Under a relentless equatorial sun and the gaze of her Zimbabwean instructor, Juliet Kituye quickly reassembles her AK-47. Next to her, a young man in a ripped red T-shirt discharges imaginary rounds at an invisible target.On a disused soccer pitch in the suburbs of the Ugandan capital, Kampala, 300 hopefuls are being put through rudimentary firearms training. Many of the recruits are raw and their drills occasionally lurch towards slapstick. One trainee lets the magazine slip out of his automatic rifle and onto the red earth, someone else about turns right instead of left. All of them share the same dream, however: going to Iraq.
Last year, China officially overtook the US as the world’s biggest CO2 emitter. But the new research shows that about a third of all Chinese carbon emissions are the result of producing goods for export.
The research, due to be published in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters, underlines “offshored emissions” as a key unresolved issue in the run up to this year’s crucial Copenhagen summit, at which world leaders will attempt to thrash out a deal to replace the Kyoto protocol.
The legal hurdles of existing law make it virtually impossible for the federal government to limit or ban the use of toxic chemicals or to even obtain the information needed to devise effective regulations, several witnesses testified before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.
Four tons of seeds representing hundreds of crop species were delivered today to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault as it celebrated its one-year anniversary. The vault in nothern Norway is intended to serve as a fail-safe backup should the original samples be lost or damaged or to provide a Noah’s ark for agriculture in the event of a global catastrophe.
Announcing the award on Tuesday, FEMA Regional Administrator Phil May said the information and results from this study may help formulate strategies to deal with potential effects of sea level rise along all of the nation’s coastlines.
“The Department of Commerce plays a critical role in nurturing innovation, expanding global markets, protecting and managing our ocean fisheries, and fostering economic growth,” said Secretary-designate Locke. “The Department of Commerce can and will help create the jobs and the economic vitality our nation needs.”
Behavioral neurologist V.S Ramachandran has referred to mirror neurons as “empathy neurons” or “Dalai Llama neurons.” He believes this system, by allowing us to understand the intentions and desires of others, is the principal driving force behind “the great leap forward” in human evolution. As a result of such claims, the mirror neuron system has risen to the level of accepted folk psychology. According to U.C. Berkeley psychologist Alison Gopnik, “Mirror neurons have become the ‘left brain/right brain’ of the 21st century.”
But [Bernard] Madoff’s behavior raises serious questions about the relationship between mirror neurons and empathy — and represents a golden opportunity to study the as yet puzzling connection between them. …
One day in spring 2007, the phone rang in the little Buddhist center in Long Beach that has been the focus of the Venerable Tenzin Kacho’s life since she was ordained a nun by the Dalai Lama.
On the other end of the line was her brother, Robert Kiyosaki, a combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam who crashed three times and went on to become a globe-trotting entrepreneur and author of a best-selling book on personal finance, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad.”
He was calling from his publisher’s office in New York. There were some pleasantries, then Kiyosaki cut to the chase: “I’ve got a great idea for you. We’re going to write a book together.”
The book, he said, would be an inspirational blend of Eastern religion and business acumen told through their own experiences and conclusions about what is ultimately meaningful in life.
Glenn Greenwald writes in Salon that the “Liberal” media r-e-a-l-l-y aren’t. In fact, according to him, they’re pretty reactionary. (Links to some other good stuff, too. Check out the Bill Moyers interview.)
The New York Times’ David Brooks and Gail Collins had an online “conversation” with one another this week, and Brooks did an excellent job of explicitly demonstrating most everything that is relevant — and destructive — about the mentality of the standard Beltway journalist (h/t reader jm). In fact, much of what Brooks wrote about what he believes tracks almost completely the discussion I had with Jay Rosen on Bill Moyers’ show last week regarding the rot of the American political press. First, there’s this from Brooks:
What I’m really annoyed by, though, is the withdrawal of Tom Daschle. What are we, a nation of virgins? . . .
Of course, Obama asked for all this with his cynical promise to ban lobbyists from his administration. There’s a word for lobbyists: experts. Some are sleazy and many are quite admirable, but the idea of trying to run Washington without them is absurd. … David Brooks reveals the mentality of the Beltway journalist – Glenn Greenwald – Salon.com
The story began last Thursday [1/15/09] when [George Bush] suddenly tripled an already heavy duty on the pungent blue cheese from the southern Massif Central. The idea was to punish Europe for maintaining a longstanding ban on beef from US cattle that had been administered with growth hormones. Roquefort had been under a 100 percent retaliatory duty since 1999.
Some in France have been quick to see the new Washington measure as petty, belated revenge against the “cheese-eating surrender monkeys” for their opposition to the 2003 Iraq invasion. The Americans slapped new duty on an array of other EU food imports, including fruit, chocolate and chewing gum, but none was subject to the 300 percent reserved for roquefort…..
Like most little girls, I was raised to believe that virginity is a sacred gift a woman should reserve for just the right man. But college taught me that this concept is just a tool to keep the status quo intact. Deflowering is historically oppressive—early European marriages began with a dowry, in which a father would sell his virginal daughter to the man whose family could offer the most agricultural wealth. Dads were basically their daughters’ pimps.
When I learned this, it became apparent to me that idealized virginity is just a tool to keep women in their place. But then I realized something else: if virginity is considered that valuable, what’s to stop me from benefiting from that? …
Our real responsibility to change the world — something we can do — is undermined by the false and self-blaming feelings of responsibility for things that we didn’t and can’t do. The paradox is that we have to face the ways that we’re really helpless in order to own the ways that we’re not.
The irony of this whole global crisis is the fact that only a relatively small percentage of the people on the globe — less than 1/4 — are not prepared for the subsistence living that seems eventually inevitable. And those people are the same ones who are causing it. If we were as well-prepared for hardship, emotionally and physically, as the majority of people on the planet, we’d tighten our belts, suck it up, and do the right thing. But no…
New Yorker Alexandra Penney relates how she lost her life savings to Bernie Madoff and is now faced with having to lay off her three-day- a-week maid, Yolanda. “I wear a classic clean white shirt every day of the week. I have about 40 white shirts. They make me feel fresh and ready to face whatever battles I may be fighting …” she wrote, but without Yolanda, “How am I going to iron those shirts so I can still feel like a poor civilized person?”
Welcome to the rest of us, Alex. No doubt Yolanda appreciates your concern.
“One couple has built a business helping people deal with the very messy reality of death by cleaning up after murders, suicides and the like.”
World’s Worst Job?