an evening out 2008
Sad news from Kenya 2008
It can be easy to forget events taking place far away when you don't know anyone there, but that's changing for me and plenty of other people living in comfortable, safe places. I've now made Kiva loans to people in 15 countries around the world and there's a face behind news of war or turmoil.
My thoughts are with Samwel Kagotho of Nakuru and Florence Olango of Kisumu and I hope they're safe.
The news from Ebony Foundation, the local partner for Kiva, is grim:
Dear Kiva Lenders,
I wish to thank you for your continued concern and support during this very difficult moment in Kenya’s history. We have been a peaceful Country in a generally troubled region and people sort of took the peace for granted.
The country is now battered almost to a pulp and blood spilt with vengeance, senseless killings and wanton destruction. Markets, food stores and shops have been looted. Hospitals are dysfunctional and health centers incapacitated by riots and barricades. The violence, death and destruction witnessed in the Country for the last couple weeks has jolted the Nation into conscience and every body is now craving normalcy.
While peace is slowly returning to all affected parts of the Country, the impact of the riots has been devastating. Hundreds of people have been killed turning thousands of innocent children into helpless orphans and over one million people have been displaced, becoming internal refugees over night.
The impact of the riots is most felt in the micro and small business sector. Over 1 million small businesses were looted and or burnt down destroying the only source of income to millions of Kenyans. Most of the fighting and destruction occurred in slum areas in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Kericho in Rift Valley. These regions are home to over 70% of Ebony Foundation’s clients and as you can imagine almost all of our clients in these regions have been affected by the riots. Only one region- (Mount Kenya) which is home to about 20% of EbF’s clients was spared the violence. The economy in this safe region is now getting stretched as the residents have to now house the displaced population.
We have recently completed auditing the riot’s impact on our clients and as of yesterday about 4,900 of our clients had been badly affected by the riots:
-- About 1,532 of our clients were displaced and both their homes and business premises burnt down. This population is currently housed in church compounds and police stations.
-- Another 2,479 clients had their business premises burnt down or looted leaving them with no source of income at all.
-- 833 clients had their homes looted or burnt down and about 56 clients are missing and feared dead or critically injured.
The outpouring of support and willingness to forgive current loans and loan again in the region once it stabilizes in the comment thread on Kiva brought me to tears.
War and other violence are so horribly destructive. Never believe that war is good for any economy, even the American one. (Read more about that particular misguided notion in H.A. Scott Trask's Ten Recurring Economic Fallacies, 1774–2004 to which Jason Kottke recently provided a timely link).
I fervently hope that serious things like microfinance and wonderful silly little things like Flickr comments can continue to help to build the connections which break down the kind of mental distance that allows war and violence.
I don't know if I would attend CES again. If any of you have wondered, as I did last year, whether or not you should go, ask yourself this:
How much do I like flatscreen televisions?
Back from Philadelphia, and time for more links 2008
Food & Drink
First a couple restaurant recommendations in Philadelpia: James and El Vez. Great food, great service, two totally different styles. Alas, did not make it to Southwark, so it'll have to wait for another trip.
I enjoyed this useful summation of the U.S. presidential candidates' views on science, particularly evolution: Evolutionary Politics: Why we should care what candidates think about biological evolution by Ronald Bailey. This includes a most entertaining (and pleasing) quote from Senator Mike Gravel.
Here's a nice overview of the kind of information we're getting from National Geographic's Genographic Project, Dr. Spencer Wells in Vanity Fair's Africa issue with an article called Out of Africa. You can also click through from this linked page to a short video on four different people's results in the Genographic Project after having been found by Dr. Wells in Grand Central station.
Sure, the new MacBook Air is nice, but I'd much rather map my entire genetic information and then have a multi-hundred dollar start on a health savings account to use toward preventative care for anything problematic it reveals. Here's an article on that kind of mapping along with a Wired Science video interview with Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki, co-founders of 23 And Me personal genome service. And here's a New York Times article on gene mapping by Amy Harmon, My Genome, Myself: Seeking clues in DNA.
The lovely and talented Miss Varla Jean Merman will be performing her show Loves A Foreign Tongue at the soon-to-close Empire Plush Room here in San Francisco January 24-26th and Jan 31st-Feb 2nd.
What a wonderfully diverse day off I'm having! Thanks to friends for links & recommendations.
The birthplace of America 2008
My dear friend Robert captures the beauty of our evening: "Sometimes seeing the world through the misty windows of a Lebanese cab driver’s window is exactly what you need to see how good life really is."
Add I Love This World to your blogroll or RSS reader; you deserve the best in life.
Holy crap, MORE links! 2008
The internets are full of neat things, I tell ya. Here, watch me.
First, tasty tasty science:
New York Times article on Greenland, ice melt, sea levels, coastline change and time. I am not buying waterfront property.
60-Second Science's year-end episode Another Ellipse Around The Sun was quite pleasing.
How about a delicious cocktail or three after all that science?
Three in one with Chris McMillian of New Orleans' episode on the Brandy Alexander and its siblings.
And lastly a book to recommend:
Did I tell you how great Annalee Newitz's book Pretend We're Dead: Capitalist Monsters In American Pop Culture is? Well, I loved it. Good, solid academic writing; serious horror movie fan geek cred. Perfect balance on an unlikely razor edge.
There ain't no use in dyin' 'fore yer time. Lots of folks is walkin' 'round jes' as dead as they'll ever be.
--Alice Caldwell Rice
(My fabulous Uncle Larry is an apparently never-ending source of great quotations!)
A Kottkesque frenzy of links 2008
Oh so many things to link for you today!
I've only read a couple posts but already I know that I can highly recommend The French Laundry At Home. Carol cooks Keller - the entire book - at home and the results are great. Good photography and witty writing. Start here with Gazpacho with Balsamic Glaze. (PNord, you should be all over this one!)
Bento fans and parents will dig Lunch In A Box by Biggie.
Lovely apple garnish here on the Angel Face Cocktail as made by Erik of the blog Underhill-Lounge.
Brilliant Cocktails is a nice video blog from bartender Chris Doig of Copenhagen. Must watch episodes: The Manhattan and The Old-Fashioned. Also recommended: The Cosmopolitan, The Margarita, The Sazerac, The Espresso Martini and The Cucumber Fizz/Collins. Unfortunately no new posts since last August, but a good body of work while it was active.
The friendly home host viewpoint is nicely provided by Steve & Paul of Cocktail Buzz. I like their low-key style and the way they do food pairings for each drink. Check out their episode The Vesper paired with Warmed Olives.
Though the delivery style of Alberta Straub of the video podcast Cocktails on the Fly and her chunky salad drinks can put me off, sometimes we agree and her episode on bitters is one of those times. I also confess to a desire to try her recipe for The White Russian which looks fantastic. Her Citrus Sugar and The Mary Ann With Ginger are also on my to-try list. (However, I will give my opposing viewpoint on two things: don't hit your shaker against the counter to loosen your glass, use the heel of your hand on the side of the metal shaker in the direction the mixing glass is already leaning (illustrated by Robert "Drinkboy" Hess in his bar tools & Caiparinha episode of The Cocktail Spirit), and don't sugar the rim of a glass on the inside edge).
Buzz put up his guide to his favorites in New York City and mentioned in Twitter an addendum to the Cocktail Bars section: Employees Only.
All the video podcasts above can be subscribed to through iTunes except Robert Hess' The Cocktail Spirit.