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From Who still smokes in America? The poor, middle-aged, and bisexual.

Judge rejects attempt to isolate nurse - SFGate

Judge rejects attempt to isolate nurse - SFGate: "In his ruling, the judge thanked Hickox for her service in Africa and acknowledged the gravity of restricting someone's constitutional rights without solid science to back it up.

"The court is fully aware of the misconceptions, misinformation, bad science and bad information being spread from shore to shore in our country with respect to Ebola," he wrote. "The court is fully aware that people are acting out of fear and that this fear is not entirely rational.""

'via Blog this'


About OPCW-UN Joint Mission

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OPCW-UN Joint Mission draws to a close

1 October 2014- The OPCW-UN Joint Mission on the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons has completed its mandate and its operations drew to a close on 30 September 2014.  The Director-General praised the role played by the Joint Mission.

"The work of the Joint Mission has been vital to the success of international efforts to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons programme.  It is an excellent example of how practical cooperation between international organisations can achieve tangible results in disarmament," said Ambassador Üzümcü.

"I wish to thank the Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag for her extraordinary efforts and leadership, as well as all OPCW and UN staff who have participated in this highly successful mission," he added.
The OPCW has signed an agreement with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on the provision of safety, security and logistical support for the OPCW's continuing operations in the Syrian Arab Republic.  The OPCW mission in Syria will continue to deal with the destruction of chemical weapon production facilities and clarification of certain aspects of the Syrian initial declaration.
Source: OPCW
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Leo Tolstoy - Very Nice Person

Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
After reading Anna Karenina, I was impressed by the chapters that take place in the countryside. The loving detail in the scenes and characters here is telling.

From Paul Birukoff's, Leo Tolstoy: Childhood and Early Manhood (1906):
Childhood: days of idyll, Moscow and Kazan University

Count Tolstoy was a gentle, easy going man. Quick to tell a joke, he was reluctant to mete out corporal punishment that was so common at the time to the hundreds of serfs on their estate. He disliked wolf-baiting and fox-hunting, preferring to ride in the fields and forests, or walking with his children and their pack of romping greyhounds. Leo recounts outings with his siblings, friends, and paternal grandmother Pelageya Nikolayevna Tolstoy (d.1838) to pick hazelnuts; she seemed a dreamy magical figure to him. Sometimes he spent the evening in her bedroom while their blind story-teller Lev Stepanovich narrated lengthy, enchanting tales.

A woman finally wins the Fields Medal after 50 years. Why did it take so long?

by Sam Howison |                    link to article

"As a child Maryam Mirzakhani was told a story by her elder brother about the mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss, and how he, as a schoolboy, solved a mathematical problem, adding all the numbers from 1 to 100, in seconds. She couldn’t master the solution but when it was explained, was dazzled by its elegance, sparking the love affair that brought her the Fields medal.

So how did he solve it?

The answer is fiendishly simple once you know how. Gauss discovered that on adding the consequential numbers of the highest and lowest values in the sequence you would get 101. So for example, the first pair takes the lowest value, 1, and the highest value, 100, and, when added, give 101. Similarly, for the second pair, the second lowest and highest numbers, 2 and 99, summed give 101, and so forth. In total there are 50 pairs each amounting to 101, so using simple multiplication (50 x 101) the answer is given in seconds, 5050. Or as Mirzakhani puts it, “a beautiful solution”."

Inspiring Spiritual Quotes from His Grace Mahatma Das

Trying to impress others

When we truly desire to become more humble, we become painfully aware of how often our actions are motivated by the desire to impress others.

— Mahatma Das

Inspiring Spiritual Quotes from His Grace Mahatma Das

George Gray -- Spoon River Anthology

I HAVE studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me--
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one's life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire--
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

--Edgar Lee Masters George Gray -- Spoon River Anthology:

Teachers' Bloated Salaries (satire)

Teachers' hefty salaries are driving up taxes, and they only work nine or ten months a year! It's time we put things in perspective and pay them for what they do -- babysit!
We can get that for less than minimum wage.

That's right. Let's give them $3.00 an hour and only the hours they worked; not any of that silly planning time, or any time they spend before or after school. That would be $19.50 a day (7:45 to 3:00 PM with 45 min. off for lunch and planning -- that equals 6-1/2 hours).
So each parent should pay $19.50 a day for these teachers to baby-sit their children. Now how many students do they teach in a day...maybe 30? So that's $19.50 x 30 = $585 a day.

However, remember they only work 180 days a year!!! I am not going to pay them for any vacations.


That's $585 X 180= $105,300 per year. (Hold on! My calculator needs new batteries).

What about those special education teachers and the ones with Master's degrees? Well, we could pay them minimum wage ($7.75), and just to be fair, round it off to $8.00 an hour. That would be $8 X 6-1/2 hours X 30 children X 180 days = $280,800 per year.

Wait a minute -- there's something wrong here! There sure is!

The average teacher's salary (nationwide) is $50,000.

$50,000/180 days = $277.77 per day / 30 students = $9.25 / 6.5 hours = $1.42 per hour per student -- a very inexpensive baby-sitter and they even EDUCATE your kids!)


Make a teacher smile; repost this to show appreciation for all educators.

This Is the Man Bill Gates Thinks You Absolutely Should Be Reading - Wired Science

"There is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil," Bill Gates wrote this summer. That's quite an endorsement—and it gave a jolt of fame to Smil, a professor emeritus of environment and geography at the University of Manitoba. In a world of specialized intellectuals, Smil is an ambitious and astonishing polymath who swings for fences. His nearly three dozen books have analyzed the world's biggest challenges—the future of energy, food production, and manufacturing—with nuance and detail. They're among the most data-heavy books you'll find, with a remarkable way of framing basic facts. (Sample nugget: Humans will consume 17 percent of what the biosphere produces this year.)

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut's_Cradle
Cat's Cradle is the funniest book I have ever read. It is "choke on your coffee funny," as one reviewer put it. It is one of the smartest, too. Ironic that it is an end-of-the-world story.