Tag Archives: Africa

Nigeria aims for manned space

The new colonial movement: Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology said this week that his country hopes to launch its first astronaut by 2030.

No details at all were provided, but it appears from the article that the focus here is to establish a bureaucracy, not design rockets or spaceships. I suspect they might be planning to pay a private company to put a Nigerian in space, but use this to justify creating a space agency that can be used as a vessel to provide jobs for all their friends.

The elephants of Bushcamp Company’s Mfuwe Lodge

An evening pause: As the youtube website explains, “This is perhaps the only hotel in the world where you may need to make way for passing elephants when checking in. During the month of November, a small herd of pachyderms nonchalantly tromps through reception on their way to a wild mango tree.”

Hat tip Danae.

Obama quarantines American soldiers in Africa but not Africans

Incompetence: Even as the Obama administration refuses to consider any real travel restrictions for African citizens of ebola-ravaged countries, it has ordered military officials to quarantine American troops in Africa for up to 21 days if they suspect they might have ebola.

According to CNN, “Commanders also will be given the authority to isolate their entire unit in the region for the final 10 days of a deployment if necessary. All troops will be monitored for 21 days after returning from the mission.”

Currently, citizens of Ebola outbreak countries are required to self-report their possible exposure. The “honor system” of self-reporting was violated by Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was the first to be diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., when he did not voluntarily disclose that he’d carried a pregnant woman in the throes of Ebola.

The restrictions for American troops actually does make sense. The lack of restrictions for Africans, however, is the height of blindness.

A blue flask of viruses

The story of the discovery of Ebola.

The next day—September 29—the package arrived: a cheap plastic thermos flask, shiny and blue. I settled down with Guido Van Der Groen—a shy, funny, fellow Belgian aged about thirty, a few years older than I—and René Delgadillo, a Bolivian postdoc student, to open it up on the lab bench. Nowadays it makes me wince just to think of it. Sure, we were wearing latex gloves—our boss insisted on gloves in the lab but we used no other precautions, no suits or masks of any kind.

We didn’t even imagine the risk we were taking. Indeed, shipping those blood samples in a simple thermos, without any kind of precautions, was an incredibly perilous act. Maybe the world was a simpler, more innocent place in those days, or maybe it was just a lot more reckless.

Unscrewing the thermos, we found a soup of half-melted ice: it was clear that subzero temperatures had not been constantly maintained. And the thermos itself had taken a few knocks, too. One of the test tubes was intact, but there were pieces of a broken tube—its lethal content now mixed up with the ice water—as well as a handwritten note, whose ink had partially bled away into the icy wet.

Read it all. The excerpt is from a book length memoir that looks to me to be a very worthwhile read.

Obama’s two children were listed as “Senior Staff” for a Michelle Obama trip to Africa that cost at least $424K.

Nice work if you can get it: Obama’s two children were listed as “Senior Staff” for a Michelle Obama trip to Africa that cost at least $424K.

Michelle’s mother and her niece and nephew were also on this nice little vacation, paid for by the taxpayer.

New results show that the effectiveness of a new malaria vaccine fades after a period of years.

New results show that the effectiveness of a new malaria vaccine fades after a period of years.

The vaccine is expensive, but its use does seem to reduce the number of children who get malaria. The problem thus will be to balance cost with effectiveness, which is never an easy thing to do.

One of the major backers has pulled out of a solar energy power plant plan for Africa and the Middle East.

One of the major backers has pulled out of a solar energy power plant plan for Africa and the Middle East.

“We see our part in Dii as done,” says spokesman Torsten Wolf of Siemens, one of 13 founding partners of the consortium, which is also based in Munich. Siemens also said that it will pull out of the solar-energy business altogether. Its decision was made in response to falling government subsidies for solar energy and a collapse in the price of solar equipment. But to DESERTEC’S critics, Siemens’ exit also adds to doubts about the plan, which is expected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars. “DESERTEC is an ambitious attempt to do every­thing at once,” says Jenny Chase, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Zurich, Switzerland. “I think it’s something that will be achieved organically, bit by bit, which will probably be cheaper, easier and achieve the same results.” [emphasis mine]

The cited reasons suggest some fundamental problems with this particular project. That Siemens is abandoning the solar energy entirely, citing the lose of government subsidies as one reason, also suggests there is something fundamental wrong with the industry itself.

Then again, it could be just like the new commercial space industry. Some companies are willing to take the risks to make the money even without subsidies, while others are not.

The Moral High Ground

The moral high ground.

The Left has fought the spread of genetically modified (GM) foods with every weapon in its arsenal. Leftists did this in the name of combating a long list of “potential risks” that never materialized. They have been permitted to overlook the fact that their assaults on GM food were not cost free. For instance, they have greatly delayed and in some places stopped cold the use of rice modified to increase vitamin A content. For the Left this is cause for celebration. In fact, widespread use of this “golden rice” would have prevented a half-million cases of child blindness a year. So the next time someone talks to you about the evils of genetically modified foods, remind him of the millions of poor children this crusade has condemned to a lifetime of blindness. How do folks prepared to allow millions to needlessly go blind still command the respect of any truly moral person?

And that’s only the start. Read the whole thing.