prolost

vivere est cogitare

Tag: iraq

long time no see

It’s been a busy month. Presented a talk in lab and at the UW Honors Research Colloquium, and bringing a poster to the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium, had 2 papers and 2 midterms. All in the first 10 days of May.

I Puritani is next week; it will be the last opera of the season, and I don’t yet know for sure whether I will renew my subscription. Opera is a magnificent thing, but it costs a lot of money. It can be a difficult expense to justify.

Art itself, in fact, begs for justification. As long as it remains quiet, unoffensive, cute and trite, art draws no criticism, and indeed hardly any attention at all. Putting aside constraining definitions of art itself, what is its purpose? And more to the point, does expression have limits?

Wafaa Bilal’s minor modification of Night of Bush Capturing, in turn a modification by the Global Islamic Media Front (likely a media arm for Al-Qaeda) of Quest for Saddam, a game created by Jesse Petrilla, a conservative American citizen, drew great ire from conservatives in Troy, NY where Bilal was exhibiting his work (sorry for the complex arrangement of subordinate clauses). The ignorance and failure of reason here is staggering. The original American-made game perpetuates negative stereotypes and ignorant hatred of its targets; the Global Islamic Media Front modification simply turns it on its head, and reflects back upon us how inaccurate and harmful such portrayals can be. And Bilal, in placing his own likeness into the game, is expressing how easily the attitude of those orchestrating and supporting the Iraq War can contribute to the disillusionment and even defection of people who previously had nothing to do with Al-Qaeda. Such perspective ought to be valued, not vilified.

And what of Burma/Myanmar (it doesn’t matter which name is more “correct;” the politics of language is always problematic)? Does coercive humanitarian aid (a rather awkward and loaded construction) constitute a perpetuation of Western Imperialism? Many Colonial and Imperialist endeavors have been attached to ostensibly noble goals.

If nothing else, the hesitation of the United States to even undertake supply airdrops without the permission of the Burmese government highlights the utter hypocrisy and ruthlessness of the Iraq War.

On a lighter note, Nate finished building his computer. But Linux drivers… :effort:

we call them npcs

The continued occupation of Iraq costs this nation at least $16m every hour.

Dayer AG et al. Recruiting new neurons from the subventricular zone to the rat postnatal cortex: an organotypic slice culture model. Eur J Neurosci (2008) vol. 27 pp. 1051-1060

The above is a cool article because it suggests that adult neurogenesis has the potential for clinical application. Not that it hasn’t been suggested elsewhere, but this is one of the more promising approaches.

Curtis et al. Human neuroblasts migrate to the olfactory bulb via a lateral ventricular extension. Science (2007) vol. 315 (5816) pp. 1243-9

It’s kind of surprising that it was only demonstrated in 2007 that humans have an RMS (i.e. we generate new olfactory neurons). Adult neurogenesis in both the SVZ (destined for the olfactory bulb) and the SGZ (destined for the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus), though especially the latter, has been linked in numerous studies to memory and learning.

you are too arrogant

While for the world I lament, some residents of this nation never cease to infuriate me. Theirs is the ignorance which plagues America.

Today the sixth year of the Iraq War begins (it has been five full years). According to Mr. Bush, the threat if the US withdraws is nearly the same as when we began – some fear-mongering about القاعدة. In effect, by his own admission, we have not appreciably reduced the threat to our “national security.”

nineteen days

This is one of my favorite quotations.

Don’t let anybody make you think that God chose America as his divine messianic force to be – a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgment and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, “you are too arrogant! And if you don’t change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I will place it in the hands of a nation that doesn’t even know my name. Be still and know that I’m God. Men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, and nations will not rise up against nations, neither shall they study war anymore. I don’t know about you, I ain’t going to study war no more.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
30 April 1967
Ebenezer Baptist Church

The National Radio Project has the audio of this excerpt.

the truth

At around 0720 GMT, a bomb was detonated in Baghdad’s al-Ghazl animal market. 20 minutes later, a bomb was set off in another crowded market in the al-Jadida district, southeast of Baghdad. The figures below are accurate as of the posting of this entry.

The BBC reports that the first explosion killed at least 46 and injured another 80, and that the second explosion killed at least 27 and injuring 67. That adds up to at least 73 dead, 147 wounded.

CNN reports that the first killed 69 and injured more than 140, and that the second killed 29 and injured 67. The sum is 98 dead, and at least 207 wounded.

Al Jazeera English reports that the first bomb killed 38 and the second at least 27. They estimate about 149 injured total. That is at least 65 dead, 149 wounded.

The New York Times gives the same figures as Al Jazeera.

U.S. officials, according to CNN, reported a dramatically lower death toll: 27 dead and 53 wounded.

This is all very interesting, but whatever. The most interesting difference between the reports is that the BBC and CNN stories refer to Qassem Ata al-Moussawi (and any number of alternate spellings), “a spokesman for Baghdad’s security plan,” (what does that mean, anyway?) stating that the bombers, both women, were likely mentally disabled and the bombs detonated remotely. Both of them incorporated this prominently into their stories and headlines.

However, neither the Al Jazeera story nor the U.S. military make any mentions of the women’s mental states. The NY Times article vaguely mentions Iraqi officials’ comments about the women potentially being mentally disabled, but essentially disregards it, noting that “…Iraqi officials have made similar claims in the past….”

Also, Keith Olbermann gets very angry-like and then finishes up by pretending he’s Edward R. Murrow. Sort of. He happens to be right, though. Also, in case you ever wondered what constitutes Fair Use. Because not knowing the exact wording of that law is the sort of thing you lose sleep over.