All posts for the month May, 2010
Posted by Yalda Afshar on May 31, 2010
A resource-filled, rich, FREE, and open-source guide to support the medical profession in their care of women – made possible by over 750 expert clinicians who are generously providing their contributions without any remuneration and by the publishers who have paid personally for the creation of this site in the memory of their daughter.
Useful for the provider and patient.
Posted by Yalda Afshar on May 29, 2010
This being human is a guest house
[Mowlana Jalaluddin Rumi]
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
Posted by Yalda Afshar on May 27, 2010
iranian filmmaker, kiana firouz, is a lesbian LGBT activist seeking asylum following her film Cul de Sac
Her letter published on the blog LGBT Asylum News, Firouz writes:
I, Kiana Firouz, an Iranian Lesbian, born in 1983 in Tehran/Iran, have sought asylum in the U.K but my application was turned down by the Home Office, despite accepting the fact that I am a lesbian. I accordingly submitted my appeal which was dismissed incredibly by the adjudicator. According to my solicitor’s point of view there is a little chance to grant a permission to appeal against the adjudicator’s decision. It means that I will face with deportation soon.
Homosexuality in Iran is a sin and offence which is subject to harsh punishment. According to the Islamic law, repeatation of this offence will be punished by death. The punishment for lesbianism involving persons who are mature, of sound mind, and consenting, is 100 lashes. If the act is repeated three times and punishment is enforced each time, the death sentence will apply on the fourth occasion. (Articles 127, 129, 130 penal code) The ways of proving lesbianism in court are the same as for male homosexuality. (Article 128)
1. Petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/kianaf/petition.html
2. Send e-mails to the British Home Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) requesting that Kiana receive refugee status as soon as possible, in support of a global fight against homophobia and repression of gays and lesbians.
Posted by Yalda Afshar on May 25, 2010
Peter A. Bosa, David Terburga, and Jack van Honka
Edited by Bruce S. McEwen, The Rockefeller University, New York, NY, and approved April 23, 2010 (received for review October 9, 2009)
Trust plays an important role in the formation and maintenance of human social relationships. But trusting others is associated with a cost, given the prevalence of cheaters and deceivers in human society. Recent research has shown that the peptide hormone oxytocin increases trust in humans. However, oxytocin also makes individuals susceptible to betrayal, because under influence of oxytocin, subjects perseverate in giving trust to others they know are untrustworthy. Testosterone, a steroid hormone associated with competition and dominance, is often viewed as an inhibitor of sociality, and may have antagonistic properties with oxytocin. The following experiment tests this possibility in a placebo-controlled, within-subjects design involving the administration of testosterone to 24 female subjects. We show that compared with the placebo, testosterone significantly decreases interpersonal trust, and, as further analyses established, this effect is determined by those who give trust easily. We suggest that testosterone adaptively increases social vigilance in these trusting individuals to better prepare them for competition over status and valued resources. In conclusion, our data provide unique insights into the hormonal regulation of human sociality by showing that testosterone downregulates interpersonal trust in an adaptive manner.
from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Posted by Yalda Afshar on May 24, 2010
papers please (talib kweli). word.
Posted by Yalda Afshar on May 22, 2010
Supporters of Antanas Mockus, a presidential candidate from Colombia’s Green Party, listened to him speak during a campaign stop in Cucuta, Colombia.
By SIMON ROMERO
BOGOTÁ, Colombia — Given the staid nature of the political establishment in Colombia, Washington’s top ally in the region, and the broad popularity of President Álvaro Uribe, it seemed a foregone conclusion to many here that his heir apparent would clinch the presidency in the coming elections without too much of a struggle.
So imagine the surprise when Juan Manuel Santos, a former defense minister and the architect of some of Mr. Uribe’s crushing blows against leftist guerrillas, found himself trailing in recent national polls to a quirky, unpredictable mathematician who murmurs in French about arcane philosophical concepts and wears a chinstrap beard with the air of a latter-day Thoreau.
The surge of this candidate, Antanas Mockus, who served two very colorful terms as Bogotá’s mayor, has made for one of Latin America’s most exceptional presidential races in recent memory, pitting an insurgent intellectual against an establishment that suddenly finds itself on the defensive.
While Mr. Uribe is still admired after making inroads against guerrillas and overseeing a decline in crimes like murders and kidnappings, many voters are weary of the scandals involving his intelligence agency and his supporters’ ties to right-wing paramilitary groups. The specter of violence is also returning, with homicides climbing 16 percent in 2009, possibly affecting Mr. Uribe’s legacy.
Hoping to take advantage of this, Mr. Mockus’s Green Party has campaigned on a platform of social inclusion, battling corruption and finding alternative methods to fight crime, appealing to the many voters who want to focus on issues other than the slow-burning war against cocaine-trafficking rebel groups.
“There’s fatigue with Uribe’s governing style and that of previous governments, as well,” said Elisabeth Ungar, a political scholar at the University of the Andes. “There’s also the expectation that Mockus would focus on a range of social issues, building on his experience as one of the best mayors that Bogotá has had.”
Polls show that the two candidates are likely to face off in a second round of voting after elections on May 30, with some strategists here even suggesting that Mr. Mockus’s momentum could secure him a first-round victory.
The political machine supporting his main rival, Mr. Santos, still makes a victory by Mr. Mockus, who finished with less than 2 percent of the vote in the last election, a big hill to climb. Mr. Mockus commands greater support among prosperous city dwellers than among the poor in the countryside, and polls that focus on cities might be skewing results in his favor. Still, the emergence of Mr. Mockus may signal a major political shift here.
In an interview at his modest home in a middle-class neighborhood this week, Mr. Mockus attributed his frugal campaign’s vibrancy to its obsession with eradicating impunity among public officials.
But while his critics often paint him as an effete intellectual, the mixture of influences that have characterized Mr. Mockus since his venture into mayoral politics in the 1990s makes him ideologically complicated, a trait he both acknowledges and embraces. Dressed in a pinstriped suit, he came across more as an intensely ambitious politician than a university official once known for riding his bicycle to work.
“I’m battling for the integration of ideas from the left and right,” he said, explaining that he was in favor of higher tax collection and a strong government role in society, while also advocating the closing of inefficient state enterprises, cutting the public payroll and supporting private industry.
Mr. Mockus, the only son of Lithuanian immigrants, lit up when he discussed the roots of his ideas. He studied mathematics in France, and said two brief stints at Harvard had reinforced his admiration of the United States and the importance of ties between Bogotá and Washington.
His opponent, Mr. Santos, is well regarded in Washington, but his close ties to Mr. Uribe’s record could be also be a liability on human rights issues, given the scandal over the Colombian Army’s killing of poor civilians and falsely labeling them as guerrillas to inflate combat-kill statistics.
“Mockus wouldn’t have that problem, and the word that is spreading about him is that, if elected, he would be a responsible steward of Colombia’s security and economy,” said Michael Shifter, the president of the policy study group Inter-American Dialogue. He argued that a Mockus presidency might actually boost chances of approval of the United States’ trade deal with Colombia that was stalled by Congressional Democrats over human rights concerns.
Responsible is not always the first word that comes to people’s minds here about Mr. Mockus. He became well known in 1993 after dropping his trousers and mooning an auditorium of unruly students, forcing him to resign as rector of the National University.
“Innovative behavior can be useful when you run out of words,” Mr. Mockus said of the uproar that followed, explaining that he viewed the episode within the concept of French philosopher Pierre Bourdieu’s “symbolic violence.”
He leveraged the publicity from that episode to run for mayor of Bogotá, a city then on the verge of chaos. In two terms, Mr. Mockus merged lofty political theory with projects to improve quality of life here and got attention by dressing up, with a hint of self-mockery, in a superhero costume as “Supercitizen.”
Beyond that, he used mimes to mock scofflaw pedestrians, held disarmament days for people to turn in guns and even asked people to pay more in voluntary taxes. To nearly everyone’s surprise, some 63,000 people did.
Yet even here in Bogotá, where fear persists over the resilient insurgency in the countryside, some question whether Colombia is ready for Mr. Mockus, despite his pledge that he would maintain Mr. Uribe’s security policies.
“Mockus might be a good president for a country of angels,” said Arturo Ochoa, 63, a retiree. “But what Colombia needs is a leader with a strong hand.”
Others disagree, including many in the growing crowds at campaign stops. “All I want is a less corrupt country with more education opportunities for my children,” said Luz Amaya, 30, a hair stylist, at a Mockus rally here. “With Mockus, respect for the law would finally become Colombia’s priority.”
Jenny Carolina González contributed reporting
A version of this article appeared in print on May 8, 2010, on page A8 of the New York edition.
Posted by Yalda Afshar on May 19, 2010