|Ken Novak's Weblog
Purpose of this blog: to retain annotated bookmarks for my future reference, and to offer others my filter technology and other news. Note that this blog is categorized. Use the category links to find items that match your interests.
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Thursday, July 31, 2003
Philanthropist and scholar George Kozmetsky makes $6 million gift to Stanford
: "George and Ronya Kozmetsky have donated $6 million to Stanford to establish the Kozmetsky Global Collaboratory, a joint project with the University of Texas at Austin that will seek new ways to use technology to enhance shared global prosperity.. funding will [also] support the Real Time Venture Design Laboratory (ReVeL) in the Department of Communication. According to Nass, ReVeL will conduct research on how technology can be used to create business ventures rapidly, particularly in developing countries." 5:54:52 PM
Poindexter to Resign Following Terrorist Futures Debacle
: "While Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld did not personally dismiss Admiral Poindexter, the defense official said, Mr. Rumsfeld agreed that the admiral's credibility was shot and it was time for him to go. ``It's fair to say that the secretary understood what Admiral Poindexter understands, which is that it's difficult for any work that he might be associated with to receive a dispassionate hearing,'' said the official, who spoke to a group of reporters at the Pentagon today on the condition of anonymity. " nice turn of phrase... 4:24:35 PM
Exposed: The Carlyle Group:
Interesting 45-minute documentary on the Carlyle group. More informational and less "shocking" than the surrounding web page asserts. 3:11:20 PM
Confessions of an Anti-Sanctions Activist - Middle East Quarterly - Summer 2003: A long piece on the manipulations of the US peace movement by Iraq in the 90s: "On May 22, 2003, the United Nations (U.N.) lifted the sanctions regime it had imposed on Iraq twelve years earlier. The end of the economic embargo invites a review of the "peace" activism that was aimed at bringing down the Iraq sanctions while Saddam Hussein ruled. Anti-sanctions groups sought to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi people. In fact, they became—whether wittingly or unwittingly—mouthpieces for Saddam in the United States. I should know: I have the dubious distinction of having been one of them. .. For three years I was dedicated to the anti-sanctions cause. I traveled to Iraq in 1998 in order to see sanctions firsthand, and upon my return to the United States, I made two national speaking tours on the college activist circuit, in 1998 and 1999. ..
But I got derailed when I realized that in order to return to Iraq with the group I represented—the Chicago-based "Voices in the Wilderness"—I and other group members could not speak publicly about issues that would embarrass the Iraqi regime. These included its horrendous human rights record, its involvement with weapons of mass destruction, and the dictatorial nature of the regime. We were allowed to speak only of one thing: the deprivations suffered by ordinary Iraqis under the sanctions regime.
This one-dimensional depiction of life in Saddam's Iraq was pure Baath propaganda, and I (as well as other group members) knew it. As I came to see this as a complicity and collaboration with one of the most abusive dictatorships in the world, I tried to get the rest of my group to acknowledge that our close relationship with the regime damaged our credibility. I failed to persuade them, so I quit. Unfortunately, it seems that my former colleagues have regarded this decision as a kind of political "defection," and it has cost me several friendships, which were apparently contingent on my continued willingness to toe the (Baathist) line. Since then, I have returned to university .. In this article, I wish to look back at this rather peculiar aspect of the American peace movement and offer an honest and firsthand account of how it worked from the inside." 2:12:03 PM
Where is Raed ?
The Baghdad blogger has been online again. From a post on May 10, travelling with volunteer groups that organize communities: "When we were in Nasiriyah someone made a joke about saddam and the money we are using. Assel responded: “Ha! So now you find your voice?”. Yes we are all finding our voices now, suddenly everyone has an opinion. Everyone thinks he/she should be involved. Talking to all the volunteers in the cities we’ve been to really gives you a push. There was an article before the war, I think by makiya but I am not sure, saying that Iraqis after all this time have been depoliticized. You wouldn’t think so after walking in the streets these days. The people we deal with are my age or younger, we are not apathetic about the politics of this country. The University of Baghdad will be a very interesting place to be in these days." 2:01:24 PM
Solar concentrator and fibre optics carry sunlight at laser power: A working prototype is tested by Jeffrey Gordon and his colleagues at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. It "concentrates sunlight down a fibre-optic cable to provide a tool for surgeons... in operations such as the destruction of tumours in the liver. The light for the surgical "suntrap" is gathered by a parabolic mirrored dish, 20 centimetres across. This concentrates the light, which is then focused on to the tip of an optical fibre. The fibre can be up to 100 metres long. The device delivers less than a third of the light flux densities of surgical lasers, which have a typical output of 100 Watts per square-millimetre. ..They believe the equipment can be produced for a few thousand dollars, compared to about $120,000 for laser equipment. " 1:48:16 PM
Less than half of US would vote to return Bush to White House: poll: "only 47 percent [of Americans surveyed] would vote for President Bush in the 2004 election, according to a Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll published. Some 41 percent of those polled said they would vote for the yet-to-be-chosen Democratic candidate. .. The level of support for Bush was surprising, considering the same poll found that 58 percent approve of the job he is doing in office. According to USA Today, former presidents Reagan and Clinton did not see significant differences between their approval ratings and election support. 1:32:14 PM
Subsidy needed to build new US nuclear plants-MIT
: Researchers suggest a credit for nuclear, wind, and other fossil-free energy sources: "A credit of 1.7 cents per kWh is the equivalent to a credit of $70 per avoided metric ton of carbon if the electricity came from a coal-fired plant, they said. However, a subsidy for new nuclear power plants would work only if the industry can find other ways to cut capital costs. Nuclear power now costs about 6.7 cents per kWh to produce, compared to a range of 3.8 cents to 5.6 cents for plants fueled by coal or natural gas, the MIT report said. Nuclear power could become more competitive with coal and natural gas plants if the United States eventually imposes a carbon tax or emissions trading system on the latter two fuels to curb air pollution, they said." 11:24:29 AM