Stay Up Late

There are a dozen or so LwC bloggers who are collectively participating in the upcoming Blogathon 2005 beginning Saturday, August 6th at 9:00 AM EST. The LwC community has chosen Doctors Without Borders as the charity for which we will blog.

We have setup a special blog for this event. And I am very excited about this blogathon. The participants on our team are literally from around the world. We have participants from the UK, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Canada and the US (coast to coast). In one way this makes it a bit easier on the individual participants, but it makes for a bit of a job for Clint who is organizing and scheduling the team. Nice work Clint!

I am making a personal plea to anyone who stumbles by this blog and happens to read this. If you are so moved, please consider donating to our cause by clicking on the banner in the top right (or here). You can make the donation in your name or anonymously. Whether you are able to donate or not, please pray for us that our blogging is edifying to all who read it throughout this event. Also, please do make it a point to stop by often throughout the event and let us know you’ve visited.

God bless!

Understanding

Heard on NPR this morning:

[paraphrase] A book falls to the surface of Mars. The Martians measure all aspects of the book; height, width, thickness, weight. They also measure the impression it made as it hit the surface as well as the angle and distance the book bounced. They are happy in their complete knowledge of this book.

Google Cool

OK, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard/read about Google Maps and the cool “Satellite” button that takes you to a satellite shot of the map location. And of course you heard about Google Earth which is a standalone application you can download and then

Fly from space to your neighborhood. Type in an address and zoom right in. Search for schools, parks, restaurants, and hotels. Get driving directions. Tilt and rotate the view to see 3D terrain and buildings. Save and share your searches and favorites. Even add your own annotations.

Well, in honor of the anniversary of the first lunar landing there is now Google Moon. Yep, no kidding, you can surf the moon. For something really cool, zoom all the way in [img]http://smilies.sofrayt.com/%5E/_950/wink.gif[/img]

The Note

The kids and I left about noon today and ran some errands, grabbed some lunch and stopped at the library. Returning home we found a note on the front door — a typical communication method around here. “Went to REX with Jan.” REX is one of the local hospitals and Jan is a close friend of my bride’s. OK, how exactly do I process this information? I went inside to get my cell phone that I had charging and therefore not with me on my travels. Sure enough there was the message from my bride. Apparently, her right arm went numb and she could not lift it. She eventually got ahold of Jan who took her over to the hospital. So, I head on over to the hospital myself. On the way Jan calls and tells me, “she is fine and they are going to be doing some tests. She wanted me to call you so you don’t worry.”

After a CT and some blood work, they rule out any kind of stroke and are recommending a neurologist. The doctors are thinking that a pinched nerve may be the cause. We’ll be calling the neurologists on Monday to see how quickly we can get an appointment.

So, what have we learned? Charge your cell phone overnight so it is ready to go with you the next day. Even if it takes just a little longer, leave a bit more detail in notes that include any reference to a hospital. Hospitals now take Visa and Mastercard. They even have those easily reconizable decals by the cash register. OK, they didn’t have a cash register, but they did have the stickers.

The New Heroes

You may have seen the recent documentary The New Heroes. If not, I recommend that you check your local PBS listings. There are four episodes each with the stories of three different social entrepreneurs. The documentary is funded in large part by The Skoll Foundation. This is one of the philanthropic endeavors of Jeff Skoll of eBay fame (here is a Times article with some additional information regarding Skoll’s activities).

The episode I watched introduced me to Kailash Satyarthi . Once an electrical engineer, he now dedicates his life to “…helping the millions of children in India who are forced into slavery by powerful and corrupt business- and land-owners. His original idea was daring and dangerous. He decided to mount raids on factories — factories frequently manned by armed guards — where children and often entire families were held captive as bonded workers.” His projects include: Global March Against Child Labor, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS) and Rugmark.

Then there is Mimi Silbert who founded Delancey Street Foundation. Her vision was to “develop a new model to turn around the lives of substance abusers, former felons, and others who have hit bottom by empowering the people with the problems to become their own solution.” Delancey Street residents spend an average of four years (two minimum) gaining an “academic education, three marketable skills, accountability and responsibility, dignity, and integrity.” Over the past thirty years they have “graduated over 14,000 people from America’s underclass into society as successful taxpaying citizens leading decent legitimate and productive lives.” All of this, mind you, with “no government funding, and at no charge to the clients“.

The mission of the Delancey Street Foundation is to provide a structured educational and living environment in which men and women, most of whom are ex-felons and substance abusers, can learn the skills they need to rebuild their lives. The residents of Delancey live and work together, pooling all of their income earned through a variety of business schools. Using the principle of “each one, teach one”, the residents take responsibility for each other’s welfare and hold each other accountable for achieving the highest possible standards in everything they do. There is no professional staff since the residents teach each other. A core principle is that people learn best by doing, and so everyone is active, learning job skills, acquiring an education, and practicing new ways of living.

The third individual I was introduced to in this episode was Moses Zulu. Moses’ project is Development Aid from People to People in Zambia (Children’s Town) a “school project designed to address the plight of street children and other vulnerable children in giving them a chance to get off the streets, to get an education and turn their lives around into productive citizens.

The skills training program [at Children’s Town] is meant to establish a connection between classroom theory and real life. It aims to equip the children with the practical knowledge that will enable them to earn an income and become independent. The skills training is divided into 5 stages that prepare the children for more serious vocational training. In the end the children receive a Trade Tested Certificate. The practical training is conducted in the Children’s Town’s garden, farm, animal keeping units and shop.

These are three of the twelve social entrepreneurs introduced in this documentary, there are many more having an impact in many different areas of this globe. I found the presentation in this documentary both heartwarming and challenging. Heartwarming in that efforts are having an impact and challenging in that this entrepreneurial approach to addressing social ills seems the exception not the rule. I suspect this challenge is one that will not likely go away simply by cracking open the check book.

My Coming Out Post

For a long time I have thought of myself as a compassionate conservative. I thought such a label represented me quite well for a mere two words. Yesterday I followed [url=http://noiseromantic.lifewithchrist.org/]Lee’s[/url] lead and participated in a ahem highly scientific [url=http://www.digitalronin.f2s.com/politicalcompass/]online test[/url]. Imagine my surprise when I discover that my latent liberal tendancies are apparently surfacing. I’m now considering changing the theme of this blog to reflect my transition from compassionate conservative to reasoned liberal. Oh, but how am I gonna tell the family…?