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Columbian library "Biblioburro" with 4800 books and 10 legs - schoolteacher brings books to villagers on 2 donkeys
In a ritual repeated nearly every weekend for the past decade here in Colombia’s war-weary Caribbean hinterland, Luis Soriano gathered his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, in front of his home on a recent Saturday afternoon. Sweating already under the unforgiving sun, he strapped pouches with the word “Biblioburro” painted in blue letters to the donkeys’ backs and loaded them with an eclectic cargo of books destined for people living in the small villages beyond.
“I started out with 70 books, and now I have a collection of more than 4,800,” said Mr. Soriano, 36, a primary school teacher who lives in a small house here with his wife and three children, with books piled to the ceilings. “This began as a necessity; then it became an obligation; and after that a custom,” he explained, squinting at the hills undulating into the horizon. “Now,” he said, “it is an institution.”
Any bailouts for the hungry? Financial meltdown both worsens and overshadows global food crisis as prices rise
Wealthy nations are reneging on commitments to help feed the world's hungry and may cite the banking crisis as a reason why they cannot do more, former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told an international conference on combating starvation. Annan's address emphasized that 10,000 children in the Third World would die from malnutrition on World Food Day alone - and this should be viewed as great a tragedy as the collapse of a bank. "The financial crisis deserves urgent attention and focus. But so does the question of hunger. Millions (this year) are liable to die. Is that any less urgent?" Annan told journalists at the Fighting Hunger conference attended by 200 foreign-aid experts from Europe, Africa and the United States.
Canola-oil-powered, 72-mph/70-mpg car wins alternative-fuel race from Berkeley to Vegas, over 800 miles & 3 days
Wayne Keith, a hay farmer from Springville, Ala. (population 3,000), pulled into Berkeley last week driving a lime-green pickup truck that runs mostly on wood chips but sometimes cow dung, too. Keith, who wore dirt-flecked overalls and a trucker's cap, was in town to compete in the first Escape from Berkeley race, a kind of mini Cannonball Run to Las Vegas for drivers of vehicles that run on anything but petroleum. Two other racers relied on vegetable oil, one on alcohol and one on steam power to run his carriage (mostly for show; after a few miles, it was put on a trailer to traverse some of the dicier terrain).
The next Silicon Valley? A look at 6 technology launching pads across the US, from Pacific Northwest to Virginia
With Microsoft's Redmond headquarters just five miles from downtown, Bellevue attracts a wealth of talented software engineers. (Hitachi and Sun Microsystems also have facilities in the area). The city hosts a number of successful startups, such as Expedia.com, dreamt up by former Microsoft employees, as well as a growing community of videogame developers. Other thriving local industries include telecommunications and wireless technology. For these industries, one of the city's main attractions is investment firm Trilogy Equity Partners, which was co-founded by John Stanton, Western Wireless founder and former CEO of T-Mobile USA, also based in Bellevue.
Some people call it Silicon Forest. That's because the Portland metropolitan area has done an impressive job of attracting entrepreneurial tech talent, thanks in part to the presence of Tektronix, IBM and Intel. In fact, many of the city's computer-technology companies were started by former employees of these tech giants, focusing on areas such as open-source and educational software. But Portland isn't just about computer technology. Over the years, the city has earned a reputation for progressive energy policies, attracting a large sustainable-technology community, as well as the U.S. headquarters of Vestas, the world's largest wind-turbine manufacturer. Support for the Portland tech scene comes from organizations such as Oregon InC, a state-funded venture dedicated to nurturing Oregon's innovation economy. read more »
Royal giggles and Google Doodle - Queen Elizabeth II visits Google's UK headquarters, view laughing baby video
LONDON (AP) - She sent her first e-mail in 1976. She has her own Web site. And on Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II uploaded video to YouTube during a visit to Google's British headquarters. The company celebrated the queen's visit by creating a special version of its google.co.uk home page, which featured a silhouette of her head as the second "G" and a regal crown atop the "E" in their logo.
The queen, 82, herself has a presence on YouTube - she launched the Royal Channel in December. There are 54 videos on the channel, which range from the Queen's 1957 Christmas message to a day in the life of Prince Charles. On Thursday, she uploaded archive footage to the channel of a 1969 reception at Buckingham Palace for British Olympians. The monarch has reigned since 1952. According to the Buckingham Palace Web site, the queen sent her first e-mail from a computer on an army base, well before the widespread use of the Internet.
Tipping point in Arctic meltdown; Inuit culture threatened by global warming, 181 Alaskan villages face erosion
This summer, for the first time, both the fabled Northwest Passage through the upper reaches of North America and the Northern Sea Route above Russia opened up, apart from drifting ice. Overall, the expanse of Arctic sea ice was the second smallest in the 30 years of monitoring (summer 2007 was the smallest), and that left an islandlike polar ice cap surrounded by open water. In just the past five years, summer ice has shrunk by more than 25 percent, and so has its average thickness. One consequence of this change is that much of the sun's heat formerly reflected back out to space by the ice sheets is now being absorbed, entrenching the warming process. The acceleration of the ice melt is outstripping earlier predictions of a basically ice-free Arctic summer by mid- or late century. NASA climate scientist H. Jay Zwally now anticipates that most of the Arctic will lose summer ice in only five to 10 years. "We appear to be going through a tipping point," he says.
Work of legendary portraitist Yousuf Karsh celebrated at Boston exhibit - Churchill, Hepburn, Picasso, and more
The work of the legendary portraitist is celebrated at a centenary exhibit at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Among the portraits -
Audrey Hepburn, 1956
"The French novelist Colette picked her out of a ballet lineup to play Gigi on stage, and her career was launched. When I photographed her in Hollywood and commented on her quality of sophisticated vulnerability, she told me of her harrowing experiences during the Second World War. Years later, in the Kremlin, Chairman Brezhnev agreed to sit for me only if I made him as beautiful as Audrey Hepburn."
Winston Churchill, 1941 read more »