Friday, November 20, 2009

h1n1 can be killed by acidic ozone water

Physorg | Scientists have found that acidic ozone water can deactivate H1N1 viruses very effectively, offering a promising disinfectant for the millions of people trying to avoid the disease. Acidic ozone water (AOW) is made from regular tap water mixed with a small amount of acid such as hydrochloric acid, along with an ozonized gas that can be produced in the lab. After deactivating the virus, the substance eventually decays into plain water, leaving no residue or harmful materials in the environment.

Scientists Han Uhm of Ajou University in Korea, along with Kwang Lee and Baik Seong of Yonsei University in Korea, have published the results of their study on the H1N1 disinfectant in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters. Besides being environmentally benign, AOW also has the advantage that it may cost significantly less to prepare compared with chemical disinfectants.

During the past several months, H1N1 has infected thousands of people worldwide and has proven to be a highly contagious disease. Attempts to combat the disease have included preventative vaccines and the use of disinfectants to prevent the spread of the disease. However, most of these disinfectants have chemicals that can harm the environment.

In the current study, the researchers found that they could make neutral water acidic by mixing a very small amount of hydrochloric acid into the water. Adding just 22 grams of hydrochloric acid to one ton of neutral water can change the pH value of the water from 7 to 4. As the scientists explain, the negative chlorine ions have a sterilizing effect on viruses, and a strong acidity in general also has a sterilizing effect.

Although acidic water itself can partially inactivate the H1N1 virus, the scientists also added an ozone gas concentration of more than 10 mg/liter to the water to enhance the sterilization effect. All the viruses were killed after five minutes of mixing the acidic ozone water with about 430,000 viruses in the environment.

When observing the number of viruses killed in a given time, the researchers found that the acidic ozone water had a synergic effect, outperforming the sum of the individual effects of acidic water and ozone water. Part of the reason for the enhanced sterilization is that, while ozone decays over time due to impurities, the acidification of water slows the decay, prolonging the time of disinfection.

RBD225G present in all fatal ukraine cases at GISAID

Recombinomics | The patient data associated with the 10 Ukraine isolates sequenced by Mill Hill and deposited at GISAID has been updated with demographic information, suggesting that the samples were from 10 individuals and four of the samples were from deceased patients. These are the same four samples that have D225G (see list below). This association suggests that swine H1N1 with D225G is more aggressive and is cause for concern.

As noted earlier, D225G has been appended onto multiple genetic backgrounds via recombination, and the data from Ukraine adds further support. Samples from Ternopil and Khmelnitsky (see updated map) have a regional marker that is found in swine but no other human isolates. This marker is on all 6 Termopil isolates, indicating it was an early acquisition, but only the two fatal cases have D225G indicating it was appended onto the Ternopil genetic background. However, it is also found in the two fatal cases from Lviv, which do not have the regional marker. Similarly, earlier isolates with D225G represent distinct genetic backgrounds with D225G.

It was the jumping of D225G that allowed for prediction of the marker in Ukraine prior to release of the sequences by Mill Hill. This type of jumping has been described in detail for H5N1 and seasonal H1N1. This type of jumping via recombination and identification of markers that make frequent jumps are the underlying concepts that allow for the D225G prediction.

However, it is likely that D225G jumps will continue and the lethal marker will spread via Ukraine-like viruses, as well as virus that acquire D225G by recombination. Moreover, the absence of D225G in the nasal washes may signal mixtures of H1N1, with wild type dominating in the upper respiratory tract, and versions with D225G being expressed at highest levels in the lung, leading to false negatives in nasopharyngeal swabs, and cytokine storms in lung tissues where the aggressive virus with D225G is at high concentrations.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

visit chernobyl

MigNews | Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is named the most exotic place for tourism on the Earth, according to the magazine Forbes, which published the list of super-extravagant tourist places, where you can either relax and see what is no longer anywhere in the world.

"23 years after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl nuclear power plant a few companies offer tours here, - writes Forbes. - Customers are going to see the exploded reactor, the dead city Pripyat and red woods where pines have acquired an orange color due to radiation."

Actually, it is the characteristics of 30 km zone, where trips cost for foreigners US $70-170. Despite such advertising, the number of our clients has not been increased in our tour agencies, the newspaper Segodnya reports. According to the representative of, who carries tourists to the exclusion zone, because of the crisis and the situation with the swine influenza in Ukraine the number of customers decreased. Previously mainly Russians and Poles visited the Nuclear power plant. Foreigners are mostly impressed by the abandoned villages.

For those who prefer a less extreme vacation, Forbes offers a trip to the Galapagos Islands or the coldest place on earth - Antarctica. The head of the agency Gap Adventures Bruce Type claimed, now these two trends are becoming more popular. Among the original tour directions are the capital of North Korea (but only a few people may go there), the trees "Blood of the Dragon" on the Yemeni island of Socotra, the monastery Takstang in the last kingdom in Asia - Bhutan, and Tuva (Russia), where throat singing exists.

potentially energy self-reliant states

Notice anything strange about the confederate states of America?
Click on the image to download the full report.

energy shortage

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


"Heaven Earth" from Harald Scherz on Vimeo.


SHAMANISM is a complex transcultural phenomena, a psycho-spiritual system and conglomerate of socio-cultural practices, found around the world. The word "shaman" derives from tungusic language and means "one who knows".

Traditionally the role of the shaman is of great importance to many oral cultures. In various cultures shamans have numerous functions within a cultural system, reaching from religious, political, medical, social to economical fields of actions. Shamans are intermediators between the physical and spiritual world.

Shamans transcend between the "world of the ancestors" and the "world of the living" or between "Heaven" and "Earth". Thereby the shaman brings back information, he gained during his journey into the 'spirit world'. In shamanism, understanding of the natural environment is characterized by the idea of animated nature and the assumption of a "subjectivity" of all living creatures. This socio-ecological concept includes trees, plants and animals. In some ethnolinguistic groups, the shaman organizes the management of available ressources.

In the last decades the West has discovered "Shamanism", mostly through scientific, popular and New Age media. A rise in the interest of western recipients, willingly to participate in 'shamanic' suances has increased.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

hunger, a growing problem in america?

WaPo | The nation's economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that nearly 50 million people -- including almost one child in four -- struggled last year to get enough to eat.

The USDA's 2008 report (pdf)

At a time when rising poverty, widespread unemployment and other effects of the recession have been well documented, the report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides the government's first detailed portrait of the toll that the faltering economy has taken on Americans' access to food.

The magnitude of the increase in food shortages -- and, in some cases, outright hunger -- identified in the report startled even the nation's leading anti-poverty advocates, who have grown accustomed to longer lines lately at food banks and soup kitchens. The findings also intensify pressure on the White House to fulfill a pledge to stamp out childhood hunger made by President Obama, who called the report "unsettling."

The data show that dependable access to adequate food has especially deteriorated among families with children. In 2008, nearly 17 million children, or 22.5 percent, lived in households in which food at times was scarce -- 4 million children more than the year before. And the number of youngsters who sometimes were outright hungry rose from nearly 700,000 to almost 1.1 million.

Among Americans of all ages, more than 16 percent -- or 49 million people -- sometimes ran short of nutritious food, compared with about 12 percent the year before. The deterioration in access to food during 2008 among both children and adults far eclipses that of any other single year in the report's history.

Around the Washington area, the data show, the extent of food shortages varies significantly. In the past three years, an average of 12.4 percent of households in the District had at least some problems getting enough food, slightly worse than the national average. In Maryland, the average was 9.6 percent, and in Virginia it was 8.6 percent.

The local and national findings are from a snapshot of food in the United States that the Agriculture Department has issued every year since 1995, based on Census Bureau surveys. It documents Americans who lack a dependable supply of adequate food -- people living with some amount of "food insecurity" in the lexicon of experts -- and those whose food shortages are so severe that they are hungry. The new report is based on a survey conducted in December.

Several independent advocates and policy experts on hunger said that they had been bracing for the latest report to show deepening shortages, but that they were nevertheless astonished by how much the problem has worsened. "This is unthinkable. It's like we are living in a Third World country," said Vicki Escarra, president of Feeding America, the largest organization representing food banks and other emergency food sources.

In a briefing for reporters, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "These numbers are a wake-up call . . . for us to get very serious about food security and hunger, about nutrition and food safety in this country."

Vilsack attributed the marked worsening in Americans' access to food primarily to the rise in unemployment, which now exceeds 10 percent, and in people who are underemployed. He acknowledged that "there could be additional increases" in the 2009 figures, due out a year from now, although he said it is not yet clear how much the problem might be eased by the measures the administration and Congress have taken this year to stimulate the economy.

The report's main author at USDA, Mark Nord, noted that other recent research by the agency has found that most families in which food is scarce contain at least one adult with a full-time job, suggesting that the problem lies at least partly in wages, not entirely an absence of work.

china biggest risk to world economy?

Telegraph | President Obama said before going to China this week that Asia can no longer live by shipping goods to Americans already in debt to their ears.

"The inherent problems of the international economic system have not been fully addressed," said China's president Hu Jintao. Indeed not. China is still exporting overcapacity to the rest of us on a grand scale, with deflationary consequences.

While some fret about liquidity-driven inflation, Justin Lin, World Bank chief economist, said the greater danger is that record levels of idle plant almost everywhere will feed a downward spiral of job cuts and corporate busts. "I'm more worried about deflation," he said.

By holding the yuan to 6.83 to the dollar to boost exports, Beijing is dumping its unemployment abroad – "stealing American jobs", says Nobel laureate Paul Krugman. As long as China does it, other tigers must do it too.

Western capitalists are complicit, of course. They rent cheap workers and cheap plant in Guangdong, then lobby Capitol Hill to prevent Congress doing anything about it. This is labour arbitrage.

At some point, American workers will rebel. US unemployment is already 17.5pc under the broad "U6" gauge followed by Barack Obama. Realty Track said that 332,000 properties were foreclosed in October alone. More Americans have lost their homes this year than during the entire decade of the Great Depression. A backlog of 7m homes is awaiting likely seizure by lenders. If you are not paying attention to this political time-bomb, perhaps you should.

President Obama said before going to China this week that Asia can no longer live by shipping goods to Americans already in debt to their ears. "We have reached one of those rare inflection points in history where we have the opportunity to take a different path," he said. Failure to take that path will "put enormous strains" on America's ties to China. Is that a threat?

yersinia pestis

USPTO | United States Patent 7,572,449 Hill , et al. August 11, 2009
Vaccine against Yersinia comprising one or two antibodies, one specific for Yersinia pestis F1-antigen and the other one for Yersinia pestis V-antigen

The use of (i) an antibody specific for Yersinia pestis F1-antigen, or a binding fragment thereof, or (ii) an antibody specific for Yersinia pestis V-antigen, or a binding fragment thereof, or a combination of (i) and (ii), in the production of a medicament for the treatment of infection by Yersinia pestis. It has been found that such treatments are effective therapies for Yersinia pestis infection. In addition, the combination produces a synergistic effect when used prophylactically.

Yersinia pestis (formerly Pasteurella pestis) is a Gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium belonging to the family Enterobacteriaceae. It is a facultative anaerobe that can infect humans and other animals.

Human Y. pestis infection takes three main forms: pneumonic, septicemic, and the notorious bubonic plagues.[1] All three forms have been responsible for high mortality rates in epidemics throughout human history, including the Black Death (a bubonic plague) that accounted for the death of at least one-third of the European population in 1347 to 1353.

In September 2009 the death of a molecular genetics professor at the University of Chicago was linked to his work on a weakened strain of Y. pestis.[2].

Y. pestis has gained attention as a possible biological warfare agent and the CDC has classified it as a category A pathogen requiring preparation for a possible terrorist attack.

Monday, November 16, 2009

the enemy within

EnlightenNext | From the beginning of our research for this issue, the idea of speaking with an Orthodox elder about the ego had been an intriguing one. For although it is a tradition in which none of us could claim expertise, we were aware that when it comes to defining the enemy of the spiritual path, the Orthodox Christians are perhaps in a class by themselves. To this ancient mystical branch of Christianity, which split from the Catholic Church in 1054, the total purification of the human personality from egotism, selfishness and anything else that obstructs its capacity to reflect the light of God is and always has been the first and final aim of spiritual life. In sacred books with names like The Ladder of Divine Ascent and The Philokalia (literally "love of the beautiful and good"), Orthodox elders from as early as the third century write with passion and precision about the fullblooded "spiritual combat" the sincere aspirant must be willing to engage in if he or she is to have any hope of defeating the "demons" within that relentlessly attack with ever new and creative tactics. In one of countless such passages in The Philokalia, the fourth-century desert monk St. John Cassian writes, "[The ego] is difficult to fight against, because it has many forms and appears in all our activities . . . When it cannot seduce a man with extravagant clothes, it tries to tempt him by means of shabby ones. When it cannot flatter him with honor, it inflates him by causing him to endure what seems to be dishonor. When it cannot persuade him to feel proud of his display of eloquence, it entices him through silence into thinking he has achieved stillness. . . . In short, every task, every activity, gives this malicious demon a chance for battle."

While the word "ego" itself only appears in more contemporary translations and commentaries, throughout even the most ancient Orthodox texts, there are countless references to the hazards of self-love, self-esteem and the "most sinister of demons"—pride. Considered by Christians to be the sin that not only brought Lucifer, God's highest angel, tumbling to a fiery fate but that also led Adam and Eve to be exiled from paradise on earth, pride is referred to variously as "the mother of all woes" and "the first offspring of the devil." It is also universally regarded as the most destructive and powerful adversary on the spiritual path. As St. John Cassian writes, "Just as a deadly plague destroys not just one member of the body, but the whole of it, so pride corrupts the whole soul, not just part of it. . . . when the vice of pride has become master of our wretched soul, it acts like some harsh tyrant who has gained control of a great city, and destroys it completely, razing it to its foundations."

searching for a miracle

Post Carbon Institute | THIS REPORT IS INTENDED as a non-technical examination of a basic question: Can any combination of known energy sources successfully supply society’s energy needs at least up to the year 2100? In the end, we are left with the disturbing conclusion that all known energy sources are subject to strict limits of one kind or another. Conventional energy sources such as oil, gas, coal, and nuclear are either at or nearing the limits of their ability to grow in annual supply, and will dwindle as the decades proceed—but in any case they are unacceptably hazardous to the environment. And contrary to the hopes of many, there is no clear practical scenario by which we can replace the energy from today’s conventional sources with sufficient energy from alternative sources to sustain industrial society at its present scale of operations. To achieve such a transition would require (1) a vast financial investment beyond society’s practical abilities, (2) a very long time—too long in practical terms—for build-out, and (3) significant sacrifices in terms of energy quality and reliability.

Perhaps the most significant limit to future energy supplies is the “net energy” factor—the requirement that energy systems yield more energy than is invested in their construction and operation. There is a strong likelihood that future energy systems, both conventional and alternative, will have higher energy input costs than those that powered industrial societies during the last century.We will come back to this point repeatedly.

The report explores some of the presently proposed energy transition scenarios, showing why, up to this time, most are overly optimistic, as they do not address all of the relevant limiting factors to the expansion of alternative energy sources. Finally, it shows why energy conservation (using less energy, and also less resource materials) combined with humane, gradual population decline must become primary strategies for achieving sustainability.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

los alamos pandemic flu simulation

Simulation of a pandemic flu outbreak in the continental United States, initially introduced by the arrival of 10 infected individuals in Los Angeles.

The spatiotemporal dynamics of the prevalence (number of symptomatic cases at any point in time), is shown on a logarithmic color scale, from 50 or fewer (green) to 100 or more (red) cases per 1,000 persons. Without vaccination, antiviral drugs, or other mitigation strategies, the entire nation becomes infected within a few months. Depending on the reproductive number R0, effective intervention strategies including vaccination and targeted antiviral prophylaxis can be successful without resorting to economically damaging measures like school closure, quarantine, and work or travel restrictions. This large-scale agent-based simulation involves 280 million people, and uses demographic and worker flow data at the Census tract level, as well as long-range travel statistics, to describe the geographic movement of people. In this simulation, long-range travel is assumed to occur at a lower-than-normal rate (10 percent) due to travel advisories, but with no other mitigation strategies the pandemic quickly spreads nationwide, peaking about 90 days after the initial introduction.

WHO to report on ukraine next week

Tymoshenko | The World Health Organisation (WHO) will make a public report about Ukraine ’s epidemic situation next week.

"Our experts have developed certain recommendations, and on the basis of working together with government departments, we are happy to pass them on for implementation… Our epidemiological team has completed the data collection phase in the Lviv region and other western Ukrainian oblasts, and we are now analyzing the results. These will be published in our report next week, at the time where our mission will have complete its work here," stated Yukka Pukkile, head of the WHO mission, which is researching the current epidemic situation in Ukraine .

He also emphasized: "The epidemic has spread all over the world, and is impossible to stop. In Ukraine, people should try to understand that the pandemic has affected all countries, and Ukraine is no exemption. We shouldn’t blame anyone. We should instead, combine all of our energy, to do our best to control the situation to minimize the resultant harm… The committee has come to its conclusions, which can be summarized in that there is not a serious difference of the morbidity patterns of H1N1 in Ukraine with that of other countries.”

Simultaneously, WHO’s clinical expert Dr. Simon Mardel, highly commended the organization of the work of the government in its fight against the epidemic. "Our clinical group of specialists conducted their research in Western Ukraine…And we noticed that medical staff were prepared to give us their total cooperation on the spot… I was also struck by how accommodating Ukrainian professionals were, and the Ukrainian example was indeed a positive experience for all of us … And we are convinced that this extends to all organizational levels of Ukraine," he stated.

the nytimes gets around to it....,

NYTimes | When patients began arriving in Vyacheslav Bonder’s intensive care unit two weeks ago, their lungs so saturated with blood that they could barely gasp, the only thing he could compare it to was a field hospital in wartime. As soon as he hooked one patient up to a ventilator, a second and third would appear in the doorway.

By that time, hospitals were clearing wards to make room for a wave of pneumonia cases, and people were crowding into drugstores to buy whatever they could get their hands on. Rumors were circulating that the government had ordered the city aerially sprayed with chemicals, to cure Lviv (pronounced luh-VEEVE) of disease or, in a grimmer version, to exterminate its carriers.

The panic lifted almost as quickly as it had arrived, and the World Health Organization announced Friday that the swine flu illnesses and deaths so far in Ukraine — 265 fatalities nationwide, with 87 in the Lviv region — were statistically no worse than those in other countries. But what happened here has drawn rapt attention from experts bracing for the epidemic to hit Europe, and especially the fragile health care systems of countries of the former Soviet Union.

Early findings are that serious cases mounted because the sick avoided hospitalization until their illness was dangerously advanced, stockpiles of Tamiflu were locked in centralized locations and the supply of ventilators fell short, said David Mercer, of the World Health Organization’s European regional office.

“It’s not like this caught us by surprise; we’ve known for months that this was coming,” said Dr. Mercer, who heads the office’s communicable disease unit. “We’ve been working very hard on plans, but sometimes the battle plan doesn’t survive the first contact with the enemy. We’ve had to change a lot of things on the fly.”

Saturday, November 14, 2009

russian doctors learn why ukrainians are dying..,

MigNews | All victims of the virus in Bukovyna (22 people at the age of 20-40) died not from bilateral pneumonia, as was previously thought, but as a result of viral distress syndrome, i.e the total destruction of the lungs.

At first the cardio-pulmonary insufficiency comes, and consequently cardiogenic shock is developed, which causes cardiac standstill and death, told the chief of bureau of the Chernivtsi regional forensic examination, doctor of science, Professor Viktor Bachynsky, UNIAN reports.

"During a bilateral pneumonia some morphological picture is observed. As of data of deaths, there is no such morphological picture. The virus, which causes death, is very aggressive, it does not strike the trachea, but immediately gets into the lungs and causes heavy swelling and solid hemorrhage. Mixed types of parainfluenza and influenza A/N1N1 lead to this state. This is a very toxic strain, which has not yet answered to the treatment of the Ministry of Health", - said Viktor Bachinsky.

According to him, there is a need to change the treatment standards, because those which were used earlier, resulted in nothing – doctors failed to save all people infected with the virus in the reanimation. The belt ventilators did not help also.

For this reason a group of professors of Chernivtsi Medical University appealed to the Ministry of Health and National Security and Defense Council with a demand to review the standards of treatment of patients in Bukovyna. Scientists-morphologists sent to Kyiv reports, studies and analysis of critically ill patients and people who died of virus.

Viktor Bachinsky noted that the virus is extremely toxic, it is able to penetrate not only through respiratory apparatus but also through the eyes. Chernovtsy scientists recommend in any case use masks and even wear protective spectacles. An important condition to prevent deterioration of the situation is also the observance of quarantine regime.

pathological changes associated with 2009 "h1n1" virus

NEJM | Between April 23, 2009, and May 15, 2009, we performed 15 autopsies on deceased patients in whom probable influenza had been diagnosed either clinically or macroscopically. Small samples of lung tissue were obtained and taken for analysis to the Institute of Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference in Mexico City. Five infections with the 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) virus were confirmed with the use of a real-time reverse-transcriptase–polymerase-chain-reaction assay, after it was determined that these patients were seronegative for influenza B virus, respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza virus (types 1, 2, and 3), and adenovirus.1 From these five patients, organ samples were collected, fixed in 10% formalin, embedded in paraffin, and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. In the remaining 10 patients in whom the 2009 H1N1 virus was not detected, histopathological analyses identified bacterial pneumonia.

All five patients with diagnosed 2009 H1N1 influenza had been residents of Mexico City. Four of them were young adults (ages 22, 26, 28, and 37 years) who were hospitalized with the presumptive diagnosis of influenza. These patients were initially treated with antibiotics for bacterial pneumonia. The fifth patient was an 83-year-old woman with a diagnosis of cerebral hemorrhage, who had no clinical signs of influenza but showed characteristics of hemorrhagic pneumonia on macroscopic evaluation. The patients had died 7 to 13 days after the onset of influenza symptoms.

On autopsy for all five patients, the right and left lungs had increased in weight (650 to 1200 g for each lung; normal, 450 g) and had a solid consistency (see Fig. 1 in the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this letter at In four patients, zones of edema, hemorrhage, or necrosis were observed in the upper respiratory tract on the internal surface of the larynx and trachea, as reported in previous cases of seasonal influenza.2,3 All five patients showed evidence of pulmonary damage and signs of acute interstitial lesions, as noted in patients with avian influenza A (H5N1) virus infection.3,4

afghanistan in its greater context

SAQ | The situation in Afghanistan reveals two matters that must be recognized for what they are:

Firstly, the idea of democracy, that is a central government with parliamentary representation, cannot be established in the Greater Central Asia. Not one of the countries in the region has any track record to show the contrary. Even Kyrgyzstan’s ‘Tulip’ Revolution has resulted in a clan-based regime.

Secondly, this is due to the ethnic nature of the nation states into which the region has been divided. The ‘Stans’ were founded by Soviet Russia that built on Imperial Russia’s wanton use of cultivating Cossacks and clan-based political structures in order to consolidate its hold on the region. The Durand Line that separates Pakistan and Afghanistan was formalized as a strategic boundary from which nineteenth century Imperial Britain could ensure an advantageous defensive position against a not-so-probable Russian offensive.

Therefore, the cause for what is termed ‘terrorism’ is nationalism and the root cause of nationalism in the region is the manner in which the region is divided. Nigel J. R. Allen, in his brilliant 2001 article on the region ‘Defining Place and People in Afghanistan’ stated that; ‘The absurdity of a Eurocentric world also extends to the concept of a nation-state’. It is little wonder then that the US-ISAF forces are in the process of dismantling that truly absurd suggestion of the Durand Line that remains the Pakistan-Afghan border.

To Make All Things New:
The current political dialectic can only lead to further destabilization without offering any prospects of a logical and peaceful balance of powers. If US-ISAF forces begin to place pressure on the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border, the ramifications would be disastrous. According to Nicklas Norling of CACI, Russia is moving towards the militarisation of the ‘Stans’ through the use of Islamic militants whose activities would provide the provocation and justification for it. One Russian analyst has stated that ‘preservation of Russia’s wholeness begins in the Ferghana Valley’. A similar caveat was used by the FSB in order to provide the justification for the second Chechen War in 1999.

With the geopolitical tensions growing between Russia and the US and the geo-strategic interests of China and Europe at stake, the use of the terrorist dialectic is wholly problematic as it fails to make a clear distinction between players and reflect the greater reality on the ground. P. J. Taj, a Pakistani political analyst interviewed on al Jazeera on the 8th of August stressed the fact that we are reduced to sophomoric speculation when determining who funds the Taliban; the lines are blurred. But there is one reality that must be taken into consideration by think tanks and leaders alike; the entire region is a Sea of Islam; it is Muslim.

The situation in Greater Central Asia will necessitate the reworking of the current political dialectic. Muslims of the region have two options; they either allow themselves to be herded into the next phase of bloodshed or they consolidate politically, using their intellects, and shape the future of what Sir Halford Mackinder called the ‘Heartland’ of the greater globe.

is china headed toward collapse?

Politico | The conventional wisdom in Washington and in most of the rest of the world is that the roaring Chinese economy is going to pull the global economy out of recession and back into growth. It’s China’s turn, the theory goes, as American consumers — who propelled the last global boom with their borrowing and spending ways — have begun to tighten their belts and increase savings rates.

The Chinese, with their unbridled capitalistic expansion propelled by a system they still refer to as “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” are still thriving, though, with annual gross domestic product growth of 8.9 percent in the third quarter and a domestic consumer market just starting to flex its enormous muscles.

That’s prompted some cheerleading from U.S. officials, who want to see those Chinese consumers begin to pick up the slack in the global economy — a theme President Barack Obama and his delegation are certain to bring up during next week’s visit to China.

“Purchases of U.S. consumers cannot be as dominant a driver of growth as they have been in the past,” Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said during a trip to Beijing this spring. “In China, ... growth that is sustainable will require a very substantial shift from external to domestic demand, from an investment and export-intensive growth to growth led by consumption.”

That’s one vision of the future.

But there’s a growing group of market professionals who see a different picture altogether. These self-styled China bears take the less popular view: that the much-vaunted Chinese economic miracle is nothing but a paper dragon. In fact, they argue that the Chinese have dangerously overheated their economy, building malls, luxury stores and infrastructure for which there is almost no demand, and that the entire system is teetering toward collapse.

Friday, November 13, 2009

ukraine dead increase to 239 - still no sequences

Recombinomics Commentary November 12, 2009

1,253,558 Influenza/ARI

65.615 Hospitalizations

239 Deaths

The above numbers are from the latest update from the Ukraine Ministry of Health. The number of deaths increased 26 to 239, so 50 new deaths have been reported in the past 2 days. Although the virus continues to spread (only 5 of the 27 reporting areas have not topped the epidemic threshold) many of the deaths are still being reported from the hard hit areas in western Ukraine(see map). However, the biggest jump in cases was 6.096 in Kiev to 89,339.

The steady increase in the high level of deaths continues to raise concerns about genetic changes in the H1N1. In this morning's press conference the WHO discussed the need for prompt treatment with Tamiflu, but did not address genetic changes in Ukraine. Only general statements on the stability of the H1N1 were made in response to questions on genetic changes in Ukraine. Today's conference is a week after the last comments on the Ukraine H1N1 sequences which indicated that there were no large changes, but an update would be forthcoming in a "few days". It has now been over a week and no updates on genetic changes have been forthcoming.

The release of the sequences from Ukraine is long overdue.

90,000 casualties - but who's counting?

Antiwar | Usually, there is nothing more powerful than a personal story to pound home the cost of eight years of war overseas, but I think today there is something even more disturbing to bear.

It’s the number 89,457 [.doc].

As of Nov. 9, that’s how many American casualties there were in Iraq and Afghanistan since Oct. 7, 2001, when the Afghan war officially began. That includes a tire-screeching 75,134 dead, wounded-in-action, and medically evacuated due to illness, disease, or injury in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and 14,323 and counting in Afghanistan, or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

That it may sound incredible – even unreal – is understandable. Early attempts to effectively count casualties (outside of battlefield fatalities) had been in earnest, then erratic, but finally dead-ended, frustrated by the Department of Defense, which has always been loath to break down and publicize the data on a regular basis.

One stalwart has always been Veterans for Common Sense (VCS), a nonprofit advocacy group dedicated to advancing the health and readjustment of returning soldiers and veterans. They’ve been diligently aggregating the statistics over time, and thanks to their diligent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, they can provide casualty reports at a level of detail not currently seen on the DOD’s publicly accessible Web site,

If we could access the data more easily, more people would know that 196 servicemembers took their own lives while serving in Iraq between March 2003 and Oct. 31, 2009, and there were 35 such suicides in Afghanistan. (These figures, of course, do not include the skyrocketing cases of suicides among all active-duty soldiers and veterans and cases of self-inflicted injury outside both war zones.)