Sunday, November 30, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I asked Jessica Long why she wasnt wearing her medals. I didnt hear her response, but she responded.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
A while back, NYTimes carried a story of a widely controversial practice involving some physicians at the
Today, the same congressman leading the inquiry into such behaviors, senator Charles E. Grassley, just uncovered another shady deal. One of the nations’ top psychiatrist Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff of Emory University failed to report that he earned more than $2.8 million from drug companies despite having signed papers and repeatedly vowing to the University authorities that he wouldn’t take anything more that $10, 000. From reading the article, it appears that Dr. Nemeroff had an electronic altercation with one of the deans at the school and it seems to me that he didn’t care much about what the dean had to say.
These articles appear in big time news agencies because they involve the big fish in the water. I wonder how many other such controversies are going on and not being caught by the mainstream networks because they involve the small fish in the ocean.
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, are required to reveal any outside sources of incomes. The NIH strictly prohibits such dealings that could bring about conflicts of interest and usually relies on respective schools for oversight. Most schools (like mine) usually have their researchers sign paperwork promising that they will refrain from conflict of interest acts.
I am sure these same doctors signed paperwork promising that they wouldn’t write favorable reviews about devices made by the same drug companies giving them hundreds of thousands of dollars in consultation fees. They must have also promised (on several occasions during their career development) that they wouldn’t vouch for unapproved drugs to be used to treat the patients they should be standing up for.
In reality, no one is really keeping an eye on any of these researchers. The schools usually expect their employees to follow a certain code of conduct and schools seldom check to verify voluntary disclosures when it comes to outside earnings. With current tight budgets and almost no grants being awarded by the government these days, drug companies are capitalizing on such with their bottomless resources.
In the wake of these findings of the Grassley-led inquiry, some drug companies including Eli Lily & Company and Merck & Company have announced that they will be publicly disclosing fees paid to physicians. Some states already have such requirements and it also seems that in the near future, it may be a federal requirement.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
With America facing historic debt, multiple war fronts, stumbling health care, a weakened dollar, all-time high prison population, skyrocketing Federal spending, mortgage crises, bank foreclosures, etc. etc., this is an unusually critical election year.
Let's look at the educational background of the candidates and see what they bring to the job:
Occidental College - Two years.
Columbia University - B.A. with a specialization in .
Harvard - (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
University of Delaware - B.A. in history and B.A. in .
Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)
United States Naval Academy - Class rank 894 out of 899 (meaning that, like , McCain was at the bottom of his class)
Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters -
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in journalism
Now, which team are you going to hire to lead the most influential nation in the world?
Sunday, September 7, 2008
I think Kham (my favorite cartoonist) read my mind well this time round.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Here are some things that I will post something about, some day:
- Tribes and Tribalism
- Science and Graduate School Life
- Places I would like to visit
- Chemistry and Drugs
Monday, May 19, 2008
Reports are emerging that foreigners who are in detention are roofied before being deported to their home countries! Despicable acts!!! How on earth do you call yourself a nation that respects human rights, preaching it to everyone and yet have such inhumane acts going on in your own back yard? Shame on you America.
The article below is an investigation by The Washinton Post. Enlighten yourself ...
Take Miami, Florida, for instance. I can only visit such a place for short periods of time. I spent my college years' spring breaks in Coral Cables by University of Miami ... the only interesting thing I remember from that place is all the palm trees. Nothing pleased me as such and I have no desire too go there. I did not even like the famous South Beach ... it was the first place a woman over 50, that wasnt from the Maasai tribe or Turkana tribe topless.
I hear good things about California, though. Plenty of opportunities for people like me, warm weather, all the surfing etc etc. I would love to go to Mammoth Lakes ... or somewhere quiet. I am not a fan of all the action scenes. I just want a quiet place, a place that would feel like home. A place like the Adirondacks up in New York. A place with some authentic unadulterated, serene natural environment. I know there are better places than those, but those are the only places I have heard of or been to that I did like and wanted to camp out for a while.
I hope it gets warm soon, I cant take this 60-degree and below weathers anymore!
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
- 1 in 3 kids will never see the inside of a classroom.
- UNESCO plans to have free primary education and gender equality by 2015! I wonder how many other African countries provide free primary education besides Kenya.
Thanks Japan. You rock.
Are there some exceptions? Have there ever been peaceful elections in Africa? Yea, of course, but why would the media chose to write "peace" and "Africa" in the same sentence if it is not preceded by "lack of"?
Should anyone care about such stubborn leaders? What is the whole point of having an international elections observers anyway? The international observers reported that Kenyan elections were flawed (duh, 4 year old kids knew that). They have also reported that Zimbabwean elections were flawed (Isnt that obvious? Everyone knew it before the elections even started. And, since when does it take 2+ weeks to release presidential results when parliamentary results were finished within 2 days?). Despite all these "reportings" and "observations" ... NO ONE LISTENS!! Or is it that no one does anything about it?
Its 3am, thats all I got. Thanks to all the adrenaline I am getting from running too much.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Monday, March 31, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I thought I would share something with you. A story about an evolutionary biologist being kicked out of a creationist film ... one of the guys with him was Richard Dawkins. I thought that was interesting. I also added this guy's blog, Pharyngular to my bookmarks. I'll let you find out who those two are.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Honestly, I did not think I was going to race until about 5 minutes before the start of the race although I was prepared to race. I had a million reasons NOT to race but since it was a team event, I really did not want to be that guy.
I was really unprepared for the race. I did not even know where it was (had a general idea). I usually look up where my races are and do some homework on how the races had fared the previous years. I didnt do that for this race.
My friend, Ryan a.k.a Elf (the one guy who has really made a positive impact in holding Baltimore running in one piece) warned me that the course was tough. But I was not prepared to climb all the mountains they had there. You know how they say that for every uphill there a downhill?I dont remember seeing any downhills. I am sure they were there but I was probably busy recovering from all the torturous climbs that came prior to them. I was able to hold myself in one piece and ended up running about 6 minutes faster than I thought I was going to run. I did it in 54:34. I promised myself to be in a better shape in four weeks. Ryan wrote a race recap.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Apparently, he started from Portland, OR, walked south. Ended up somewhere in Tamaulipas state in nothern Mexico. Here, he learned how to milk and was given a donkey. He and the Judas the donkey have been travelling for the past two years heading South and are now somewhere in Venezuela. He is a biochemist (a crazy one nonetheless, I think this makes me look saner?) and has been mistaken for an athlete, a missionary and ... a spy! I am surprised no one has robbed his ass, all pun intended! But one thing I noticed is, Mexican people are nice. I agree.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Many a times, such events are a consequence of our quest for superiority over something. For example, maybe you just want to prove to yourself that you can get that which you want, regardless of what it takes.
Why am I saying this? Let me tell you about an experience I had recently.
At this time of the year, I usually run moderate milage in preparation for the upcoming season. Since graduating from the NCAA type of seasons (cross country in the fall followed by indoor track in the winter and then outdoor track in the spring), I have adopted the single season mentality. I just get myself ready for road races and anything that has $$ and fun. Road racing "starts" (there are always road races all over the US) around March for me.
You might be wondering what I meant by moderate milage. Let me clarify that a bit. Last year at about this time, I was averaging about 50 miles per week. My longest run was 19 miles. This year, my average milage is 5 miles per week and my longest run had been 8 miles. I call what I did last year moderate milage.
Well, I need to get in shape quick. There are so many upcoming races that I want to do but for those of you who know me, I dont just go to races to run. I go to compete. It is fun that way. This means I have to be in shape or I cant compete.
This past Saturday, I decided to take the express lane to getting in shape. It also happens to be an express lane to getting injured, depending on what you do during and after your run. I decided that I would increase my long run from 8 miles to ... take a guess ... 2 hours. Two-hour runs usually range from 17-20 miles depending on what shape I am in and what I am trying to accomplish from the run.
I was a little skeptical of my run and I was afraid I wasnt going to finish it. But I did convince myself that I would not run any faster than 7-minute pace and that I would slow down if need be. I hit the first mile in 7:20 and was at mile four at 28 minutes. I wasnt feeling great, but I knew it usually takes me about that long to warm up especially when it is cold. For the next 50 minutes, I felt like a champ! I was cruising and feeling great. At this point, I had an option of heading home which would have taken me 15 minutes. This would have put me a little over 1.5 hours total. Since I was feeling good, I decided to add a 25 minute loop. Finishing this loop and heading home would have given me exactly two hours of running, just as I had planned.
I finished the loop feeling like I owned it. I almost did some sprints in between my run just to celebrate how I was feeling.
Turns out, my body could only handle 10 extra minutes. I didnt know this then but I could tell going slightly uphill that things were going to be rough at some point. For those of you who know where I live, you have seen that there is a 1-mile climb to my house. It is not that big of an elevation but it is one that will deliver the final punch when it needs to.
I only made it two minutes into the hill. It usually takes me about 5-7 minutes to complete it. I couldnt move my legs, my head started spinning, I started swaying to the sides ... I had never really hit the wall in my life.
(For those of you who dont know what hitting the wall means, watch the video below. Even elite athletes, like marathoner Kayoko Fukushi of Japan hit the wall).
Finally, I stopped. I walk home. For the first time in my life, I walked home from a run. No, I did not jog, I WALKED. I a little over a half a mile to go. I couldnt imagine myself face planting and possibly inflicting more harm than those I had already caused. My total milage was 17.26 miles for the 1 hour 55 minutes that I was out running. I swore never to run that long again but as I write this, I know that in two weeks I will be doing the same thing. Only this time, I will actually go for two hours non stop.
Monday, February 11, 2008
The artwork above is by my favorite Kenyan cartoonist Kham. It doesnt have anything to do with the ongoing crisis, but it speaks loudly about it. It reads ["Welcome to Kenya, No worries ... (but we might choke you? or we choke chicken? Well, the government does choke everything)]
I have been meaning to write something here. I am thinking of doing a weekly type of thing. My friend Kevin said I should have a weekly write-up where I present life through my eyes. He called it kipservations. I doubt it is going to be anything exciting on a weekly basis but there are some things that happen in my presence that I usually dont tell. But now that you (the blog) are my best friend, I will tell you some of these things.
Anyway, life after Mexico has been good. The entire Mexico trip turned out to be almost pointless since I am cancelling my homecoming a.k.a surprise family visit to Kenya. I cannot afford to be a victim of police brutality and all the hatred going on there. My younger brother has already been victimized. We still havent recovered from that and I think that is enough for now.
Yea, so all's been well, except soon after I got back from Mexico, I got a cold that was followed by an ear infection. I am finishing my atibiotics dose in two days time. It wasnt that bad, but I should tell you that if you yell out really loud (do it now) I cannot hear you. But its getting better, except I got every single side effect mentioned in the package. I never take drugs, so my buddy must be pissed off about it.
I have also converted to Linux operating system and soon getting rid of Windows XP. Linux is entirely free/open source. The learning curve is steep, but no one ever said learning was easy. Its like learning a new language, except there is no one to talk to but yourself. Yea, I am nuts. I like soliloquy ... but this involves a keyboard and a terminal. What type of soliloquy is this?
I also wanted to post a link to Thao Nguyen's podcast of my last trip to Mexico. She takes great pictures. She converted some of the pictures into a video type of thing with me narrating a few things here and there. Check it out here http://thaophotography.com/portfolio.html. I had never heard myself speak ... what an accent!
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Two Members of Parliament from the Opposition Party were killed within days of each other. One of them was caused by the police and the other, the police are calling it "murder," but the opposition is calling it an attempt by the government to reduce their number in the parliament.
The situation is so tense there. I remember when there was some tension in 1992 and 1997. Houses were burnt then and people were shot with arrows. There was not so much hacking and stoning since every tribe was against the other. Now, all the tribes are against the kikuyu, the president's tribe. The kikuyus are now retaliating against the kalenjin, the luo and the luhya who are the large supporters of the opposition.
The one place that hasnt seen such chaos is Kitale. Thats where my parents live. I dont know how long this will last. It seems as though the calm there is due to the fact that there is a mixture of almost all the tribes. There is not a place with one-tribe concentration ... that is a stretch though because concentration is a relative term.
Eldoret is a different case. That is where one MP got killed today. My grandmother and my extended family live around there. I wasnt too far from the 1997 chaos. But I hear that was nothing compared to what is going on now.
Boundary of the United States of America and Limite de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. Ever noticed how other countries have signs that say "Please come again" or "Thank you for visiting" or "Country X welcomes you?" Yea, I didnt see that when I left America, when I came back, then left again, then came back ... they dont care whether you leave or not, but they will try to keep you out! (Picture Courtesy of Thao Nguyen)
I had never seen Mexican Homer. I was so excited that I really wanted to watch The Simpsons in Spanish. When I got a chance, they had regular Homer who was talking in Spanish. I understood nothing even though they had English captions. That wasnt as exciting as I expected. The Mexican Homer does not sound anything like the Homer I know. He didnt even say "doh!" unless there is a Spanish version of that?
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
This is my old F-1 student visa. It expired in 2005, but since I maintained my student status, the expiry date did not matter. You have to renew your visa when you leave the country and need to re-enter. You also need to go out of the country to renew your visa. Some people have been asking me why I couldnt just go to Washington DC and renew it. That is not the case.
In this blog ((Barely) Coming to America ...), I did mention that my visa was "CANCELLED WITHOUT PREJUDICE" as you can see in the picture above. I also mentioned that they had the wrong cancellation date of Jan 08, 2007 instead of Jan 08, 2008! That indicated that I had been in the country illegally for one year! It is probably going to give me some problems in the future too.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I have stopped expecting people at the DHS to be nice or even anywhere near that. The first officer that called me to the window was really nice, but then he had to leave for a shift elsewhere. The guy that came in after him was from another world. I forgot to get a copy of my parole/deferred inspection Form I-546 and had gotten an OK to get a copy from the first officer. The guy that came after he left for his shift did not even want to listen to why I needed a copy, but atleast he gave me my passport back. He then said, "You know you cant come back without a visa, right?"
Thao was with me, so we called Alvaro from the other side of the Zaragosa Port of Entry. He showed up some 10 minutes later and drove us to the US Consulate in Juarez. It was quite far judging by $$$ displayed on the meter. Well, I was also anxious to get there and get things over with.
Since I had done this before, it was easy finding my way to the non-immigrant visa section. I was in there for less than 15 minutes. They gave me a green piece of paper that told me to come back at 2:00pm. It was about 10:45am. By the time I came out, Thao was gone for a walk or something and was going to show up some 45 minutes later as we had agreed.
I decided to take a walk ... there was not much to see around the Consulate. I had seen everything three weeks ago. So I came back to wait for Thao. Soon, she showed up and we decided to look for a place to eat. Some guy pointed a general direction to "The Mall." It turned out to be some strip mall and it wasnt what I expected.
Soon afterwards, we were sitting in some place eating a burrito. I have eaten burritos for five days straight now ... I am maxed out.
At 1:45pm, I was standing at the Consulate's gate. The security guard turned me away and told me to come at 2:00pm. So I crossed the street and waited from the opposite side. At 1:57pm, I was standing at the gate again. He had closed the gate as there was no one waiting there anymore. So he signaled me in, but I waited until he came a slid the gate to the side. I didnt want to do that.
Some 3 minutes later, I had my passport back with a two-year visa and my Form I-20 attached to it. The wait is over. I have my "student status" documents back!
I am currently editing photos of these documents and will post them soon.
It is about 7:25am local time and I am getting ready to eat breakfast. I also called up a taxi cab driver that gave me a"tour" of El Paso the last time I was here. His name is Alvaro, and I thought he was really nice. When I called him last night to ask him for a ride to the Zaragoza Bridge, where my passport is (hopefully), he hinted that we could also strike a deal and have him drive me to the US Consulate at Juarez.
My friend Thao Nguyen, a photojournalist, wanted to document my trip there and she is tagging along.
More updates later.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Violence-Stopping Hand Shake? President Mwai Kibaki (C) and Opposition Leader Raila Odinga (R) shake hands as former U.N boss Koffi Annan (L) looks on. (Photo Courtesy of NYTimes)
Oh, I just got an email too. It reads
You all have been awesome! Thanks.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
If you are an international student planning on renewing your visa, I suggest you do it at your home country unless you really have to go to
In any case, when you show up at a
(Consult with your school’s office of international students if you have any questions, I am not a professional in this field and that means you cant hold me responsible for any mishaps)
- All original Form I-20's that you've ever held including an endorsed current Form I-20
- Original Travel and Departure Record Form I-94
- Passport(s) old and new with all visas you've ever held
- Proof of solvency including a letter from the department that is funding you indicating you ability to pay tuition
- Letter from the head of your program indicating your status as a student
- Official transcripts and diplomas from all schools you have attended
- Letter from the registrar of your current school indicating your student status
- A copy of your resume
- Form I-688 (Employment Authorization Document -EAD) - even if it expired
- A list of references (about 4) from the US and your home country
- A short description of your research, if you are doing any. You could alternatively take a letter from your research adviser stating, in technical terms and Leyman's terms
- A copy of tax returns
- Visa application forms
- Your appointment letter (they wont let you in without this)
- Passport size photographs (check out the DHS website for specs.)
I found these webpages, among others, useful: