Archive for May 7, 2008

More Reading…..

An Urgent Signal for the Coming Ice Age.

I really hate the cold. I hope* we don’t see a transition to an ice age within my lifetime.

A polar bear rug would be nice in the living room, though.

*Hoping sucks. I prefer to be more proactive but the earth will do what the earth will do.

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Indonesia Sees Cultural Divide on Bird Flu Sharing

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia is trying to defend the interests of poorer nations by refusing to share bird flu samples with the West and is locked in a cultural misunderstanding over the issue, Jakarta’s health minister said on Wednesday.

Siti Fadillah Supari also said in an interview that a U.S. naval medical lab based in Indonesia for research into tropical diseases was barely benefiting its host country and was not being transparent in its operations.

“Poor countries sent the virus to the WHO (World Health Organisation) on behalf of humanity. But it was commercialised by the WHO,” Supari said in her offices in central Jakarta.

Officials in Indonesia, the country with the highest number of human bird flu victims, have said they want to ensure equal access to any vaccines that are made against bird flu.

But U.S. Health Secretary Michael Leavitt said last month after visiting Jakarta that Indonesia also wanted payments.

Supari likened Indonesia’s gripe over virus sharing to someone giving a ripe banana to someone so it could be fried to raise its value and then not giving any benefit to the person providing the banana.

“Well that’s our culture, but Western culture cannot understand. Western people are used to buying the thing and after that don’t feel any attachment,” said Supari, who is known for being outspoken on the bird flu issue.

She said that virus samples were not being sent to the WHO until a new fairer global mechanism for sharing was in place that ensured that samples sent from countries benefited them.

“If the virus is from Indonesia they (WHO) must share with Indonesia, if the virus came from Vietnam they must share with Vietnam, and that also goes for Thailand.”

International health experts say it is vital to have access to samples of the constantly mutating H5N1 virus, which they fear could change into a form easily transmissible among humans and sweep the world in months, killing millions of people.


The future of the U.S. naval lab in Jakarta would be discussed by the health, defence and foreign ministries, as well as the intelligence agency, Supari said.

The minister said the U.S. lab had been receiving virus samples from across Indonesia, but that had been stopped.

“We don’t know what happened to the viruses that we sent,” she said, adding the U.S. lab had also received samples from Indonesian soldiers deployed in Papua.

A memorandum of understanding allowing the lab to operate in Jakarta expired two years ago and a new one is being discussed but sticking points include the number of U.S. staff that can have diplomatic immunity and an agreement over virus transfers.

Supari said that the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 2, or NAMRU-2 for short, had provided Indonesia benefits for example during a dengue outbreak but not by as much as expected.

“For example, up to now malaria is still a problem, until now tuberculosis is still a problem and we don’t have tools to diagnose….and we don’t have vaccine or special treatment,” she said, adding that NAMRU had also not provided research results.

U.S. officials have dismissed accusations that the lab with about 170 staff it not transparent and said the facility, which has been in Indonesia since 1970 and is one of five in the world, is based in the Southeast Asian country to further studies into tropical diseases that benefits both nations.


The U.S. just doesn’t CULTURALLY UNDERSTAND that the health minister expects periodic substantial bribes. And damn the United States for not curing malaria and tuberculosis for everybody in Indonesia.

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Differences Between the Middle Class and Middle Class Millionaires


With an annual income of $50,000 to $80,000, the average middle-class person spends 41 hours a week at work and takes 20 vacation days. About 21 percent regularly work weekends, 16 percent are always available for business, 56 percent are highly confident the government will protect them from natural disaster or terrorists, and 24 percent have volunteered in a political campaign.

Sources: Prince & Associates, Advanced Planning Group

MIDDLE-CLASS Millionaires

With a net worth of $1-million to $10-million, the average “middle-class millionaire” spends 70 hours a week at work and takes 12 vacation days. About 67 percent regularly work weekends, 76 percent are always available for business, 14 percent are highly confident the government will protect them from natural disaster or terrorists, and 2 percent have volunteered in a political campaign.

Sources: Prince & Associates, Advanced Planning Group


Take whatever lessons you get from this as you wish.

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Deputy Shoots, Kills Man in Lobby of Courthouse in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — A bailiff shot and killed a 30-year-old Brandon man who opened fire this afternoon at the county courthouse in downtown St. Petersburg, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said.

Glen Lee Powell walked into the main entrance of the courthouse with a backpack and approached two deputies who were stationed by metal detectors, said sheriff’s spokesman Jim Bordner. When they asked him to remove his backpack, the man produced a semiautomatic handgun and opened fire.

The two deputies, B.J. Lyons, 58; and Marvin Glover, 57; returned fire, killing the man. The Sheriff’s Office says a bullet the man fired struck the radio microphone that Lyons was wearing, and grazed his shoulder.

“It was unprovoked,” Bordner said. “Luck and good training were on their side.”

A K-9 unit is scheduled to go through the courthouse this afternoon to inspect the backpack, which remains inside the building. The courthouse is closed for the rest of the day, but is expected to reopen tomorrow.

Bordner said Powell had at least one extra magazine for the handgun. The deputy who was shot has non-life threatening injuries and was taken to Bayfront Medical Center for treatment. He walked into the hospital.

The other deputy was not injured. Both are veterans of the Sheriff’s Office. Their names were not immediately available.

Read the rest here:

*sigh* Can’t we just go back to leaving flaming bags filled with sh** on people’s doorsteps when we’re unhappy?

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Another Boy Tasted by Shark at New Smyrna Beach

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL (AP) — Officials say a 6-year-old boy was bitten in the foot by a shark off the waters of New Smyrna Beach.

Authorities say the boy was bitten Wednesday morning no more than a couple of yards from the shore. His injury was minor. He received stitches at the hospital.

It’s the 11th shark bite this year in Volusia County.

Just last week, three surfers were bitten on their leg or foot.

Their injuries were also minor.

Source: First Coast News

Maybe tourists ought to come to Jacksonville where tourists aren’t taste tested nearly as often.

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Pliny the Elder

Gaius Plinius Secundus (Pliny the Elder) was a remarkable man. He was the possessor of a curious mind and the author of many books, as well as being a Roman military officer. He perished investigating the eruption of Vesuvius.

Pliny also lends his name to a particular type of explosive volcanic eruption, a plinian eruption, such as the one that led to his death. The eruption in Chile of the Chaiten volcano is a plinian-type of eruption. This was surprising coming from a dormant* volcano.

How good are the climate models at predicting things like that? One of my favorite Pliny the Elder quotations:

“Among these things, one thing seems certain – that nothing certain exists and that there is nothing more pitiful or more presumptuous than man.”

* The volcano Chaiten in Chile has not been monitored nor forecasted by INTLVRC’s programme ERUPTION Pro 10.7 to erupt in 2008. Since this volcano has come out of near extinction (dormancy for ~10,000 yrs), it will now be tracked and monitored for further events. This eruption will not be included in the statistical analysis for year 2008 except for the eruption count total.

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I Took a Day Off Today……

….and spent a few carefree hours at the beach and went to a movie with friends. One friend had to be dropped off at the hospital where she would be for the rest of the evening at the bedside of her very ill sister.

After coming home, I started thinking of my friend’s life. She has devoted her entire life to raising her children, her siblings’ children, taking care of her mother, and work. She takes one day a year to go to a movie and munch popcorn with friends.

I wonder how many today would sacrifice so much of themselves for the welfare of the rest of the family. Duty and sacrifice was something that people in previous generations understood. I think that it’s a commodity that is quickly becoming extinct.

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