masala: the international spice
Flavor your world with masala

Tuesday, July 29
Handy travel article with lots of links, including those on the right side of this page.

Which region reigns - East, Midwest, West, or South

travelogue from siberia:
To my horror, the woman began unbuttoning her blouse. There was a moment when I could have bolted from the compartment, but I'd missed it. Instead, I turned to the wall, sweat gushing from my mortified pores, trying not to listen to the feminine rustlings barely a foot away.

Maximizing the Brain
Rewiring the brain can reduce stress and boost the immune system

Hypnotism and neurobiology (ie. approach Zen)

Iraq - War and Aftermath

Terror has little to do with the war on Iraq
Bush has said that we attacked Iraq because 1) they indirectly sponsored terrorism and 2) tyrants are inherently unjust. But many other countries have these characteristics.

Iraqi tourism?
Mr. Hindo, a 55-year-old entrepreneur, does not just want to lure history buffs. He envisions package tours, four-star hotels and resorts, American families cruising in minivans down new superhighways, water-skiing, maybe even a Disneyland on Lake Habbaniya. Religious tourists will flock to see where Job and Jonas died, or to the Muslim holy cities Najaf and Karbala.

What Saddam might have been thinking
Saddam was convinced that at most Bush would have ordered an aerial bombing campaign. He might have destroyed or stashed chemical, biological, and nuclear agents to make sure that no evidence of wmd would ever be found by UN inspectors.

Don't talk to me, I'm right
At this stage of their presidencies, Clinton had held 33 press conferences, the first Bush 61, and our current president: eight.

Brutality of Saddam
"Farris Salman is one of the last victims of Mr. Hussein's rule. His speech is slurred because he is missing part of his tongue. Black-hooded paramilitary troops, the Fedayeen Saddam, run by Mr. Hussein's eldest son, Uday, pulled it out of his mouth with pliers last month, he said, and sliced it off with a box cutter. They made his family and dozens of his neighbors watch."

Arnett got off easy
Some 17 journalists have died in the course of covering the fighting in Iraq, according to Reporters Without Borders, an advocacy group based in Paris.
"We were all there, for at least half an hour," Stephan Breitner of France 2 television told The A.P. "They knew we were journalists. After they shot Mazen, they aimed their guns at us. I don't think it was an accident. They are very tense. They are crazy."

The administration has lied about wmd, iraq's connection to al-qaida, and uranium yellowcake from niger.

Deputy SecDef Paul Wolfowitz :
"I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq."

Jack Handey:
"Instead of trying to build newer and bigger weapons of destruction, mankind should be thinking about getting more use out of the weapons we already have."

Monday, July 28
America Online estimates that 80 percent of its e-mail is spam.

20% of legit email gets deleted

Web users 'must endure' pop-up ads
Websites can do nothing to prevent companies placing ads on their pages without permission.

A pill can determine the health of a patient and releases the right amount of medicine.

Armstrong unhappy with winning performance
"I love cycling, I love my job and I will be back," Armstrong said. "In many ways, I'm coming back to hopefully return to a level that I had for the first four, because this year was not acceptable." -- Lance Armstrong, after winning his fifth Tour de France by 61 seconds

French fans wave American flags to support Lance Armstrong

Friday, July 25
Indian villagers walk, cycle hundreds of miles to pray for loved ones
Each summer, two million people make a pilgrimage to the burial site of a revered 15th century Rajput warrior and social reformer.

AIDS on the rise in India
The Indian agency responsible for Aids policy said more than 600,000 people had become infected in 2002, raising the number of HIV-positive Indians to 4.58 million. According to the US National Intelligence Council, the number of Indians with HIV/AIDS could rise to 25 million by 2010.

Girl child for Rs 80,000, boy costs 50% more
Selling babies in India.

Indian boy has penis infected with flies

Thursday, July 24
Not a road map, but a phone book:
The Human Genome Project has often been called a map. In reality, what the researchers have identified are like cities, but without the roads that connect them.

Brain wave technologies
"If all goes to plan, it will be the first mind-controlled system able to operate something as complicated as a wheelchair, says Millán."
--from New Scientist, an article on a new device that allows quadriplegics to operate wheelchairs with brain waves

Info from brain wave technology is helping us better understand the thoughts of quadraplegics , the thoughts of infants, and the thoughts of monkeys.

Lie detector for the brain
When details of a crime that only the perpetrator and investigators would know are presented, the perpetrator’s brain emits a MERMER, but the brain of an innocent person does not.

Neurofeedback improves concentration, performance
from BBC article on how neurofeedback can help musicianship:

"Neurofeedback monitors brain activity through sensors attached to the scalp which filter out the brainwaves. These filtered brainwaves are then 'fed back' to the individual in the form of a video game displayed on a screen. The participant learns to control the game by altering particular aspects of their brain activity. "

Neurofeedback improves concentration:
"Kids don the yellow plastic helmet which is outfitted with tiny sensors inside the helmet that measure the child's brainwaves. The sensors read and transmit the brain signals (wirelessly) to the receiver, which is plugged into a PC. The software then analyzes the signals -- which control focus, relaxation, restlessness and drowsiness -- and the game responds according to how well the child is concentrating."

Researchers link common psychological factors to political conservatism:

Fear and aggression
Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
Uncertainty avoidance
Need for cognitive closure
Terror management

The Aftermath of the WTC bombings

How New Yorkers lives have changed
Two-thirds of the people questioned said they were very concerned about another attack in New York, one-third said that their lives have still not returned to normal. Case studies explored.

Germans think US had something to do with 9/11
In Germany, among people under the age of 30, 31 percent believed that the U.S. government could have ordered the September 11 attacks itself.

Americans convinced Iraq had something to do with 9/11
Seven in 10 Americans continue to believe that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had a role in the attacks, even though the Bush administration and congressional investigators say they have no evidence of this.

From Human Rights Watch report on Afghanistan
Armed robbery, abduction, rape and assaults on civilians, often committed by members of the police, military and intelligence services with the knowledge of high-level commanders are commonplace. Much of the blame lies with American officials who have appointed corrupt leaders.

The cia/fbi could have stopped/detected the attacks if they had been more thorough.