My Second Post Ever
Sure I am blowing my own horn but in't that what a blog is all about?
I wrote the following on April 8, 2003. I am not prescient but I think I did have a good handle on what was going to happen in Iraq.

Check out the archives for other thoughts on sailing, art and politics

Cradle of civilization.

Between the two rivers Tigris and Euphrates (in Arabic, the Dijla and Furat, respectively), the first writing gave birth to history as we know it. The rule of law was written down and the three great monotheistic religions trace their origins there.
In 1992 Michael Wood hosted a series called “Legacy” on PBS. In the film he is found at dusk perched on a mound with the sun setting behind him, as the camera booms down a plain filled with mounds as far as one could see becomes visible. All of them tells, the first cities. The film carries that archaeological past into the present of Islam, showing the cultural continuity from past to present. Included are scenes from the Gulf War and how Saddam Hussein used the Iraqi past as foundation for his dominance. It leaves the question of what’s next unanswered. Latter in 1995 after the Americans were long gone he went back. He made “Saddam's Killing Fields” an award winning account of the destruction of the Marsh Arabs of South Iraq and their cultural history. It pieces together evidence of the systematic destruction by the Iraqi government of the Shia Marsh Arabs - whose way of life goes back 5,000 years. “Saddam's Killing Fields” claims that the Shia and the Kurds in northern Iraq were encouraged by the US to rise up against Saddam's regime at the end of the Gulf War and then left with no support. In retaliation, more than 300,000 Shia are believed to have been killed, risking the ruin of an entire culture. At the end of this war Iraq is going to be a pretty broken country. Between the policies of Saddam and the punishing way the west dealt with the end of the 1991 war with sanctions depriving the people of anything but poverty, there will be a certain amount of anarchy that no one will be able to quell. The surrounding country’s have their knives close at hand if America gets too possesive. America now has it’s hands around a significant part of the Arab world. First “saving” Kuwait from the evil doer and Afghanistan from the evil doers. Pakistan is a wildcard with little control over the fundamentalists and the army. Their hatred for India could be a terrible spark and nukes ARE involved.

words are HOT links too the subject.
The Fallacy of Corn Based Biofuels

David Suzki the Canadian scientist wrote the following in his Science Matters column.

Proponents of biofuels, which are often made from plants such as corn or sugar cane, often point to their many advantages over fossil fuels like gasoline. Biofuels are less toxic or non-toxic in comparison to fossil fuels. They are a renewable resource, whereas once fossil fuels are gone, they're gone. And biofuels can be grown just about anywhere you can grow crops, reducing the need for giant pipelines or oil tankers, and potentially helping to reduce conflicts in areas like the Middle East.
So far so good. But things start to get complicated when you look more closely. Much has already been debated about the energy requirements to produce some biofuels, especially corn-based ethanol. Ethanol made from corn only contains marginally more energy than what is needed to produce it. ... Many people argue that making corn-based ethanol is more of an agricultural subsidy for farmers than it is a sound environmental policy.
Things get even dodgier for biofuels when you look at the land area that would be needed to grow fuel crops. We use a lot of fossil fuels. Switching to biofuels would not reduce the demand for fuel, just change the way we get it. And that would require a lot of land. In fact, substituting just 10 per cent of fossil fuels to biofuels for all our vehicles would require about 40 per cent of the entire cropland in Europe and North America. That is simply not sustainable.
Of course, reducing the amount of fuel we use, no matter what the type, is very important. But the authors of [a] recent article in Science say that if our primary motive in switching to biofuels is to reduce global warming, then we have to look at all our options for the land that would be needed to grow fuel crops. ...
In other words, biofuels alone are not the quick-fix answer to global warming. In fact, strong legislated policies to improve the efficiency of our cars, homes and industries is a much more effective strategy. In the longer term, biofuels may certainly play an important role. Some technologies, like cellulosic ethanol, which is made from woody debris, are very promising and they need to be supported by government and industry now, so they can be available on a larger scale in the coming years. Biofuels have many advantages, but we have to look at all our options and make sure we make the best choices to ensure a more sustainable future."

Underlinded words are HOT links to the subject.


John Edwards Feeling Pretty

As a follicley challenged person I watched this with bemusement and a touch of envy.