Monday, September 24, 2007

No More Beach

AOL has an interesting story on projected sea levels over the next century. Scientists anticipate a rise of one meter no matter what we do today. That one meter rise will significantly alter the east coast of the U.S. as the maps at the link show.

It looks like the eastern beaches which have been such a popular vacation spot are going to be pretty much gone by the time our great grandchildren want to use them.

It also looks like all the money we're spending to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf coast might as well be dumped into the ocean. In fact, it soon (relatively speaking) will be.


Another Report of a Cancer Cure

Researchers believe they have discovered a way to cure cancer that should be available within two years. It involves the use of cells, called granulocytes, taken from the immune systems of cancer-resistant donors and transferred to cancer patients. The details can be read here.

It seems that every couple of months we hear of another breakthrough in cancer treatment and cure. Let's hope and pray that our medical reseacrhers really are getting this terrible disease under their control.


What We Can't Not Know

George Weigel makes several important points in a brief essay at The Ethics and Public Policy Center titled What We Can't Not Know Six Years After 9/11. Here are some of the things Weigel says we can't not know:

We can't not know that jihadists read history through the prism of their theological convictions. The West, tutored by a progressive view of history, read the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan as a victory for freedom. Jihadists read it as a victory for jihadism, a Phase One triumph in an ongoing war against the infidels. Phase Two, which jihadists imagined might be easier than Phase One, had the United States as its target.

Attacks on American embassies in East Africa in the mid-1990s were intended to trigger a struggle in which the United States would be defeated as the Soviet Union was defeated in Phase One. When that didn't work, jihadists blew a hole in the side of the U.S.S. Cole as it was refueling in the harbor at Aden. When that didn't elicit the expected response, Osama bin Laden concluded that an outrage impossible for the Americans to ignore was required. Thus 9/11.

Bin Laden got one thing wrong, and we can't not know that, either: he hadn't reckoned on the robust response of those allegedly decadent Americans, first in Afghanistan, later in Iraq. As the dean of western scholars of Islam, Bernard Lewis, has written, "it is noteworthy that there has been no successful attack on American soil since...the U.S. actions in Afghanistan and in Iraq indicated that there had been a major change in the U.S..."

But now, closely watching our politics and monitoring our national morale, jihadists like bin Laden may, Lewis suggests, be returning to their original assessment of American fecklessness -- and may conclude "that they need only to press a little harder to achieve final victory."

A determination to make clear that this re-assessment is wrong ought to be the threshold test of seriousness applied to any presidential or congressional candidate in 2008. For, as Lewis concludes, if the jihadists' reassessment is proven right, "the consequences -- both for Islam and for America -- will be deep, wide, and lasting."

Another thing we can't not know is that the war against jihadism is for the long haul: it won't be resolved in the next administration, or in the next three administrations. Staying power -- rooted in the conviction that religious freedom, tolerance and civility, the rule of law, and the method of persuasion in politics reflect universal moral truths -- is essential to victory.

Weigel then closes with this:

Prayer for the conversion of our enemies is yet another "front" in the war that has been declared upon us. Yet I've heard very few, if any, such prayers in the past six years. Their necessity is one more thing we can't not know.

He's right about this as well as much else. Read the rest of his essay at the link.

Thanks to Jason for passing the article along.