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Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Reinstall Windows and outfit your system with all freeware programs Review & Download Link | freewaregenius.com
Chemists Without Borders promotes open source solutions. The above link, and other links therein, point to excellent resources for running Windows machines entirely with freeware programs. For those who wish to avoid Windows altogether, there are excellent Linux implementations like Ubuntu and Xandros which offer comparable desktops and resources.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Egeland's new book on these issues, A Billion Lives : An Eyewitness Report from the Frontlines of Humanity that looks worth a read.
Monday, April 28, 2008
This is a site with useful links. Slideshare, for example, is a popular way to create presentations and make them available to specific users or to the general public. We may use this for our continuing education and personal development program.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Here's an opportunity for us: Chemistry claims to be "The Central Science". If so, we are central to the issue of food and energy. The "silent tsunami" of rising food prices is exacerbated, for example, by the diversion of corn from food to fuel. Millions of lives are jeopardized not by the scarcity of the food, but by the price of the food. (I once heard that the 1,500,000 deaths during the notorious Irish Potato Famine of 1845 were more caused by prices rising beyond the reach of the poor than by an actual lack of potatoes.)
There are already many intelligent people addressing this problem, but it is by no means solved. Imagine the impact of bringing the minds of a half a million or so chemists worldwide to bear on the question. Add to that the medical profession, the architects, the designers, the financiers, the businesspeople, etc., etc., etc., not to mention the students most importantly, and you have a huge pool of people with minds trained to identify and solve problems.
If 70% of your $1-a-day income goes on food for the family, and the price of rice and wheat rapidly doubles, your family goes from 2 meals a day to 1 meal a day, and then .......
What then must we do?
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
The purpose of the Green Chemistry Research & Development Act of 2008 is to advance research into environmentally friendly chemicals. Check it out and please contact your Senators and Representatives to express your opinions.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
I recently saw on PBS this wonderfully enlightening Bill Moyers interview about Afghanistan with Sarah Chayes, former New York Times correspondent. At the end of the conversation, they have the following dialogue:
BILL MOYERS: There's a thin line. As I listen to you, there's a thin line we sometimes walk, we human beings, between hope and folly.
SARAH CHAYES: Hmm.
BILL MOYERS: Are you very close to that line?
SARAH CHAYES: I don't think that hope is relevant. I think determination is all that counts. You just have to try. It doesn't matter if you hope you're going succeed or not. You have to keep trying.
I agree with the opinion about hope. It is indeed determination which counts. (Mind you, I wouldn't use the word "try" either. In the words of the great Yoda: "Do or not do, there is no 'try'.") Consider this: At the end of the ABC World News on television, Charlie Gibson finishes with , "I hope you had a nice day." I never understand what he means. Hope is about the future, if anything, so how does it apply to the day that has already passed?
I think "hope" is a word worth dropping from the vocabulary, as are words like "struggle", "desperate" and "try". When Victor Frankl talks in "Mans' Search for Meaning" about how people like him survived the Nazi concentration camps, it's not "hope" that he talks about; it's about a commitment to an idea that some day he would be reunited with his family (didn't happen -- they were all murdered), and that he would be standing in front of audiences answering the question, "How did you survive when so many others didn't?"
Sunday, April 13, 2008
In other recent open access news, EBSCO has created a free database for environmental information called GreenFILE, which includes bibliographic information and a fair bit of full text, too. Congratulations and thanks to EBSCO.
Monday, April 07, 2008
For details on how to join in the festivities - and support the NIH in this important move which certainly takes us beyond borders - see Peter Suber's post on Open Access News.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
European Universities Association (EUA) urges universities to develop clear strategies to advance open access
Details of the policy and my comments can be found on The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics.
Thanks to Bernard Rentier and Stevan Harnad.