Kerry tells Congress the US must act and cannot ignore sarin gas attack in Syria Sarin attack by whom? Turks arrests three Syrians with sarin gas in Turkey preparing to use it in Syria!

Secretary of State John Kerry says the debate about military strikes against Syria is not about President Barack Obama’s “red line” that weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated.

Instead, Kerry told Congress Tuesday that “this debate is about the world’s red line.” He says it is “a red line that anyone with a conscience ought to draw.”

via Kerry tells Congress the US must act and cannot ignore sarin gas attack in Syria.

Wind Map

Almost as good as meditation – watching the wind as your are stuck in some office somewhere just needing a good break from whatever. After looking at this for a short while, you realize that most problems or things that folks worry about – do not amount to much and that when humans think they control a lot – we do not!


An invisible, ancient source of energy surrounds us—energy that powered the first explorations of the world, and that may be a key to the future. This map shows you the delicate tracery of wind flowing over the US.

via Wind Map.

Chinatown – A Last Holdout for NYC Smokers | Feet in 2 Worlds

(Last bastion for free smokers in this NYC’s neighborhood! Leave them be.)

Social worker Man Nam Ma is an unapologetic smoker. “I do it outside the office, outside my apartment building,” he said, stressing that his habit, done outdoors, does not compromise other people’s health.

In his Canal Street building, Wilson Lee said residents know of two people who smoke early in the morning outside the apartment complex. But not every smoker in the building follows the example of these two gentlemen, he said.

via Chinatown – A Last Holdout for NYC Smokers | Feet in 2 Worlds.

Syria is said to be hiding weapons, shifting troops; it has a range of options if US attacks

As the Obama Bush administration tries to prod Congress into backing armed action against Syria Iraq, the regime in Damascus Bagdad is hiding military hardware and shifting troops out of bases into civilian areas.

Politically, President Bashar Assad Saddam Hussain has gone on the offensive, warning in a rare interview with Western media that any military action against Syria Iraq could spark a regional war.

If the U.S. opts for missile strikes, Assad’s Hussain’s reaction could have a major effect on the trajectory of Syria’s Iraq’s civil war. Neighboring countries could get dragged into a wider conflict, or it could be back to business as usual for a crisis that has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people over 2 1/2 years.

The main Western-backed opposition group says that during the buildup last week to what seemed like an imminent U.S. attack, the army moved troops as well as rocket launchers, artillery and other heavy weapons into residential neighbourhoods in cities nationwide. Three Damascus Bagdad residents, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, confirmed such movements.

One man said two members of the elite Republican Guards broke into an empty house he owns and showed him an official document stating they were authorized to do so because Syria is at war. A woman in another area said soldiers moved into a school next to her house.

That trend is likely to continue in the coming days after the regime won a reprieve following President Barack Obama’s Bush’s decision to seek congressional approval for military action.

“The Syrian Iraqi regime knows there are 30-40 potential targets for U.S. airstrikes, and they have had ample time to prepare,” said Hisham Jaber, a retired Lebanese army general and director of the Middle East Center for Studies and Political Research in Beirut. “Half of them, if not more, have been evacuated, moved or camouflaged. This is the natural thing to do.”

via Syria is said to be hiding weapons, shifting troops; it has a range of options if US attacks.

Young Caribbean Feminists Win Global Grant for Anti-Violence Project

Feminist Conversations on Caribbean Life

ImageAs the CatchAFyah Caribbean Feminist Network celebrates its first year it will be taking a strong anti-violence message to the blocks, board rooms and blackberries across the region with its innovative Eye2Eye project.

The Eye2Eye project will see the production of a regional campaign and activist toolkit to be used across communities and social and mainstream media in the region. Central to the campaign are infographics aimed at visualizing data and stories about gender-based violence.

Zahra Jacobs, the project’s 27-year old Administrator from St. Kitts and Nevis, stated, “The aim of this project is to support the multiple and varied anti-violence efforts across the region by making accurate data about gender-based violence in the Caribbean available to both activists and the general public. It’s time for a shift in the way we talk about violence against women and girls in the region. Gender-based violence is complex and multi-faceted. We want…

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‘Never, ever give up’: Diana Nyad completes historic Cuba-to-Florida swim

Repeating Islands


A report from CNN. . .

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try, try again.

That’s the message from 64-year-old endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, who achieved her lifelong goal of conquering the Straits of Florida.

On Monday, she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a protective cage, willing her way to a Key West beach just before 2 p.m. ET, nearly 53 hours after jumping into the ocean in Havana for her fifth try in 35 years.

Nyad pumped her fist as she walked onto the beach toward an awaiting medic before being guided to an ambulance.

“I got three messages,” an exhausted and happy Nyad told reporters.

“One is we should never ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it’s a team,” she said.


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Julie Moss, Diana Nyad and the expansion of what it means to be a female athlete

An inspiration to everyone!

Fit and Feminist

To be a female athlete in these times is to be a living, breathing part of a tectonic shift in the cultural narratives told about what it means to be a woman.  Certainly the path has not always been a straight shot, but progress never is. But make no mistake about it, progress is happening and it continues to happen every single day.

I had the opportunity to reflect on this two weekends ago, when Brian and I settled in to watch a replay of the 2012 Ironman World Championship in Kona.  The Kona special is always inspiring, not just because of the professionals but also because of the age-groupers who found ways to squeeze in training around full-time jobs and families so they could qualify.  I suppose you could say this is what qualifies for fitspo in our household.

One of the most notable aspects of the 2012 special…

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Dunkin’ Donuts pulls ad after ‘racism’ row – How stupid can a company be?

It is dumb to be racist and dumb to not keep track of your advertising around the world. So how is it that Dunkin” Donuts manages a double dumb rating!?!

Dunkin’ Donuts said it was pulling an advertisement in Thailand featuring a woman with black face make-up after a human rights group criticised it as “racist”.

The US firm apologised for the “insensitivity” of the ad for its “charcoal donut”, which had the slogan “Break all rules of deliciousness”.

“We are working with our franchisee to immediately pull the television spot and to change the campaign,” Karen Raskopf, chief communications officer for Dunkin’ Brands, said on Tuesday.

Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phil Robertson had criticised Dunkin’ Donuts for “using racist images to sell donuts”.

via Dunkin’ Donuts pulls ad after ‘racism’ row.

AI Could Help Predict Which Flu Virus Will Cause the Next Deadly Human Outbreak – Wired Science – Hubris to the 10th power?

Icarus flew too close to the sun and crashed. These guys make me think about an old cartoon about someone creating a model of reality that was so complex that it suddenly disappeared because…  The notion that we can outsmart nature and be above it, or outside of it constantly lures us to figure that we can think ourselves out of any problem we stumble into because we think we are above or outside of nature. Grow up folks – industrialized and globalized agriculture is dangerous and needs rethinking not tinkering or engineering!


Beyond influenza, Rabadan and Chris Wiggins, a mathematician at Columbia, have developed a method for identifying a virus’s original animal host, which is sometimes difficult to determine from the virus itself.  The coronavirus behind the recent outbreak of Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, for example, has killed about half of the nearly 100 confirmed cases. Last week, an exhaustive, 15-month search pointed to bats as the source. But machine learning approaches paired with large databases housing information on viruses from many different animal hosts might speed up this type of search.

The machine learning approach is likely to expand as even more genomic information becomes available.  “Databases will get much richer, and computational approaches will get much more powerful,” Webby said. That in turn will help scientists better monitor emerging flu strains and predict their impact, ideally forecasting when a virus is likely to jump to people and how dangerous it is likely to become.

via AI Could Help Predict Which Flu Virus Will Cause the Next Deadly Human Outbreak – Wired Science.

Eight new cases of MERS-CoV reported in Saudi Arabia | Vaccine News Daily

You have to wonder – how long will this stay in drips and drabs or will it break out after an unlucky mutation?

Since September, there were 102 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infections reported to the WHO, including 49 deaths.

The WHO encouraged all Member States to continue surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections, particularly in recent travelers returning from the Middle East. Member States should also review any unusual patterns and consider MERS-CoV infection even with atypical symptoms, such as diarrhea, in immunocompromised patients.

via Eight new cases of MERS-CoV reported in Saudi Arabia | Vaccine News Daily.