For the Global Thinker

Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Unemployed Father Takes In Homeless Family For Christmas

Earlier this month, Gregory Schauer, 50, says he looked around his large, one-bedroom apartment in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and realized that he was barely using his master bedroom. Since he slept on the couch most nights anyway, he decided...

Read more:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Private War of Anthony Shaffer

An interesting article that reveals what the Defence Intelligence Agency tried to redact from Anthony Shaffer's memoir of Operation Dark Heart and Operation Able Danger.

In October 2003 Major Anthony Shaffer was on an MH-47 Chinook helicopter roaring toward a rendezvous with a Ranger assault team near Asadabad, Afghanistan about eight kilometers from the Pakistan border. Wearing 40 pounds of body armor and brandishing an M-4 carbine and an M-11 pistol, Shaffer was hunting Taliban insurgents as part of an aggressive new initiative called Winter Strike. CIA intelligence suggested that...

Read more here:

Here is a link to some of the most stunning photography available from the Afghan Conflict:


Friday, December 17, 2010

Bradley Manning's health deteriorating in jail, supporters say

You can draw many parallels between the jailed Chinese Nobel Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and the detention of whistleblower Bradley Manning--both are in jail for exposing government wrongdoing, both are denied contact and their friends and family are routinely harassed...read more here...

The intelligence analyst suspected of leaking US diplomatic cables is being held in solitary confinement.


According to David House, a computer researcher from Boston who visits Manning twice a month, he is starting to deteriorate and many people were reluctant to talk about Manning's condition because of US government harassment, including surveillance, warrantless computer seizures, and even bribes. "This has had such an intimidating effect that many are afraid to speak out on his behalf," House said.

Some friends report being followed extensively. Another computer expert said the army offered him cash to – in his words – "infiltrate" the WIKILEAKS website. He said: "I turned them down. I don't want anything to do with this cloak and dagger stuff."

"If Manning is convicted, it will be because his individual dedication to human ethics far surpasses that of the US government."

Read full article here:


Read about Liu Xiaobo here:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

We might not like Mark Zuckerberg or Julian Assange—but we’re going to have to learn to live in the world they’re making.


"These reactions are understandable and, in some cases, warranted. But they are largely beside the point. In a digitized and networked world, Zuckerberg, Assange, and their outfits are merely avatars of the inexorable march toward a radically greater degree of transparency in our personal, cultural, and political spheres. The question about the new transparency isn’t how to thwart it—because we can’t. The question is how we live with it."

Read more here:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Similar traits don't always lead to a happy marriage

On the first day of class every semester, Portia Dyrenforth asks the students taking her psychology course whether they think couples with similar personalities are more likely to be happy together.

Inevitably, she says, they nod.

Then she asks whether they know any couples who are very different from each other but still seem quite content in their relationships.

They nod at this one, too.

Dyrenforth, working with three other psychologists, examined the data with a few questions in mind: Do personality traits influence a person's own happiness in general and in the context of a relationship? Can a spouse's personality affect the happiness of his or her partner? And does having similar personalities affect the couple's relationship satisfaction?

Read more here:


Sunday, December 12, 2010


Easily the best documentary of the year and one that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled. Definitely moving...

Watch Part One here:

Watch Part Two here:

Here are more links to other web pages hosting "Restrepo"

And if you're more of a downloader like me...here's a good torrent:



Friday, December 10, 2010

Ron Paul Defends WikiLeaks "Killing The Messenger For Bad News"


WikiLeaks release of classified information has generated a lot of attention in the past few weeks. The hysterical reaction makes one wonder if this is not an example of killing the messenger for the bad news. Despite what is claimed, the information that has been so far released, though classified, has caused no known harm to any individual, but it has caused plenty of embarrassment to our government. Losing our grip on our empire is not welcomed by the neoconservatives in charge.
There is now more information confirming that Saudi Arabia is a principal supporter and financier of al Qaeda, and that this should set off alarm bells since we guarantee its Sharia-run government. This emphasizes even more the fact that no al Qaeda existed in Iraq before 9/11, and yet we went to war against Iraq based on the lie that it did. It has been charged by experts that Julian Assange, the internet publisher of this information, has committed a heinous crime, deserving prosecution for treason and execution, or even assassination.
But should we not at least ask how the U.S. government should prosecute an Australian citizen for treason for publishing U.S. secret information that he did not steal? And if WikiLeaks is to be prosecuted for publishing classified documents, why shouldn't the Washington Post, the New York Times, and others also published these documents be prosecuted?
Read full transcript here:

While all this is going on Senators, like Joe Lieberman, are not only pressing for the arrest of Julian Assange and Wikileaks under the Espionage Act, but they are also inditing news organizations like The Guardian and the New York Times....absolutely shameful in my opinion...

Read full story here with video:


And here's another great article regarding the extradition of Julian Assange...

Julian Assange extradition attempt an uphill struggle, says specialist.


Monday, December 6, 2010

The Doomsday Files

Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has circulated across the internet an encrypted “poison pill” cache of uncensored documents suspected to include files on BP and Guantanamo Bay.

One of the files identified this weekend by The Sunday Times — called the “insurance” file — has been downloaded from the WikiLeaks website by tens of thousands of supporters, from America to Australia.

Assange warns that any government that tries to curtail his activities risks triggering a new deluge of state and commercial secrets.

The military papers on Guantanamo Bay, yet to be published, have been supplied by Bradley Manning, Assange’s primary source until his arrest in May. Other documents that Assange is confirmed to possess include an aerial video of a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan that killed civilians, BP files and Bank of America documents.

One of the key files available for download — named insurance.aes256 — appears to be encrypted with a 256-digit key. Experts said last week it was virtually unbreakable.

The U.S. Department of Defense says it is aware of the WikiLeaks insurance file, but has been unable to establish its contents. It has been available for download since July.

Assange has warned he can divulge the classified documents in the insurance file and similar backups if he is detained or the WikiLeaks website is permanently removed from the internet. He has suggested the contents are unredacted, posing a possible security risk for coalition partners around the world.

Assange warned: “We have over a long period of time distributed encrypted backups of material we have yet to release. All we have to do is release the password to that material, and it is instantly available.”

The “doomsday files” are part of a contingency plan drawn up by Assange and his supporters as they face...

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/12/05/wikileaks-ready-release-massive-insurance-file-shut/#ixzz17K34kFyv

The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange


New Wikileaks website:


All Wikileaks files:


Julian Assange answers your questions:


Sunday, November 28, 2010

US embassy cables leak sparks global diplomatic crisis

• More than 250,000 dispatches reveal US foreign strategies
• Diplomats ordered to spy on allies as well as enemies
• Saudi king urged Washington to bomb Iran

    The United States was catapulted into a worldwide diplomatic crisis today, with the leaking to the Guardian and other international media of more than 250,000 classified cables from its embassies, many sent as recently as February this year.

    At the start of a series of daily extracts from the US embassy cables – many designated "secret" – the Guardian can disclose that Arab leaders are privately urging an air strike on Iran and that US officials have been instructed to spy on the UN leadership.

    These two revelations alone would be likely to reverberate around the world. But the secret dispatches, which were obtained by WikiLeaks, the whistleblowers' website, also reveal Washington's evaluation of many other highly sensitive international issues.

    These include a shift in relations between China and North Korea, high-level concerns over Pakistan's growing instability, and details of clandestine US efforts to combat al-Qaida in Yemen.

    Among scores of disclosures that are likely to cause uproar, the cables detail:

    • Grave fears in Washington and London over the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme, with officials warning that as the country faces economic collapse, government employees could smuggle out enough nuclear material for terrorists to build a bomb.

    • Inappropriate remarks by Prince Andrew about a UK law enforcement agency and a foreign country.

    • Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government, with one cable alleging that vice-president Zia Massoud was carrying $52m in cash when he was stopped during a visit to the United Arab Emirates. Massoud denies taking money out of Afghanistan.

    • How the hacker attacks which forced Google to quit China in January were orchestrated by a senior member of the Politburo who typed his own name into the global version of the search engine and found articles criticising him personally.

    • Allegations that Russia and its intelligence agencies are using mafia bosses to carry out criminal operations, with one cable reporting that the relationship is so close that the country has become a "virtual mafia state".

    • The extraordinarily close relationship between Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, which is causing intense US suspicion. Cables detail allegations of "lavish gifts", lucrative energy contracts and the use by Berlusconi of a "shadowy" Russian-speaking Italiango-between.

    • Devastating criticism of the UK's military operations in Afghanistan by US commanders, the Afghan president and local officials in Helmand. The dispatches reveal particular contempt for the failure to impose security around Sangin – the town which has claimed more British lives than any other in the country.

    The US has particularly intimate dealings with Britain, and some of the dispatches from the London embassy in Grosvenor Square will make uncomfortable reading in Whitehall and Westminster. They range from political criticisms of David Cameron to requests for specific intelligence about individual MPs.

    The cables contain specific allegations of corruption, as well as harsh criticism by US embassy staff of their host governments, from Caribbean islands to China and Russia. The material includes a reference to Putin as an "alpha-dog" and Hamid Karzai as being "driven by paranoia", while Angela Merkel allegedly "avoids risk and is rarely creative". There is also a comparison between Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Adolf Hitler.

    Read More:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/nov/28/us-embassy-cable-leak-diplomacy-crisis

Tuesday, November 23, 2010



But if the brain is so efficient at categorization, why doesn't experience correct inaccurate stereotypes?

Before answering that question, it is important to note that we may not be exposed to very much experience in our daily life that would contradict our stereotypes. For example, residential segregation keeps the home lives of different racial groups separate to some degree. But also, our stereotypes of other groups ("out groups") often lead to feelings of anxiety when we encounter the members of an out group. One of the oldest insights of psychology is that a main way we deal with anxiety is through avoidance: We simply avoid contact with individuals by crossing the street, turning our heads, talking to someone else, hiring someone else for a job, striking up friendships with someone else we feel more comfortable with, sitting down at the lunch table with those who seem to be more like us.

Returning to the question of why stereotypes persist in the face of contradictory experience, we find two main answers. The first is that because stereotypes may help us feel better about ourselves, we avoid challenging these stereotypes. In other words, we become defensive and protective of our worldviews and only reluctantly question our deepest assumptions. And these worldviews help protect not only our self-esteem, but also real-world privileges and benefits that accrue to us as members of an in group. For example, racist discrimination by banks that hurts African American communities by limiting mortgages to these areas also benefits White neighborhoods by making more money available to them. Discrimination which in the past has limited slots available to...

Read more: http://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/brochures/racism.aspx

Sunday, November 14, 2010

An Ancient Culture in Mountainous Mexico

Tarahumara Indians Celebrating Easter in Tehuerichi, Mexico

An impressive set of black and white photographs of the Tarahumara Indians:


Each star in the night sky is a Tarahumara Indian whose souls—men have three and women have four, as they are the producers of new life—have all, finally, been extinguished. These are things anthropologists and resident priests tell you about the beliefs of the Tarahumara people, who call themselves the Rarámuri, and who live in and above the canyons of northern Mexico's Sierra Madre Occidental, where they retreated five centuries ago from invading Spaniards. The Spaniards had not only firearms and horses but also disturbing beard hair; from their presence came the Rarámuri word chabochi, which to this day means anyone who is not Tarahumara. Chabochi is not an insult, exactly, just a way of dividing the world. Its literal translation, which goes a long way toward evoking the current relationship between the Tarahumara and the rest of 21st-century Mexico, is "person with spiderwebbing across the face."

Read more here:


National Geographic photo gallery of the Tarahumara:


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Growing Body Parts

(Click on image to enlarge)

Thousands wait in vain for organ transplants; soldiers return from battle horribly maimed. There is only so much medicine can do, but we may be on the path to a new technology in which quite literally, we will be growing new body parts.

It's called "regenerative medicine," where cells in the human body are manipulated into regrowing tissue.

As we first reported last December, researchers have so far created beating hearts, ears and bladders. Biotech companies and the Pentagon have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in research that could profoundly change millions of lives.

Watch video here: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6711905n&tag=contentBody;housing

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Brother's War, From Vienna to Beirut, and Tokyo Up/Down

Three remarkable examples of the power of photography. Sit back throw on some Miles Davis or your favorite lounge music and enjoy three amazing slide shows.

My Brother's War
American photographer Jessica Hines' brother Gary was drafted to fight the war in Vietnam in the 1970s. He later took is own life. Hines used photography as a way to retrace his "footsteps" using his own photographs and his letters from the war as guides. It's a remarkable and very touching story.
See slide show here: http://www.lensculture.com/hines.html

Beyond Borders: From Vienna to Beirut
Over the course of several months, photographer Frederic Lezmi traveled slowly from Vienna to Beirut in search of cultural and geographical "in-between" moments. His wonderfully rich, layered photographs capture the slow and sometimes uneasy transition of cultural symbols and values as one moves from Europe to the Orient.
See slide show here: http://www.lensculture.com/lezmi.html

Tokyo Up/Down
Lured by thousands of nightclubs, host/hostess bars, and love-hotels near Tokyo's Shinjuku's station, business people descend from their offices in high speed elevators, only to rise up again in other elevators in other buildings, seeking comfort, fantasy and escape. Photographer Xavier Comas provides an almost voyeuristic view of these moments of vertical transit.
See slide show here: http://www.lensculture.com/comas.html

Thursday, October 28, 2010

No terror arrests in 100,000 police counter-terror searches, figures show

Here's something to think about next time your government asks you to give up your constitutional-entrenched freedoms...

More than 100,000 people were stopped and searched by police under counter-terrorism powers last year but none of them were arrested for terrorism-related offences, according to Home Office figures published today.

"This astonishing fact of no terrorism-related arrests, let alone prosecutions or convictions, in over 100,000 stop and searches, demonstrates what a massively counter-productive policy this is," said Davis.

"A policy which fuels resentment and antagonism amongst minority communities without achieving a single terrorist conviction serves only to help our enemies and increase the terrorism threat."

Read more here:


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

World Stats


The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), evaluates the quality, equity and efficiency of school systems in some 70 countries that, together, make up 90% of the world economy. By testing between 4 500 and 10 000 15-year-old students in each country, OECD PISA provides an internationally standardised assessment and has become a powerful tool for countries wanting to improve their education systems.
Get Stats here:


More Stats...

2010 World Corruption Index


and a cool...

World Sunlight Map



The OECD has another very cool interactive graph that allows you to choose what is most important for you in life and then tells you which country matches your criteria.  Pretty Amazing...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

The last police chief was beheaded. Now a 20-year-old student is stepping up

Violent Mexico town pins hopes on undergraduate given £400 a month to take on the deadliest drug cartel

One reason Marisol Valles Garcia did not have much competition for the police chief job could be that her predecessor's head was left in front of the station a few days after he was kidnapped.
Another reason could be that a fifth of the population of Praxedis Guadalupe Guerrero, a dusty, sun-baked town on Mexico's border with Texas, has fled a wave of killings and burnings that have made this one of the most violent places on Earth.
It may also have been related to the fact that drug cartels tend to give police officers a choice of "plomo o plata", lead or silver, death or corruption – which is not much of a choice: if you take the plata, a rival cartel will likely fill you with plomo....
This girl is really brave, as I lived in this area of Mexico for a year, and it's nuts up there. In most towns the police left years ago...all I can say to this girl is good luck and I hope I'm not posting a follow-up story in a month...
Read More:

Photo gallery:


Well that didn't take long...The girl has now fled to the United States and is seeking asylum after cartels threaten to kill her, read more here....


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Life Hacks

Life Hacks – 35 tips that will make life easier...


If you want ice cold beer in 3 minutes, simply place the cans in a pot and fill it with ice and 2 cups of salt and some water. Put the lid on and wait...in 3 minutes you will have ice cold beer.

More great tips here...


Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Next 100 Years by George Friedman

"Conventional analysis suffers from a profound failure of imagination. It imagines passing clouds to be permanent and is blind to powerful, long term shifts taking place in full view of the world." - George Friedman
Fascinating insight into the future of America, Mexico, Japan, Turkey, China and Brazil. If you're interested in the shape of things to come...this is a must watch....
Part 1

Part 2


Read more:

In his book, George Friedman turns his eye on the future -- offering a lucid, highly readable forecast of the changes we can expect around the world during the 21st century. He explains where and why future wars will erupt (and how they will be fought), which nations will gain and lose economic and political power, and how new technologies and cultural trends will alter the way we live in the new century.
The Next 100 Years draws on a fascinating exploration of history and geopolitical patterns dating back hundreds of years. Friedman shows that we are now, for the first time in half a millennium, at the dawn of a new era—with changes in store, including:
  • The U.S.-Jihadist war will conclude—replaced by a second full-blown Cold War with Russia.
  • China will undergo a major extended internal crisis, and Mexico will emerge as an important world power.
  • A new global war will unfold toward the middle of the century between the United States and an unexpected coalition from Eastern Europe, Eurasia and the Far East, but armies will be much smaller and wars less deadly.
  • Technology will focus on space—both for major military uses and for a dramatic new energy resource that will have radical environmental implications.
  • The United States will experience a Golden Age in the second half of the century.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Brazilian artist in the frame assassinating the Pope, the Queen and George Bush

Former U.S. President George W. Bush and Britain's Queen Elizabeth II are also among the artist's drawings
The charcoal drawings by Gil Vicente became a focus of controversy when they went on display at the opening of the Sao Paulo Art Biennial on Saturday.
The former US President George W Bush is shown kneeling on the ground with his wrists bound behind him as Vicente pushes a pistol into his temple.

The series, called Inimigos (Enemies), is meant to highlight alleged crimes for which the leaders have been directly or indirectly responsible by imagining that they are being made to pay the price.
Read more here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/art-news/8027019/Brazilian-artist-in-the-frame-assassinating-the-Pope-the-Queen-and-George-Bush.html

See More of Gil Vincente's drawings here:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

6,557 Miles To Nowhere

Another exceptional article by Chuck Klosterman...

Death is part of life. Generally, it’s the shortest part of life, usually occurring near the end. However, this is not necessarily true for rock stars; sometimes rock stars don’t start living until they die. I want to understand why that is. I want to find out why the greatest career move any musician can make is to stop breathing. I want to find out why plane crashes and drug overdoses and shotgun suicides turn longhaired guitar players into messianic prophets. I want to walk the blood-soaked streets of rock’n’roll and chat with the survivors as they writhe in the gutter. This is my quest. Now, to do this, I will need a rental car...

Read more at:


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ingrid Betancourt Details Kidnapping In New Book

A remarkable story of perseverance in the face of hell.
Ingrid Betancourt, a dual French-Colombian national, was kidnapped by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in February 2002 while campaigning for president and was held captive for six years. She is now the author of "Even Silence Has an End: My Six Years of Captivity in the Colombian Jungle"

"And so, she says, the book "is not chronological, it is emotional." But certain dates are seared in her brain. Like the day when she discovered, from reading a scrap of newspaper wrapped around a cabbage, that her beloved father, Gabriel Betancourt, had died, a year after her capture. Before she left on the trip that led to her capture, she had asked him – he was ill – to hold on, if anything happened to her.
And of course there was the pain of separation from her mother, Yolanda, who called into a radio station nearly every day to broadcast messages to her, and from her two children, Lorenzo and Melanie, who were 13 and 16 when she was abducted."
Read more:


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mao's Great Leap Forward 'killed 45 million in four years'

Makes me think what other horror stories await when North Korea and Burma allow journalists to scour their archives.

Mr Dikötter is the only author to have delved into the Chinese archives since they were reopened four years ago. He argued that this devastating period of history – which has until now remained hidden – has international resonance. "It ranks alongside the gulags and the Holocaust as one of the three greatest events of the 20th century.... It was like [the Cambodian communist dictator] Pol Pot's genocide multiplied 20 times over," he said.

Read more here:


Friday, September 17, 2010

Mexico's drug war: in the city of death

An interesting look inside Mexico's Drug War.

It was just another massacre in a country plagued by violence. But this time it was carried out by prison inmates – who'd been let out specially.


"A dead father and husband. A dead uncle and brother. Three wounded family members. A baby on the way. Funeral and medical bills. It adds up, says Carmen, 37, the eight-months pregnant head of the family and mother of Hector. "I just don't know what we'll do." Hector, who took two bullets, moves slowly and stiffly, a colostomy bag beneath his T-shirt.

Asked if he will play trumpet again Hector shakes his head. "Music, music is . . ." his voice trails off. His mother finishes the sentence. "Music is not really an option any more."

Read full article here:


Friday, September 10, 2010

Guns, Germs and Steel

A simply astounding documentary series! Informative, thought provoking and extremely relevant to today's society...

Based on Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, Guns, Germs and Steel traces humanity’s journey over the last 13,000 years – from the dawn of farming at the end of the last Ice Age to the realities of life in the twenty-first century. Inspired by a question put to him on the island of Papua New Guinea more than thirty years ago, Diamond embarks on a world-wide quest to understand the roots of global inequality.
Why were Europeans the ones to conquer so much of our planet? Why didn’t the Chinese, or the Inca, become masters of the globe instead? Why did cities first evolve in the Middle East? Why did farming never emerge in Australia? And why are the tropics now the capital of global poverty?
Watch Full documentary here:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Documentary Slams Thai Monarchy

(Click on Image to read the book)

Based largely on Paul Handley's censored book: The King Never Smiles, this documentary delves into the question of censorship and shady politics in Thailand.

Watch full documentary here:


Saturday, September 4, 2010

Millions Die Due to Witheld Medical Treatment

Mark Hyman, M.D. is a practicing physician, founder of The UltraWellness Center, a four-time
New York Times bestselling author, and an international leader in the field of Functional Medicine.

Article excerpt:

"We're targeting the wrong things--we need to treat the cause, not the effects. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar are NOT the cause of heart disease or diabetes. The real culprit is what we eat, how much we exercise, stress, and environmental toxins."

Read more here:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Why You Can't Work at Work

With its constant commotion, unnecessary meetings, and infuriating wastes of time, the modern workplace makes us all work longer, less focused hours. Jason Fried explains how we can change all of this.

Excerpt from video:

Question: What is your take on the typical workplace?

Jason Fried: Yeah, my feeling is that the modern workplace is structured completely wrong. It’s really optimized for interruptions. And interruptions are the enemy of work. They are the enemy of productivity, they are the enemy of creativity, they are the enemy of everything. But that’s what the modern workplace is all about, it’s interruptions. Everyone’s calling meetings all the time, everyone’s screaming people’s names across the thing, there’s phones ringing all the time. People are walking around. It’s all about interruptions. And people go to work today, and then they end up doing most of their real work after work, or on the weekends. So...

Read and watch more here:


Friday, August 27, 2010

Building a Nation of Know-Nothings

Remember the moment: a woman with matted hair and a shaky voice rose to express her doubts about Barack Obama. “I have read about him,” she said, “and he’s not — he’s an Arab.”

McCain was quick to knock down the lie. “No, ma’am,” he said, “he’s a decent family man, a citizen.”

That ill-informed woman — her head stuffed with fabrications that could be disproved by a pre-schooler — now makes up a representative third or more of the Republican party. It’s not just that 46 percent of Republicans believe the lie that Obama is a Muslim, or that 27 percent in the party doubt that the president of the United States is a citizen. But fully half of them believe falsely that the big bailout of banks and insurance companies under TARP was enacted by Obama, and not by President Bush.

Read more: