Friday, February 09, 2007

The inconvenient truths...

"Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and British billionaire Richard Branson
announced a $25 million prize for scientists who can devise a way to reduce
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and help combat global warming."

Read more here. I say excellent. There are a lot of critics out there concerned that this is an indication Al Gore has given up on the ability of the world to decrease its CO2 emissions. He says no, he just thinks that we should do both. Branson, the Virgin CEO and new addition to my list of people I admire, says the truth that the rest of the world may change sooner, and start to release less CO2 into the environment sooner, but the USA is going to be slower to change its harmful effects on the environment. Asked if he thought Al Gore, whose documentary on global warming has been nothing short of genius, was some kind of a prophet, he says the rest of the world does and some Americans have caught on to his good deeds as well. I beleive this was all going down in today's Good Morning America. No commitment here, I watched several news programs this morning.

This whole global warming thing, doesn't amaze me too much. I understand how the emissions work to become harmful to our environments. However, my chemistry labs with Mr. Agolla had me convinced I was to worry more about CO and not CO2 emissions, since CO2 is supposed to be stable as a compound. Of course I inject my organic chemistry and I can see how everything starts to fall apart. But if you recall that in organic chem, almost everything ends in H2O and CO2 unless it ends in one of the functional groups (unstable), when you force a reaction... I digress and I'm also at risk of sounding like a geek. Where I was going with this was, how does one find a way to grab CO2, destabilize it, force it to react with another compound or element and create usable, stable compounds as the products of these reactions; that benefit the general population with no harmful residue. I guess whomever finds this answer will be the recipient of the 25M put forth by Gore and Branson. I believe the answer lies in that law of physics where energy is not wasted but converted... But doesn't this shut anyone with no access to a lab out of the prize? However, the labs in the secondary schools in Kenya (the ones I know), I don't know about the universities can start working on this. It's organic chemistry. We've all played with how these things interact... someone should challenge them to get involved.

It has occurred to me the answer might be as simple as planting huge trees and shrubs that absorb huge amounts of CO2 during the day and release very little by night. All these around huge CO2 emission plants and cities. Maybe the real research should be testing CO2 absorption and emission by various plant species.

Enough about that. Anna Nicole Smith died. The entire shock by people is surprising me. Mark Steines from Entertainment Tonight did an interview with her about 10 days ago, her last one it turned out. He kept saying she was in high spirits about her new home in the Bahamas. Well, the footage shows an Anna Nicole Smith who, to speak honestly, is so high, she is devoid of facial emotion. She could barely express herself. The only thing I could think of is she needed to be in a rehab center and I was concerned that she was looking after a new born in that condition. The truth, though not convenient at the time of her death, is Anna started dying months ago. Her drug abuse was out of control and what she needed most was someone to force her into rehab. Not tell her she is happy, or she is right or whatever. All that didn't matter and it sure doesn't anymore for her. Now her daughter, Dannielynn, has to grow up without a mom, a brother and hopefully she will be with her correct paternal parent soon.

At the end of it all, It's sad but it happens. Life is temporary. And that is just another one of the inconvenient truths we as mortals have to live with.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Gives us Free - The time is now.

I had posted about the MEND in Nigeria here not too long ago. Today, has this as their lead story. As far as the Niger Delta goes, I guess I have to declare myself a terrorist sympathiser. I am on the side of these people. The way I see it, just because one is not in jail does not mean one is free. Au contraire. We as a society are living in a status quo that has the rich getting richer, their kins guaranteed wealth and means while the poor get poorer and their kins are almost inadvertently guaranteed to inherit problems, unless they fight through huge obstacles, then make it to not so poor, on the other end. The poor in an attempt to not be so poor, take all the crap meanwhile. The insecure neighborhoods, the dirty sanitary environments, no electricity and other necessities once inside Africa and in the case of Niger Delta, worsening economic conditions as their livelihoods (fish) can no longer exist in the current environment. Don't forget that this environment has changed for the worse, so that the rich keep getting richer.

Globalization has made this situation worse. The tycoons of the world, run the oil wells of Africa and other 3rd world countries, keep a few "influential" African pockets greased so that they may have easy accessibility to their investments and go about destroying livelihoods and leaving tons of people with no other recourse but utter destitution. And then they donate say $50000 to some African course and pacify their hearts. Please! I think as a society, there comes a time when you can keep taking crap and life goes on, or you can say enough is enough, and make some changes. This is the same argument for civil strife in places where dictatorships run for too long. And as far as the Delta goes, the time is now. They need to start benefiting from these so called investments. they as the villagers, they as the citizens and they as a continent, more than the foreign investors. Without their land, this investment would not exist. If you ask me, they have the controlling factor. They need to force people to meet their obligations to society and to treat all people as worthy of life, love and happiness.

And the Chinese President is touring Africa. The message is "equality, mutual trust". I say, about time.

"China's charm offensive in Africa is second to none," said Philip Alves,
an economist with the South African Institute of International Affairs."They do
a lot of stuff in Africa. They don't see Africa as a burden. They see it as an
opportunity. They don't see African leaders as hopeless and corrupt. They see
them as equals worthy of respect. They've tried very hard, and I think that's
why they're winning friends in Africa."

Here is how globalization plays in favor of Africa. Choices. Now the Africans have the choice to make investment partners with Asia or with the West. The difference, quite interestingly, is cultural. The Asian culture is a very respectful one, where all people are treated with a certain amount of respect. And everyone is allowed to be their own person. This versus the West, which views Africa as a playing ground. A game of chess perhaps, where they can make a move so that they may influence the other's next decision. Well, as far as cultures go, Asia will fit in Africa much more comfortably. And Africa now is mostly being operated by Africans who have never been colonized, are educated and are therefore don't view the White Man as anything other than a man. No remnants of colonial trauma. Save for South Africa, Apartheid will be leaving streaks there for a few more generations. It's about time Africa was able to benefit from Africa. Africa needs to start manipulating its own destiny, not being the leather in the football games other people play. This should free Africa from the jaws of "do this, or else" as has been the norm.

So as Djimon Hounsou said in Amistad, "Gives us Free." I'm just saying, if they can't give it to us, let's take it. Opportunity has availed itself.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The way I see it...

That the US media is jetting into Kenya often enough now to raise concern for Obama's kin. Apparently, they are going to fight/contest Obama by finding out about his Kenyan roots. Crazy aspect here is that the fickle mindedness of the general population would allow this to happen. How is it, that a past Obama never had should influence his future? How would a journalist twist his findings in Nyangoma Kogelo (is it?) so that he used these to portray what kind of president Barrack Obama might make? Not much, says logic. But logic doesn't dictate these things, no. Foolishness does. The readers of these publications are easily excitable and will hang on to anything that constitutes idle gossip, no matter how irrelevant it truly is. This is the reason why the US media is wasting, read investing, money by flying into Kenya to dig up "dirt" on Obama. I'm hard pressed to believe they are looking for anything positive. They all know Obama didn't grow up in Kenya and has nothing to do with this country as any part of his childhood or youth. I insist as a habit that people engage intelligence into every media coverage they come across.

Speaking of the media, here exists an article that I wasn't quite sure what to feel for. Dominic Odipo expressly singles out Michuki and Karua as people who don't come out well in the media. Seriously?! In all of Kenya these two he picked out. Singled them out as people who have no understanding of how the media works and its influences on them and their careers? I'm interested in how he decided these were the two he would single out. Because the list is endless, always was, as far as Kenyan politicians are concerned. Moreover, the thought that these people while addressing the masses should too much care what the masses think, I disagree with. The masses in question are not smart in general. They are fickle and easily swayed. They are a good argument for dictatorship. As a leader in these scenario that is Kenya (government versus ODM) no matter how noble the cause it must be opposed, I say just tell it as you see it and hope the obvious truth becomes obvious to those who don't see it that way somewhere in the future. Not to say they can't improve the way they communicate. But first, they need a major improvement on the way they are interviewed. The journalists basically suck. Stupid questions that indicate bias result in stupid answers that indicate defensive attitudes. If I don't stop here about the media in Kenya, I might as well write a book.

And what is that photo of Raila holding a bible to swear Kibaki promised to run for a single term?! (Is this swearing in vain?) Seriously, Raila still wants us to believe any MoU between himself and Kibaki should still be worth considering despite the past 5 years? And why did he buy that crap? Words between people cannot and should not supersede the constitution which allows Kibaki to run for another term. Raila should stop whining and he and Kibaki should meet at the polls. May the best man win!

I'm analyzing, perhaps over analyzing today's standard, so I quit it!

Tony Dungy, you and your team rock! Congratulations. Enough about Payton Manning, good as he might be. And the Bears definitely deserve a good effort mention. Poleni Chicago. Maybe next time. Till next season...