Archive for October, 2005

Arrest warrants escalate war in Uganda

Monday, October 31st, 2005

On October 13, the International Criminal Court (ICC) unsealed arrest warrants for five leaders of the Ugandan cult-like gang the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA has for many years brutalized the civilian population of Northern Uganda, and abducted thousands of children, sometimes forcing the children to kill their own parents. Yet, these indictments have […]

The genocide in Uganda

Sunday, October 30th, 2005

Northern Uganda has been a war zone or twenty years. The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), an apocalyptic christian cult, has waged a cruel war on the Acholi people, while the Ugandan military tried to crush the LRA with brute force. The situation is complicated, as the LRA abducts Acholi children, to turn them into child […]

Biodiesel in Asheville

Thursday, October 27th, 2005

On my trip to the mountains, I filled up at the biodiesel pump in Asheville operated by Blue Ridge Biofuels. It’s a public pump, which is still pretty rare. Most pumps in North Carolina are coop-operated pumps that are not accessible to the public (like our Juicebox). This pump seemed pretty busy – there were […]

More biking in Tsali

Wednesday, October 26th, 2005

This morning I went right back to Tsali to ride another trail. Over night the clouds had disappeared and just a low morning fog hovered in the valleys. The sky was clear, the air was crisp and chilly, just slightly above freezing. Last night, the higher peaks in the distance had received their first dusting […]

Mountain biking in Tsali

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

A little on-the-road blogging from the mountains. I am in western NC for a couple of days, to install some new equipment at our lab in Sylva. When I come up here I always bring my bike along. This afternoon, after I finally got it all working, I strapped the bike to the car and […]

Free Hans Island

Friday, October 21st, 2005

It is the year 2005 A.D. and a border dispute is brewing between Canada and Denmark over a 1.3 km² rock in the arctic. Both countries are members of NATO, but they had competing flag-raisings, flyovers by jets and even officials visiting Hans Island, an arctic island claimed by both countries. Hans Island is a […]

Shrub cuts bird-flu preparedness

Thursday, October 20th, 2005

Europeans appear to take the bird-flu threat seriously: Germany now mandates that chicken be kept only inside. But although Bush said he read “The Great Influenza” his administration still slashes funding for public health preparedness by $129 million in next year’s budget. “Critical funding is shrinking just as public health agencies are being required to […]

Intense Wilma

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

Hurricane Wilma is another record-breaking phenomenon – let’s hope this monster stays away from land, or at least from densly populated areas. Meteorologist Jeff Masters is pretty excited about Wilma: There has never been a hurricane like Wilma before. With an unbelievable round of intensification that saw the pressure drop 85 mb in just 12 […]

More on cell phones in Africa

Monday, October 17th, 2005

Interesting piece on CNN about how the African cell phone market was totally underestimated by the industry. Now, as cellphones are more and more widely used, they can’t put up cell towers fast enough. “We are developing unique ways to use the phone, which has not been done anywhere else,” says South African Michael Joseph, […]

Wilma makes history

Monday, October 17th, 2005

Tropical Storm Wilma is the 21st named storm of this season, making this the busiest hurricane season ever. Considering that this season included one of the worst natural disasters on the US mainland (Katrina) and one of the 30 deadliest hurricanes (Stan), as well as one of the easternmost hurricanes ever (Vince), this is a […]

Mobile phone empowerment in Africa

Sunday, October 16th, 2005

This being the information age, it has always been pretty clear that the lack of communication infrastructure in Africa was, and is, a major obstacle to progress. The rich nations of the world can proclaim their intention to “eradicate poverty” all they want, but the real beacon of hope in Africa is not the G8, […]

Hippo Water Roller

Friday, October 14th, 2005

This is a brilliant piece of engineering to make life easier for millions of people: water on in wheels: Millions of people worldwide are forced to walk long distances on a daily basis to collect their water requirements for the day. Traditional methods of collecting water include the use of 20-liter (5-gallon) buckets, which are […]

Bird flu in Europe now

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

The bird flu has reached Europe, and the US government is slowly waking up to the threat of a global flu pandemic. The European Commission said Thursday that the lethal H5N1 strain of bird flu has been confirmed in Turkish poultry and probably is present in Romania. If confirmed in Romania, it would be the […]

Ancient noodles

Thursday, October 13th, 2005

Boy – I am so glad they were able to straightened this out: A bowl of Neolithic noodles has revealed that China was the most likely birthplace of this popular food. For millennia, arguments have raged about whether the noodle was invented by the Chinese, Italians or Arabs. (…) The researchers discovered the 20 inch-long […]

From the cafeteria into the school bus

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

The Gaston County NC School System announced that it is starting to produce biodiesel from recycled vegetable oil from the school cafeterias to use in operating school buses. That’s a brilliant idea – they don’t have to pay to get rid of the WVO from the fryers in the cafeteria, they save fuel money and […]

Hurricane Vince

Monday, October 10th, 2005

This is the first time a letter “V” storm was recorded since they started naming storms in the N. Atlantic. And Vince is one of the eastern-most tropical storms ever recorded, Jeff Masters notes: Vince is in a strange location, but not unprecedented. Vince is pretty far east–16.6 West longitude at the 5am EDT advisory–but […]


Monday, October 10th, 2005

Kanzlerin Pestbeule?! Jetzt will ich aber nichts mehr hören, von wegen “wie konnten die Amis nur diesen Bush wählen!” Angela Merkel will be Germany’s new Chancellor.

Togo qualifies for World Cup

Sunday, October 9th, 2005

Congratulations to the Togolese soccer team for that coveted ticket to Germany next year! The other qualifiers from Africa are Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Tunisia. With the exception of Tunisia (1978, 1998, 2002), all African teams are newcomers to the World Cup, which leaves most of Africa’s soccer giants like Nigeria, Senegal and Cameroon […]

Hitched up

Friday, October 7th, 2005

I like my cars with a hitch. I have a small utility trailer that I use to haul garbage, furniture, cinder blocks, firewood, and other stuff that I don’t want inside the car or that does not fit inside the car. Over the years I found the trailer-car combo much more efficient than owning a […]

Reactions to Pimentel’s lecture at Duke

Thursday, October 6th, 2005

Dr. Pimentel, a long-standing critic of the energy efficiency and sustainability of biofuels, gave a lecture at Duke last Tuesday. I was not able to attend, but the biofuels community in the Triangle is abuzz with reactions to the event. Everyone I heard talk about it was rather under-whelmed. Pimentel came across as unconvincing and […]