April 28, 2008
Speaking of full democracy
“We cannot speak of full democracy when people are not able to participate and benefit from it because their health is threatened and all energy is focused on mere survival,” said Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, speaking as the Emory Global Health Institute’s first Distinguished Visiting Fellow.
A current member of Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, Madlala-Routledge has led efforts to stem the HIV/AIDS epidemic and to promote peacekeeping as the primary role for South Africa’s military.
Referring to former president Nelson Mandela, Madlala-Routledge said, “He urged us as parliamentarians, to remain true to the cause of serving our people.” — Robin Tricoles
Supernova debris rocked our world
Why should the average earthling care about how our solar system was formed? “This is the story of how we got here and, it turns out, we are very much children of that process,” explained Jeff Hester, an astronomer from Arizona State University, at a recent physics colloquium.
When a supernova exploded to form our solar system, it ejected “shrapnel” of aluminum-26, he said, adding that the heat from this radioactive isotope had a big impact on Earth’s evolution, due to the “happenstance” of our planet’s location.
“If it were not for all of the aluminum-26 in the early solar system,” Hester said, “Earth would have more water than it does. The oceans would be many kilometers deeper and there would be no land.” — Carol Clark
Golden times back for Taiwan?
Taiwan’s March 22 national elections turned it from a “carnivorous dragon” to a “vegetarian panda,” said Lien Chan, former vice president of the Republic of China (Taiwan), at a lecture sponsored by the Halle Institute and the East Asian Studies Program.
The election, Lien said, is a victory for the U.S. and China because Taiwan was “hurt enormously” by its self-imposed isolation, stalled democratization and lack of relationship with the mainland.
For the past eight years, Lien said, the ruling political party aggressively advocated independence from China, which caused an economic downturn and mistaken interpretation of U.S. support.
Lien looks to a return to the eight golden years, from 1992, wherein a consensus with China made Taiwan peaceful, prosperous. — Leslie King