Monday, February 26, 2007

The Great Garlic Hoax

Has been exposed. A randomized study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has found no evidence that garlic works any better than a placebo in reducing blood lipid concentrations (and more specifically, LDL cholesterol).

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Joost Gets Real



The Skype guys that founded Joost have struck a deal with Viacom that will likely enable the online TV service to broadcast MTV and Comedy Central, among others (can you say "Paramount Pictures and VH1"). This is an interesting development – a friendly agreement between content providers and an internet service – considering that YouTube is going down the Copyright violation tubes.

Joost is available only via a limited beta and plans to gives users free access to thousands of programs and channels not readily available on the Web.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

SAVING THE WORLD

Once upon a time, in the early 1960s...“¡Junta! ¡Junta! ¡Junta esta tarde!” I'm in El Chilcal, a settlement of fifty houses give or take, just over a half-hour horseback ride from San Pablo, Nariño, my Peace Corps site in the Colombian Andes. Together with Rick Jaspersen, my Peace Corps partner, and Aurelio Muñoz, our Colombian counterpart, we're going house to house, reminding folks there is a community meeting this afternoon. Most people are aware of the get-together and know it will be held in the new one-room schoolhouse, recently built and donated to the community by the National Coffee Federation.

El Chilcal is one of six settlements, or veredas, around San Pablo, where we're helping communities organize themselves and undertake local self-help projects. Officially, we work under the auspices of a new Colombian governmental agency, Acción Comunal (Community Action), but this is coffee-growing country, and as result, we get a lot of support from the Coffee Federation. Aurelio, in fact, is an employee of the Federation.

The Coffee Federation is a major presence in rural Colombia, providing agronomists, home-extension agents and other such services, and in many places, it is more powerful than the government. The Federation has money; the government has little.

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