Good News From Gaza
There are signs of hope trickling in from Gaza. Some say this rump state may have the world's fastest growing economy (though its base point was not very high). There are signs that Fatah and Hamas may agree to an Egyptian proposal aimed at reconciliation between the two groups. Palestinian leaders backed away from seeking war crimes charges in the United Nations against Israel (under American pressure, no doubt). And the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for video footage of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, whose 2006 capture helped spark war in the region, is a positive sign.
These baby steps are not insignificant. The peace process there is still the elephant in the room, wherever Arab diplomats meet to discuss what to do about Israel, Iran, and other vexing issues. The settlement debate has received the most attention, and Israel's apparent thumbing of its nose at the Obama administration, but there is real progress being made on other fronts.
Obama has backed away from calls for a settlement "freeze" (and instead called for "restraint"). That is an unwelcome sign. Yet while Netanyahu government is trying to create a new set of facts on the ground, from which to work from when all the parties hammer out peace, the bigger threat is that Afghanistan will suck up all of Obama's time, attention, and energy and the Middle East peace process will get shelved. The other thing to watch is that whenever progress is made in the region and peace appears on the (admittedly distant) horizon, a spoiler will appear who is intent on wrecking the process.
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Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this happens in the pharmaceutical world, certain companies stay at the top of the ladder, through broadly-protected patents, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation — "tweaks" — the same as product invention.
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