Clauset and Young analysed a database that contains details of more than 19,900 terrorist events that occurred in 187 countries between 1968 and 2004. According to the database, which is maintained by the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), at least one person was killed or injured in some 7,088 of these events.
Power law distributions
The New Mexico pair found that the probability of an event with a severity of x or higher was proportional to x-α, where the scaling parameter α has a value close to two (see figure). Moreover, they showed that the distributions did not fit other "heavy-tailed" distributions like a log-normal curve. According to Clauset and Young, the results show that extreme events like September 11 are not "outliers" but part of the overall pattern of terrorist attacks that is "scale invariant".
"Unfortunately, the implications of the scale invariance are almost all negative," Clauset and Young told PhysicsWeb. "For example, because the scaling parameter is less than two, the size of the largest terrorist attack to date will only grow with time. If we assume that the scaling relationship and the frequency of events do not change in the future, we can expect to see another attack at least as severe as September 11 within the next seven years." Clauset and Young also suggest that the behaviour they observe is an extension of the still unexplained scale invariance between the frequency and intensity of wars.
"I have to say I was quite skeptical at first, if only because so many power laws one sees reported are nothing of the kind - or rather, they might be, but the evidence just isn't there," says Cosma Shalizi, a physicist at the University of Michigan who helped Clauset with the work. "The usual methods that physicists employ to fit power-law distributions to data are quite unreliable, but Clauset and Young used reliable estimation methods. Personally, I would be a little more cautious than they are about claiming the distribution is scale-invariant, if only because the range and size of the data set is comparatively small, but this is definitely very careful and important work, and deserves to be taken quite seriously."
In October 2004, three explosions rocked Egypt's red sea resorts killing 33 people, mostly Israeli tourists. Despite an official Egyptian denial, Israel and other Western governments were quick in blaming these attacks on al-Qaeda. They associated the attacks with an audio tape broadcast on al-Jazeera which emerged a week earlier urging Muslims to attack the interests of "crusader America" and its allies across the world. The voice in the tape sounded similar to that of al-Qaeda second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
In the tape Zawahiri urged Muslims to defend the Palestinians and to resist Israel. Not surprisingly the attacks were seen as a response to Zawahiri's call, especially since Taba was the last town returned to Egypt after the 1979 peace treaty with Israel and most of the major hotels in the area were subsequently built with Israeli capital and mostly frequented by Israeli tourists.
The speedy denial of responsibility by Egyptian Islamic groups and their condemnations of these attacks were seen as further proof of the rapprochement that has taken hold between the Egyptian government and the Islamic groups in recent years. Indeed the attacks at Taba were the first of their kind in Egypt since the shootings outside the Hatshepsut Temple near Luxor in November 1997 in which 58 foreigners and four Egyptians were killed. The Luxor attack was blamed on al-Jama'a al-Islamiyya that was headed by the blind sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, who is currently serving a life sentence in the United States for his involvement in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and other planned attacks.
Following the Luxor attack, many of al-Jama'a leaders – some of whom were serving jail sentences in Egypt – issued a public statement urging their followers to halt all operations and to renounce violence. This public declaration effectively signaled the end of the latest round of the long-running war between the Egyptian government and radical Islam. The latest conflict started in 1992 and by 1997 it had cost the lives of more than a thousand people; most of whom were informers and security officials.
Are you a person who respects and admires the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, but has trouble accepting Christianity's tales about such things as the resurrection, the virgin birth, the miracle stories, etc.?
Do you believe that Jesus' life and teachings can stand on their own merit and do not require miracles to give them worth?
Do you find Jesus' admonition to Love Your Neighbor to be more important to you than the idea that his death was a sacrifice made in order to get you into Heaven?
Are you tired of having people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson ridiculing your beliefs as being "liberal revisionism"?
Loved "a case of crabs!" Thanks, Throbert!
Dangit, that is one fugly pull-quote. I need to find a better CSS reference...
In 1977, Churchill and Dora-Lee Larson started living together in what divorce documents describe as a common-law marriage. That ended in 1984 when Larson filed for divorce and asked to have her address kept secret because of "past violence and threats" from Churchill. He did not respond then, nor last week, to questions about that case. She did not respond to messages seeking comment.I hate hippies.
The division of property in that divorce shows many of the trappings of an aging '60s radical.
Churchill demanded that Larson return nearly 100 books, including Karl Marx's "Das Capital," a first edition of "The Little Red Book" by Mao Tse- tung and various anarchist tracts.
“Wodehouse in Trouble"
On this day in 1975 P. G. "Plum" Wodehouse died, aged ninety-three. Given the hundred books and the three-dozen musicals, it seems reasonable to believe the account of Wodehouse's final moments which has him collapsing after picking up the pen and papers his exasperated wife had thrown across his hospital room. But the other account is good, too: he died alone, his pipe and tobacco pouch in his lap, the manuscript of his next book on the table beside his chair. The unchallenged portrait of Wodehouse is of an amiable but removed man, one who was aware very early that he wanted to write, and who was happy to give up almost everything in order to do it. Wodehouse's most recent biographer, Robert McCrum (Wodehouse: A Life, 2004) accepts the second account of his death. McCrum also regards a much earlier event, Wodehouse's famous run-in with the Nazis, as a near-death experience which, "If it did not actually take away his life, ... wrecked it forever." Given Wodehouse's buoyant, 'carry on' personality, this seems an exaggeration, but it gives momentum to what is a controversial, life-defining and very funny story.
Though many denounced him as a collaborator and "Goebbels' stooge," it is hard to read the full account of “Wodehouse Meets the Nazis" and not see a wide-eyed forest creature caught in a high-beam crash. When the advancing Germans first threatened to trespass on the Wodehouses' comfortable, Normandy life in the spring of 1940 they were ignored. After two last-minute attempts to flee -- first in a car with only half its gears, then on roads too jammed with others as desperate -- the Wodehouses were still at home, and the Germans were bathing in their tub. Soon Wodehouse and all his expatriate golfing buddies were forced to report daily to the glass-eyed Kommandant, but this proved to be merely "the hors d'oeuvre in Fate's banquet." By mid-summer he was interned locally, by early September he was in a converted lunatic asylum about thirty miles from Auschwitz, and by Christmas the world was reading jocular interviews with this most famous of literary captives.
So was the German propaganda machine. Once they realized that Prisoner 796 was not "Widhorse" or "Whitehouse" -- apparently this last misnomer, misheard as "Lights Out!" by the other prisoners, often led to comedy -- the Nazis had little trouble turning their famous author into a useful weapon. Seeing an opportunity to show a human face to the world, and hoping thereby to keep America out of the war, they invited Wodehouse to make a series of radio broadcasts describing his internment under conditions so pleasant and humane that he had even been able to write a novel. Wodehouse readily accepted because, as McCrum puts it, he was "inappropriately equipped" to see anything but an opportunity for humor:Young men, starting out in life, have often asked me 'How can I become an Internee?' Well, there are several methods. My own was to buy a villa in Le Touquet on the coast of France and stay there till the Germans came along. This is probably the best and simplest system. You buy the villa and the Germans do the rest.
(First Berlin Broadcast, June 28, 1941)
Wodehouse went into confinement just after Churchill had offered his "blood, toil, tears and sweat" as the appropriate gift of a patriot. The Blitz had just ended when the Nazis aired Wodehouse's first talk. The idea that war might be a “funny" or even "quite an agreeable experience" went over in England like a squadron of Luftwaffe bombers. George Orwell and many others excused Wodehouse as a man so constitutionally humorous and so historically lost in his Jeeves-Woosterland, that he could not be held to political account, but this did not stop the government inquiries and the prolonged international outcry.
Wodehouse quickly admitted that "It was a loony thing to do," and he was forever embarrassed, and is unpublished "Apologia" shows him as perplexed as anyone about his oddly disengaged personality:I am not attempting to excuse myself. Nor am I complaining. The global howl that went up as a result of my indiscretion exceeded in volume and intensity anything I had experienced since the time in my boyhood when I broke the curate's umbrella and my aunts started writing to one another about it, but I felt from the first that it was entirely justified.
Michael Schiavo insists that dehydration is "the most natural way to die." It's more like torture.
WHAT HAPPENS to non-terminally ill people with cognitive disabilities whose feeding tubes are removed? Do they suffer from the process?- From the 11/12/2003 article in the Daily Standard, via Common Sense Runs Wild
When the author of the article conducted research in preparation for writing the book Forced Exit," he asked St. Louis neurologist William Burke these very questions. Here is what he was told:A conscious [cognitively disabled] person would feel it just as you or I would. They will go into seizures. Their skin cracks, their tongue cracks, their lips crack. They may have nosebleeds because of the drying of the mucus membranes, and heaving and vomiting might ensue because of the drying out of the stomach lining. They feel the pangs of hunger and thirst. Imagine going one day without a glass of water! Death by dehydration takes ten to fourteen days. It is an extremely agonizing death.
Ask Kate Adamson, mother of two, a motivational speaker, author and another "miracle." In 1995, at just 33, she suffered a double brain stem stroke and was in a coma for 70 days. She was completely unresponsive to stimuli and was diagnosed as being in a persistent vegetative state. Doctors finally pulled her feeding tube and, for eight days, she lay dying.
Instead of being completely unconscious as the doctors believed, Kate actually was very aware of everything going on around her. She was intensely aware of being left to die and very much in pain. She appeared on "The O'Reilly Factor," in 2003 and host Bill O'Reilly asked Adamson about the dehydration experience:The agony of going without food was a constant pain that lasted not several hours like my operation did, but several days. You have to endure the physical pain and on top of that you have to endure the emotional pain. Your whole body cries out, "Feed me. I am alive and a person, don't let me die, for God's Sake! Somebody feed me."
Unlike Terri's husband, Michael Schiavo, Kate's husband fought to have her feeding tube put back in. He wanted to save his wife's life, the exact opposite situation as with Michael Schiavo, who has been trying to kill her with the help of the morally and ethically-corrupt judge George Greer. For another two weeks he fought doctors to convince them that Kate was really communicating with the family. She says that she would try to blink to communicate. She would blink once or twice and then she was too weak to do it again for an hour or more. After three months in acute rehab she was finally able to speak.
Everything about Michael Schiavo's actions and court testimony disqualifies him for being Terri Schiavo's guardian, as is also the case of Judge George (death-advocate) Greer.
Michael Schiavo has publicly stated that his goal in withholding treatment from his wife and removing her feeding tube (leading to death-by-starvation) is in accord with her wishes. He has testified that he loves his wife and is doing what she wanted.
However, both legal records and Michael’s actions seem to tell a different story.
Over and over Terri Schindler Schiavo's parents have asked that Terri be given speech therapy. Terri's parents filed an emergency motion for immediate therapy in October of 2003, asking for 8 weeks of speech and swallow therapy. Michael Schiavo objected and the court sided with him.If you have a blog, even if you can't participate in the blogburst by doing a post about Terri every day, I encourage you to post the blogroll. It's a simple line of code, put it in the same area of your sidebar where you keep your blogroll:
In the light of Sarah Scantlin's recovery of her speech after 20 years, why won't Michael Schivo reconsider?
Speech Language Pathologist, Sara Green Mele, M.S. CCC-SLP, swore under oath, "It is my judgment based on my training and clinical experience working with patients similar to Terri that she would, within a reasonable degree of clinical probability, be able to improve her ability to interact with her environment, communicate with others, and control her environment if she were given appropriate therapy and training as outlined above. These recommendations, in my opinion would greatly improve Terri's quality of life."
The memorial service for former General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Zhao Ziyang was held on the morning of Jan. 29 in Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery in Beijing. Xinhua News Agency briefly reported Zhao's biography without mentioning his great contribution to China’s political and economical reforms, but specially indicated that Zhao had made “serious mistakes" in the 1989 political turmoil. The Epoch Times interviewed Chen Yizi, former senior adviser to Zhao Ziyang and former director of the Institute for Economic Structural Reform, a branch of the State Commission for Restructuring the Economy, that day.
Chen Yizi was the director of the Institute for Economic Structural Reform of Chinese State Council and was a senior adviser to Zhao Ziyang. In the wake of the Chinese Communist regime’s brutal crackdown on the pro-democracy demonstration in Beijing in June 1989, Zhao stepped down, and Chen became a wanted man. He was one of the highest-ranking Chinese officials exiled overseas due to the June 4th incident. He is currently the head of the Center for Research on Chinese Contemporary History in New York. Chen was the chairman of the preparatory committee of the New York memorial service for Mr. Zhao Ziyang.
The situation is worse than the worst
Chen Yizi, said: “The situation is worse than the worst. The treatment of Zhao Ziyang’s death has further showed the CCP’s tenacious insistence on its mistakes.
“After reading Xinhua News Agency's report, I felt very sad because the CCP has lost its last bit of conscience. The Chinese people originally had some hopes and fantasies for the new Hu-Wen leadership in that they were fed up with Jiang-Li administration and that Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao seemed to be quite concerned about the people when they came to power. The people wrongly believed that Hu and Wen might gradually rectify the situation, in which officials were conniving to exploit the populace and the minority groups were oppressed during the Jiang Zemin-Li Peng era. However, Hu’s reputation might have dropped to the freezing point in the international society with his treatment of Zhao Ziyang’s death. Domestically, those who used to work with Zhao as well as the people from all walks of life who had benefited from the reform launched by him are very much disappointed in the Hu-Wen administration. Why? For one thing, when Xinhua referred to the achievements in the early years of the reform and open policies, there was no mention of Zhao, but he was then premier as well as general secretary of the CCP for two terms and was the major leader conducting the reform. As a matter of fact, the people will forever remember the great contribution Zhao had made for the reform and open policy.
“Moreover, in terms of ‘the early years of the reform and open policies,’ actually there have been few substantial reforms since 1989. If it had not been for Zhao laying a solid foundation for the village reform, economic reform and the opening-up policy, China’s prosperity today would not have been possible, and Chinese people’s living standard would not have been improved. When it comes to religious and political fronts, they have gone back to the situation 20 years ago. As a result, some said that the overall situation today is more serious than in the Cultural Revolution. As to the so-called “serious mistakes" Zhao made in 1989, it actually was a great compassionate and humane action to oppose aiming the gun at the populace. The general public will by all means respect people like him anytime and anywhere.
“Zhao proposed solving problems by democratic and legal means, and he refused to admit doing anything wrong to the end. His deeds would make the people remember him forever and leave him a good reputation in history. However, the CCP even has never investigated what it has done or admitted to making any mistakes. I think not only is it a disgrace for the CCP in international society, but it has also greatly disappointed its people as well. Of course, there are some positive, democratic and promising reformers within the CCP, such as Wan Li (aged 90, a former vice premier of China), who referred to Hu Jintao as ‘bastard.’ I think Hu deserves it, as he is truly a person without humanity. All the people with conscience must clearly know the truth about Hu and should not have any hope for him as he is nothing but a totalitarian for communism."
All NATO allies will be part of the alliance's mission of training Iraqi forces by the time the alliance's heads of state converge for a major summit meeting Feb. 22, Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said here today.Welcome to the party, guys!
He spoke at a news conference during informal meetings of NATO defense ministers that began Feb. 9 and conclude today.
Scheffer said that by the time the summit begins, all 26 NATO nations would be conducting training inside or outside Iraq, or contributing money to the training mission's trust fund.
The secretary-general took a bottom-line approach when asked if France would participate as a member of the alliance or through bilateral arrangements.Translation: jack shit, bugger all and a big fat goose egg.
"Who does what, exactly - and we know there are allies training inside and there are allies training outside Iraq - is, I must say, not of great concern to me," Scheffer said. All 26 nations have supported the mission politically, he added.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Also on the July 15 sentence date, once the judge sentences on that date and assuming that you appeal, would she have to serve the time then?
MICHAEL TIGAR: Certainly not automatically. The government agreed that she would remain out on bail pending the sentencing, and we have good reason to believe that we can continue that good argument for Lynne to be out pending appeal. But let’s not underestimate, the Supreme Court declared the sentencing guidelines unconstitutional. That's one of the reasons we’re having the trouble, you know, about how many years, is it 35 or 45? That means that unlike the guideline situation, this judge has the power to give Lynne Stewart probation and one of the things the movement needs to organize around is to make this judge understand that this is somebody who does not belong in a federal prison.
FBI/CIA/BBC/BB King/BBQ; inscrutable Chinese military be hella spying on us computer nerds twenty four seven out of those narrow slitty eyes; India one-ups China naval prowess ante; about fifty million links about the Unicycle of Violence; Iran UFO mania: now they're IFOs!; Iran: we won't give up the heavy waters; US using MEK to infiltrate Iran; Iran develops stealth torpedo; Iran guns down dissidents in Pak; Rafsanjani echoes North Korea and demands to deal directly with Uncle Sam; Germany calls on US to give Iran more carrots and make nicer; Hamas to be next Hezbollah?; Syria wants Russian antimissile system; UAE to receive first batch of F16s; Saudi minister says ideology not unemployment behind terrorism; angry Israelis slash Bibi's tires; Saudi Arabia's Grand Mufti says "just say No to terrorism"; Homeland Security study to unleash gases upon NYC; 9790 faith-based ghosts will patrol the border along with 210 new agents; Russia to sell Chavez 100000 AK-74s to use as flowerpots; Nevada after drivers to report fishy individuals; 17+ Colombians killed in FARC ambush; Halliburton's Americium can't be found in Americia; USS San Francisco cmdr relieved, reprimanded; Castro blusters; Somalia sucks; African regional groups come into their own?; Hutu guerrillas still causing mayhem; Al Qaeda's chances in Ethiopia; Nigeria and (maritime, not mp3) piracy; what's behind Rummy's renewal of China military ties; Pakistan failed state by 2015; Indonesia cleans up money laundering act; North Korea freaks everyone out; Pakistani army pays Al Qaeda a half mil; India's carrots are bland and undergrown, and its sticks are skinny and twiggy; Nepal chaos; Belgium nearonazis grow cos Islamist menace not being dealt with by mainstream parties; Binnie claimed to have nuke material, tried to get blueprints; Al Zawahiri issues B-side of blah, blah, blah; NATO realigns in Afghanistan; El Baradei ouster still on US agenda and more...Hurry Comrades! Immediately!