Neem Hakeem: Headphones and Twinkies are hazardous to your Health?

[Almost anyone who has spent time in Pakistan or parts of India recognizes the term ‘neem hakeem’ – means a doctor who isn’t quite up to par.  Thus one of the most popular folk proverbs in the area:  A ‘neem hakeem’ is a danger to your life…]

Today’s ‘Neem Hakeem’ lesson is via a story on NPR over the weekend.  People are dying – literally – because of their headphones.

Strangled by the cords as they doze in class, maybe?  Victims of brain cancer because of electromagnetic radiation?  No – run over by buses, trains and other large and noisy vehicles:

Lisa Carolyn Moran, 20, a University of North Carolina exchange student from Scotland, was listening to an iPod while jogging when she stepped into the path of a bus in Chapel Hill last May. Joshua Phillips White, 16, was wearing earphones and walking on a train track in Cramerton, N.C., last November when a freight train hit him from behind, killing him; police said he apparently didn’t hear the locomotive approaching. Alan Eaton-Chandler, 17, was killed under the same circumstances just last Tuesday when he was hit by an Amtrak train in Comstock Township, Mich. And Vicky Baker, 39, was talking on her cell phone when she was struck and killed by a train in Albertville, Ala., in December.

There’s more than one lesson here:

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Report from the Front Lines (II): Much Will Be Demanded

Rachel is a missionary in Tanzania who after reading Our Father’s World sent the following plea to her friends and supporting church back ‘home’ in the US.  She’s given me permission to share this with you:

The time I’ve spent living in Tanzania has helped me to appreciate many things that I used to take for granted.  58% of the population of Tanzania lives on less than $1 per day. Although I often don’t feel rich, I am very rich by comparison. Many things (running water, washing machines and dryers, cars, electricity, refrigerators, ovens, microwaves and computers for example) that Americans expect and accept as the norm simply aren’t an option for the majority of Tanzanians, or the rest of the world. Continue reading

Report from the Front Lines (I): Drought, hunger & possible famine in Kenya

Our organization, Care of Creation, has staff and projects in Kenya.  Craig Sorley, Care of Creation staff member and Director of Care of Creation-Kenya, our local organization in that country, recently sent us the following report.  Warning:  This is not for the faint of heart.

Right now in Kenya the gov’t has estimated that a full 25% of the population (10 million) is facing major food shortages, with famine looming right around the corner for many.  This is partly due to the poor harvests in 2008 from the election problems and the political unrest that ensued, and partly due to another drought that we”re facing.  You may recall the last major drought was in 2006. Continue reading

Musings on the Metro

Washington Metro (courtesy of Wikipedia)

I was at the Inauguration last week.  Braved the cold and the crowds and witnessed history – up close.  It wasn’t easy getting there, but it was worth the trip.  I’m glad I went.  Lots of others have already used up a lot of ink and bandwidth dealing with the event, its symbolisms and import for the future, so I’m not going to go there.  Rather, my mind has been occupied with more mundane matters:

What happens when a really good transportation system is asked to carry many times more people than it has ever done before? Continue reading

The Environmentalist’s Dilemma

The following column, by me,  appears in the January 8, 2009 Wisconsin State Journal:

The present economic crisis poses a dilemma for me.

I’m an environmentalist. And I know that a great deal of the blame for the environmental crisis has to be placed squarely on our culture’s addiction to material goods.

We buy more stuff than we need, we throw out stuff that is perfectly good to replace it with other stuff, and in the process we’re trashing the planet, using up scarce energy resources, and pumping billions of tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, forever changing the future for our children and grandchildren.

People like me should be celebrating the current economic slowdown.

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