A group of South African students and an aid agency in Norway
are challenging the stereotypical image of Africa as a continent
riddled with conflict, disease, corruption, poverty, and brutal
dictatorships needing rescue from developed nations. ...
... The video is humorous, but there is a serious message. The point is
that images of helpless Africans are just as inaccurate as the idea of
helpless freezing Norwegians. A lot of Africans cannot relate to the
patronizing videos and development initiatives.
The organization says it has certain goals with the video.
Among them, that fundraising "should not be based on exploiting
stereotypes" and that media should have more respect in portraying
"We want to see more nuances," it writes on
its website. "We want to know about positive developments in Africa and
developing countries, not only about crises, poverty and AIDS. We need
more attention on how western countries have a negative impact on
Much like snowflakes, no two people seem to react to a good scare the same way. Nightmares Fear Factory in Niagara Falls, Canada,
illustrates this point by taking a picture of people at a particularly
terrifying moment in their haunted house. It is unknown what exactly
they're looking at - but it's obviously pretty scary.
Here are three samples:
Upon further investigation, we now know what these people were looking at. These folks actually were not in the huanted house. The were waiting in line to enter. Someone had left on a big screeen TV at the entry and they were watching this:
During my quite time this morning, I received this distrubing vision from the Lord:
And the citizens of the United States cried out, “How long, Oh Lord! How long shall we endure this presidential campaign!”
And behold an angel of the Lord appeared and said, “The tribulation shall be two weeks of weeks, fourteen weeks in all. Eight-four days is the allotted time. The world will be filled with prophecies. There will be visions of donkeys enslaving the world to socialism, creating death panels, plotting economic apocalypse, and ending national defense. There will be visions of elephants decimating the poor and middle class to lift up the wealthy, throwing the elderly and the ill into the streets, killing everything in the environment, and replacing the Bible with ‘Atlas Shrugged.’
There will be no respite, no escape, from the reach of the campaign. The mark of the campaign shall be upon everything … cars, billboards, coffee mugs, pens, and stickers on office walls. Yard signs will spring from the ground as a great plague. Many will bear the mark of the campaign upon themselves with lapel pins and buttons. Like locusts in Egypt, campaign ads will consume advertising space. Everywhere you turn … television or internet … grainy black and white images of vile antichrists will appear. Radio and phone message will be saturated with foreboding voices accompanied by ominous music. Angels of light will appear proclaiming that they alone can bring salvation. Two weeks of weeks is the appointed time of tribulation. No more, no less. Only then, will this tribulation cease.”
And the people cried out, “And then what? What shall we see then?”
And the angel replied, “The beginning of the next presidential race.”
The citizens tore their clothes in anguish and there was wailing across the land. The people cried out, “Surely this cannot be so! Are you truly an angel of the Lord? How can we trust the message you have brought us?”
And then the clouds parted and great booming voice was heard, “This is the Lord! … and I approve this message.”
For sale: Belgian soccer fans for euro 2012. Second hand but mint condition. Not been used since Fifa World Cup 2002.
Once again we Belgians have no team to root for at the euro 2012 soccer championship. Since tournaments are much more fun when you have a favourite team, we decided to put our fandom for sale at ebay. All profits will be sent directly to Unicef.
What is for sale: During Euro 2012, all members of this facebookgroup:
will root for the national soccer team of the highest bidder, or the national team of his choice. Even if it's Holland. We will watch the games, wear the colours, possibly even buy the flag and learn the national anthem. Pictures and videos will be made and sent to the winning bidder to be posted on his or her website. Slight hooliganism is available at extra cost. We can, for example, kick a pigeon or smoke in a non-smoking area if such pleases our master.
Once the team is eliminated, we will grieve for 24 hours and then put ourselves for sale again on ebay. Hopefully joined by the previous winner since he or she will also have become an orphaned soccer fan by then.
Nearly a quarter of the participating schools in Georgia require families to make a profession of religious faith, according to their Web sites. Many of those schools adhere to a fundamentalist brand of Christianity. A commonly used sixth-grade science text retells the creation story contained in Genesis, omitting any other explanation. An economics book used in some high schools holds that the Antichrist — a world ruler predicted in the New Testament — will one day control what is bought and sold.
Everyone knows the antichrist will not control what is bought and sold. That will be Skynet.
On another note, while flipping through the channels on the radio yesterday, I came across an ad for "affordable biblical heatlhcare." I wasn't aware they had healthcare plans in Ancient Israel or the Roman Empire. ;-)
Give your loved one a nerdy Valentine and they'll be yours forever! Why? Because if you give them diamonds/cufflinks this year, anything you get them next year will fall short. Give them one of these and anything they receive next year will be a step up. It's called expectation management and is the key to a long and happy relationship. On that dismal (science heyoo) note, Happy Valentine's Day.
This sort of reminds me of watching an episode of "The Big Bang Theory." Here are a couple of examples:
A Presbyterian congregation recently lost their pastor to retirement. The congregation did some visioning and decided they wanted to go in some bold new directions. They needed someone younger to bring fresh ideas. So the Pastor Nominating Committee (PNC) decided to go after some newly minted seminary graduates to lead them in a bold new era.
The PNC narrowed the field down to three candidates. They decided to get them together and interview them in person one after the other. They developed some preliminary questions but they thought one way to get at theological underpinnings might be to ask the candidates “What is Easter?
The day came and the three candidates eagerly awaited their interviews. The first candidate was invited in to meet with the PNC but when she was asked “What is Easter?” she looked like a deer in the headlights. Stammering and stuttering she said, “Uh Easter is… uh …well ….Easter is a time every November when people get together with families and show their thanks for what God has done in there lives.”
The PNC members sat in stunned disbelief. At first they thought maybe she was joking but they realized she was sincere. They politely wrapped up the interview and, upon her exit, concluded among themselves that surely this was just an exceptional case that some how slipped through the system.
The PNC regrouped and invited the second candidate in for an interview. When they came to the Easter question, to their amazement, they got the same kind of response! “Er..uh…well, Easter is a time every December when people get together with families, exchange gifts, and celebrate Jesus in their lives.”
The PNC could not believe what they were hearing. “What are they teaching at seminaries?” they thought to themselves. They quickly wrapped up the interview and dismissed the candidate. The reality of what they had gotten themselves into was beginning to sink in. They began to doubt that they could ever find a satisfactory pastor.
They invited the last candidate in, their hopes all but gone. They started the interview and once more they asked the question about Easter. The candidate, without batting an eye said, “Ah, Easter. Possibly my favorite event in the Christian Calendar. Easter occurs on the Sunday that follows the Jewish Passover celebration each year in the spring.”
The PNC members suddenly felt hope swelling within them once again.
Continuing, he said, “It is a time when we celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a celebration of the event where Jesus was laid in the tomb, arose on the third day, the stone was rolled back, and Jesus emerged from the tomb!”
The PNC was now nearly beside themselves with Joy. God had answered their prayers!
Sensing their delight in his answer, the candidate continued to expound, “And, of course, having emerged from the tomb, Jesus looked to see if he could see his shadow and whether he needed to spend six more weeks in the tomb.”
Here is an interesting economic lesson on supply, demand, and market prices from the book of 2 Kings, Chapter 7. (HT: Freakonomics) Just to set the scene, Samaria is under siege from Aram. Famine has set in. Food prices are exorbitant. Cannibalism has begun:
2 Kings 7
1 But Elisha said, "Hear the word of the Lord: thus says the Lord, Tomorrow about this time a measure of choice meal shall be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria." 2 Then the captain on whose hand the king leaned said to the man of God, "Even if the Lord were to make windows in the sky, could such a thing happen?" But he said, "You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat from it."
3 Now there were four leprous men outside the city gate, who said to one another, "Why should we sit here until we die? 4 If we say, 'Let us enter the city,' the famine is in the city, and we shall die there; but if we sit here, we shall also die. Therefore, let us desert to the Aramean camp; if they spare our lives, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die." 5 So they arose at twilight to go to the Aramean camp; but when they came to the edge of the Aramean camp, there was no one there at all. 6 For the Lord had caused the Aramean army to hear the sound of chariots, and of horses, the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, "The king of Israel has hired the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to fight against us." 7 So they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys leaving the camp just as it was, and fled for their lives. 8 When these leprous men had come to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent, ate and drank, carried off silver, gold, and clothing, and went and hid them. Then they came back, entered another tent, carried off things from it, and went and hid them.
9 Then they said to one another, "What we are doing is wrong. This is a day of good news; if we are silent and wait until the morning light, we will be found guilty; therefore let us go and tell the king's household." 10 So they came and called to the gatekeepers of the city, and told them, "We went to the Aramean camp, but there was no one to be seen or heard there, nothing but the horses tied, the donkeys tied, and the tents as they were." 11 Then the gatekeepers called out and proclaimed it to the king's household. 12 The king got up in the night, and said to his servants, "I will tell you what the Arameans have prepared against us. They know that we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide themselves in the open country, thinking, 'When they come out of the city, we shall take them alive and get into the city.'" 13 One of his servants said, "Let some men take five of the remaining horses, since those left here will suffer the fate of the whole multitude of Israel that have perished already; let us send and find out." 14 So they took two mounted men, and the king sent them after the Aramean army, saying, "Go and find out." 15 So they went after them as far as the Jordan; the whole way was littered with garments and equipment that the Arameans had thrown away in their haste. So the messengers returned, and told the king.
16 Then the people went out, and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a measure of choice meal was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the Lord. 17 Now the king had appointed the captain on whose hand he leaned to have charge of the gate; the people trampled him to death in the gate, just as the man of God had said when the king came down to him. 18 For when the man of God had said to the king, "Two measures of barley shall be sold for a shekel, and a measure of choice meal for a shekel, about this time tomorrow in the gate of Samaria," 19 the captain had answered the man of God, "Even if the Lord were to make windows in the sky, could such a thing happen?" And he had answered, "You shall see it with your own eyes, but you shall not eat from it." 20 It did indeed happen to him; the people trampled him to death in the gate.
I'm not sure what lessons to draw from the story. Certainly one lesson as that when there is an economic correction underway it is best not be a government gatekeeper for economic acitivity. ;-)
Jeopardy! genius Ken Jennings on what it's like to play against a supercomputer.
... But there's no shame in losing to silicon, I thought to myself as I greeted the (suddenly friendlier) team of IBM engineers after the match. After all, I don't have 2,880 processor cores and 15 terabytes of reference works at my disposal—nor can I buzz in with perfect timing whenever I know an answer. My puny human brain, just a few bucks worth of water, salts, and proteins, hung in there just fine against a jillion-dollar supercomputer.
"Watching you on Jeopardy! is what inspired the whole project," one IBM engineer told me, consolingly. "And we looked at your games over and over, your style of play. There's a lot of you in Watson." I understood then why the engineers wanted to beat me so badly: To them, I wasn't the good guy, playing for the human race. That was Watson's role, as a symbol and product of human innovation and ingenuity. So my defeat at the hands of a machine has a happy ending, after all. At least until the whole system becomes sentient and figures out the nuclear launch codes. But I figure that's years away.
Interesting reflection by Jennings. But what I really want to know is if anyone can tell me why the image below just become the wallpaper on my computer, my cellphone, and my cable TV.
Forty-one years ago this month, Len Dawnson led the Chiefs to their first and only Super Bowl Championship in Super Bowl IV. For forty years the Chiefs have been wandering in the football wilderness. But to make matters worse, the chiefs have had chances to return to the big show six times over the last seventeen years. The last time the Chiefs won a playoff game was against the Oilers in a divisional playoff game on January 16, 1994, under the leadership of Joe Montana. They lost the next week to the Bills in the conference championship game.
Since then, the Chiefs have made it to the playoffs five times, only to lose the opening game: '95, '96, '97, '04, and '07. Probably the most painful loss was the '96 playoffs when the Chiefs had home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The divisional game was against the Colts on a bitterly cold day. They lost 10-7 in a game where Lin Elliot missed three field goals and three of Bono's fourteen complete passes were to the defense. (For a complete recounting of Chief's misery, see blogger Benjamin Herrold's post.) No team has lost seven consecutive playoff games.
So Chief's fans come to this weekend in hopes of deliverance from their wilderness wanderings and ending their string of playoff futility. In honor of the event, I thouht I would offer a Chief's playoff carol for the hometown faithful.
O come, O come, Matt Cassel
O come, O come, Matt Cassel And put an end to our losing spell We wait in chilly Arrowhead here Until the Chiefs of old reappear Go Chiefs! Go Chiefs! Matt Cassel Shall come to us, and end our losing spell.
O come, Thou Coach Todd Haley, free Chiefs fans from hapless tyranny From football Hell Thy faithful save Put opponents hopes in the grave Go Chiefs! Go Chiefs! Matt Cassel Shall come to us, and end our losing spell.
O come, Chiefs players, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And winless shadows put to flight. Go Chiefs! Go Chiefs! Matt Cassel Shall come to us, and end our losing spell.
That said, I confess I really feel a bit like Mircacle Max in The Princess Bride, sending off Wesley and friends to storm the Castle.
It's less than a week until the elections and the TV channels are saturated with political ads. The ads this year have gotten pretty mean and nasty. For example, take the race for senate in Missouri between Roy Blunt (R) and Robin Carnahan (D). In a nutshell, here is how the interation of campaign themes has unfolded.
Carnahan: Roy Blunt is part of the “Old Boy” network in D.C.
Blunt : Robin Carnahan supports the same old failed Democrat policies.
Carnahan: Blunt took money from crooked lobbyists.
Blunt: Carnahan is a lapdog to unions.
Carnahan: Blunt takes candy from children and enjoys torturing small animals.
Blunt: Carnahan wants to kill your grandparents.
Carnahan: Blunt wants to lay waste to the planet.
Blunt: Carnahan wants to turn America into a communist state.
Carnahan: Blunt was a part of Bush’s secret plot to bring down the World Trade Center and blame it on Muslims.
Blunt: Carnahan is the Manchurian Candidate.
Carnahan: Blunt was artificially conceived using DNA from Adolf Hitler.
Blunt: Carnahan is the secret love-child of Satan worshipers and her name adds up to 666.
This may seem bad, but just look at where Carnahan has gone now:
Carnahan: Roy Blunt supported the New York Yankees in the American League Championship.
Folks, there has to be a limit on free speech. Things have just gone too far.
... As might be expected, the Cato Institute has some sensible words on the subject of NASA: here, here, and here. If you don’t want to believe these guys, see what Martin Rees, professor of cosmology and astrophysics at Cambridge University, has said about manned space flight: “The moon landings were an important impetus to technology but you have to ask the question, what is the case for sending people back into space? I think that the practical case gets weaker and weaker with every advance in robotics and miniaturisation. It’s hard to see any particular reason or purpose in going back to the moon or indeed sending people into space at all.”
Fortunately, President Obama has been eminently sensible on the moon, having already scrapped the moon landing project that had been in the works for some time. Indeed, the announcement of this decision provided what might be my favorite – and most refreshing – quotation from our 44th President: ”Now, I understand that some believe that we should attempt a return to the surface of the Moon first, as previously planned. But I just have to say pretty bluntly here: We’ve been there before.” I just wish he had scrapped most of the NASA missions, turned over what could be justified on national defense/public goods grounds to the Department of Defense and other agencies, and sold whatever was left over to private industry. Now that would be change I could believe in!
But of course this just illustrates that Obama lies. We all know we've never been to the moon. It was all broadcast from a soundstage in Burbank, CA. How can you trust a guy who wasn't born in the U.S. <***Big grin with tongue firmly in cheek.***>