Monday, July 31, 2006

Wired News: Battery-Fueled Car Will Smoke You

Wired News: Battery-Fueled Car Will Smoke You

When potential buyers get a look at the vehicle this summer, it will be among the quickest production cars in the world. And, compared to other supercars like the Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari Enzo, and Lamborghini Diablo, it's a bargain. More intriguing: It has no combustion engine.

The trick? The Tesla Roadster is powered by 6,831 rechargeable lithium-ion batteries -- the same cells that run a laptop computer. Range: 250 miles. Fuel efficiency: 1 to 2 cents per mile. Top speed: more than 130 mph. The first cars will be built at a factory in England and are slated to hit the market next summer. And Tesla Motors, Eberhard's company, is already gearing up for a four-door battery-powered sedan.

In an age when a car's electronics are worth more than its steel, it seems only natural that the tech sector would have its own car company. The question is, can Eberhard turn the digital era into horsepower, torque, and rpm?

Eberhard has never designed a car and has no experience building one. He created the Rocket eBook, a handheld digital book reader that came to market in the late '90s. But he insists his eBook background is relevant to starting a car company. The device used a rechargeable battery, and Eberhard -- an electrical engineer -- devoted himself to maximizing run time and minimizing weight. In 2000, his venture, NuvoMedia, was bought by TV Guide's parent company, which quickly abandoned the product.

But Eberhard was flush with cash and decided to buy himself a new sports car. He wanted something that was fast but still got good mileage. He quickly learned that high performance and fuel efficiency are mutually exclusive, at least when it comes to internal combustion engines. So he started researching alternative technologies and soon realized it was actually possible for an electric car to combine zip and efficiency. The problem: Nobody was making one. The EV1, General Motors' electric car, had failed, in part because it was expensive and poorly marketed. Most crippling, though, was the underperformance of the original lead-acid batteries and even the second-gen nickel metal hydride cells. Consumers wanted a vehicle that had a range greater than the EV1's (at best) 130 miles. The common wisdom was that batteries just weren't there yet.

But what did Detroit know about batteries? Eberhard had squeezed 20 hours of run time out of the little power pack on his eBook. Battery efficiency was an obsession among computer engineers, who were extracting more power from ever-smaller cells with each generation of laptops. GM seemed oblivious to the lessons emerging from the electronics industry.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Addiction to Carbohydrates and Gluten Underlies Excess Weight Gain and Obesity

Addiction to Carbohydrates and Gluten Underlies Excess Weight Gain and Obesity:

"ADDICTION TO CARBOHYDRATES AND GLUTEN
OFTEN UNDERLIES EXCESS WEIGHT AND OBESITY
As many as 75 percent of overweight and obese people in the U.S. may be addicted -- through poor eating habits - to either carbohydrates or the protein called gluten, which is found in all wheat, rye, barley and oat products.

Like any addiction, these cravings are unhealthy and problematic. They take the form of either an irresistible craving for carbohydrate-rich foods such as desserts, candies and junk food, or gluten products like breakfast cereals, breads and pasta.

Addiction
'Addiction and obesity both run in families, and...research also suggests that the environment – mainly, how often you're exposed to an addictive substance – can shift brain neurochemistry, increasing the likelihood of addiction.'
- Addicted to food? How to break your habit, Daryn Eller, Prevention.com
Carbohydrate-rich foods make up a large part of the modern-day diet and include bagels, cakes, chocolate, cookies, crackers, pastry, fruit and fruit juice, ice cream, potato chips, potatoes, pretzels, rice, pie, popcorn and sugar-sweetened beverages. In addition, carbohydrate 'act-alikes' such as sugar substitutes, alcoholic beverages and monosodium glutamate may trigger intense, recurring carbohydrate cravings, which can lead to excess weight and obesity.

Proteins such as gluten result in the production of substances that can have addictive, narcotic-like effects. These substances are called 'exorphins.' Hydrolyzed wheat gluten, for example, has been found to prolong intestinal transit time and may contribute to weight gain. The effects of exorphins on the brain tell a person to keep eating gluten products, which, in turn, could contribute to the mental disturbances and appetite disorders that routinely accompany food-related illnesses.

Many food 'addicts' are right to suspect there is a physical reason that makes them crave carbohydrates and put weight on easily. But the underlying cause of their struggles often goes undiagnosed and untreated by the medical profession."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ron Hoggan Articles on Gluten Free living

Ron Hoggan Articles: "Ron Hoggan Articles
Bookmark This Page
Text File Sub-Pages:

* Acne
* ADD/ADHD
* Additional Food Intolerances in Celiacs
* AIDS and the Gluten-Free Diet
* Alcoholism
* Alopecia Areata
* Alzheimer's Disease
* Anorexia and Celiac
* Application of the Exorphin Hypothesis to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A Theoretical Framework (282K)
* Atherosclerosis and Gluten (ICAM-1)
* Atresia
* Arthropathy
* Benign Positional Vertigo
* Brain Fog and Fatigue
* Cancer Connection
* Canker Sores
* Celiacs, Dairy Products and ELISA Testing
* Cirrhosis
* Degenerative Arthritis
* Depression
* Designer Genes or Genocide?
* Eating Disorders and Vegetarianism
* Endometriosis
* Factors that Inhibit Calcium Absorption
* Food Allergy and Binge Eating
* Gall Bladder
* Gluten is a Dubious Luxury of Non-Celiacs
* High Calcium Levels in Blood Tests
* How Modern Eating Habits May Contribute to Depression (at about.com site)
* How Often is Short Stature Predictive of Celiac Disease?
* Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura and Celiac Disease
* IgA Nephropathy
* The Inflammation - Depression Connection
* Kidney Problems Caused by Celiac?
* Kidney Stones and Gluten Intolerance
* Leukemia
* Liver function test
* Low Thyroid Dietary Recommendations
* Lupus - any connection?
* Miller-Fisher Syndrome
* MS and Gluten/Casein
* Nephrotic Syndrome
* Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
* Optic Nerve
* Panic Attacks
* Picky Eater
* PMS and Serotonin
* Pneumonia
* Prader-Willi Syndrome
* Predictive Value of Serology Testing in Celiac Disease
* Prednisone
* Psoriasis
* Rheumatoid Arthritis, Molecular Mimicry, and Diet as a Possible Therapy
* Ritalin
* Sarcoidosis
* Scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis are all distortions of the spine.
* Schizophrenia and Celiac
* Serological Testing May Offer New Hope for the Chronically Ill
* Seizures
* Shingles
* Shock, Adaptation, then Exhaustion
* Test for FMS?
* Tooth Defects, Bone Minerals, etc.
* The Plague of the 20th century
* Vascular Disease
* Why is Gluten Excluded in Candida Diets?"

Things some people think could be related to wheat/gluten consumption, esp among people like celiacs who are especially sensitive

How Modern Eating Habits May Contribute to Depression

How Modern Eating Habits May Contribute to Depression

By Ron Hoggan M.A. & James Braly M.D.

The causes of depression may vary as much as our individuality, yet we often fail to consider our eating habits as possible culprits. With each passing year's increased understanding of the biological complexities of the human animal, more data suggesting dietary factors are unveiled. The use of drugs such as SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) and herbal extracts such as St. John's Wort (1, 2, 3) and 5-hydroxytryptophan (4) to manipulate quantities of serotonin at the synapses within the brain has demonstrated that available serotonin beyond the blood brain barrier (BBB) is an important factor in alleviating depression for many people. The brand name of one such drug, Prozac, has become a household word in our North American culture. Protein, if consumed in excessive quantity, suppresses CNS serotonin levels. Carbohydrate intake, as well as alcohol and cocaine abuse increase levels initially, but if use is chronic, such use dramatically lowers CNS serotonin, resulting in depression, carbohydrate cravings, sleep disturbances, and proneness to argumentativeness, irritability. Violence can also be used to manipulate serotonin levels. Additionally, the morphine-like substances derived from the incomplete digests of dairy and cereal grain proteins are other dietary factors which may alter mood by depressing CNS serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine levels (5). The reduced number of platelet receptors for serotonin found in patients with celiac disease, which is also caused, at least in part, by dietary factors, again points to food as a factor in some cases of depression. Such a propensity for depression, as is now seen in our modern world, seems to run counter to the process of natural selection. It is of more than passing interest that many of the foods which seem to be implicated in depression are also foods which Humanity has had only a relatively short time, on the evolutionary calendar, to adapt to (6). And we have been consuming more and more of these new foods during this century.

Regardless of the causes of the high frequency of depression in our contemporary world, we now have fairly effective drugs to treat this condition. One such group of drugs, SSRIs, act to reduce the rate of re-uptake of serotonin at the synapses, working to conserve serotonin and increase its synaptic concentration for longer periods of time. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter which is needed for sleep onset, mood regulation, carbohydrate craving and consumption, and a host of other functions (7). But there are other means to manipulate its presence in the brain. If we have recently digested protein, resulting in an increased level of large neutral amino acids (LNAA) in the blood stream, and we subsequently eat enough carbohydrate to induce a significant rise of circulating insulin, most of these amino acids will be transported across cell walls, for storage or energy. Due to tryptophan's resistance to insulin, this will result in an increase of circulating tryptophan. Since LNAAs compete for transport across the BBB, and since its competitors have been reduced, the relative increase in tryptophan leads to increased quantities of tryptophan being moved into the brain. Since the BBB is the primary limiting factor in conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, this results in increased levels of serotonin within the brain (8).

Since such manipulations of serotonin are difficult to regulate, and unlikely to have long-lasting effects (although some of the mystery of obesity may be revealed in this dynamic) a much more important dietary factor in depression may be the morphine-like substances which derive from the incomplete digests of proteins in cereal grains and dairy products. These were first reported by Christine Zioudrou et al. who dubbed such peptides "exorphins"(9). Further elucidation of this issue has been provided through the extensive work of Fukudome and Yoshikawa, published over the last decade (10,11) who have identified and characterized five distinct exorphins in the pepsin digests of gluten. Eight distinct exorphins have also been identified in the pepsin digests of milk (12). This work has given us a clearer sense of the morphine-like psychoactive nature of the peptides which result from the incomplete digests of these dietary proteins, as well as offering a possible explanation for some of the reported psychiatric reactions to these proteins (13,14,15) including the sense of "brain fog" that often accompanies immune reactions to these foods.

The field of serology has also provided us with some very clear evidence that such peptides, and the proteins from which they derive, can be absorbed through the intestinal mucosa, and into the circulation of a significant minority of apparently healthy members of the general population (16). Investigations of abnormal electrical activity in more than two thirds of untreated children with celiac disease has indicated that most of them normalize following dietary restriction (17, 18). These findings suggest that caseomorphin and gluten-derived exorphins are at the root of such abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Since such substances act as depressants, slowing neurotransmission, it should not be surprising if the intestinal permeability, and digestive enzyme deficiencies found in celiac disease were also found in many folks suffering depression. This is underscored by the reports that depression is a very common symptom of celiac disease (19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26). More on this point can be found at: http://www.gluten-free.org/reichelt.html

Opioid peptide - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Opioid peptide - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

"Opioid peptide
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Opioid Peptides are short sequences of amino acids which mimic the effect of opiates in the brain. Opioid peptides may be produced by the body itself, for example endorphins, or be absorbed from partially digested food (casomorphins, exorphins and rubiscolins). The effect of these peptides vary, but they all resemble opiates. The opioid food peptides have lengths of typically 4-8 amino acids. The body's own opioids are generally much longer.

Brain opioid peptide systems are known to play an important role in motivation, emotion, attachment behaviour, the response to stress and pain, and the control of food intake."

Glutein/casein sensitivity :: man cures sleep disorder with wheat/milk free diet

Glutein/casein sensitivity

By enfilade in enfilade's Diary
Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 12:40:52 PM EST
Tags: (all tags)
http://www.kuro5hin.org/#

If you've been following my diary at Hulver's site, you will know that I have recently discovered that I'm sensitive to gluten and casein, proteins found in wheat and milk, respectively. To say that the discovery of my glutein/casein sensitivity was an important revelation is a vast understatement. It has affected my life in every way. Although a glutein/casein free (GFCF) diet is difficult and austere, it's been more than worth it due to the enormous improvement the diet has made to my quality of life.

The mechanism of glutein and casein sensitivity is complex. The protein-digesting enzymes (peptidases) in my body are unable to fully break down gluten and casein into amino acids. Instead, they create short-chain protiens called "peptides" as byproducts. Some of these peptides are opioid exorphins, drug-like substances that have a psychoactive, narcotic effect (in particular, gluteomorphins and casomorphins). For various reasons my gut is damaged - it "leaks" more than normal - allowing the exorphins to enter the bloodstream, reach the CNS and bind to the opioid receptors. This, of course, creates opiate-like symptoms which include analgesia, "brain fog", lethargy, social isolation and sleep disturbance. This syndrome is theorised to be partly responsible for autism.


* Sleep deprivation and exorphins
* Last days of my "natural" high



Sleep deprivation and exorphins
My sleep patterns had always been a problem for me. I found it very hard to go to sleep at night, and since my childhood have spent hours tossing and turning awake in bed every night. (Thankfully my parents were understanding and gave me a light to read books by). When I woke up in the morning, I felt bone-tired even after more than 8 hours sleep.

[...]

At the time I was on a partially GFCF diet, but that was entirely by luck. I had scant knowledge of gluten/casein sensitivity or it's link to autism. What little I had heard I had dismissed as new-age quackery. Over the years I had simply noticed that foods such as bread and milk made me feel tired and addictive or contributed to my psoriasis. It was hardly a consistent diet. I had little concept of "gluten" or "casein" then, just "bread" and "dairy", so I unwittingly ate foods like soy milk which contained barley or soy cheese that contained casein.

After 2 weeks the gluten/casein sensitivity symptoms, such as vagueness and tiredness, returned due to my poor adherence to the GFCF diet. You see, I didn't even realize that my diet was responsible for my massive improvement. Add to that the addictiveness of gluten and casein products. But once I had a taste of normality, I desperately wanted to return. I finally put two and two together and I began to research the GCFC diet. To my amazement, I discovered that my diet could be actually be responsible for my mental state.

So I began the full GFCF diet. But, disappointingly, I did not get immediate results. My research (and fellow sufferers) told me that this was to be expected - it took up to 3 (and possibly 6) months for the exorphins to be flushed out of the system. This confused me, as I didn't know how the body would store exorphins for months. (I later learned that they can persist in the CNS for months as the brain can only metabolize native neurotransmitters. But I am still confused about this point.)

Zombie people - wheat eaters addicted to morphine

Opioid peptides in wheat-products

One single wheat-gluten protein-molecule contains 15 samples of one particular opioid peptide. (10) Wheat-gluten also contains a number of extremely powerful opioid peptides (11). Some of these molecules are even 100 times more powerful than a morphine-molecule. (12)


Therefore, wheat-opioid peptides can 'sedate' the bowels so much that constipation is caused. (13) Because some wheat-opioids are extremely powerful, some schizophrenics can even be cured by not eating any wheat-products anymore. (14)

To compensate the analgesic effect of the opioid peptides, wheat-products very often contain rosemarin-extract, which is a powerful 'upper'.



Brainfood

If you want to be sharp, fast, and able to focus up to 24 hours a day, you've got to stop consuming milk- and wheat-products. Eat foods that stimulate your brain ; see brainfood

INTRODUCTION TO THE PALEOLITHIC DIET :: Bread is poisonous!

INTRODUCTION TO THE PALEOLITHIC DIET:


"Instead of being able to eat only a fraction of the animal and plant life in an area, farming allows us to fill a particular area with a large number of edible plants and animals. This in turn increases the number of calories that we can obtain from an area by some 10 to 100 fold or more. Then followed the harnessing of dairy products, which allow man to obtain far more calories from the animal over its lifetime than if it were simply slaughtered for meat. Dairy products are interesting as they combine a variety of components- some of which our genes were ready for and some not. Whist cows milk is ideal for calves, there are several very important differences between it and human milk. For example, the brain of a calf is only a tiny fraction of its body weight whereas humans have very big brains. Not surprisingly, cows milk is low in critical nutrients for brain development, particularly omeg 3 fats.

Paleolithic Diet buffs refer to the new foods as Neolithic foods and the old as Paleolithic Diet foods. In simple terms we see Neolithic as bad and Paleolithic as good. Since then, some other substances have entered the diet- particularly salt and sugar, and more recently a litany of chemicals including firstly caffeine then all other additives, colourings, preservatives, pesticides etc.

Grains, Beans and Potatoes (GBP) share the following important characteristics:

� They are all toxic when raw- there is no doubt about this- it is a fact that no competent source would dispute- they can be extremely dangerous and it is important never to eat them raw or undercooked. These toxins include enzyme blockers, lectins and other types. I will talk about them in detail later as they are very important.

� Cooking destroys most but not all of the toxins. Insufficient cooking can lead to sickness such as acute gastroenteritis.

� They are all rich sources of carbohydrate, and once cooked this is often rapidly digestible-giving a high glycemic index (sugar spike).

� They are extremely poor sources of vitamins (particularly vitamins A, B-group, folic acid and C), minerals, antioxidants and phytosterols.

Therefore diets high in grains beans and potatoes (GBP):

� Contain toxins in small amounts

� Have a high glycemic index (ie have a similar effect to raw sugar on blood glucose levels)

� Are low in many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytosterols- ie they are the original 'empty calories'

� Have problems caused by the GBP displacing other foods

As grains, beans and potatoes form such a large proportion of the modern diet, you can now understand why it is so common for people to feel they need supplements or that they need to detoxify (ie that they have toxins in their system)- indeed both feelings are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, we don’t necessarily realize which supplements we need, and ironically when people go on detoxification diets they unfortunately often consume even more Neolithic foods (eg soy beans) and therefore more toxins than usual (perhaps they sometimes benefit from a change in toxins). More detail on these issues follows in subsequent pages.

The essentials of the Paleolithic Diet are:

Eat none of the following:

� Grains- including bread, pasta, noodles

� Beans- including string beans, kidney beans, lentils, peanuts, snow-peas and peas

� Potatoes

� Dairy products

� Sugar

� Salt"


Grains, beans and potatoes are all seeds. Seeds have defense mechanisms against being eaten- toxins. These toxins play havoc with our intestinal track, and can mimic enzymes our bodies produce, and essentially "hijack" our own enzyme system. They can affect our mood, appetite, insulin level, and many other things. Some people over time have adapted to this, but most of us still feel nagative effects. This is a topic of interest for me lately. These foods are very new in terms of human evolution, and we haven't evolved full immunities to these toxins. Grinding and cooking destroy most, but not all of these toxins. Some people are especially susceptable, and have what's called as celiac disease. Their bodies are allergic to gluten, from grains. Others are lactose intolerant. These people can't digest wheat or milk. Sometimes they have stomach and bowel upset. Sometimes they lose lots of weight. But now they are finding out that more people have celiac than they thought. Some of these people are overweight, and have carbohydrate cravings. Evidently, if your stomach doesn't break down the gluten, the byproducts are these dangerous toxins, some of which actually mimic the effect of morphine, or endorphins on the body. So to a susceptable person, grain and/or dairy apparently can act like a mild opiate, causing lethargy, sleep disturbance, fuzzy headedness, depression. I'm reading a ton of amazing stuff about this, which I will post.

Friday, July 21, 2006

CNN.com - DNA detectives delving into Neanderthal genome - Jul 20, 2006

CNN.com - DNA detectives delving into Neanderthal genome - Jul 20, 2006:

"BERLIN, Germany (AP) -- U.S. and German scientists launched a two-year project Thursday to decipher the genetic code of the Neanderthal, a feat they hope will help deepen understanding of how modern humans' brains evolved.

Neanderthals were a species that lived in Europe and western Asia from more than 200,000 years ago to about 30,000 years ago. Scientists from Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology are teaming up with a company in Connecticut to map the genome, or DNA code.

'The Neanderthal is the closest relative to the modern human, and we believe that by sequencing the Neanderthal we can learn a lot,' said Michael Egholm, a vice president at 454 Life Sciences Corp. of Branford, Connecticut, which will use its high-speed sequencing technology in the project.

There are no firm answers yet about how humans picked up key traits such as walking upright and developing complex language. Neanderthals are believed to have been relatively sophisticated, but lacking in humans' higher reasoning functions.

The Neanderthal project follows scientists' achievement last year in deciphering the DNA of the chimpanzee, our closest living relative. That genome map produced a long list of DNA differences between humans and chimps, and some hints about which differences might be crucial.

The chimp genome 'led to literally too many questions, there were 35 million differences between us and chimpanzees -- that's too much to figure out,' Jonathan Rothberg, 454's chairman, said in a telephone interview.

'By having Neanderthal, we'll really be able to home in on the small percentage of differences that gave us higher cognitive abilities,' he said. 'Neanderthal is going to open the box. It's not going to answer the question, but it's going to tell where to look to understand all of those higher cognitive functions.'

Over two years, the scientists aim to reconstruct a draft of the 3 billion building blocks of the Neanderthal genome -- working with fossil samples from several individuals."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Arming of Hezbollah Reveals U.S. and Israeli Blind Spots - New York Times

Arming of Hezbollah Reveals U.S. and Israeli Blind Spots - New York Times

Arming of Hezbollah Reveals U.S. and Israeli Blind Spots
By MARK MAZZETTI and THOM SHANKER

WASHINGTON, July 18 — The power and sophistication of the missile and rocket arsenal that Hezbollah has used in recent days has caught the United States and Israel off guard, and officials in both countries are just now learning the extent to which the militant group has succeeded in getting weapons from Iran and Syria.

While the Bush administration has stated that cracking down on weapons proliferation is one of its top priorities, the arming of Hezbollah shows the blind spots of American and other Western intelligence services in assessing the threat, officials from across those governments said.

American and Israeli officials said the successful attack last Friday on an Israeli naval vessel was the strongest evidence to date of direct support by Iran to Hezbollah. The attack was carried out with a sophisticated antiship cruise missile, the C-802, an Iranian-made variant of the Chinese Silkworm, an American intelligence official said.

At the same time, American and Israeli officials cautioned that they had found no evidence that Iranian operatives working in Lebanon launched the antiship missile themselves.

But neither Jerusalem nor Washington had any idea that Hezbollah had such a missile in its arsenal, the officials said, adding that the Israeli ship had not even activated its missile defense system because intelligence assessments had not identified a threat from such a radar-guided cruise missile.

They said they had also been surprised by the advances that Hezbollah had made in improving what had been crude rockets — for example, attaching cluster bombs as warheads, or filling an explosive shell with ball bearings that have devastating effect.

The Bush administration has long sought to focus attention on Iranian missile proliferation, and regularly discusses with journalists intelligence evidence of those activities. But American officials in Washington made clear this week that they were reluctant to detail Iran’s arming of Hezbollah in the current conflict.

The reason, according to officials across the government, was a desire by the Bush administration to contain the conflict to Israeli and Hezbollah forces, and not to enlarge the diplomatic tasks by making Iranian missile supplies, or even those of Syria, a central question for now.

Still, some officials in Washington admitted to being blindsided by the abilities of Hezbollah’s arsenal.

“You have to acknowledge the obvious — we’ve seen a new capability in striking the naval vessel and in the number of casualties that have been sustained from the Hezbollah missile attacks,” a Bush administration official said.

“In the past, we’d see three, four, maybe eight launches at any given time if Hezbollah was feeling feisty,” the official added. “Now we see them arriving in large clusters, and with a range and even certain accuracy we have not seen in the past.”

Rural Muslim terrorists in US :: Counter-Terrorism Operations

Counter-Terrorism Operations:

"Rural Terrorists in America
July 17, 2006: As the FBI digs deeper into the world of Islamic extremist groups in the United States, it has encountered a growing number of them operating in rural areas. Jamaat ul Fuqra is a group that began in Pakistan, where most members still reside, but has spread to North America over the last two decades. Many members have been busted for various crimes, usually ones related to fraud and abuse of social welfare programs.

The Muslims of America organization recruits in prisons, and has already produced a number of Islamic terrorists. What worries the FBI is the many more members who talk-the-talk, but have not yet moved to the walk-the-walk phase yet. Even if these groups are not actively carrying out terrorist acts, their preaching and everyday conversations indicate they would provide support services for any 'holy warriors' that came knocking.

These groups have survived because they have learned how to work the system, including the FBI, and whatever counter-terrorism mojo that gets thrown at them. A major part of their defenses is their insularity, even from other Moslems. In fact, Jamaat ul Fuqra considers less conservative Moslems as heretics. Many of the Fuqra folks prefer to live out in the country, and create as much isolation for themselves as possible. Finding out what's going on in these groups is much more difficult than with people in the general Moslem population. While most Moslem-Americans are loyal citizens, and willing to send in tips about possible terrorist groups, outfits like Jamaat ul Fuqra just don't do that sort of thing, and react violently if they find any of their members doing so.

On the plus side, many of these extremist or conservative Moslem groups know, or suspect, that they are being watched. Any move to carry out a terrorist attack would bring the law down on them and, their families. So far, the only terrorist action out of these groups have been false starts or suspicious, not indictable, activity. But the potential is there, and it's scary.
"

http://www.qando.net/ - "Syria today has the most formidable chemical and biological weapons capabilities of any Arab state."

http://www.qando.net/ - "Syria today has the most formidable chemical and biological weapons capabilities of any Arab state.":

Posted by: McQ on Monday, July 17, 2006

My old friend Billy Beck turned me on to this from the Middle Eastern Quarterly. If true, it represents more than a grave danger to the region (and it probably is true as we've known Syria possessed weapons grade chem weapons for some time). It would represent a huge strategic shift in the area (and even more so if Iran successfully with acquires nuclear weapons). That would end up being very, very dangerous to Israel's survival.

First the story of Syria's missiles:

Ballistic missiles are the backbone of the Syrian posture, so that missiles effectively shape Syrian strategic orientation and operational preparedness as a whole. Missiles, of course, can be equipped with a variety of warheads. But before examining these, just what are the delivery systems at Syria's command?

The Syrian missile command is based in Aleppo. It is known to control three mobile surface-to-surface missile brigades, each of which includes one battalion of (antiquated) FROG-7 SSM, one battalion of SS-21 Scarab SRBM, and one battalion of Scud-B missiles. The missiles in mobile brigades have ranges of 70 to 300 kilometers. Some sixty TEL (Transporter-Elevator-Launcher) vehicles provide mobility.

In addition to mobile brigades, Syria has recently constructed hardened silos and a deep network of tunnels. At least fifteen such underground installations, built with North Korean and Chinese assistance, are being readied for some 1,000 Scud-C missiles, which have a range of 500 kilometers.

An additional four tunnels have been built to house Scud-D missiles, which have the longest range in the Syrian arsenal, 700 kilometers. The Syrians now manufacture these missiles themselves, with North Korean, Chinese, and Iranian help. In May 2000, Syria was reported to have received deliveries from North Korea of a new ballistic missile based on the Scud-D, which has a modern navigational system, making it much more accurate than its predecessor.

Syria's acquisition of Scud-D missiles is significant because they allow Damascus to strike targets throughout Israel from launchers positioned well inside Syrian territory, and thus, less easily detected or attacked by Israel. The tunnels will provide a considerable degree of defense against conventional bombing for both the missile storage and maintenance facilities, and they are linked to a large number of camouflaged launch facilities. All types of Scud missiles are designed to carry, along with conventional warheads, chemical and biological warheads.

Syria has two large underground missile production facilities near Aleppo and Hama, both built with Iranian, North Korean, and Chinese assistance. Iran and Syria jointly produce Scud-C and Scud-D missiles. Syria is believed to be attempting to acquire Chinese medium-range ballistic missile technology in the form of the M-9 and may indeed have already acquired M-11 missile systems.

The FROGs (Free Rocket Over Ground - no guidance) and SCUD-Bs are really that much to be concerned with because of their inaccuracy. But when you start getting into SCUD-C and Ds alarm bells should go off. SCUD Cs can carry nuclear or chemical warheads. SCUD Ds can carry fuel air explosive and it is believed it can be fitted with nuclear and chemical warheads.

The M-9 missile system has a range 600km and capabilities similar to the SCUD C. It also has a modern GPS/inertial guidance system which makes it very accurate. It is that technology which the Syrians seek. The M-11 has the same sort of guidance system with slightly more range than the M-9. Both are road mobile.

Coupled with chem or bio, the threat is formidable. What sort of WMD threat does Syria pose? Well MEQ tells us it is considerable. Not only does it have a sarin (chem) and anthrax (bio)capability, but more worrying, it has weaponized VX, and lots of it:
"

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

BREITBART.COM - E-Mail Losing Its Clout

BREITBART.COM - E-Mail Losing Its Clout

E-Mail Losing Its Clout
Jul 18 2:57 PM US/Eastern
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By MARTHA IRVINE
AP National Writer

CHICAGO

E-mail is so last millennium. Young people see it as a good way to reach an elder _ a parent, teacher or a boss _ or to receive an attached file. But increasingly, the former darling of high-tech communication is losing favor to instant and text messaging, and to the chatter generated on blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

The shift is starting to creep into workplace communication, too.

"In this world of instant gratification, e-mail has become the new snail mail," says 25-year-old Rachel Quizon from Norwalk, Calif. She became addicted to instant messaging in college, where many students are logged on 24/7.

Much like home postal boxes have become receptacles for junk mail, bills and the occasional greeting card, electronic mailboxes have become cluttered with spam. That makes them a pain to weed through, and the problem is only expected to worsen as some e-mail providers allow online marketers to bypass spam filters for a fee.

Beyond that, e-mail has become most associated with school and work.

"It used to be just fun," says Danah Boyd, a doctoral candidate who studies social media at the University of California, Berkeley. "Now it's about parents and authority."

It means that many people often don't respond to e-mails unless they have to.

Boyd's own Web page carries this note: "please note that i'm months behind on e-mail and i may not respond in a timely manner." She, too, is more easily reached with the "ping" of an instant message.

That said, no one is predicting the death of e-mail. Besides its usefulness in formal correspondence, it also offers the ability to send something from "one to many," says Anne Kirah, a senior design anthropologist at Microsoft who studies people's high-tech habits. That might include an announcement for a club or invitation to a party.

Quizon e-mails frequently in her corporate communications job at a hospital, and also uses it when she needs documentation _ for instance, when dealing with vendors for her upcoming wedding. In those cases, she says e-mail "still holds more clout."

But when immediacy is a factor _ as it often is _ most young people much prefer the telephone or instant messaging for everything from casual to heart-to-heart conversations, according to research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

"And there is a very strong sense that the migration away from e-mail continues," says Lee Rainie, the director at Pew.

For many young people, it's about choosing the best communication tool for the situation.

You might use text messaging during a meeting that requires quiet, Rainie says, or make a phone call to discuss sensitive subjects so there's no written record.

Still, some who've gotten caught up in the trend toward brevity wonder if it's making things too impersonal. "Don't want to see someone? Then call them. Don't want to call someone? E-mail them. Don't want to take the trouble of writing sentences? Text them," says 33-year-old Matthew Felling, an admitted "serial texter" who is also the spokesman for the Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington.

"It's the ultimate social crutch to avoid personal communication."

But others don't see it that way. They think the shift toward IM and text is simply more efficient and convenient.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Belmont Club: Khalilzad on Iraq

The Belmont Club: Khalilzad on Iraq

"IRAQ: A STATUS REPORT" AMBASSADOR ZALMAY KHALILZAD at
CSIS THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES in Washington, D. C. JULY 11, 2006
As Delivered

Thank you, Zbig, for this very, very kind introduction. Many of you know that the Twelver Shia speak of certain individuals whom believers should seek to imitate, calling them the marjaiyya. To many of us who are playing policy roles but who have academic backgrounds, Zbig, you are a source for imitation. I also want to thank CSIS for giving me this opportunity to share my assessment of the situation in Iraq and my view on the way ahead, as well as to engage in some questions and answers.

I will give my bottom line up front. I believe Americans, while remaining tactically patient about Iraq, should be strategically optimistic. Most important, a major change - a tectonic shift - has taken place in the political orientation of the Sunni Arab community. A year ago, Sunni Arabs were outside of the political process and hostile to the United States. They boycotted the January 2005 election and were underrepresented in the transitional national assembly. Today, Sunni Arabs are full participants in the political process, with their representation in the national assembly now proportional to their share of the population. Also, they have largely come to see the United States as an honest broker in helping Iraq's communities come together around a process and a plan to stabilize the country.

Moreover, al Qaeda in Iraq has been significantly weakened during the past year. This resulted, not only from the recent killing of Zarqawi, but also from the capture or killing of a number of other senior leaders and the creation of an environment in which it is more difficult and dangerous for al Qaeda in Iraq.

These are fundamental and positive changes. Together, they have made possible the inauguration of Iraq's first ever government of national unity - with non-sectarian security ministers, agreements on rules for decision making on critical issues and on the structure of institutions of the executive branch, and a broadly agreed upon program. They have also enabled political progress that resulted in the recent announcement by Prime Minister Maliki of his government's National Reconciliation and Dialogue Project.

However, at the same time, the terrorists have adapted to this success by exploiting Iraq's sectarian fault line. A year ago, terrorism and the insurgency against the Coalition and the Iraqi security forces were the principal sources of instability. Particularly since the bombing of the Golden Mosque in February, violent sectarianism is now the main challenge. This sectarianism is the source of frequent tragedies on the streets of Baghdad. It is imperative for the new Iraqi government to make major progress in dealing with this challenge in the next six months. The Prime Minister understands this fact.

Today, I will discuss the status of these efforts, noting the achievements we have attained and the further steps we intend to take in partnership with the new Iraqi government.

Telegraph | Money | US 'could be going bankrupt'

Telegraph | Money | US 'could be going bankrupt'

The United States is heading for bankruptcy, according to an extraordinary paper published by one of the key members of the country's central bank.

A ballooning budget deficit and a pensions and welfare timebomb could send the economic superpower into insolvency, according to research by Professor Laurence Kotlikoff for the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, a leading constituent of the US Federal Reserve.

Prof Kotlikoff said that, by some measures, the US is already bankrupt. "To paraphrase the Oxford English Dictionary, is the United States at the end of its resources, exhausted, stripped bare, destitute, bereft, wanting in property, or wrecked in consequence of failure to pay its creditors," he asked.

According to his central analysis, "the US government is, indeed, bankrupt, insofar as it will be unable to pay its creditors, who, in this context, are current and future generations to whom it has explicitly or implicitly promised future net payments of various kinds''.

The budget deficit in the US is not massive. The Bush administration this week cut its forecasts for the fiscal shortfall this year by almost a third, saying it will come in at 2.3pc of gross domestic product. This is smaller than most European countries - including the UK - which have deficits north of 3pc of GDP.

Prof Kotlikoff, who teaches at Boston University, says: "The proper way to consider a country's solvency is to examine the lifetime fiscal burdens facing current and future generations. If these burdens exceed the resources of those generations, get close to doing so, or simply get so high as to preclude their full collection, the country's policy will be unsustainable and can constitute or lead to national bankruptcy.

"Does the United States fit this bill? No one knows for sure, but there are strong reasons to believe the United States may be going broke."

Experts have calculated that the country's long-term "fiscal gap" between all future government spending and all future receipts will widen immensely as the Baby Boomer generation retires, and as the amount the state will have to spend on healthcare and pensions soars. The total fiscal gap could be an almost incomprehensible $65.9 trillion, according to a study by Professors Gokhale and Smetters.

The figure is massive because President George W Bush has made major tax cuts in recent years, and because the bill for Medicare, which provides health insurance for the elderly, and Medicaid, which does likewise for the poor, will increase greatly due to demographics.

Prof Kotlikoff said: "This figure is more than five times US GDP and almost twice the size of national wealth. One way to wrap one's head around $65.9trillion is to ask what fiscal adjustments are needed to eliminate this red hole. The answers are terrifying. One solution is an immediate and permanent doubling of personal and corporate income taxes. Another is an immediate and permanent two-thirds cut in Social Security and Medicare benefits. A third alternative, were it feasible, would be to immediately and permanently cut all federal discretionary spending by 143pc."

The scenario has serious implications for the dollar. If investors lose confidence in the US's future, and suspect the country may at some point allow inflation to erode away its debts, they may reduce their holdings of US Treasury bonds.

Prof Kotlikoff said: "The United States has experienced high rates of inflation in the past and appears to be running the same type of fiscal policies that engendered hyperinflations in 20 countries over the past century."

Sunday, July 02, 2006

BREITBART.COM - Chewing the fat: New theories on world's obesity pandemic

BREITBART.COM - Chewing the fat: New theories on world's obesity pandemic


Chewing the fat: New theories on world's obesity pandemic
Jul 01 11:33 PM US/Eastern
Email this story

Fatty hamburgers, sugar-laden sodas and a couch-potato lifestyle: these are the familiar villains in the crisis of obesity sweeping developed countries.

But what if they had been convicted without fair trial?

What if the global fat explosion had other causes?

What, for instance, if air conditioning or lack of sleep helped make you fat? Or what if obesity were caused by a microbe -- what if, bang, you caught an unlucky sneeze and this made you chub out?

These ideas challenge the mainstream view that the bulging waistlines of an advancing society can be overwhelmingly pinned to diet and lifestyle.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last September warned that a billion people were overweight and obese, and the toll could rise to 1.5 billion by 2015, driven by low- and middle-income countries.

The WHO accepted there were "a number of factors" for this increase, but especially blamed "a global shift in diet towards increased energy, fat, salt and sugar intake, and a trend towards decreased physical activity due to the sedentary nature of modern work and transportation, and increasing urbanisation."

Some worry that this view is dangerously monolithic.

Writing on Tuesday in the International Journal of Obesity, a team of US public-health experts caution against focussing obsessively on the "Big Two" -- a slower lifestyle and modern food marketing.

"This has created a hegemony whereby the importance of the Big Two is accepted as established and other putative factors are not seriously explored," they say. "The result may be well-intentioned but ill-founded proposals for reducing obesity rates."

They contend the evidence against junk food, supersize-me portions and high-calorie corn syrup is "equivocal and largely circumstantial" and offer some intriguing ideas of their own for other drivers of the obesity tsunami.

Among them:

-- Industrial chemicals called endocrine disruptors that disturb metabolism, encouraging the formation of fat.

-- Giving up smoking: people who give up cigarettes very often gain weight.

-- Air conditioning, which establishes a comfortable temperature zone. In temperatures above this zone, people eat less. The rise in number of air-conditioned homes in the United States virtually mirrors the increase in the US obesity rate.

-- Fat people marry other fat people. These individuals may be genetically vulnerable to obesity, a trait that could handed on to their children.

Another hypothesis is that lack of sleep jolts the metabolic system into demanding doses of instant energy.

BREITBART.COM - Chewing the fat: New theories on world's obesity pandemic

BREITBART.COM - Chewing the fat: New theories on world's obesity pandemic


Chewing the fat: New theories on world's obesity pandemic
Jul 01 11:33 PM US/Eastern
Email this story

Fatty hamburgers, sugar-laden sodas and a couch-potato lifestyle: these are the familiar villains in the crisis of obesity sweeping developed countries.

But what if they had been convicted without fair trial?

What if the global fat explosion had other causes?

What, for instance, if air conditioning or lack of sleep helped make you fat? Or what if obesity were caused by a microbe -- what if, bang, you caught an unlucky sneeze and this made you chub out?

These ideas challenge the mainstream view that the bulging waistlines of an advancing society can be overwhelmingly pinned to diet and lifestyle.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) last September warned that a billion people were overweight and obese, and the toll could rise to 1.5 billion by 2015, driven by low- and middle-income countries.

The WHO accepted there were "a number of factors" for this increase, but especially blamed "a global shift in diet towards increased energy, fat, salt and sugar intake, and a trend towards decreased physical activity due to the sedentary nature of modern work and transportation, and increasing urbanisation."

Some worry that this view is dangerously monolithic.

Writing on Tuesday in the International Journal of Obesity, a team of US public-health experts caution against focussing obsessively on the "Big Two" -- a slower lifestyle and modern food marketing.

"This has created a hegemony whereby the importance of the Big Two is accepted as established and other putative factors are not seriously explored," they say. "The result may be well-intentioned but ill-founded proposals for reducing obesity rates."

They contend the evidence against junk food, supersize-me portions and high-calorie corn syrup is "equivocal and largely circumstantial" and offer some intriguing ideas of their own for other drivers of the obesity tsunami.

Among them:

-- Industrial chemicals called endocrine disruptors that disturb metabolism, encouraging the formation of fat.

-- Giving up smoking: people who give up cigarettes very often gain weight.

-- Air conditioning, which establishes a comfortable temperature zone. In temperatures above this zone, people eat less. The rise in number of air-conditioned homes in the United States virtually mirrors the increase in the US obesity rate.

-- Fat people marry other fat people. These individuals may be genetically vulnerable to obesity, a trait that could handed on to their children.

Another hypothesis is that lack of sleep jolts the metabolic system into demanding doses of instant energy.