Thursday, April 12, 2007

TIME ON MY HANDS

This morning my 45 minute commute took two solid hours. That means I had some time on my hands and a Chicago Tribune burning a hole in my bag, so you get a blog entry.

Kurt Vonnegut passed away yesterday. That is too bad. He was a great author, and had real insight. If you are unfamiliar with his work, check out Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, or God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, among others.

Today's Chicago Tribune had two interesting articles this morning. First, there is a court case in the Southern District of New York called Bigio v. Coca-Cola. The case has helped highlight the history of Sephardic Jews after 1948. Sephardic Jews are technically formerly Spanish/Portugese Jews, but the term can also be used for Jews not from Germany, Austria, or Eastern Europe. Practically, these are Jews who left Spain and Portugal in 1490s (under extreme duress) and settled in Muslim lands. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, almost a million of these people fled from Morocco, Iraq, Egypt, and other Muslim countries. However, because these people have generally been quite successful, their status as sort of a counterbalance to the Palestinian refugees displaced in 1948 (and later) has been lost. Good article.

The second article is about traffic in New Delhi. Apparently driving in New Delhi is insane, and fines were typically in the $2 range. They have raised the fines by a factor of six, which is significant in a poor country. Anyway, blah blah blah, except for this tidbit: "In a city where the Indian Institute of Road Traffic Education estimates the number of daily traffic offenses at 146 million, enforcement is a challenge." 146 million traffic violations a DAY?!?! My God. That means that drivers, when given equal options, must opt to violate the law whenever possible! That's impressive.

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