July 6th, 2006

Chris Keeley

railway hackers in Cambodia have built "bamboo trains" powered by electric motors that ply the aband

A tiny electric generator engine provides the power, and the passenger accommodation is a bamboo platform that rests on top of two sets of wheels.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5110236.stm

Cambodia's homebrew bamboo trains

Entrepreneurial railway hackers in Cambodia have built "bamboo trains" powered by electric motors that ply the abandoned rails of the nation's decrepit rail system. With only one scheduled train per week, these jerry-rigged trains are an easy way to move people and cargo around the Cambodian countryside.
A tiny electric generator engine provides the power, and the passenger accommodation is a bamboo platform that rests on top of two sets of wheels. A dried-grass mat to sit on counts as a luxury.

It would be a white-knuckle ride - if there were actually anything to hold on to.

The bamboo trains reach about 40km/h (25mph), with the track just a couple of inches below the passengers. Warped and broken rails make for a bone-shaking journey...

Low fares add to the appeal, but the service is not without its quirks. There is only one track - so if two trains meet, the one with the lightest load has to be taken off the rails so the other can pass.

Link
Chris Keeley

Let's ramp up the intelligence of politics

a political manifesto calling for wiki-style politics, where Wikipedia colelctive editorial methods will be brought to bear on political campaigns to analyze them for their substance.

http://campaigns.wikia.com/wiki/Mission_Statement

Wikipedia founder calls for political campaign wikis

Jimmy "Wikipedia" Wales has penned a political manifesto calling for wiki-style politics, where Wikipedia colelctive editorial methods will be brought to bear on political campaigns to analyze them for their substance. He's calling for interested parties to sign up for a planning mailing-list/community:
The candidates who will win elections in the future will be the candidates who build genuinely participative campaigns by generating and expanding genuine communities of engaged citizens.

I am launching today a new Wikia website aimed at being a central meeting ground for people on all sides of the political spectrum who think that it is time for politics to become more participatory, and more intelligent.

This website, Campaigns Wikia, has the goal of bringing together people from diverse political perspectives who may not share much else, but who share the idea that they would rather see democratic politics be about engaging with the serious ideas of intelligent opponents, about activating and motivating ordinary people to get involved and really care about politics beyond the television soundbites.

Together, we will start to work on educating and engaging the political campaigns about how to stop being broadcast politicians, and how to start being community and participatory politicians.

Link
Chris Keeley

That's the ultimate joke that God plays on us guys

He said he still uses methamphetamine "only every couple of months" and remains sexually active. "I don't always keep myself safe, but I'd never put someone else at risk," he said. "I always disclose. I've never been so high that I didn't remember or think to disclose."

HIV-Positive Group May Hold the Key to Defeating AIDS

Infected but not ill, 'elite controllers' make up less than 1% of those with the virus. They may hold the key to its cure.
By James Ricci
Times Staff Writer

July 6, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Traywick's personal life has been a treatise on how to contract AIDS.

A gay man, he'd been "very sexually active" in San Francisco in the late 1970s, he said, and tended toward unprotected encounters. Then he entered a long-term monogamous relationship, and after he lost both it and his job as a computer specialist, he sank into a life of hard revelry and so much intravenous methamphetamine use that he wound up homeless on the streets of the city's Tenderloin district.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

He now has a brand-new, government-financed apartment where he can drink as much as he wants.

Each had been a street drunk for several years and had failed at least six efforts at sobriety. In a controversial acknowledgment of their addiction, the residents — 70 men and 5 women — can drink in their rooms. They do not have to promise to drink less, attend Alcoholics Anonymous or go to church. 

Kevin P. Casey for The New York Times

Howard Hunt, 41, homeless since 1999, moved into 1811 Eastlake in Seattle on the day it opened, in 2005

Homeless Alcoholics Receive a Permanent Place to Live, and Drink

SEATTLE, June 30 — Rodney Littlebear was a homeless drunk who for 15 years ran up the public tab with trips to jail, homeless shelters and emergency rooms.

He now has a brand-new, government-financed apartment where he can drink as much as he wants. It is part of a first-in-the-nation experiment to ease the torment of drug and alcohol addiction while saving taxpayers' money.

Last year, King County created a list of 200 "chronic public inebriates" in the Seattle region who had cost the most to round up and care for. Seventy-five were offered permanent homes in a new apartment building known by its address, 1811 Eastlake.

Collapse )
Chris Keeley

the intelligence services of the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, and even Israel, hav

There's a lot of reason to believe that Iran would not hit Israel or begin attacking American facilities around the world, but instead hit the hanging overripe fruit, hanging in the Gulf, which is all of the oil and gas production facilities in Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar. They’re all out there unprotected. Iran could simply lob a few missiles into some of those facilities and cause horrific consequences for us. We would go dark. We wouldn’t be able to fly our planes as much, our commercial airliners. Gasoline would go up to enormous prices. Iran has that capability. 

Seymour Hersh: Senior Pentagon Officials Challenging President Bush's Iran War Plans

Thursday, July 6th, 2006

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/07/06/1349230

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh reports that the Defense Department has been drawing up plans, at President Bush's direction, for a major bombing campaign inside Iran. Hersh says that generals and admirals have told the Bush Administration the bombing campaign will probably not succeed in destroying Iran's nuclear program and that war planners are not even sure what to target. [includes rush transcript]

 


North Korea acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that it had test-fired a series of missiles and vowed to continue launching them. It also threatened to use force if the international community tired to stop it.

The UN Security Council is due to reconvene later to discuss a draft resolution in response to the launches. President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are pushing for sanctions against Pyongyang. We'll have more on North Korea later in the program, but first, we take a look at another member of the Bush administration's so-called "axis of evil:" Iran.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday that Iran should respond by July 15th to an international offer aimed at halting its controversial nuclear program. The package demands that Iran suspend uranium enrichment in return for economic and political incentives.

Iran says its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and is designed to meet its energy needs, but the United States says it is using it to develop nuclear weapons.

The Bush administration agreed earlier this year to engage in direct talks with Iran but the military option is still very much on the table. The Defense Department has been drawing up plans, at the President's direction, for a major bombing campaign inside Iran.

In this week's issue of the New Yorker magazine, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh reports that senior Pentagon officials are increasingly challenging the President's plans. Hersh writes that generals and admirals have told the Administration the bombing campaign will probably not succeed in destroying Iran's nuclear program and that war planners are not even sure what to target.

 

  • Seymour Hersh, Pulitzer prize-winning reporter for the New Yorker magazine. Read Hersh's article "Last Stand."
Collapse )
Chris Keeley

WASHINGTON, July 3 — The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mis

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.

July 4, 2006

C.I.A. Closes Unit Focused on Capture of bin Laden

WASHINGTON, July 3 — The Central Intelligence Agency has closed a unit that for a decade had the mission of hunting Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenants, intelligence officials confirmed Monday.

The unit, known as Alec Station, was disbanded late last year and its analysts reassigned within the C.I.A. Counterterrorist Center, the officials said.

The decision is a milestone for the agency, which formed the unit before Osama bin Laden became a household name and bolstered its ranks after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush pledged to bring Mr. bin Laden to justice "dead or alive."

The realignment reflects a view that Al Qaeda is no longer as hierarchical as it once was, intelligence officials said, and a growing concern about Qaeda-inspired groups that have begun carrying out attacks independent of Mr. bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Collapse )