Tarry for the Nonce

June 17, 2005

The Seventh Sign

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 11:10 am

Oh, and my sister Anne Walker now has a blog.

And photos, but I won’t link to those.

A Cleaner File Form

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 10:56 am

You are .pdf  No matter where you go you look the same.  You are an acrobat.  Nothing is more important to you than the printed word.

Which File Extension are You?

(Another hat tip to Tony Meizelis.)

Like Carmen Sandiego

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 10:48 am

You are Red Hat Linux.  You're tops among your peers, but still get no respect from them.  It's all right with you.  You have your sights set higher.

Which OS are You?

(Hat tip to Tony Meizelis. Now to plot my world domination . . .)

Would You Eat Inspiration Soup?

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 10:21 am

If you were thinking that the Cruise-Holmes marriage was causing your gag reflex to work overtime, consider Weight Watchers recipies from 1974.

Fish balls? Fluffy mackarel pudding?? Chilled celery log??? How did this organization stay in business?

(I think I will extend a hat tip to Chris Edwards, although I remain disturbed that he is carrying around this knowledge.)

You Can’t Take the Sky from Me

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 10:14 am

In an unexpected display of discernment and intelligence, the Sci-fi Channel has adopted Firefly.

Firefly made its debut on Fox in 2002 but was canceled before the end of its first season. The Sci Fi Channel will air all 15 existing episodes, including the three that never made it to TV, starting on Friday, July 22.

Other than the egregious (and repetitious) error of airing the show on Friday nights, this is indeed welcome news.

(Hat tip to Brent Taylor.)

June 14, 2005

Learning Your ABCs

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 2:35 pm

Was Karol Wojtyla a mass murderer?

As has been previously mentioned on this weblog, the Pope’s consistent message of abstinence as the desired method of preventing STD transmission has been highly criticized by members of academia and the media who consider his viewpoint short-sighted and unrealistic. One Australian even suggested he should be charged with “crimes against humanity.”

Michael Cook disagrees:

Two doubtful ideas run through all these criticisms. The first is basically this: African Catholics are so devout that if they have sex outside of marriage, dally with prostitutes or take a third wife, they will piously refrain from using condoms because the Great White Father told them not to . . .

. . . Catholics can’t be both too goody-two-shoes to use condoms and too wicked to resist temptation . . .

Superimposing maps of prevalence of AIDS on prevalence of Catholicism is enough to sink the link between the Catholic Church and AIDS. In the hospice which is Swaziland nowadays, only about 5 per cent of the population is Catholic. In Botswana, where 37 per cent of the adult population is HIV infected, only 4 per cent of the population is Catholic. In South Africa, 22 per cent of the population is HIV infected, and only 6 per cent is Catholic. But in Uganda, with 43 per cent of the population Catholic, the proportion of HIV infected adults is 4 per cent . . .

Amazingly, despite the dogmatic insistence that distributing condoms is the only way to stop AIDS in its tracks, there are very few studies to prove it. An article in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization last year admitted that very little research has been done on the impact of condom-promotion programs on the actual incidence of HIV infection . . .

A recent study of condom use in the developing world in the journal Studies in Family Planning summed up the situation with these damning words: “no clear examples have emerged yet of a country that has turned back a generalised epidemic primarily by means of condom promotion.” This is most clearly seen in southern Africa. High HIV transmission rates have continued despite high rates of condom use. In Botswana, says Professor Norman Hearst, of the University of California at San Francisco, condom sales rose from one million in 1993 to 3 million in 2001 while HIV prevalence amongst urban pregnant women rose from 27 per cent to 45 percent. In Cameroon condom sales rose from 6 million to 15 million while HIV prevalence rose from 3 per cent to 9 per cent.

In fact, the history of AIDS in Uganda supports the Church’s belief that abstinence and fidelity within marriage are actually the best ways to fight AIDS. In 1991, the infection rate in Uganda was 21 per cent. Now, after years of a simple, low-cost program called ABC, it has dropped to about 6 per cent.

ABC stands for Abstain, Be faithful, or use Condoms if A and B are not practiced . . .

I know I’ve quoted a lot of the article, but I think the statistics are important. I actually heard about this Uganda study in a backhanded way on a radio program earlier this week. The results were trumpeted all over the press, but the method was not. Yahoo News, for example, exhibits the typical press reaction by lauding the government for stepping in quickly and being proactive about the AIDS pandemic, praising the “progressive government of President Yoweri Museveni.” And then, buried at the very end of the article in an “oh, by the way” comment is the method that was used:

The real message of this unpretentious little country is that if you put everything together, as it did in its ABC campaign (“Abstinence, Be Faithful, Use Condoms”), you can do a lot with AIDS.

What? What was that again? (If you read it too quickly, you might have missed it.) Abstinence? Faithfulness? Are you sure you interpreted those results accurately, Uganda? Surely you understand that man is an impulsive animal who can’t control his carnal lusts. Right? Right?

According to Dr. Edward C. Green, anthropologist and senior research scientist in the School of Public Health at Harvard University, the remarkable turnaround in Uganda was based on what was called the “ABC approach.” Since the early 1990s government and health officials have been encouraging their people to Abstain, Be faithful to their spouse or partner, and use Condoms if A and B fail. Teenagers were actively encouraged to wait until marriage before having sex.

Government officials in Uganda claim that the more traditional approach — rather than relying on condoms — was the major reason for the decline in AIDS. Janet Museveni, the nation’s First Lady, gave credit at a World AIDS Day event to “the time-tested message of abstinence from premarital sex and faithfulness in marriage.”

One would imagine that researchers the world over would be rejoicing in this welcome news: a country has managed to stem the tide of a deadly disease through the promotion of positive social mores.

Alas, how naive such thoughts are.

One might think that health experts would embrace such good news, but Green said nothing could be further from the truth. He said that he and his fellow researchers presented their studies to officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the federal agency in the U.S. responsible for dispensing government moneys to combat AIDS in Africa. Green told them that “the key factor in the decline was less casual sex, more fidelity … more abstinence among youth.” However, he added, USAID officials and others “were evidently horrified by what we said.”

Why were they horrified? According to Vinand Nantulya, a senior advisor at the United Nation’s Global Fund, USAID officials rejected the evidence “because the studies were not showing that the condoms were the only things that worked.”

Some of the more conservative commentators are insisting that a massive coverup is in effect in order to keep the African nations underdeveloped and dependent on foreign aid. I’m not one of those people. I do, however, wonder what would happen to the condom distributors if an entire movement should deem their product as nothing more than a supplement to a much better choice. I imagine that – like big tobacco companies – they have a vested interest in protecting their investment.

It makes me wonder who’s in bed with whom.

June 12, 2005

A Sunday Feast

Filed under: Rambles — lmwalker @ 2:17 pm

Inspired by something I saw on A Quiet Life, I would like to try a question.

What is the worst movie you’ve ever seen?

June 10, 2005

HIV Prevention

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 2:59 pm

I don’t want to shock anyone unduly, but the Pope promotes abstinence. Yes, indeed. It’s true!

(This is such ground-breaking news that it was headlined on The Drudge Report.)

Hitchcock as Clairvoyant?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lmwalker @ 2:55 pm

The birds are attacking:

Joggers are today being warned about violent crows in London parks after an attack left a man bloodied and needing hospital treatment . . .

Mr Keay, 44, who was attacked at lunchtime on Wednesday, said: “These two massive crows just swooped down on me. I hit them but they wouldn’t get off my head.

“They kept on at me and I kept hitting them until I noticed blood was pouring down my neck. My T-shirt was drenched with blood.”

It’s not a big deal. Just call in the experts to know what to do.

An Ego Stroke

Filed under: Anecdotes — lmwalker @ 2:26 pm

Well, it’s not quite an ego stroke, since I got two wrong. In fact, it’s almost demoralizing.

Your IQ Is 130
Your Logical Intelligence is Exceptional
Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius
Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius
Your General Knowledge is Exceptional

A Quick and Dirty IQ Test

(Hat tip to Tony Meizelis’s Live Journal.)

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