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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Bombshell that Could Detonate Your Internet




Robert McGarvey

The Bombshell That Could Detonate Your Internet

Written by Robert McGarvey
9/30/2011


 The question does not get more savagely blunt: Do you want government running your Internet -- deciding what is permissible content, or what could land you in jail?

That debate is not academic. It is happening in real time, as you read this, in Nairobi, Kenya, at this year’s Internet Governance Forum.

Haven’t heard of the IGF? Join the club. Created out of an initiative by then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2006, the IGF is an attempt to impose some UN-style supervision on the Internet Wild West. A lot of what it covers is the expected: how to stop spam, how to protect children, how to bring the Internet to rural communities... Hard to get much friction on those topics.

But if you want real friction, the IGF indeed is the place to be, because while some are discussing the harmless (how to insure linguistic diversity online), others are zeroing in on the very issues that will shape our Internet experience.

Read the entire article here.

Macro Flowers, September 30, 2011


When out on a walk to the neighbourhood movie theatre I spotted this flower in someone's yard.  The gentle breeze was rocking the tall stalk of flowers back and forth and giving me a bit of trouble in capturing the flower.  Valiently I tried to capture a macro in fading light with a dying battery. I was trying to "see" inside one of the blossoms and capture the bumble bee without getting stung.

I finally did manage a glimpse of the prize; the bumblebee!


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Monday, September 26, 2011

Sad News of Loss in Kenya

It was sad news that greeted me this morning.

A friend in Kenya informed me that Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Wangari Maathai has died after battling cancer.

This was sad news indeed. Sad because the world and the country of Kenya have lost a courageous woman of vision. I'm thankful that she left this world a little better place and I hope someone is there to continue on her important work and that others would make it grow. I'm happy too that she is now out of pain.

Wangari Maathai was the first woman from Africa to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. What I loved about her was she founded a movement in Kenya to plant trees so that women and girls could get the timber they needed for making fires. This resonated well with me because of  my interest in providing jiko stoves for the women and girls in Kenya. (You can read more here about jiko stove project).

The story of this brave woman reminds me of the power and influence that one person can make.  Remember, you too can make a difference wherever you are. Each of us can make a difference.

After you read the basic story of her environmental activism (below), you can learn more here about how this remarkable woman's life and actions epitomized this well known quotation,
All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men (women) to do nothing.

Story and photo from CNN, Inside Africa

Kenyan Nobel laureate Maathai dies

From David McKenzie, CNN
September 26, 2011 -- Updated 1730 GMT (0130 HKT)

Nairobi, Kenya (CNN) -- Kenyan Wangari Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the Nobel Peace Prize, died Monday after a battle with cancer. She was 71.

"It is with great sadness that the Green Belt Movement announces the passing of its founder and chair, Prof. Wangari Muta Maathai, after a long illness bravely borne," her organization said.
Maathai, an environmentalist, had long campaigned for human rights and the empowerment of Africa's most impoverished people.

More than 30 years ago she founded the Green Belt Movement, a tree-planting campaign to simultaneously mitigate deforestation and to give locals, especially women and girls, access to resources like firewood for cooking and clean water. They have since planted more than 40 million trees.

In 2004, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to promote sustainable development, democracy and peace. She was the first woman from the continent to win the prize.

"Her departure is untimely and a very great loss to all of us who knew her—as a mother, relative, co-worker, colleague, role model, and heroine—or those who admired her determination to make the world a peaceful, healthy, and better place for all of us," said Karanja Njoroge, executive director of the Green Belt Movement.

Born in Nyeri, Kenya, on April 1, 1940, Maathai blazed many trails in her life.

She was the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctorate degree. In December 2002, she was elected to Kenya's parliament with an overwhelming 98% of the vote.

She was honored by Time magazine in 2005 as one of 100 most influential people in the world. And Forbes listed her as one of 100 most powerful women in the world.

In April 2006, France bestowed its highest honor on her: the Legion d'Honneur.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki called Maathai a "global icon who has left an indelible mark in the world of environmental conservation."

Maathai leaves behind three children and a granddaughter.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Update on My Leg

Well, I'm trying very hard to be on a diet (about my 4th day now) and also to eliminate water to reduce edema and relieve the pressure on my leg. I am still seeing the acupuncturist and I am also now receiving pneumatic compression therapy on the legs.

I look a little like the lady in the photo immediately below when I get my legs compressed except that the garment stops at my hip area. The compression feels a little strange but I enjoy it because it relieves some of the pressure and heaviness I feel in the legs.  Hence it reduces the pain in my knee and my foot though the feeling doesn't last so long.   I will get about 8 of these treatments altogether as they are very expensive.  I also continue to get the acupuncture.

Photo credit: Squidoo

Photo credit: me
My acupuncturist has me on several herbal medicines to eliminate excess water (not drugs as those weaken the kidneys even more so) and to address pain issues. These aren't working that quickly so yesterday I just found an herbal remedy containing boswellia and tumeric for aches and pains.  It seems to work quickly but is double the price of what my acupuncturist gives me. She only charges me at cost not at retail prices. I will continue the boswellia mixture for a short time while I wait for the Chinese herbal remedies to hopefully take effect soon.

My diet is self-initiated and consists of lots and lots of steamed veggies of all kinds, canned tuna and wild salmon,  beans & legumes, millet, squashes, sweet potatoes/yams, basa fish fillets and a piece of fruit each day.  I have very little red meat or dairy though I will allow myself a sweet treat about once every week or two.

In the Chinese medicine belief, excess weight is caused by too much mucous and water in the system and the presence of these makes it nearly impossible to loss weight. That might explain why diets and exercise very seldom do anything for me no matter how much I try.  The doctor also says I have too much damp cold inside and my body has to work hard to warm it up and hence I get too hot.  Additionally, she says that wind or cold is not good for me.  All this makes a lot of sense since I tend to get leg cramps when I have wind blowing on my legs. I'm sure she is on the right track but it does take time and I am impatient. After all I just want to get over the pain and be able to walk again.

Today's treat is chocolate no bake macaroons. I will take some to my acupuncture doctor tomorrow who is always happy to eat whatever I bring her.  I also have someone at home who enjoys the treats.  That way I am not tempted to eat too much.


No Bake Chocolate Macaroon Cookies

Here are the cookies setting before going into the fridge/freezer.  As you can see, I didn't bother to make them too perfectly shaped.  I like my cookies in different sizes and a bit "rough" around the edges.

  Ingredients

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut

Directions  In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, milk, and margarine. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, then boil for  2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the oats, vanilla, cocoa and coconut. Spoon onto waxed paper and allow to cool for at least an hour then put them in the refrigerator to harden up.  Store in an airtight container.

Recipes alterations:  The recipe has far too  much sugar for me. I reduced it to 1 cup and there was no problem with the mixture sticking together. It is still plenty sweet enough. You can use splenda or some other artificial sweetner but given my issues with water retention I try never to use any artificial foods or at least to eliminate them as much as possible. I will look for some stevia next time I can get to a health food store.  You can also use 1% milk or skim milk like I did. I imagine that a milk substitute like Almond milk would also be fine if you are lactose intolerant or a vegan. You will also need to use a margarine substitute. In  my case I used real butter rather than the artificial margarine. If you use slow cooking oats, you will need to cook the mixture for a minute or two longer. 

I think I've only had these cookies once or twice since I was a school child. A school chum would bring these for lunch and sell them to me as my mother never made them. I wonder if the girl ever became an entrepreneur. These cookies are approx 100 calories when you use the full amount of sugar so I calculate my sugar reduced cookies at 50-70 calories each depending on their size.  Not bad at all.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Macro Flowers, September 23, 2011

Purple flower Hostas and white Astilbis. Thanks to all who identified these.

Believe it or not these lovely plants are planted by the roadside on a quiet residential street near my place.  Isn't it amazing that people will plant small spaces in the city just to give the rest of pleasure?
I don't know what the white bush and the purple flowers are but they are lovely. I see there are also numerous varieties of hostas planted here. Maybe the purple flower is even from a hosta. I can't quite tell from my photos.

Purple flowering Hostas.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another Message of Hope: This Baby Needs Your Help

This is an awesome story of how the Missions of Hope is bringing hope and help to those who otherwise have none. Please read and share this story with your networks.

I'm praying someone or several someones, can help this little family go the next step in the care required for the little one. Blessings! (click on the title in red font below to read the story).


Missions of Hope: This Baby Needs Your Help: Hello friends, This is the little girl in pink. For over a month now I have been coordinating efforts to save this little girl from loo...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Photos

Hello friends, I just realized I am now over the basic storage limit of 20G so I will be considering what to do about my posts before I continue with more posts here. I may move my blog to another service or I may continue here with more photos posted from my computer rather than uploaded to picasa web albums. I ask for your indulgence as I contemplate what to do since it will likely mean many of my photos disappear from posts.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Last Update From Turkana

Once again I'm promoting the humanitarian and Christian relief effort to the Turkana people in northern Kenyan. I hope you will read (click on the highlighted words in red font below) and comment on this last installment, especially if you haven't commented already. In my part of the world our weather has turned to rain.  In Kenya, when it rains, it is considered a blessing.  As you can imagine when you have little to no water, rains truly are a blessing.

A dignified and beautiful Turkana woman.

 Missions of Hope: Last Update From Turkana: Hello friends, This is my last update about the Turkana relief effort. We had a great time in Turkana serving the people there with our l...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Colourful Respite

The summer here is fading fast. We have had beautiful weather in the month of August and though my garden didn't do very well this year, I have enjoyed the beauty of other gardens.

Here are some photos I took when I went to my acupuncture doctor yesterday. This community garden was near to her parking lot and I went over after my treatment and snapped these photos. I couldn't resist.



The colourful flowers stood tall and were beckoning me come and stay awhile. Although the sky had been overcast, the sun peeked out as if to say it wanted me to see the garden in all it's splendour. 
(You can click on the photos to enlarge).


If you missed my update on food relief in the Horn of Africa, please read my previous post. Also consider leaving a word of encouragement for Jonah. Thank you so much!

Join Tina and Maia for Weekend Flowers and Macro Flowers
and experience some awesome flowers.

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Missions of Hope: More Photos of the Turkana Relief Effort

Click the highlighted title to read about the continuing food relief efforts in Northern Kenya.. Don't forget to leave your comments at source post. Thank you so much! 

Missions of Hope: More Photos of the Turkana Relief Effort: Hello, Thank you so much for following our updates from here in Turkana country in northern Kenya where we are bringing much needed food ...

 Photo credit:  Jonah, Missions of Hope

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Relief Effort to Northern Kenya

Friends, you know about the food crisis in the Horn of Africa.
I'm showing you what one man can do when he has the heart to help. Please read this post (by clicking on the title in red font) and, if you can, let him know you support his work by logging on and leaving a comment at his blog. Many will soon have food and water in their bellies due to these efforts. Thanks so much!

Missions of Hope: Relief Effort to Northern Kenya: Hello friends, This morning, along with other partners, Missions of Hope was able to flag off 5 lorries (large transport trucks) full of ...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Macro Flowers, September 9, 2011

I captured these hydrangeas a few months ago. I was intrigued by the colour because they seemed to be light green and turning blue.  I know little about flowers so perhaps blue hydrangeas start out green.



There seems to be an over abundance of wasps in the area this year. I'm not sure why.  They even came into a restaurant when a friend treated me to dinner last week.  The owner had to scurry around trying to kill them and shoo some out the door.

Please join in the Weekend Flowers and Macro Flowers memes for some true beauty.
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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ride with me: Chetwynd to Edmonton

I left off my journey in Dawson Creek where we were able to find a room at the George Dawson Inn for the evening. In the morning we had to make the hour drive back to Chetwynd for the funeral. There wasn't much time to take photos and the ones I got in drive by shooting are not so great but I think they will give you an idea of the place.

This photo is taken as you enter Chetwynd from the north.
One of the first buildings you come to as you enter town is the white building. It is the Legion Hall and is where many of the wakes for funerals takes place.

Chetwynd is a small town of a few thousand people but it has all the basic services, including a swimming pool. It is always busy work wise but the town itself never grows very large.

One of the old hotels in town has been demolished (right of photo).  It looks like there may have been a fire involved.

This is a slightly better view.  note the wood carving in the foreground. These wood carvings are all over town. Someone or several someones spent a lot of time carving these pieces.

This is a newer and quite large hotel called the Pomeroy. There is another new and large hotel on the hill coming into town from the north.  These two big hotels were not here the last time I visited.  Though I see they are now in every town in the north.  I couldn't get a room though. Everything was fully booked!

After we leave Chetwynd, we will be heading back through Dawson Creek and Grande Prairie, already posted about elsewhere. We are heading south to the City of Edmonton.

Look up on the mountain! Can you see all those wind turbines? I was very surprised.  I counted  27 of them on the mountain but my research told me that are 34 windmill towers with a capacity to produce 102 megawatts, or enough electricity for 38,000. The wind farm has been in place for about two years and is located on Bear Mountain near Dawson Creek.  The project was started by a company based in Calgary, Alberta.

This post officially commemorates "Mile 0" of the Alaska Highway. Many people stop here to take their photos before heading north on the highway.
 
I managed to snap this photo of an old heritage building as we zoomed through the town.  I can't remember now if it was the town of Beaverlodge or Hythe in northern Alberta.
This dock and waterview is in the provincial park at Sturgeon Lake, Alberta.
Many years ago this lake was filled with sturgeon fish but there aren't any more unless they are hiding down in the deep recesses of this glacial lake.  Other fish are there for the fishermen to catch.
Now it is off to Edmonton.  We have a few hours drive ahead but some beautiful scenery and a fantastic sunset to keep us entertained.  We also stopped off in Grande Prairie for a meal and bit of shopping.
 
 
You will see these oil rigs all over the north country.

 
 
We finally pull into the City of Edmonton around 11:30 p.m. or midnight. It has been a long day but we stop at McDonalds to use the wi-fi and check out hotel prices.  We decide on the Ramada Inn and it turns out to be a wonderful place with comfortable beds, a mini bar/fridge, coffee, etc.  Price is $109.00 Canadian dollars plus tax.


I'm always happy for a comfortable bed when I'm tired.

So glad you stopped by and joined me for the tour. Come again soon as we make our way to Calgary and back through beautiful British Columbia.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Leg Problems & Acupuncture

For a very long time now I've been having issues with my right leg. Problems started in my heel and later I noticed problems with my knee. I got physiotherapy for the knee and began using my stationary bike a lot more. The problem seemed to get better in the knee but returned with a vengeance.

After my recent trip to the north country (which I've posted about), I could barely walk. This wasn't the first time things had gotten that bad. I was told by my doctor that the heel problem is plantar fasciitis and by the physiotherapist that the knee problem was caused by tight muscles. Neither of these medical professionals associated the two problems as being related. My own assessment is that the heel problem which was long untreated and for which western medicine can't seem to do too much except surgery (yikes, I'm not having surgery on my feet), led to the other problem of tight muscles.

Many years ago I'd gone to a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (DTCM) for treatment of a heel spur on the opposite foot.  I resolved to go again because the problem is really limiting what I can do both inside and outside of the house. Some days I can't walk too far and the pain is excruciating.

I'm happy to report that after the 2nd acupuncture treatment I was feeling huge relief. Unfortunately, I had to walk very far on the day of my 3rd appointment and over did things. My pain is back in spades but the acupuncture once again is helping to alleviate it. I know the problem has flared back up but I also know the acupuncture is working so I will continue with it.  I am now getting treated twice a week and I take some herbal Chinese medicines to relax the muscles and improve the blood flow.

The Doctor of TCM that I see, normally charges $60.00 (Canadian dollars) for one acupuncture treatment.  Sadly it is not covered by my extended health care plan.  I was blessed to have my doctor charge me for the herbs at cost and give me 2 acupuncture treatments for $25.00 (Canadian) instead of $120.00. I think that is quite a bargain!  In return, I am helping her with some drafting work she is doing. I edit and advise her on preparing some important documents she is working on. I also give her some advice related to some committee work she is doing.  This is trade and barter and I love it! It is a good way of being frugal.

Here is my leg with all the needles in it.

The basic idea behind the acupuncture is that the needles and the heat lamp put over the area while the needles are in the skin, help to unblock the blood and fluid stagnation. In Chinese medicine they call the stagnation, "blocked chi" or "blocked energy". The purpose of acupuncture and chinese medicinal treatments is to unblock the chi or energy. In western terms, you can say to unblock the stagnation.

While the needles are in the skin I feel very sleepy and relaxed. Sometimes when the doctor puts the needles into the skin it might hurt but this is momentary.

I feel fortunate to have this treatment available to me. If I lived in a small town I would not have this service and I would not have a way to address my pain and mobility without drugs or waiting for surgery. I'm also going to order some heel pads for my shoes. My doctor has suggested orthotics but I know from my mother's experience that orthotics didn't help her. I'm going to order heel pads on line. These pads seem to be working for many people who said they got orthotics made and the orthotics didn't work.

Anyway, I hope my regular readers will understand now why I haven't been posting or commenting as much as usual. Things have been busy for me and my mobility is limited. I'm also feeling more tired than usual but hopefully that will pass in a few weeks.

On an unrelated note, I see that my blogging posts have hit the 500 mark. I am a little suspect about the count given.  By Blogger's count I was at 489 posts about 3 months ago and have been posting steadily since then so the number should be higher. At any rate, I'm sure I've now passed the 500 mark, possibly a bit more. I've thoroughly enjoyed the blogging experience and wouldn't trade it for FB.

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