Sunday, August 27, 2006

Convención Nacional Democrática

El 16 de Septiembre empieza "La Convención Nacional Democrática" puede visitar su lugar en la Red:

http://www.cnd.org.mx

Saludos.

Worrisome News from Mexico

A political confrontation of big proportions is growing up in Mexico.

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Present Mexican President Announces New Mexican President

In a traditional way in Mexico, the old President chooses the new President. Mexico was supposed to start a new era where the voters choose the President.
This week before the electoral tribunal announces the winner, Vicente Fox Quesada, present President, announced the victory of Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa, to become the next President of Mexico; even though his announcement is not the law, it was clearly a message for the tribunal, if the tribunal heeds his announced preferences and makes it official we can expect a political backlash.
The opposition is not happy, keep tuned to find out the opposition's next steps.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Buchanan

I saw this week in the bookstore the new book of Pat Buchanan, "State of Emergency". During this week also I noticed in the media a campaign against illegal immigrants. I am not going to defend breaking the law. But I believe that some of the people in this campaign against illegals have and will break the laws.
I am on the side of the weaker.

Ordenadores más potentes que el cerebro humano

la futura quinta época de la humanidad verá como trasciende la biologí­a los seres humanos y como en algún momento ambas se unirán

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A third of the world population faces water scarcity today

Landmark study reviewing 50 years' practices calls for radical changes in water management

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Gunmen kill man in troubled Mexico tourist city

Oaxaca can slide into chaos....

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Four Are Given Highest Honor in Mathematics

One of them was Grigory Perelman, who was given a medal for his solution to the Poincar
é conjecture - but refused to accept it. He also refused $1 million from the Clay Mathematics Institute.

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Fields Medal won by the man who solved the Poincare Conjecture

Russian mathematician Grigory Perelman has been awarded a Fields Medal, a version of the Nobel Prize, at the International Congress of Mathematicians.
You can read the NYT article here.
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Monday, August 21, 2006

Bilingual Education

I have a daughter and a son, one is bilingual and the other is not. Circumstances and habits produced this. I prefer bilingualism and biculturalism, it was just hard to provide a conducive environment for one of my children. Now I am applying to a bilingual program, if I get accepted I will try my best to get those students able to live productively in either culture.

Evolving Universes

Theoretical physicist Lee Smolin looked at the simple, functional elegance found in the the theory of natural selection, and thought that maybe such a concept could be applied on a universal scale. Thus the theory of Cosmological Natural Selection was born.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Frontier

Tim Flannery from Australia wrote a book about the United Sates of America - "The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples" - One conclusion of that work is that the environment in North America is fragile. There is a blog in Blogger with this name, http://eternalfrontier.blogspot.com/.

It is not an accident that the peoples of America did not conquer Europe but the other way around, as one can read in Jared Diamond's "Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed" and "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies", the reason is very likely the different geographies of the two regions. This part of the world where we live, North America, is more fragile than Euroasia.

The same is true for Australia. It is ironic that the two countries that will benefit more form the Kyoto Protocol, are among the four (Liechtenstein and Monaco are the other two) that refuse to ratify it. Maybe the fragility of these God forsaken lands makes us unsure of ourselves.

Math genius living in poverty


Grigory "Grisha" Perelman, the genius who won fame last week spurning a million-dollar prize after revealing his solution for Poincare's Conjecture. Is living with his mother in a humble flat in St Petersburg, co-existing on her $74-a-month pension.

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Jurisprudence and Mexican Elections

When a court has consistently voted in one way for a number of occasions it establishes precedent or jurisprudence. The electoral tribunal in Mexico consistently has considered illegal to have voting booth results with more ballots than the alloted ballots for the booth. In the past July 2 election for president if the tribunal follows its jurisprudence annuling the polling booth results of the cases already recounted the opposition wins.

Will the court follow jurisprudence?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Blogs and Newspapers

I lived in Puebla Mexico for over eighteen years. During that time I started using the Internet in 1994 and decided that the local paper, La Jornada de Oriente, should be online. Together with some colleagues from the Autonomous University of Puebla we offered the service to the director of the newspaper. We did that work for several years. The paper is still online even after I left town in 1998.

Today I found out that this newspaper, that I read from Illinois whenever I have time, has an article that also appears in Blogger!

I went to http://circulodeescritores.blogspot.com and sure enough, the Professors from another university in Puebla keep a Blog in Spanish of their writings online.

After more than twelve years now is very easy for anybody to make their thoughts known online. These are interesting times.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

New Mexican Constitution

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) in an assembly announced yesterday the program to change the Mexican Constitution. Here you can read the Spanish version of the official document.

This meeting is scheduled for September 16 of this year in the Constitution Plaza of Mexico City. By tradition the Mexican Army has a parade there, I do not know how are they going to resolve that conflict.

Thoughts

I do not want this blog to be a series of news items.There are a series of new posts dealing with relevant science issues that do not get many diggs.
People Power Prof. Almond, rightly observes that if the American media defines a political event as a manifestation of "People Power", then it is, otherwise it is not. The Mexican political events of the last few days are historic, and the American media hass chosen to ignore them.
Recommendation enginesEsther Dyson points out in her blog the present dilemma of too many good causes to spend our good intentions on. Which one is the right one? She offers a thoughtful answer to that question.
Climate and Collapse This American Scientist article addresses the very relevant scientific problem of whether or not the Maya empire collapsed due to a drought? Our own present civilization may equally collapse like that, if you do not think that is relevant science, I have a hard problem bringing up a more important issue nowadays.

Climate and the Collapse of Maya Civilization

A series of multi-year droughts helped to doom an ancient culture.

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Esther Dyson Report from Foo Camp: goodness, IT and recommendation engines

Outstanding piece from Esther, on a discussion at Science Foo Camp (Stewart Brand, Sol Katz, Mitchell Baker, Sunil Paul & George Dyson). She discusses Morality vs Ethics and the impact of information/transparency on our inclination for "goodness." She links to ImportantGifts, a new nonprofit bringing IT & transparency to the nonproift sector.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Guardian Unlimited 'People power' is a global brand own

The US and the western media back protests over controversial elections when it suits them, but are silent over those in Mexico.

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Report: Diversity growing in nearly every state.

Minority populations are growing in every state but one. West Virginia with its struggling economy and little history of attracting immigrants has seen an increase in the majority population.

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Bush 'helped Israeli attack on Lebanon'

The US government was closely involved in planning the Israeli campaign in Lebanon, even before Hizbullah seized two Israeli soldiers in a cross border raids in July. American and Israeli officials met in the spring, discussing plans on how to tackle Hizbullah, according to a report published yesterday.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Emotions and Politics


When strong emotions are linked with politics I get nervous. In this picture you can see how a mexican girl cries while AMLO touches her face. Is she expecting salvation?

Lopez Obrador calls for years of protest

MEXICO CITY Apparently bracing to be declared the loser of Mexico's presidential election, contender Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vowed Sunday to lead protests against the process for years to come if necessary.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

September 15 in Mexico City's Zocalo

I just heard the speech by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) in Mexico City's Zocalo today. I looked for some news in English informing of AMLO's decision to be in the Zocalo by September 15. I am sure that some of the readers of my blog don't know what that means, so here is my interpretation of this historic speech.

If he wins the election by Septembers 6 that is his official obligation, to be in the Zocalo to celebrate the Mexican Independence Day. The war against Spain started that day in 1810. If he loses the Mexican army will have to take his people out of the Zocalo, because the elected president, his opponent, Felipe Calderón, has to be there.

Today this looks to me as a declaration of war; Mexico could be entering into a new civil war.

My family is there, I do not want a war there. I am worried.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Video of philosopher Dan Dennett speaking at TED Conference.

"Dan Dennett is a Tufts philosophy professor and cognitive scientist, renowned for his books, Consciousness Explained and Darwin's Dangerous Idea. His most recent book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a natural phenomenon calls for a rational examination of religion as a cultural phenomenon that has co-evolved over milennia to meet human needs."

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Gates Charity Races to Spend Billions ($3 Billion Per Year)

Largely lost in the June announcement of Buffett's gift of $31 billion to the foundation was its terms. For tax reasons, starting in 2009, the foundation must give away every nickel that Buffett contributed in the previous year. At the current price of the stock Buffett will be donating, the foundation will have to distribute $3 billion annually.

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Now For Something Truly Bizarre

Variations in the prevalence of Toxoplasma gondii "may explain a substantial proportion of human population differences we see in cultural aspects that relate to ego, money, material possessions, work and rules." It sounds like an absurdly grand claim, but toxoplasma, a protozoan, is such strange organism that it might not be entirely crazy.

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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Damage in Lebanon and Beyond

The idea that you can solve social and political problems militarily from the air is, on the face of it, ludicrous. The historical record is filled with the dead dreams of air power solutions to ground-based problems. But that stops no one.

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Nassan Nasrallah

I just watched a speech by Hassan Nasrallah in C-SPAN. He asked the people of Haifa to leave the City so Hezbollah could bomb it. Also the Israeli Air Force has dropped messages to Lebanese citizens to leave their towns so they can bomb them.

It is hard for me to imagine going to my backyard to pick up a letter dropped from an airplane telling me to leave so they can bomb my house.

I am very sad.

Lieberman

There is a new book by MIT Professor John Tirman "100 Ways America is Screwing Up the World". Prof. Tirman is a student of Howard Zinn the Emeritus History Professor of Boston University. Lieberman is not one of the 100 ways in the book, but he could have had a chapter in Tirman's book.
I do not like Lieberman because he followed Bush to Iraq almost as much as England's Tony Blair. I will feel more secure if both Bush and Blair, stop promoting war in the Middle East, by the unwelcome presence of American and British troops over there.
I expect terrorist attacks until the day I die. Most of the history of the world is filled with terrorist attacks. Whenever there is a people with less weapons than another, they fight terrorist wars. Maybe Americans forgot that a terrorist attack to the US was carried out by Mexico's Pancho Villa, like the bin Laden of his time he hid in the mountains of Mexico and General John J. Pershing could not find him. The world did not come to an end. To end terrorism is like ending the flu, you have to learn to live with it.

The Unmaking of a Senator: How Bloggers Pulled It Off

As much as it was a repudiation of his support for the Iraq War, Joe Lieberman's loss Tuesday in the Senate primary also signaled the ascendancy of a legitimate new power center in the Democratic party, the Netroots.

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Monday, August 07, 2006

We don't need no stinkin' recount

Greg Palast on evidence of electoral fraud in Mexico.

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Full recount rejected

Mexico's electoral court yesterday rejected calls for a total recount in last month's bitterly contested presidential race and instead ordered a partial re-tallying - a ruling that could light a match under already massive protests by voters crying fraud.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Media

Last night I was watching Charlie Rose on PBS. The Lebanese Prime Minister Faoud Siniora made a case for returning land to Lebanon. According to him that could stop the attacks on Israel, and one would assume the attacks on Lebanon as well.

Nevertheless if I read and listen to the media, all I see is more and more preparations for war, and war, with pictures in the New York Times of very likable Israeli soldiers after a long battle in Lebanon.

How am I supposed to understand?

I will say give those Shebaa farms back and stop the killing.

Am I missing something? I guess I haven't read enough. When will this nightmare end?
Here you can find the US-France proposal, they do mention the Shebaa farms, at least I understand that much, they are fighting over land.

Mexico to conduct recount hearing

MEXICO CITY -- Amid paralyzing street protests and rising concerns about damage to Mexico's democracy, the nation's highest electoral court will hold an open meeting Saturday to consider a recount of the July 2 presidential vote.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More than a million Israelis are in bomb shelters.

There is war inside Israel. Militant islamists determination to fight even at the cost of their lives, makes me think of all soldiers that know they may die and go to the front anyway. Nevertheless there is something more disturbing to me, when I realize that suicide soldiers know they are going to die. When another person is in that state of mind my hopes for the survival of humankind go down.

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