Saturday, April 30, 2005

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Mice put in 'suspended animation'

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Mice put in 'suspended animation': "In the latest study, Dr Roth and his colleagues found that the mice stopped moving and appeared to lose consciousness within minutes of breathing the air and H2S mixture.

The animals' breathing rates dropped from the normal 120 breaths per minute to less than 10 breaths per minute.

During exposure their metabolic rates dropped by an astonishing 90%, and their core body temperatures fell from 37C to as low as 11C...
"There is military interest in short-duration hibernation for battlefield stabilisation of troops. If you have a soldier who is shot down, you want to be able to hibernate them on site until you can get a team in to rescue them."

After six hours' exposure to the mixture, the mice were given fresh air. Their metabolic rate and core body temperature returned to normal, and tests showed they had suffered no ill effects."

Friday, April 29, 2005

Inventor Creates Soundless Sound System - Yahoo! News

Inventor Creates Soundless Sound System - Yahoo! News: "PORTLAND, Ore. - Elwood 'Woody' Norris pointed a metal frequency emitter at one of perhaps 30 people who had come to see his invention. The emitter — an aluminum square — was hooked up by a wire to a CD player. Norris switched on the CD player.

'There's no speaker, but when I point this pad at you, you will hear the waterfall,' said the 63-year-old Californian.

And one by one, each person in the audience did, and smiled widely.

Norris' HyperSonic Sound system has won him an award coveted by inventors — the $500,000 annual Lemelson-MIT Prize. It works by sending a focused beam of sound above the range of human hearing. When it lands on you, it seems like sound is coming from inside your head."

Saudi Teens Go ‘West’

If Saudie teens are beholden to Eminem as the pinnacle of American pop culture, I would tend to agree with the last paragraph below...
Saudi Teens Go ‘West’: "Basim Hakami, 16, chooses to fill his room with huge posters of the American rapper Eminem, Rhythm and Blues star Beyonce Knowles and Western “boy-bands,” namely Blue. He proudly says his bedroom doesn’t contain a single poster of an Arab star; such is his interest in the West.

“Eminem is outstanding, his on-stage performance is wonderful,” Hakami said. “I really like his attitude and the way he dances.”"...

If these teenagers’ opinions are indeed representative of the Arab youth at large, it should be a red flag for the region’s entertainment industry and should encourage it to develop new stars to rise in the Middle East; otherwise, for young people, the stars they follow will continue to rise in the West.

More evidence of Saudi doubletalk? - Lisa Myers & the NBC Investigative Unit -

More evidence of Saudi doubletalk? - Lisa Myers & the NBC Investigative Unit - "Judge caught on tape
encouraging Saudis
to fight in Iraq"

CBC Radio | Quirks & Quarks | Past Shows

CBC Radio | Quirks & Quarks | Past Shows: "Imagine being blind for 25 years, and suddenly being able to see again - using your ears. It sounds impossible, but that's exactly what happened to Pat Fletcher. For the past few years, she's been experimenting with a revolutionary new technology that allows her to see through sound. Using a simple computer program that she downloaded from the Internet, called 'The vOICe', which translates visual images into soundscapes, Pat's brain is able to translate those sounds back into images"

Crippled by Their Culture

OpinionJournal - Featured Article (WSJ subcription required) :
Here is a free link to this most interesting argument put forth by Thomas Sowell, a very smart political anaylist (who happens to be African American).

"For most of the history of this country, differences between the black and the white population--whether in income, IQ, crime rates, or whatever--have been attributed to either race or racism. For much of the first half of the 20th century, these differences were attributed to race--that is, to an assumption that blacks just did not have it in their genes to do as well as white people. The tide began to turn in the second half of the 20th century, when the assumption developed that black-white differences were due to racism on the part of whites....

Three decades of my own research lead me to believe that neither of those explanations will stand up under scrutiny of the facts. As one small example, a study published last year indicated that most of the black alumni of Harvard were from either the West Indies or Africa, or were the children of West Indian or African immigrants. These people are the same race as American blacks, who greatly outnumber either or both."

Culture is left...

Thursday, April 28, 2005

OpinionJournal - Leisure & Arts

OpinionJournal - Leisure & Arts: "Violence and vulgarity are hardly unique to rap. The mainstream is full of gore and borderline porn. But these tendencies are undiluted in rap, which is why many young African-Americans and Latinos who grew up embracing hip hop as a grassroots, multimedia art form now deplore rap as a cynical 'neominstrelsy' being mass-marketed not just nationally but globally.

This global twist is new. A decade ago, critics worried that 'gangsta' rap was portraying African-Americans as drug dealers, killers, 'bitches' and 'ho's.' Today the worry is international. Essence magazine recently launched an online debate about the image of black women in rap, and according to former editor Diane Weathers, that debate now includes Africans. 'They are disgusted by what their African-American brothers and sisters are doing in entertainment,' she says. 'They wonder if we've lost our mind"...

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Free Mag 7 Star Charts

Free Mag 7 Star Charts: "free, downloadable set of high-quality star charts "

The New York Times > Science > Improved Scanning Technique Uses Brain as Portal to Thought

The New York Times > Science > Improved Scanning Technique Uses Brain as Portal to Thought: "y peering not into the eyes but into the brain, an improved scanning technique has enabled scientists to figure out what people are looking at - even, in some cases, when they are not aware of what they have seen. "

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Afghanistan names first female governor

And now for some good news from Afghanistan...
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Afghanistan names first female governor: "Ex-minister takes on region that is in some ways one of the world's worst places to be female "

International News Article |

International News Article | "FAIZABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) - An Afghan woman has been stoned to death for adultery, police said on Sunday, the first such incident in Afghanistan since the Taliban's ouster from power. "

Scientific American: Performance without Anxiety

Scientific American: Performance without Anxiety: "Fear of reinforcing negative stereotypes, Claude Steele finds, hampers the ability to succeed. The idea is now central in affirmative action and job discrimination fights"

Cross and Crescent Posted by Hello

Spirit of America

Spirit of America: "Lebanon may be the only place in the world where you can buy a necklace with a Christian cross and a Muslim crescent moon fused together as one. What other country would even think of making something like this? I've never seen one before. But now I own two. "

Monday, April 25, 2005

Nanoparticles Offer New Hope For Detection And Treatment

Nanoparticles Offer New Hope For Detection And Treatment: "he spherical nanoparticles are a few thousand times smaller than the dot above this 'i,' yet each can carry about 100,000 molecules of the metal used to provide contrast in MRI images. This creates a high density of contrast agent, and when the particles bind to a specific area, that site glows brightly in MRI scans.

In this study, MRI scans picked up tumors that were only a couple of millimeters (about one twenty-fifth of an inch) wide.

Small, rapidly growing tumors cause growth of new blood vessels, which feed the tumors. To get the particles to bind to tumors, the researchers equipped them with tiny 'hooks' that link only to complementary 'loops' found on cells in newly forming blood vessels. When the nanoparticles hooked the 'loops' on the new vessels' cells, they revealed the location of the tumors."

Sunday, April 24, 2005

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Trap-building ants torture prey

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Trap-building ants torture prey: "A fierce species of Amazonian ant has been seen building elaborate traps on which hapless prey are stretched like medieval torture victims, before being slowly hacked to pieces."

BBC NEWS | UK | World armed groups 'abduct girls'

BBC NEWS | UK | World armed groups 'abduct girls': "Figures released by Save The Children showed that around 6,500 girls have been captured by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo another 12,000 are believed to be involved in armed organisations while another 21,500 (43% of all children fighting) are thought to be associated with conflict in Sri Lanka."

7 foods that help fight cancer

Waiter, "I will have a cosmopolitan garnished with orange zest; a baby green salad with sesame oil dressing, topped with walnuts; fish curry with yogurt, followed by a cup of white tea..."

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Islamists continue to gain in Saudi Municipal Elections

"For the next election, I must grow a beard in order to get elected."

My Way News: "Washington, has been under U.S. pressure to make some democratic reforms. But the limited experiment in democracy - only men could vote and run for seats on the half-appointed councils - also appeared to be an attempt to deflate the militant Islamic movement by bringing some Islamists into the system."...

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Doctor Is In � Turning Back the Clock

This seems like a good idea to me--tax credits to physicians for charity care...

The Doctor Is In Turning Back the Clock: " In a 2002 study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC), nearly 72% of physicians provided charity care, although the percentage had declined somewhat from previous years, especially in practices with a high percentage of managed care. Ethically, the large majority of physicians feel a strong responsibility to provide needed care to those who cannot afford it."..

So here’s another proposal to consider: why not turn back the clock a bit, and create incentives for charity care? Let’s encourage physicians to see patients for free...
Provide tax credits to physicians for charity care. Fund health care for the poor directly out of tax receipts.

Researchers Find That Chocolate Compound Stops Cancer Cell Cycle In Lab Experiments

Chocolate Stops Cancer!
Researchers Find That Chocolate Compound Stops Cancer Cell Cycle In Lab Experiments

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Yahoo! News - Zoo Wants Chimpanzee to Stop Smoking

Yahoo! News - Zoo Wants Chimpanzee to Stop Smoking: "JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A South African zoo is trying to persuade its star chimpanzee to kick a bad smoking habit. "

Monday, April 18, 2005

Sudan genocide links

Links for those who want to get more involved in prevention of the Darfur genocide

Voters can call their members of Congress to support the Darfur Accountability Act and other legislation applying pressure on Sudan. The main backers have been Senators Jon Corzine and Sam Brownback. Second, there’s humanitarian aid. All the main aid groups, from Doctors Without Borders to the International Rescue Committee, and all the faith-based charities, are active in Darfur. They need financial support. There are plenty more ideas at these sites:

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Decontaminating a dead 23 year old girl wrappted in a shroud (nytimes) Posted by Hello

The New York Times > International > Africa > Stalking a Deadly Virus, Battling a Town's Fears

A detailed account of the devastation brought on by the virus and a dseserved tribute to Maria Bonino, an Italian pediatrician, who initially brought world attention to the epidemic before dying of hemorrhagic fever herself...

The New York Times > International > Africa > Stalking a Deadly Virus, Battling a Town's Fears: "UiGE, Angola, April 16 - For nearly four weeks, teams of health experts have been trying to set up a rescue operation in this town of windowless, crumbling buildings with no running water, intermittent electricity, poor sanitation and a perennially jammed telephone network..."

A cousin of Ebola, the Marburg virus has erupted periodically in Africa in sudden, gruesome epidemics, only to disappear just as mysteriously. This time it has struck with a vengeance, killing 9 out of 10 people infected - a total of 230 people so far, including 14 nurses and 2 doctors who cared for the sick.

The virus is highly contagious, making any outbreak a cause for widespread fear and fascination in a world shrunk by international travel and trade. Marburg spreads through blood, vomit, semen and other bodily fluids. Even a cough can prove fatal for someone hit by a few drops of spittle. Corpses, teeming with the virus, are especially dangerous. A contaminated surface can be deadly - the virus can find its way into someone's eyes, nose or mouth, or enter the bloodstream through a cut.

Once in the body, it moves with terrifying speed, invading white blood cells essential to fighting infection. On Day 3 of the infection, fewer than 200 viruses are in a drop of blood. By Day 8, there are five million.

"That's why dead bodies are kind of like bombs..."

There is no specific treatment, but more patients would probably survive if they could get the kind of intensive care available in developed countries.

In what is probably the only recorded outbreak outside Africa, in 1967, among laboratory workers in Germany and Yugoslavia, the death rate was only 23 percent...

Dr. Bonino, from the charity Doctors With Africa, began suspecting that there was something dreadful in the children's ward of the sprawling regional hospital in March of last year, months before anyone else became alarmed...Dr. Bonino had worked for 15 years in Africa, including a spell in Uganda during an Ebola outbreak, and understood hemorrhagic fevers. She moved to Uíge in 2003, and won the loyalty of the children's ward nurses with her hard work, compassion and expertise in illnesses unique to Africa...
Dr. Bonino gave the arriving teams a list of 39 suspected cases of hemorrhagic fever. The investigators found two dozen more. New samples were flown to Atlanta.

On March 21, 9 of 12 came back positive.

Less than a week later, Dr. Bonino died of Marburg virus. Fourteen nurses and a Vietnamese surgeon who worked at the hospital have also died. The surgeon was probably infected while performing an autopsy on a Marburg victim, Dr. Pisani said.

On the whiteboard mounted on a wall in the pediatric ward, Dr. Bonino's cellphone number is still scrawled...

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Mr. Bush, Take a Look at MTV

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Mr. Bush, Take a Look at MTV: "On each of my three visits to Darfur, the dispossessed victims showed me immense kindness, guiding me to safe places and offering me water when I was hot and exhausted. They had lost their homes and often their children, and they seemed to have nothing - yet in their compassion to me they showed that they had retained their humanity. So it appalls me that we who have everything can't muster the simple humanity to try to save their lives. "

Friday, April 15, 2005



ROME, April 12 -- After two decades of contact and dialogue with the Islamic world under Pope John Paul II, the Vatican is rethinking an outreach program that critics say is diluting Catholicism and has brought almost no benefits to beleaguered Catholic minorities in Muslim countries.

Kingdom in Bid to Use Islamic Satellite for Moon Sighting

Who would Have Thunk It?

Kingdom in Bid to Use Islamic Satellite for Moon Sighting

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Eyewear Bridges the Divide Between Comfort and Fashion (

Eyewear Bridges the Divide Between Comfort and Fashion ( "He pierced the bridge of his nose with a tiny barbell and hooked his glasses to the bar."

The Empty Village - What about the 750 million Chinese who aren't getting rich? By Henry�Blodget

The Empty Village - What about the 750 million Chinese who aren't getting rich? By Henry�Blodget: "Statistics in China are easy to come by and hard to have faith in. But here goes: About 750 million Chinese are farmers, and about 85 million make less than $75 a year. "

MSN Health & Fitness - New Theory on Why Low-Carb Diets Work

MSN Health & Fitness - New Theory on Why Low-Carb Diets Work: "MONDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- A new study involving obese individuals suggests the reason the Atkins, Zone and other low-carb regimens help people lose weight is that dieters don't substitute fatty or sugary foods for the carbohydrates they lack.
Instead, they simply eat less food."...they ate 1,000 calories less every day"...

The result: By the end of the two-week low-carb regimen, patients lost an average of 1.65 kilograms (3.6 pounds) and reduced their daily caloric intake by nearly 1,000 calories -- from an average of 3,111 calories before they began the diet, to just 2,164 calories while on the low-carb regimen...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

How One Feels Diminished by Doing Something Just to Conform

A thoughtful reflection from a Saudi writer living in London about cultural norms regarding women's dress... How One Feels Diminished by Doing Something Just to Conform: "I have just returned from a trip to Saudi Arabia. As usual, it takes me a few days to recalibrate. It is amazing how sensitive we are to our environments, take the abaya for example. When I first arrive in Saudi Arabia, I feel like an alien in my black silk. In one sweep, just by wrapping myself in a physical symbol of Saudi culture, I am forced to slip into a different identity. Part of me rebels against this. I do not wear the hijab, surely it is hypocritical for me to cover up in front of men who have seen me head uncovered in London? Am I not pretending to be something I am not by wrapping myself in an identity that is not my own"...
And there you have the crux of the issue for me. My Western side, the individualistic one, sees personal identity as the quest to show my individuality. Anything I do simply to conform and not because of deeply held conviction makes me feel lessened. But my Arab side, the collectivist one, sees the need to be a soldier of society...

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Billions of Promises to Keep

Mr. Annan has a plea for international support for Darfur in the New York Times today. K would encourage a full reading of the article (registration required, but free)...

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: Billions of Promises to Keep

Time is running out for the people of Sudan. We need pledges immediately converted into cash and more protection forces in Darfur to prevent yet more death and suffering...
The billions pledged this week can help. But hungry people cannot eat pledges. Through long and bitter experience we've learned that donor pledges often remain unfulfilled. In Cambodia, Rwanda, Liberia and elsewhere, a large percentage of promised funds failed to materialize, and many lives were lost as a result...

In Darfur, rations at camps already have been cut - and soon Sudan's rainy season will begin, making aid more difficult and costly to deliver. In a matter of weeks we will run out of food for two million people...
But more than food aid is needed - we also need to hold the perpetrators of violence in Sudan accountable. The International Commission of Inquiry, which I appointed at the request of the United Nations Security Council, has amply documented the murder, mass rapes, abductions and other atrocities committed in Darfur, as have many others. We know what is happening in Darfur. The question is, why are we not doing more to put an end to it?
After all, giving aid without protection is like putting a Band-Aid on an open wound. Unarmed aid workers, while vitally necessary, cannot defend civilians from murder, rape or violent attack. Our collective failure to provide a much larger force is as pitiful and inexcusable as the consequences are grave for the tens of thousands of families who are left unprotected.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Women Welcome Grand Mufti's Ruling on Forced Marriages

We have seen a huge shift over the past year in the Saudi media with respect to liberalization, but now the Grand Mufti publicly defending women...the pace of change occurring in Saudi society is truly impressive!

Women Welcome Grand Mufti's Ruling on Forced Marriages: "JEDDAH, 13 April 2005 � Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, who heads the Council of Senior Islamic Scholars, has come out strongly against the practice of forcing women to marry against their will while calling for the imprisonment of violators, the Saudi Press Agency reported yesterday"

The American Thinker

We visited Iran several years ago. It is a beautiful country with lovely people. The average citizen is really suffering under the current regime it seems from our conversations with all sorts of people...<a href="">The American Thinker: "My observations during years of incarceration as a female political prisoner in Iran proved beyond any doubt that nothing frightens the mullahs more than a woman who has risen against them; more so if she was a Muslim woman whose defiance exposed her oppressors hiding behind religious pretexts to justify their misogyny. The mullahs� number one enemies are independent, articulate, political, Iranian women who not only challenge the regime politically and socially but also ideologically."

LP: American media silent over mass protest in Bahrain

This is a rather strident article. I am linking to it just to bring to light the fact that interesting political events are occuring in this normally rather sedate and picturesque island...

LP: American media silent over mass protest in Bahrain: "Friday's peaceful march saw an estimated 80,000 people,roughly 12 percent of the Gulf state's total population,demanding constitutional reforms. They called for greater power for the elected lower house of parliament, which currently is subordinated to a handpicked upper chamber, the consultative council,an arrangement that leaves all real legislative power in the hands of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. They also demanded a constitution ratified by elected representatives, rather than the current charter, which was imposed by royal decree in 2002.
This action signaled the refusal of the Al-Khalifa dynasty to relinquish the absolute power it has exercised since declaring its independence from Britain in 1971.

The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town

Here is another viewpoint on our current account deficit (less dire than the article I linked to from exFed Head Paul Volcker yesterday...
But, still if... If you owe the bank a hundred dollars, you’ve got a problem. If you owe the bank three trillion dollars, the bank’s got a problem...

The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town: "In the past three years, the value of the dollar has fallen by more than fifty per cent against the euro and twenty-five per cent against the yen, and, a recent rally notwithstanding, most analysts say that the dollar is only going to get weaker in the months to come."...
The dollar has fallen for a simple reason: Americans spend a lot more than they save...
Because we keep piling on this foreign debt—more than three trillion dollars so far—and have no clear strategy for paying it back, people are made anxious about the United States economy; this anxiety encourages them to sell dollars, and that drives down the value of our currency...
Doomsayers have been predicting for a while that the profligacy will lead to serious trouble. So why hasn’t it? One answer is that Asia won’t let it...More than any other nation in history, the United States depends, economically, on the kindness of strangers. Right now, Asian investors appear very kind...
Of course, the Chinese and the Japanese could decide that the costs of the falling dollar are too great, and suddenly stop (or, at least, cut back sharply) their lending to the United States. This would lead to a so-called “hard landing” for the U.S. economy: high inflation, punitive interest rates, collapsing stock prices and housing prices. It would also lead to bedlam for China and Japan. Their best customers would effectively be unable to afford their wares. To paraphrase John Paul Getty: If you owe the bank a hundred dollars, you’ve got a problem. If you owe the bank three trillion dollars, the bank’s got a problem...
There’s a good chance, then, that the landing will be soft—we lose the truffles but keep our homes—as long as everyone involved in keeping the dollar aloft continues to play the same game. No one, in Asia or anywhere else, wants to be the last guy out. What the Chinese and the Japanese do depends in large part on what they think everyone else is going to do.
Our lenders are trying to strike a delicate balance: they’d like the dollar’s predicament to seem dire enough to make us change, but not so dire as to spark panic. So be afraid. Just don’t be very afraid.

New Scientist Technology - Bionic suit offers wearers super-strength

New Scientist Technology - Bionic suit offers wearers super-strength: "A ROBOT suit has been developed that could help older people or those with disabilities to walk or lift heavy objects."

The New York Times > Health > A Daunting Search: Tracking a Deadly Virus in Angola

More on Heomorrhagic Fever in Angola...
"This is Africa," said Dave Daigle, the spokesman here for the World Health Organization. To be a health official here, he said, "is like being a fireman in a village with the whole village on fire..."

The New York Times > Health > A Daunting Search: Tracking a Deadly Virus in Angola: "If they are correct and there was a delay in explaining the deaths, the reason may be that in Africa, sometimes the extraordinary is buried in the ordinary.
Children die at such an astonishing pace here and for any range of horrible reasons unknown to other parts of the world that it takes much more time for health workers to piece together if something as deadly as Marburg is at work.
In a country like Angola, where one in four children dies before the age of five, mostly from infectious diseases, crises like the one in the pediatric ward can easily be overlooked.
An outbreak of Marburg can look like a host of other illnesses to doctors and nurses who have never before encountered the disease. "

An Economy On Thin Ice (

Good article on the economy by former Fed Chairman, Paul Volcker...
An Economy On Thin Ice ( "The U.S. expansion appears on track. Europe and Japan may lack exuberance, but their economies are at least on the plus side. China and India -- with close to 40 percent of the world's population -- have sustained growth at rates that not so long ago would have seemed, if not impossible, highly improbable.
Yet, under the placid surface, there are disturbing trends: huge imbalances, disequilibria, risks -- call them what you will. Altogether the circumstances seem to me as dangerous and intractable as any I can remember, and I can remember quite a lot. What really concerns me is that there seems to be so little willingness or capacity to do much about it. "

Monday, April 11, 2005

He moves in mysterious ways

As probably most people reading this blog know, I am a huge fan of U2, not only for their music, but also for their concern over Third World Poverty, esp. as it relates to Africa...This is from a review of "Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas" Please check out the entire interview by clicking on the link...

"Sixty-five hundred Africans are dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease,' he says. 'And it is not a priority for the West: two 9/11's a day, eighteen jumbo jets of fathers, mothers, families falling out of the sky. No tears, no letters of condolence, no fifty-one gun salutes. Why? Because we don't put the same value on an African life, as we put on a European or an American life. God will not let us get away with this, history certainly won't let us get away with our excuses.'"

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic: The Dream Diet: Losing Weight While You Sleep

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic: The Dream Diet: Losing Weight While You Sleep: "Until doctors do know more, most experts agree that if you are dieting, logging in a few extra hours of sleep a week is not a bad idea, particularly if you get six hours of sleep or less a night. You may just discover that you aren't as hungry, or that you have lessened your craving for sugary, calorie-dense foods."

Austin Bay Blog � The UN in Sudan: Peacekeeping, Peace Enforcement, Peace Creation

Update of Sudan Peacekeeping Mission...Austin Bay Blog The UN in Sudan: Peacekeeping, Peace Enforcement, Peace Creation

Middle East: Saudi Arabian clerics oppose secular courts

I think secular courts would be a great step for Saudi Arabi. Personally, I as an eye doctor always felt a little uncomfortable being subject to Sharia law in Saudi--the whole "eye for an eye thing..."
Middle East: Saudi Arabian clerics oppose secular courts: "The clerics said Islamic laws were the only ones that could 'correct the status of humanity in all fields and in every way.' "

Ordeal of a Japanese Mother: She Has to Visit Kingdom to See Her Son

Ordeal of a Japanese Mother: She Has to Visit Kingdom to See Her Son

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Ailing Health Care

This oped writer for the NY Times is going to tackleissues related to health care spending over the next few weeks.While I agree with some of the premises in this first piece, the fact that near the end of the articles, the author praises the VA as "lean and efficient" makes me leery...
The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Ailing Health Care: "Rising health care spending isn't primarily the result of medical price inflation. It's primarily a response to innovation: the range of things that medicine can do keeps increasing"

So what's the problem? Why not welcome medical progress, and consider its costs money well spent? There are three answers.

1.First, America's traditional private health insurance system, in which workers get coverage through their employers, is unraveling...
2.Rising Medicare spending may be a sign of progress, but it still must be paid for...
3.Finally, the U.S. health care system is wildly inefficient...

Over the next few weeks I'll back up these assertions, and talk about what a workable health care reform might look like, if we can get ideology out of the way.

Marburg Virus Hitting Angola Worse than Ebola - Prensa Latina

Marburg Virus Hitting Angola Worse than Ebola - Prensa Latina: "Luanda, Apr 10 (Prensa Latina) The Marburg virus, which has taken the life of 180 people in Angola is worse than Ebola, according Allarangar Yokouib from the UN World Health Organisation (WHO)"

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Funeral of Pope John Paul II ,Video and Audio from

Multimedia links to Pope John Paul II's funeral...
The Funeral of Pope John Paul II ,Video and Audio from

Darfur Refugee Camp Posted by Hello News - Sudan - UN cash crisis leaves 1m in Darfur facing half rations

Not only is the U.N. unwilling to take military action against the militias, now they cannot even feed the refugees? News - Sudan - UN cash crisis leaves 1m in Darfur facing half rations

Carlos Veloso, the WFP’s emergency co-ordinator for Darfur, said: "We have done everything to avoid this, including borrowing supplies. We are simply left with no alternative.

"We are very concerned about the negative effect this drastic ration cut will have on the health and psychological wellbeing of thousands of people, who are already weakened and traumatised by war."

The reduction in food aid will significantly affect the diet of more than one million poor and vulnerable people, WFP added.

The agency said it had received only 41 per cent of the required funds for the emergency programme in 2005. News - Sudan - Annan admits UN is failing to prevent human rights abuses

Maybe Annan learned something from Rwanda.... News - Sudan - Annan admits UN is failing to prevent human rights abuses

Friday, April 08, 2005 - Shocked, Awed & Liberated!

An interesting post on the unique intersection of a Western fashion shoot and a Sri Lankan town hit by the Tsunami...The photos are somewhat haunting... - Shocked, Awed & Liberated!

The Allure of the Unknown

Another episode in the Muttawa chronicles...a humorous yet accurate description of a harangue by the Commission for the Promotion of Vice and Virtue
(BTW men do get the same sort of lecture too...been there, done that, got the spittled Tshirt)

The Allure of the Unknown...
" A man with a long beard emerged and started screaming at me in a most threatening manner. He was accompanied by a woman who was demonstrating her might by waving her black begloved fists in my direction...Lunging within a few centimeters of my car the man expectorated up the choice contents of his lungs and spat them all over my windscreen. He repeated this a couple of times and insulted and abused me in between his deposits of saliva, narrating how I was accursed and would go to hell. His companion cheered him on with gusto and after his alveoli had dried up completely, he got into his car and left..."
(Read the article to learn why this hapless woman received this public display of disapprobation)

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: One Hundred Years of Uncertainty

Einstein's problem with quantam mechanics...
The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: One Hundred Years of Uncertainty

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Opposing the Winds of Change

Trying to come to grips with the slow rate of change in Saudi Arabia....

In the latter half of the article there is a reference in the article to the vanity of some Saudi Male drivers who have their rearview mirrors repositioned so that they can continuously check out the position of their gutra. This was one of the most dangerous things I found about driving in Saudi...the gutra (head dress) completely blocks the side vision, and then the rearview mirror is positioned for the driver to continuously look at himself! It was basically damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead for most drivers! Actually, more accurately, driving in Riyadh is akin to driving through a slew of torpedoes!

Opposing the Winds of Change: "A Saudi novelist made a point that summarized the atmosphere in a single sentence. "If we want to change things, we have to be persistent and quick. It is inexplicable that at present in Saudi Arabia, we are still discussing whether to teach English in elementary school and whether PE should be introduced in girls's schools."

The Observer | International | How many more must die before Kofi quits?

This criticism of Kofi's Annan's passivity is echoed in the book I am currently reading about the Rwandan massacre" I Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Die Along with Our Families." BTW, this is one of the most gripping books I have read in a long time....unfortunately...
The Observer | International | How many more must die before Kofi quits?

Former UN human rights lawyer Kenneth Cain says the secretary-general could finally redeem himself by saving lives - after years of lethal passivity

Spirit of America

Excellent blogsite regarding current events in Lebanon and the impact of Hariri's death...

Spirit of America: "Grief is contagious. I did not know the man. I'm not even sure I had heard of him before he was gone. But I felt the floor drop out from under me when I saw what he meant to the people of Lebanon. His assasination kicked off a liberal-democratic revolution in an Arab Middle East country - the first ever of its kind - and I knew at once when I arrived that I was standing on an important little piece of this world"

Two year old with bilateral retinoblastoma Posted by Hello


The baby seen above had a grapefruit sized tumor of his left eye and a shrunken, phthisical right eye from presumed bilateral retinoblastoma. He was found in the bush by a missionary and brought in to see us in Jos. An extenteration had been planned for the left eye, but the baby started doing quite poorly from a medical point of view and it was not felt safe to take him to the OR. (Keeping in mind, that the ICU does not have ventilators, or running water for that matter).

Retinoblastoma has a cure rate of greater than 90% in the Western World. Even at the King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital in Saudi Arabia (where I worked for nearly a decade), we had a cure rate approaching 90%.

I was quite excited on my initial trip to Nigeria last year to do some tumor work, as I was initimately involved in our biweekly retinoblastoma clinic in Saudi.

However, in Nigeria (and much of subSaharan Africa) it is very rare to see a patient early enough to save the eye. In fact, in the majority of cases the child will die within a year due to extraocular spread/metastasis. Even if the tumor is caught early, most parents cannot afford the workup (CT/MRI scan) and/or the treatment (chemotherapy/radiation etc...). The other huge problem is that there is a lack of basic equipment for the doctors--indirect ophthalmoscopes, cryotherapy units, lasers...

As Bono sings in "Crumbs from Your Table":

(fromU2's latest album, "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb)

"Where you live should not decide
Whether you live or whether you die"


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Animal laughs no joke says expert

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Animal laughs no joke says expert: "Many animals may have their own forms of laughter, says a US researcher writing in the magazine Science."

Dispatches From Zimbabwe - To understand the election results, you must understand the nation's hunger. By Gretchen L.�Wilson

More on starvation and voting for Mugabe from Zimbabwe...
Dispatches From Zimbabwe - To understand the election results, you must understand the nation's hunger. By Gretchen L.�Wilson: "It's hard to overstate the extreme poverty and tremendous state power in today's Zimbabwe. The Economist has declared Zimbabwe the worst place to live in the world, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently included the nation in the world's six 'outposts of tyranny.'
In the weeks leading up to yesterday's parliamentary elections, the government's control and manipulation of food became a major campaign issue. The main slogan of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, was, 'Let your stomach cast your vote.' Some people told me that even rallies of the ruling ZANU-PF party were interrupted by the crowd crying 'nzara,' the Shona word for hunger."...
"There is no food shortage in this country," said Muriel Thamu Zemura, a spokeswoman at the head office of the Grain Marketing Board, the state-run monopoly grain distributor. "We are ready to feed the nation for one and a half years to come."

Every time I told an average Zimbabwean what Zemura told me, it was met with rounds of laughter. Many told me they're now down to eating only one meal a day, something they say ZANU-PF ignores...

"Their use of food as a political weapon has angered Zimbabweans," he said. "But it's one thing to be angry and another thing to be starving two weeks from now because of a lack of food."...
"People will continue to cut down meals and soon will be eating one meal every two days," the official said. "Combine this with the high HIV prevalence rate in Zimbabwe, and when this crop is finished, we'll be seeing even more malnutrition deaths. Unless we import massive amounts of aid, we'll start to see deaths directly attributed to starvation."...

Tsetse fly vector for African Sleeping Sickness Posted by Hello


For anyone who watched "House" last night, here is a good link about African Sleeping Sickness. This is the one TV show I watch--a medical detective show covering unusual conditions, from colchicine toxicity to leprosy to African Sleeping Sicknesss! The main character is"Dr. House" --a brilliant, unbelievably cynical, yet peculiarly charming attending.
Trypanosomiasis: "More than 66 million women, men and children in 36 countries of sub-Saharan Africa suffer from human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). There are two forms of African sleeping sickness, caused by two different parasites"

Monday, April 04, 2005

The World, Dubai [Island/Islands] - TEN Guide [UAE]

Wow, first the Burj Al Arab (the world's only 7 star hotel) and now this...Click on link to see the amazing photo. Although Dubai, is one of our favorite vacation spots (having been there five times) this latest project seems a bit excessive, even for the U.A.E. BTW, the Al Nakheel group was also very active in Saudi Arabia. One of the principal shareholders in this investment group was one of my patients.
The World, Dubai [Island/Islands] - TEN Guide [UAE]: "The same company that brought us The Palm Islands, Al Nakheel Properties (Nakheel Corp), have done it again expanding their portfolio of man-made islands with this latest Dubai island project shaped like the continents of the world"

The New Yorker: PRINTABLES

Interesting and balanced article regarding physician compensation in the U.S., written by a physician. Definitely a worthwhile read for non-physicians and physicans alike...

The New Yorker: PRINTABLES

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Don't weep for me - Sunday Times - Times Online

Don't weep for me - Sunday Times - Times Online: "'A short while before dying, the Pope raised his right hand in a clear, although simply hinted at, gesture of blessing, as if he became aware of the crowd of faithful present in St Peter's Square, who in those moments were following the reciting of the Rosary,' he added.
'Just after the prayer ended, the Pope made a huge effort and pronounced the word 'Amen'. A moment later, he died.'"

Friday, April 01, 2005

Zimbabwe's downward spiral

Zimbabwe's downward spiral: "People have lost faith in the system," said the doctor. They think: "Why spend money on a sub-standard, ineffective service?" Now, if they really want to be cured, they go to a witch doctor.. Life expectancy in Zimbabwe is 33 years, compared to 63 in 1988." Zimbabwe: Praying for Regime Change At Ballot Box Zimbabwe: Praying for Regime Change At Ballot Box: "He will always be remembered as the man who launched the Gukurahundi war against ex-Zipra guerillas, in which 20 000 died, among them innocent women and children. He will also be remembered as the man who launched the so-called Third Chimurenga in which white farmers and their black workers were killed in 2000."
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