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June 14, 2006, 11:41 PM CT

America's plan to attack Iraq split Europe

America's plan to attack Iraq split Europe
An article reported in the latest issue of Foreign Policy Analysis shows the different underlying forces in European states' decisions to support the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq. The authors show that systemic forces of power relations and ideological orientations of governments in Europe create a difference between the states of Eastern Europe, who were by-in-large supportive of the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq, and those of Western Europe, who largely opposed the decision. The study also indicates that public opinion could not account for whether a state joined the "coalition of the willing" or not.

The authors find that smaller Eastern European states (a number of of them former Soviet communist states) tended to be influenced by power relations because it is American power that enhances their security and strengthens their autonomy by holding in check the power of the bigger, mostly Western European states. The authors state, "they are much more vulnerable to influences from other, larger countries, as they are too weak without a strong partner. Whereas the powerful states can self-confidently confront the U.S. because their risk in doing so is simply relatively low, in small states the fear not to anger the superpower should prevail." In Western Europe, the ideological orientations of governments, which are expressed in its party affiliations, were the decisive factor in determining whether a state supported the U.S., but not in Eastern Europe. The authors also find through the use of surveys and by analyzing the extent of public protests, that the states' public opinions were not influential enough to determine key political foreign policy positions regarding the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


June 13, 2006, 0:23 AM CT

Does Suicide Bombing Pay?

Does Suicide Bombing Pay?

Are suicide bombers "crazy?" Or are they making rational strategic choices designed to achieve certain goals? Neither conventional interpretation is correct in the case of the second intifada, as per provocative new research from University of Toronto sociology professor Robert Brym.

Contrary to what most academic research has shown, says Brym, "revenge and retaliation seem to be the principal animus driving this suicide bombing campaign. We see this when we examine when attacks occur, what people say about why they're taking place and when we look at the actual costs and benefits gained."

Brym and his research team created a database of collective violence events that occurred during the second intifada, the term generally used to describe the Palestinian uprising against Israel that began in the fall of 2000. The team collected data on 138 attacks from existing databases, Hebrew and Arabic newspapers and the New York Times. They then mined the database for 128 variables, examining individual motives, organizational rationales and events that led up to each attack.

"We are drilling down to a level that hasn't been examined in this conflict," says Brym. "It's time-consuming, but getting into individual cases is the only way you can make sound generalizations." He and coauthor Bader Araj, a PhD student at U of T, published their findings in the June 2006 issue of Social Forces.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


June 11, 2006, 9:04 AM CT

My 666 Story

My 666 Story
I was amused to read this article in the Register recently about the big bucks generated in Qatar for an auction of the mobile phone number 666-6666 (over 2.5 million dollars!), and it seems only fitting that on 6/6/06 I share my own experiences with the prefix of the beast.

When I was first getting involved with telecom I worked for a good, upstanding Jesuit university in San Francisco in the early 90s. They were wisely replacing their ancient telephone system, one of the last large rotary dial key systems that was left in the city. Putting in a modern PBX meant new luxuries like direct incoming numbers for staff and faculty, and since the on-campus dorms were getting put on the new system too, a very large block of consecutive DID numbers were requested from the local phone company. There was only one existing prefix in the area with enough capacity, or so we were told. But I know I wasn't the only one who wondered if someone at Pacific Bell must have been having a good laugh as the Catholic university got assigned numbers in the 666 prefix.

by Bruce Stewart in News.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


June 11, 2006, 7:52 AM CT

2006 Online Gallary

2006 Online Gallary

In the spring of 2006 we again asked the Princeton University community to submit images-and, for the first time, videos and sounds-produced in the course of research or incorporating tools and concepts from science. Out of nearly 150 entries from 16 departments, we selected 56 works to appear in the 2006 Art of Science exhibition.

The practices of science and art both involve the single-minded pursuit of those moments of discovery when what one perceives suddenly becomes more than the sum of its parts. Each piece in this exhibition is, in its own way, a record of such a moment. They range from the image that validates years of research, to the epiphany of beauty in the trash after a long day at the lab, to a painter's meditation on the meaning of biological life.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


June 11, 2006, 7:24 AM CT

In The Clearing

In The Clearing
The Bat Album' (that was hard to guess).

Jase's Books: 'Handbound Gothic Parchment Journals,.

Grimoires, Diaries and Albums'.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


June 11, 2006, 7:12 AM CT

Faces

Faces
Hey everybody, Nick here. I got this lot of slides about three years ago and I've never been able to figure out just what is going on. There are about 50 slides in all- all dating from between 1959 and 1969 and all of young women. Some, like the ones here have letters written on their foreheads, others have press type with their names on it affixed to either their temples or foreheads.

Were the slides taken by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon or were these young women part of some now forgotten experiment. In less than fifty years these slides have gone from most likey being unambiguous data for some medical study to being a complete mystery.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


June 10, 2006, 7:29 PM CT

Migration Can Help The Poverty In Africa

Migration Can Help The Poverty In Africa
Migration plays an important role in poverty alleviation. Moving within Africa (continental migration) is a long-established practice in response to drought and low agricultural productivity. Wouterse's research revealed that households with continental migrants are poorer than those with migrants to destinations outside of Africa. Continental migration yields little money in the form of bank transfers and leads to less income from labour-intensive activities. The welfare position of the household does however improve, mainly due to migration reducing the size of the household.

In recent decades intercontinental migration, mainly to Western Europe, has become important. Households with intercontinental migrants have more capital and can therefore make use of opportunities to obtain income in Europe. The households receive a relatively large amount of money in the form of bank transfers, which are partly invested in capital intensive activities. This strongly improves the welfare position of the households. There are also advantages for the countries of destination. Low-skilled migrants form a source of cheap labour for the receiving country. Immigration can therefore help to relieve the increasing pressure on the welfare state resulting from the ageing population in much of Western Europe.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


June 5, 2006, 9:27 PM CT

Rising Health Care Premiums

Rising Health Care Premiums
In the United States, two-thirds of the nonelderly population is covered by employer-provided health care, either directly or as a dependent. In an important new study forthcoming in the recent issue of the Journal of Labor Economics, Katherine Baicker (University of California, Los Angeles) and Amitabh Chandra (Harvard University) demonstrate that the rise in health insurance premiums may increase the ranks of the uninsured and the unemployed by as a number of as 7 million workers.

"Understanding the relationship between health insurance costs and labor markets is of growing policy importance," write the authors. "Together [our] estimates demonstrate that the labor market effects of rising health insurance are far from neutral".

Baicker and Chandra calculate that a 20% increase in health insurance premiums (smaller than the increase seen in a number of areas in the past three years) would reduce the probability of being employed by 2.4 percentage points--the equivalent of approximately 3.5 million workers. Annual income is reduced by $1,700 for those who are employed and have employer-provided coverage.

In situations where a firm is constrained from offering lower compensation by minimum wage, union rules, or other provisions of labor law, an additional 3.5 million workers will likely be moved from full-time jobs to part-time without benefits.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


June 1, 2006, 7:30 PM CT

Taking Soldiers Out Of Danger

Taking Soldiers Out Of Danger Emmanuel G. Collins envisions an unmanned ground vehicle that could patrol large areas without putting U.S. soldiers in harm's way.
Over the past three years, thousands of American soldiers in Iraq have been horribly injured or killed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The explosives, placed near or buried under roadways and often detonated by remote control, frequently target U.S. military vehicles and convoys -- often with deadly success.

At Florida State University, one researcher is working on new technologies that could reduce the carnage. Emmanuel G. Collins, the John H. Seely Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Florida A&M University-FSU College of Engineering, envisions the creation of an unmanned ground vehicle that could patrol large areas without putting U.S. soldiers in harm's way.

"We're already using drones (unmanned airplanes) for surveillance in the skies over Iraq," Collins said. "It's much more difficult to design a ground-based vehicle to perform surveillance functions -- but we're working out the logistical issues right now."

Collins serves as director of the Center for Intelligent Systems, Control, and Robotics (CISCOR), a multidisciplinary research center in the College of Engineering that uses state-of-the-art technology to develop solutions for industry and government. In addition to the unmanned ground vehicle, other automated systems being developed at CISCOR include one that will enable wheelchairs to traverse uneven terrain more effectively, and another that will assist automobile drivers in the always-tricky task of parallel-parking.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


May 27, 2006, 10:16 AM CT

Go Digital!

Go Digital!
It seems like yesterday when I made my first attempt at finding an affordable digital multi-track recorder for my small home recording studio. Needing to replace my outdated 4 track analog recorder, I searched quite awhile for a reasonably priced recorder. Finally, I was able to find a digital recorder with most of the features I was looking for.

I was amazed at the capabilities of this machine; the clarity of sound it duplicated and the ease of operation were fantastic. My music mixes never sounded better.

Every month or so, some new technological invention, especially in the digital realm, appears on the market. For today's young people, it is common place to have at their disposal anything they find appealing.

For some of us "older folks" to say the least, we are amazed, at times, even overwhelmed by all the "techno" gizmos on the market. I feel like a kid in a candy store when I research all the new devices out there, but I am a rare bird for my age and sex. I'm one of the very few women who pine over "electronics" instead of the latest fashion craze.

I constantly search the internet for information on all the new products. I want them all, but can only afford a few of these new devices. But, when narrowing down my choices, I usually opt to keep up with all the music related products for enjoyable listening and more efficient and advanced ways to take my music and recording to the next level.........

Posted by: Edwin      Permalink         Source


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