Saturday, December 27, 2008

Are we human?

Pay my respects to grace and virtue
Send my condolences to good
Give my regards to soul and romance,
They always did the best they could
And so long to devotion
You taught me everything I know
Wave goodbye
Wish me well..
You've got to let me go

Monday, December 22, 2008

Inventor's 2020 vision: to help 1bn of the world's poorest see better | Society | The Guardian

Inventor's 2020 vision: to help 1bn of the world's poorest see better | Society | The Guardian: "Silver has devised a pair of glasses which rely on the principle that the fatter a lens the more powerful it becomes. Inside the device's tough plastic lenses are two clear circular sacs filled with fluid, each of which is connected to a small syringe attached to either arm of the spectacles.

The wearer adjusts a dial on the syringe to add or reduce amount of fluid in the membrane, thus changing the power of the lens. When the wearer is happy with the strength of each lens the membrane is sealed by twisting a small screw, and the syringes removed. The principle is so simple, the team has discovered, that with very little guidance people are perfectly capable of creating glasses to their own prescription.

Silver calls his flash of insight a 'tremendous glimpse of the obvious' - namely that opticians weren't necessary to provide glasses. This is a crucial factor in the developing world where trained specialists are desperately in demand: in Britain there is one optometrist for every 4,500 people, in sub-Saharan Africa the ratio is 1:1,000,000."

Time in a bottle

Gobekli Tepe was first examined—and dismissed—by University of Chicago and Istanbul University anthropologists in the 1960s. As part of a sweeping survey of the region, they visited the hill, saw some broken slabs of limestone and assumed the mound was nothing more than an abandoned medieval cemetery. In 1994, Schmidt was working on his own survey of prehistoric sites in the region. After reading a brief mention of the stone-littered hilltop in the University of Chicago researchers' report, he decided to go there himself. From the moment he first saw it, he knew the place was extraordinary.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Massachusetts rocks!

BOSTON – His repeated warnings that Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff was running a giant Ponzi scheme have cast Harry Markopolos as an unheeded prophet.

But people who know or worked with Markopolos say it wasn't prescience that helped him foresee the collapse of Madoff's alleged $50 billion fraud. Instead, they say diligence and a strong moral sense drove his quixotic, nine-year quest to alert regulators about Madoff.

"He followed through on everything he ever did. He never let up," said his mother, Georgia Markopolos, in an interview Thursday. "Some kids just let it go if it's too hard, but he wouldn't do that."

"He feels very sorry for these people that got taken," she added. "It wouldn't have happened if they would have listened to him long ago."

Markopolos waged a remarkable battle to uncover fraud at Madoff's operation, sounding the alarm back in 1999 and continuing with his warnings all through this decade. The government never acted, Madoff continued his ways, and people lost billions.

Markopolos reached his conclusion with the help of mathematicians like Dan diBartolomeo, whose analysis of the Madoff's methods in 1999 helped fuel Markopolos' suspicions.

"People should have seen the writing on the wall," diBartolomeo said.

Markopolos did not respond to multiple e-mail or phone requests for an interview.

The 52-year-old resident of Whitman, about 20 miles south of Boston, grew up in Erie, Pa., the oldest of three siblings.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Women's rights activist beheaded in Iraq -

Women's rights activist beheaded in Iraq - "BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Gunmen broke into the house of a women's rights activist in the volatile northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Thursday and beheaded her, police said."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thoughts on singlehood

Nobody wants to go it on their own And everyone wants to know they´re not alone. Somebody else that feels the same somewhere?
There `s gotta be somebody for me out there.

Nobody wants to be the last one there
And everyone wants to feel like someone cares. Somebody else that feels the same somewhere? There's gotta be somebody for me out there.

One could rightfully fault me for using Nickleback lyrics as the kick off to this post, but as redundant as their melodies maybe, I do find their lyrics to often be quite succinct and poignant. I am sure that reflects poorly on my level of sophistication but so be it. So this Christmas marks 5 years of essentially being single. I mean there have been dates and even some follow on dates and a couple of possibly more than just dates, but for the most part I have not had a romantic reference point for 5 years. In that 5 years, many of my peers have married and had multiple children. So I have spent some amount of time wondering about the difference inherent in living your life single and living your life with a partner and especially with children.

Some things are surprising to me. I expected to feel envy, absence or some level of something missing as I see my peers raise their families. So far that has not been the case. Part of that I know is my deep ambivalence about being a mother that existed even when I had the boy and the ring and the path to the house in some hip urban neighborhood in the plan. I get to know personally that I saw that path and it did not ignite rainbows and unicorns in my heart of hearts. It mostly ignited resignation to predictable obligation that I felt already far too familiar with. But part of it, is also the reality that even with partners and children, me and my friends aren't all that different. Our day to day struggles aren't very comparable. I can't for the life of me imagine how one keeps functioning when all the children have the flu and unpleasant fluids are pouring unceremoniously out of multiple orifices, but I am sure that my life of basically being a nomad and dealing with stuff sometimes I don't even understand seems very odd to them. Yet, still we are friends on a level that I dare say challenges most of my romantic interactions for support, honesty, complexity and fun.

But with all that, there is the inherent difference that being single means going through life without the context offered by those domestic relationships. It means that even if I were to meet a great companion and go forward in companionship, that these years are only mine. That is both a good and bad thing and I don't know if I will think well of how I have spent them. I hope that the lack of external markers of progress won't mean that I forget the internal and external battles fought and either won or lost. I hope I will value the time without a reference point, but it is the thing about singlehood. Only you know if you are making any progress.

Where we should be aiming for!

Japan as ground zero for no-waste lifestyle - Yahoo! News: "At Toyota's Tsutsumi assembly plant in Nagoya, Japan's answer to Detroit, evidence of a more environmentally sensitive car industry is on display before you even walk through a door. What was once a vast, gray expanse of industrial might has come to life – literally.

Large trees – 50,000 were planted in May – dot the visitor parking lot to offer a soothing greeting, says the plant's 'sustainable initiative' manager. Insulating vines wend their way up the outside of an employee locker building. Some 22,000 square meters of ex-terior walls are coated with photocatalytic paint that, Toyota says, mirrors the ability of 2,000 poplars to absorb nitrous oxide and process oxygen.

The roof of the visitor center is a mat of grass, designed to reduce waves of heat by 3 degrees C. Solar lights dot the streets and 800-kilowatt solar panels blanket the tops of buildings. Even the red roadside flowers were genetically engineered to absorb noxious emissions and help evaporate water."