Talking Points 17 July

Brett, Venessa; thankyou. And after Bob’s kind words about the standard of postings by the WHYS community, this site may make you laugh….it certainly did me.

While we’re on the subject i had to delete two “drive by” postings yesterday, both from regulars. Just to say that’s a first warning for both of you. If you think i’m strict , if you want to post to Gawker you get your first comment on for free , to see if it’s any good, then you may be allowed to join.

This was pointed out in an excellent article by my BBC colleague David Gregory in our in-house magazine Ariel. Called “How wise is the wisdon of the crowds ?” , I don’t think it’s available online but here is part of his conclusion…

“In the end it isn’t enough to just throw open the gates to debate. You need to put in a framework that creates an environment where thought can flourish with tools for communities to police themselves. This doesn’t mean controlling what is said. But there’s nothing wrong with cracking down on stupidity and bad grammar. “

Anyway, apart from regulating you lot, we still have the radio part of WHYS to sort out. Ros and Simon have landed in Cape Town for tomorrow’s programme, while Fiona and Karnie battle with the engineers and the might of our old chums SABC on Robben Island itself.

We talked about American culture yesterday – purely of course to have a go at them – but i see the Pope’s having a pop at the TV and the internet for promoting sex and violence as entertainment..

“I ask myself, could anyone standing face to face with people who actually do suffer violence and sexual exploitation explain that these tragedies, portrayed in virtual form, are considered merely entertainment?” 

He’s also talking about insatiable consumption , and how he thinks the world is growing weary of exploitation and greed.

Is it too easy to blame TV and the web for some of society’s ills ?

I was struck too, by this article written by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times where he talks about America’s apparent unpopularity around the world, but asks the question..

Maybe Asians, Europeans, Latin Americans and Africans don’t like a world of too much American power — “Mr. Big” got a little too big for them. But how would they like a world of too little American power? With America’s overextended military and overextended banks, that is the world into which we may be heading.

Welcome to a world of too much Russian and Chinese power.”

He talks about those two countries veto of the attempt to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe. Here’s what the Hot Air blog makes of it, it’s well worth a read. How would we feel about a world dominated by Russia and China ?

And we haven’t done animal rights for a while…also from the NYT, here’s a nice piece by Adam Cohen called “The Unalienable Rights of Chimps”,

“Spain’s parliament recently passed a resolution granting legal rights to apes. Reaction has been mixed. Peter Singer, a Princeton University bioethics professor and animal liberation activist, declared the vote to be of “world historical significance.” The comedian Stephen Colbert — flashing a photo of a performing chimpanzee — insisted that the new law had better not give apes “the right to not wear a tuxedo and roller skates.”

Should animals have legal rights ?  




224 Responses to “Talking Points 17 July”

  1. 1 Abdi
    July 16, 2008 at 20:45


    (Edit: Link changed to similar one because original appeared to contain a virus threat. Bob in Queensland)

    After we Have heard in the news one month ago,that a man was found pregnant in America here is a gain a nother miracle happening in a muslim world!…i can’t wait for you’r comment!I am sure that Chloe will talk about this Live on Air!If not tonight very soon!


    (Sorry Jens for Overtaking you,And here is you’r Message!Thank U)

    we discussed the american culture thing, what about the inuit or native american culture and it’s contribution.

    i mean raw seal meat cannot be every persons favorite dish…

  2. 2 nelsoni
    July 16, 2008 at 20:50

    Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening. It now being confirmed that the Columbian Army used the Red Cross logo during the rescue of Ingrid Bentacourt and co. This has grave implications and consequences. That should be a good talking point. Considering it endangers the lives of GENUINE Red Cross workers in conflict zones. It also could constitute a war crime. So what do you guys think?

  3. 3 Brett
    July 16, 2008 at 20:50

    Good morning, afternoon, evening!

    A story that stood out to me today was:


    HIV Travel Ban May End Soon

    A two-decade ban on people with HIV visiting or immigrating to the United States may end soon through a Senate bill aimed at fighting AIDS and other diseases in Africa and other poor areas of the world…

    What do the WHYS members feel about such bans, and also about them being lifted or imposed? We recently discussed the stigma which comes with HIV / AIDS and this seemed like an important aspect of the discussion which I do not recall being pointed out.

  4. 4 Dennis
    July 16, 2008 at 20:54

    Hi Brett and Venessa

    Welcome to the MODERATORS’ table….

    Dennis~Syracuse, New York

  5. 5 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 20:55

    @ Brett

    What a bad idea. HIV is a disease that is 100% preventable, yet is spread due to selfishness and irresponsibility. Given that it is continously being spread, despite being preventable, it just puts everyone else at risk. Too risky when lives are on the long. If it werent contageous, then there should be no ban. Such as if people with cancer wanted to immigrate, they should be allowed to. Until people start behaving responsibly, we don’t need more people who could infect others.

  6. 6 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 20:55

    these bansmay have served once a purpose, but modern travl and the rapid spread of diseases make them both uslesss and impossible to impose.

    look at TB and the spread accross the world. 1/3 of the population is infected and more and more MDR and XDR strains can be found. a travel ban for HIV/TB infected people would make sense, but for the fact of enforcability. The combination of the two disease will pose some major issues on africa, where both are rampant.

  7. 7 Brett
    July 16, 2008 at 20:55



    City May Ask Restaurants to List Calories

    Without a doubt not all diners who order a Burger King Whopper or a Domino’s pepperoni pizza or a Taco Bell chalupa really want to know exactly how many calories they are consuming. Whatever the amount, it is probably more than they should be eating
    But the New York City Board of Health, the city’s powerful arbiter of public health rules, is considering a plan to make it much harder to avoid the cold, hard numbers by requiring some of New York’s 20,000 restaurants, including outlets of the nation’s fast-food chains, to list calories on menus and on clearly displayed menu boards……

    I’m happy to see this implemented as I think it will encourage restaurant patrons to make smarter decisions about what they are eating (for those which actually care or are on the fence about it); Or at very least make them feel guilty about it lol.

  8. 8 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 20:59


    the calorie listing is an excellent idea and HAS o be done. i am trying to restrict my calorie intake and control what i eat, but going out it is virtually impossible to asses the amount of calories one eats.

    worse than that is the lack of disclosure of salt content and saturated fats. maccaroni grill for example taste nice but delivers in some dishes 6 times the allowable salt and fat intake.

  9. 9 Catalina
    July 16, 2008 at 20:59

    That would be an amazing thing to have in restaurants considering what a hassle it is to look up calories and fat contents of certain foods.
    Imagine how surprised I was to find out that the bagel i’ve been eating every day in school was over 400 calories…one bagel…

  10. 10 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 20:59

    @ Brett

    In NYC, it wouldn’t shock me if they installed cameras in people’s apartments to make sure they are recycling.

  11. 11 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 21:02

    Look at some of the restaurants on the list and the top worst plate, weighing in at a paltery 2900 cal. that is more than i eat in a single day including a morning, afternoon and evening snack.


  12. 12 Brett
    July 16, 2008 at 21:02

    @ Jens:
    the calorie listing is an excellent idea and HAS o be done. i am trying to restrict my calorie intake and control what i eat, but going out it is virtually impossible to asses the amount of calories one eats.

    This is exactly why I have pretty much stopped going out unless it’s with friends or something to get food. I cook for myself, pack my own breakfasts and lunches almost all the time now. It’s just too hard to try to pick apart menus. Some of it of course is common sense, but there are lots of hidden surprises when calorie and fat counting especially when you don’t know exactly what the food is cooked in/with, or what exactly is in that sauce or dressing. The obvious bits of a dish are the easy part. The surprises lay in what you don’t normally expect.

  13. 13 Melanie Chassen
    July 16, 2008 at 21:04

    How about the GMO debate? How do people feel about labelling genetically modified food products? Are we in favour of them or not? I believe in Europe it is mandatory to label food products that have been modified, but it is not in Canada (and I think the US). This has trade implications as well. How do other people feel about this?

    Another thing to think about is the much-publicized “roundup ready” canola crop. Here is a link to part of the story on CBC: http://archives.cbc.ca/science_technology/biotechnology/topics/1597-10998/

  14. 14 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 21:06

    @ catalina,

    calorieking has an excellent web-page about calorie content of all sorts of food, being a carrot or a meal at a restaurant chain.

    just do a spread sheet and you can add all the calories taken in and burt for a day. writing it down is one of the best ways of controlling intake, because you see what you eat.

  15. 15 Brett
    July 16, 2008 at 21:09

    @ Melanie:
    How do people feel about labelling genetically modified food products?

    I feel that they 100% absolutely need to be labeled in order for consumers to make informed decisions.

    The roundup crops are also applying to sugar beets which account for half of our nations granulated sugar production.

  16. 16 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 21:10


    even worse. the amount of fortified crap one gets fed is truely disgusting. i only shop in the perifery of supermarkets. just look where the fresh fruit-veggie-milk etc-meat-fish is and you do not need to enter the center lanes. for flavoring i am growing my own herbs and use virtually no salt but rather stuff like miso base, soy and fish sauce (all in moderation). plus we havesome ecxellent shopd selling game and offal.

  17. 17 Brett
    July 16, 2008 at 21:14

    I do the same along with my vegetables and have loads of basil, sage, oregano, chamomile, and will be working on some others soon like mint.
    Its so nice to walk outside and pick your own herbs instead of buying them ‘fresh’ then worrying about using them up in a week or so before they turn.

  18. 18 Catalina
    July 16, 2008 at 21:14

    @ Jens

    at the risk of sounding stupid, that would be an excellent resource if i even understood how many grams of fat, carbs and such i need…i’ve always been pretty clueless with things like that but i’ve always heard that keeping a “food diary” is always a good idea.

  19. 19 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 21:16

    i think the GMO debate is way too emotional. all living things contain genes and the fact that we have inserted genes taht make crops pest resistant and/or draught resistant is one of science major achievments. i prefer an organically grown GMO crop using little water over any non-GMO crop that has been sprayed with insecticide and pesticides and requires 100 of gallons of water.

    plus where is the problem with genes and sugar. it’s not as if you will find any genes in a pure sugar prep like granulated sugar.

    plus last but not least we have been genetically manipulating our crop and animals for thousands of years. in addition, we have been eating genes for million of years and i have not seen a single person with a cauliflour growing on their head (although cauliflour ears due to rugby).

  20. 20 Melanie Chassen
    July 16, 2008 at 21:18

    Exactly, it is my personal opinion that they should be labelled. A few weeks ago I was at the grocery store and saw something in the produce aisle called a “grapple”. I read the label and it said that these were apples that tasted like grapes. They were perfect spheres and came in packages of four. Now, there was no label on these “grapples” to say they were genetically modified, but the last time I checked, apples taste like apples, not grapes. The Grapple website claims that it’s only flavour injected into the apples. But for me this raised another concern:

    if this product that has so blatantly been tampered with is supposedly not genetically modified (just flavour modified), it really scares me to think what seemingly “normal looking” products have been altered where there aren’t bells and whistles to alert us to it.

  21. 21 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 21:21


    there are resources that will tell you how much you need according to age, sex, weight etc. the link below has some good resources. and calorieking.com will give you a sparation of how much carbs, fat and proteins are present. in general you will do very well by cutting refind carbs like white pasta/rice/bread and replace them with brown rice/past/whole grain breads etc. reduction of red meats to poultry and fish is great, plus you can stuff yourself silly with vegetables, as long as you do not saute them in butter everyday. for sauteing use stuff like truffle oils sparingly. it adds great flavor and little calories.


  22. 22 Mohammed Ali
    July 16, 2008 at 21:22

    Something must be happening tonight. I’ve posted two times but have seen none. Can someone please tell me what’s going on?

  23. 23 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 21:23

    Combining two topics, HIV and labelling, if we can label food for calories, or whether it is GMO, why can’t we label people as well if they have infectious diseases? Eating a 700 calorie bigmac once won’t kill you, but an infectious disease can.

  24. 24 Brett
    July 16, 2008 at 21:24

    Spam folder has 6 posts in it, none are yours, try again? I always highlight what I write and click “copy” just in case I get an error before it submits. I’ll look out for your posts though Mohammed.

  25. 25 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 16, 2008 at 21:26

    Well said about GMOs

    I don´t get the resistance either.

  26. 26 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 21:26


    dill is great for salads and fish. parsely grows easy as well as chives. i have about 6 half cut barrels full of herbsin front of my kitchen. add another 6 for tomatoes and chillies. my entrance looks like a veggie dungle.

    @ Melanie

    Hope this will be satiesfying your curiousity. i tried them and they were rather strange.

    Grāpple (pronounced /ˈgreɪpəl/) is the registered brand name for a commercially marketed apple that tastes like a grape. The product is created by injecting a Fuji apple with artificial grape flavoring obtained from a secret soaking and flavoring process.

  27. 27 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 21:27

    @ Luz

    With GMO food, there is a greater risk of food allergies. They don’t understand the science, so they can trigger all sorts of recessive genes in the food product, and allergic reactions can happen in people that ordinarily wouldn’t have them.

  28. 28 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 21:30


    we have labelled people once before in not too distant past. i would rather avoid repeating this event. your suggestion belongs into the categroy that starts with f and end is aschisme…..

    i would have expected more from you.

  29. 29 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 21:32


    send me the papers on this. not a news article, but a peer review paper in a high quality journal.

  30. 30 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 21:34

    @ Jens

    I don’t have that much time right now, have to get going but here’s a start:


  31. July 16, 2008 at 21:35

    @HIV/AIDS, why I agree with the American government for protecting its citizens by banning AIDS victims from travelling to the US, it is discrimination in itself. Lifting the ban will be a welcome development.

  32. 32 Pangolin-California
    July 16, 2008 at 21:35

    Counting calories is pointless and you will never win. You will only go insane because by the time you have added up your lunch order it will be dinner time.

    Salads- no dressing or ask for vinegar and oil. If you must have dressing get it on the side and apply to your fork before each bite.

    Pasta- Eat as luxury food only unless it’s buckwheat soba. Otherwise ask for a take-home container and put two thirds of the serving in the container before you eat.

    Vegetables- If it looks wet it’s drowning in oil. Use as fire-starter in survival situations but don’t eat. Steamed only.

    Meat- cut in thirds. Eat one third and put the other two portions in container.

    Fish- eat the whole portion as fish has essential fatty acids you can’t afford to neglect in your diet. exception: prawns, these are always served drowning in fat.

    Breads- Whole grain only. Every time.

    Then you eat the tiny meal that is the remains of the gargantuan meal you were served. Hand the take-home container to the first homeless person you see or circular file it. Of course if we walked and bicycled everywhere this discussion is pointless. The enemy of your waistline is your car, not your fork.

  33. 33 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 21:36

    @ Jens

    So everyone’s safety and health should be at risk rather than “label” someone. How many lives need to be lost until we value life more than offending people? There are people out there that simply don’t care. Given that it’s pretty much normal for people to be completly self absorbed, shouldn’t it be the job of society to try to limit the damage this causes?

  34. 34 Melanie Chassen
    July 16, 2008 at 21:36

    @ Jens,

    I would imagine that the grapple would be strange tasting. thanks for letting me know about your experience!

  35. 35 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 21:36


    the increas in allergies comes from polution (diesl particles for exapmple0 and the fact tha we live in an increasingly steril world, where everthing has to be wiped down with lysol, treated with antibiotic creams and cortisone. just look at all the additives that go into food and you find the culprits. look at the lack of excersise and the reduction lung capacities. look at the excessive use of soap and the breakdown of the epidermal barrier…..

  36. 36 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 16, 2008 at 21:41


    Labeling food is not the same as labeling people. Big difference!

    However, I recognize that HIV travel ban is a very touchy issue. In one hand, you don´t want to risk people to get infected, but in the other, if they get infected it is their fault -with exceptions obviously- for engaging in high risk practices.

    I don´t know how the US government enforced the ban, since the 3 or 4 times that I have made the process to get a US visa they didn´t ask me to submit an HIV test. However, when I did the process for a Canadian student permit, I had to undergo a full medical examination which included tests for venereal diseases and TB.

  37. 37 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 21:42

    @ Jens

    No, the TV programme, which I saw, which was objective, said that the GMO process can potnentially activate recessive genes in food products, triggering allergies that wouldn’t have happened had they been grown naturally. Cleaning things, and lysol, isn’t going to cause a peanut allergy.

  38. 38 Melanie Chassen
    July 16, 2008 at 21:42

    @ Steve,

    In my humble opinion (which you may take or leave), I think the suggestion of labeling people is pretty terrible. Labeling food products is one thing – food products do not have feelings, they are not conscious. Labeling a person as having an infectious disease takes away a portion of their personal freedom. They should be free to do as they want, and most people with dangerous diseases have to sacrifice enough of themselves as it is. They should not be on display for all to see. As horrible as it would be if someone infected someone else with a terminal illness, there has to be a certain point where people are free to make their own decisions. As Jens stated, labelling people is not progressive. It’s backwards.

  39. 39 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 21:43


    public health education is the issue here. labelling somebody as infectious is a faschist way of dealing with it. what is next labelling of depressed people, because they might be a higher risk. then mentally challanged ones.

    i value freedom higher than life. because without freedom life becomes pretty much worthless.

    @ pangolin,

    counting calories is the most effective way of losing weight. you become very quickly aware of what has roughly how many calories. i am not counting down to every single calorie, but have rough estimates (intentionally on on the higher side).

  40. July 16, 2008 at 21:47

    @Red Cross Logo, I agree it has implications on genuine red cross workers. But should we lambast them for that? They used the logo to save lives.

  41. 41 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 21:48


    peanut allery is one of the very very few true allergies. the vast majority of reactions are food intolerances (e.g. lactose intolerance)

    peanut allergy has been with us way before GMO’s.

    plus GMO’s are grown naturally. they just have an extra gene inserted. considering the large amount of GMO’s, just think where you will be finding corn and soy, in our food for a long time only a marginal raise in allergies has been shown. statistically you can virtually link any thing to a cause, however absurde it is.

  42. July 16, 2008 at 22:09

    @calories labelling, here in Liberia and i guess most african countries that is our least concern. The first thing we are after is what we have to eat. It may even be good for us if the calory content is high. The second thing is that we may not have the know how to go about knowing calory content of the food we eat.

  43. 43 Shaun from Halifax
    July 16, 2008 at 22:14

    @ Steve

    Suppose I’m thinking of a label for you right now.

    How would it make you feel if we posted it to the blog here and everybody pre-judged you before reading your posts?

    Shouldn’t we judge somebody based on their actions, not on whether they have a disease or not? I’ve had a cold sore, does that mean I should be walking around with a sign that says ‘I have herpes?’

  44. 44 nelsoni
    July 16, 2008 at 22:22

    @ Mohammed Ali (@Red Cross Logo, I agree it has implications on genuine red cross workers. But should we lambast them for that? They used the logo to save lives.)

    Yet they (the Colombian army) have potentially endangered the lives of other aid workers who could now become target practice in conflict zones may have also have committed war crime in the process of using that logo.

    Betancourt rescuer wore Red Cross


  45. 45 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 22:34

    @ shaun

    nice to know you value not offending people over life and safety. Yes, you’ve had a cold sore, so you do have herpes, and you can spread it. It never goes away. So others should get it as well so you don’t have to feel self conscious?

    PS: When my words on this blog risk life or health, you’ll have a point. Until then, you don’t have one.

  46. 46 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 22:38


    what do you want a bank of tatoos on ones forhead? one for herpes, one for genetic disorder, which can be speared as well, one for depression etc

    you must be kidding.

    as if wearing a yellow david star was nor bad enough.

    there is no such thing as 100% safty and protection, nor should there be anything like 100% safty and protection.

  47. 47 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 22:39

    @ Jens

    we limit freedom on a daily basis. Try going out in public without clothes on and let me know how long you were arrested for.

  48. 48 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 22:45

    Kuntar vows “resistance” against Israel. That’s what Israel gets for returning that terrorist scum to Lebanon?


  49. 49 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 22:47

    @ Jens

    Someone can be arrested for not wearing their seatbelt in a car, but being able to negligently, recklessly or deliberately spread a fatal disease shouldn’t be preventing? I mean, we make you wear a seatbelt. Oh boy, tha’ts just myc ommon sense confusing me. Everyone should be free to do whatever the heck they want to do! My freedoms! That’s all I care about!

  50. 50 Tino
    July 16, 2008 at 22:48

    “With GMO food, there is a greater risk of food allergies. They don’t understand the science, so they can trigger all sorts of recessive genes in the food product, and allergic reactions can happen in people that ordinarily wouldn’t have them.”

    That sounds pretty ridiculous to me. I would like to see some proof of this activating recessive claim.

    I have posted many times on the rice strain which has a gene transplanted from another RICE plant, naturally occurring. It provides flood resistance, which would allow many more tons of rice to be produced. Explain how this is bad, please.

    Also, why do you people who hate GM foods love organics, when they are sprayed with Bt protein? This is a huge GM protein (as in, people like to splice it in). How is it being produced naturally by the plant and worse than it being liberally sprayed on organic foods?

    “Bt is used in sprays by organic farmers.
    Bt is used in transgenic crops all over the world.”


    I tend to see a lot of made up nonsense in the anti-GM side. The rule in GM is to not introduce allergenic proteins to prevent reactions, nuts are generally avoided for this reason.

    “Cleaning things, and lysol, isn’t going to cause a peanut allergy.”

    I believe she meant us living in an ultra-hygienic environment causes allergies. If this is what was meant, she is entirely correct according to modern immune theories:

    “Epidemiological data supports the hygiene hypothesis. Studies have shown that various immunological and autoimmune diseases are much less common in the developing world than the industrialized world and that immigrants to the industrialized world from the developing world increasingly develop immunological disorders in relation to the length of time since arrival in the industrialized world.”

    We learned about this in immunology. Allergies are rather fascinating, actually.

  51. 51 Tino
    July 16, 2008 at 22:51

    “How is it being produced naturally by the plant and worse than it being liberally sprayed on organic foods?”

    And should = any.

  52. 52 Mohammed Ali
    July 16, 2008 at 22:56

    I 100% agree with Halifax, people should be judged on their actions and not by the kind of sickness they have. Doing that will be discrimination against millions of people.

  53. 53 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 22:57


    i am not a she and i am working in immunology 😉


    you fight for israel but want to lable human beings. the choosen folk were labelled once before with stars and tatoos. i think they might disagree with you on this one.

  54. 54 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 22:59


    did i say everybody should be allowed to do whatever they want?

    for a lawyer you are a rather poor reader or even worse interpreter of sentences.

    my argument is that i value freedom higher than live. not because i want to do whatever i want but at least retain the little freedom we have, rather than react to every knee-jerk news.

  55. 55 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 23:00

    @ Jens

    I wasn’t aware that being jewish was a contageous and fatal illness. Let’s try to compare apples with apples, and not oranges, shall we?

  56. 56 Tino
    July 16, 2008 at 23:00

    Ah gotcha, lol. Figured Jens = girl sorry.

  57. 57 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 23:04


    i am comparing wearing the star of david and concentration camp tatoos to marking out people as different. religion is not an infectiouse disease but as far as i rember jews were treated as if it were. where does it stop, infectiouse disease, mental illness, sexual preference, religiouse groupe? a frigging barcode for everyone with gentic imprint. my genetic code available to insurance companies.

  58. 58 Mohammed Ali
    July 16, 2008 at 23:05

    @ nelsoni, its true that the rescuers of Bertancour and co have potentially endangered the lives and work of aid workers. My argument is that the red cross is intended to save lives and if their symbol is used for that purpose, then so be it. I don’t want to delve into the speculative argument as to whether the army may have committed war crimes while wearing the red cross logo.

  59. 59 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 23:06


    i have been call Jen more than once. kind of funny considering i am 6’8″ and 270 pounds.

    trust me it’s b… to find high heals and a suitable neglige at my height.

  60. 60 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 23:07

    @ Jens

    Again, religion isn’t an infectious disease. Unless a bunch of holy books falls on you, you cannot die from religion. You CAN die from disease though, especially ones that are contagious that you could have avoided getting. Are you even against quarantines if there’s some kind of outbreak?

  61. 61 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 23:10

    @ Jens

    valuing freedom over life doesn’t make sense. A lot of good freedom will do you when you are rotting in a coffin, don’t you think? The world is getting more and more populated, there will be even more horrific illness in the future. Recall the 1918 flu pandemic? More people died from that than died in WW1. The world was a lot less populated then, with no international flights, yet it still spread all over and killed millions of people. That will seem like Disney World compared to outbreaks in the future.

  62. 62 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 23:12


    we apparently talk about two different things.

    i am talking about segreation and marking people for whatever reason. i believe it is wrong to do so.

    you are apparently living in fear of infectiouse diseases and want people to be marked. the vast majority of infections are not the result of a persons responsibility or failure. we are much safer now that 1000 years ago.

    ijust do not want to see people being marginalized because they have an infection. we all are walking time bombs in terms of germs we carry.

  63. 63 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 23:14

    quarantines are a good means of protecting people. hoever, you do not mark them.

  64. 64 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 23:15


    how much do you know about infectiouse disease?

  65. 65 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 23:17

    @ Jens

    So you were against the SARs quarrantines that happened after the limited outbreaks? I’m not saying segregate people unless there’s somethign like that, but rather a way of identifying them. Sure, there may not be many deliberate infections, but there are. There are still plenty of stories of people who know they have AIDS, decide they hate people, and go out and infect as many people as possible. How many lives are you prepared to sacrifice? Say if it was a loved one of yours that pays the price?

  66. 66 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 23:22

    Steve, don’t you understand that it is wrong to mark people?

    you cannot protect the world against evil people, be it they use HIV, guns, or whatever to kill people.

  67. 67 Mohammed Ali
    July 16, 2008 at 23:23

    @ steve, what will you do if you stay in Liberian prison for 29 years? I figure you will be like Mandela. When the arabs and the israelis are ready for peace, they will work towards it. The fact that they can negotiate successfully the exchange of prisoners, they can negotiate peace.

  68. 68 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 23:28

    @ Jens

    If it’s so wrong to mark people, why do so many people mark themselves?

    Let’s think of an example. Where prostitution is legal, it is regulated. Prostitutes are required to get tested for STDs. If they get one, they lose their license. In a perfect world, everyone would be required to get tested, not just the prostitute. Do you have a problem with teh disease testing for prostitutes? It’s for their protection, as well as the clients. Given that it’s a sexual transaction, why not extend that to everyone else who is having sex? Because it might reduce STD transmission?

    @ Mohammed Ali

    Israel didn’t negotiate an exchange of prisoners, Israel gave up 5 prisoners, 200 corpses, in return for two corpses. They day Israel gets back a LIVING prisoner, then the story might be different.

  69. 69 Mohammed Ali
    July 16, 2008 at 23:32

    @ steve, the most contagious and killer disease on earth now is religion. If the world was free of religions, science would have been given the opportunity to do more research and find cure to some of these contagious diseases.

  70. 70 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 23:35


    it is their porogative to tatoo, burn, pierce themselves. it is different when the state mandates it.

    the vast majority of STD’s are preventable. what do you suggest tattoo the prostitute everytime she has had a health check?

    prostitution is a completly different thing. i wonder how many prostitus are happy with their choice of profession……it is for many reason a rsiky business and people taking part in it are aware of it. simple protection will prevent the spread of diseases.

    plus why should i be checked for std’s, because other folks are screwing hookers?

  71. 71 Mohammed Ali
    July 16, 2008 at 23:40

    Israel give up 5 prisoners with 200 corpses for 2 corpses. If the israelis killed 200 that they had in captivity and hezbollah killed 2 that they had in captivity, can you please tell me the mathematical difference there steve?

  72. 72 Julie P
    July 16, 2008 at 23:44

    Once I received an urban legend e-mail about Obama, that he is the anti-Christ. It was deleted immediately. Since then I wondered what other kinds of trash e-mail was circulating on the internet about him. Well, an Atlanta Journal Constitution writer had a column on the subject today, with room for editorial comment. I couldn’t keep from laughing at the seventh response. I have just got to share the insanity and hysteria of some people when it comes to Obama running for office.

    “Dear Jay, thank you for sharing those emails that help put into perspective the serious danger facing our nation.
    I myself have uncovered a great conspiracy. One that will expose the great lengths that the liberals have taken to bring the anti-Christ to power.
    12 years ago at the beginning of the very liberal and God hating Clinton administration, PBS was taken over by liberal devil worshiping demons whose job it was to put the devil himself into power.
    The devil has many tricks and this was his best. Unbeknown to millions of mothers throughout the country these demons took over the Teletubbies. This PBS television program brainwashed our children.
    You may think that the Red Teletubbie was talking gibberish but he was not. If you play the Red Teletubbie gibberish backwards, and slow it down a little you can clearly understand the message that has brainwashed so many of our children. “Obama is our great Black Muslim Devil. All hail our Great leader,” is the translation. “God is dead, your great anti-Christ has come to claim his throne,” says another. “In the 2008 election you will go to the polls and vote for our Great satanic leader B Hussein Obama.”
    The Red Teletubbie brainwashed our youth and have programed them to vote for Obama this fall. We must stop Obama. We must stop Obama from taking over the world. Obama is the devil. These kids can now vote, the plan is in motion.
    I say to all of our brainwashed young people, “begeeDaaGaaDagagad,” translated from the Red Teletubbie secret brainwashing gibberish it means “Devil be gone!”
    Do your part America. When you run into an 18-20 year old repeat that phrase….”begeeDaaGaaDagagad.” DEVIL BE GONE!!!!!!!!!
    Do it for America, do it for Jesus!”

    This comment is real.


  73. 73 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 23:45


    “Israel gave up 5 prisoners, 200 corpses.”

    the 200 corpses do not sound good. don’t you think so?

  74. 74 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 23:46

    @ Jens

    I was suggesting EVERYONE be tested for STDs regardless of who they are having sex with. I would presume that in the west, every prostitute uses a condoms as a requirement, yet I doubt most random casual hookups do, if anything, you would think the ones who don’t use prostitutes are at greater risk, wouldn’t you think? Especially that no testing is mandatory.

    Mohammed Ali, Israel didn’t kill 200 in captivity, they killed them on the battlefield and buried them and then dug them up and gave them back to the Lebanese. In all honesty, nobody knows if the two israeli soldiers, other than the Hezbollah people, whether the IDF soldiers died in combat or died in activity. However, the record of Lebanese militants hasn’t been very good, and they have killed people in captivity before, the most famous of which probably was Colonel Higgens.

  75. 75 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 23:55

    everyone????? why?????

    i have had sex with the same person for the last 15 years, and so did she with me.

    what is the point of testing nuns????

    the cost and logistics alone make no sense.

    do you know how many std’s are out there?

    how often would you want to tst? yearly, monthly?

    what is the age limit 16 or 14 or 18?

  76. 76 steve
    July 16, 2008 at 23:58

    @ Jens

    over 50% of people admit to cheating, and what about the ones that don’t admit to it?

  77. 77 Jens
    July 16, 2008 at 23:58

    julie p,

    are those folks on crack?

  78. 78 Jens
    July 17, 2008 at 00:00

    steve, we can spin this at absurdum.

    there is no absolut safty.

    anyway i am off need to get food, gym and cook.

    best J

  79. 79 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 00:09

    bis bald Jens.

  80. 80 Julie P
    July 17, 2008 at 00:09


    I think so.

  81. 81 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 00:29

    Obama is devil? That’s the problem with you religious people. Whenever you don’t like something, you tag it as devil. Maybe because Obama is black and and the devil according to religious people is black, hence is the devil. What a myopic way of analyzing issues.

  82. 82 Shirley
    July 17, 2008 at 00:35

    it’s = it + is
    its = that which belongs to it

    two dogs = a canine accompanied by another canine
    two dog’s = the “two” which belongs to the dog

    you’re = your + are
    your = that which belongs to you

    Please, Anglophones, mind your apostrophes!

  83. 83 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 00:48

    Thank you teacher Shirley. Good night to all and wish you a good debate.

  84. 84 graceunderfire
    July 17, 2008 at 01:27

    @ Shirley

    Yes, I know it’s irritating; but we all make mistakes. Anyway, communication is mostly implication and inference. It’s best to just wade through the errors to try and find the intent.

    It seems reasonable to lft the HIV travel ban. It is not a particularly infective virus Get to know your friends very well before you get to know them intimately and you’ll be OK. Influenza is more dangerous. It kills more people here per year of the flu than does AIDS, and you can get it from walking down a crowded sidewalk.

  85. 85 Dennis
    July 17, 2008 at 01:43



  86. July 17, 2008 at 01:52

    @ Shirley,

    There is no guarantee that there will be no spelling and punctuation mistakes on this blog. What matters is that the message is clear. I personally keep pointing to the BBC its spelling mistakes by using this site: http://news.bbc.co.uk/newswatch/ifs/hi/newsid_4000000/newsid_4000500/4000537.stm

    Concerning the use of apostrophes they are important in writing, not in speaking. of course when we speak we don’t spell our words. The speaker understands what we mean when we pronounce / thâr/ . From the context it can be “their”, “there” or “they’re”!

  87. 87 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 01:59

    @ topic for tomorrow

    I recently finished Orwell’s “1984” and to balance it out, I’m reading Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Each has a strong theory about what the future holds for humanity.

    Orwell on the one hand, viewed the future as a totalitarian state with the (to my mind) perfect imagery: “a boot stomping on a human face forever.” It’s a police state where cameras are everywhere and privacy is a dream.

    Huxley, on the other, views the future as a dystopian nightmare where humans are genetically engineered and are given no free will to choose their purpose in life. Their purpose is predetermined before they are born, and they are conditioned while a fetus to love that life. Education is done by sleep hypnosis and every behaviour is conditioned. The populace is kept passive and controlled by easy access to sex and the use of ‘soma’ a powerful drug with no side-effects.

    So we have here 2 visions of the future, each of them basically the opposite of the other. And I can see elements of both in every day life. My question is this:

    Will the future look like Orwell’s totalitarian state, or will it look like Huxley’s drug-and-sex-addled dystopia?

  88. 88 Will Rhodes
    July 17, 2008 at 02:08

    -wot i dont getz iz y so meny fink dat we az 2 b so gud at da engrish

  89. 89 Brett
    July 17, 2008 at 02:25

    @ Shaun:
    @ topic for tomorrow

    I recently finished Orwell’s “1984″ and to balance it out, I’m reading Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Each has a strong theory about what the future holds for humanity.

    Ah I have a copy of each on the shelf and read them often. Have you read “We” yet? If not, do so, it’s a great book as well!

  90. 90 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 02:26

    @ Will & Shirley

    Sometimes I think that people who correct other peoples grammar are conceeded people. For all intensive purposes, its not that important to right well. All that matter’s is that you get you’re point across.

  91. 91 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 02:27

    @! Will

    LOL! Nice. I’ve always wondered if it was fink or think. Now I know. All I need now is a 50-Cent translator. Seriously, is it birfday? Burfday? Berfday?

  92. 92 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 02:27

    Wasn’t Brave New World a lot like Gattica? I read Brave New World a LONG time ago and basically they had “invalids” and some drug called Soma and flying machines, and they found some people made the old fashioned way.

  93. July 17, 2008 at 02:28

    @ Will,
    dats rite. we shuld uze gud ritten inglish on dis peige. bat im nut cetan it can alwiz b de Kaise.

    I hope Shirley won’t get so angry with those who insist on the content of their message instead of being meticulous about peculiar details like punctuation and the use of capital letters. After all, spelling is just a habit. It changes over time. Reading Shakespeare’s plays in their original forms prove how much English spelling has changed.

  94. 94 Will Rhodes
    July 17, 2008 at 02:28

    @ Steve

    I was taking the p*ss.

  95. 95 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 02:31

    @ Brett

    I”ve never heard of that one, but it’s now on the list. Problem is, there’s a stack of books to read about this high on my floor right now. And some of ’em are dense! Kant, Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Buddha, Lao Tse, Marx, Smith, Tolstoy (I WILL finish it, I WILL finish it, I WILL finish it), Dumas. Ah, the trials and joys of being an avid reader.

  96. 96 Brett
    July 17, 2008 at 02:35

    @ Shaun:

    LOL! Nice. I’ve always wondered if it was fink or think. Now I know. All I need now is a 50-Cent translator. Seriously, is it birfday? Burfday? Berfday?

    Need help? Let me know, I got you lol.

  97. 97 Will Rhodes
    July 17, 2008 at 02:36

    @ Abdelilah

    I blame phonics – they must be the most stupid ways of learning to spell on this God’s Earth!

  98. 98 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 02:37

    hukt on fonix werkt fur mi?

  99. 99 Will Rhodes
    July 17, 2008 at 02:40

    @ Shaun

    LOL – me knows dee’s fings.

    Some idiot sent me a text the other day, I HATE mobile phone texting! He asked me to reply so, being me I did.

    I replied in perfect English (even getting around the damn text editor) he replied, too – “wot woz dat U cent”

    The mind boggles!

  100. July 17, 2008 at 02:41

    @ Will,
    I totally agree with you.

  101. 101 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 02:44

    @ Will Bret and Abdelilah

    New idea for tomorrow’s topic?

    Is Internet l33t speak (that’s leet speak) and sms messaging destroying the English language? Zomg!

  102. 102 Brett
    July 17, 2008 at 02:46

    @ Will:

    Stop sippin on dat haterade…

  103. 103 Brett
    July 17, 2008 at 02:47

    @ Shaun:

    New idea for tomorrow’s topic?

    Is Internet l33t speak (that’s leet speak) and sms messaging destroying the English language? Zomg!

    *cries* But it’s youth culture!!!

  104. 104 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 03:00

    @ Brett

    Yeah, it sumfin alright……

  105. 105 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 03:06

    A little disclaimer here:

    As native English speakers (except maybe Abdelilah… sorry, I don’t know if English is your first language or not) we’re taking pot shots at some of the more… colorful variations on our language. (All your base are belong to us, anybody?)

    Obviously if English isn’t your first language we can all make exceptions for spelling and grammatical errors (and thank you for trying your best, to boot), but if you are a native speaker, then in my humble opinion you’re fair game. We can all stand to have a little fun poked at us. And I’m sure at this point we all realize it is in good fun.

  106. 106 Brett
    July 17, 2008 at 03:07

    @ Shaun:
    All your base are belong to us

    You know, I nearly used this comment on the Invasion of American Culture topic today but figured no one would understand or get it lol. *sigh* shoulda used it…

  107. 107 Shirley
    July 17, 2008 at 03:11

    <a href=https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/07/16/talking-points-17-july#comment-48721Jens, you have an indoor container (food) garden? I hope to establish one some day very soon. All advice will be much appreciated. What did you start with? I have been thinking about trying to propogate mint. How big does a container have to be for them? And for garlic, onions, chives, and green onions?

  108. 108 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 03:11

    ‘at’s alright, I was going to use the “Canadian flag on backpack = welcome anywhere” argument and didn’t get it in until like 45 mins after the show.

  109. 109 Will Rhodes
    July 17, 2008 at 03:23

    @ Shirley

    Ya see what just happened? Ya do summat nice to teach someone and then frig something right up, ya sen! 😀

    It happens to us all!

    @ Shaun – yes excellent idea, which country has corrupted the English language the most: The USA or Canada? 🙂

  110. 110 Brett
    July 17, 2008 at 03:25

    which country has corrupted the English language the most: The USA or Canada?

    I dunno Will, I mean “aboot”?

    lol j/k I’m done.

  111. 111 Dennis
    July 17, 2008 at 03:27

    Hi Will

    Bulletin::::July 17, 2008 at 2:28 am

    @ Steve

    I was taking the p*ss.


    Syracuse, New York

  112. 112 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 03:28

    Don’t forget hoser, nob, toque, mukluk (though that’s Inuit), Newfanese (Newfoundland English), b’ye, and my personal favorite: eh.


  113. 113 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 03:32

    @ Will

    Yeah, because The Queen’s English isn’t some weird mutant dialect either….

    Seriously, lorry? Crisps? Bonnet? Nappy? Football? Beefeaters? Jog on?

    We’re taking that one. We’ll trade you Celine Dion and the word Toronto.

  114. July 17, 2008 at 03:32

    @ Shaun in Halifax,
    In fact I am not a native English speaker. I am just an “intruder” on this language.

    Concerning the effect of sms messaging on English, it should be seen as a new phenomena. Before the advent of sms messaging, people of different groups and regions used slang that could be known just in their circles. This didn’t destroy English. It enriched it. Now we don’t have just one type of English, but variations of it. Sms messaging can, on the contrary, be a means for people to be creative in the use of English and to have expressions specific to them.

  115. 115 Will Rhodes
    July 17, 2008 at 03:46

    @ Shaun

    Sorry for editing your post, but part of the rules here is that we can’t publish expletives.

    But I do get what you mean, English, the proper kind has been mutated over the centuries.

    When you think that in Shakespearian times, there was only 22 letters in the alphabet. And don’t even get me started on the punctuation!!!

  116. 116 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 03:47

    @ Abdelilah

    First: I must congratulate you, sir. You write better than many people I know.

    Second: I do agree that some of the conventions used in SMS are useful and that some are even becoming an international ‘language.’ I use lol on a daily basis and I’m sure almost everybody knows what it means. But I feel that that particular vocabulary(?) should stay in the realm of SMS and instant messaging. I have a teacher friend who constantly complains about how her students cannot write proper English. Words like ‘lol’ and ‘omg’ are being used frequently, and she feels that they do not belong in school. I happen to agree.

  117. 117 Shirley
    July 17, 2008 at 03:48

    Shaun, bonjour, ça va?
    Orwell v Huxley
    It seems more like Orwell. I have ben pushing myself through the Classics section at my library. I had hoped to be able to read some of Orwell’s works by now, but I am still in the B’s. Bad me. It’s odd how many good = bad switches we have had lately, how we have seen the development of the big brother state, the use of state-sponsored propaganda, etc.

    speilnig n gremarr so impotent bcoz we nid 2 ndrstnd eachoth. If I could only stop laughing :=)

    Shaun, Will: I honestly do think that Hooked on Phonics worked for me. Or whatever phonics programme I used. The thing is that I twisted it for my own devices when I was learning by it. Whenever I learned to spell a new word, I intentionally pronounced it in such a way that I would remember the letters in it. And somehow, I came out pronouncing things nicely enough that people could understand me, but mentally twisting them so that I could remember the spellings. I love the rules in the Spanish language. Hooked on Phonics would go bonkers with it, because there are much fewer exceptions than in English.

    I think that I get frustrated, honestly, because I see my own errors and fear that while I try to fix the ones that I do have, I might pick up others. There are times that I wish I had flashcard reminders for even the simple things.

  118. 118 Shaun in Halifax
    July 17, 2008 at 03:50

    @ Will

    Apologies. I forgot that some of those terms are very offensive in other parts of the world.

  119. 119 Will Rhodes
    July 17, 2008 at 03:50

    @ Brett

    You can tell I have been in Canada too long – I am finishing sentences with, eh?

    But, this is my quandary, ‘Eh’ in most of England is pronounced ‘Uh!’.

    So you can imagine my surprise when I first saw the national motto of Canada “Canada, Eh!”

    It did sound rather odd!

  120. July 17, 2008 at 04:03

    @ Shaun ,
    Thanks for the compliment.

    Concerning students’ use and mastery of their native language is an issue in many countries. In Morocco, students at an early age should learn classical Arabic and French. The majority of them can’t have even correct spelling of either language.

    At the age of 14, they’re introduced to English. That ends in interference. When they learn, for example to spell “appartement” in French, they can’t properly spell “apartment”, the equivalent English word.

    As I understand, in the USA, learning a foreign language at school isn’t obligatory. But in Morocco, students should learn two foreign languages before they leave school. The first foreign language is French. The second foreign language can be English, German or Italian. Those who are good at French, find it easy to learn a second foreign language.

    Whether learning two foreign languages at school is a good idea or not, I don’t know. Many just get bewildered and focus just on one.

  121. 121 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 04:03


    I see you continue your medical research, now adding another vector of HIV transmission: Not just “irresponsibility,” but now also “selfishness” can spread the dreaded AIDS.

    Um, who exactly is being “selfish” in your fantasy–the person “out there spreading HIV” or the person getting it?

    Best to be considerate in al situations just to play it safe, I guess.

  122. 122 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 17, 2008 at 04:15

    Hi all… Lot of laughs so far.

    About Shaun question:
    Is Internet l33t speak (that’s leet speak) and sms messaging destroying the English language? Zomg!

    I think they are not only destroying English, but also other languages (at least Spanish is the same case).

    If someone can read Spanish, here is an example:

    “salu2 a to2, dsps t veo, k tngas tmb buena night, b.sos”

    (P.S. text messaging users here also include a lot of words in English)

  123. 123 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 04:22


    Still laughing at “grapples.” Wow. This I think is known as “a solution in search of a problem,” unless the world turns out to have been craving apples that taste like grapes, and just didn’t know it. Hoo hah.

    Also, if the last apple you ate tasted like an apple, you’re lucky.

  124. 124 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 04:34


    But “All your base are belong to us” was technically a Japanese invasion (pardon the expression), not an American one, right?

    Latin speakers, if there were any, could properly claim “All your stems are belong to us!”

  125. 125 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 17, 2008 at 04:38


    “I love the rules in the Spanish language. Hooked on Phonics would go bonkers with it, because there are much fewer exceptions than in English.”

    I love my language for what you said in your comment. Every written letter in a word (except the “h” and the “u” in some cases) is pronounced. In other words, what you see is what you say. But English, after years of practicing it, I still mispronounce a lot of words! And don´t ask me about French. That language is crazy!!! (in a good way, I don´t mean a derogatory remark). How come “oiseau” is pronounced “wazo”?

    @Shaun & Brett
    I have read Orwell´s “1984”, but not Huxley´s “Brave New World”. I am still WAY behind in my reading list.
    Talking about dystopic themes… Have you read “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood? In my opinion, one of the best I have read in my life.

  126. 126 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 05:08

    @Steve again,

    So “most cacual hookups don’t require condoms?”

    Oh, if only ’twere so.

    Technically they don’t, at least heterosexual ones in Western countries, absent IV drug use, but there’s so much scare vs. truth around.

    So where do you think the truth-in-labelling should be, you know, applied? Bill Buckley once proposed tattooing AIDS victims on the buttocks. Arguably it would be more useful to have that info out in the open somewhat earlier in the course of an acquaintanceship, though, yes? Forehead might be a tad too much though. Maybe biceps, as someting concealable for business purposes, revealed socially, but not so intimate as to require one to be well on the way to consummating a friendship before breaking the news?

    Interesting stuff.

  127. 127 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 05:27

    @Luz Ma,

    Well, “oiseau” sounding like “wazo” seems funny because in English it should sound like “oy-zoo” I guess, but it’s right in line with the game in French. The “oi” combination normally sounds like that, “wa” as in “Roi de soleil” (rwa duh soLAY), the Sun King and my own favorite, Louis XIV. And “eau” is normally “oh” too, as it is here, for instance in “eau de vie” (oh-duh-VEE) — literally “essence of life” but really hooch distilled from fruits.

    “Eau” is “essence” — a word and a concept with frrequent application in the culture, God love ’em. I used to complain of “eau de mother-in-law” when a certain girlfriend would say something especially unpleasant and uncharacteristic; I was usually right.

    Perfectly consistent, in that it follows its own rules. Of course, the rules are different from other languages, as to what a particular letter sounds like, but that’s normal. Once you learn the rules, you’ve got it.

  128. 128 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 05:41

    G’morning Jonathan!

    I blame Ros for my late arrival. I really shouldn’t stay up to listen to the show live….

    Anyhow, franglais:

    “Eau” is more literally “water” but, since water is essential to life, in context it can also be “essence”. Confusingly, “essence” is gasoline/petrol!

    For no good reason other than that I know this fact, the word “whisky” is derived from the Scots Gaelic phrase “uisge beatha” which literally translates to “water of life”. You wouldn’t know it from looking, but from the pronunciation (which I won’t even try to detail here) it’s pretty clear that “uisge” and “eau” share the same derivation.

    Anyway, I’m reading in and drinking caffeine. I’m sure I shall find more to comment on soon!

  129. 129 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 05:43


    Point of interest (not pedantry): “1984” wasn’t intended as a look into a dystopian future, but into a dystopian present: the totalitarian socialist state as it existed then in say, the Soviet Union, in 1948 when he wrote it. He just reversed the digits to get 1984.

    Separately, I don’t get your point about how 1984 and Brave New World are “opposites.” They seem more similar than different to me.

  130. 130 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 05:57


    About what you said re multilingual education as in Morocco: Childhood is by far the best time to learn languages; the younger the better, because the brain is setting about to do just that. Given the chance, it can learn two or three or four languages as easily as one. Once the brain gets a bit older (i.e., the age when schools teach languages), it’s a LOT harder, because the wiring patterns are set by then. Not impossible of course, but a definite effort.

  131. 131 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 06:04

    @ Many regarding GM Foods

    I don’t feature the development of genetically modified foods very high on the list of things to worry about. There has been a lot of scare-mongering (some British press always called it “Frankenstein Food” for example) but, frankly, I think any risks are extremely low. For example, I worry more about being hit by a giant asteroid.

    However, I think the big companies working on genetic modification have really shot themselves in their collective feet by their choice of priorities.

    Years back, when GM was first being talked about as a possibility, I remember the examples being trotted out were things like strawberries and tomatoes that could be allowed to ripen on the plant to develop their full flavours but still last long enough to get to market undamaged. “Ah ha” thought I. “No more flavourless fruit and veg picked unripe. What a cool idea!”.

    However, when the first GM products are released, what do we have? Soya beans that have been made resistant to certain herbicides so they can be sprayed with more chemicals.

    Duh! It doesn’t take a genius to see that herbicide resistant soya beans can only be loved by non-organic soya bean farmers.

    Give me my flavoursome strawberries and tomatoes and maybe I’ll become a fan. Maybe. Or maybe it’s too late.

  132. 132 Venessa
    July 17, 2008 at 06:13

    Abdelila ~

    I wish learning a second language was mandatory in the US. Of course we have to take a year of a foreign language in high school – maybe two (I can’t remember for sure). What is even worse about the curriculum I have seen in the US is that you learn nothing practical. Instead you learn how to ask to go to the bathroom or say your dog ran fast. It really bothers me now that I wasted 4 years taking German and I can’t carry on a meaningful conversation. I can understand about half of what someone says if they say it slowly and then I still might not catch all of it. As far as a response goes…it won’t be in German.

    While it’s fairly easy to travel abroad and only know English I still think it’s invaluable to learn another language.

  133. 133 Venessa
    July 17, 2008 at 06:23

    Bob ~

    I have a black thumb. My sister-in-law insists on giving me plants KNOWING they will die a long torturous death. I don’t do it on purpose, I just have no sense when it comes to plants…..Unless they require very little attention or water. She recently gave me a jade tree (as if the last one wasn’t tortured enough by my cat eating every new tender sprout) and talked me into growing some tomatoes.

    I figure I can handle it since they like the sun; live outside and I could make myself to remember to water them when I get back home in the mornings from the gym. To my surprise this morning I found one of my cats in the planter box taking care of business next to one of the beloved tomatoes. What kind of pesticide would you call that? Should I be eating those tomatoes when they get ripe?

    I’m not so sure….

  134. 134 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 06:23

    @ Venessa

    Learning a language in school, particularly if it’s left until high school, is pretty difficult. I took French back in my high school days (even got good marks) but the first time I actually visited France I felt totally lost.. However, what I found is that, after a week or so, my ear would “click” and I’d suddenly start to understand more. By the end of the second week, some vocabularly would be appearing/coming back and, if I had the luxury of a three week visit, by the end I’d be carrying on simply conversations. There’s nothing like total immersion!

    However, it’s worth saying that, when she was about 5, my step daughter spend about 18 months living in North Wales and actually started school there in a community where Welsh was the first language. Despite her stint there being only 18 months and despite ten or eleven years passing since then, her Welsh is far better than my French. Clearly it’s best to learn a language young!

    (Alas, what she said to the two Welsh lads who started discussing her within earshot cannot be repeated here due to blog rules. Suffice to say they were surprised by her grasp of the idiom… )

  135. 135 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 06:28

    @ Venessa

    LOL at the tomato story!

    I also have a “black thumb” and can kill plants at 40 paces.

    However, I believe the treatment being administered by the cat would come more under the heading of “fertiliser” than pesticide and is probably less worrying that some of the chemicals used in commercial fields.

    Wash well before use though!

  136. 136 Venessa
    July 17, 2008 at 06:29

    Bob ~

    That’s part of the problem too. Additional languages do need to be introduced at an earlier age. Kids are sponges! I’ve seen friends’ kids pick up other languages in seconds compared to a teen. It’s a shame. It really bothers me that I can’t speak a second language.

  137. 137 Venessa
    July 17, 2008 at 06:31

    Bob ~

    I think my cat is doing it out of spite. He recognizes that I water him as much as the plants….hehehehehe!

  138. 138 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 07:26

    Oh howdy BobQ, I mst have just missed your note before going off to clean my bathroom, which appeared to have housed a dozen monkeys today instead of one very messy plumber. Yuck.

    So it’s you and me and the crickets.

    “Pardon my French,” as they say? Guess I should have stuck with the pronunciations. Thanks for the fig leaf anyway on “eau.” But I still have points from the fabulous Latin thing.

  139. 139 Vijay
    July 17, 2008 at 07:33

    Most of the people posting today seem to be ex pats
    Why did you leave the uk?
    Was it about class or because of your regional accent no one would take you seriously.
    At nearly any US university there will be a British professor who will tell you he left for career progression ,pay &conditions,more funding for research and a more egalitarian work environment.
    The has changed ,but a lot of people only see the Briatain they left not the one which exists today.
    What would it take for you to return to the uk?

  140. 140 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 07:44

    @ Jonathan


    I’ll pit the mess from one 3 and a half year old boy (with terrier chasing him) against your plumber any day!

    By the way, your mention of crickets again actually got me thinking. When I first arrived in Aus 11 months ago, the nightly chorus of crickets (actually cicadas but you get the idea) seemed so loud to me as to be slightly annoying. Now I don’t even notice them. I think I must be going native!

  141. 141 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 07:54

    @ Vijay

    I’m not sure whether or not a qualify to answer your question about ex-pats. I’m originally Canadian, moved to the UK in my mid 20s, spent 30 years there, but have now moved to Australia.

    In my case, the decision to leave the UK wasn’t to do with the class structure or accents. I can honestly say I never had any problems with my “mongrel” Canadian/British accent. Rather, there were three main reasons for my decision to move:

    -Economic: I’ve taken early retirement and my personal pension scheme provides an income that would be adequate but tight in the UK. My money goes much farther down here in Australia. My weekly shopping trip here costs about half what it would have in the UK…and petrol is similarly cheaper. I’m spending about the same on housing, but for a much bigger, nicer house.

    -Social: I remarried several years ago and we have a lively 3 and a half year old son. I was worried about both the UK education system which seems to be falling apart at the seams and not teaching children the basics. I was also worried about the “chav culture” and bullying that goes on and felt Australia would be a much better place for a child to grow up.

    -Personal: My new(ish) wife has lived most of her life in Australia and has friends and family here. She would also have been happy to give Canada a try but, having travelled a fair bit in my life, I was keen to try somewhere new (well, new for me to live–I’ve been here on business before). Call it wanderlust, but I like the adventure of new horizons. So far I’m not disappointed.

  142. July 17, 2008 at 08:15

    The latest episode in the White House treason saga. Really what could there be to hide?


  143. 143 Robert
    July 17, 2008 at 08:20


    Re Accents. I unfortunately have an aweful accent I picked up in the South East England. My UK home through is North East England and I have also lived in North East Scotland. I have never encounted a situation where my accent has held me back.

    Re Class structure. My family background is working class. I’ve managed through to get an engineering degree from on the top universities in the country and got a very good job with a multinational. My background has not held me back. In my personal experience if you have the ability in the UK you will make it through the system.

    I left the UK because I had an offer out of the blue for a short term placement in Houston and then in Angola. They were great oppotunities to develop my technical skills and support my future career prospects. I consider being an expat as an investment in my future.

    Would I return to the UK? If when I finish this placement and there is a decent position back home at that time, I wouldn’t think twice about it.

  144. July 17, 2008 at 08:26


    (NB: Edited to change the link Abdi provided because his tried to initiate a download on my PC and triggered a warning from my firewall/antivirus. This link is similar in content though not identical. Bob in Queensland.)

    After we Have heard in the news one month ago,that a man was found pregnant in America here is a gain a nother miracle happening in a muslim world!…i can’t wait for you’r comment!I am sure that Chloe will talk about this Live on Air!If not tonight very soon!

  145. 145 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 08:35

    Americans are NOTORIOUS for not knowing other languages than English. I chalk it up to our size and isolation–essentially, we’re ignorant because we can. Not to say that we should though.

    A second language is good for more than just communicating with those who speak it. It’s a window into a different world view, an alternate set of assumptions down so deep that you didn’t even realize they WERE assumptions, or that there was an alternative, until you saw the world through the eyes of a different culture, as you can only do in their language.

  146. 146 Zainab
    July 17, 2008 at 08:45

    Hello all,
    Well i’m so amazed by how the media can control the world. Yesterday, Lebanon which is a “country” in this world (a dear country to my heart), was celebrating over the the return of the Five Lebanese after being set free by Israel in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. All TV channels were silent about the big welcome from tens of thousands of Lebanese as well as all the lebanese government are all gathered to welcome the heroes forgetting all about their differences. I browse tv and i find nothing about this except a shy news. I think this event needs more attention, as the attention that paid in dividing the lebanese a few months ago.

    yours truly,
    Zainab from Iraq

  147. 147 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 08:45


    Yeah, good stuff. How do you imagine the question might be formed? We should prepare a “top of the blog” header with a tangential question, but ‘m tired and only thinking of tabloid headlines just now. To wit:


  148. 148 Vijay
    July 17, 2008 at 08:51

    I think you qualify,you spent your productive work life in the UK,what is the healthcare sytem like in australia are you covered?

    Engineerimg is the cinderella profession in the UK,neither respected nor valued even though Britains success was built on engineering prowess.

    The UK government should spend time and money on persauding ex pats and former citizens to return.

  149. July 17, 2008 at 08:53

    @ Jonathan

    I agree with you,this is a shocking News,and It deserve to be at the top and on a new post!,But I am afraid I have no authority from Chloe to write a new post!But I can If I want to, but I am sorry I would not do that!(But I will over take Jen’s comment at the begining of this page) so that Everybody see’s this SHOCKING NEWS!)
    Thank you very much for you’r suggestions! I appreciate that so Much.

  150. 150 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 09:05

    @ Jonathan

    I don’t think it’s just Americans who are notorious for not speaking another language; rather it’s English speakers in general. Why? Because we can get away with it because we can get away with it. Between English language film and TV, English being the language of aviation, etc. etc. enough other people speak English to let us be lazy. I was lucky enough to start visiting France soon enough after studying the language in high school that I hadn’t lost it all–but I’m far from fluent.

    @ Vijay

    The health care system in Australia is quite good, certainly no worse than the UK. There are some differences in the detail, for example how prescriptions are handled, but it seems a good and comprehensive system. And, yes, I’m covered.

  151. 151 Bryan
    July 17, 2008 at 09:12

    steve July 16, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    “Kuntar vows “resistance” against Israel. That’s what Israel gets for returning that terrorist scum to Lebanon?”

    True, and even before the deal was arranged and while he was still in Israeli custody Kuntar was vowing to continue with terror. It’s quite incredible what Israel will do to retrieve the bodies of fallen soldiers.

    From the American Culture thread:

    Shirley July 16, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    “As a Shia Muslim who naturally supports the Palestinian/Lebanese side of the issue, I felt insulted to see Shaykh Nasrulla caled “abhorrent.””

    Until he renounces terror and stops killing Jews, “abhorrent” is a fair description of him and not an insult. Nasrallah tried for years to get Samir Kuntar freed and the celebrations in Lebanon and the hero-worship of Kuntar, led by Nasrallah, are quite frankly obscene.

    Anyone who doesn’t know what Samir Kuntar did to warrant his elevation to heroic status among hundreds of thousands of like-minded Lebanese and Palestinians can Google him – but be warned that it makes grim reading.

    Jens July 16, 2008 at 6:19 pm


    helzbollah is to many a lot more than just a terror organization. we have to understand that the sympathizer follow them because the provide support of people who feel that they are marginalized.”

    This has nothing to do with anyone being “marginalized” and everything to do with the brutal rise to power of Shia Islam in Lebanon, spearheaded by Hezbollah. The country used to have a Christian majority. They are now in the minority, steadily decimated and driven out by bloody attacks on their communities. Who is doing the killing?

    Shaun in Halifax July 16, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    “@ Steve
    You’re forgetting that Hezbullah was ELECTED in a DEMOCRATIC PROCESS by the Lebanese people. It was their choice to elect the government, and Israel’s choice not to recognize it.”

    You are mixing them up with Hamas. Hezbollah does not yet have total control over Lebanon as Hamas does over Gaza. There is still a pathetic semblance of a Lebanese government, offering feeble resistance to the Hezbollah take over. The government proved its cowardly submission to Hezbollah by backing the red-carpet treatment of terrorist Samir Kuntar and crew at the highest level.

    You claim that, “There are “insane religious fanatics” on both sides, and they have both committed horrible atrocities.”

    Ah yes, the standard false moral equivalence again, brought out and dusted off to make the tired old argument that the two sides in the conflict are driven by equally immoral considerations. In fact, once every five years or so a religious Jew becomes a terrorist and kills Arab civilians while once every five hours or so an Arab terrorist will attempt, successfully or not, to kill Jewish civilians. The Jewish terrorist is shunned and condemned by his fellow Jews while the Arab terrorist is praised to the skies by his fellow Arabs. He becomes a ‘martyr’.

    Anyone who can look at the celebrations in Lebanon over Kuntar and then claim with a straight face that Jews and Arabs are equally guilty when it comes to terror needs serious education on the Israeli-Arab conflict.

  152. 152 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 09:17

    @ Abdi

    A couple of things regarding your link about the one year old child born pregnant.

    First, I should say that every time I follow the link in question it tries to download something onto my PC…my antivirus sofware detects it for me, but everyone be careful.

    Second, reading the story, it seems that this was an abheration in the womb: the one year old’s mother had two fertilised eggs, but one developed inside the other. Such mutations, while rare, are not unheard of.

  153. July 17, 2008 at 09:25

    @ BOB

    Are not unheard of?
    My dear Bob are you serious? I have never heard a bout this before!….I have never even thought I could hear something like this! Questions that need an answer!
    How wlll this one year old deliver?
    will it make senses that she will be older than her son/daughter by a margin of 1 year only?
    How will the unborn baby survive?(without Milk,parental care etc)

  154. 154 Bryan
    July 17, 2008 at 09:28

    Zainab July 17, 2008 at 8:45 am,

    Hezbollah is beyond shame, but all other Lebanese who have joined Hezbollah in welcoming the return of a foul terrorist like Samir Kuntar should be deeply ashamed at their lack of humanity.

    Do you know what Samir Kuntar did?

  155. 155 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 09:29

    Bob, you are as usual right that it’s English speakers in general who tend to satisfy themselves with English as their one and only language.

    Your list of possible reasons omitted what seems to me to be the most likely and the most influential: a little thing called Empire! It’s not just by a random roll of the dice that “enough other people speak English,” after all. You lot were kind enough to include it in the legacy that got your former colonies off to such a good start when you let them go.

    The enduring caricature that comes to mind, though, is of the English tourist in a foreign land, speaking English to the natives, being irritated when they don’t understand…. and repeating himself VERY LOUDLY to be better understood.

  156. 156 Bryan
    July 17, 2008 at 09:32


    I meant to add that if you are right and there has not been much coverage of the celebrations in Lebanon, then Hezbollah should be grateful. It means that fewer people will see them exposed for the terrorists that they are.

  157. 157 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 09:37

    I hate being the boring kill joy!

    The story of the “pregnant” one-year old has been floating around on the net since at least February. A few facts:

    The one year old is NOT the mother. The foetus was conceived inside the adult mother of the one year old but, unfortunately, instead of becoming a separate twin, started to grow inside the other baby.

    Since the second foetus has been there for over a year now and is far from fully developed, it is unlikely ever to be actually born.

    It is highly unusual for a second foetus to develop inside another–but “conjoined twins” (which is what this is actually a case of) are not unheard of.

  158. 158 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 09:47

    Bob, you did good to test that “OH, BABY, BABY! ” link, but given the result, I urge you to break that link immediately if not sooner. Your warning is clear and useful, but if there’s a live link it’s just too easy to click it before reading the fine print.

    Abdi, I’m sorry–I thought you were joking. I haven’t read the story, but strange things happen all the time. It’s a potential tragedy for the family of course, and a bit of luck for the tabloid press, but I don’t see it as haaving global importance, and it’s not the sort of thing that normally concerns WHYS. I mean, it’s a serious endeavor here, not a freak show, for the most part anyway.

  159. 159 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 10:07

    @ Jonathan

    Good point and I’ve now done some Googling and changed the link to one with similar content but without the unwanted download.

  160. 160 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 10:20

    I’m from a typical African society where grew up speaking Vai, a local language in Liberia. I pratice speaking English when I started going to school. So please forgive me if I don’t use the punctuations correctly or have some mis-spellings in my postings.
    Is the internet use through chatting, blogging or texting via mobile phones distorting the english language? Let us take into consideration that when we are chatting or blogging or texting, we may not have the time to spell out correctly the words or will have to result to making sentences short so that the conversation can flow faster. Like for example if I wanted to say “I see you at 5 P.M.” I’ll simply write in a text message as “I c u @ 5 P.M.”
    Secondly on the internet we all may not have the same speed in typing and we want to keep up with the debate, as a result we use short form of the sentence. Like Boukili said, what matters is the idea.

  161. 161 Jack Hughes
    July 17, 2008 at 10:23

    What do WHYSers think about the EU trying to bully the Irish…

    ‘Mr Sarkozy was quoted as saying “the Irish will have to vote again”.’


  162. 162 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 10:25

    July 16, 2008 at 8:45 pm


    Abdi I tried to read the story but each time I click the website, the language I see is absolutely strange to my eyes. Can you please show an english website of this story?

  163. 163 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 10:30

    Regarding internet chat, I’d just like to say that I’m a moderator on a specialist forum for British TV and theatre technicians–people doing sound, lighting, video and the like.

    Because of the technical nature of the discussions (and because some of the topics, like rigging or electrics for example can have safety aspects if there are misunderstandings) we insist on “proper” grammar throughout.

    However, I have to say that the general quality of posting on WHYS is far higher despite the diversity of languages spoken by contributors.

    I take this as a sad indictment of the British education system (since most of the really poor quality posts come from students) but also a compliment to the people who post on WHYS. Nobody I’ve seen has any reason to worry about the quality of their posts!

  164. July 17, 2008 at 10:31

    @ Mohamed Ali.
    I must admit this link is hard enough to open for some of us,I will try within the next 30 minutes to paste the informations written in English!So Please be patient! I will let you know if I am succuesseful to paste it!

  165. 165 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 10:32

    @ Mohammed Ali

    I’ve actually now changed the link that Abdi posted because it was giving warnings about viruses and trying to download something onto my PC.

    Try http://www.myinterestingfiles.com/2008/04/1-year-old-child-is-pregnant.html and you should get similar content to the link Abdi posted.

  166. 166 Vijay
    July 17, 2008 at 10:39

    US citizens speak American,not english and expect everybody else to speak their dialect.
    The USA is the hub of world politics ,business and culture ,their flavor(flavour)of English naturally predominates.
    Since the defeat of the Russian Soviet empire ,even the BBC Worldservice has aquiesed to American pronunciation,intonation and terminolgy.

  167. 167 Pangolin- California
    July 17, 2008 at 10:40

    @ GMO’s- The primary reason that GMOs are a bad idea is that they limit biodiversity in food sources. In exchange for a temporary advantage against one insect, viral or fungal attacker vulnerability against all others is guaranteed. Once an insect, bacteria, virus or fungi successfully can attack one plant in a field it can attack all of them because there is no biodiversity.

    This problem is particularly prevalent in bananas as every yellow banana any person under 50 has ever eaten is a clone of every other one. A variant strain of the panama fungus is attacking banana plantations and slowly wiping them out.

    GMOs are just bad biology.

    @ Shaun- You’re reading the wrong dystopian novels. Start with Neal Stephenson’s “Snow Crash” for the modern perspective or John Brunner’s “The Sheep Look Up” for an eerily prescient take on pollution.

    @ Shirly- one doesn’t ‘propogate mint’ one drops a sprig in a wet, sunny spot and weeds it ever after. I recommend a variety called ‘chocolate mint.’ Use clean, five-gallon, latex paint buckets. Check your library for a book called “The Square Foot Garden” for spacing.

    For soil, I recommend one third crushed charcoal (the wood kind not briquets), one third compost and one third ‘dirt.’ Now you are not only gardening but sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Read about Terra Preta. to understand how charcoal improves soils and allows less watering and fertilizer use.

  168. 168 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 10:43

    Regarding the “pregnant” one year old, my medically trained wife has corrected me. The correct term for this situation is “parasitic twin” rather than a form of conjoined twin as I suggested earlier.

    A Wiki article on how it happens is at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parasitic_twin

  169. 169 Pangolin- California
    July 17, 2008 at 10:45

    @ Israel/Hezbollah prisoner exchange- It doesn’t matter if you call child killer A “terrorist” and child killer B “defender of the chosen people” if they both kill children. It doesn’t even matter if one kid has its head bashed in by a rifle and the other has its head crushed by a collapsing apartment building. Both party A and party B are child killing murderers.

    The people who claim that one side is morally superior because they chant ‘terrarist, terrarist, terrarist’ aren’t doing a very good job of convincing the other side to stop.

    Both sides of the fence have far too many dead children and noncombatants. Largely because the murdering men in charge are too cowardly to face each other in single or small group combat. I say give the men of Israel, Hezzbollah and Hamas short knives and shackle them to their enemies. Don’t unshackle anybody who kills the enemy though. Make him live with the rotting corpse.

    Of course keyboard warriors are always willing to call for somebody else’s death. They risk nothing. So, so brave, Israel’s keyboard brigade.

  170. July 17, 2008 at 10:46

    @ Mohamed Ali
    Try this link!
    One year old child found Pregnant in Saudi Arabia. Doctors say its a unique case for this World!!!

    Medical Science Report says: When the mother of this chid was pregnant, she had 2 foetuses inside her, but one of the foetus grew inside the other, this is why this girl was born with the other foetus inside her womb.


  171. 171 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 10:59


    Well, I’m amazed that you couldn’t find coverage of the release of those disgusting terrorists on TV. I saw it without even trying–and I had no reason to seek it out.

    Did you find it heartwarming to see those dear Lebanese give a “big welcome” to those swine? Or to hear about it, or read it, or whatever, since you say you couldn’t find it on television? How very wonderful.

    It’s certainly encouraging to see the Lebanese distracted from their usual occupation of slaughtering each other and periodically reducing their capital to rubble, long enough to unite in welcoming their heroes, these bloody-handed killers.

    But that’s all entirely routine. I won’t ask why you so admire these terrorists, because I know the answer. I do wonder how a mind can manage to hold two or more contradictory, illogical, impossible beliefs at one time, because if one were true, the other could not be.

    If (1) “all TV channels were silent,” and (2) you found out about this happy event anyway, then (3) the media self-evidently do NOT “control the world.”

  172. 172 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 11:08

    This story actually makes interesting reading. With the increase in chemical, nuclear and other activities including climate change that have direct effect on humans, these kinds of things are becoming a high probability.

  173. 173 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 11:13

    Could you please define a ‘Terrorist’ for me?
    Maybe we can start a conversation from there.

  174. 174 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 11:20

    @ Mohammed Ali

    A terrorist is a “Freedom Fighter” fighting for the other side. That’s my quick, slightly tongue in cheek definition.

    The dictionary definition is “one who uses systematic and organized violence and intimidation to force a government or community, etc to act in a certain way or accept certain demands”.

    I think that sums it up quite well.

  175. 175 Bryan
    July 17, 2008 at 11:23

    Pangolin- California July 17, 2008 at 10:45 am

    “@ Israel/Hezbollah prisoner exchange- It doesn’t matter if you call child killer A “terrorist” and child killer B “defender of the chosen people” if they both kill children.”

    Yes, the moral equivalence brigade is out in force today. I suppose it must be a bit distressing for them to see their ‘argument’ exposed by Hezbollah’s adulation of Samir Kuntar.

    “Largely because the murdering men in charge are too cowardly to face each other in single or small group combat.”

    Childish non-argument. I don’t know about the Arab terrorists, but many of Israel’s leaders have distinguished themselves in battle against invading Arab armies and terrorists. Cowards they certainly are not.

    “Of course keyboard warriors are always willing to call for somebody else’s death. They risk nothing. So, so brave, Israel’s keyboard brigade.”

    So says the heroic individual, spewing anti-Israel rhetoric from behind his screen.

  176. 176 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 11:48


    Thanks for the definitions. I will go for the first one for my purpose. We normally have the tendency to want to coerce others to accept our views especially as it relates to this issue of terrorism. A terrorist for one society is a freedom fighter for another society. To the majority of the Lebanese the Hezbollah is group fighting for freedom. In this vein, it is natural for them to give a hero’s welcome to someone they see as one of their great freedom fighter.

    There are many in the Arab world who see George W. Bush, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair and the list goes on as terrorists. Soldiers from the countries of these leaders bomb and kill innocent civilians therby instilling complete terror in those group of people. Whenever two sides are engege in a fight, both sides view the other as being the agressor.

    The western world once told us that Nelson Mandela who we all now revere was a terrorist along with the ANC. In fact it was only a week ago that the USA dropped Mandela from its list of terrorism. Because the US and her allies told us that Mandela and other freedom fighters in South Africa were terrorists, we Africans should have considered them as terrorists? The answer is a resounding NO. To us they were and are FREEDOM FIGHTERS.

    JONATHAN, you considered Kuntar and others released from Israeli jail as terrorists but supporters of the Hezbollah considered them as freedom fighters.

    What if the Nazis had won WW II, how do you think history was going to be written?

  177. 177 Bryan
    July 17, 2008 at 11:52

    Mohammed Ali July 17, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Could you please define a ‘Terrorist’ for me?
    Maybe we can start a conversation from there.”

    Ain’t no reason why you can’t start the conversation anyway.

    Bob in Queensland July 17, 2008 at 11:20 am

    Which dictionary was that from? It’s incomplete and too broad a definition. “violence and intimidation” could be applied to virtually anything, including the actions of bullies in the schoolyard.

    Here’s my own definition of terrorism:

    The premeditated murder or attempted murder of non-combatants in order to sow fear and chaos for political and/or religious ends.

  178. 178 steve b - uk
    July 17, 2008 at 11:57



    There are 14 generally recognised ‘varieties’ of English. American English is one of them. there is no such thing as ‘American’.

  179. 179 Pangolin- California
    July 17, 2008 at 12:08

    Childish non-argument. I don’t know about the Arab terrorists, but many of Israel’s leaders have distinguished themselves in battle against invading Arab armies and terrorists. Cowards they certainly are not.

    Yeah, sure. As long as the definition of “distinguished in battle” means tossing shells into apartment buildings from the safety of a tank. Or intimidating lines of people who are trying to get past your checkpoint to get to market. Or maybe invading Lebanon for no damn good reason for the nth time to no real effect.

    So much more honorable than the guys who shoot rockets into Israel at random.

    The Israeli terrorists kill ten times as many people as the Arab terrorists. Every PERSON killed was killed by a terrorist according to Bob’s definition above.

    The sticky part of this wicket is that one side of these cultural wars never gets a permanent technological advantage. Ask the citizens of Constantinople or for that matter Granada. Ask the descendents of the Great Kahns. Oh, and Israelis military advantage is entirely dependent upon maritime shipments of petroleum products. We all know shipping never gets disrupted don’t we.

    So Israel can play Masada on the big chess board or they can sue for peace. What they don’t get to do is win forever. There is no God and he isn’t on anybody’s side. Certainly not the childrens.

  180. 180 Bryan
    July 17, 2008 at 12:08

    Mohammed Ali July 17, 2008 at 11:48 am

    “A terrorist for one society is a freedom fighter for another society.”

    Untrue. See my definition at 11:52 am. It’s quite possible to come to an objective, universal, human definition of what a terrorist is. Though I support Israel, I am quite prepared to concede that Baruch Goldstein, for example, was a terrorist.

    “To the majority of the Lebanese the Hezbollah is group fighting for freedom.”

    Freedom from what, exactly?

  181. 181 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 12:11

    Bryan,, for once we agree. But I suggest you give the terrorist fan club too much credit in supposing that they might be distressed by Hezbollah’s embrace of Kuntar. Or that they are given to, or capable of, embarrassment at all. There is, after all, a genuine moral equivalence to be found: Kuntar=terrorist=hezbollah.

    Have you noticed that their logic isn’t even internally consistent–without our disputing any premise, they manage comfortably to contradict themselves without apparently noticing, or caring, that they make no sense? What an unproductive and incoherent way to think.

  182. 182 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 12:15

    Oh dear, dear pangolin. Whenever I’m tempted to suggest you learn something about a topic before holding fort on it at length, I remind myself how much I’d miss it all if you actually took my advice. Carry on, friend!

  183. 183 Pangolin- California
    July 17, 2008 at 12:21

    Here’s my own definition of terrorism:

    The premeditated murder or attempted murder of non-combatants in order to sow fear and chaos for political and/or religious ends.

    Firebombed: Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo.
    Nuclear bombs: Hiroshima, Nagasaki
    Carpet Bombing: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan
    Chemical warfare: Vietnam
    Use of Radioactive toxic weaponry: Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait

    Destruction of civilian areas by naval bombardment: Lebanon, Veracruz

    Use of mercenaries for terrorist strikes within a soveriegn nation: Nicarauga, Afghanistan, Iran, Colombia and god only knows where else.

    Yeah, we never do that. Except on days that end in a Y,

  184. 184 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 12:24

    Bob, I have to agree that deliberate killing of civilians is an essential part of anyonne’s serious definition of terrorism. What you called “the dictionary definition” (what dictionary?) could apply to any military operation. Much as we abhor any violence, it’s not without purpose to draw distinctions when they exist.

  185. 185 Robert
    July 17, 2008 at 12:25

    @Bob, Mohammed, Bryan

    I’ve often heard the arguement that terrorists are an opposing sides “Freedom Fighters”. I’m interested in your perspective on this with regards to Northern Ireland.

    Obviously the IRA were terrorists in the eyes of the UK government but so were the unionist paramilitary groups. These groups were fighting to maintain the union, just like the UK government was doing. Superficially they’re were on the same side. The UK government though outlawed them and legally treated them the same as the republican movement (although I except on the ground this might not have been followed carried out by some members of the estabilishment)

    I think either the dictionary definition or Bryan’s are the more robust ones. All non government sponsered fighters are terrorists until they win. Only then might they morph into freedom fighters (like Mandela in SA, the founding farthers in the US etc….). Even then it takes time and good PR for this to happen. As lady Macbeth found out, blood takes a long time to be washed away.

  186. 186 Andrew
    July 17, 2008 at 12:31

    Pangolin’s points are some I like to make often enough, but the argument always comes back later that during WW2 things were different, times were different, attitudes were different. But that doesn’t wash really as of course many other reasons were in evidence. Take Dresden, Churchill wanted revenge for the Luftwaffe campaign against England. The bombs in Japan. Well take your pick there… prove to the Russians we have the bomb and we will use it, we built it so let’s use them, and don’t forget.. this is our only real chance to use them against a civillian population so let’s see what these big boys can do.

  187. 187 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 12:32

    @ Pangolin

    “Firebombed: Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo.
    Nuclear bombs: Hiroshima, Nagasaki
    Carpet Bombing: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Afghanistan
    Chemical warfare: Vietnam
    Use of Radioactive toxic weaponry: Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait

    Destruction of civilian areas by naval bombardment: Lebanon, Veracruz

    Use of mercenaries for terrorist strikes within a soveriegn nation: Nicarauga, Afghanistan, Iran, Colombia and god only knows where else.

    Yeah, we never do that. Except on days that end in a Y,”

    I couldn’t help but notice your anti-West, pro enemy of the west attitude by your examples of terrorism.

    Interesting that you left out:

    Coventry, Rotterdam, what that Japanese did to Manchuria (do you know how they would execute people in China? They would flail them. That means they would slice off a prisoner’s skin while he/she was still alive).

    How about also launching rockets from civilian areas into civilian areas (ie Hamas, Hezbollah)?

    How about starving Millions of people to death? (Mao and Stalin)

    How about purging millions of people or sending them to Gulags? (Stalin)

    How about starting a World War? (Nazi Germany)

    How about genocide? (nazi germany, Sudan)

  188. 188 Bob in Queensland
    July 17, 2008 at 12:34

    @ Bryan

    It was the Chambers English Dictionary (officially dictionary of both Scrabble and the Telegraph Crossword by the way!)

    I think your definition:

    The premeditated murder or attempted murder of non-combatants in order to sow fear and chaos for political and/or religious ends.

    is possibly too narrow for a couple of reasons. First, the murder/attempted murder/violence can be aimed at “combatants” and still be terrorism in my view. When the IRA detonated a bomb that killed British soldiers riding their horses on ceremonial duty in Hyde Park that was terrorism in my view, even though it can be argued that soldiers are “combatants”.

    Second, very often it is the THREAT of violence and murder which is just as disruptive at the act itself. Again mentioning the IRA, only a small portion of their bomb threats were real but, because SOME were they all had to acted on and taken seriously. One phone call could cause a million people to be hours late getting to work in London by closing down the Underground system or the train stations.

    If you want another example, look at the chaos caused to international air travel when security forces got wind of a plot to use liquids to make a bomb on a plane.

    No bomb ever went off and nobody was murdered but, as an act of terrorism, it still worked.

  189. 189 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 12:35

    @ Pangolin

    “Of course keyboard warriors are always willing to call for somebody else’s death. They risk nothing. So, so brave, Israel’s keyboard brigade.”

    Next time Pro-Israel people have “Death to Iran/Lebanon” street shouting contests, burning effigies, I’ll think of your post!

  190. 190 Brett
    July 17, 2008 at 12:36


    But “All your base are belong to us” was technically a Japanese invasion (pardon the expression), not an American one, right?

    Correct, but we’ve turned it around! Oh the wonders and joys of American Capitalism 😉

  191. 191 Brett
    July 17, 2008 at 12:37

    On Oryx and Crake:

    Have you read A Handyman’s Tale also? After looking at both of these books I’m considering buying them today. Thanks for the suggestion!

  192. 192 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 12:39

    Whenever arguments are limited on a particular subject, we result to evading the issue by puting forth shot sighted points. If there are inconsistencies in the points put forth, then why can’t we still consider Mandela and others as terrorists? Your mind did not take you to that?

    If we are to go by your argument, then the facts illustrated by Pangolin- California proves that the Americans have and are committing more acts of TERRORISM than any group of people on earth. American and British bombs have killed more innocent civilians than tmany times all “Terrorists” attacks put together.

  193. 193 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 12:42

    True story of how Canada got its name. Three explorers were out exploring, and they decided they wanted to name the place they were exploring. They decided that each would pick a letter. The first decides, and says, “C, eh?”. The second one picks, “N, eh?” and then the third one decides, “D, eh?”

  194. 194 Bryan
    July 17, 2008 at 12:44

    Jonathan (sunny San Francisco) July 17, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    “Bryan,, for once we agree. But I suggest you give the terrorist fan club too much credit in supposing that they might be distressed by Hezbollah’s embrace of Kuntar.”

    I wasn’t suggesting that at all. I was suggesting that normal, everyday people might be educated as to who and what Hezbollah is by its display of fawning adulation for a child-murderer. In that respect, less publicity would be better for the terror group.

  195. 195 Brett
    July 17, 2008 at 12:45

    Should animals have legal rights ?
    Wow, certainly a question which provokes many emotions on both sides. The general consensus seems to be that most people favor some form of animal rights, until it impedes on the life or lifestyles of themselves or possibly other humans.

    I’m all for legal rights for different animals, but then with the animals being unable to speak or adequately communicate their wants and needs, who will be speaking for them [legally] and how are we to be sure that the rights they do receive are in their best interest and the best interest of the ecological community which they are in?

  196. 196 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 12:45

    @ Mohammed Ali

    That’s IF you look at Pangolin’s skewed facts which ignored Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, ignored the Khmer Rouge and ignored Japan in WW2.

  197. 197 Melanie Chassen
    July 17, 2008 at 12:53

    Good morning to all (well, it’s morning here at least!)

    I thought of another spin on the GMO debate this morning… people have brought up modifying food products to change their growing conditions, lengthen growing season, select for certain traits, and to make them resistant to herbicides. But here’s another side: what about food being modified so that it delivers a vaccine?

    See link below:

    Also, check out the article in “Research in Immunology” below:

    Click PDF for full text version.

  198. 198 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 12:56

    Are those skewed Facts? Those bombs were never dropped? So do we ourselves become terrorists while fighting those we claimed to be terrorists?

    Good way how Canada got her name. My country name “Liberia” was taken from the word “LIBERTY” by former American slaves. The capital MONROVIA is name after former American President James Monroe.

  199. 199 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 12:59

    @M. Ali,

    I don’t disagree with everything you say. Just the things that are comprehensible.

    I have no tendency or desire to “coerce others to accept [my] views.” I offer them up to be accepted, rejected, or disputed. It is important to state, though, that Bob was making a little joke about terrorist just being a rude word for freedom fighter. Neither side in a war is saints, and accidents happen, and judgment fails, and moral ambiguity is not unknown.

    That said, there are also such things as actual, objective facts, and reality, and good and evil, that is not subject to change by argument, opinion, or desire for it to be otherwise, no matter how passionate.

    “Whenever two sides engage in a fight, each sees the other as the aggressor.” Nonsense! To simply state that many people believe something does not demonstrate its truth. In a war, the aggressor is usually easily distinguished from the aggressed upon. I include the savagery that distinguishes modern times in, say, Darfur, which may not technically qualify as “war.”

    Do you contend that both the villagers who are forced to flee while the women and girls are raped, men killed, houses burned, wells poisoned, and earth salted are as much aggressors as the terrorists who committed these grotesque assaults on them? It’s absurd. They are civilians, unarmed, helpless, and innocent of hostile words or deeds.

    It may feel quite sophisticated to imagine moral equivalence, seeing beyond reflexive loyalty, but it’s just wrong when in fact there is a good side and a bad side, and no moral equivalence or ambiguity whatever.

    You may call your pet terrorists freedom fighters, or heroes, or martyrs, or grandmothers if you wish. It does not change what they do or what they are. Repeating your favored designation does not make your assertion correct.

    Your question, “What if the Nazis had won World War II, how do you think history was going to be written?” is not useful. Are you attempting to suggest that in that event, the Nazis would have portrayed themselves as “good guys?” I suppose so. So what? Again, saying something does not make it true. If the Nazis had written historical lies, they would be lies. In reality, they would be villians that we know them to have been.

    Your mistake is elementary: Because opinions differ, you imagine them to be of equal worth. But they are not. Some are based on fact, and others on lies and hatred and distortion and errors.

    Mugabe is a “freedom fighter” who is known by all to be a monstrous dictator. But such is the power of mythology that none of his fellow African “leaders,” most not much better than he, dares sully that sainted reputation as liberator from oppression of the white imperialists. The country that under imperialists was known as the breadbasket of Africa now cannot feed itself, has no functioning economy, has routine beatings and killings, and has lost fully 25% of its populace who have escaped in desperation to neighboring countries. The character of life in those countries tells us just how desperate life has become under that glorious freedom fighter Robert Mugabe.

    Why do you defend the indefensible, and why so badly?

  200. 200 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 13:10

    @ Mohammed Ali

    It was “skewed” because he left out some major things from it, showing his bias. Stalin killed a lot more of his own people than the US/UK killed in bombing missions during WW2, yet he ignored it.

  201. 201 Jonathan (sunny San Francisco)
    July 17, 2008 at 13:25


    Good to see you again. Last time was when you resurrected Thomas Malthus and told us we were breeding too much, and I pointed out that developed countries reproduce below replacement rate, and developing countries will follow the same trend as they grow wealthy and industrialize, as the night follows the day. Didn’t hear from you.

    You offer amusing theories about why the US “dropped the bombs on Japan.” From context, since you don’t make it clear, I suppose you refer to the two nuclear bombs that persuaded the Japanese to surrender rather than carry out their planned scorched-earth policy, sacrificing every Japanese to die with honor in defense of their country. Well, it’s not a mystery; you may speculate, but the facts are available if you tire of making up your own.

    I’ll note parenthetically that the two atomic bombs killed far fewer people than the firebombing of Japanese cities previously had.

    The fact is that the Japanese had demonstrated in a series of battles that their value system mandated death as honorable, and surrender as contemptible and cowardly. Also, they routinely pushed women and children vicilians off cliffs to their deaths to avoid the shame of surrender and occupation. Perhaps perverse or maniacal by our standards, the Japanese fighters were, whatever else, brave beyond our ability to imagine that quality. We had broken their codes, we knew their plans, we knew their behavior. Thee is no doubt that a full-bore invasion of Honshu would have been required, and that it would have been met by ferocious resistance by both military and civilians, who would have killed as many Americans as possible before dying themselves. The death toll on both sides would have been horriffic. Immeasurably higher just among the Japanese than the casualties in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    I don’t expect that mere facts will persuade you from the self-flagellation that you obviously so enjoy, but I wanted to get on the record just for the sake of accuracy. You may return to your regularly scheduled delusion.

  202. 202 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 13:26

    Jonathan said “Do you contend that both the villagers who are forced to flee while the women and girls are raped, men killed, houses burned, wells poisoned, and earth salted are as much aggressors as the terrorists who committed these grotesque assaults on them? It’s absurd. They are civilians, unarmed, helpless, and innocent of hostile words or deeds”.
    It is absurd to think that any sound person will think that way. I said FIGHTING SIDES, do you view innocent women and chldren as fighters or you deliberately decided to ignore the facts in what I wrote?

    I equally don’t disagree with all what you said. True cannot be hidden forever, but the fact remains that who you considered terrorist may not be terrorist to another person.

    I love the west especially America because they help booted out Charles Taylor from Liberia. Been a pro-west or anti-west does not negate the reality that they are not equally committing acts of terrorism. Bye

  203. 203 Zainab
    July 17, 2008 at 13:27

    Hello all
    @ Bryan
    What did Hero Samir Kuntar do????
    If Samir Kuntar is a terrorist, then what do you call George Bush, Sadam, Sharon, Bin Laden, Ehud Olmert…
    Actually, I don’t find HezboAllah a terrorist organization, why it is so? they only resist their enemy, those who attack them.
    Does HezboAllah fight anyone’s freedom??
    And , HezbuAllah should be proud of his victory, and Israel should be shameful of its
    fake War.

    @Jonathan (Sunny San Francisco)
    Well , Me too, I ” wonder how a mind can manage to hold two or more contradictory, illogical, impossible beliefs at one time” If one believes that HezboAllah is a “terrorist organization” that kills innocent Israelis, than of course he must believe too that Israel is a terrorist organization that kills innocent palastanians. At that time both will be true.

    Yours truly,
    Zainab from Iraq

  204. 204 Shirley
    July 17, 2008 at 13:54

    Luz María y SMS español: salu2 a to2, dsps t veo, k tngas tmb buena night, b.sos

    Saludos a todos, despues te veo, que tenags también buenas noches, besos.

    Greetings to everyone, see you later, have a good night, too, kisses.

    I suppose that I am not a complete loss, then. I’ll postpone the flashcards for another decade. But shouldn’t «despues te veo» have some other word besides «despues»?

  205. 205 Vijay
    July 17, 2008 at 14:05

    @ steve b uk
    The english is silent in American english therefore it is only American .
    Have you never heard anyone say”English is from England ,American is from America”.
    14 types of english why not 57 “varieties” or 207.
    Who does the general recognising dude.

  206. 206 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 14:21

    Anyone see the latest jibjab video?


  207. 207 Vijay
    July 17, 2008 at 14:28

    @Madeline Morris
    Good programme about mining,why don’t you go to Butte (pronounced Beaut)Montana or Potosi,Bolivia for a comparison.

  208. 208 Blog Owner
    July 17, 2008 at 14:28

    After reading Vijay’s post, it leads me to a question: how to languages evolve? Why do Canadians spell words like “colour”, and “favourite” with the letter ‘u’ and Americans do not? Why do people in the UK pronounce words with an “uh” sound (Will, please correct me if I’m mistaken – not sure on my phonetics) and Canadians with an “ah” sound? What about slang? Is slang the evolution of language? Or a passing phase? Think about how language has changed in the past few decades… not many people say “groovy” or “outasight” anymore… instead these words have been replaced with “cool”, or “sick”. (The latter will always be strange to me, I’ll never be able to get past the meaning of the word ‘sick’ for being someone who is ill). What about Shakespearean language? As someone mentioned above, all you need to do is read a few pages of Macbeth or Romeo & Juliet to see how much the English language has changed.

    Another thought… is this change good or bad? Is it good that most high school students find Shakespeare challenging to understand because it uses “old English”? Does the fact that it is more difficult to understand mean that something has been lost? I am currently reading an old classic – “Kidnapped” by Robert Louis Stevenson, and although I consider myself an educated person, I will admit that some of the language gets lost in translation.

    A penny for anyone’s thoughts?

  209. 209 Justin from Iowa
    July 17, 2008 at 14:30

    Haven’t been able to keep track of the ngiht’s debate, but a news story on the BBC caought my eye… the Parliament of India is releasing parliament members, in prison, to secure their votes. One of them is a murderer. They mentioned that some of the parliament members in prison, had even been re-elected while serving time in prison.

    Good grief! To me, that’s like using dead people on the voting rolls to win election!

    And the US is basically condoning this, because the whole reason India is doing it is to secure nuclear energy tech from the US!

    Gah! *head explodes!*

  210. 210 Melanie Chassen
    July 17, 2008 at 14:32

    Hello all, please note that the post by “blog owner” is me… strange things with my account today. I’m back as Melanie for now.

  211. 211 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 15:07

    Interesting news I just heard on the radio: Some company has developed a way to harness the heat from exercise equipment (like ellipticals) to generate electricity. Apparently 10 hours of exercise produces enough electricity to microwave 15 frozen dinners.

  212. 212 Justin from Iowa
    July 17, 2008 at 15:11

    really that shouldn’t be that hard of something to develop, Steve. I grew up with jokes about hamsters on running wheels powering things, and motor vehicles, especially hybrids, make a lot of use for such tech.

    Heck,we should be hooking up mini generators to more things, think of all the energy we waste every day, heh. Start peddling at your computer desk!

  213. 213 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 15:14

    @ Justin

    I wish it would become common, might encourage people to exercise. Unfortunately in my apartment building, utilities are included, so I wouldn’t be saving any money by putting electricity back into the powergrid.

  214. 214 Vijay
    July 17, 2008 at 15:32

    @ Justin the hawkeye(or cyclone?)
    Where have you been shucking corn and chasing hogs,most of the politicians in India have criminal cases registered against them either by genuine or bogus complainants.In the lower house of parliament(Lok Sabha ,equivalent to the House of Representatives) I think 25 per cent of members have pending criminal litigation.
    India already has the bomb and missiles to deliver warheads and a space programme(the deal is good diplomacy ),this nuclear deal is about bringing India into the American sphere of influence,traditionally the USA has always supported Pakistan.
    The USA trained Pakistani aerospace and Nuclear
    engineers(who passed on their knowledge to North Korea and Iran).

  215. 215 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 15:56

    More on the gender wage pay gap myth. It’s simply due to women either quitting work all together or working part time, then comparing thier income to full time men in any field. So if you work as a part time secretary for 10 hours a week, you aren’t going to make as much as a lawyer who works 80 hours a week.


  216. 216 Nick in USA
    July 17, 2008 at 16:14

    @ Brett

    My wife and I also have a vegetable garden outside our little lexington apartment. We just step outside the door and get veggies and herbs when we cook. They have so much taste that way.

    Also, I agree 100% about labelling GMO products. My father actually grows GMOs, but I personally do not want to eat them because they haven’t been fully tested. The amount of additives in products is also sickening (literally). We also go to the farmers market every saturday morning. Making these small changes has improved every area of our lives.

  217. 217 Justin from Iowa
    July 17, 2008 at 16:14

    Ouch. I’ll have you know, we don’t just have corn and hogs here!!! You forgot to mention out pulling weeds in the soybean fields. And we’ve got plenty of walmarts. And Mcdonalds!

    Levity aside, I mean, There’s corruption, and then there’s CORRUPTION. I knew India was corrupt, but I didn’t realize they were electing murderers to parliament. Naive me.

  218. 218 Shirley
    July 17, 2008 at 16:19

    Democrats try to spur more oil exploration
    Is one worse than the other? I see almost no difference between the two political parties. The Democrats want to appear pro-drilling. It remind me of John Kerry trying to out-militarism and out-jingoise Bush. This year, though, it seems that they are trying to appeas as unconcerned about the environment as Bush & Croonies, LLC. The Pope isn’t. He waxed talkative about the damage that our consumerism and pollution are having on the environment, and how that has devastated the lives of so many and poses a threat to lives and quality of lives in the bear future. It appears that he is continuing Pope John Paul II’s campaign for the environment (peace, too). I am pleasantly impressed.

  219. 219 Shirley
    July 17, 2008 at 16:21

    There have been a couple of setbacks in the dialogue between Israel and Palestine. Some wording that referenced the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was dropped from a Mediterranean Union document, and essential commodities are still not flowing over the Gaza border.

    Palestinians pressured at Mediterranean summit: minister: Palestinian delegates at a Mediterranean summit in Paris came under “extremely heavy pressure” to drop their objections to the final declaration The Palestinians opposed last-minute changes to the wording in the founding declaration that dropped UN language on the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    If the Palestinian delegates are successful in re-introducing the UN references to the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, would it ease further discussions between Palestine and Israel? I see the sense in at least referring to the conflict, because it has many impacts regionally.

    Israel bars the entry of fuel and cement to Gaza: The Popular Committee Against the Siege stated that regardless of the declared truce, border crossing are not fully operating, and the amounts of goods allowed through are insufficient especially since Israel reduced the amounts instead of increasing them.

    The lack of fuel and cement could serve to increase tension in Gaza, because of their necessity for cooking and for building new homes, respectively. My understanding is that part of the 19 June truce was to open Gaza’s borders to trade and humanitarian goods. It’s odd to me that when an Israeli soldier shoots a Palestinian farmer near the Gaza border, or when Palestinians launch a rocket from Gaza into Israel, these are rather widely reported; but the fact that Israel has been keeping the Gaza border sealed to the flow of goods has gone relatively unreported. Is it somehow less important? Or is it the blood factor: if it bleeds, we report?

    Behind the scenes, the Israeli army has continued its activities in the West bank, invading at least three Palestinian cities since Wednesday and abducting more than a dozen people. They injured at least four people, two by gunfire. And a Palestinian human rights group has condemned recent Israeli assaults on reporters. The linked article lists several other attacks that have taken place over the past few months.

  220. 220 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 17, 2008 at 17:40

    My French teacher told me once that people which mother tongue is Spanish usually have a tendency to mispronounce words in French when they read it. This is because we are used to pronounce every letter, as I said before. And also, we don´t have different sounds for the same letter (e.g. e, é, è, ê) Well, someday I´ll get it. It is a process. I am still struggling with English prepositions.

    Wow! Good Spanish!
    Actually, someone sent me that message via SMS. It is poorly written. However, technically, it does not need another word after “después”.

  221. 221 vijay
    July 17, 2008 at 18:54

    There is endemic corruption at every level of society .
    At election time alcohol,opium and money are exchanged for votes,the police look the other way.
    If you think and act in a linear logical law abiding manner, you won’t get anything done in India ,it is all about lateral thinking and being creative with the truth.

    Hawkeye or Cyclone?

  222. 222 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 19:34

    Ah, as the left says, only the west, and non socialists can do wrong, so justify this:


    uh yeah, my morals, er um…. killing kids, well if they had capitalist parents, it’s okay..

  223. 223 Justin from Iowa
    July 17, 2008 at 20:30

    Cyclone of course!

  224. 224 Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 00:01

    Robert July 17, 2008 at 12:25 pm,

    Sorry, got back late to the debate and I’m not too clued up on Northern Ireland. But this from Bob in Queensland July 17, 2008 at 12:34 pm is an interesting starting point for a debate:

    “When the IRA detonated a bomb that killed British soldiers riding their horses on ceremonial duty in Hyde Park that was terrorism in my view, even though it can be argued that soldiers are “combatants”.”

    Tricky one. Can you terrorise soldiers? Presumably not, since they have the means and the ability to fight back, unlike civilians.

    Regarding the threat of violence, that is always implicit in terrorism but it is not in itself terrorism.

    Pangolin- California July 17, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    Childish non-argument. I don’t know about the Arab terrorists, but many of Israel’s leaders have distinguished themselves in battle against invading Arab armies and terrorists. Cowards they certainly are not.

    “Yeah, sure. As long as the definition of “distinguished in battle” means tossing shells into apartment buildings from the safety of a tank.”

    Nope, I was talking about battle – you know, 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982-2000, 2006 and the continual warding off of endless Palestinian terrorism in between the major battles. You must have studied the history of the conflict from Arab textbooks, if that’s the best you can do.

    Mohammed Ali July 17, 2008 at 12:39 pm’

    You said Hezbollah is fighting for freedom. Freedom from what? Civilization?

    Zainab July 17, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    “@ Bryan
    What did Hero Samir Kuntar do????”

    The word “hero” does not belong in the same sentence as Samir Kuntar. If you genuinely do not know what he did, then why discuss him? Google him, and then come back and talk.

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