Oct. 3rd, 2007

I've been doing a bit of research into the Middle East of late. Nothing terribly deep or complex (although I am about to start reading the Qu'raan in the hopes of learning something)

I have learnt however that reporting of many things is wildly off base.
To start things off though, this paper (published from Pakistan):
Science and the Islamic world—The quest for rapprochement
Internal causes led to the decline of Islam's scientific greatness long before the era of mercantile imperialism. To contribute once again, Muslims must be introspective and ask what went wrong.

Fascinating reading. The end of the paper is devoted to what can be done about it - and what's happening.

And now in politics.. I went hunting Ahmadinejad's (Iran) speeches (transcription and translation). Very enlightening - the guy's not half the villain the press keeps making him into with misquotes and jumps of illogic. (now it's not to say he's nice - he isn't. And he's no safer than any other "extremist" religious person. I do find his speeches more rational than has been supposed though)
Full transcript of Ahmadinejad Speech at Columbia University
This one's the roughest. Columbia was VERY rude. However it does cover his stances on some of the more questionable issues such as dealings with Israel. (hint: they do NOT want to bomb it) It turns out the "holocaust denial" question isn't on it's happening - but rather why Palestine has to pay for it. I'm not sure where I stand on this now - but last year's meeting that involved prominent Jewish scholars being invited - now makes sense.
Iran's President Ahmadinejad's speech at UN (and NPR version). Two similar translations... with some interesting gems.

A natural result is... Iran college asks Bush to speak (Bush refuses)

There's much about the more "conservative" parts of the Middle East that are quite unpleasant - women's rights issues for instance and education infrastructure.
There is potential for peace.
There is hope.
Various stuff. I think I'll stick some amusing "other" stuff at the end :)

Children 'recover' from TV harm (BBC)
Toddlers who watch too much television are more likely to suffer later behavioural problems - but the damage can be reversed, say researchers.
(there's some scepticism here...)

Alzheimer's Disease Could Be A Third Form Of Diabetes
-> now THIS is interesting... *hmm*
(and sort of related Clue to chemistry of mini-strokes (BBC: to do with elevated levels of uric acid)

and now into different directions:
Though colder than Earth, Titan is tropical in nature (Chicago Chronicle)
Methane is the equivalent of water... neat! (everything is petrochemical in nature... including tar rain? whoah...)

Entrepreneurs rally for new space age
I don't care how many of these stories get published - they're all promoting space. We - as a species - definitely need to go more into space. It's nice that it's not just for governments anymore.

Water forms floating 'bridge' when exposed to high voltage
The fun thing is... why? This doesn't answer that - but it does cover 'how' somewhat. Neat physics!

Hydrogen from Algae
this one could be VERY important and perhaps even the breakthrough that opens hydrogen up as a viable fuel alternative in many uses...
(about 5 years 'til viable - but it's all steps, eh?)


some random asides:
US approves N Korea nuclear plan - good. It's already been passed by others and is already on schedule... so perhaps that chapter can finally be put behind.

Wal-Mart set to open Mexico banks .... WTF??? This can't be good.

And - another reason why the Canadian Dollar has risen above the US recently here: Federal budget surplus balloons to $14B (CBC). Our country's getting richer finally.

A touch of comedy at the end of it all: I'm In An Open Relationship With The Lord - The Onion. Amusing :)

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Teunis Peters

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