Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Possible Side Effects

"We are only aware
Of what we are aware of"

The climbing season in the Himalayas (as opposed to summer on Waiheke above), is a short window at this time of year where those with enough skill, or in many cases enough money, pride themselves on the achievements (which are indeed significant) of scaling the worlds highest peaks. Having spent time in Nepal and the Himalayas on a number of occasions, I have seen first hand what these expeditions involve. For myself, the base camp at Annapurna was plenty close enough to feel part of the mystery and majesty that isthe "roof of the world". For others though, nothing but scaling Everest will do, and many records have been set already this year including oldest, youngest, first for this country or that etc etc, and of course the double amputee from New Zealand. But by far the most heated debate has been about what to do in the "death zone" when a colleague is stopped mid-climb due to the severe lack of oxygen. A general rule I have heard before from many climbers is, that if you can't walk, you are left behind. The general premise being that it is too difficult to keep oneself alive, let alone anyone else. This is sport?

Anyway, as this article describes on MSNBC, and again in the Guardian, one climber that was left behind and managed to make it back to base camp alive after spending a night out alone on the mountain, a feat that has been accomplished before, but normally has fatal consequences. In fact, this is turning out to be the deadliest climbing season since the 1996 disasters described in Jon Krakauer's book Into Thin Air. The most likely reason being the combination of increased numbers as well as inexperienced "climbers" pushing beyond their limits in order to make another mark in their resume...

NPR has had a very good series on the Future of Fuel that are available as downloadable podcasts on their site, and I have posted about a couple of them, most notably (so far) was the report on cellulosic ethanol. Worth a look.

Bono keeps on highlighting what many choose to forget with his amazing run of influential and worthwhile jaunts to Africa, first to relieve debt and now to foster trade. Celebrity is not a station I find very useful in our cultures, and it is good to see in this case the opposite is true.

In the geekzone, not only is software available for your phone that, after a quick scan of the barcode will compare all local prices for you online while you are at the supermarket; but now if you gotta know something that others in your network may know, it is possible to search amongst friends and get that instant answer. Clever, but really necessary? And will you pay for it?

And last, but certainly not least, the alternative health care stories that won't go away, and most likely because they work. The Guardian has had a series on how the NHS in Britain despite objections still fund certain therapies (again, probably because they work), and has a few words on both homoeopathy and crystals, just in case you have an ailment that stand up to any more side effects..


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