in December when he bought a new $500,000 (264,000 pounds) DaimlerChrysler Maybach 62 -- one of the most expensive cars in the world -- and recently hit the headlines again when he splashed out for new BMWs for each of his 10 wives.
The royal edict barring photos of the cars came after Mswati appeared in an even newer and more expensive stretch Mercedes S600 limousine for the opening of parliament on Friday."
The 36-year-old king, sub-Saharan Africa's last absolute monarch, has run into flak for extravagant spending despite the fact that his tiny, impoverished kingdom suffers frequent food shortages and one of the world's highest AIDS infection rates

The New York Times > Washington > Companies Fight to Ensure Coverage for Erectile Drugs

And does insurance cover contraceptives????

The New York Times > Washington > Companies Fight to Ensure Coverage for Erectile Drugs:
"WASHINGTON, Feb. 21 - Drug companies are strenuously resisting bipartisan efforts in Congress to prohibit Medicare from paying for Viagra and other drugs for erectile dysfunction.
The issue of whether Medicare's new prescription drug benefit should cover such treatments is raising broader questions of ethics, economics, politics and health policy.
'It's a huge issue,' said Jonathan P. Weiner, a professor of health policy at Johns Hopkins University. 'We cannot pay for everything, but, unlike many advanced industrial countries, the United States has no explicit process to analyze the cost and value of medical goods and services.'
The debate centers on whether a drug used to enhance sexual performance should even be eligible for Medicare coverage. Proponents of providing the coverage say that erectile dysfunction often has a physical cause and that treatment can significantly improve the quality of a man's life. Opponents say that Medicare, already growing at an unsustainable rate, cannot afford to pay for 'lifestyle drugs.'"

Under the new law, drug coverage will become available in January 2006 to all 41 million Medicare beneficiaries, regardless of their income or assets.

The drug benefit will be delivered by private insurers, subsidized by the government. Under the law, insurers have to cover "drugs in all therapeutic categories and classes," but not necessarily every drug in every class. "Impotence agents" are among the 146 categories and classes recommended by the United States Pharmacopeia, a private nonprofit group that advises the government.

The New York Times > International > Asia Pacific > Afghan Living Standards Among the Lowest, U.N. Finds

No big surprise there....
The New York Times > International > Asia Pacific > Afghan Living Standards Among the Lowest, U.N. Finds

Monday, February 21, 2005

A gripping first hand account from Lt. Gen. Romeo Dallaire of the massacres in Rwnada

Please view the video in this link. I was watching cspan2 on Saturday, in which there are various interviews with authors. There was interview with Lt. General Romeo Dallaire which was absolutely engrossing. I found a link to the interview below. It is about a 20 minute clip, but a very worthwhile view in my opinion.


BOOK TV.ORG:

"Description: Lt. General Romeo Dallaire, former Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, is the author of 'Shake Hands With the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.' While in his UN post in Rwanda in 1994, Lt. Gen. Dallaire and his limited number of troops witnessed the killing of more than 800,000 Rwandans in a period of a little over three months. The author talks about the under-equipped army he had with him and about how he had originally requested 5,000 troops in order to ensure order during the elections and oversee the safe return of Tutsi refugees. Upon returning to his native Canada, Lt. Gen. Dallaire served in various posts including assistant deputy minister in the Canadian Ministry of Defence. He also spent a great deal of time battling post-traumatic stress disorder and spoke openly about these battles."

Review of "Where Have All the Mothers Gone"

For anyone in interested in African health care and poverty this book seems compelling...



Where Have All the Mothers Gone?By Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese, MDEpic Press (Belleville, Ontario: 2004)Softcover, 176 pages, $9.95ISBN: 1-55306-762-2

Reviewed by Kathy Shaidle

Those experiencing post-tsunami compassion fatigue may want to wait a while before reading Where Have All the Mothers Gone? But don't wait too long. This book by Dr. Jean Chamberlain Froese is essential reading for anyone concerned with the well-being of women in developing countries. Chamberlain Froese is based in Hamilton, Ontario when she isn't abroad, treating these women, many of whom suffer unnecessarily from easily preventable causes.She writes:
"From the time you had your morning coffee today until the same time tomorrow, 1,600 women will have died from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. Most of these women (90%) lived in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Put another way, a woman in Africa has a lifetime risk of 1 in 16 of dying from pregnancy-related complications. In the industrialized world, it is 1 in 4,000. (...)"Incredibly, in the 20th century this stubborn scourge killed more than tuberculosis, suicide, traffic accidents and AIDS combined. More women died from childbirth complications than the number of men killed in both world wars."Many die from bleeding, infection and a shortage of skilled birth attendants. Others survive, only to suffer a fate worse than death:
"Most women who live in developed countries do not know what a fistula is. They are lucky; they will never need to know."A fistula is a devastating injury caused by childbirth. Women who give birth in poor countries where there is no skilled medical help may need a Caesarian section, but be unable to get one. Labour continues, the baby dies, and sometimes holes appear in the mother's urinary or digestive tract. As a result, the women cannot have normal bodily functions, and they become incontinent and smelly. Abandoned by husband and family, they are social outcasts."A fistula is a social death sentence," effecting an estimated 1,000,000 women worldwide, many in their early teens. "The surgical procedure that repairs the fistula was developed in the 1850s, yet it is out of reach for so many of the world's women, who lack obstetrical care."Dr. Chamberlain Froese modestly leaves herself out of the narrative for the most part, choosing instead to tell the stories of women she's met in her travels: Geraldine, whose "two year pregnancy" turned out to be a cyst; Faithful, who bows to social pressure to deliver naturally after two "unnatural" Caesarians, with tragic results; Juliette, the Ugandan dwarf whose first pregnancy presents extraordinary challenges.These and other true stories in the book make for compelling, heartrending and infuriating reading. You may well find yourself muttering prayers of gratitude for your own blessings. These are tales respectfully told, in crystal clear prose many "professional" authors would envy.Despite her admirable self-deprecation, Chamberlain Froese's extraordinary courage and compassion will most likely leave you inspired to help her continue her vocation. Where Have All the Mother's Gone? ends with a list of ways you can help. She works through Save the Mothers and isn't shy about soliciting donations, nor should she be. Chamberlain Froese also name-checks certain UN organizations and famous NGOs, and encourages concerned readers to lobby their governments to send more targeted aid.However, she neglects to recommend the one thing that would actually eradicate this needless suffering once and for all: free market capitalism, in the form of Grameen Bank-style micro loans and large scale investment.As John Blundell recently noted in a widely debated essay, "Africa's plight will not end with aid." The Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs declared,
"In many nations across Africa, the institutions we in the West take for granted are entirely absent. The people of these miserable territories are not incompetent. They are the same as us. Without the rule of law, private property rights and an infrastructure for basic transportation, water, electricity and phones, we too would be a broken, diseased and starving people."Africa's horrors are not solved by sending aid. The word 'aid' sounds kindly, even generous. It is pernicious. It mostly props up the bandit regimes. (...) At best, aid breeds a dependency culture; at worst it funds barbarism."What Africa needs is open markets where property rights exist, contracts can be enforced and exchanged can multiply. More specifically, Africa needs a period in which major Western companies take over either specific roles over long periods or perhaps even entire territories."After all, Blundell observes, great nations have been known to emerge from such 'imperial' enterprises:"Canada is basically the creation of two companies: the Hudson's Bay Company, based on the brisk trade in beaver pelts, and the Canadian Pacific Railway, a timber venture..."
# posted by Kathy Shaidle : 2/20/2005

Rabbi Rules It's Better to Swallow Gum

Rabbi Rules It's Better to Swallow Gum
JERUSALEM (AP) -- Your chewing gum has just lost its flavor, but there is no garbage can in sight. What do you do? According to Jewish law, get ready to swallow it.
A prominent Israeli rabbi has ruled that spitting gum on a sidewalk or hiding it under a desk is a violation of Halacha or Jewish law, the Yediot Ahronot newspaper reported Thursday.
"Gum cannot be thrown where others are liable to be disgusted by it," said Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the rabbi of the holy city of Safed.
Improperly discarded gum may appear to be hidden, but "God knows" where it is, Eliyahu said, according to the newspaper.


Swallowing the gum is a better solution, the rabbi said, though he criticized the use of chewing gum in general.
"Chewing gum is the practice of lower forms of life. It expresses inner tension and lack of control. People with self-respect do not chew gum except on special occasions because of special circumstances," he said.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: When Camels Fly

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: When Camels Fly: "t's good news, bad news time again for the Middle East. The good news is that what you are witnessing in the Arab world is the fall of its Berlin Wall. The old autocratic order is starting to crumble. The bad news is that unlike the Berlin Wall in central Europe, the one in the Arab world is going to fall one bloody brick at a time, and, unfortunately, Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa and the Solidarity trade union are not waiting to jump into our arms on the other side.
Advertisement


No one is more pleased than I am to see the demonstration of 'people power' in Iraq, with millions of Iraqis defying the 'you vote, you die' threat of the Baathists and jihadists. No one should take lightly the willingness of the opposition forces in Lebanon to stand up and point a finger at the Syrian regime and say 'J'accuse!' for the murder of the opposition leader Rafik Hariri. No one should dismiss the Palestinian election, which featured a real choice of candidates, and a solid majority voting in favor of a decent, modernizing figure - Mahmoud Abbas. No one should ignore the willingness of some Egyptians to demand to run against President Hosni Mubarak when he seeks a fifth - unopposed - term. These are things you have not seen in the Arab world before. They are really, really unusual - like watching camels fly."

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Yahoo! News - Spain Doctor Rebuilds Penises Cut Off for AIDS Cure

Yahoo! News - Spain Doctor Rebuilds Penises Cut Off for AIDS Cure: "The adolescent boys, from a remote region near the border with Uganda, were mutilated after being given drugged food or drink by strangers.

'They had attacked them to cut off their penises to sell ... for making a type of potion which according to a local belief cures AIDS,' Doctor Pedro Cavadas, from the Levante Rehabilitation Center told radio station Cadena Ser.

One of the boys also lost an ear trying to fend off his attackers after regaining consciousness during the mutilation."

Salon.com News | Doctors study Viagra as stroke treatment

Salon.com News | Doctors study Viagra as stroke treatment: "Doctors study Viagra as stroke treatment

- - - - - - - - - - - -

printe-mail

Feb. 18, 2005 | Detroit -- Doctors at Henry Ford Hospital here have begun studying Viagra as a possible treatment for strokes. Animal tests have indicated the sexual performance drug used by millions of men can improve memory and movement by helping injured brains develop new cells and blood vessels, researchers said.

The study will focus on Viagra's effect on people who have suffered ischemic strokes, which are caused by blocked arteries. Nearly 90 percent of the 700,000 strokes that occur yearly in the United States are ischemic, and they often cause long-term disability and death.

The Ford Hospital study is a so-called phase one study, the earliest stage of research, to determine whether Viagra is safe. The study will enroll 84 patients ages 18 to 80 with mild-to-moderate complications in the first three days of a stroke over the next three months.

Seven groups of patients will get doses of Viagra ranging from 25 milligrams to 150 milligrams, depending on how well patients tolerate the drug. A typical dose of Viagra for sexual activity is 50 milligrams."

The New York Times > Books > Books of The Times | 'Pol Pot': Cambodia's Murderous Mystery Man

The New York Times > Books > Books of The Times | 'Pol Pot': Cambodia's Murderous Mystery Man: "ven among the most accomplished mass murderers of the last century, Pol Pot deserves a special place. In raw numbers, his achievements cannot match Hitler's or Stalin's, but statistics can be deceiving. In three years under the Khmer Rouge an estimated one and a half million Cambodians died, out of a total population of only seven million. Many were executed. Many more died of overwork, disease or starvation laboring quite literally as slaves to realize the political fantasies of their gently smiling, almost Buddha-like leader. For lethal speed and destructiveness, the Cambodian experiment stands alone and apart."

Aidsmap | HIV/AIDS deaths in South Africa are substantially underreported

Aidsmap | HIV/AIDS deaths in South Africa are substantially underreported:
"The extent of AIDS mortality in South Africa is a very controversial subject. If no longer a total sceptic about HIV/AIDS, President Thabo Mbeki continued to play down its impact in his country even while the government was preparing for the roll-out of antiretroviral therapy. On a trip to New York in September 2003, he claimed: 'Personally, I don't know anybody who has died of Aids."

American Psychological Society - Right before Your Eyes: Visual Recognition Begins with Categorization

American Psychological Society - Right before Your Eyes: Visual Recognition Begins with Categorization: "Psychologists who study how we perceive images used to think that, before the process of object recognition and categorization could begin, the brain must first separate the figure in the image�such as a tree, or a piece of fruit�from its background. However, new research shows we actually categorize objects before we identify them. It means that, by the time your brain even realizes you are looking at something, you already know what that thing is."

Why Do We Overcommit?

Why Do We Overcommit?: "If your appointment book runneth over, it could mean one of two things: Either you are enviably popular or you make the same faulty assumptions about the future as everyone else. Psychological research points to the latter explanation. Research by two business-school professors reveals that people over-commit because we expect to have more time in the future than we have in the present. Of course, when tomorrow turns into today, we discover that we are too busy to do everything we promised."

SikhNet News - News Relating to Sikhs

SikhNet News - News Relating to Sikhs: "The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has broadcast a new national recruiting advertisement for Intelligence Analysts featuring a Sikh"

The Hunger Site : Give Food for Free to Hungry People in the World

The Hunger Site : Give Food for Free to Hungry People in the World: "It is estimated that one billion people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. That's roughly 100 times as many as those who actually die from these causes each year.
About 24,000 people die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes. This is down from 35,000 ten years ago, and 41,000 twenty years ago. Three-fourths of the deaths are children under the age of five.
Famine and wars cause about 10% of hunger deaths, although these tend to be the ones you hear about most often. The majority of hunger deaths are caused by chronic malnutrition. Families facing extreme poverty are simply unable to get enough food to eat.
In 1999, a year marked by good economic news, 31 million Americans were food insecure, meaning they were either hungry or unsure of where their next meal would come from. Of these Americans, 12 million were children. The Hunger Site began on June 1, 1999.
Please remember to click every day to give help and hope to those with nowhere to turn. Every click counts in the life of a hungry person. "

Skyscape

Skyscape

Saudi Cabbies Protest Slow Pace of Nationalization

Saudi Cabbies Protest Slow Pace of Nationalization

Transformation is occuring--public protest of this scale is almost unheard of!

MercuryNews.com | 02/18/2005 | Exercising with an Indian twist

MercuryNews.com | 02/18/2005 | Exercising with an Indian twist

Bhangra coming on strong... Bhangra is a traditional Punjabi folk dance with sort of a Salsa feel. It is a workout! If you haven't had a chance to hear Bhangra music (you mean you didn't come to any of my parties in Saudi?) go to itunes or your favorite mp3 site and check out some tunes. Bhangra parties have long been a staple of culture in England, but never really caught on in the States outside of the Indian community. Maybe with classes like these more people in the States will get exposure to this infectious music.

StudioWire: Joscho Stephan

StudioWire: Joscho Stephan

WOW!!!!!! The new Django?
Incredible Gypsy Jazz Player
and only 21 years old! Check him out! (Hit the play button on the orange screen on the left side of the page after you click on the link!)

TCS: Tech Central Station - The Millionaire Next Door vs. the Politician in Washington

TCS: Tech Central Station - The Millionaire Next Door vs. the Politician in Washington: "In 1875, food/clothing/shelter accounted for 74 percent of total consumption (including leisure). In 1995, they accounted for just 13 percent of total consumption. For material goods, productivity tends to grow faster than demand, so that a smaller fraction of resources is devoted to them. We see that in the ever-declining proportion of the work force engaged in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing.

On the other hand, the demand for leisure tends to rise with income, and demand grows faster than productivity in health care and education. Fundamentally, leisure-time activities, education, and health care are the sectors of the economy you want to gravitate toward if you want to go where spending is going to increase."

And That Is How History Is Made

And That Is How History Is Made: " Of course, Saudi Arabia is different; of course, we are like no other country in the world; and of course, there are many obstacles in the face of women nominating themselves for political positions. That is our main problem. That is why we need to change. That is precisely why it was crucial to give women a chance to revolutionize all that is different about us in a perfectly acceptable way. With one bold decision, the government could have given the chance to seven courageous women to change history forever."

Courageous Column about women voting in the Arab News...

Mobile PC - Features - The Top 100 Gadgets of All Time

This will bring back memories for anyone over the age of 10!
Mobile PC - Features - The Top 100 Gadgets of All Time:

"The Crackers"

This is a funny take off on the Christos art donation to Central Park in New York
"The Crackers":
"Gift to the City is it Art or for the Birds? 'The Crackers' is as much a public happening as it is a tasty snack, defying the domino theory. Peanut butter or cheddar cheese. They poured their hearts and souls into the project for over 26 minutes. It required three dozen crackers and spanned over nearly 23 inches along a footbridge in the park at a cost (borne exclusively by the artists) of $2.50. Is it art? You decide. The installation was completed with no permits or bureaucracy, and fed to the ducks after about a half hour. 'The Crackers' is entirely for profit"

MICKEY CRYSTAL PEZ� DISPENSER at FAO Schwarz

MICKEY CRYSTAL PEZ� DISPENSER at FAO Schwarz

Servant Marriages Serve Dual Purpose

Servant Marriages Serve Dual Purpose:
"RIYADH, 19 February 2005
You need a maid and a driver, but you only have one room for servant's quarters. What to do?"
This article brought back memories of all the third world nationals who work so hard in Saudi Arabia.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The Stranger Cover Page (02/17/05)

The Stranger Cover Page (02/17/05)

The New York Times > International > Africa > AIDS and Custom Leave African Families Nothing

The New York Times > International > Africa > AIDS and Custom Leave African Families Nothing:

"In an era when AIDS is claiming about 2.3 million lives a year in sub-Saharan Africa - roughly 80,000 people last year in Malawi alone - disease and stubborn tradition have combined in a terrible synergy, robbing countless mothers and children not only of their loved ones but of everything they own. "....

"I don't have a permanent place to stay," he wrote in a notebook provided to him by Unicef, which endeavors to track and aid orphans like Chikumbutso. "I am shifted from one place to another, sometimes on a weekly basis. Assistance which I need: food, clothes, blankets, school uniform."

He is at least marginally better off than his 14-year-old sister, Labbecca. A few weeks ago she turned up on the doorstep of his aunt, Befiya Phaelemwe, begging to be taken in.

But the aunt said the pittance her husband earned patching clothes was not enough to feed her own children and Chikumbutso. She gestured toward a metal bucket half-filled with corn on the floor - the sum total, she said, of the family's provisions.

"I told her the house was small and I could not take one more child," she said. "She was full of sorrow."

In tears, Labbecca trudged off, saying maybe a boyfriend would provide her with a place to sleep. Ms. Phaelemwe said she had not seen her since and had no idea where she was.

Said Chikumbutso: "I am very worried."

Peter Bergen on Saudi Arabia on National Review Online

Peter Bergen on Saudi Arabia on National Review Online: "In the sprawling desert city where Osama bin Laden was born almost half a century ago, last week the Saudis held their first international counterterrorism conference. A couple of days after the conference ended, Riyadh was the first city to vote in the only nationwide elections that have been held since the modern Saudi kingdom was founded three quarters of a century ago. "...both are indicative of a gradualist Saudi glasnost that may mark the beginnings of democratization...

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Opinion Column by PC Magazine - Googlepedia: The End is Near

Opinion Column by PC Magazine - Googlepedia: The End is Near: "Googlepedia: The End is Near "

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Potatoes Deliver Hepatitis Vaccine in Human Trials

Science & Technology at Scientific American.com: Potatoes Deliver Hepatitis Vaccine in Human Trials

Switched On � PDAs, a multiple murder mystery - Features - features.engadget.com

PDAs are going to become extinct! As a dedicated Palm user for 5 years I definitely see it coming, mainly because of all the hardware failures associated with such devices!

Switched On PDAs, a multiple murder mystery - Features - features.engadget.com: "The consensus diagnosis of the ailing PDA market is that smartphones have been responsible for the demise. Indeed, future smartphones and even lower-end feature phones will likely become the dominant mobile platforms with which we check the contacts and calendars that were the killer apps of the original Palm Pilot. Furthermore, smartphones are theoretically better PIMs than PDAs were because of their wireless connectivity. Smartphone users can take advantage of live remote synchronization or check off a to-do item by, for example, scheduling an appointment in the field or following up on something via a phone call"

danieldrezner.com :: Daniel W. Drezner :: It's getting uncomfortable for Syria

danieldrezner.com :: Daniel W. Drezner :: It's getting uncomfortable for Syria

Rob Galbraith DPI: Canon unveils Digital Rebel XT

Rob Galbraith DPI: Canon unveils Digital Rebel XT: "The new model, which is better-specified than the original Digital Rebel in practically every respect, is clearly designed to be both more full-featured and a more worthy competitor to the Nikon D70."

STUFF : TECHNOLOGY - STORY : New Zealand's leading news and information website

STUFF : TECHNOLOGY - STORY : New Zealand's leading news and information website: "Users bypass copy protection on portable Napster "

How the Repeater Repeats

How the Repeater Repeats: "What did Western Electric have to say about that product that revolutionized telephony? This year, our April Fools offering takes the reader back to 1917 when the vacuum tube was considered 'bleeding edge' technology. Certainly, many scholarly treatises were written about the vacuum tube but the March issue of Western Electric News decided to take a more light-hearted approach. It my hope that you find it as much fun to read as I did."

For all you musicians ouut there who ever wondered how a tube based amplifier makes sound....

Exclusive: NASA Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars

Exclusive: NASA Researchers Claim Evidence of Present Life on Mars: "A pair of NASA scientists told a group of space officials at a private meeting here Sunday that they have found strong evidence that life may exist today on Mars, hidden away in caves and sustained by pockets of water"

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

White's of Henry Lane � Gmail Journal

How to use Gmail as a personal journal
White's of Henry Lane � Gmail Journal: "Gmail Journal"

isnoop.net gmail invite spooler

If you want a gmail account this is the place to go for an invite:
isnoop.net gmail invite spooler

Smartmoney.com: Consumer Action: Ten Things Your Real Estate Broker Won't Tell You

Smartmoney.com: Consumer Action: Ten Things Your Real Estate Broker Won't Tell You

How Come Syria Controls Lebanon? - Why the neighbors are calling the shots. By Daniel�Engber

How Come Syria Controls Lebanon? - Why the neighbors are calling the shots. By Daniel�Engber

Death of a Salesman - Was Rafik Hariri's assassination a Syrian hit? By Michael�Young

Death of a Salesman - Was Rafik Hariri's assassination a Syrian hit? By Michael�Young

Telegraph | Arts | A whizz with words

Telegraph | Arts | A whizz with words

Maybe we need speed reading courses for Docs?

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - Health/Science: Study characterizes older doctors as risky

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: AP - Health/Science: Study characterizes older doctors as risky:
DATAMINING? "The Harvard study combines the findings of 59 papers since 1966 that looked at physicians' age or years out of medical school when measuring knowledge or the quality of patient care. Most of the studies didn't delve only into age-related issues, but the Harvard team focused exclusively on age as a factor in physician knowledge or quality of care."

Medicaid Needs Surgery

Medicaid Needs Surgery: "The basic problem with Medicaid is that Washington foots the bulk of the bill, yet most of the administrative decisions are made at the state level. For poorer states, like Mississippi, 77 cents of every dollar spent comes from federal coffers; for wealthier states, it's closer to 50 cents. Overall, roughly 57 percent of Medicaid's budget is from Washington."

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Blood, Smoke and Tears in Beirut

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Blood, Smoke and Tears in Beirut: "Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister who was one of those killed in the attack, was a billionaire, and through his actions in office and his private investment was largely responsible for what has passed as financial stability here"

The New York Times > International > Middle East > U.S. Recalls Its Envoy in Syria, Linking Nation to Beirut Blast

The New York Times > International > Middle East > U.S. Recalls Its Envoy in Syria, Linking Nation to Beirut Blast: "The Bush administration recalled its ambassador to Syria on Tuesday to protest what it sees as Syria's link to the murder of the former prime minister of Lebanon, as violent anti-Syrian protests erupted in Beirut and several other Lebanese cities."

CBS News | States Mull Taxing Drivers By Mile | February 15, 2005�10:30:02

CBS News | States Mull Taxing Drivers By Mile | February 15, 2005�10:30:02: "big brother riding on your bumper"
(Thanks for the link Freeze)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The New York Times > Theater > News & Features > True to Her Orthodox Beliefs, if Not to Her Roots

The New York Times > Theater > News & Features > True to Her Orthodox Beliefs, if Not to Her Roots

A Tale of Two Hemispheres - The Daily Californian

A Tale of Two Hemispheres - The Daily Californian

Buddhism--“In the East it’s a humdrum religion of an old lady lighting incense at a temple,” Ahn says. “Whereas in the West it’s about a journey of self-discovery and meditating.”

The Chronicle: 2/11/2005: Reinventing Physics: the Search for the Real Frontier

The Chronicle: 2/11/2005: Reinventing Physics: the Search for the Real Frontier: "The great power of science is its ability, through brutal objectivity, to reveal to us truth we did not anticipate. In this it continues to be invaluable, and one of the greatest of human creations."

The important laws we know about are, without exception, serendipitous discoveries rather than deductions. This is fully compatible with one's everyday experience. The world is filled with sophisticated regularities and causal relationships that can be quantified, for this is how we are able to make sense of things and exploit nature to our own ends. But the discovery of these relationships is annoyingly unpredictable and certainly not anticipated by scientific experts. This common-sense view continues to hold when the matter is examined more carefully and quantitatively. It turns out that our mastery of the universe is largely a bluff -- all hat and no cattle. The argument that all the important laws of nature are known is part of this bluff.

The 20th century's most disastrous drive for rural utopia | csmonitor.com

The 20th century's most disastrous drive for rural utopia | csmonitor.com

Reason: Imperial Waltz: Is American power good, bad, or distressingly reluctant?

Reason: Imperial Waltz: Is American power good, bad, or distressingly reluctant?

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Mecca Cola challenges US rival

BBC NEWS | Middle East | Mecca Cola challenges US rival: "Demand for bottles of Mecca Cola - which bear the slogan 'No more drinking stupid, drink with commitment' - is already soaring. "

Off Message (02/11/2005)

Now they will start trying in earnest to become what the Harvard Health Letter recently called "Aging Superstars," i.e., people who live a century or more. Forget about fame, prizes, net worth. Those things are all nice, but in the brave new demographic future, real success will be an obituary that reads, "John Q. Boomer Dies at 108."

Off Message (02/11/2005): "Aging Superstars,'"The Immortality Race

The Rise of a New Axis?

The world may witness the troubling emergence of a "North Korea-Iran nuclear axis" – and a rash of nuclear proliferation that could be a source of instability for years to come. – YaleGlobal


The Rise of a New Axis?: "the world may witness the troubling emergence of a 'North Korea-Iran nuclear axis' � and a rash of nuclear proliferation that could be a source of instability for years to come. � YaleGlobal"

The New York Times > Arts > Connections: Truth, Incompleteness and the G�delian Way

Before Gödel's incompleteness theorem was published in 1931, it was believed that not only was everything proven by mathematics true, but also that within its conceptual universe everything true could be proven. Mathematics is thus complete: nothing true is beyond its reach. Gödel shattered that dream. He showed that there were true statements in certain mathematical systems that could not be proven. And he did this with astonishing sleight of hand, producing a mathematical assertion that was both true and unprovable. ...Read more at:

"Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel" review from NY Times
The New York Times > Arts > Connections: Truth, Incompleteness and the G�delian Way: "'Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt G�del'"

American Scientist Online - The Soul of Science

Science and Purpose
American Scientist Online - The Soul of Science

lgf: British Dhimmitude Watch

Peace Be Upon Him...
lgf: British Dhimmitude Watch

Monday, February 14, 2005

...looking to the Light...: ...miracle drug...

Inspiration behind the U2 song "Miracle Drug"
...looking to the Light...: ...miracle drug...

WorldNetDaily: Biblical-giants book soars up charts

Prramids built by Demons...
WorldNetDaily: Biblical-giants book soars up charts

Yahoo! News - Hindu Hardliners Burn Valentine Cards

Kind of reminds me of Saudi!
Yahoo! News - Hindu Hardliners Burn Valentine Cards

Dozens of Candidates Call for Election Probe

Dozens of Candidates Call for Election Probe

WorldNetDaily: Exorcism live on TV

WorldNetDaily: Exorcism live on TV

WorldNetDaily: Sabbath-breaking 'caused tsunami'

WorldNetDaily: Sabbath-breaking 'caused tsunami'

Times Online - Sunday Times

Times Online - Sunday Times
Boy is aborted 3 times and lives

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Tsunami throws up India relics

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Tsunami throws up India relics

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | A genius explains

Guardian Unlimited | The Guardian | A genius explains

CNN.com - Joy as 'Baby 81'�identified - Feb 14, 2005

CNN.com - Joy as 'Baby 81'�identified - Feb 14, 2005: "A court official in the eastern Sri Lankan town of Kalmunai says the
three-month-old boy will be reunited with his parents in court on
Wednesday."

CNN.com - Huge blast kills Lebanese ex-PM - Feb 14, 2005

CNN.com - Huge blast kills Lebanese ex-PM - Feb 14, 2005: "One of Hariri's senior bodyguards and officials at the American University in Beirut hospital confirmed Hariri's death to CNN."

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Apollo 11 - 17 Mission First man on the Moon - Fullscreen QTVR photo from panoramas.dk

This is a great site for panormas. Click on the mouse within any photo and then move in any direction....
Apollo 11 - 17 Mission First man on the Moon - Fullscreen QTVR photo from panoramas.dk

The Onion | Woman Begins To Regret Dating Someone Spontaneous

The Onion | Woman Begins To Regret Dating Someone Spontaneous: "Bird said she was swept off her feet by the handsome

30-year-old
in August, when she met him at a local park. A part-time bicycle-shop
employee and occasional street musician, Maddox 'was straight out of a
romantic Hollywood movie,' according to Bird."

danieldrezner.com :: Daniel W. Drezner :: So how are things in Saudi Arabia?

From Dan Drezner:
danieldrezner.com :: Daniel W. Drezner :: So how are things in Saudi Arabia?: "So how are things in Saudi Arabia? "

10 Million iPods, Previewing the CD's End (washingtonpost.com)

10 Million iPods, Previewing the CD's End (washingtonpost.com)

The New York Times > Sports > Other Sports > At 73, Marathoner Runs as if He's Stopped the Clock

The New York Times > Sports > Other Sports > At 73, Marathoner Runs as if He's Stopped the Clock

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: No Mullah Left Behind

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: No Mullah Left Behind

The New York Times > Business > Fat Substitute, Once Praised, Is Pushed Out of the Kitchen

The New York Times > Business > Fat Substitute, Once Praised, Is Pushed Out of the Kitchen

The New York Times > New York Region > Report on a New Form of H.I.V. Brings Alarm, Not Surprise

The New York Times > New York Region > Report on a New Form of H.I.V. Brings Alarm, Not Surprise: "s word spread of a rare and potentially more aggressive form of H.I.V"

My Way News

Now this is very cool!
My Way News

Friday, February 11, 2005

ABC News: U.N. Sex Crimes in Congo

ABC News: U.N. Sex Crimes in Congo

Pak actress says fatwa issued against her

Pak actress says fatwa issued against her

Fidgeting Helps Separate the Lean From the Obese, Study Finds (washingtonpost.com)

Fidgeting Helps Separate the Lean From the Obese, Study Finds (washingtonpost.com)

washingtonpost.com: Brain Immaturity Could Explain Teen Crash Rate

washingtonpost.com: Brain Immaturity Could Explain Teen Crash Rate: "

washingtonpost.com
Brain Immaturity Could Explain Teen Crash Rate

By most physical measures, teenagers should be the world's best drivers. Their muscles are supple, their reflexes quick, their senses at a lifetime peak. Yet car crashes kill more of them than any other cause -- a problem, some researchers believe, that is rooted in the adolescent brain...

How To Talk When You Can't Speak - Communicating with unconscious minds. By Clive�Thompson

How To Talk When You Can't Speak - Communicating with unconscious minds. By Clive�Thompson: "

brave new world


How To Talk When You Can't Speak
Communicating with unconscious minds."

Fashion Week FAQ - Your nagging questions answered. By Josh�Patner

Everything You Have Always Wanted to Know About FAshion Shows
Fashion Week FAQ - Your nagging questions answered. By Josh�Patner