10 October 2014


I disagree with this article about Ebola and I agree with Obama.  We do know how to fight Ebola.  The question is when the wealthy countries of the world will finally get scared enough to commit the necessary resources to make it possible to fight it. It's too bad we missed the opportunity to stop it when it was much less of a problem in western Africa and that we're getting distracted by possible cases outside Africa that won't cause major problems.

English and French are the only world languages.  Mandarin, Spanish, Russian, and Arabic are major regional languages and are only useful in small parts of the world.  You can talk to lots of people in those areas, but once you get out of them, they're not so useful.

Also, Mandarin, Russian, and Arabic are extremely unlikely to become world languages because few people outside their regions learn them as second languages and they don't use the Latin alphabet which is a major disadvantage.  Learn any or all of these if you want to, but don't try to tell me that anything besides English and, to a lesser extent, French are world languages.

I do care about the numbering of conference sessions, and no, I didn't just notice this recently (and I get tired of the argument that people are only getting upset because someone points out the problem). Now that we have a comparable meeting for women, I especially can't understand why it isn't counted as a session when the official meeting for men is.

I've been reading about Saudi, of course.  There's a lot to say there, but here's one thing I need to say.  Some people have suggested that women and men should have separate floors around the Ka'aba because of the potential for sexual assault.  Leaving aside the giant problem of women having to worry about sexual assault during the Hajj, I am very irritated by the argument that women should be placed further from the Ka'aba for their protection.  If men are the ones behaving badly enough to make separation necessary, then let the women have the preferred floors.  If this this not acceptable, then do something to fix the men's behavior.  The worst solution to the problem is to isolate the women who have done nothing wrong.

Too often it seems that we end up isolating and demeaning in the name of protection.


  1. Re: Saudi reading, you should try Girls of Riyadh. I only read it because I edited an MA thesis about it, but I learned some things. Not that everything in the book is realistic, of course, but reading it and then about the controversy surrounding it gave an interesting insight into the culture.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion.