nico1908: (Default)
"Many in the first world imagine the amount of money spent on aid to developing countries is massive. In fact, it amounts to only .03% of GNP of the industrialized nations. In 1995, the director of the US aid agency defended his agency by testifying to his congress that 84 cents of every dollar of aid goes back into the US economy in goods and services purchased. For every dollar the United States puts into the World Bank, an estimated $2 actually goes into the US economy in goods and services. Meanwhile, in 1995, severely indebted low-income countries paid one billion dollars more in debt and interest to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) than they received from it. For the 46 countries of Subsaharan Africa, foreign debt service was four times their combined governmental health and education budgets in 1996. So, we find that aid does not aid."

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Eyes of the Heart; Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization, (Common Courage Press, 2000), p. 13

Source here.

Those of you who have Netflix, check out "
Speaking Freely, Vol. 2: Susan George". Great comprehensive overview on this and other issues.
nico1908: (Jackass!)
Top Eleven Signs You're a Christian

11- You believe in a book that was written 70 years after your Messiah died by men who never met him (Ever played "Telephone"?) but continuously deny modern science books.

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt. (To which Nico1908 has to add: Except for Eve, who was made from Adam's "rib" [quite likely a euphemism for baculum].)

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.

The poster didn't name a source, so I don't know if he/she came up with this or if it's quoted from somewhere else. If you know the source, please let me know so that I can identify it here. - Thank you!
nico1908: (Default)
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One catastrophe after the other.
nico1908: (Default)
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The only TV series I've liked these past ten years was Six Feet Under. Everything else I neither get nor like - especially Trueblood. So much ado about nothing!
nico1908: (Default)
nico1908: (Default)
Just wanted to let everybody know that I'm still around! Spent two weeks with my mom Christmas. She had her second round of chemo and was very weak at times. She has lost quite a bit of weight and I hope the doctors will send her to a health spa for rehab for a couple of weeks. Soon.

My stepson has moved in with his girlfriend who gave birth to their son on December 9. They live with her parents. Good luck.

And now I need to get back to work. I have a lot of catching up to do. I just wanted to drop in and wish you a happy new year. - Should be a good one for me: Year of the Tiger!


Aug. 26th, 2009 09:39 am
nico1908: (Default)
We lost Ted Kennedy, cornerstone of healthcare reform in the U.S. :-(

nico1908: (Default)

Personally, I think a public health insurance plan is not going to accomplish anything as long as patients still have to deal with no co-pays, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, limited provider networks, and lifetime benefits caps.

Another reason why medical conditions are a major contributor to personal bankruptcies is the loss of income, so even if your medical expenses are covered, unless you have managed to build an emergency fund, you are still in danger of losing everything.

What really annoys me about the healthcare debate is that everybody talks about what it's going to cost, but nobody seems to talk about how much money it is going to save; or the fact that healthy people will be able to work instead of staying home sick, which means increased tax revenue.

nico1908: (Default)

On my way back home from a friend's house Sunday evening I passed an 18-wheeler in the middle lane whose driver had forgotten to switch off his turn signal. I made sure I was at a safe distance before I slipped into his lane and kept my signal on.

After a few seconds he switched off the blinker and flashed his high beams at me, which I took to mean "thank you". I hazard-flashed him a "you're welcome". - It was just a little exchange of courtesies, but it made me feel good. ☺

My rear windshield needs new tinting. I wish I could get one that says, "I ♥ Truckers".

nico1908: (Default)

G., my husband, is still in the hospital. They fed him some broth, jello, and cranberry juice Saturday but put him back on water only after noon because they're planning to do a colonoscopy some time today... nobody knows exactly when because as per yesterday evening they had been unable to get a hold of a gastroenterologist. - There's your "greatest health care system in the world" in action!

nico1908: (Default)
My husband has been having stomach problems and diarrhea on and off since last Sunday and last night it got so bad that he was passing blood, so he went to the ER this morning (without telling me; he didn't want to wake me up, the dolt. WTF?? Men!!!). They did a CT scan and detected an acute inflammation in his upper intestines. There was talk of surgery, but the surgeon examined him and checked the scan and diagnosed him with a virus infection. They're going to keep him until tomorrow night or Monday morning for observation and to make sure that the medication works. He said something about antibiotics, though, which makes no sense because to the best of my knowledge, those don't work on viruses, only on bacteria - but oh well... As long as it isn't cancer again, I'm okay...

nico1908: (Default)


3% Extraversion, 18% Introversion, 20% Sensing, 6% Intuition, 18% Thinking, 6% Feeling, 11% Judging and 11% Perceiving!

Introverted Intuition with Extraverted Thinking


Approximately 5.4% of persons in the United States are ISTPs.



Tolerant and flexible, quiet observers until a problem appears, then act quickly to find workable solutions. Analyze what makes things work and readily get through large amounts of data to isolate the core of practical problems. Interested in cause and effect, organize facts using logical principles, value efficiency.


At Their Best

People with ISTP preferences carefully observe what is going on around them. Then, when the need arises, they move quickly to get to the core of a problem and solve it with the greatest efficiency and the least effort. They are interested in how and why things work but find abstract theories uninteresting unless they can quickly apply them. They often function as troubleshooters.

ISTPs resist regimentation and rules, thrive on variety and novelty, and enjoy the challenge of solving a new, concrete, extensive problem.


Characteristics of ISTPs

ISTPs use their Thinking primarily internally to see the essential structure underlying the facts. Their minds seem to work almost like computers, organizing data, reasoning impersonally and objectively. They make rational decisions based on a great deal of concrete data. ISTPs are likely to be
· Detached and objective critics
· Analytical and logical problem solvers

ISTPs are realists, focusing on what is and what can be done with it, rather than on theoretical possibilities. They are often creative at dealing with the immediate problems and good at hands-on tasks. ISTPs are likely to be
· Practical and realistic
· Factual and pragmatic

ISTPs are expedient and believe in economy of effort doing only what is needed with the least possible discussion and fuss. Their focus is on getting the desired results.


How Others May See Them

ISTPs are egalitarian and generally tolerant of a wide range of behavioruntil their ruling logical principles are attacked. At that point, they can surprise others by expressing their firm and clear judgments. ISTPs listen and seem to agree because they are not disagreeing; later, others may find the ISTP was analyzing and making internal judgments.

With their constant scanning for information and focus on results, ISTPs will change course readily if they see another, more efficient way. Because of this, others some- times have trouble "reading" them. They tend to be quiet and reserved, though they can be quite talkative in areas in which they have a lot of knowledge. Others usually see ISTPs as
· Adaptable, action-oriented risk takers
· Confident, independent, and self-determined


Potential Areas for Growth

Sometimes life circumstances have not supported ISTPs in the development and expression of their Sensing and Thinking preferences.

· If they have not developed their Sensing, ISTPs may have no reliable way of getting accurate data about the external world or of translating their thoughts into action.

· If they have not developed their Thinking, they may get caught up in the realities around them. and not take time to do the internal logical processing they need to make good decisions. Then their actions may be haphazard responses to immediate needs

If ISTPs do not find a place where they can use their gifts and be appreciated for their contributions, they usually feel frustrated and may
· Become cynical and negative critics
· Withdraw their attention and energy
· Postpone decisions

It is natural for ISTPs to give less attention to their non- preferred Feeling and Intuitive parts. If they neglect these too much, however, they may
· Overlook others' emotional needs and values
· Not give sufficient weight to the impacts of their decisions on others
· Focus so intently on immediate results that they lose track of the long-term ramifications of their decisions and actions

Under great stress, ISTPs may erupt outwardly in inappropriate displays of emotion. The resulting explosive anger or hurt tearfulness is quite unnerving to others and embarrassing to the usually calm and controlled ISTP.


Take The Official Myers-Briggs Personality Test at HelloQuizzy

nico1908: (Default)
Imagine my surprise when I found THIS little critter munching away on my Iris today:

 (picture copied from the Wikipedia entry on this insect)

This striking caterpillar is called Saddleback caterpillar and is the larval stage of a rather unstriking moth (whose picture & description can be found

Touching the freaky thing is not advisable: 
it stings and can cause a bad rash (there are several comments about encounters with saddlebacks on Dave's Garden).

ETA: Tuesday morning damage report: about half an Iris leaf has been consumed. I have no idea when the caterpillar will turn into a pupa, but I hope it's soon! :)

nico1908: (Default)
It's ungodly hot and humid in my part of the world. At home, the AC starts working at 7 in the morning to keep the house at a comfortable 79 F (26 Celsius), and here at the office we set it to 77-78 F.

I just came back inside after changing the letters on our billboard. I'm totally soaked, and I swear it's not perspiration - it's condensation!

ETA: When I got in my car after lunch (2 p.m.), the thermometer had climbed to 100 F (38 C).


Jun. 5th, 2009 10:17 am
nico1908: (Default)

I hate it when people gloss over the genocide on the American Indians by claiming that "there is no such thing as a Native American" because those people didn't evolve on this continent. What kind of "reasoning" is that?

Note to self: Don't discuss immigration with the bug guy.

I wish...

Jun. 3rd, 2009 08:58 am
nico1908: (Default)
... I had the money and could take a couple of weeks off to spend a few weeks at this place:

How I yearn for silence!!!

nico1908: (Hygeia (detail))
... why people who claim to be "pro life", yet kill other people, don't get called out on a large scale as the hypocrites they are?*

"Dr. Tiller's assassination is not the lone and inexplicable action of one deranged killer," Hern said Sunday. "This was a political assassination in a historic pattern of anti-abortion political violence. It was terrorism." (Article

* Wait! I just remembered
this Website! It souds a little whacky in parts, but I believe they are right in their claim that the whole anti-abortion war is not about saving lives; it is about money and power.


May. 22nd, 2009 11:14 am
nico1908: (Keep calm!)
I am re-reading Anne McCaffrey's "Dragonriders of Pern" series for the first time in many years, and I am finding things in the books I've never noticed before.

For example, there is this scene in which a dragonrider named F'nor makes (very inexplicit) love to dragon queen rider Brekke for the first time, which is described as, "he was not gentle, but he was thorough". What the heck is that supposed to mean??? On some level I find it disturbing, on another level I'm simply confused. 

Any insight, anybody?


nico1908: (Default)
I just got back from watching the new Star Trek movie.

As expected, it was a visual feast (except the dumb-ass cavernous cargo bay in the Romulan ship with its narrow walkways without railings, which reminded me of dumb-ass video games), but the opening "going into labor in the middle of an emergency"-sequence, complete with that totally out-of-place "what do you want to name the baby?"-dialogue made me want to leave the theatre. I hate - HATE!!! - the emergency-birth plot. It's been used to death. Yuck!

Young Kirk is an arrogant asshole from the get-go. He is some sort of youthful rebel with no charm whatsoever. None. Null. Zip. I was puzzled by the fact that Starfleet Academy apparently accepts repeat offenders. One would think that future officers have to be the top of the crop in every aspect - which is why the ragged appearance of divorce victim Young Bones rubs me the wrong way, too. And what was this whole "claustrophobia in space" dialogue about? Did I miss something in the original series about Bones? 

Young Spock is doing a great job, although there is no chemistry between him and Young Uhura, and the unsuspecting watcher still wonders where that kiss in the elevator suddenly came from. Young Chekov is a joke; Young Zulu totally uninteresting; Young Uhura pretty and said to have "extreme oral sensitivities" or such - what the heck?? And why does it matter whether or not she speaks Vulcan and Romulan when everybody - Vulcans and Romulans included - speaks English?

Did anyone else wonder how and why Young Scotty suddenly became the chief engineer of the Enterprise? I don't even want to think about that absolutely misplaced, stupid Scotty-stuck-in-the-coolant-pipes scene. - What on earth was in those pipes, anyway? Water? Why??? And what's up with his sidekick? He reminded me of a green, scaly Ewok!

A Romulan bad guy named Nero??!!! What the heck?!

Last but not least: the whole damn time-travel plot. YAWN!!!

There are too many scenes in which one or the other protagonist - mostly Kirk - hangs from cliffs by his fingernails, which - yawn. And there are too many convenient, glibly explained coincidences, for example Old!Spock appearing on the icy planet on which Young Spock maroons Young Kirk (I wonder who else felt strongly reminded of the icy planet in the Star Wars series) at the exact moment a red monster (who strongly reminded me of the monsters in Cloverfield) is about to swallow Kirk. Luck as a plot device in literature and on screen - my second biggest pet peeve.

All in all, this is a typical Hollywood production: visual effects and CGI instead of good acting; little character interaction; no intelligent dialogue; no character development whatsoever; a generic, predictable plot with lots of fast, loud action scenes instead of good storytelling - and we all know it will spawn at least two sequels and an insane amount of extremely poorly written, nausea-inducing slash.

My overall verdict: Star Wars meets Galaxy Quest!

ETA: I just found a snarky review that exactly expresses my feelings. Go read!


nico1908: (Default)

January 2013



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