Thursday, November 29, 2007

The GSVC Symposium

The London Business School Responsible Business Club invites you to the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) Symposium on Saturday, December 1, 2007.

The theme for this year's symposium is 'Social Ventures: Business Solutions for Social Problems' with speakers and panel discussions covering a number of issues such as "Can a social challenge yield a profitable investment?" and "Discovering the Business Solution to your Social Challenges". The Symposium is a free event and does not imply that you will join the competition.

The keynote speaker this year will be Nigel Kershaw the CEO of Big Issue Invest, a £4m fund that provides £50,000-500,000 loans to ventures such as Jamie Oliver's Fifteen.

Where: LT1, London Business School
When: December 1, 2007
Time: 830am - 430pm
How to signup: http://forms.london.edu/form.asp?id=7966

GSVC SYMPOSIUM 2008 PROGRAMME

0830 – 0930: Registration and coffee
0930: Welcome to GSVC Symposium
0935: From Handouts to Profit – how do charity and social ventures relate?
1005: About the GSVC Introduction – Alejandro Trenor, GSVC Student Chair
1020: Learning Session: Valuing the Social and Environmental Impact of a Venture
Jeremy Nicholls, new economics foundation
1100: Coffee break
1120 – 1220: Panel: Can a social challenge yield a profitable investment?
Geoff Burnand, Investing For Good
Samantha Beinhacker, Skoll World Forum, University of Oxford
1120 – 1220: Teaching session
1220 : Nir Tsuk, Director Global Fellowship Programme, Ashoka
1300 – 1400: Lunch
1400: Activity Workshop: Discovering the Business Solution to your Social Challenges
Professor John Mullins , London Business School
1450: A Social Enterprise Journey
Phil Conway, GSVC Finalist and Founder, Cool2Care
1530 – 1550: Tea break
1550 – 1630 Keynote Speaker
Nigel Kershaw, Chairman of the Big Issue and CEO of Big Issue Invest

LP Guide China being Banned in China.

At issue is the English-language version of the China Travel Guide published by Australian-based Lonely Planet Publications, which includes a regional map that uses different colors to mark China and Taiwan to indicate they are two separate countries.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently confirmed the book has been banned.

(more here).

I wonder if this is really true...

India's human skeleton black market

Investigative journalist Scott Carney has been working for the last half a year or so on a story about grave robbers in Calcutta who steal skeletons and sell them to medical supply companies in the US and Europe. Intense.

"India has long been the world's primary source of bones used in medical study, renowned for producing specimens scrubbed to a pristine white patina and fitted with high-quality connecting hardware. In 1985, however, the Indian government outlawed the export of human remains, and the global supply of skeletons collapsed. Western countries turned to China and Eastern Europe, but those regions produce relatively few skeletons. They have little experience producing display-quality specimens, and their products are regarded as inferior.

Now, 22 years after India's export ban, there are signs that the trade never ended. Black-market vendors in West Bengal continue to supply human skeletons and skulls using the time-honored method: Rob graves, separate soft flesh from unyielding calcium, and deliver the bones to distributors — who assemble them and ship them to dealers around the globe." (Wired)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

CIA Venezuela Destabilization Memo Surfaces

"On November 26, 2007 the Venezuelan government broadcast and circulated a confidential memo from the US embassy to the CIA which is devastatingly revealing of US clandestine operations and which will influence the referendum this Sunday, December 2, 2007.

The memo sent by an embassy official, Michael Middleton Steere, was addressed to the Director of Central Intelligence, Michael Hayden. The memo was entitled 'Advancing to the Last Phase of Operation Pincer' and updates the activity by a CIA unit with the acronym 'HUMINT' (Human Intelligence) which is engaged in clandestine action to destabilize the forth-coming referendum and coordinate the civil military overthrow of the elected Chavez government. The Embassy-CIA's polls concede that 57 per cent of the voters approved of the constitutional amendments proposed by Chavez but also predicted a 60 per cent abstention." - CounterPunch

Monday, November 26, 2007

Annapolis Conference

"The Annapolis meeting, a major initiative pressed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, will begin negotiations on a peace treaty to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while simultaneously committing Israel and the Palestinians to carry out long-postponed obligations contained in the first stage of the 2003 peace plan known as the road map." (NY Times)

Syria is in, along with 17 other Arab countries.

Will we have a progress in solving the Palestine/Israel conflict?

This is what's at stake in the conference

"Of course. Every man on the street and every woman on the street, not only the politicians, knows what the settlement will look like in the end. It just needs the action to bring it about. It looks like the 1967 border, with delineation of that border. It looks for a negotiated solution for the Palestinian [refugees] return. It looks for a return of East Jerusalem as part of the Palestinian territories." (Time Interview)


I hope so, but the past records would say no - but again, this could be a black swan.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Money Talks

Airbus is having a currency crisis because all their orders are in dollars ($220 billion) and their costs are in Euros.

"As Airbus chief Thomas Enders warned in a speech to the Hamburg workers last night, Europe's champion plane-maker - the symbol of European unification, in the words or ex-French president Jacques Chirac -- is now facing a "life-threatening" crisis.

Mr Enders said the company's business model is "no longer viable", and "massive losses" are on the horizon. So much for all those currency hedges that analysts like to cite. Have they ever tried to buy a currency hedge? They would discover how expensive these instruments are. Hedges cannot protect a company with $220bn in delivery contracts priced in dollars, when the euro/sterling cost-base is leaping into the stratosphere." (Telegraph UK)


And Fortune magazine is covering the aftermath of the subprime mortgage crisis that brought down leaders of several of US most visible and respected financial institutions.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Behold, Facebook's revolutionary new advertising system! It's going to change the fundamental advertising model! Advertising targeted to users with laser-like position! Relevance like you've never seen relevance before! Reach the most refined, relevant, pinpoint-focussed target market you can imagine! It isn't advertising - it's brands connecting socially with users in a two way conversation that changes everything!

Here's the first crappy facebook spam "social advertisement" I recieved, from just a couple of hours ago:

OK, so lets review here. Facebook is delivering me an ad to watch a TV channel that isn't broadcast in the country that I live in. It knows that I live in Egypt. It knows (I presume) that Adult Swim is a TV show broadcast in the US, and not in Egypt.

Is there any real difference between this and flat out spam? Shit I don't want and aren't looking for (US television schedules) thrown in my face with no choice to opt-out? Spam, I see thy foul tentacles invading another happy place....

I'd expect this from those Allens Hill Farm motherfuckers, but facebook? Say it aint so...

Smile... You're on Camera!

Take extra-special care of your appearance when walking around Australian capital city streets this summer, as one nose pick or bum scratch could be immortalised on Google Maps forever.

Google-branded cars with roof-mounted cameras have just begun traversing our streets, taking highly detailed panoramic street-level photos for a new Maps feature called Street View.

Street View launched in the US in May this year and has since expanded into fifteen US cities. But many of the original photographs - including a woman exposing her g-string, a man striding into an adult bookshop and another man apparently relieving himself on the pavement - were since taken down due to privacy concerns.

(more here)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Pakistan has been suspended from the Commonwealth because of its imposition of emergency rule, the organisation has announced after a meeting in Uganda.

Secretary General Don McKinnon said Pakistan was being suspended "pending restoration of democracy and the rule of law". (bbc)

Happy Thankgiving



Have a safe travel and happy tummy!

Water park planned for Arizona desert

The businessmen behind Waveyard say they plan to recreate the seascape of Indonesia or Hawaii in an area that has just eight inches of rainfall a year. They have earmarked a site about 15 miles outside Phoenix on 125 acres of land that normally supports nothing but saguaro cacti and creosote bushes and that is 200 miles from the nearest beach.

To relocate nature's environment into the city will require an initial 189m litres of water to fill the facilities, and then up to 380m litres a year to replenish them allowing for spillage and evaporation.

Residents in the nearest town of Mesa voted earlier this month by two to one to support the project, won over by promises of 7,500 new jobs. Opposition to the proposals in the area has been muted.

Rita Maguire, a water expert who has advised Waveyard on water supplies for the development, told Associated Press that she had come round to the idea. "Initially, the reaction is: 'Oh my. Is this an appropriate use of water in a desert'? But recreation is a very important part of a community."

She added that the project would not use more water than a golf course, which sounds reassuring, until you learn that the Arizonan desert is already pockmarked with 402 golf courses.
the guardian

Welcome to Methuselah Generation

"Dr. Thomson’s laboratory at the University of Wisconsin was one of two that in 1998 plucked stem cells from human embryos for the first time, destroying the embryos in the process and touching off a divisive national debate.

And on Tuesday, his laboratory was one of two that reported a new way to turn ordinary human skin cells into what appear to be embryonic stem cells without ever using a human embryo." (NY Times)


Mass production of your own conscious-free stem cells? What's not to like.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Statistic of Deportees



I got deported from Azerbaijan two days ago and spent one night in an immigration jail in Turkey. Here's some survey about the number of deportees in Istanbul airport on Nov 19 2007.

17 Nigerians.
1 Libyan.
1 Indonesian.
2 Uzbekistan.
1 Lebanese.
1 Pakistani.
1 Azeri.
1 Tajik.
1 Kosovar.
1 Iraqi.
1 Venezuelan.

How and why I got deported

I went to Baku to do some pretty interesting work for SilverKey Azerbaijan for ten days. I got deported from Azerbaijan for a fairly mundane procedural mistake. I applied for a visa for the Azerbaijan Embassy for business purposes and due to the timing I require for the visa, they simply inform me that I can obtain the visa in the airport.

So I went and they refused to grant me a visa by blaming the embassy. I didn't get deported immediately because I received a stay while my case was being fought in Azerbaijan government system.

This is how thing gets interesting.

I think there were three ministries in Azerbaijan got involved plus that famous intelligence organization that starts with K (they were on my side).

I got security clearance and approval from the responsible authorities on Monday afternoon. I was informed that I was going to be issued visa and admitted to the country. But I think someone in the border office thought otherwise and decided to deport me before the Foreign Ministry managed to put a stamp on my passport.

When you get deported, you receive special treatment from the airline. The captain of the plane held your passport, the flight attendants paid special attention with you and you were escorted in your transit city.

Then they put you in jail in Istanbul and the rest is history.

Azerbaijan treated me well, the Turks treated me well in Jail and the Egyptian received me with open arm.

What impressed me of this whole situation was the amount of effort and people in the background that tried to admit me in the country. This simple deportation case became a bigger thing in the end with so many players getting involved. And it was quite a revelation to observe and experience the deportation sequence from one country to another.

I found out it was quite easy to befriend people when you get stuck together in a jail. They were magnificent people and yet quite ordinary many ways. We got incarcerated for such mundane issues.

I met two older Uzbek aviators that got deported from Libya. Their case had something to do with the new Arabic translation requirement in Tripoli. Karim, the Libyan, was a businessman refused entry in Turkey. I met a Lebanese that got arrested after being refused to enter Cyprus although he had a visa. There was one Azeri kid, Parviz, on the way home to Baku whom the Turkish immigration accused of having a fake passport. He was my translator from Russian to English when we chatted with the Uzbeks. I befriended Shazad, an Iraqi from Kirkuk currently living in Sofia, Bulgaria. Vincent, a Kosovar, got stuck in that jail for four days before released to applause three hours from my departure. Henry was a football player in Nigeria. Bright was supposedly a major Scrabble coach in Lagos (I have no idea there was such thing as a Scrabble coach). The Pakistani only responded with Islamabad to any question in English; the language wasn't his strong suit. The Venezuelan was an immigrant from Nigeria.

They fed you Burger King combo for lunch.

In the end, I flew to two new countries without stepping outside their airports. I left Egypt on Saturday and returned on Tuesday.

Other than 4 days without a bath, it wasn't that bad.

I'll be back.

The Future Of Reading










"Amazon's Jeff Bezos already built a better bookstore. Now he believes he can improve upon one of humankind's most divine creations: the book itself."

- Newsweek

After the TV, the PC and the Phone .. companies have gambled entire fortunes on figuring out what the next 'screen' could be. It could very well be this electronic reader - 'Kindle', and it could replace the dog that fetched your newspaper every morning :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

double chocolate apple cider yellow cake mix

Who is this "Allens Hill Farm" flooding our photo rotator with rich images of desserts?

Is this some sort of advertising gimmick? Debauchery perpetrated by spam bots? You are making us hungry.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Saturday, November 17, 2007

love, mobutu

Making comparisons between humanitarian crises may not always be fair or useful. But those dealing with the emergency in Kivu are starting to do so. “The situation at the moment in North Kivu is worse than Darfur,” says Sylvie van den Wildenberg of the UN mission in the province. Many more people have fled their homes this year than in Darfur. Refugee camps are starting to pop up just outside the provincial capital, Goma. (The Economist)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Traveling to Libya?

The Libyan government is denying entry to tourists if they don't have an Arabic translation of their passport - even if they have a valid visa, European officials and airliners said Monday.

Eighteen French nationals were stranded at the Tripoli airport since Sunday night, until the French ambassador to Libya intervened Monday on their behalf and they were allowed to return home, a French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Pascale Andreani, said in an online briefing Monday.

(more here)

Remember This ?


This image of a young boy and his father getting killed in an Israeli crossfire riveted the world a couple of years ago.

There have been doubts that this event was staged. There's currently a court case in France to force France 2 (the news network behind the footage) to show the footage of the reporting as a whole instead of clipped videos.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

How Slim Got Huge

That's just an awesome title from Foreign Policy Magazine about the new King of Wealth; the richest person in the world Carlos Slim.

"What, then, to make of the man who in the summer of 2007 appears to have replaced Gates as the world’s richest person? His name is Carlos Slim Helú. Today, his fortune stands at more than $59 billion—and grew, on average, more than $1 billion a month last year. What kind of world are we living in now? Slim has been widely accused of monopolistic practices; he catapulted himself to the top spot on the back of his company Teléfonos de México, or Telmex, which has a 92 percent stranglehold on his country’s local fixed-line market. Slim’s business empire, the scope of which is largely unprecedented in modern economic history, ranges from cigarettes to airlines, from electric cables to floor tiles. In all, Slim’s net worth is equivalent to a stunning 6.6 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product (GDP), easily eclipsing Gates (0.4 percent of U.S. GDP) and even John D. Rockefeller at his peak (slightly less than 2 percent in 1937). Although it may be unsurprising to see such gross wealth disparity in Latin America, what do we make of the growing list of billionaires in countries such as China, India, and Russia that supposedly represent the global economy’s future? Are we entering a new era of robber barons? Does the shift of investment and production to emerging markets herald a rise in “crony capitalism” worldwide? Or does the rapidly accumulating wealth of Slim and his ilk merely signify an undesirable byproduct of a very desirable process—the spread of free-market capitalism around the globe?" (Foreign Policy)

Monday, November 12, 2007

White Men Can't Jump

"But new research is exploring the remaining fraction to explain differences between people of different continental origins.

Scientists, for instance, have recently identified small changes in DNA that account for the pale skin of Europeans, the tendency of Asians to sweat less and West Africans’ resistance to certain diseases.

At the same time, genetic information is slipping out of the laboratory and into everyday life, carrying with it the inescapable message that people of different races have different DNA. Ancestry tests tell customers what percentage of their genes are from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas. The heart-disease drug BiDil is marketed exclusively to African-Americans, who seem genetically predisposed to respond to it. Jews are offered prenatal tests for genetic disorders rarely found in other ethnic groups." (NY Times)

If you speak Spanish... what does this make you think?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pyramids of Egypt

When you are visiting Cairo, you should skip the noisy, overcrowded, full-of-hasslers 9 Pyramids of Giza and visit these nearby Pyramids instead (there are approx. 99 Pyramids in Egypt)

Pyramids of Dashur (one hour south of Cairo - 20 minutes from Saqqara)
Dashur is a snapshot on what Pyramids of Giza looked like 50 years ago before it was overwhelmed by blatant commercialism.

Red Pyramid of Dashur. This Pyramid is awesome. Go inside and explore the three chambers in peace Indiana Jones style - beware of the stale chamber air though.

Bent Pyramid of Dashur. This is how a Pyramid look like when the engineers realized their mistakes and tried to fix it. This Pyramid is 8 minutes away from the Red Pyramid.

Pyramids of Saqqara(20 minutes from Cairo)
This site is receiving more attentions from tour operators nowadays but still is a much peaceful place than Pyramids of Giza.
Step Pyramid. This is the oldest Pyramid ever (I think it's 5000 year old). If you visit the site, do not forget to visit the nearby Ti Pyramid that actually looks like a hill of rubble. The chambers of Ti Pyramid are the most decorated chambers of any Pyramid I've entered in.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

All the world's problems on a map.

Check out the Global Incident Map.

All the world's problems on a map.

Bonus points for finding your own town.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Richard Branson with James Murphy at The RE*Generation Gallery Auction

I work on Virgin Mobile's pro social initiative, The RE*Generation, which helps homeless youth in the U.S. This year we were able to establish November as the first ever National Homeless Youth Awareness Month. On Nov. 7th we held The RE*Generation Gallery Art Auction at Skylight Studios in New York to auction off 21 pieces of original artwork to benefit The RE*Generation's charitable partners. James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem spun and Richard Branson showed up as well! Good times! Check out www.homelessyouthamongus.org.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

a question...

Considering the complete media shut out in Pakistan, what is amazing is how much information is still coming out of the country, especially through blogs like Emad's, among others.

The question I have is 'Would the world be any different if the internet was as widespread when events like Tiananmen Square, the Rwandan genocide or the holocaust were taking place?'

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Day 5 - Students Across Pakistan join protests against 'Martial Law'

A large part of the population remains in a state of apathy and media reports are still off air so word is hard to get out. A vast majority continues to lead a normal life without any extra ordinary events visible. However, students across the country have begun a series of protests against what is now widely being referred to as Martial Law. Brutality at the hand of the state is growing but it is also becoming a catalyst for more protests. Today, a number of top universities in the country held processions on campus, with riot police holding off their gates. Read more...

Another useful link for realtime updates: The Emergency Times

Taliban in control of Pakistani regions

"The imposition of emergency in Pakistan has not put any pressure on Taliban in Swat district, who have not only imposed Shariah but also removed the National flags from all government buildings in areas under their control.

Taliban have taken over police stations in Matta, Khawazkhela and Charbagh. This scribe visited the Matta police station after the imposition of emergency in Pakistan. Taliban there have replaced the Pakistan's flag with their own at the police station after more than 120 soldiers surrendered two days ago." (The News)
Read the whole story to see just how complicated things are getting in Pakistan - and if you have access to the excellent Al Jazeera English TV channel, they are doing an incredible job of covering the crisis...

"Temporary" emergency law was imposed in Egypt in 1981 to quell a potential Islamist insurgency after the assasination of Anwar Sadat by Egyptian Islamic Jihad (now merged with Al Queda). The state of emergency and suspension of regular consitutional rule remains in full effect 25 years later. Will Pakistan still be under emergency law in 2032?
"Long-term, however they both have problems because advertising is on its way to being obsolete. Facebook is just another step along the path. Advertising will get more and more targeted until it disappears, because perfectly targeted advertising is just information. And that's good! " (scripting.com)

98 bucks for a barrel of black gold

Crude oil rose above $98 a barrel for the first time in New York as the dollar tumbled to a record low against the euro and producers evacuated platforms in the North Sea, evading a storm forecast to bring waves as high as 36 feet (Bloomberg).

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Emergency'Plus' in Pakistan

It's now the 4th day since 'Emergency' was declared in Pakistan. Unfortunately, this state of emergency includes certain things that are beyond that Constitution of the country when it defines such a state. In that sense, the vernacular being used is 'Emergency+', while a large majority of people are beginning to call in a euphemism for Marshal Law.

Particularly the things that have happened are:

- Suspension of Civil Rights and Liberties and abeyance of the Constitution
- Sacking of All Supreme court and High Court judges that have refused to take a renewed oath of loyalty to Musharraf. Most have refused
- Suspension of all privately owned media as well as foreign news media broadcasts on television and radio. The only place you get news on on TV is the state run Pakistan Television
- Code of Conduct for privately owned media disallowing them to say anything against the government




Students at the Lahore University of Management Sciences protesting against faculty members being arrested without charge

This has resulted in some forms of collectivization by groups of people, which has led to a large number of arrests of lawyers, journalists, students, political activists and even well-respected academics. Most of them can be held captive for 30 days or more without being charged, as the constitution is suspended. Authorities have been quick to disperse any groups through these arrests, tear gas and baton charges.

Local Pakistanis' opinion remains divided as some feel that there was no other option for the Chief of Army Staff, given the security situation and an overpowered judiciary. Others see it as an attack not on the security issue, but on the independence of the media and judiciary. This divide, as well as the lack of right of association and assembly is making mass protests more difficult.

Some protests are taking place in London and in NYC by overseas Pakistanis. While foreign governments have condemned Musharraf's actions, little pressure is being put by the US and other 'allies'.

There's a large scale protest scheduled on Thursday by students from various universities across the country. It remains to be seen if it leads to much.

First $1 trillion company and it's Chinese

"PetroChina became the world's first company worth more than $1 trillion on Monday, surging past Exxon Mobil as the Chinese oil producer's shares nearly tripled in their first day of trading in China. State-owned PetroChina Co., a unit of state-owned China National Petroleum Corp., is the country's biggest oil and gas producer. Its Shanghai initial public offering of 4 billion shares raised $8.94 billion — a record for a mainland bourse." (AP) via Andrew Sullivan.

Monday, November 05, 2007

State of Emergency in Pakistan

There are some nomads on the ground. Care to give some insights to the situation?

Emad is live blogging from Lahore, Pakistan.

"One of the professors arrested, the Head of the Economics Department, Dr Ali Cheema is actually quite close to me and supervised my bachelors thesis for which we had a number of field research trips in rural areas of Pakistan. He's a well respected, cheerful, and soft spoken academic, a Rhodes scholar and has been working with the government (Ironically) on research projects in the area of Economics. He even led a team including me to deliver a lecture at the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) - a civil bureaucrats academy."

a somewhat promising development

"Egyptian court convicts 2 police officers for torturing a bus driver Pair jailed for three years Case came to light after a video of the abuse was posted on the Internet" CNN Article

While this is no indicator of any consistent effort to eliminate, minimize or even reduce torture in Egypt; this isolated event is still promising.
It's a positive step taken by the judicial court and it's a testament to Egyptian Bloggers and their ability to make a difference.

The Egyptian blogger who posted the horrendous video was featured in this week's Edition of CNN's Inside the Middle East.

So to all the cynics who think one person cannot do anything, that blogger has just made history.

gender, sexual orientation, pronunciation

Stimuli were created
by pairing a synthetic nine-step /s/- "sh" continuum with tokens of /æk/ and "ip" taken from productions
of shack and ship by 44 talkers whose perceived sexual orientation had been reported previously
 (Munson et al., J. Phonetics in press. Listeners participated in a series of two-alternative
sack-shack and sip-ship identification experiments. Listeners identified more "sh" tokens for women’s
voices than for men’s voices for both continua. Lesbian/bisexual-sounding women elicited more
sack and sip responses than heterosexual-sounding women. No consistent influence of perceived
sexual orientation on fricative identification was noted for men’s voices. Results suggest that
listeners are sensitive to the association between fricatives’ center frequencies and perceived sexual
orientation in women’s voices, but not in men’s voices. © 2006 Acoustical Society of America.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hungry?

Reading the economist and came across this quote.

"Today about 850m people, mostly women and children, remain chronically hungry while 1.1 billion are obese or overweight."

Really makes you stop and think, a lot.

Indonesia's National Blogger Day

After Blogger Party 2007, Indonesia declare that we will have National Blogger Day.

I wonder if another country have such national holiday since Indonesia internet user just reach around 9% from total inhabitant now, I guess it's good progressive for indonesia blogger movement, what do you think?!?

Read more on budiputra.com.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Do it in the dark

Watch this (but not at work) and find an interesting and funny way of expressing an energy saving message.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The mouse that shook the world

"It can run for hours without getting tired. It lives longer, has more sex, and eats more without gaining weight. The professor of biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University at Cleveland in Ohio, Richard Hanson, said that the physical performance of the supermouse can only be compared to supremely fit athletes"

The Independent







Colbert op-ed in NY Times

I called Colbert with a dare: if he thought it was so easy to be a Times Op-Ed pundit, he should try it. He came right over. In a moment of weakness, I had staged a coup d’moi. I just hope he leaves at some point. He’s typing and drinking and threatening to “shave Paul Krugman with a broken bottle.” (NYTIMES)

Colbert wrote an op-ed in place of Maureen Dowd. Beautiful.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Stupid Rule

"USA Track & Field, the national governing body for running, this year banned the use of headphones and portable audio players like iPods at its official races. The new rule was created to ensure safety and to prevent runners from having a competitive edge.

But trying to enforce such a rule on a 26.2-mile course filled with thousands of runners may be futile. The New York City Marathon, which strongly discourages the use of audio players, will not attempt to police its field on Sunday for lack of a surefire way to carry out the ban." (NY Times)

alergy sufferers!

Another role played by the immune system is to destroy malignant tumours before they take hold—and work carried out recently by Annette Wigertz of the Karolinska Institute, in Stockholm, and her colleagues suggests that the immune systems of those with allergies may be particularly good at this. However, in a nice example of the way that one set of data is sometimes capable of divergent—indeed, opposite—interpretations, she may instead have discovered a clue about how cancers shut down immune systems in order that they themselves may prosper. (economist)