Saturday, February 5, 2011

China pulls mummy with Caucasian features from US exhibition...

The 'Beauty of Xiaohe', which China has pulled out of an exhibition in the US

The 'Beauty of Xiaohe', which China has pulled out of an exhibition in the US

For her advanced years, she looks remarkable. Despite nearing the ripe old age of 4,000, long eyelashes still frame her half-open eyes and hair tumbles down to her remarkably well-preserved shoulders.

But the opportunity for new audiences in the United States to view the "Beauty of Xiaohe" – a near perfectly preserved mummy from an inhospitable part of western China – has been dealt a blow after it was pulled from an exhibition following a sudden call from the Chinese authorities on the eve of opening. The reason for pulling the mummy and other artefacts from the show remained unclear yesterday (Chinese officials were on New Year holiday) but there were suggestions that the realities of modern Chinese politics may have had a part to play.

The mummy was recovered from China's Tarim Basin, in Xinjiang province. But her Caucasian features raised the prospect that the region's inhabitants were European settlers.

The government-approved story of China's first contact with the West dates back to 200BC when China's emperor Wu Di wanted to establish an alliance with the West against the marauding Huns, then based in Mongolia. However, the discovery of the mummies suggests that Caucasians were settled in a part of China thousands of years before Wu Di: the notion that they arrived in Xinjiang before the first East Asians is truly explosive

A light comes on in England

UK's Cameron: Europe must wake up on extremism...

'We need to be a lot less tolerant towards Islamic extremists'...

'Multiculturalism has failed'...

eric allie

Advice: take the hard courses

From Students 'Adrift'? Don't Blame Them, at Minding the Campus:

The recent study conducted by the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College shows that only 26 percent of undergraduates at small institutions, and only 18 percent at larger institutions, felt strongly that their professors had high expectations and challenged them academically.

At a state university where I taught, seniors who took my 100-level survey course told me that it was the hardest and most intellectually demanding class they had taken in four years at college. Many were actually grateful for having taken my course and felt cheated by their other professors---although others weren't as grateful and eventually dropped the course or wrote negative comments on In an age when higher education exists for credentialing, and anyone can "get a degree," they wanted an easy professor and a blow-off class.

I refused to accommodate them.

Simple Life Changes Could Stop Millions of Cancers


"It is distressing that even in 2011, people are dying unnecessarily from cancers that could be prevented through maintaining a healthy weight, diet, physical activity and other lifestyle factors," Martin Wiseman, a WCRF medical and scientific adviser, said in statement.

In China, 620,000 cases, or 27 percent are preventable, the WCRF said, as are about 35 percent, or 340,000, in the United States and 37 percent in Britain. Healthier lifestyles could prevent 61,000 cancers in Brazil and 79,000 in Britain.

The Geneva-based WHO said low levels of physical activity are the main cause of an estimated 21 to 25 percent of breast and colon cancers, 27 percent of diabetes cases and 30 percent of heart disease cases worldwide.

The WHO says adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. This could be done by walking for 30 minutes five times per week or by cycling to work every day.

Computer Models lie. The Super Bowl is here. Dallas is way more blitzed than Fresno.

Fresno, California Is America's 'Drunkest City'

Men’s Health has announced its list of drunkest cities in America and Fresno, Calif. is at the top, USA Today reported.

The magazine used data such as death rates from alcoholic-induced liver disease, alcoholic-induced car crashes, frequency of binge drinking, number of DUI arrests and severity of DUI penalties, according to the newspaper.

Boston was the least drunk city in America.

Besides Fresno, the drunkest cities included:
2. Reno, Nev.
3. Billings, Mont.
4. Riverside, Calif.
5. Austin
6. St. Louis
7. San Antonio
8. Lubbock, Texas
9. Tucson
10. Bakersfield, Calif.

Least drunk cities:
2. Yonkers, N.Y.
3. Rochester, N.Y.
4. Salt Lake City
5. Miami
6. Newark
7. Durham, N.C.
8. New York City
9. Fort Wayne, Ind.
10. Manchester, N.H.

Food prices, over educated/unemployed population and all or nothing religion explain it pretty well.

Can Complexity Theory Explain Egypt's Crisis?

Can Complexity Theory Explain Egypt's Crisis?Civilization, goes an old maxim, is four meals away from barbarism – once the food deliveries stop, so does law and order. That could mean trouble for the political uprising in Egypt. It may also be what triggered it.

Food is a political issue in Egypt: Egyptians are the world's biggest wheat importers and consumers, and most are poor.

As a result, the government maintains order with heavy subsidies for bread. It also runs the ports where imported wheat arrives, the trucks that haul it, the flour mills and bakeries. "Such hierarchical systems are both stable and unstable," says Yaneer Bar-Yam, head of the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Headless hierarchy

By this he means that they are fine so long as the top of the hierarchy is in place, and can recover quickly. But take the top away – as is happening in Egypt – and the entire system risks collapse.

The early signs of this are showing. Bread is getting scarce in Egypt's capital, Cairo. Bakeries are closing for lack of flour and there have been reports that a baker who tried to raise prices was killed. Imported wheat is sitting in ports as cranes and lorries stand idle.

The interlocking dependencies that tie modern economies together spread dislocation further. Even where there is food, Egyptians have little money to buy it, as businesses and banks close, cash machines empty and wages dry up.

Food trigger

Egypt's uprising was triggered when Tunisia unexpectedly threw off a 30-year dictatorship last month. That uprising was triggered partly by food prices, which hit all-time highs in December.

Since then demonstrators in Algeria, Morocco, Jordan and Yemen have also protested about high food prices. Asian investment bank Nomura recently drew up a list of 25 governments most vulnerable to food shortages – in countries that depend on imports and whose people spend a third or more of their incomes on food – Egypt came sixth. Morocco, Algeria and Lebanon were in the top five; Tunisia came 18th.

Human rights in Egypt. Not so much for Moslem women. (10% of Egypt is Coptic Christian.)

THIS PASSAGE HAS RELEVANCE for those who are excessively optimistic about a “fight the power” revolution in Egypt:

Nine out of ten Egyptian women suffer genital mutilation. US President Barack Obama said Jan. 29, “The right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny … are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere.” Does Obama think that genital mutilation is a human rights violation? To expect Egypt to leap from the intimate violence of traditional society to the full rights of a modern democracy seems whimsical.

In fact, the vast majority of Egyptians has practiced civil disobedience against the Mubarak regime for years. The Mubarak government announced a “complete” ban on genital mutilation in 2007, the second time it has done so – without success, for the Egyptian population ignored the enlightened pronouncements of its government. Do Western liberals cheer at this quiet revolt against Mubarak’s authority?

Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt’s First Lady, continues to campaign against the practice, which she has denounced as “physical and psychological violence against children.” Last May 1, she appeared at Aswan City alongside the provincial governor and other local officials to declare the province free of it. And on October 28, Mrs Mubarak inaugurated an African conference on stopping genital mutilation.

The most authoritative Egyptian Muslim scholars continue to recommend genital mutilation.

Lesson from Detroit. In 1950 her population was 1.85 million and she was just behind LA. Today she is 11th with a population of 900k. Guess who was in charge?


A vacation destination you have not been to.

Slovakia: Family holiday in a country that’s come back to life

Slovakia: Family holiday in a country that?s come back to life

Slovakia may have lost Prague in its 1993 divorce from the Czech Republic, but it kept the Tatra Mountains

There may be still hope for England.

Muslims must embrace our British values, David Cameron says

British Muslims must subscribe to mainstream values of freedom and equality, David Cameron declared that the doctrine of multiculturalism has “failed” and will be abandoned.

Navy’s Killer Drone Takes Off, Targets 2013 Carrier Test

America’s fleet of 11 big-deck aircraft carriers just got a lot closer to becoming a lot more dangerous. On Friday afternoon, Northrop Grumman’s X-47B, a prototype for the Navy’s first carrier-capable killer drone, flew for the first time from Edwards Air Force Base in California.

From Brits at their Best

President Obama: Who will he sell out next?

Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week. News via WikiLeaks.

Is this why the Royal Family refused to invite him to the wedding?

On another front, respect for the Duchess of York has slightly increased.

There is an App for that


And Now, a Video of Jungle Cats Playing with an iPad

Degrading or dignified? North Carolina animal conservators teamed with the "Game for Cats" app, and let their giant felines paw confusedly at an iPad. Are they having fun? Are they yearning to be uncaged? Would they rather play Fruit Ninja?

Technology marches on.

Click here to read Facebook Now Responsible for 25% of Hooker Hookups

Facebook Now Responsible for 25% of Hooker Hookups

There was once a time when you actually had to leave your home to get a prostitute. And what a long, seedy walk to the docks or brothel or alley behind Denny's it was. Now? Facebook does it for you!

Forbes list of the 20 most miserable cities.

America's 20 Most Miserable Cities

No. 1 Stockton, CA

There are many ways to gauge misery. We consider 10 factors, including unemployment, crime and taxes, and a few that are less serious, but still elevate people's blood pressure, like the weather, commute times and how the local sports team is doing. To account for the misery caused by the housing bust we tweaked the methodology for this year's list and considered foreclosure rates and the change in home prices over the past three years. Click here for a detailed methodology.

No. 2 Miami, FL

The sun and lack of a state income tax are the only things keeping Miami out of the top spot. Foreclosures hit one in 14 homes last year. Corruption is also off the charts, with 404 government officials convicted of crimes this decade in South Florida.

No. 3 Merced, CA

No. 4 Modesto, CA

No. 5 Sacramento , CA

No. 6 Memphis, TN

Tennessee is one of nine states without an income tax (it does tax dividends and interest income), yet it hits residents with one of the highest sales tax rates in the U.S. at 9.25%. Violent crime was down 5% in 2009 according to the FBI, but still is tops in the country.

No. 7 Chicago, IL

Baseball's Cubs used to be lovable losers, but $140 million payrolls and 102 years and counting without a World Series title is miserable. Chicago had the highest sales tax among big cities at 10.25%, but it was rolled back to 9.75% last year and now matches Los Angeles and Oakland for the top rate.

No. 8 West Palm Beach, FL

No. 9 Vallego, CA

No. 10 Cleveland, OH

What the right is talking about today

I DIDN’T SEE SARAH PALIN’S SPEECH LAST NIGHT, but if you’re interested, there’s video here. Randy Barnett saw it, and emailed: “I must admit it was an impressive speech. The first I have heard her give since she accepted the VP nomination, only much better. Reaganesque even.” When Sarah Palin is getting that kind of praise from Georgetown law professors, it suggests that there’s something missing from the narrative.

The states are in a terrible position. Implement a law that is costly and very likely will continue to be overturned or go along to get along and waste your state’s funds.



Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell said Thursday he has asked his attorney general to advise him on whether implementing and enforcing the federal health care overhaul would put Parnell in violation of his oath of office.

A federal judge in Florida this week struck down the law as unconstitutional in a case joined by 26 states, including Alaska. A major point of contention is a provision requiring citizens to buy health insurance.

Parnell told reporters that he took an oath to support and defend the constitutions of the United States and Alaska.

Two reviews of O’ foriegn policy: The Fruits of Weakness

The wages of Carterism

This past spring, when the leaders of Turkey and Brazil got together to lend a hand to the Iranian pursuit of a nuclear bomb, Charles Krauthammer adopted their perspective to explain what was happening: "As the U.S. retreats in the face of Iran, China, Russia and Venezuela, why not hedge your bets? There's nothing to fear from Obama, and everything to gain by ingratiating yourself with America's rising adversaries. After all, they actually believe in helping one's friends and punishing one's enemies." Krauthammer titled his column "The fruits of weakness."

In the new issue of the Weekly Standard, Lee Smith reviews current events in Egypt in the context of the Obama administration's conduct in the region. His article provides a kind of update to Krauthammer's column and is similarly titled "The wages of weakness."

Like Krauthammer, Smith observes that "[i]t's not hard to see how things might have gone differently had the administration held fast to the cardinal rule of Middle East politics: Reward your friends and punish your enemies. By failing to do so, the White House projected weakness in the region rather than the strength that is required to keep enemies on alert and allies in line." Looking back, he writes:

It was the June 2009 uprising following the Iranian elections that first showed Obama's mettle. While millions of Iranians took to the streets to demonstrate, the administration dithered for two weeks before taking a stand. That alone showed the sort of weakness and passivity that emboldens bad actors. But the rationale for the White House's silence only made it worse.

Obama did not want to antagonize the Iranian government because he wanted to engage them over their nuclear program. Every regional ally​--​from Jerusalem to Riyadh​--​told him that this was a fool's errand, but the president was not to be deterred, even as the Iranian rulers thumbed their nose at the American president and told him they did not want to negotiate.

So what did you get for the $1.7 trillion dollar stimulus?

UNEMPLOYMENT AT 9.0% +36,000 JOBS...
CANADA +69,200...
GALLUP: Unemployment actually at 9.9%...
'Under-employment' at 19.2%...

Labor Force Participation Plunges To Fresh 26 Year Low...

Betrayal of our oldest ally.


WikiLeaks cables: US agrees to tell Russia Britain's nuclear secrets

The US secretly agreed to give the Russians sensitive information on Britain’s nuclear deterrent to persuade them to sign a key treaty, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week.

HMS Vanguard is Britain's lead Trident-armed submarine. The US, under a nuclear deal, has agreed to give the Kremlin the serial numbers of the missiles it gives Britain