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  1. Guns rule the streets despite UN ban in Somalia's new free-market paradise Reuters Mogadishu: They say Mogadishu rivals Baghdad as the world's most dangerous city. But my first impression of the Somali capital was a placid one: camels ambled over sand dunes as our plane landed on a beach next to gently lapping sea water. The illusion was short-lived. A ball of dust gave way to the sight of two pick-ups, each packed with wiry young men holding AK-47s beside a large machine-gun bolted to the vehicle. Fortunately, these 'technicals', battle vehicles now almost a symbol of war-torn Somalia, were there to protect us. And the grinning gunmen, incongruously wearing sandals, were keener to practice their English than their aim. "I have been a gunman since I was eight," said one, now 27. "I would like to go to school." Ten of us chartered a plane from Nairobi to Mogadishu at the invitation of the Islamic courts movement. Days earlier they had kicked out American-backed warlords in the most ferocious fighting since 'Black Hawk Down' in 1993. Several journalists and humanitarian workers have lost their lives in Somalia since the 1991 ousting of Mohammad Siad Barre began an era of anarchy. Nerves quickly subsided, however, as we saw the near-total grip our hosts now had on Mogadishu. With one 'technical' in front of our convoy, and another behind, cars, donkeys and pedestrians hurriedly made way as we sped over sandy tracks and pot-holed streets. As a first-timer to Mogadishu, I was amazed at the signs of ingenuity and entrepreneurship all around me, the only way society has kept going in the absence of normal government. At the main port just north of Mogadishu, makeshift systems, like floating oil-pipes, barges and lines of men with sacks on their backs, kept fuel and goods flowing in from ships. Fiat cars from the 1950s, a leftover from Italian occupation, somehow still run. A local SIM card for my mobile phone came free, communications were perfect, and $10 (about Dh36) gave me about five times more air-time calling abroad than it would in Kenya. "Why surprised? We pay no taxes and we have much competition. Prices are lowest in world," my supplier explained. As well as being something of a free-market paradise, Mogadishu has been marked by the law of the jungle. Thin, young boys with guns rule the streets, while older and fatter men with money pull the strings from behind. I gaped at the munitions on show, from anti-aircraft guns on the backs of trucks to belts of bullets hanging on militiamen, making a mockery of a supposed UN arms embargo on Somalia. http://www.gulf-news.com/region/Somalia/10048355.html
  2. Finally, if there be still persons who are not sufficiently persuaded of the existence of God and of the soul, by the reasons I have adduced, I am desirous that they should know that all the other propositions, of the truth of which they deem themselves perhaps more assured,as that we have a body, and that there exist stars and an earth, and such like, are less certain; for, although we have a moral assurance of these things, which is so strong that there is an appearance of extravagance in doubting of their existence, yet at the same time no one, unless his intellect is impaired, can deny, when the question relates to a metaphysical certitude, that there is sufficient reason to exclude entire assurance, in the observation that when asleep we can in the same way imagine ourselves possessed of another body and that we see other stars and another earth, when there is nothing of the kind. For how do we know that the thoughts which occur in dreaming are false rather than those other which we experience when awake, since the former are often not less vivid and distinct than the latter? And though men of the highest genius study this question as long as they please, I do not believe that they will be able to give any reason which can be sufficient to remove this doubt, unless they presuppose the existence of God. --- Descartes
  3. Korean scientist resigns over fake stem cell research Associated Press Friday December 23, 2005 South Korean stem cell scientist Hwang Woo-Suk. Photograph: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty A scientist today issued an apology as he resigned from South Korea's top university after the school announced he had fabricated results in stem cell research that had raised hopes of new cures for hard-to-treat diseases. A panel at the university, releasing initial findings of a investigation, accused Hwang Woo-Suk of damaging the scientific community with his deception, while the South Korean government threatened to pull its funding for his research. "I sincerely apologise to the people for creating a shock and disappointment," Prof Hwang told reporters as he was leaving his office at Seoul National University, considered the country's top institution of higher learning. "With an apologetic heart ... I step down as professor, " he said. It is Prof Hwang's second apology in as many months. In November he apologised for "ethical lapses" in his work after it emerged that female researchers in his laboratories had donated their own eggs for experiments. But Prof Hwang still maintained that he had produced the technology to create patient-matched stem cells as he claimed to do in a May article in the journal Science. "I emphasise that patient-specific stem cells belong to South Korea and you are going to see this," said the professor, a veterinarian. Earlier today, a panel of experts at the university said Prof Hwang had faked results of at least nine of 11 stem cell lines he claimed to have created in the May paper - the first confirmation of allegations that have cast a shadow over all his purported breakthroughs in cloning and stem cell technology. "This kind of error is a grave act that damages the foundation of science," the panel said. The South Korean government, which had strongly supported Prof Hwang and designated him the country's first "top scientist," said today it was "miserable" over the reported results of the investigation and will start its own inquiry over ethics breaches. Choi Seong-Sik, vice-minister of science and technology, said it is impossible to recover money already spent for Prof Hwang, a total US$39.9m (£22.95m) for research and facilities since 1998. But his ministry, which admitted errors in its handling of the professor's projects, will look at stopping other funding and withdrawing the "top scientist" designation. The university panel said today it found that "the laboratory data for 11 stem cell lines that were reported in the 2005 paper were all data made using two stem cell lines in total". To create fake DNA results purporting to show a match, Prof Hwang's team split cells from one patient into two test tubes for the analysis - rather than actually match cloned cells to a patient's original cells, the university said. "Based on these facts, the data in the 2005 Science paper cannot be some error from a simple mistake, but can only be seen as a deliberate fabrication to make it look like 11 stem cell lines using results from just two," the panel said. DNA tests expected to be completed within a few days should confirm if the remaining two stem cell lines were successfully cloned from a patient, added the panel, which will now investigate Prof Hwang's previous research. Prosecutors said they would decide whether to investigate Prof Hwang after the university finishes its inquiries. The Seoul District Prosecutor's Office said Prof Hwang's fabrication itself is not subject to criminal charges, but indicated an investigation could be possible as upset citizens had filed complaints. Last month, Prof Hwang resigned as head of the World Stem Cell Hub - an international project founded in October that had planned to open centres in Britain and the US - after admitting he used eggs from female workers at his lab in violation of ethics guidelines.
  4. Pig

    Ogre to Slay?

    Outsource It to Chinese By DAVID BARBOZA Published: December 9, 2005 THE NEW YORK TIMES - FUZHOU, China - One of China's newest factories operates here in the basement of an old warehouse. Posters of World of Warcraft and Magic Land hang above a corps of young people glued to their computer screens, pounding away at their keyboards in the latest hustle for money. Workers have strict quotas and are supervised by bosses who equip them with computers, software and Internet connections to thrash online trolls, gnomes and ogres. The people working at this clandestine locale are "gold farmers." Every day, in 12-hour shifts, they "play" computer games by killing onscreen monsters and winning battles, harvesting artificial gold coins and other virtual goods as rewards that, as it turns out, can be transformed into real cash. That is because, from Seoul to San Francisco, affluent online gamers who lack the time and patience to work their way up to the higher levels of gamedom are willing to pay the young Chinese here to play the early rounds for them. "For 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, my colleagues and I are killing monsters," said a 23-year-old gamer who works here in this makeshift factory and goes by the online code name Wandering. "I make about $250 a month, which is pretty good compared with the other jobs I've had. And I can play games all day." He and his comrades have created yet another new business out of cheap Chinese labor. They are tapping into the fast-growing world of "massively multiplayer online games," which involve role playing and often revolve around fantasy or warfare in medieval kingdoms or distant galaxies. With more than 100 million people worldwide logging on every month to play interactive computer games, game companies are already generating revenues of $3.6 billion a year from subscriptions, according to DFC Intelligence, which tracks the computer gaming market. For the Chinese in game-playing factories like these, though, it is not all fun and games. These workers have strict quotas and are supervised by bosses who equip them with computers, software and Internet connections to thrash online trolls, gnomes and ogres. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/09/technology/09gaming.html?pagewanted=1&emc=eta1
  5. A poet Togane is. A tribalist he is not. Absurd is such discourse! Poetry, for Togane, doesn't come in enmity. For him poetry is sort of a reflection of his persona; a teller of captivating tales wrapped with comic wit. If a reader deciphers Togane’s poetry with good “comprehensionâ€, look for Togane cheery somewhere in his Montreal sanctuary. Nothing deeply bedevils the man – I call him the unruffled genius – not by any futile insults (he smiles that off), not by the apparent misread of his satirical verse. The only thing that annoys the old man is the state of affairs back home. The chap is the lone Somali making sense out of a subject (tribalism) so atrocious, so venomous and so withering. He is the last man to be portrayed a tribalist. A harsh critic of the warlord culprits, a controversial poet yearning for a stable homeland, Togane sleeps well with the deep rooted thought that his words make a colossal difference in the grand scheme of things. They do!! On a personal note, if you ever get fortunate to have a cup of kahwa with the Professor, quickly you should be acquainted with a proud Mogadishu native blessed with a rare genius. He is a “prolific chatterbox†always telling a terrific story that leaves a lasting imagery in the cranium. I met Togane 3 years ago. I also had the pleasure of meeting his son (I believe the kid was at Stanford U at the time). A Good man! Often misunderstood! Togane makes me proud to be Somali!
  6. Originally posted by Mansa Munsa: What is La Place's great work, but the combination of the processes and discoveries of the great mathematicians before his day, with his own extraordinary genius? [/QB] LaPlace trasforms discovery is indeed from a great genius. Second however to the Fourier one interms of functionality in solving diff eq. Back to the topic, Dr Elmi downplayed the needed emphasis for proper "citation". That is asking for trouble.
  7. Comprehension, brave Castro.!!! "Hadalku yaanu kaa dhicisoobin" has zilch to do with momen or women-bashing brave Castro. learn by heart, truthfulness is imperative when we deliberate thoughts on these forums. Spinning is rather dishonest, asinine and diminishes the spirit of the discussion.
  8. A continent in the throes of economic bad times. cRitiCa says Ramadan Karim to each and everyone of you!!!!!!!
  9. Aah, brave Castro, aren't we blowing the trumpets of some "imaginary" successes. Will continue another day Inshaalaah.
  10. Originally posted by Castro: I accept the challenge as put forth. Brave Castro, by no means did the above remark struck me as being disingenuous.
  11. Brave Castro, inductive reasoning plays a very central role in science. The premises in inductive reasoning are usually based on good data or observations. One shouldn’t merely generate hypotheses, formulate theories and discover relationships with inconclusive data and present it as “scientificâ€. Such move would be below the belt and only diminishes the spirit of our discussion in this blessed SOL platform. Put forth any convincing scientific evidence that shores up your “homosexuality is genetic†standpoint and I wait. Simon LeVay himself when confronted with the "bad data" uttered ..."this is a distinct shortcoming of my study," Brave Castro. Sagging thought indeed.
  12. Oh, the messenger who spins bogus scientific research into a "vile theology" of his own. Brave Castro, less perverse mind would inquire about the research itself without any underhand dig. "Simon LeVay is presently Chair of the Steering Committee of the Institute of Gay and Lesbian Education, West Hollywood, a new college for the gay and lesbian community in Southern California." Levay's famous paper "A Difference in Hypothalamic Structure Between Heterosexual and Homosexual Men" studied the brains of "only" 41 dead males and was highly open to doubt and inconsistent with other findings. Scientific integrity? biased research? Suspicious? the jury is out! I come short of indicting (brave castro, a good debater) of having a "heavy agenda" that is indicative of a "shady" orientation. That is unbecoming of a nomad such as good cRiTiCa to even entertain. But, I prefer to do the honors in debating the validity of the claims put forth by brave Castro from a “scientific integrity†standpoint. Sagging thoughts!
  13. Originally posted by General Duke: Like I stated earlier how does a government with no money, no capital, institutions and army change a 15 year dilema overnight??? fundamental q.
  14. Originally posted by Farah: I vehemently swear that tears of laughter welled up in my eyes when I have read "......could have uttered so fundamental a plasphemy against the truth" briliant phraseologist my fellow. "All profound utterances should have varied facets for diverse minds." A great genius lies within the likes of Sir Farah who lend themselves to so many interpretations, and yield new riches at every delivery. waves Sir Farah. Great to see you old chap.
  15. Originally posted by Xoogsade: Mogadishu is actually better than the whole Puntland combined in terms of economics and educational institutions(check the websites for schools and colleges of Mogadishu and compare) despite the opportunities Puntland has in terms of open ports with security. Only a sorely misinformed soul or one drawning itself in the sea of negetive tribalism, could have uttered so fundamental a plasphemy against the truth.