March 30, 2004


More evidence that a clash of civilizations requires two civilizations:

The Gulf Arab monarchies are trying to bring order to the national sport of camel racing in the face of protests over the trafficking of children as jockeys.

The US State Department and human rights groups have raised the alarm over the exploitation of small children by traffickers who pay impoverished parents a paltry sum or simply resort to kidnapping their victims.

The children, mostly from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Pakistan, are then smuggled into the Gulf states.

They are often starved by employers to keep them light and maximise their racing potential. Mounting camels three times their height, the children -- some as young as six -- face the risk of being thrown off or trampled.
-- Qatar trials robot substitute for controversial child camel jockeys

The Energizer Body
As our lives are increasingly mediated by technological interventions, the After-life project raises the issue of our increasing faith in technology and our decreasing interest in organized religion. With this in mind the afterlife project offers a technologically mediated service that provides a tangible expression of afterlife for those who have become spiritually disconnected, or require hard evidence in some form of life after death.

The grieving process from an atheist’s perspective can be problematic with the concept of afterlife or other place, by definition being discounted. Fundamental to most religions is a concept of some other state or heaven, offering comfort to the faithful.

What then is there for the aggrieved atheist with regard to reassurance or comfort after the death of a loved one?

There is enough Hydrochloric (Hcl) acid in our bodies to burn a hole in a carpet. If this acid were extracted and refined it may be converted into electricity when combined with zinc and copper acting as anode and cathode.

This bringing together of elements effectively creates a wet cell battery that may be used directly as a source of electricity, or to charge a more useable dry cell battery which may then be placed in a range of electronic products.

This may be interpreted as a form of regeneration especially in the context of batteries, which are often described in terms of life, extra life and now afterlife.

Accepting this electronic state as life after death we are provided with a tangible proof of life after biological expiry.
-- After Life

Gore Issue Gored. Internet Tax? “Nyet’ as in “Not Yet.”
I want to talk about one other thing we've got to do to make sure this is a good place for people to realize their dreams and start a business and get well educated, is we've got to make sure this country is on the leading end of broadband technology. You see, new ideas and new businesses and new ways to educate people in Farmington, New Mexico are going to occur when we're able to get information flowing across cables and telephone lines in a fast way. That's what broadband technology is. It means we'll open the highways of knowledge -- new highways of knowledge.

This country needs a national goal for broadband technology, for the spread of broadband technology. We ought to have a universal, affordable access for broadband technology by the year 2007, and then we ought to make sure as soon as possible thereafter, consumers have got plenty of choices when it comes to purchasing the broadband carrier. See, the more choices

there are, the more the price will go down. And the more the price goes down, the more users there will be. And the more users there will be, the more likely it is America will stay on the competitive edge of world trade.

The more users there are, the more likely it is people will be able to have interesting new ways to receive doctors' advices in the home. The more affordable broadband technology is, the more innovative we can be with education. It's important that we stay on the cutting edge of technological change, and one way to do so is to have a bold plan for broadband.

Let me say one thing about broadband -- we don't need to tax access to broadband. The Congress must not tax access to broadband technology if we want to spread it around.
--President Bush Meets with First-Time Homebuyers in NM and AZ

The 1960s No-Judgment Epidemic Continues
Of course, political complexion is not measured only by party affiliation. Indeed, the fact that faculties on most American campuses are predominantly Democratic is perhaps less significant than their adherence to what one writer called "Left Eclecticism," that intellectual goulash composed of varying bits of Marxism, feminism, racialism, deconstruction, post-colonialism, and other specimens of academic "theory."

The triumph of Left Eclecticism means that campus "diversity" involves not only political but also intellectual conformity. For although Left Eclecticism comes in many modes and levels of toxicity, it revolves around a common core of attitudes. One unalterable tenet is that "everything is political": that the traditional academic ideals of objectivity and disinterestedness are pernicious fictions and therefore that all academic pursuits can be, indeed must be, evaluated in political terms. This is why, for example, you so seldom see the word "truth" without scare quotes in academic writing these days. Truth is what the bourgeois hegemonists preach; any left-wing academic worth his salt rejects "truth" in favor of "'truth,'" its epistemologically challenged but politically adaptable cousin.

As for the practical implications of this approach to pedagogy, they were, we thought, vividly summed up by Keith Moxey, the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Art History at Barnard College and Columbia University. "The abandonment of an epistemological foundation for art history," Professor Moxey has written, means that "historical arguments will be evaluated according to how well they coincide with our political convictions and cultural attitudes." In other words, for Professor Moxey, as for so many of his academic brethren, things like truth, probability, and explanatory value take a distant back seat to politics. We hope that his students keep that in mind when they sit down to write their papers for him.

As we say, all of this is simply business as usual in contemporary academic life. It is a natural coefficient of the reign of political correctness among college faculties today. Still, one might ask, Why? Why are faculties overwhelming left-leaning? Why have so many abandoned the traditional scholarly ideals of objectivity and disinterested inquiry? Why have they embraced the rancid smorgasbord of Left Eclecticism? No doubt there are many factors that go into answering these questions. One answer, we believe, involves the institutionalization of the radicalism of the 1960s. After all, the race-class-gender brigade now ruling in the humanities and social sciences is patently a child of the political imperatives of that unlovely decade. But of course one could pose the question again: Why were faculties so susceptible to that brand of emancipationist rhetoric?
-- Notes & Comments March 2004 by

No Evidence, Just a Half-Ton of Fertilizer for the Tomatos on the Window Sill
Explosive material found in terror raids

LONDON (Reuters) - Police have seized a large amount of explosive material and arrested eight men across London and southeast England in Britain's largest anti-terror operation for years.

Peter Clarke, head of the anti-terror branch, told a news conference on Tuesday more than half a tonne of ammonium nitrate fertiliser was discovered in a six-foot (two-metre) high plastic bag in west London.

"Part of the investigation will focus on the purchase, storage and intended use of that material," Clarke said.

An anti-terror source said the fertiliser was similar to explosive materials used in the 2002 Bali bombings, although there was no evidence that a bombing was planned or any possible target.

That would be the British version of the Richard Clarke School of Anti-terror.

Life in a Jar
There's a must-read article out today by Ronald Kotulak from which I've condensed the juicy parts below. Kotulak quotes scientists who say they are finally ready to try their hand at creating life. "It's certainly true that we are tinkering with something very powerful here," said artificial-life researcher Steen Rasmussen of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. "But there's no difference between what we do here and what humans have always done when we invented fire, transistors and ways to split the atom. The more powerful technology you unleash, the more careful you have to be."

Kotulak notes more than 100 laboratories study processes involved in the creation of life, and scientists say for the first time that they have just about all the pieces they need to begin making inanimate chemicals come alive. "The ability to make new forms of life from scratch--molecular living systems from chemicals we get from a chemical supply store--is going to have a profound impact on society, much of it positive, but some of it potentially negative," said Mark Bedau, editor-in-chief of the Artificial Life Journal.
-- SciScoop || And The Scientists Said, Let There Be Life

Posted by Vanderleun at March 30, 2004 7:39 PM | TrackBack
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