Digital Dharma

The Middle Path, One Day At A Time


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FreeRice.com — Fun and Fulfilling

FreeRice has a custom database containing thousands of words at varying degrees of difficulty. There are words appropriate for people just learning English and words that will challenge the most scholarly professors. In between are thousands of words for students, business people, homemakers, doctors, truck drivers, retired people… everyone!

FreeRice automatically adjusts to your level of vocabulary. It starts by giving you words at different levels of difficulty and then, based on how you do, assigns you an approximate starting level. You then determine a more exact level for yourself as you play. When you get a word wrong, you go to an easier level. When you get three words in a row right, you go to a harder level. This one-to-three ratio is best for keeping you at the “outer fringe” of your vocabulary, where learning can take place.

There are 50 levels in all, but it is rare for people to get above level 48.

  • Click on the answer that best defines the word.
  • If you get it right, you get a harder word. If wrong, you get an easier word.
  • For each word you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

Ten grains of rice may seem pretty cheesy, but FreeRice began on October 7th, 2007 and as of 14 November they had donated 1,897,053,670 grains.

http://www.freerice.com/


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International Aid – Poverty.com

Almost all deaths from hunger and disease worldwide can be stopped. The cost to do this is about $195 billion a year, according to the United Nations. Twenty-two developed countries have pledged to work towards each giving 0.7% (a little less than 1%) of their national income in international aid, which would raise the $195 billion. Some countries are slow to meet their pledge.

International Aid – Poverty.com

And guess who hasn’t even signed up?  Why, the richest country in the world, of course!


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Combating Muslim Extremism

American politicians should cease implying that Muslim nations and individuals are different from, or somehow more dangerous than, any other group of human beings, a racist idea promoted by the Christian and Zionist right. They should acknowledge that most Muslim nations are US friends and allies. A wise American policy toward the small networks of Muslim extremists would reduce their recruitment pool by the quick establishment of a Palestinian state and by a large-scale military drawdown from Iraq, thus removing widespread and major grievances. An increase in visible humanitarian and development aid to Muslim countries has a demonstrable effect on improving the US image.

Combating Muslim Extremism


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Odd One Out

My friend Valerie has written something wonderful.

I was responding to a friend I made online yesterday, a few minutes ago. When I got done, I looked back over the email and thought to myself,

“I ought to stick this in a column.” Thus, here we are.

She was telling me about her family; how all of her brothers are on varying levels of the autistic spectrum, and how she’s the odd one because she’s not.

So, being that I’m the Odd One Out and all, I thought I’d respond. Oh, and the reason for the interest in the autistic spectrum is because I recently got diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome. It sure makes things click a lot better than they did before.

Some of you may know some of what I’m going to write, but I don’t think I’ve ever written it completely out at one time.

Here’s my response:  Odd One Out


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An Orthodox rabbi mixes faith and patriotism in Afghanistan

Afghan women in dark-colored head scarves and blue, pleated chadris (full head and body veils) queue up at the gate. Egyptian soldiers usher them in, and as the Afghans move from table to table, American soldiers, semiautomatic rifles slung across their backs, reach into the boxes and hand them sweaters, shoes, baby clothes, notebooks, and toys.

Chaplain Felzenberg rummages through a separate box and extracts woolen caps that one of his daughters knitted – “Bless her heart, he says, “she put them in separate bags but didn’t mark the sizes.” Then he pulls out a loose-fitting top he last saw on his wife. “It’s going to be emotional to give some of this out,” he says, “but hey….”

While his supplies last, he hands clothing from his ultra-Orthodox Jewish home to Muslim Afghan children whose mothers wear the orthodox-Muslim chadri.

Military chaplains: An Orthodox rabbi mixes faith and patriotism in Afghanistan | csmonitor.com


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For injured soldiers, new clothes from volunteer sewers

The organization Sew Much Comfort has turned out 45,000 shirts, shorts, pants, and other garments that are altered for special needs.

For injured soldiers, new clothes from volunteer sewers | csmonitor.com

The Monitor needs a new headline editor, but that doesn’t detract from the story. 


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Buddhist Anger Management Techniques

Anger is one of the most common and destructive delusions, and it afflicts our mind almost every day. To solve the problem of anger we first need to recognize the anger within our mind, acknowledge how it harms both ourself and others, and appreciate the benefits of being patient in the face of difficulties. We then need to apply practical methods in our daily life to reduce our anger and finally to prevent it from arising at all.

Anger Management Techniques


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House Approves Ban on Anti-Gay Discrimination

Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat and a long-time supporter of gay rights legislation, said he would move swiftly to introduce a similar measure in the Senate, and some Senate Republicans said that, if worded carefully, it would have a good chance of passage, perhaps early next year.

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, has said that she would serve as the lead co-sponsor of the Senate bill. Ms. Collins said in a statement that the House vote “provides important momentum” and that “there is growing support in the Senate for strengthening federal laws to protect American workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

House Approves Ban on Anti-Gay Discrimination – New York Times


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Kite-flying in Darfur

Minneapolis – For Patrick McGrann, the sky isn’t his limit. It’s his field of play, his diplomatic space. It’s where he performs hand-to-hand acts of kindness and low-budget economic development for street kids in Kenya, rural kids in Burma (Myanmar) and, coming soon, orphans in a Darfur refugee camp.

Amid the sand, winds, and despair of Sudan, Mr. McGrann is poised to launch a unique effort in hope of rehabilitating traumatized children. He’s going to tell these young people of Darfur to … go fly a kite.

A ‘kite runner’ says it’s OK to have fun in Darfur | csmonitor.com


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U.S. Mayors Seek Federal Help to Protect Climate

SEATTLE, Washington, November 5, 2007 (ENS) – Mayors of the nation’s largest cities are leading a climate protection movement that seeks to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050 but say they cannot do it alone.

At the Seattle Climate Protection Summit Friday, more than 100 mayors stressed the importance of forming a federal partnership to boost energy independence and avert the worst impacts of global warming.  U.S. Mayors Seek Federal Help to Protect Climate


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Will Gore Get Arrested?

Fresh from winning the Nobel peace prize for his climate change evangelism, Al Gore is apparently considering an invitation from a prominent environmental group to engage in civil disobedience against the construction of new coal-fired power plants.

AlterNet: Blogs: PEEK: Will Gore Get Arrested?


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Monk puts new face on Buddhism

PORT ARTHUR — Bhante Kassapa is the new, blue-eyed face of Vietnamese Buddhism.

The U.S. Air Force veteran, one-time Franciscan monk and former airport communications trainer will this weekend become what is thought to be the first white American to don the robes of a senior monk in the Vietnamese Buddhist tradition.

Port Arthur monk puts new face on Buddhism | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle


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Pope to make climate action a moral obligation

The Pope is expected to use his first address to the United Nations to deliver a powerful warning over climate change in a move to adopt protection of the environment as a “moral” cause for the Catholic Church and its billion-strong following.

The New York speech is likely to contain an appeal for sustainable development, and it will follow an unprecedented Encyclical (a message to the wider church) on the subject, senior diplomatic sources have told The Independent.

Pope to make climate action a moral obligation – Independent Online Edition > Europe


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A restaurant with no checks

Some folks may wonder why I so often link to the Christian Science Monitor.  It’s simply one of the best deep-reporting newspapers in the world, is why, and those folks understand dharma, whether they know it or not.  Witness this article…

Berkeley, Calif. – Patrons of Karma Kitchen don’t need to fight for the check at the end of a meal. There isn’t one. Instead, the “guests” of this restaurant are handed a gold envelope with a handwritten note on the outside that says, “Have a lovely evening.” Inside a bookmarker-sized card states: “In the spirit of generosity, someone who came before you made a gift of this meal. We hope you will continue the circle of giving in your own way!”

A restaurant with no checks | csmonitor.com