Showing posts from June, 2004

Book Club Bullies

Book club bullies

The point that I found absorbing from this article is the last two lines: "... we need to have a greater appreciation of why bullies become bullies. Fundamentalism can only be defeated if we understand it."

Can fundamentalism be defeated? What is the positive approach of understanding fundamentalism so that it can be defeated? The writer correctly points out that in most cases, fundamentalism resides in places with low literacy, "For all their emphasis on the sacred text, fundamentalists are generally unfamiliar with the culture of books." -- if only they could delve into the richness of world literature, perhaps there wouldn't be any fundamentalism.

"Fundamentalism flourishes in places of instability and social vulnerability. It is the desire for solid foundations in a world in which the vulnerable are tossed about like flies to wanton boys. Often this is associated with poverty, but not always. Students I see arriving at Oxford for the …

Cones, Curves, Shells, Towers: He Made Paper Jump to Life

Cones, Curves, Shells, Towers: He Made Paper Jump to Life

Mathematics and art, how far are they from each other? Dr. Huffman's following quotation is profound:

"I don't claim to be an artist. I'm not even sure how to define art," he said. "But I find it natural that the elegant mathematical theorems associated with paper surfaces should lead to visual elegance as well."

Here is a brief information on origamy:

"Derived from the Japanese ori, to fold, and gami, paper, origami has come a long way from cute little birds and decorative boxes. Mathematicians and scientists like Dr. Huffman have begun mapping the laws that underlie folding, converting words and concepts into algebraic rules. Computational origami, also known as technical folding, or origami sekkei, draws on fields that include computational geometry, number theory, coding theory and linear algebra."

Full article is shown below.

Cones, Curves, Shells, Towers: He Made Paper Jump to Life…

Dissent Greets Isaac Bashevis Singer Centennial

Dare We Call It Genocide?

A 'Moderation' of Freedom

A 'Moderation' of Freedom

A 'Moderation' of Freedom
Pakistan's Pervez Musharraf Isn't Practicing What He Preaches

By Samina Ahmed and John Norris

Tuesday, June 15, 2004; Page A23

Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, recently made a broad and seemingly heartfelt call for Muslims to raise themselves up through what he terms "enlightened moderation" [op-ed, June 1]. Decrying the influence of militants, extremists and terrorists, Musharraf insisted that political injustice lay at the heart of the vast suffering of Muslims around the globe. His path forward is for Muslims to disavow extremism in favor of socioeconomic progress and for the United States to take on a much bolder role in resolving political disputes in the Muslim world, particularly in places such as Palestine and Kashmir.

The words sound good, and such language from the leader of a nuclear nation on the front lines of the war against terrorism should be reassuring. But sadly, to mos…

Rock blasts UN on Sudan crisis

Rock blasts UN on Sudan crisis

This may roll the wheel, effective initiatives may be undertaken now that Canadian UN ambassador said the following:

"The Security Council has failed miserably in its responsibility to protect the people of the Sudanese region of Darfur, who are being displaced and slaughtered in a civil war." The Globe and Mail reports the following:

In an open debate at the council, ambassador Allan Rock accused the 15-member body of ignoring long-standing pleas to intervene and push both sides to end attacks on civilians.

Mr. Rock said the council failed for months to heed warnings from aid groups and from its own human-rights commission about the looming humanitarian disaster in Darfur, finally responding just three weeks ago.

"Such inexcusable delays put at risk the lives of those that this council is charged with protecting," he said. "The Security Council's moral authority is underpinned by its willingness to respond effectively and pr…

World turns attention to Darfur

Microsoft races to plug IE hole

Inventor plans 'invisible walls'

Pioneer Who Kept the Web Free Honored With a Technology Prize

What is a kidney worth?

Trial by News Conference? No Justice in That (

The Netherworld of Nonproliferation

From Buddha to Beckham

From Buddha to Beckham

Dear Readers,

Celebrities and “stars” take the majority timeshare of small to large silver screen. We buy our favorite singers’ CDs. We hung their life size posters on the wall of our cozy rooms. We smile with their smile. We cry during the time of their distress and mourn when they die as if the closest friends or relatives have passed away.

Is their anything wrong with this? Some may find this perfectly valuable in our journey through life’s various intricacies. And some may find it the troubling aspect of our evolving perception, which has modified from the time of antiquity, when the hunters risked their lives for the betterment of their community, to feed their weak and hungry. There are still Bono and Nelson Mandela in our own time. There is Shirin Ebadi and indeed Jimmy Carter. There are men and women, many of them bring the aura of unmistakable celebrity wherever they go, they bring their “star” power in devoting their resources in worthy causes like the …

`The farmer's success is our strength' - Interview with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee

Missing member of G-8

Missing member of G-8

The Group of Eight should expand to include China, a country poised to emerge as a key player in the global economy,

When the Group of Eight industrial nations began their meet in Sea Island, Georgia, on 8 June, they wrestled with the usual agenda of global trade, finance, and poverty. What is startling about the group’s deliberations, however, is which countries weren’t around the decision-making table. Exhibit A is China, without which the world’s big economic issues can no longer be effectively addressed.

China has become far more important to the global economy than most other G-8 members such as Italy, Canada and even France. Over the past 20 years, it has been growing faster – 9-10 per cent per year – than any major economy. It is now the fourth largest trading nation, and in this decade alone it will surpass Germany to become the world’s third largest economy (behind the USA and Japan.) It produces 20 times more steel than the Europ…

Common Collie or Uberpooch?

In search of a daughter in Africa

A gripping tale.......

In search of a daughter in Africa

In this gripping tale Daily Star Special Correspondent MORSHED ALI KHAN traces his journey back to a small village in Rwanda to find the little baby girl he had saved amidst the worst genocide imaginable; and made her his daughter.

AFter returning home I first heard from my friend Maleri Elie in Kigali about eight years ago. Maleri and Kabanda Dieudonne, also a great friend, signed the simple letter that brought me the news I had so eagerly waited since 1994. "Do you remember the beautiful baby girl Aougny? She is doing fine with her now mother…..," the hand written letter said.

I indeed remembered the tiny baby girl vividly. So vividly that over the years the little girl, who I always considered to be my own daughter, made me long to see her. For me she was a gift from the gods in a country that made history amid an unprecedented bloodbath.

To visit her, I knew it would not be easy for an ordinary person like me for …

Only outsiders can halt genocide in Sudan

Only outsiders can halt genocide in Sudan

Only outsiders can halt genocide in Sudan

The following editorial appeared in the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday, June 9:

In 1994, Canadian Gen. Romeo Dallaire, head of the U.N. peacekeeping troops in Rwanda, warned his U.N. superiors that a genocide was about to occur and begged for more troops to stop it. He was ignored. And 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered by Hutus in a matter of days.

Never again, the civilized world has said since the Holocaust, but we don't mean it, not really. Speaking recently on National Public Radio about the near-genocidal situation now in Darfur, a western province of Sudan, Gen. Dallaire mused bleakly that if African gorillas were threatened with extinction, the world would be more concerned than it is about the potential deaths of a million human beings.

What's causing this crisis? The Sudanese government and the death-squad militias it supports in Darfur.

The government and the death squads are Arab Musl…

ScienCentral: Reagan Stem Cells

A Cause In Need of A Lasky

The Changing Face of E-Mail

It's called `virtual water' ....

A second look at the biology lab

300,000 Deaths Foretold

In Sudan, Staring Genocide in the Face

In Sudan, Staring Genocide in the Face

When would we learn the lesson of Rwanda and other genocides? Another grim devastation of human lives are unfolding in front of our very eyes, and the world remain mysteriously indifferent, as if waiting patiently while hundreds of thousands perish in the desert for a sponsored afternote like they did after Rwandan massacre: "never again".
In Sudan, Staring Genocide in the Face

By Jerry Fowler

Sunday, June 6, 2004; Page B02

In the cool desert dawn on May 16, at the Touloum refugee camp in eastern Chad, 2-year-old Fatima put her hands on her stomach, groaned and died. Her mother, Toma Musa Suleiman, in describing the death to me the next day, said that Fatima had been sick for 10 days. By the time she died, her skin was pallid and felt like plastic -- the effects of malnutrition.

I was seeing with my own eyes what I had been hearing about for several months: Children are dying almost every day in refugee camps in eastern Chad, despite …

Mr. Tenet's Exit

Mr. Tenet's Exit

Mr. Tenet's resignation took many by surprise. The Washington Post editorial says the following:
Calls for his resignation seemed sure to escalate in the coming weeks, with the release of reports by the Sept. 11 commission and the Senate intelligence committee that are expected to be highly critical.

It's not that a shamed resignation was entirely called for. In the course of seven years at the head of the CIA -- the second-longest tenure in history -- Mr. Tenet did much to improve the agency and the overall capacity of U.S. intelligence. He inherited an underfunded, directionless and demoralized organization; by most accounts, he greatly improved training and recruitment, obtained new resources, and refocused on fighting terrorism. Mr. Tenet recognized the threat posed by Osama bin Laden before Sept. 11, although the CIA, like the rest of the bureaucracy, did not respond with sufficient aggressiveness. Agency operatives played a major role in the success…

Twilight Zone / End of the Rainbow

Turkish PM: Israel treating Palestinians as they were treated


‘Indian motel owner discriminated against Blacks’

‘Indian motel owner discriminated against Blacks’

WASHINGTON, JUNE 2: An Indian motel owner in a Florida town discriminated against Black customers by placing them in inferior rooms and preventing them from using the swimming pool, Florida’s Attorney General Charlie Christ charged in a civil rights lawsuit.

The Florida Inn owned by Raj Patel had ‘‘markedly less desirable, more poorly maintained and more unattractive’’ rooms for Blacks compared to rooms reserved for White customers, Christ told a court in Tallahassee.

The suit also claimed Patel told Black customers that they could not use the pool in his motel in the town of Perry. Patel denied the charge with his lawyer Earl Johnson saying the allegations were untrue. Johnson said several of the motel’s Black guests have written letters supporting Patel.

The probe began after a family reported last summer that he told them ‘‘coloureds were not allowed in the pool’’.

If found liable, Patel could face fines up to US $10,000 for each…

How Long Before the First Step?

Tradition Vs. Religion

Tradition Vs. Religion

Mr. Raid Qusti's name was mentioned in The New York Times' columnist Thomas Friedman's recent article, "The ABC's of hatred". Here is an article of Mr. Qusti that was published in the Arab News on May 12, 2004. The struggle between the fundamentalists, the severely restricted minded orthodoxy led factions of Muslims and the liberal Muslims have been waged for many years, and the change would probably come from within, by people like Mr. Qusti and Dr. Laila Al-Ahdab's couregous columns.

Tradition Vs. Religion
Raid Qusti,

I would like to thank Dr. Laila Al-Ahdab from the bottom of my heart. I am grateful for her article which appeared in Al-Watan, “Which Is Right to Follow: Tradition or Religion?” It was an eye-opener for every Saudi — male or female — who wants to know the truth about how the current situation in the Kingdom regarding women has everything to do with our customs and traditions but very little with…

The ABC's of Hatred

Dying Devotion to Young Cleric Springs From Poverty, Patriotism

It's Not the American Way

Poor people in poorer countries packing on the pounds

New Yorker Fiction, by the Numbers

New Yorker Fiction, by the Numbers

Interesting. Read the full article from here. A few portions of this article are shown below:
Katherine L. Milkman, 22, decided to turn rigorous mathematical analytics on an even more mystical topic: the selection of short fiction for The New Yorker.

Ms. Milkman, who has a minor in American studies, read 442 stories printed in The New Yorker from Oct. 5, 1992, to Sept. 17, 2001, and built a substantial database. She then constructed a series of rococo mathematical tests to discern, among other things, whether certain fiction editors at the magazine had a specific impact on the type of fiction that was published, the sex of authors and the race of characters. The study was long on statistics and short on epiphanies: one main conclusion was that male editors generally publish male authors who write about male characters who are supported by female characters.

In applying numerically based analysis to literary matters, Ms. Milkman's work was somet…

The wrong fingerprints

Iraq's Interim Government

Abolish the Penny

In the Iraqi Interim

Hopeful Omens in Iraq

In Warsaw, a 'Good War' Wasn't

In Warsaw, a 'Good War' Wasn't

A few days it was published in The Washington Post. The writer is Anne Applebaum. The conclusion of this well-written article is piercing:

In fact, for millions of people, World War II had no happy ending. It had no ending at all. The liberation of one half of the European continent coincided with a new occupation for the other half. The camps of Stalin, our ally, expanded just as the camps of Hitler, our enemy, were destroyed. Not that you would know it, listening to Americans reminisce about D-Day, or the children welcoming GIs in the streets, or the joyous return home. Perhaps there is no such thing as an entirely "good war" after all.
Please read the entire article, and if you get a chance read Anne Applebaum's Gulag: a History. Information can be found from the following location:
In Warsaw, a 'Good War' Wasn't

By Anne Applebaum
Wednesday, June 2, 2004; Page A25


Crime and complicity

Pervez Musharraf's "Plea for Enlightened Moderation"

Though Pervez Musharraf had attained his supreme status in Pakistan by undemocratic means, and still he retains Pakistan's main leadership position and uses military muscles in implementing "democracy" in Pakistan, the following article published in The Washington Post does touch the core issue of our days.
A Plea for Enlightened Moderation
Muslims must raise themselves up through individual achievement and socioeconomic emancipation.

By Pervez Musharraf

Tuesday, June 1, 2004; Page A23

The world has been going through a tumultuous period since the dawn of the 1990s, with no sign of relief in sight. The suffering of the innocents, particularly my brethren in faith -- the Muslims -- at the hands of militants, extremists and terrorists has made it all the more urgent to bring order to this troubled scene. In this spirit, I would like to set forth a strategy I call Enlightened Moderation.

The world has become an extremely dangerous place. The devastating power of plastic …