Monday, October 29, 2007

Vacation


Been playing tour guide for the last week and have at least another wonderful week of same ahead.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Acculturation

"Acculturation comprehends those phenomena which result when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first-hand contact, with subsequent changes in the original culture patterns of either or both groups".

Thus another role for the expats, to spread culture to new lands, and to bring some of it back to our lands. I wonder what role the Internet (www, blogs, podcasts, etc) play in acculturation? We are exchanging ideas via our blogs and we have global connectivity from person to person via our cell phones.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Culture

Culture

  • a particular society at a particular time and place; "early Mesopotamian civilization"
  • the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group
  • acculturation: all the knowledge and values shared by a society

  • We are all a member of one or more cultures. Traveling gives us a broader perspective, or it should. But we must all be aware that we each communicate through our cultural filters. This is why I believe that reasoned thought has such an important role in the future of mankind (and womankind). We humans need to be aware of world cultures and how they affect how we see the world and thus the way in which we interact with it and the humans in it.

    Friday, October 19, 2007

    Who Googles What?

    Ambient Findability is a great book by Peter Morville which I just read a few weeks ago. When I read the below article about who Googles what I especially remembered the tag line for the book; "What We Find Changes Who We Become"








    Sex, Nazi, burrito and Viagra: Who Googles what?
    Wed Oct 17, 2007 10:17am EDT

    BERLIN, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Internet users in Egypt, India and Turkey are the world's most frequent searchers for Web sites using the keyword "sex" on Google search engines, according to statistics provided by Google Inc.
    Germany, Mexico and Austria were world's top three searchers of the word "Hitler" while "Nazi" scored the most hits in Chile, Australia and the United Kingdom, data from 2004 to the present retrievable on the "Google Trends" Web site showed.
    Chile also came in first place searching for the word "gay", followed by Mexico and Colombia.
    The top searchers for other keywords were as follows (in order from first to third place):
    "Jihad" - Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan
    "Terrorism" - Pakistan, Philippines, Australia

    "Hangover" - Ireland, United Kingdom, United States
    "Burrito" - United States, Argentina, Canada
    "Iraq" - United States, Australia, Canada
    "Taliban" - Pakistan, Australia, Canada

    "Tom Cruise" - Canada, United States, Australia
    "Britney Spears" - Mexico, Venezuela, Canada
    "Homosexual" - Philippines, Chile, Venezuela
    "Love" - Philippines, Australia, United States
    "Botox" - Australia, United States, United Kingdom
    "Viagra" - Italy, United Kingdom, Germany
    "David Beckham" - Venezuela, United Kingdom, Mexico
    "Kate Moss" - Ireland, United Kingdom, Sweden
    "Dolly Buster" - Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia
    "Car bomb" - Australia, United States, Canada
    "Marijuana" - Canada, United States, Australia
    "IAEA" - Austria, Pakistan, Iran
    © Reuters2007All rights reserved

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    Turkey & Iraq

    By Yesim Borg,, Tracy Wilkinson and Peter Spiegel, Special to The Times October 18, 2007

    ANKARA, TURKEY -- By an overwhelming margin, Turkey's parliament on Wednesday authorized military raids into northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels who have attacked Turkish targets.The vote added to rising tensions in the region, with Iraqi Kurdish forces, known as peshmerga, going on high alert, although senior Turkish officials indicated that no invasion was imminent.

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    War Report

    The War Report is a great resource of articles about Iraq and Afghanistan, click on the title to this entry to visit the site.

    Ask the Iraqi's

    Excerpt from the New Yorker -

    As the Republican and Democratic Presidential contenders debate whether we should leave now, or soon, or years from now, they should remember that it’s not just an American decision. We didn’t ask the Iraqis if we could invade their country; we didn’t ask them if we could occupy it; and now we are not asking them if we should leave. Whatever we end up doing, we need to remember that eventually the only people who are going to occupy Iraq are the Iraqis, and that the decision of when we leave, as inevitably we will, should be as much theirs as ours.

    Afghanistan Flag & Geography


    Afghanistan, approximately the size of Texas, is bordered on the north by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, on the extreme northeast by China, on the east and south by Pakistan, and by Iran on the west. The country is split east to west by the Hindu Kush mountain range, rising in the east to heights of 24,000 ft (7,315 m). With the exception of the southwest, most of the country is covered by high snow-capped mountains and is traversed by deep valleys.


    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Huge Super Nova


    Explanation: What could cause a bang this big? This supernova explosion was so inherently bright that it could be seen nearly 5 billion light years away (a redshift of 0.28) even with a small telescope. Specific colors emitted during SN 2005ap indicate that it was a Type II supernova, a breed of stellar explosion that results when a high mass star begins fusing heavy elements in or near its core. Type II supernovas may be more powerful than their Type Ia cousins, but they are not currently more useful cosmologically because astronomers don't understand how to accurately recover their intrinsic brightnesses. It is therefore dimmer Type Ia supernovas that are used by astronomers to calibrate the distance scale of the nearby universe. Were Type II supernova better understood, astronomers might be able to probe distances further into the universe, and so probe the stability of the strange dark energy that dominates the present universe. Pictured above in a digitally compressed image, the bright supernova SN 2005ap is visible on the right where no exploding star had been seen on the left less than three months before.

    Camp Arifjan center of corruption

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 U.S. authorities launched a corruption investigation centering on the U.S. Army's financial operation for Iraq located at Camp Arifjan in the Kuwaiti desert.

    Court and military records indicate the investigation centers on an alleged web of more than $10 million in favors, bribes and kickbacks among Army officers, contractors and subcontractors at the base, USA Today reported Monday.

    Six companies punished administratively sought contracts by offering shopping bags and suitcases stuffed with cash and gifts ranging from phone cards to SUVS.

    The newspaper said two enlisted soldiers at Camp Arifjan have been ordered to face a court-martial for allegedly taking bribes and eight people have pleaded guilty to corruption charges in federal courts.

    At a hearing last month, Deputy Inspector General Thomas Gimble told the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee that one-third of the Pentagon's criminal investigations involving $6 billion worth of contracts have ties to Kuwait.

    The Kuwait operation has handled more than $4.2 billion in military contracts over the years.

    Copyright 2007 by UPI

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Censorship in Kuwait

    So not only does Kuwait censor what movies the people can watch at the movies but if you go to the Internet to watch the movie trailer it was censored also. You can read the movie reviews but I bet the Kuwaiti censors will figure a way to keep us from doing that also. What a backward a country Kuwait is. Run by old scared men. Look out the future is coming! But not in Kuwait.

    The Kingdom

    The Kingdom is a bombastic actioner that sees an elite group of FBI agents hunt down the terrorist cell responsible for a suicide bombing in Riyadh. Simplistic in the extreme and riddled with clich├ęs, the quality of its execution can't excuse the dubiousness of its premise.

    After a ruthless raid on a western housing compound in Saudi Arabia leaves more than a hundred dead, Special Agent Ronald Fleury (Jamie Foxx) defies orders by flying in his team of investigators to work the crime scene. Initially hamstrung by official protocol and the intransigence of the local authorities, Fleury eventually wins over his handler, colonel Al Ghazi (Ashraf Barhom), as his fellow investigators - explosives expert Chris Cooper, forensics examiner Jennifer Garner and intelligence whizz Jason Bateman - identify the extremists behind the outrage. Unbeknownst to them, however, their prey are planning a lethal counter-attack that will put all their lives in danger...

    No freedom of speech in Kuwait

    Kuwait has baned the movie "Kingdom" from being showed. The movie Kingdom is about a probe of a 1996 bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 Americans. You can go to Qatar or the United Arab Emirates if you want to watch the movie. But in Kuwait the people are not allowed to make up their own minds about world events. Just another data point that shows Kuwait is a backward third world country run by insecure men.

    Saturday, October 13, 2007

    Rear End


    This is an example of a typical Kuwati rear end accident. Some car wrecks I 've seen in Kuwait it is hard to tell what kind of car it was since it just looks like a ball of metal.

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    National Strategy for Homeland Security

    My fellow Americans,
    More than 6 years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, we remain at war with adversaries
    who are committed to destroying our people, our freedom, and our way of life. In the midst of this conflict, our Nation also has endured one of the worst natural disasters in our history, Hurricane Katrina. As we face the dual challenges of preventing terrorist attacks in the Homeland and strengthening our Nation’s preparedness for both natural and man-made disasters, our most solemn duty is to protect the American people. The National Strategy for Homeland Security serves as our guide to leverage America’s talents and resources to meet this obligation.
    Despite grave challenges, we also have seen great accomplishments. Working with our partners
    and allies, we have broken up terrorist cells, disrupted attacks, and saved American lives. Although our enemies have not been idle, they have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil in over 6 years due to the bravery and diligence of many.
    Just as our vision of homeland security has evolved as we have made progress in the War on Terror, we also have learned from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. We witnessed countless acts of courage and kindness in the aftermath of that storm, but I, like most Americans, was not satisfied with the Federal response. We have applied the lessons of Katrina to this Strategy to make sure that America is safer, stronger, and better prepared.
    To best protect the American people, homeland security must be a responsibility shared across our entire Nation. As we further develop a national culture of preparedness, our local, Tribal, State, and Federal governments, faith-based and community organizations, and businesses must be partners in securing the Homeland.
    This Strategy also calls on each of you. Every one of us should develop our own personal and family readiness plans to help protect us in the event of a natural or man-made disaster, enabling emergency responders and resources to be focused on those in greatest need.
    Many of the threats we face – pandemic diseases, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,
    terrorism, and natural disasters – also demand multinational effort and cooperation. To this end, we have strengthened our homeland security through foreign partnerships, and we are committed to expanding and increasing our layers of defense, which extend well beyond our borders, by seeking further cooperation with our international partners.
    As we secure the Homeland, however, we cannot simply rely on defensive approaches and well-planned response and recovery measures. We recognize that our efforts also must involve offense at home and abroad. We will disrupt the enemy’s plans and diminish the impact of future disasters through measures that enhance the resilience of our economy and critical infrastructure before an incident occurs.
    Today, our Nation is safer, but we are not yet safe. Since September 11, 2001, we have made great progress in confronting new challenges and refining our approach to homeland security. As acknowledged in 2002 in the first National Strategy for Homeland Security, we will not achieve all of our goals overnight, but we will achieve them. By the very nature of this struggle, many of our victories will be unheralded and achieved in silence.
    Despite the difficult challenges ahead, we will fulfill our responsibility to safeguard America just as generations of Americans have before us. Together, guided by this National Strategy for Homeland Security, we will continue working to protect our families and communities, our liberty, and our way of life.
    GEORGE W. BUSH
    THE WHITE HOUSE
    October 5, 2007

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Al-Qaeda

    Al-Qaeda trying to get weapons of mass destruction

    by Jitendra Joshi

    WASHINGTON AFP) - Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network is still trying to acquire apocalyptic weapons including nuclear and biological arms, a new White House report on national security said Tuesday.

    "We also must never lose sight of Al-Qaeda's persistent desire for weapons of mass destruction, as the group continues to try to acquire and use chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material," it said.....
    =============
    When will the world be a safer place? When humans stop fighting because of religion. Stop, think, use reason - then act. What a better place the world would be then. Maybe then we can work on getting the local Kuwaiti drivers to stop killing too.

    Monday, October 08, 2007

    Uzbek warloard

    KABUL, Afghanistan - Sixteen militants fighting under a wanted Uzbek warlord with a $200,000 bounty on his head were killed in airstrikes in eastern Afghanistan, an official said Monday.

    U.S. forces early Sunday called in the strikes against fighters of Tahir Yuldash, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and an al-Qaida operational commander, said Nabi Jan Mullahkhail, the provincial police chief of Paktika province.

    The U.S. military late last month released a list of 12 Most Wanted militants in Afghanistan, and Yuldash was one of five listed with the top reward of $200,000.

    Mullahkhail said one enemy fighter — an Uzbek — was captured during the fighting in the Sorobi district of Paktika and said that the militants from Uzbekistan and Chechnya were fighting under Yuldash.

    In nearby Paktia province, U.S.-led coalition forces and Afghan soldiers detained four suspected militants in Gardez district, the coalition said.


    +++++++++++++
    Let's not forget that Osama bin Laden is still running around the hills of Afghanistan with the US still looking for him.

    Sunday, October 07, 2007

    Philosophy of Cosmology

    A paper by George F R Ellis titled "Issues in the Philosophy of Cosmology" discusses the following major themes.

    1. The uniqueness of the universe
    2. The large scale of the universe in space and time
    3. The unbound energies in the early universe
    4. Explaining the universe - the question of origins
    5. The universe as the background for existence
    6. The explicit philosophical basis
    7. The Anthroipic question - fine tuning for life
    8. The possible existence of multiverses
    9. The natures of existence

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    Arab Worldview

    Atomism - Arabs tend to see the world and events as isolated incidents, snapshots, and particular moments in time. Westerners tend to look for unifying concepts whereas Arabs focus on parts, rather than on the whole.

    Faith - Arabs usually believe that many, if not all things in life are controlled by the will of God (fate) rather than by human beings. Perhaps this explains why they are such bad drivers. Say a bad accident on the drive home today. Car had rolled on side person was dead under the car and another person was outside in very bad shape.
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