daily archive: 10/08/2005
Islamabad's earthquake's death toll up to 18000
17000 in Pakistani Kashmir; over 41000 wounded Sigh.
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Immigrant Dishwasher Phobia Syndrome
The Washington Post
looks at a very weird phenomenon-dishwasher phobia among immigrants. I don't have a dishwasher because I had my choice of an apartment with that (and a completely remodeled kitchen) or one with washer and dryer, so of course I went for the latter. But if I had one I'd use it all the time, because dishes are boring. Just not as boring as having to trudge my laundry around.
Frank IBC, have some cognac.
A couple of months ago, in the privacy of his Reston townhouse, Alan Chien made a final break from cultural tradition, a guilt-filled decision he has yet to share with his parents.
He used his dishwasher. He knows his parents will not understand.
"They don't believe in it," said Chien, 35, an engineer who emigrated with his family from Taiwan when he was a toddler. "Just because they never used it, I never used it, so it was just a mysterious thing to me."
In many immigrant homes, the automatic dishwasher is the last frontier. Long after new arrivals pick up football, learn the intricacies of the multiplex and the DMV and develop a taste for pizza, they resist the dishwasher. Some joke that not using the appliance is one of the truest signs of immigrant heritage, whether they hail from Africa, Latin America, Asia or Eastern Europe.
If they have a dishwasher -- and many do, because it is standard equipment in most homes -- it becomes a glorified dish rack, a Tupperware storage cabinet or a snack-food bin. It's never turned on.
Officials at appliance companies have noticed: Sears doesn't even highlight the appliances in its ads in Spanish-language media.
It's a quirk in the assimilation process that baffles social scientists. "It's really striking," said Donna Gabaccia, who studies immigration and culinary history at the University of Minnesota. In the home, "technology is generally embraced by women. Certainly in terms of technology, their homes don't look that much different from Middle American homes."
Gabaccia said one explanation could be that immigrants can absorb only so much change. The dishwasher is a U.S. invention that is rare in most countries, even among the upper-middle class.
Chien, too, has a hard time explaining dishwasher guilt. Chien, whose younger sister goaded him into breaking his "mental block" on the matter, marvels over how the appliance scrubs off caked-on food. But he isn't sure whether he will keep using it.
"I still have the sense that it's kind of a waste of electricity," he said. "It's odd. We buy American clothes; we use the oven; we use the stove; but, somehow, that appliance. . . ."
Graciela Andres laments that her daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren have abandoned washing by hand. "They do it the American way -- they put everything in the wash machine, no matter if it's a little spoon," said Andres, who emigrated from Bolivia in 1981.
She does not disdain her family's washer and dryer, microwave, heavy-duty mixer, DVD player or computers. But the dishwasher?
"I think if I wash by my hands, I do a better job," said Andres, 65, of Germantown. "We have to fill up the dishwasher. If you do it by hand, it gets clean right away."
Her daughter, Grace Rivera-Oven, says she cannot afford not to use it. Her five-cycle, stainless-steel Kenmore allows her to spend more time shuttling her children to baseball and soccer, serving on community boards and freelance writing.
As a teenager, she got a friend to teach her how to operate the dishwasher -- "She was white; I figured she knew how." Before her mother got home from work, she would run a load.
These days, she can use the dishwasher anytime she wants. Even so, she feels as if she's missing something. That's why every Saturday morning, she does the breakfast dishes by hand with her 10-year-old daughter, Amalia.
"We just gossip, gossip," said Rivera-Oven, 35. "I just wash them, and she dries. It just reminds me of when I was her age. I did them with my mother. Oh, I loved the drying."
Her mother chimes in, stirred by the memory. "Oh, yes, I remember when she would dry and I would check," Andres said, pretending to rub a glass between her fingers. "Squeak, squeak, squeak."
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Re-educating a Spanish imam
Spanish imam publishes book on how to beat wives
A Spanish court recently sentenced one of the country’s imams to spend six months studying the Spanish constitution and declaration of human rights after he wrote a book on how to beat wives without leaving any incriminating signs on their bodies.
The book, entitled "Women in Islam," includes instructions on how to discipline unruly wives, according to the London Telegraph. In it, its author Mohamed Kamal Mustafa, an imam at a southern Spanish resort, writes that if attempts fail to discipline a wife using measures such as verbal warnings and sexual inactivity, a husband has the right under Islamic law to beat his wife.
Mustafa goes on to offer explicit directions on beating a wife without leaving any betraying marks on her body. “The blows should be concentrated on the hands and feet using a rod that is thin and light so that it does not leave scars or bruises on the body."
Mustafa was convicted last year of inciting violence against women and sentenced to 15 months in jails and a stiff fine. A judge however ordered his release on the condition that he undertake a re-education course.
As a result of such convictions, the Spanish government has taken steps to eliminate such thinking within Spain’s large Muslim community, setting up a commission to investigate the matter. One suggestion of the commission is that all imams must speak Spanish and be familiar with Spanish law and human rights.
Mustafa will undergo his re-education at the Malaga University, and be responsible for paying his own tuition.
He will be required, amongst other portions of the Spanish constitution, to study those texts dealing with "the dignity of a person and inviolable rights," and that stating that "all Spaniards are equal before the law."
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Greece: Human Rights Violations
Athens, 5 Oct. (AKI) - Leading rights group Amnesty International has accused Greece of failing to comply with international human rights law on asylum procedures and the detention and protection of migrants from the Balkans, Asia and the Middle East. It also charges the Greek state with discrimination towards the Roma and other minorities. Amnesty published its specific findings on Wednesday in a new report entitled 'Out of the spotlight; the rights of foreigners and minorities are still a grey area'.GREECE: AMNESTY DENOUNCES HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONSDave Ray
has some excellent points about AI slamming Greece on the issues of detainees and asylum seekers. However, Greece still has to comply with international laws so these issues need to be brought to the public eye. And someone has to bring attention to the discrimination and violence against the Roma
On a sidenote: Greece rejects UN's Macedonia name compromise
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When an expert speaks, a pontificating fool should shut up...
...and that's what I'm going to do about the Level 3/Cogent spat that's been giving the internet fits. Now that I've found this: Did we forget that ISP's are businesses?
I feel foolish and ugly for sliming Level 3 without really knowing what's going on behind the scenes. Sorry, Level 3!
As Randy pointed out, this conversation has been fairly clue free.
Working as a peering coordinator for a large ISP I can tell you that most of the posts in this thread have been so wrong it makes me laugh.
ISP's are businesses, and let me tell you that peering is no exception. People seem to like to think that "settlement free interconnections" are "free", but nothing could be further from the truth. You have to buy routers and the cards that go in them, provision transport services to the peering location, and then on to the peer. Provide enough backhaul in your network from where your customers are located to where the peers are located. You have to pay lawyers to review contracts, engineers to configure and troubleshoot sessions, and managers to negotiate the whole deal.
The budget for "settlement free interconnections" at a major ISP can run into the millions of dollars. Two major ISP's may have 8xOC-48 between them. That's probably $200,000 in router costs alone. Yes, sometimes you can get a $200 cross connect, but sometimes you also have to have the $6k/month circuit, for each one, creating a $42,000/month cost. That's a half million dollars a year.
When you look at the requirements, geographic diversity, volume, ratio, number of routes what is really happening is the companies are trying to make sure there is some balance of costs. It doesn't have to be a 50/50 split...everyone uses their own assets to reduce their costs, but there has to be some equality. Personally, I'm not a fan of the technical requirements to make them equal, but rather like to negotiate equality, but everyone has their own approach.
Back to the issue at hand. What I can tell from this situation is that Level 3 thought they were paying a lot of costs for very little return on investment. The idea that Level 3 would take this action because Cogent was selling cheaper seems a bit far fetched to me.
Level 3 knows this is going to hurt their customers as well. Indeed, I'll bet this went all the way to the Level 3 CEO for approval first, because they knew their was going to be pain. This isn't some router cowboy going nuts in the middle of the night, this is a business backed into a corner.
Why? We'll never know the real story. Maybe L3 is paying for third party circuits because cogent doesn't touch their network and it's costing them a boatload. Maybe L3 wanted to move to GigE peering for cheap high density ports, and Cogent wouldn't budge from using
OC-3's because their routers don't have great GigE density. Maybe traffic between the two has dropped to 20 megs, and so L3 doesn't think maintaining ports is a justified cost. Maybe the ratio is 20:1, and that was finally enough for L3 to feel they were carrying too much of the transport cost. Most likely it's a combination of all of these issues.
Bottom line is some engineer had to dress up and go over to the land of suits and explain to them that yes, Level 3 was going to totally screw their own customers, but it was also going to save $X, where $X is probably fairly large, and so they really had no choice.
Least I seem like I'm on Level 3's side, it may well be that they have high costs due to their own stupidity. Perhaps they cut a deal with Equinix for $5,000/month cross connects. Perhaps they pay list price for their routers. Perhaps they are about to go down the tubes.
As for those who want to re-architect the Internet to "fix" this problem, please go away. It's not a technical problem. It's a business problem. Two companies, each responsible for their own bottom line couldn't find an economically feesable way to interconnect.
Any attempt to "force" the interconnection (either via regulation, transit through third parties, etc) will RAISE prices for all involved. The key here is that the peering was not economically viable for some reason.
It will be interesting to see how this is resolved in the end. As time passes, there will be increased pressure on both companies to fix this problem. Single homed customers are going to think twice about connecting to either one.
My own observations? This appears to be happening to Cogent a lot lately. This makes me wonder if part of the reason they have been able to offer lower costs is by finding ways to take advantage of peers and transfer costs to them which is causing the peers to
notice and take action. I also find Cogent's practice of offering Level 3 customers free service unseemly. They are partially responsible for the outage, and are trying to use that fact to lure customers. That makes me wonder if they've written off Level 3 entirely already...after all if you're planning on working out a deal with someone you don't rub salt in their wounds as a first step.
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Being Gay in the Arab World
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Quake kills 2,000; Pakistan bears brunt; India offers help
An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6, centered on a point 60 miles northeast of Islamabad, struck southeastern Asia killing at least 2,000 people
and leveling villages. A sip of cognac to bigel.
In eastern Afghanistan, an 11-year-old girl was crushed to death when a wall in her home collapsed, said police official Gafar Khan.
U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Jerry O'Hara said the quake was felt at Bagram, the main American base in Afghanistan, but he had no reports of damage at bases around the country.
Maj. Richard McNorton, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command, said there were no reports of quake-related injuries among the more than 18,000 American forces in Afghanistan.
The quake brought down a 10-story apartment building in Islamabad and dozens of people were feared trapped in the rubble. Rescuers pulled out at least 20 injured people. Some residents were Westerners, a building employee said.
A man named Rehmatullah who lived nearby said he saw dust from the buckled building from his bathroom window.
"I rushed down, and for some time you could not see anything because of the dust. Then we began to look for people in the rubble," he said. "We pulled out one man by cutting off his legs."
"It was like hell," said Nauman Ali, who lived in a nearby top-floor apartment. "It was terrible. I was tossed up in my bed and the ceiling fan struck against the roof."
Aided by two large cranes, hundreds of police and soldiers helped remove chunks of concrete, one of which was splattered with blood. One rescue worker said he heard faint cries from people trapped in the rubble.
In Abbotabad, north of Islamabad, dozens of quake victims and other patients, some hooked up to intravenous drips, lay on the lawn of the city hospital after officials said aftershocks made it unsafe to stay inside. Hospital staff used loudspeakers to ask the public for food and other relief supplies.
One of the injured was 8-year-old Qadeer, whose father, a farmer named Jehangir, said the only buildings left standing in their village were a mosque and a school. Qadeer lay unconscious, his right leg heavily bandaged.
Sultan said the worst-hit areas were in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir, including Muzaffarabad, the regional capital, and the towns of Bagh and Rawalakot. The districts of Batagram, Balakot, Mansehra, Abbottabad and Patan in northwestern Pakistan also suffered serious damage, he said.
Dozens of homes, schools, mosques and government offices were damaged, and hundreds of injured people were taken to hospitals.
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A Mossad Double Agent
Pro-Palestinian activist says she infiltrated Mossad
A leading Norwegian pro-Palestinian activist on Thursday claimed she infiltrated the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad as a double agent in the 1980s.
Karin Linstad was a founding member of the Norwegian Palestine Committee, and is married to high-profile Norwegian Muslim Trond Ali Linstad, who converted to Islam in the 1980s.
"I can't go into detail about the people and the organizations," she told The Associated Press. "My starting point and my loyalty has always been with the Palestinian side."
Linstad said she decided to reveal her former role because she is being identified as an agent in the Norwegian book "War and Diplomacy" being published next week.
According to the Norwegian media, the book by state television NRK Middle East correspondent Odd Karsten Tveit identifies Linstad as a former Mossad agent, but does not address any role as a double agent.
Linstad's husband of 32 years said he had be unaware of his wife's activities, but that her being an agent could explain some past incidents.
He said he had no details about her tasks, but that "I have complete faith that her evaluations were right."
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Gang rapes of political prisoners in Stalin's Russia
You've read about the gulags, but have you read about the gang rapes? Communism is so charming.
The fishing settlement of Bugurchan, which dragged out an obscure existence on the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk, consisted of five or six miserable huts scattered randomly over the surface of the taiga and a squalid little log-built club-house jutting out of the ground, above which an old flag flapped in the wind. Probably because the village chairman had no stock of red calico, the flag had never been replaced: it must have been hanging there in Bugurchan since before the war, and had faded completely, but the hammer and sickle in the corner of the fabric stood out as bright as ever, like the identification numbers on the convicts’ pea-jackets.
The hold of a ship that brought cargo to the settlements and human labour to the camps during the summer navigational period delivered a women’s penal team to this place. Shouting and swearing obscenely, while their dogs barked loudly, the guards herded the female prisoners over to the club-house and performed a careful head-count, after which the chief guard ordered everyone to stay where they were while he went to look for the only representative of authority in those parts, the village chairman, to whom he was to hand over the convoy.
The group of prisoners consisted mainly of women sentenced for civil and for political offences; however, there were several hardened criminals as well – pathetic creatures whose lives had all been shattered once and forever in the same way: first their parents had either been executed or disappeared during the war, then a couple of years later they had run away from their NKVD orphanages and lived on the streets in poverty and hunger until they were eventually arrested for stealing a carrot or a potato from a shop. Stigmatized as outcasts and embittered by society’s rejection, they all quickly became bona fide criminals and several were already inveterate recidivists, “insiders" in the prison jargon. Now they sat outside the club-house, bandying words with each other, fumbling in their bundles of belongings and cadging fags from the guards.
Into this mishmash of maimed humanity the prison camp bosses had tossed three political prisoners sentenced under Article 58: an elderly woman – the wife of a repressed diplomat, a middle-aged seamstress and a Leningrad student. None of them had committed any violations of the camp regulations, it was simply that the penal team had been assembled in a hurry and there hadn’t been enough guilty parties to fulfil the directive, which required that a certain number of bodies should be assembled and transported in short order, and the “heavyweights" – those who had been sentenced to 25 years of hard labour – had been used to make up the number.
The news that there were “broads in Bugurchan!" instantly swept across the taiga, stirring up frantic action, like an anthill.
Read the horrible rest: Kolyma Streetcar
(as an aside, do you really think things are different in modern China? I doubt it).
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A departure from the norm
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