Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Israeli Pranksters Embarrass Iran

Photo by Google Earth

After over 30 years, a Google Earth photo reveals the Star of David atop Iran Air's headquarters. The symbol of the State of Israel must have been put up there during the time of the Shah. I find it humorous that it took an American company, Google, to reveal this artwork to the ayatollahs. The prank reminds me of the high school rivalry between my high school in Fort Worth, R. L Paschal and its main rival Arlington Heights. The two schools used to pull pranks on one another during homecoming week. The schools considered it vandalism when one school painted its colors on the other but the damage was minimal and usually done with good humor. I doubt the ayatollahs are laughing at this one.

The news of this event is covered in the Jerusalem Post. The article is entitled Google Earth reveals Star of David on roof of Iran Air HQ. 

For the entire article, please go to the following url:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Beer - A Thanksgiving Tradition

From previous posts, you may know that I am a homebrewer and a history major. Somewhere I missed learning that our Pilgrim ancestors may have stopped at Plymouth Rock because they had run out of beer. This article presents the view and then dismisses it but leaves one with the knowledge that beer has been important to American history. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and toast it with a nectar from the gods - beer! 

From the article:
Brooks on Beer: The pilgrims, Thanksgiving and beer - San Jose Mercury - 11/24/2010

Legend has it that the Pilgrims decided to settle at Plymouth Rock, instead of continuing south to Virginia as originally planned, because they had run out of beer. There is a grain -- barley, perhaps -- of truth to the story, as evidenced by the oft-quoted "For we could not now take time for further search our victuals being pretty much spent especially our beer."

For the entire article:

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Find Causes Italy to Claim Jerusalem

Absurd that Italy would claim Jerusalem for its own? At least the Romans governed Jerusalem unlike some groups who claim her for their capital today.

Today it was announced that Israeli archeologists discovered an ancient Roman legion bathing facility in the Old City of Jerusalem.

If you are interested go to the article:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

In Education - Are We Finally Getting It?

Our education system continues in a downward spiral. This opinion piece by Tom Friedman of the New York Times gives me some hope. I come from a prejudice that our system is just a baby sitter for both teachers and students. We talk about the importance of education but reality shows that we are only paying it lip service. Performance seems to be dropping especially when compared to the rest of the world. Maybe Secretary of Education Duncan recognizes fundamentally what needs to be done. If the quote below is an indication, I salute him.

“We have to reward excellence,” he said. “We’ve been scared in education to talk about excellence. We treated everyone like interchangeable widgets. Just throw a kid in a class and throw a teacher in a class.” This ignored the variation between teachers who were changing students’ lives, and those who were not. “If you’re doing a great job with students,” he said, “we can’t pay you enough.”

For the entire opinion piece by Mr. Friedman, go to:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coming soon to a store near you!

I just read this short article and found its possibilities amazing. Will we find this material at the grocery store or the clothing store? Maybe both!

Cheap Carbon Cloth Can Zap Toxins, Kill Bacteria

Monday, November 8, 2010

Is the Palestinian Authority a Partner for Peace?

I came across this little article from Palestinian Media Watch and just thought that it is worth noting and sharing.  Just a short article to remind people of the partner with whom the Israelis are negotiating.

From the article:
"Contrary to the PA's moderate statements to the West, its statements to its people in Arabic continue to delegitimize Israel's existence, deny Israel's right to exist, define the conflict with Israel in religious terms, promote hatred through demonization and libels, and glorify terror and violence:"

The link to the article:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Interesting - A New Chinese Invasion

What implications does this article in today's (November 7, 2010) New York Times hold for America? Are these young Chinese planning on staying and getting jobs upon graduation? Are they going to be Americanized and take our values of freedom and democracy back to China? How is this experience going to affect them and can they bring China and America closer together?

The article does not answer my questions. It just brings them to the forefront. The article is long but I believe worth the read and thinking about its potential.

From the article:
After a year, Ms. Liu believes she is less of the quiet-Asian-nerd stereotype that she had felt followed her through Yale’s Gothic hallways. Now she wears makeup, raises her hand in class, and has a different perspective than her friends in China, according to whom “I’m contaminated by American culture and not Chinese anymore.”

Perhaps most unsettling to Chinese students is the robust activist culture on campus, where young Americans find their voices on issues like war, civil rights and immigration. In China, protests are illegal and vocal dissent forbidden, and on sensitive topics like Tibet and Taiwan a majority are in lockstep with their government. It can be especially painful hearing Westerners condemn China after growing up steeped in propaganda blaming the West for the suffering before Communism.

With China becoming a world power and so many American high-tech companies investing in China, I was under the impression that our great universities had taken a back seat to the Chinese. Maybe this is not the case. One thing that is obvious to me is the importance that these students' parents place on education. As heavy as the cost burden is for families here, without government assistance the cost for a Chinese family must be staggering.

For the entire article, click on the link below.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oldest beer found on this day in 1992

From Wired's This Day in Tech

As a homebrewer, this article is a great reminder that I am following a tradition that goes back at least 5000 years. In today's world of change at the speed of high tech, I find comfort knowing that some things are just too difficult to improve upon. Great beer is just great beer! For all of my friends (I don't have many), and with those whom I have shared my efforts, enjoy the article and as Charles Papazian says in his book The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, "Relax and have a homebrew!"


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It’s About Change

Wow, what an election; what a roller coaster ride. The excitement, the scares, the thrills are over and both the politicians and the public are back on earth. The time of yelling and screaming, of laughing and crying, of eyes wide open and eyes tightly shut ended. We must return to the real world and get to work.

In both South Dakota and the America, the people sent a strong message to our politicians. The message’s content is not a secret but I fear that our elected officials will not understand the message. The people voted for Change! Rather than continue playing the gotcha politics of the past, we want our government to work. Politicians need to find common ground. We want our elected officials to address the numerous problems facing families and Main Street. We want solutions that everyone can see and understand. We do not want secret deals to buy the votes. When the President tells us that Congressional committee hearings on health care should be held on C-Span, we expect that to happen. When the Speaker of the House tells us that any bill relating to an issue will be online for everyone to examine for at least 72 hours prior to their voting, we cannot understand why that simple promise does not happen.

The problems facing our country are enormous. Maybe they are too large to expect our government to solve. The number one issue is the economy. (Remember from past elections, “It’s the economy, stupid!”) Well having thrown trillions of dollars at the problem, unemployment stands at 10 percent. Economists are talking about a double-dip recession. Rather than calling the opposition ideas idiotic or dead on arrival, maybe both sides should sit down and seriously attempt to address the problem.

Health care is next. I already see that the Republicans are stating that they are going to repeal it. My opinion is that is not what the American people want. We want a system that is affordable and understandable. If the Republican leadership believes they can just throw it out, they got the wrong message. Even if a House bill were to pass the Senate which is doubtful, President Obama would certainly veto it. Why not examine what we passed this year and fix it to what the people want. To do that, Republicans and Democrats must work together. Talk about change. Can you imagine that happening?

My next issue is the deficit. Working class Americans understand the notion of a balanced budget. We understand that we cannot continue to borrow and borrow and borrow. We are leaving a huge burden on our children and future generations. Together our politicians must examine our budget figure out how to get back to balance and then to pay down our debt.

Lastly and the one issue who long term impacts our country the greatest is education. Like all of the other problems listed and those that are not, this one truly seems unsolvable. We have so many causes or maybe excuses as to why we cannot make our education system the absolute best in the world. We are losing out to so many countries that do not have the resources that we have. The big difference is they understand that education is the great equalizer. America, both the people and our leaders need to get that message.

We have a great deal of work to do in the next 2 years. If you listen to the political rhetoric of the campaign trail and even last night, our politicians admit that we have tremendous challenges but they tell us that we are bigger than them. If our legislature and executive branches do not meet them head on and soon, in 2012 we will likely see a new group of politicians heading to our state and national capitols.

To those who won yesterday, congratulations. Enjoy the euphoria of the ride that you just took for a day or two. Then get to work with an understanding that you represent more people than those who voted for you. The problems we face confront all of us. Those who voted for you and those who voted for someone else are proud of our democracy. We still have hope in our system of government. We hope for change in the way business is done. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, this is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. That would certainly be a change.