Here is what the competition is looking like for an iPhone.
Free-for-all is a term generally used to describe chaos. And chaos is a word one could use to describe much of Delhi. But at the Gurdwara Bangla Sahib kitchen, a Sikh temple which serves meals to around 10,000 people every single day, there’s not a trace of chaos. And the food is free. For all.
This week, Alex and I are at the Doors of Perception conference in India, where the theme is “Food and Juice.” It’s an exploration of food systems worldwide, and the energy required to make them go. On the first full day of the conference, the fifty-odd attendees split into small groups to go exploring the city of Delhi through its food culture. A number of groups focused on the prolific street vendor network, several looked at Delhi’s water, and my group of nine went to Gurdwara Bangla Sahib to see how they achieve the daunting task of feeding thousands of people in single a day. As Debra Solomon told us when introducing the excursion the previous evening: “They do the most exquisite dishwashing ritual you’ll ever see.” But actually, the Sikh guide who escorted us through the temple grounds told us in no uncertain terms that the kitchen activities are absolutely without ritual. “Cooking food is cooking food,” he said, “No ritual. Just cooking.” But if it can’t be called a ritual, it can surely be called a dance — a rhythmic, continuous choreography with mounds of dough, cauldrons of lentils, dozens of hands, and an endless stream of hungry visitors.
Every Sikh temple throughout the world has a Langar (Punjabi for “free kitchen”). This is not a soup kitchen. It’s not exclusively for the poor, nor exclusively for the Sikh community. Volunteering in the cooking, serving and cleaning process is a form of active spiritual practice for devotees, but the service they provide asks no religious affiliation of its recipients. Our guide’s chorus was, “Man, woman, color, caste, community,” meaning you will be fed here regardless of how you fit into any of those classifications. This spirit of inclusion and equality is reinforced by the kitchen’s adherence to vegetarianism, not because Sikhs are vegetarian, but because others who visit may be, and by serving no meat, they exclude nobody.
Secret Service agents have questioned an Alameda man about a display in his front yard featuring a cardboard cutout of President Bush with a knife through his head.
Michael McDonald said he was grilled for about 90 minutes by two agents who asked about his personal history and his political views. They also asked him to allow access to his medical records, he said.
The cutout also shows painted blood running over the president’s eyes and down the bridge of his nose.
McDonald said the federal agents asked if he interpreted his work as a threat against the country’s chief executive. He said he didn’t.
“They said, ‘You’ve got a knife sitting in the head of the president of the United States,”’ McDonald told The Oakland Tribune. “I said, ‘No, I got a knife in a piece of cardboard.”’
McDonald, 55, said he has been placing art in his front yard for 13 years. He rotates the pieces monthly.
The Bush piece remains in place. He painted over the president’s likeness in yellow and penciled in a swastika on the chest. The knife still pierces the forehead, running through a recently added sign that says, “Anonymous.”
“his medical records” of course implies he’s mentally unstable, just like in the old soviet union…
A journalist who fell to his death from a fifth-story window had received threats while gathering material for a report claiming Russia planned to provide sophisticated weapons to Syria and Iran, his newspaper said Tuesday.
We received what appears to be an internal Walmart PowerPoint presentation detailing its plan to break down it customers into three core segments, a strategy that announced last week.
There’s 29 slides in total. We enjoy slide 4. On it, Walmart classifies 14% of “The Shopper Universe” as being “Conscientious Objectors.” We guess these are the people who refuse to shop at Walmart on principle.
If you’ve been calling yourself a Christian, you should stop.
If you have ever encouraged someone to become a Christian, you should never do that again.
Seriously, I hope you will never again ask a friend, family member, coworker, or neighbor to become a Christian.
Why? Because the last thing the mission of Jesus Christ needs is more Christians.
Here is the brutal fact: 85 percent of the people in the United States call themselves Christians. Now, let’s pause long enough to realize that’s a whole lot of people—247 million people, to be exact.
But how are those 85 percent doing when it comes to accomplishing Jesus’ mission? Here is what research tells us about people in North America who call themselves Christians:
• Those who call themselves Christians are no more likely to give assistance to a homeless person on the street than non-Christians.
• Those who call themselves Chris-tians are no more likely than non-Christians to correct the mistake when a cashier gives them too much change.
• A Christian is just as likely to have an elective abortion as a non-Christian.
• Christians divorce at the same rate as those who consider themselves non-Christians.
• Even though there are more big churches than ever before filled with people who proudly wear the title Christian, 50 percent of Christian churches didn’t help one single person find salvation.
In fact, when the Barna Research Group did a survey involving 152 separate items comparing the general population with those who called themselves Christians, they found virtually no difference between the two groups. They found no difference in the attitudes of Christians and non-Christians, and they found no difference in the actions of Christians and non-Christians. If the contemporary concept of a Christian is of someone who is no different than the rest of the world, is Christian really the word you want to use to describe your willingness to sacrifice everything you have to see God’s dream fulfilled? No way.
According to Jesus’s teaching all those Christians should be cooking dinner and making a bed for a homeless person tonight. There shouldn’t be anymore people out on the streets.
What’s more, if the guest steals their DVD player and sells it for crack, the Christian should go find them and invite them back again. Jesus was pretty clear about that as well. Modern Christianity has nothing to do with the gospel and goals of Jesus, and everything to do with being part of a club, judging others, and generally feeling holier than thou.
Ms. Readling, a 50-year-old real estate agent, is one of nearly 47 million people in America with no health insurance.
Increasingly, the problem affects middle-class people like Ms. Readling, who said she made about $60,000 last year. As an independent contractor, like many real estate agents, Ms. Readling does not receive health benefits from an employer. She tried to buy a policy in the individual insurance market, but — having had cancer — could not obtain coverage, except at a price exceeding $27,000 a year, which was more than she could pay.
Today, more than one-third of the uninsured — 17 million of the nearly 47 million — have family incomes of $40,000 or more, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a nonpartisan organization. More than two-thirds of the uninsured are in households with at least one full-time worker.
Ms. Readling’s experience is typical; people who have had serious illnesses often have difficulty obtaining insurance. If coverage is available, the premiums are often more than they can afford.
While the government does not have an official definition of “middle class,” one commonly used point of reference is the median household income, which was $46,326 in 2005.
Katherine Swartz, a professor of health policy and economics at Harvard, said the soaring cost of health care was a major reason for the increase in the number of uninsured. She said it also reflected long-term changes in the economy, like the decline in manufacturing jobs and the growth in the share of workers in service industries and small businesses, which are less likely to provide health benefits.
Moreover, Ms. Swartz said, “Companies have become more aggressive in hiring people as temporary or contract workers with no fringe benefits.”
“I am scared to get married because I don’t have insurance,” Ms. Readling said. “If I have to go to the hospital and I can’t pay my hospital bills, what happens? Do they go after him? Can they take your home?”
To collect unpaid medical bills, health care providers often obtain judgments against a patient’s spouse, as well as the patient, and file liens against their homes. Ms. Readling says she does not own a house, but her fiancé does.
The idea of universal coverage, in the form proposed by President Bill Clinton, proved politically untenable. Since the Clinton plan collapsed in 1994, the politics of health care have changed because of the steady rise in health costs, the increase in the number of uninsured and the erosion of employer-sponsored insurance. Politicians are once again speaking about universal coverage as a goal, though opinion polls show that many voters still oppose the idea of a government-run health care system.
The author should start reading his own paper:
The poll found Americans across party lines willing to make some sacrifice to ensure that every American has access to health insurance. Sixty percent, including 62 percent of independents and 46 percent of Republicans, said they would be willing to pay more in taxes. Half said they would be willing to pay as much as $500 a year more.
Moreover, an overwhelming majority in the current poll said the health care system needed fundamental change or total reorganization, just as they did in the early 1990s, when a deep recession and soaring health care costs galvanized the public and spurred the Clinton drive.
But now, as then, this concern did not translate into a consensus on what should replace it.
One question offered a choice between the current system and a national health insurance program covering everyone, administered by the government and financed by taxpayers. Thirty-eight percent said they preferred the current system, 47 percent the government-run approach.
Once the closest adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted Tuesday of lying and obstructing a leak investigation that shook the top levels of the Bush administration.
Four guilty verdicts ended a seven-week CIA leak trial that focused new attention on the Bush administration’s much-criticized handling of intelligence reports about weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the Iraq war.
Meanwhile, on Fox:
inister Klink van Volksgezondheid heeft op de valreep een streep gezet door een reclamecampagne om orgaandonatie te bevorderen. Afgelopen donderdag kreeg het Nederlands Instituut voor Gezondheidsbevordering en Ziektepreventie (NIGZ), dat de campagne in opdracht van het ministerie uitbesteedt, te horen dat twee foto’s ‘niet passend’ zijn.
De Tweede Kamerfractie van GroenLinks vermoedt dat Klink – tot voor kort directeur van het wetenschappelijk instituut van het CDA – de beelden heeft afgekeurd omdat er te veel bloot op staat. Fractievoorzitter Halsema vreest dat het te maken heeft met de fatsoensnormen van het nieuwe sociaal-christelijke kabinet. Zij heeft Klink schriftelijke vragen gesteld.
Dus dit is voor de zwarte kousen al te bloot:
Canada must strengthen its copyright laws to prevent illicit pirating of American music and films, which has allegedly become a big business here, US Ambassador David Wilkins said Thursday.
“We are asking the government of Canada to strengthen your copyright laws,” he told a luncheon, adding that current Canadian copyright laws are “the weakest of the G7 countries.”
“There’s a lot of pirating that goes on, a lot of counterfeiting of movies and songs” and “it really does cost the Canadian economy a huge amount every year, estimated to be from some 10 to 30 billion (dollars) per year,” he said.
30 billion dollars for 33 million people, that’s a bit over 900 dollars worth of piracy per citizen. I don’t believe it.
In a pilot marketing campaign called “It’s Not Cheating” Microsoft is practically giving away its $1150 Office Ultimate 2007 suite to Australian uni students for just $75. That is, if its Windows Live OneCare phishing warnings don’t scare away too many prospective buyers.
The discount, made available through the www.itsnotcheating.com.au website, was launched on February 26 and offers a 95 percent saving on a lifetime licence version of Office Ultimate 2007. Students can also choose to purchase a one year licence of the product for $25 with the option to renew its longevity after the initial 12 month period runs out.
However, the effort may be all for naught unless Microsoft reins in its Windows Live OneCare security software which in some cases identifies the site as a potential phishing scam.
When entering the site, some users have reported receiving a warning from Windows Live OneCare advising that the www.itsnotcheating.com.au site is a suspicious website.
The warning reads: “Phishing filter has determined this might be a phishing website. We recommend that you do not give any of your information to such websites. Phishing websites impersonate trustworthy websites for the purpose of obtaining your personal or financial information.”
In the same vein, Windows Live OneCare started deleting Internet Explorer from computers because it deemed it a “Generic Trojan”
From an economic standpoint, when the cost of crime goes down, frequency goes up. How does the legal system fight back? One way is to increase enforcement and catch more people. But when it comes to cybercrime, no one really expects law enforcement to keep up technologically with criminals—it’s an arms race the criminals keep winning. An alternative is to raise the penalties, in hopes of deterring criminals who weigh the benefits of committing their crimes against the risk of getting caught.
In that vein, in August the Senate ratified the Convention on Cybercrime, drafted by the Council of Europe with considerable input from the United States. So far, 43 nations have signed on. The Convention includes many sensible provisions aimed at unifying global computer-crime laws, and closes loopholes that make it possible for criminals to escape prosecution by locating their activities offshore.
But civil libertarians, along with leading telecommunications companies, strongly oppose the treaty. Civil libertarians are especially concerned about the sweeping authority given to participating countries to seize information from private parties as they investigate cybercrimes, even when the activity being investigated isn’t a crime in the country where the data is located. If France is investigating a sale of Nazi memorabilia on eBay, the U.S. must cooperate, even though such transactions are not illegal in the U.S.
Telecommunications companies object to provisions that require member countries to establish and enforce potent data-retention policies for network traffic, and require any operator of a computer network to respond to requests for information from any participating country without compensation of any kind.
Worse, Article 12 attaches liability to businesses for “lack of supervision or control” of employees who commit criminal offenses covered by the Convention. Businesses must worry about employee activities that may be legal here, but illegal elsewhere, risking administrative, civil, or even criminal penalties.
These investigative and supervision costs will invariably be imposed on businesses without any real controls. Worldwide law-enforcement agencies, in other words, may now avail themselves of the opportunity to outsource their most expensive problems to you.