Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ethanol, schmethanol

Ethanol is the "fashion talk" of energy industries. Government subsidies, advertisements of "benevolent" ethanol can be heard from pundits of all sorts, but is ethanol really that "green" as alternative fuel as it is purported to be? A century ago Henry Ford rejected it as a fuel choice. Why? Here is the reason:
"And when Henry Ford was experimenting with car engines a century ago, he tried ethanol out as a fuel. But he rejected it—and for good reason. The amount of heat you get from burning a litre of ethanol is a third less than that from a litre of petrol. What is more, it absorbs water from the atmosphere. Unless it is mixed with some other fuel, such as petrol, the result is corrosion that can wreck an engine's seals in a couple of years."
If ethanol is so "ineffective", then why is there so much "talks" about it, and so much "excitements" about ethanol?
"the real reason ethanol has become the preferred green substitute for petrol is that people know how to make it—that, and the subsidies now available to America's maize farmers to produce the necessary feedstock."
Other scientists, technologists know the "true costs" of ethanol as alternative fuel, so there are a few "real alternatives" perhaps in the making. Using the wonder of biotechnology, harnessing the power of enzymes and micro-organisms, even "designing" natural evolutionary processes in selecting the ultimate survivors, "enzymes that can perform chemical transformations unknown in nature", design of biopetrol is stirring interests due to its potential of having optimal mixtures of properties as motor fuel.

Other scientists are taking different approaches, they using synthetic biology that turns living organisms into chemical reactors "reactors by assembling novel biochemical pathways within them. Dr Keasling and his colleagues scour the world for suitable enzymes, tweak them to make them work better, then sew the genes for the tweaked enzymes into a bacterium that thus turns out the desired product. That was how they produced artemisinin, which is also an isoprenoid.

Isoprenoids have the advantage that, like alcohols, they are part of the natural biochemistry of many organisms. Enzymes to handle them are thus easy to come by. They have the additional advantage that some are pure hydrocarbons, like petrol. With a little judicious searching, Amyris thinks it has come up with isoprenoids that have the right characteristics to substitute for petrol."

Even Craig Venter, the earlier pioneer in private human-genome project, is in the hunt for alternative energy. Though, like other venture capitalists he is for obvious reasons is reluctant to reveal his trade secret, but the rumors has it that he is shifting his strategies from hydrogen to liquid fuels.

The writer in The Economists surmises it correctly. Political backing for ethanol should be curbed down to give biofuels, that may prove to be many times more effective as "greener" alternative energy source than ethanol ever dream to achieve. The "political rush to back ethanol, just because it is green and people have heard of it, is a mistake."

Link to the The Economist article:

Advanced Biofuels - Ethanol, schmethanol

Another article on the same subject was published in National Geographic a few weeks ago. Here is the link to that article: Green Dreams.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The politics behind Prashant's Indian Idol win

Indian Idol was a good show this year, where the winner was Prashant Tamang whose win was no one could foresee from the beginning. All the "top contestants", some of them, especially Puja and Emon, were undoubtedly better singers than Prashant or the runner up Amit Paul, but in the end it all came down to "votes" where multiple votes by sms were allowed. Even in music where violence have no place, but the "fans" in Prashant's hometown took the streets protesting derogatory remarks made by a radio host against him. Here is an excerpt from Zee News:

He said he had heard that firing had taken place, but no senior police official was available to confirm it.

The trouble erupted when a 2000-strong procession of fans of Indian idol Prasanth Tamang were marching in a procession to the SDO`s office to submit a memorandum in protest against the derogatory comments by a FM radio jockey in Delhi against Tamang, the police said.

While the processionists were passing through hospital road an ambulance with a patient inside tried to drive into the Siliguri Zilla hospital located there, the sources said.

This was resisted by the processionists and an altercation took place with those inside the ambulance. The processionists then allegedly assaulted all inside the ambulance, including the patient.

Local people protested, which infuriated the fans further and they began vandalising shops in the area.

The local people then chased them into the nearby court compound and began throwing stones and torched cars, the sources said.
Hindustan Times published a story last week where describing Prashant's win and its impact on "political history" between Nepal and India that is more than a century old is a must read. Here is the link to this article: Click here. A few excerpts from this article is given below:

for many Nepalese, Darjeeling is still part of Nepal.

In the 19th century, Darjeeling and other parts of Sikkim had been annexed by Nepal. However, as the British East India Company tried to open trade routes to Tibet via Sikkim, Nepal waged war against the Company and lost.

As a result, it was forced to sign the Sugauli Treaty and withdraw from all the territory it had occupied in Sikkim, Kumaon, Garhwal and much of the Terai.

Though the British found it difficult to govern the Terai and restored some of it to Nepal, Darjeeling, Kumaon and Garhwal remained part of British India.

When India obtained independence in 1947, Nepal hoped to get back its wrested land but did not.

Since then, the dream of achieving a "Greater Nepal" some day in the future with the lost area still remains in the mind of the Nepalese.

Royalists had been demanding a Greater Nepal and the Maoists, the opponents of the royalists, want it as well, demanding that the Sugauli Treaty be scrapped.

There has been no formal treaty between Nepal and India after 1947, even after Sikkim's merger with India in 1975, which Nepal regards as the annexation of Sikkim.

Nepal still does not formally recognise Sikkim's "annexation", nor has India sought recognition from Nepal.

Therefore Nepalis still regard Darjeeling as a part of Nepal that should be restored and Prashant Tamang is considered a Nepalese.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thursday, September 27, 2007

September On Jessore Road - a Poem by Allen Ginsberg

September On Jessore Road
Allen Ginsberg

Millions of babies watching the skies
Bellies swollen, with big round eyes
On Jessore Road--long bamboo huts
Noplace to shit but sand channel ruts

Millions of fathers in rain
Millions of mothers in pain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of sisters nowhere to go

One Million aunts are dying for bread
One Million uncles lamenting the dead
Grandfather millions homeless and sad
Grandmother millions silently mad

Millions of daughters walk in the mud
Millions of children wash in the flood
A Million girls vomit & groan
Millions of families hopeless alone

Millions of souls nineteenseventyone
homeless on Jessore road under grey sun
A million are dead, the million who can
Walk toward Calcutta from East Pakistan

Taxi September along Jessore Road
Oxcart skeletons drag charcoal load
past watery fields thru rain flood ruts
Dung cakes on treetrunks, plastic-roof huts

Wet processions Families walk
Stunted boys big heads don't talk
Look bony skulls & silent round eyes
Starving black angels in human disguise

Mother squats weeping & points to her sons
Standing thin legged like elderly nuns
small bodied hands to their mouths in prayer
Five months small food since they settled there

on one floor mat with small empty pot
Father lifts up his hands at their lot
Tears come to their mother's eye
Pain makes mother Maya cry

Two children together in palmroof shade
Stare at me no word is said
Rice ration, lentils one time a week
Milk powder for warweary infants meek

No vegetable money or work for the man
Rice lasts four days eat while they can
Then children starve three days in a row
and vomit their next food unless they eat slow.

On Jessore road Mother wept at my knees
Bengali tongue cried mister Please
Identity card torn up on the floor
Husband still waits at the camp office door

Baby at play I was washing the flood
Now they won't give us any more food
The pieces are here in my celluloid purse
Innocent baby play our death curse

Two policemen surrounded by thousands of boys
Crowded waiting their daily bread joys
Carry big whistles & long bamboo sticks
to whack them in line They play hungry tricks

Breaking the line and jumping in front
Into the circle sneaks one skinny runt
Two brothers dance forward on the mud stage
Teh gaurds blow their whistles & chase them in rage

Why are these infants massed in this place
Laughing in play & pushing for space
Why do they wait here so cheerful & dread
Why this is the House where they give children bread

The man in the bread door Cries & comes out
Thousands of boys and girls Take up his shout
Is it joy? is it prayer? "No more bread today"
Thousands of Children at once scream "Hooray!"

Run home to tents where elders await
Messenger children with bread from the state
No bread more today! & and no place to squat
Painful baby, sick shit he has got.

Malnutrition skulls thousands for months
Dysentery drains bowels all at once
Nurse shows disease card Enterostrep
Suspension is wanting or else chlorostrep

Refugee camps in hospital shacks
Newborn lay naked on mother's thin laps
Monkeysized week old Rheumatic babe eye
Gastoenteritis Blood Poison thousands must die

September Jessore Road rickshaw
50,000 souls in one camp I saw
Rows of bamboo huts in the flood
Open drains, & wet families waiting for food

Border trucks flooded, food cant get past,
American Angel machine please come fast!
Where is Ambassador Bunker today?
Are his Helios machinegunning children at play?

Where are the helicopters of U.S. AID?
Smuggling dope in Bangkok's green shade.
Where is America's Air Force of Light?
Bombing North Laos all day and all night?

Where are the President's Armies of Gold?
Billionaire Navies merciful Bold?
Bringing us medicine food and relief?
Napalming North Viet Nam and causing more grief?

Where are our tears? Who weeps for the pain?
Where can these families go in the rain?
Jessore Road's children close their big eyes
Where will we sleep when Our Father dies?

Whom shall we pray to for rice and for care?
Who can bring bread to this shit flood foul'd lair?
Millions of children alone in the rain!
Millions of children weeping in pain!

Ring O ye tongues of the world for their woe
Ring out ye voices for Love we don't know
Ring out ye bells of electrical pain
Ring in the conscious of America brain

How many children are we who are lost
Whose are these daughters we see turn to ghost?
What are our souls that we have lost care?
Ring out ye musics and weep if you dare--

Cries in the mud by the thatch'd house sand drain
Sleeps in huge pipes in the wet shit-field rain
waits by the pump well, Woe to the world!
whose children still starve in their mother's arms curled.

Is this what I did to myself in the past?
What shall I do Sunil Poet I asked?
Move on and leave them without any coins?
What should I care for the love of my loins?

What should we care for our cities and cars?
What shall we buy with our Food Stamps on Mars?
How many millions sit down in New York
& sup this night's table on bone & roast pork?

How many millions of beer cans are tossed
in Oceans of Mother? How much does She cost?
Cigar gasolines and asphalt car dreams
Stinking the world and dimming star beams--

Finish the war in your breast with a sigh
Come tast the tears in your own Human eye
Pity us millions of phantoms you see
Starved in Samsara on planet TV

How many millions of children die more
before our Good Mothers perceive the Great Lord?
How many good fathers pay tax to rebuild
Armed forces that boast the children they've killed?

How many souls walk through Maya in pain
How many babes in illusory pain?
How many families hollow eyed lost?
How many grandmothers turning to ghost?

How many loves who never get bread?
How many Aunts with holes in their head?
How many sisters skulls on the ground?
How many grandfathers make no more sound?

How many fathers in woe
How many sons nowhere to go?
How many daughters nothing to eat?
How many uncles with swollen sick feet?

Millions of babies in pain
Millions of mothers in rain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of children nowhere to go

New York, November 14-16, 1971
This is the first time I've read this poem, pretty much accidentally found it while reading a poetry related article in The New York Times. Read this poem and you will find that in most basic elemental level, nothing much have changed in our world. In 1971, and now in 2007, the similar violent wars, invasions of mighty over the perceived weak, deaths and agonies of fleeing civilians from bombardments of butcheries, and heartless exploitations of people's grief and emotions, this all remains stunningly the same.

Squabbles in Poetry Society

Should past "politically incorrect" comments be taken into account in giving awards to otherwise a talented poet or a writer? Last year it was Germany's Gunter Grass who was under waves of critiques for his "coming out clean" in his memoir, of his involvement with the military branch of Hitler's Nazis when he was a 17 year old man. Many decades ago poet Ezra Pound's "anti-semitic" comments put him under the gun, though his immense talent as a poet was indisputable. Now, in our modern time, another poet with substantial credence is going through similar turmoils at the upper echelon of poetry society where all the "gurus" of poetry are squabbling on the merit of his receiving the prestigious "Frost Medal". Here is an extract from The New York Times article on this increasingly testy issue:
In one example, Mr. Hollander, writing a rave review in The New York Times Book Review of the collected poems of Jay Wright, an African-American poet, referred to “cultures without literatures — West African, Mexican and Central American.” And in an interview on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” a reporter paraphrased Mr. Hollander as contending “there isn’t much quality work coming from nonwhite poets today.”
The concerns and displeasure of some of the poetic "gurus" are understandable considering the virulent comments above by Mr. Hollander, however, the "Frost Medal" is indeed given on a poet's overall merit as a poet, a life time achievement of his dedicated contributions to the world of poetry, and literature overall. Same logic applies to Gunter Grass and Ezra Pound's contribution to literature. Resignations and counter-resignations of high-profile "poetic gurus" resemble despotic and quarreling kids' endless fighting just before the summer vacation is over.

Link to The New York Times Article:
Poetry Prize Sets Off Resignations at Society

Tyrants' Wrath on People and Monks

Against the unarmed protesters, the military junta has unleashed their wrath today, beating them, volleys of tear gas and bullets injuring and killing scores of civilians in the heart of Burma, even a foreign journalist from Japan got killed from indiscriminate flying bullets. Why is this ferocity? Why is the necessity to silence the voice of non-violent protests who have been subjugated for the past 45 years by Burmese military regime? Read the following excerpt from The Guardian:
About 3,000 demonstrators sat down in the road before the ranks of riot police, clapping and chanting, taunting the security forces - who took no action at first. But then police and soldiers pushed the crowd and began firing into the protesters, wounding at least four though it was not clear how severely.
Clapping and chanting were the only "weapons" of Burmese protesters against bullets and tear gas. Perhaps, the terrified junta knows that the time has come for their end, their inevitable collapse in front of people's unstoppable desire for democracy, which is only to be unfolding in matter of time. The sooner it occurs, the better it is for the Burmese populace.

Speech Alone -- a Poem by Jean Follain

Speech Alone
by Jean Follain
Translated by W. S. Merwin


It happens that one pronounces

a few words just for oneself

alone on this strange earth

then the small white flower

the pebble like all those that went before

the sprig of stubble

find themselves re-united

at the foot of the gate

which one opens slowly

to enter the house of clay

while chairs, table, cupboard,

blaze in a sun of glory.

On The Death Of Friends In Childhood - Poem by Donald Justice

On The Death Of Friends In Childhood

We shall not ever meet them bearded in heaven
Nor sunning themselves among the bald of hell;
If anywhere, in the deserted schoolyard at twilight,
forming a ring, perhaps, or joining hands
In games whose very names we have forgotten.
Come memory, let us seek them there in the shadows.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

O Paalanhare - Lagaan

For poor, oppressed, whose only consolation is devotion to their deities any forms or shape, shapeless, take them away from daily miseries, pain from humiliation, singing "We don't have anyone except you!"

Swades - Yeh Tara Who Tara

Another memorable song from Swades -- a scientist returned from America to his native land, teaching the villagers about astronomies. Perhaps this is in Bollywood style movie, but it does talk about positive aspects of science disseminating among the people, poor or rich. "This star, that star, all stars, look at whichever looks lovely to you....", just a novice translation of very last line from the song.

Swades

Does it matter if one is from one special country or not? Love for childhood memories where one grew up, where memories from distant time and place stroke like sweetest melody, can that ever be forgotten? Here is a truth from this song: "This is a bond that never can be severed"

Roja Janeeman from the movie ROJA

So many years ago I'd seen this movie, and especially this unforgettable song from Roja, AR Rahman's music is one of the best.

Playing Politics with Fear

Playing politics with fear. Executive power trumping all laws, even constitution becomes secondary in the face of shrewd manipulation. Years of unchecked and brazen deceits have made the fear manipulators so much bold in their myth creating agendas that they even dared to "employ false intelligence to convince lawmakers they should temporarily expand domestic spying powers under the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)."

MSNBC's Olbermann interviews Representative Jane Harman who had raised her voice against these types deceptions. Check the following video:



Another video with Olbermann's commentary can be found below. Here Bruce Fein is interviewed, who is an American lawyer specializing in constitutional and international law and also who had served as an associate deputy attorney general in Ronald Reagan administration:



The following link will take the interested readers to ACLU's guide to FISA, what it really is and what the myth surrounding FISA is. Click ACLU link here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Petty and Cruel Dictator

Like most democracy loving folks in our world, Cindy Sheehan, a mother whose son got killed in Iraq, and an American woman who symbolizes through her fearless protests at the heart of conservative foreground how a person whose conscience remains intact even after losing her son and going through immeasurable grief that only a mother knows how to narrate, is respected for her uttering truth in inconvenient manner. Columbia University's fiasco related to Ahmedinejad's appearance and the derogatory remarks he had received from the inviting host, even though it may have truths embedded in it, he still represents a nation of millions of people who was indeed elected by his "peers". Especially, this shameful event becomes more painful when considering the universal norm of treating one's guest in gentle and kind manner which prevalent in our "civilized" world. Cindy Sheehan said the best in her article published in Common Dreams today, a few excerpts are given below:
"Citing such human rights’ violations in the form of imprisonment and executions, the President of Columbia University, very boorishly said that Ahmadinejad appeared to be a “petty and cruel dictator.” First of all, how does one invite someone to your place for a “free exchange of ideas,” and be such a rude American? Did he only invite Ahmadinejad so he could publicly scold him or to become the darling of Fox News?

Secondly, what about our President who appears to be a “petty and cruel dictator?” George Bush presided over a stunning amount of executions when he was Governor of Texas and the US is operating torture prison camps, openly and secretly, all over the world. BushCo has fought the Supreme Court and Congress for the right to hold thousands of humans without their human rights of due process and they have also been strenuously committed to the strategy of torture—or “enhanced interrogation methods” as the Ministry of Truth likes to call it. A Reverend gets beaten down in the halls of Congress; nooses are being hung in the south; students are being tased on campuses and Congress is censuring Freedom of Speech…how much evidence do we need before we decide that something is profoundly wrong in present-day America?

In 2006, China, the leading practitioner of state sanctioned murder in the form of execution, killed 8000 people in this manner. However, the Premier of China is welcomed to the US by George Bush who is probably envious of President Hu Jintao’s record . We borrow vast sums from China to wage our wars and China is our major trading partner. Wal-Mart’s cheap and dangerous crap is manufactured by near slaves there, but somehow that is okay? Somehow it is okay to welcome Communist China with open arms, but demonize and disparage a Socialist like Hugo Chavez of Venezuela? America has a very lucrative prison business and is the only country in the Americas that practices execution. A barbarian is a barbarian no matter what color, religion or nationality they are.

To put the cherry on the sundae of the crimes that BushCo have committed, they have sent hundreds of thousands of our own sons and daughters to occupy a country that was no threat to America or its neighbors. Thousands of Americans are dead, wounded or mentally screwed up and millions of Iraqis are dead, wounded, mentally screwed up or displaced from their homes.

Universities should feel free to invite anyone to speak to open much needed dialogue in our country and in the world. And if a person is invited, they should be treated by the person who invited them with a slight modicum of courtesy and then let the rocking and rolling begin with the “Q & A”…which would truly be a free exchange of ideas. I am surprised President Bollinger didn’t have President Ahmadinejad tased.

Peace is going to take all the nations working in cooperation to limit naked aggression and human rights’ violations, not just the ones which the US declare as evil. How many nukes do we have? How many does Pakistan have? How many does India, Israel, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union have? Should the rhetoric be about destroying all weapons of mass destruction and not just prohibiting Iran from obtaining one?"

Link:
Petty and Cruel Dictator

Why Beijing cares about tiny Nauru

"Economically, China has changed beyond re cognition, but Mao Zedong's heirs remain in power, and for them Taiwan is still an essential cause. They may be biding their time, until not a single little country recognises the upstart alternative to the People's Republic, and the American and Chinese economies are so integrated that there is no question of Washington risking everything to defend a leftover bit of history."
Link:
Why Beijing cares about tiny Nauru

Forgive me nasheed

English Nasheed: a beautiful song.

Song Lyrics:

Today, upon a bus,
I saw a girl with golden hair.
And wished I was as fair.
When suddenly she rose to leave,
I saw her hobble down the aisle.
She had one leg and wore a crutch.
But as she passed, she smiled.
Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I `d go.
With eyes to see the sunset's glow.
With ears to hear what I'd know.
Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have blessed indeed, the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy.
The lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad.
If I were late, it `d do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me,
"I thank you, you've been so kind.
You see," he said, "I `m blind"
Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I `d go.
With eyes to see the sunset's glow.
With ears to hear what I'd know.
Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have blessed indeed, the world is mine.


I saw a child with eyes of blue.
He stood and watched the others play.
He did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said,
"Why don't you join the others, dear?"
He looked ahead without a word.
And then I knew. He couldn't hear.
Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I `d go.
With eyes to see the sunset's glow.
With ears to hear what I'd know.
Oh God, forgive me when I whine.
I have blessed indeed, the world is mine

Is Industry-Funded Science Killing You?

A few excerpts from Reason magazine:
"...........conflicts of interest undermine public trust in and support for scientific research, endanger research subjects and patients, and boost medical costs by encouraging physicians and patients to use new treatments that are no better than cheaper alternatives. Yet public trust in biomedical research remains high, and that trust seems to be justified. Subjects in clinical trials hardly ever suffer serious harm, and instances in which dangerous side effects turn up after drugs are approved are relatively rare. Rather than making medicine unnecessarily expensive, pharmaceutical innovation ultimately reduces health care costs, because new drugs usually have advantages that pay off in lower medical bills.

The critics’ concerns are not entirely groundless. Driven by self-interest, drug companies and researchers do occasionally hide data or run drug trials that produce data of scant clinical value. But private initiatives by medical journals, universities, and companies are already addressing these challenges, making government action unnecessary. "
Granted that sometimes over intrusive government actions in the fields of medical and scientific inventions can be detrimental to the overall creative process, however, that does not bar the necessity of having a neutral overseer, in most cases where people can trust their "elected" government, who should be protecting public trust without being tied to commercial interests that other non-governmental entities have more potential to be succumbed to in the face of "conflicts of interests".

Link to article:
Is Industry-Funded Science Killing You?

Cancer Research - Dichloroacetates

A research scientist has made remarkable strides in cancer research, including a potentially very effective anti-cancer drug using DCA - dichloroacetates which is a salt made from dichloroacetic acid. Dr. Evangelos D. Michelakis has published the following update in University of Alberta website with recent update of his research and on coming clinical trials and also he has shed light on the arduous process that goes behind before any successful drugs can be released to broader public. Here is the pdf link:
http://www.depmed.ualberta.ca/dca/letter_092407.pdf

To go to the Official University of Alberta DCA Website, please click here.

Link to Wikipedia on DCA:
Cancer Research - Dichloroacetic acid - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cell Phones Increase the Risk of Two Types of Brain Tumor According to Study

I don't know how authentic this study is, but it looks alarming. More authoritative studies and revelations must be done by public health officials around the world who are not tied with cell phone or tech industries. This is a serious issue considering the ubiquitous status of cell phone in almost every strata of human lives from New York to New Delhi, from Chittagong to Caracas, cell phone usage has become part of our life. If there is any truth in these studies, that should be revealed to world populace without consideration of economic impact for cell phone manufacturers and global marketeers. Public health comes first before market consideration. Without a healthy global populace, there is also no profitable market. Here are a few excerpts from this article:

Cell phones are more like radios than traditional telephones in your home. They emit low levels of radiofrequency energy (RF) in the microwave range while being used. They also emit very low levels of RF when in the stand-by mode. Using a cell phone can place the radiation antenna close to the user’s brain and this can lead to the absorption of comparatively large amounts of electromagnetic energy.

There has been an on-going debate about the safety of cell phones for many years. While, not surprisingly, the cell phone industry and various health authorities have assured users that the technology is safe, recent research has suggested otherwise.

Researchers at the Department of Oncology, University Hospital in Sweden reviewed sixteen published studies that looked at cell phone use and the rate of brain cancers. They concluded that:

“For both acoustic neuroma and glioma (two types of brain cancer), overall risk was increased in the whole group, but significantly increased for ipsilateral exposure (tumor on the same side of the brain as cell phone exposure)…These results are certainly of biological relevance, as the highest risk was found for tumors in the most exposed area of the brain, using a latency period that is relevant in carcinogenesis.”

Link:
Cell Phones Increase the Risk of Two Types of Brain Tumor According to Study

Subal Dutta on the deplorable state of radio artistes

His entire life he devoted to music as a revered musician in Bangladesh Radio, but when time comes for retirement what he and other musicians get? “Surprisingly, the musicians are not yet regular government service holders, but are hired on a monthly contractual basis,” he says.

“After they retire, the musicians are deprived of provident fund or pension benefits; instead they are handed a mere month's salary as gratuity. If we have the right to vote why shouldn't we be entitled to a right to live?” says Dutta."

His melodious music once and still have rippled people's heart, now his very basic question "shouldn't we be entitled to a right to live?" utters a cry of help from ignored humanity.

The Daily Star Article Link:
Subal Dutta on the deplorable state of radio artistes


Burmese protesters defy junta's threat of crackdown


One of the most repressive regimes in the world is facing spontaneous protests marches of Buddhist monks, even general populace have joined them in their non-violent movement against Burmese military dictators. The reason for this march is the following along with a subtle others that can be found anywhere where people's very basic rights of freedom are trampled and thwarted by bayonets and muzzles of guns:

"......want an apology for the beating and arrest of several monks at a protest three weeks ago. They also want the junta to roll back the steep fuel price increases that touched off the demonstrations in the first place, and for the government to release political prisoners."

Yesterday more than 100,000 took the streets like all the previous days, and today is no different. Only difference is that the uneasy Burmese regime have started to counter the monks and general populace by putting military back on the street in various disguises:

".......troops had infiltrated the demonstrated by disguising themselves as monks, planning to spark violence in order to justify a crackdown."

Why has the military junta so far kept their restraints? Here are some possible reasons explained in The Independent:

"For the regime, the stakes are huge. Every day, the number of ordinary people willing to risk the police and militia grows. Every day, the increasingly large numbers of people join the monks as they march for miles through the country's major cities calling for change. The key question is whether the government will respond with shocking violence as it has in the past or seek a compromise with the demonstrators in an effort to head off the challenge peacefully.

Observers believe that pressure from China, Burma's most important trading ally, may have been responsible for what has so far been a cautious response from the regime, seeking to avoid confrontation with the monks who are highly revered in Burmese society."
In order to justify a crackdown the military junta is not sparing any steps, even fabrication of violence is in their hidden cards of elitist rules. Will the people power, bottled up frustrations from years of oppressions overcome these deceitful and ferocious ploys?

Link to article
Burmese protesters defy junta's threat of crackdown

An audio report from Burma by Voice of America:
Ramirez report (MP3) - Download 656K

Monday, September 24, 2007

Diamonds

Blood Diamond is a well-directed movie I had seen earlier this year. If you have seen it, then perhaps you can relate to the picture above.

Photo Link:
http://image.bayimg.com/aahgcaabd.jpg

Sunday, September 23, 2007

War and Terror Inc.

"Take Viktor Bout, a Russian air-transport magnate and the world's premier gray- market arms provider. Every year, warlords, gangsters, militiamen and terrorists kill tens of thousands of people in wars that are only sporadically reported to the outside world. They do their butchery using weapons obtained and delivered, to all sides of these conflicts, by Bout and his ilk. These are the real weapons of mass destruction in the post-Cold War world, taking lives and shattering communities from the slums of Baghdad to the jungles of Colombia, from the streets of Beirut to the impoverished diamond-mining hamlets of West Africa."

The invisible merchant of war, gaining wealth in the midst of blood and tears. A 21st century "entrepreneur" is taking the full advantage of partisan world's lack of remorse.

The Marine Corps has a saying: "If you want it bad, you get it bad." With Bout and his ilk, we are getting the worst by allowing him to prosper under the illusion that he is a necessary evil. Ask the amputees in Sierra Leone, the child soldiers in Congo and the abused women of Taliban-era Afghanistan what the true cost is."
Ask the countless other dispossessed refugees from brutal wars, and go and see marked and unmarked graves in near and distant places to see the effects of "a necessary evil" illusion. For many this "illusion" is the harshest reality paid by endless miseries and gruesome deaths.

The Washington Post Article Link:
War and Terror Inc.

Chaser - Should all U.S. Muslims carry a special ID?

One commenter in YouTube said the best -- "I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry." Maybe a joke now, but with right amount of myth creating propaganda in action, this may not be so much of a joke in future, unless, democracy regain back its lost momentum.

Video Link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnmvToZjRIc

John Grisham's Comment: "Bad People with Evil Intent"

"On Thursday, best-selling author John Grisham said in an interview with the Des Moines Register that the Bush administration is built around “bad people with evil intent.” “The war is an immoral abomination that we’ll pay for for decades to come,” added Grisham. “We’re paying for it now at the rate of 100 kids a month while Bush plays politics with it.”
Audio Link: http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/grisham.MP3

He is the best selling author whose books I used to buy and read when they got released. I haven't read his recent works, though, John Grisham's brilliance as a writer is well-rooted by now.

University of Florida student Tasered at Kerry forum

This video is disturbing. What happened to the motto of preserving "Freedom of Speech"? He was asking a question only. "What have I done"? His question was valid, and he had the right to ask it. He wasn't violent while asking the question. Then why would he be tasered? In front of the "power" helpless' cries get unanswered. Why this episode reminds me the similar ones from other parts of the world?

Three Video Links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bVa6jn4rpE

Another longer version video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8ndctwAJmU

Amy Goodman from Democracy Now commenting on this episode:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Swg4E2FzTzE

Saturday, September 22, 2007

A guide to Philip Roth

Philip Roth is one of my favorite authors. UK's Times Online has a "A Guide to Philip Roth" published today with tidbits of Roth's brilliance.

Link to article:
A guide to Philip Roth

South Asia & Climate Change

Great resources including links to relevant articles, interviews, audio and other features can be found from the following link in World Bank site.
South Asia and Climate Change

Peace through God

"The human species is clan-oriented. We are exceedingly concerned with who is a member of our clan or a competing clan. Democrat or Republican? Windows or Linux? It’s almost impossible for us to ignore clan passions. We are also hopelessly obsessed with the hierarchy within our clan. Listen to teenagers, or anyone else, talk about who ranks to date whom, or who deserves scorn. We care immensely about tiny differentiations in status. Gossip grabs our attention, no matter how banal it is.

................Religion placed immortal supernatural beings at the top of the clan, thereby reducing everyday violence between adherents. Crusades, jihads, and bloody schisms were the price paid for this improvement, though in the grim context of human behavioral history, that was probably a bargain.

The idea of God (or gods) also served in ancient times as a way to apply the clan-centric cognition of the human species to the problem of comprehending the dynamics of the world. In the Hebrew Bible, for instance, God is the “King of the universe,” so God served at least two duties: as clan leader and as explanation of reality. Thus when scientists tell believers they’re flat-out wrong, we think we’re making a point about nature, but I think we’re often heard as giving the primal message, “We elite persons reject your clan status.”

A more recent violence-avoiding arrangement, which has a promising track record so far, is for a society to support so many overlapping, ambiguous clan hierarchies that clannish perception becomes confused. This is what democratic capitalism achieves."
Article Link:
Peace through God

Clues to ageing found in fly's brain

"Two years ago, Brown University researchers discovered something startling: Decrease the activity of the cancer-suppressing protein p53 and you can make fruit flies live significantly longer.

Now the same team reports an intriguing follow-up finding. The p53 protein, they found, may work its lifespan-extending magic in only 14 insulin-producing cells in the fly brain.

“It’s quite surprising,” said Johannes Bauer, a postdoctoral research fellow at Brown. “In the fruit fly brain, there are tens of thousands of cells. But we found that it takes a reduction of p53 activity in only 14 of those brain cells to extend lifespan. It was like finding a needle in the haystack – a very small needle at that.”"

Article Link:
Clues to ageing found in fly's brain

A Learned Man Searches for Relevance While Languishing in a Chadian Camp

"To be one of the 2.5 million people driven from the Darfur region of western Sudan is to be many things: a farmer without land, a trader without a business, a mother without children, a teacher without students. And, in Ali's case, a holder of two master's degrees stuck in a void with only the books he brought with him when he ran for his life."
Article Link:
A Learned Man Searches for Relevance While Languishing in a Chadian Camp

Friday, September 21, 2007

What Does Autism Mean To You?

I have a few friends and relatives whose sons and daughters are autistic. Perhaps they think differently, verbalize in their own ways. And who to say that we the "normal" ones do not seem "not so normal" to autistic souls? To me, our abnormality is quite apparent in our senseless violences and murderous rages, from which an autistic person perhaps may feel very alienated.

War Crime Immunity?

Passing a law in Senate and Congress, pardoning one's own and cronies' "war crimes" retroactive from the beginning of "crimes against humanity" so that "war criminals" remains to be untouchables forever is a sheer disgrace to America's graceful past of leading the fights against other "war criminals". World wide credibilities get more disintegrated amidst shameful partisanship. Will there be a "beacon of light" emerging soon from this darkest chapter of American history?

Jim Crow Comes for Our Kids

A powerful article written by Amina Luqman, a freelance writer. This is about Jena 6, that only very recently I had come to known about. Ms. Luqman narrated the entire events in succinct words:
"The story of the Jena 6 is long and filled with stunning details. The basic points are these: In the predominantly white town of Jena, La., white students hung three nooses last September after black students sat under a schoolyard tree where white students normally congregated. The white students were suspended for three days. After black students protested peacefully, the La Salle Parish district attorney threatened them, saying: "I can make your life go away with a stroke of a pen." Eventually there was a schoolyard fight in which a white student was beaten; he was treated for a concussion and multiple bruises. Although the student was well enough to attend a school function the same evening, six black boys between the ages of 15 and 17 were arrested, five of whom were charged as adults with attempted murder and conspiracy. The sixth student was charged as a juvenile."
Ms. Luqman points to lack of mainstream news coverage in following excerpt:
"Mainstream media outlets long ignored the Jena 6 or gave the case cursory summations. Their silence shows how mainstream journalists remain unwilling to tackle the issue of race. At best, racism is addressed when it is overt and simplistic, one ignorant act against an unsuspecting victim. Mix in the institutionalized racism of a town's criminal justice system, and journalists' eyes glaze over. When what happened in Jena has

been reported, the media's language has been tepid -- marked by such phrases as "a town in turmoil" or "racial strife rips a town apart."

This language presumes a legitimacy to both sides, a fair fight. Yet there is nothing balanced or fair about what is happening to these boys. Black Americans crave the same outrage the media rained down on Michael Vick for his unjustified abuse of dogs. For mainstream America, Vick's actions were beyond debate. "How could he be so cruel?" we lamented. Whatever the reason, mainstream America said clearly that what Vick did was wrong. Shouldn't America be at least as appalled by how Jena has treated these six black teens?"

Good question, Ms. Luqman. But you have provided the answer yourself:
"Society has to face the fact that the ugly past isn't so past and that it will live on into the future. Racism and its manifestations do not get better with time, and we can't presume that one generation will be more conscious than the last. Racism is removed by conscious effort and continuous work."
Link:
Jim Crow Comes for Our Kids

Mocking the Powerless and the Powerful

Think about it. International Criminal Court has charged him with war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. And this same man is put on the leadership helm "to investigate human rights violations in Darfur". The charge is grave and serious. "As Sudan’s interior minister from 2003 to 2005, Mr. Harun recruited, funded and armed the janjaweed militias, who murdered at least 200,000 people and drove 2.5 million more from their homes. Now, as minister of humanitarian affairs, he controls the fate of the survivors. He decides when and where aid organizations can go, and some of these international agencies, on whom hundreds of thousands of refugees depend for their survival, have accused Mr. Harun of blocking their work."

New York Times is right when it writes that the international community must not accept Sudan's denial of International Criminal Court's jurisdiction when it had issued a warrant for Mr. Harun's arrest a few months ago. Promoting the same person as "minister of humanitarian affairs" is indeed like "mocking the powerless and the Power" at the same time.

Link:
Mocking the Powerless and the Powerful

Thursday, September 20, 2007

U.S. dollar's decline a concern for Flaherty

"Finance Minister Jim Flaherty warned Thursday he remains worried about U.S. economic weakness -- a key factor in pushing the currency to a one-for-one basis with the U.S. greenback.

He said continued weakness in the U.S. housing sector, as well as soft demand for cars, remains a "significant concern" for the Canadian economy, and is watching the U.S. economy closely.

"Our forestry industry and many of our manufacturers supply the [housing] market in the United States, and it is going through a difficult time," a subdued Mr. Flaherty told reporters, adding most of the cars built in Canada are sent to the United States for sale."

"The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters warned Thursday that for every cent the dollar goes above par, the sector will lose $1.5-billion per year on a national basis."
Link:
U.S. dollar's decline a concern for Flaherty

1 Canadian Dollar = 1 U.S. Dollar

A symbolic number, but this already is rattling nerves for various business ventures. However, Canadian travelers to U.S. will get more bargains it seems. Let's see, how long this upward trend of Canadian dollar remains.

Link:
U.S. Dollar to Canadian Dollar Exchange Rate

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fair Trade Rice

"Although rice farmers feed much of the world's population, depressed world rice prices, coupled with increasing agricultural costs and exploitative trade policies, have left many rice farmers landless, in debt, and unable to provide for their own families. With Fair Trade rice, consumers are able to purchase high quality rice from farmers who earn a living wage, work under fair labor conditions, manage their own cooperatives, and are not exploited by corrupt middlemen.

As demand for Fair Trade Rice in the United States increases, more farmers in Thailand and India are able to reap the benefits of their harvest. Families stay intact and the community and environment thrives. By purchasing Fair Trade Rice, you ensure that the farmers who grow your food can maintain sustainable livelihoods while providing you with the highest quality food available."
Noble cause it seems. Like all the other "noble causes", increasing the sales of "Fair Trade Rice" depending solely on bargain hunting consumers would be a losing game. Powerful government entities must be aligned to tackle the exploitation of rice farmers and their endless miseries. Perhaps, like all the other "must be done" steps, this will also remain to be locked in distant shore of humanity from where cries from hunger and injustice fade away by the winds of Darwinian economic might.

Link:
Fair Trade Rice

Chemical clue sheds light on winter depression

"The researchers studied 73 drug-free patients with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and 70 people without the condition. People with SAD get depressed in the autumn and winter, and often go into remission in the spring and summer. So-called “bright light therapy” – where sufferers stare at brightly lit screens – can also relieve symptoms.

The researchers were interested in these patients’ serotonin transporter (SERT) – a molecule that "pumps" serotonin back into cells. SERT is expressed in blood platelets, so they drew blood at three points in time: in the autumn or winter (when patients were experiencing seasonal depression), after four weeks of light therapy, and again in summer.

They tested the platelets to see how much SERT was expressed there, and found levels were normal in both groups. They then measured how many times per minute the SERT would go to work removing serotonin, and here they found significant differences.

In blood taken during winter depression, SAD patients had significantly more removal events per minute than those in the healthy control group – about 350 compared with 200."

Hmm....that's the reason my winter blue takes a spike in blistering cold, and that's why it takes a hike in summer bold. Who said "depression" cannot be rhythmic and poetic?

Article Link:
Chemical clue sheds light on winter depression

Gone Fission

"Desperate times making for desperate measures, it should come as no surprise that the world’s policymakers - frantic to be seen dealing with climate change - are settling more and more on an energy source that, until recently, was considered one of the least appealing options.

Though denounced as dirty and dangerous for the horrific catastrophes it produced in the 1970s and 80s, and despite the continued protests of environmentalists, nuclear power is back in vogue. Already about 16 per cent of the world’s electricity comes from nuclear, and there are plans to build or refurbish about two dozen plants worldwide. Countries like the United States, England, France, Finland, India, Russia, South Africa, Japan, China, Iran and Pakistan are all planning to expand their programs."
Desperate times do not necessarily provide the wisest solution. Proliferation of nuclear power have the potential becoming an existential threat if not tightened fail-safe security is in place. Even then, other alternative energy sources should take priority over nuclear tango.

Macleans Article Link:
Gone fission

Targeting nerve growth factor may cure liver cancer

"Nerve growth factor (NGF), as the name says, is an essential peptide factor for the growth and differentiation of neuronal cells. Therefore we can imagine that this growth factor is important for the nervous system including brain. But a recent scientific report published in the October 7 issue of the World Journal of Gastroenterology tells us another surprising and exciting discovery about this growth factor: NGF is positively related with liver cancer, the No.2 killer among all kinds of cancers in the world."
Article Link:
Targeting nerve growth factor may cure liver cancer

Monday, September 17, 2007

Green Dreams

Even the "Sheikhs" in Middle-East know that the age of oil boom is not forever. Tremendous interests and activities in Biofuel utilizing corn, sugarcane and cellulose have already begun to stir glimpse of hope for a world not dependent on fossil fuel. Shortcomings from these biofuels like reduction of world food supplies for these cash crops, and also the miserable labor conditions in the sugar cane fields of Brazil should be at the forefront of any major scale alternative energy initiatives, however, the finest opportunities using nature's own solution utilizing algae harnessing cleaner energy perhaps depicts a world free of oil wars and green house emissions.

Link to this National Geographic must read article:
Green Dreams

World's Top 10 Most Polluted Places

"Despite the massive pollution, it would be relatively easy and cheap to clean up the most dangerous hazards at these contaminated sites, Fuller argues. Economic development has already led to construction of cleaner new plants in some places and small efforts and investments can net major gains, he says.

For example, it costs just $15,000 to save an estimated 350 lives by simply digging up radioactive contaminated soil from the Mayak plutonium facility that had been deposited on the shore of the Techa River in the Russian town of Muslyomova."
Article Link:
World's Top 10 Most Polluted Places

Sunday, September 16, 2007

The New Battle for M.B.A. Grads

It's a "supplier's market", great when it lasts for graduating MBA students, hectic for prospective employers.

Link to this Wall Street Journal article:
The New Battle for M.B.A. Grads

‘We have to remain the watchdogs’ - an Interview with Asma Jehangir

"I think the message coming out of this is that the political leadership is out of touch with reality. No one can deny that on the streets of Pakistan, people were asking Musharraf to go. There were slogans against military in politics. There was complete clarity in that movement."
Link:
‘We have to remain the watchdogs’ - an Interview with Asma Jehangir

Shrinkage of prostate led to overestimation of cancer risk in trial

Shrinkage of prostate led to overestimation of cancer risk in trial

Reanalysis of data from the first long-term randomized trial of a chemopreventive agent for prostate cancer shows that the excess prevalence of high-grade prostate cancer in the drug-treated group may be attributable to shrinkage of the prostate at the time of biopsy.

The study of the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, led by University of Illinois at Chicago professor of pathology Dr. Peter Gann, is published in the Sept. 12 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial evaluated the drug finasteride, which blocks production of a male hormone within the prostate and is proven effective in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia, or enlargement of the prostate. The trial was stopped in 2003 when finasteride was found to reduce the risk of prostate cancer by nearly 25 percent. However, men assigned to the finasteride group had a greater prevalence of high-grade cancer.

Gann said the results were confusing for clinicians and patients because the drug appeared to retard the development of prostate cancer and decrease its prevalence, but the increased risk of high-grade cancer was unexplained and worrisome.

Researchers reasoned one possible explanation was that because finasteride shrinks the prostate gland, it increases the likelihood that a biopsy will detect high-grade cancer.

Link:
Shrinkage of prostate led to overestimation of cancer risk in trial

bismillah

A children voice singing nasheed, in the background variable chorus, keeping with rhythm, this music was made really well. Spiritual. More videos like this will surely help eliminating unjustified mis-portrayal of peaceful 1.2 billion Muslims around the world.

Bangladesh - Moudud sued for hiding wealth

He was the former law minister of Bangladesh. Very influential and powerful politician who had always found a way to remain at the helm of power propped on "law". When the Anti-Corruption Commission in Bangladesh asked him to reveal his movable and immovable properties, assets, bank accounts, etc., Mr. Moudud did not declare wealth worth Tk 4,40,37,375. He has assets to the tune of Tk 7,38,48,237 which is disproportionate to his sources of income."

The key words are "disproportionate to his sources of income". In Bangladesh, as more stories are coming to light, as more and more once immune political demagogues are getting their treacherous masks ripped apart and their loots and extorted piles of money and treasures seeing the daylight for the first time, the scopes of these suited booted thugs' thuggeries are only beginning to emerge in front of demurred but politically subdued people of Bangladesh.

More to unearth. More to unmask.

Link to the news article:
Moudud sued for hiding wealth

What next in the battle to keep the globe afloat?

What is so troublesome in this article published in UK's The Guardian is that there is that possibility of a financial crisis in the likes of 1929 financial crash, or perhaps this is only a shadow, a marginal chaos in financial sector related to housing sector's recent cooling down. All the problematic warning signs are visible through up surge of default loans in the real estate market mostly in U.S., however, since we live in a global economy, the effects of U.S. real estate slowing down has started affecting bank in UK. Read the following extract from The Guardian:
"To those queueing outside Northern Rock last week in the panic to remove their precious nest eggs, the models may as well have been written in Klingon for all the British public understands of how they worked or indeed why they have come to exert such a powerful influence over their lives.

But the rocket scientists' model was actually quite simple: the American underclass would be turned into an asset by offering them mortgages which they had traditionally been denied. Of course, they would have to pay more for their home loans than normal because they were such risky debtors. But the rocket scientists believed they had insured themselves against the risks by selling the loans on to other institutions in complex financial bundles of debt.

Unfortunately for the rocket scientists, their Ferrari dealers, their trophy spouses waiting for those post-Christmas bonuses to buy the chalet in Aspen, and pretty much the rest of the world, they were stunningly, catastrophically, outrageously wrong.

And the problem for the world now is no one - not Northern Rock customers, not the Bank of England, not Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve who on Tuesday will make a decision on interest rates that will have truly global implications - knows yet just how wrong the rocket scientists have called it."

Article Link:
Panic? Queue here

Here is a photo depicting long line of panicked folks in front of Northern Rock bank in UK.

Bad Dreams are Good - a Poem by Joni Mitchell

I liked the subtle supple wordings of this poem in New Yorker:

Bad Dreams Are Good

by Joni Mitchell

The cats are in the flower beds

A red hawk rides the sky

I guess I should be happy

Just to be alive

But

We have poisoned everything

And oblivious to it all

The cell-phone zombies babble

Through the shopping malls

While condors fall from Indian skies

Whales beach and die in sand

Bad Dreams are good

In the Great Plan


And you cannot be trusted

Do you even know you are lying?

It’s dangerous to kid yourself

You go deaf, dumb, and blind

You take with such entitlement

You give bad attitude

You have No grace

No empathy

No gratitude

You have no sense of consequence

Oh, my head is in my hands

Bad Dreams are good

In the Great Plan

Before that altering apple

We were one with everything

No sense of self and other

No self-consciousness

But now we have to grapple

With this man-made world backfiring

Keeping one eye on our brother’s deadly selfishness

Everyone’s a victim here

Nobody’s hands are clean

There’s so very little left of wild Eden Earth

So near the jaws of our machines

We live in these electric scabs

These lesions once were lakes

We don’t know how to shoulder blame

Or learn from past mistakes

So who will come to save the day?

Mighty Mouse. . . ? Superman. . . ?

Bad Dreams are good

In the Great Plan

In the dark

A shining ray

I heard a three-year-old boy say

Bad Dreams are good

In the Great Plan

Salmon Spawn Trout

This raises hope "spawning endangered fish species within more common ones."

Article Link:
Salmon Spawn Trout

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Shock Doctrine by Alfonso Cuarón and Naomi Klein

Collin Powell on Terror Industrial Complex

Video Link:
Collin Powell calls for more Oversight on Counter-Terrorism

Collin Powell's comment:
"Well, I think we have to be aware. We are spending an enormous amount of money on homeland security and I think we should spend whatever it takes. But I think we have to be careful that we don't get so caught up in trying to throw money at the terrorist and counter terrorist problem, that we are essentially creating an industry that will only exist as long you keep the terrorist threat pumped up. And so, that would be the context of that comment and I feel strongly about it."
From GQ internview:

"Isn’t the new global threat we face even more dangerous?

What is the greatest threat facing us now? People will say it’s terrorism. But are there any terrorists in the world who can change the American way of life or our political system? No. Can they knock down a building? Yes. Can they kill somebody? Yes. But can they change us? No. Only we can change ourselves. So what is the great threat we are facing?

I would approach this differently, in almost Marshall-like terms. What are the great opportunities out there—ones that we can take advantage of? It should not be just about creating alliances to deal with a guy in a cave in Pakistan. It should be about how do we create institutions that keep the world moving down a path of wealth creation, of increasing respect for human rights, creating democratic institutions, and increasing the efficiency and power of market economies? This is perhaps the most effective way to go after terrorists.

So you think we are getting too hunkered down and scared?
Yes! We are taking too much counsel of our fears.

This doesn’t mean there isn’t a terrorist threat. There is a threat. And we should send in military forces when we have a target to deal with. We should also secure our airports, if that makes us safer. But let’s welcome every foreign student we can get our hands on. Let’s make sure that foreigners come to the Mayo Clinic here, and not the Mayo facility in Dubai or somewhere else. Let’s make sure people come to Disney World and not throw them up against the wall in Orlando simply because they have a Muslim name. Let’s also remember that this country was created by immigrants and thrives as a result of immigration, and we need a sound immigration policy.

Let’s show the world a face of openness and what a democratic system can do. That’s why I want to see Guantánamo closed. It’s so harmful to what we stand for. We literally bang ourselves in the head by having that place. What are we doing this to ourselves for? Because we’re worried about the 380 guys there? Bring them here! Give them lawyers and habeas corpus. We can deal with them. We are paying a price when the rest of the world sees an America that seems to be afraid and is not the America they remember.

You can drive up the road from here and come to a spot where there is a megachurch over here, a little Episcopal church over there, a Catholic church around the corner that’s almost cathedral-size, and between them is a huge Hindu temple. There are no police needed to guard any of this. There are not many places in the world where you would see that. Yes, there are a few dangerous nuts in Brooklyn and New Jersey who want to blow up Kennedy Airport and Fort Dix. These are dangerous criminals, and we must deal with them. But come on, this is not a threat to our survival! The only thing that can really destroy us is us. We shouldn’t do it to ourselves, and we shouldn’t use fear for political purposes—scaring people to death so they will vote for you, or scaring people to death so that we create a terror-industrial complex.

How can we restore America’s image?
We should remember what that image was, back after World War II. It was the image of a generous country that sought not to impose its will on other countries or even to impose its values. But it showed the way, and it helped other countries, and it opened its doors to people—visitors and refugees and immigrants.

America could not survive without immigration. Even the undocumented immigrants are contributing to our economy. That’s the country my parents came to. That’s the image we have to portray to the rest of the world: kind, generous, a nation of nations, touched by every nation, and we touch every nation in return. That’s what people still want to believe about us. They still want to come here. We’ve lost a bit of the image, but we haven’t lost the reality yet. And we can fix the image by reflecting a welcoming attitude—and by not taking counsel of our fears and scaring ourselves to death that everybody coming in is going to blow up something. It ain’t the case."

Heather Martin - When Are You Coming Home

TIMZ

The Iraq War: Legal or Illegal?

Now, let's kitty explains us all! Well made video simplifies the lies and deceptions purported this war in layman's words.

Ant: Light Pollution

Thursday, September 13, 2007

How a Millionaire’s Brain Works…

"A man walked into a bank in New York City one day and asked for the loan officer.

He told the loan officer that he was going to Philippines on business for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000. The bank officer told him that the bank would need some form of security for the loan.

Then the man handed over the keys to a new Ferrari parked on the street in front of the bank. He produced the title and everything checked out The loan officer agreed to accept the car as collateral for the loan.The bank’s president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at the guy for using a $250,000 Ferrari as collateral against a $5,000 loan."
Well, who has the "last laugh"? Read the article in full from the following link to find out:
How a Millionaire’s Brain Works…

3D Video

The pain is still palpable, agonies and tears rage in heart from that day's carnage, senseless destructions and thereafter more violence and deaths of innocence around the world.

Will Super Smart Artificial Intelligences Keep Humans Around As Pets?

"By 2030, or by 2050 at the latest, will a super-smart artificial intelligence decide to keep humans around as pets? Will it instead choose to turn the entire Earth, including the messy organic bits like us, into computronium? Or is there a third alternative?"
Link:
From the Singularity Summit

We're All Suspects

Eroding civil rights, diminishing hopes of freedom in fading twilight of "democracy". Read the following excerpt:
"There is no doubt that if we lived in a police state, it would be easier to catch terrorists. If we lived in a country where police were allowed to search your home at anytime for any reason; if we lived in a country where the government is entitled to open your mail, eavesdrop on your phone conversations, or intercept your e-mail conversations; and if we lived in a country where people could be held in jail indefinitely...based on mere suspicion that they are up to no good, the government would probably discover and arrest more terrorists... But that probably would not be a country in which we would want to live...."

Recognize any of these changes in your country today? Despite Feingold's words, the Patriot Act passed the Senate 98 to 1.

This year, just before the August recess, enough cowardly Democrats gave Bush and Cheney the votes they needed to pass the Protect America Act of 2007, radically expanding the warrantless surveillance of telephones calls and e-mails when Americans communicate with people outside the country or are called from abroad by someone "reasonably" linked to terrorism.

Because of this cave-in by the Democrats, writes Jacob Sullum of The Washington Times, "Americans will have no legally enforceable privacy rights that protect the content of their international communications."

............"We now live in a country where, as I've been reporting here since then, our rights and liberties under the Constitution are even more eviscerated than he could have imagined. And this administration is using the time it has left to make this more of a nation ruled by fear rather than by law, a nation that would spur Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, and George Washington—if only they were still here—to ignite another American Revolution."

Link to full article:
We're All Suspects - As our civil liberties disappear, where are the Democrats?

The number of endangered species grows

"MORE species are under threat than ever before according to the World Conservation Union. Its “Red List”, published on Wednesday September 12th, gives warning that 16,306 species are under threat of extinction (of 41,415 described), nearly 200 more than in 2005. This number has risen steadily since the first report in 1996. Corals have been added to the endangered list alongside the usual apes and dolphins. There is cause for concern but biodiversity scientists are less confident accountants than the list might suggest. Nobody knows how many species occupy the planet. Most experts think 10m is roughly correct, though they have only formally noted 1.4m. The most reliable data describe creatures that humans find easy to count: colourful, land-based and big enough to hunt."
Link:
http://www.economist.com/daily/chartgallery/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9790492

Hindus up in arms as god clashes with government

“Belief has to be separated from historical facts,” T. K. Venkatasubramaniam, professor of history at Delhi University, said. “Ram Setu has gotten into the culture and psyche. Even in the 21st century it is very difficult to come out of that belief.”
Link:
Hindus up in arms as god clashes with government

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Gen. Wesley Clark Takes on Fox News

Can anyone say that General Wesley Clark is not a patriot? He was the supreme commander of NATO. He has seen all sides of wars and violences. Even he knows the compounding errs being accumulated in that artificially fabricated conflicts that's been raging on and on, destroying lives and livelihoods of unknown many. When will it end? Will it ever end in foreseeable future?

Emotive to the End

"Emotive to the end."He didn't possess recursive logic so couldn't "work with digital numbers or more complex human grammar", but considering human being's paltry success in acquiring the language of birds, Alex, an African gray parrot was accomplished considering natural language barrier existing amongst species. Alex learned more than just mere mimicking like other birds. His mentor Dr. Pepperberg prompted Alex to learn scores of words, which he could put into categories, and to count small numbers of items, as well as recognize colors and shapes.

A psychologist at Hunter College, Diana Reiss characterized it well, “The work revolutionized the way we think of bird brains. hat used to be a pejorative, but now we look at those brains — at least Alex’s — with some awe.”"

On his very last night Alex said to his mentor, "“You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.”

Just like a gentleman would say.

The next morning Alex was found dead in his cage.

Read the full article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/11/science/11parrot.html

Tangerine peel 'kills cancer'

Too early to tell if this new exciting discovery will lead to effective anti-cancer drugs or other treatments in the future. Two points to note from this news:
  • "The researchers suggest the modern trend to throw away peel may have contributed to a rise in some cancers."

  • "the use of modern pesticides and fungicides, which have cut the risk of infections, have also led to a drop in Salvestrol levels in food."
  • Link:
    Tangerine peel 'kills cancer'

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    A Single Sheet of Paper



    Amazing! Just single sheet of paper and artist's vivid imagination enmeshed in sheer artistry. Check these "crafts" out from the following link:

    Link:
    A Single Sheet of Paper

    Another example:

    Olbermann Special Comment

    Why isn't rest of the mainstream media comes close to Olbermann's loud and clear dissents?

    Monday, September 10, 2007

    Olbermann, perhaps loneliest amongst the "anchors"

    Poems of Langston Hughes

    A fine article on Langston Hughes' poetry can be found from the following link:

    http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/journey/hughes-transcript.html

    Webcast Archive: http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/journey/video/lahughes.ram

    A few poems of Langston Hughes presented below:

    Democracy

    By Langston Hughes
    Democracy will not come
    Today, this year
    Nor ever
    Through compromise and fear.

    I have as much right
    As the other fellow has
    To stand
    On my two feet
    And own the land.

    I tire so of hearing people say,
    Let things take their course.
    Tomorrow is another day.
    I do not need my freedom when I’m dead.
    I cannot live on tomorrow’s bread.

    Freedom
    Is a strong seed
    Planted In a great need.
    I live here, too.
    I want freedom
    Just as you.

    Harlem
    What happens to a dream deferred?

    Does it dry up
    like a raisin in the sun?
    Or fester like a sore—
    And then run?
    Does it stink like rotten meat?
    Or crust and sugar over—
    like a syrupy sweet?

    Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

    Or does it explode?

    Militant

    By Langston Hughes


    Let all who will
    Eat quietly the bread of shame.
    I cannot,
    Without complaining loud and long.
    Tasting its bitterness in my throat,
    And feeling to my very soul
    It's wrong.
    For honest work
    You proffer me poor pay,
    for honest dreams
    Your spit is in my face,
    And so my fist is clenched
    Today-
    To strike your face.


    Dreams

    by Langston Hughes


    Hold fast to dreams

    For if dreams die

    Life is a broken-winged bird

    That cannot fly.


    Hold fast to dreams

    For when dreams go

    Life is a barren field

    Frozen with snow.


    I, Too, Sing America
    by Langston Hughes

    I, too, sing America.


    I am the darker brother.

    They send me to eat in the kitchen

    When company comes,

    But I laugh,

    And eat well,

    And grow strong.



    Tomorrow,

    I'll be at the table

    When company comes.

    Nobody'll dare

    Say to me,

    "Eat in the kitchen,"

    Then.



    Besides,

    They'll see how beautiful I am

    And be ashamed--



    I, too, am America.

    Hidden method of reading revealed

    Professor Simon Liversedge, from the University of Southampton, said: "We found that in a very substantial number of fixations that people make when they read, they aren't looking at the same letter."

    "'A comprehensive understanding of the psychological processes underlying reading is vital if we are to develop better methods of teaching children to read and offer remedial treatments for those with reading disorders such as dyslexia.'
    Link:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6983176.stm

    Sunday, September 09, 2007

    Windows process and DLL library

    Find out why your pc and laptops are getting slower. A fine resources computing hobbyists.

    Windows process and DLL library

    Dear Mr. President

    A song by Pink. Lyric listed below:

    "Dear Mr. President"
    (feat. Indigo Girls)

    Dear Mr. President,
    Come take a walk with me.
    Let's pretend we're just two people and
    You're not better than me.
    I'd like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly.

    What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?
    Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?
    What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
    Are you proud?

    How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
    How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
    How do you walk with your head held high?
    Can you even look me in the eye
    And tell me why?

    Dear Mr. President,
    Were you a lonely boy?
    Are you a lonely boy?
    Are you a lonely boy?
    How can you say
    No child is left behind?
    We're not dumb and we're not blind.
    They're all sitting in your cells
    While you pave the road to hell.

    What kind of father would take his own daughter's rights away?
    And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
    I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
    You've come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.

    How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
    How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
    How do you walk with your head held high?
    Can you even look me in the eye?

    Let me tell you 'bout hard work
    Minimum wage with a baby on the way
    Let me tell you 'bout hard work
    Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
    Let me tell you 'bout hard work
    Building a bed out of a cardboard box
    Let me tell you 'bout hard work
    Hard work
    Hard work
    You don't know nothing 'bout hard work
    Hard work
    Hard work
    Oh

    How do you sleep at night?
    How do you walk with your head held high?
    Dear Mr. President,
    You'd never take a walk with me.
    Would you?