My World of “Ought to Be”
by Timothy Wilken, MD

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Monday, April 05, 2004

What is the Internet for?

Purple Areas Have Internet 1997Timothy Wilken, MD writes: In 1984, I imagined a future where information and knowledge flowed from home computer-communication terminals like water from a tap, electicity from a plug or gas from a spigot. I am a synergic scientist. Synergy is that postive relationship between humans when both individuals–both self and other– are mutually benefited by their relationship. Both individuals are more happy, more effective, and more productive because of relationship than they would be without the relationship. A synergic scientist seeks to know how such relationships can be created and sustained. In 1984, I originated a prototype for today's web site. It utilized 'state of the art' software that allowed the user to create a RBBS–Regional Bulletin Board System–that ran on the original IBM Personal Computer and its clones. The software could serve information and files and and allow message exchange over a 'state of the art' 1200 baud modem to callers who using their own IBM PC 's could connect using 300 baud to 1200 baud modems. I called this prototype the Future Positive BBS. It was on that BBS, that individuals could download my 18 page proposal for what I called The Knowing Utility. (04/05/04)


Designing Sustainable Communities

FAMU LogoRobert Hsin writes: Global warming, ozone layer depletion, rampant species extinction, overflowing landfills, air pollution, overpopulation, and acid rain, these are just a few of the environmental dilemmas we have created in our modern technocratic society. As our man-made cities expand throughout the globe, the ever-shrinking natural world becomes altered toward a new definition of nature. The line between the natural and the artificial becomes blurred. By the year 2000, 38% of the children born in this world will be from cities with populations in excess of one million people. If these cities are planned and designed with the same priorities and perspectives of today, a great portion of the world's population will lead an existence completely disconnected from nature. This "illiteracy" in our "natural" world is already evident today, being one of the main reasons why humankind now faces extinction due to environmental degradation. Much of our population today views the world through an altered, tunnel-vision reality. It is a technological reality based on the limited perspective of city dwelling. Cities cover only two percent of the world's land mass. If we view the earth from outer space, we see the earth as a whole; an inter-related, complex, living, breathing ecological system, which includes cities as one part of the whole, but not the whole. A society which does not understand the principles and ecological processes of nature cannot function in harmony with the natural world. Society has forgotten that despite our technological advances we are still a part of nature, not above it, and therefore must function as a piece of the whole. How did our society stray so far from ecological reality? The reasons are plentiful and complex. In short, it began with a basic philosophical mistake which, derived from the western Judeo/Christian belief that man was separate from nature. A result of the misinterpretation of the first book of the Old Testament in which God entrusted the earth to Adam and Eve. This was interpreted to emphasize man's divine right to subjugate and exploit nature. When combined with the industrial revolution and the discovery of fossil fuels, this created a recipe for ecological disaster. (04/05/04)


More Troops Needed in Iraq

U.S. Senator Richard LugarReuters Foundation -- The United States may need to bolster its troop presence in Iraq and extend the deadline for transfer to Iraqi rule, amid an insurgency that could lead to civil war, a leading Republican lawmaker said on Sunday. "It may be that we do need more troops ... because I think we have to have security (in Iraq)," U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican and head of the Senate foreign relations committee, said on ABC television's "This Week." Last week, four U.S. contractors were murdered and mutilated in Falluja, with cheering Iraqis parading the charred bodies through the streets and stringing up two of them for public view. On Sunday, Spanish-led troops and Iraqi police fought a 3-hour gun battle with Shi'ite militiamen near Najaf that left almost two dozen Iraqis and four Salvadoran soldiers dead. Lugar said he is worried that when the U.S.-led coalition turns over sovereignty to Iraqis on June 30, the new government will be unable to deal with the violence. "They're at a point in which clearly they can't control the situation," he said. "You have the militia that has not been disarmed, and if in fact the worst situation comes, the militia begin to fight each other, that is, civil war." Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright also said more U.S. troops were probably needed in Iraq, and the Bush administration should get other countries to contribute more forces. ... Lugar said he supported a proposal from Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the top Democrat on the foreign relations panel, that calls for U.S. President George W. Bush to convene a summit with European leaders -- including those who opposed the war -- and repair the U.S.-European alliance. "He (Bush) should tell them that none of us can afford failure in Iraq," Biden wrote in a editorial in the Sunday edition of The Washington Post. (04/05/04)


How Dangeous is Second Hand Smoke?

smokeBBC Health -- Passive smoking is being blamed for an increased risk of death, heart disease and the slower healing of wounds. Research published in the British Medical Journal online found a 15% higher risk of death among non-smokers who live with a smoker. Another study showed the number of heart attack admissions in Helena, US, fell by 40% during a smoking ban. And research published in BMC Cell Biology suggested passive smoking damages cells needed to heal wounds. ... The first study was based on the 1981 and 1996 censuses in New Zealand among those aged 45 to 74. Researchers from the Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences said even after age, ethnicity and social background were taken into account, the 15% increased risk of mortality for passive smokers remained. They said: "The results from this study add to the weight of evidence of harm caused by passive smoking and support steps to reduce exposure to other people's smoke - in the home and in other settings." The Helena ban on smoking in public places and workplaces was imposed between June and November 2002 before a legal decision overturned it. Hospital admissions for heart attack during the ban and for the same months from 1998 to 2003 were looked at by researchers from the University of California. They found admissions fell from an average of 40 during the same months before the ban to 24 during the ban. The researchers said their findings suggest that "smoke-free laws not only protect people from the long-term dangers of second-hand smoke but also that they may be associated with a rapid decrease in heart attacks". The final study, into wound healing, found fibroblast cells became more adhesive because exposure to smoke altered their chemical make-up. As well as reducing the speed of healing, this would account for abnormal scarring of wounds in passive smokers, as the cells remain concentrated at the edge of the wound, preventing it from closing properly, the researchers said. (04/05/04)


It's All Bad News

ReasonOnLine -- Journalist Nir Rosen writes: Rubaei street in Baghdad's Zayuna district is one of the city's unknown oases of normality, far away from the more famous Kindi street of Harthiya or 14 Ramadan street of Mansour in the center of the city. On either side of the wide and brightly lit boulevard good restaurants are open well into the night, the sidewalks are crowded with families and even young couples; expensive cars slowly cruise the street, young men gazing at the crowds of girls in tight clothes. I was sitting outside at dusk (staring at them too) with my Iraqi friend Rana in a fresh fruit juice and ice cream restaurant called Sandra. Rana ate imported ice cream, explaining that she did not eat the local ice cream for fear of nuclear contamination in the milk. She noted that the scene before us reminded her of the days before the war, when she would go out at night with her sisters, unafraid of the dangers that keep women sequestered in their homes today. As she was waxing nostalgic about the good old days under Saddam, a refrain I am by now accustomed to hearing, and I was trying not to roll my eyes, two sharp gunshots cut her words short and returned her to reality. By now the sound of gun shots rarely distracts me, but this time it was too close, and too incongruent with the bustling nightlife. I saw two men walking hurriedly across the street in between the traffic, arms raised and pistols in the air. "They killed a man!" someone shouted. I got up and saw a man in a suit collapsed on the curb, blood spreading from beneath his head. The two men had walked up to him, shot him in the head, taken his pistol, then walked away laughing into a dark street. The crowd grew and cars slowed down as their drivers gazed at the corpse. Soon about fifty men stood around silently, looking at the body then looking away guiltily. Someone tried calling the police but the call did not go through. Two men ran a few hundred meters away to the nearest police checkpoint, but were told by the policemen there that it was somebody else's jurisdiction. Two armed security guards from a building across the street returned panting, having failed to find the killers. They said they provided security for "an official" nearby. People told me the official was a judge. Someone from a nearby shop covered the body with a rug that failed to conceal the growing pool of blood. Half an hour after the shooting, Iraqi police began arriving, just as the several men in the crowd had turned over the body and were looking through his pockets for identification or a phone. When I returned to my hotel I told a photographer about what I had seen. He asked me if I had heard about the explosion in Fallujah. I asked him if he had heard about the deputy chief of police in Mosul getting assassinated. "It's all small news, so you never hear of it," he said. "It's all small news but its all bad news." (04/05/04)


6:22:37 AM    

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