Monday, January 18, 2010


"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
- Martin Luther King, April 16, 1963

Some injustices as of 2010:
Suppression of free speech in China.
Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and mistreatment of the Palestinians in general.
Some Muslims blocking women from becoming educated.
Lack of equal marriage rights in the US.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Haiti lessons -- Building Codes, Economies, Gov't

The situation in Haiti is the result of a terrible natural disaster -- made dramatically worse by a man made disaster. This disaster, like many earthquakes in poor countries, was largely preventable (!!). A 7.0 earthquake in an earthquake prone area of the US would likely kill only a handful of people, yet 50,000+ people died in Haiti due to building failures. The best solution to prevent such deaths is good Building Codes. Some in the US lament having to conform to building codes, but building codes save lives. The best way to get a good set of building codes is to have a good local economy together with a functioning government. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

The best thing we can do to prevent disasters, terrorism, and many other worldly problems is to support our neighbors by helping them develop stable governments and educating their populace. That way the currently poor countries of the world can help themselves and we can prevent future disasters. This is why one of my favorite charities (and one I strongly support) is the Central Asia Institute. We need more groups like this that allow people to learn how to fish, rather than having others give them fish.

Let's put more effort into fixing root causes rather than applying bandaids.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Avatar -- A Must See

Wow. Avatar is a great film that all should see -- in 3D if at all possible. It is a solid science fiction film with reasonably good science, spectacular special effects, romance, lots of action, a moral, and a satisfying ending. Wow.