Thursday, November 28, 2002

And you thought America was engaged in social engineering Send this entry to: Spurl Ma.gnolia Digg Newsvine Reddit

This article from The Economist is pretty scary reading. Some of the dystopian cyberpunk science fiction we read in the 80s and 90s might be a good preview of what is to come (especially in resource rich parts of Africa).... Forty million orphans Nov 28th 2002 | WINDHOEK From The Economist print edition How AIDS will disrupt African society Get article background JUST as the bubonic plague overturned the social order in medieval Europe, AIDS will reshape Africa. But how? This week, as the UN released horrifying new figures for the global epidemic (see article), representatives of 22 governments sat down with experts in Windhoek, the Namibian capital, to discuss scenarios. The outlook is unimaginably grim. Of the 42m people infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, three-quarters live in Africa. In some southern African countries, more than a third of adults carry the virus, a rate once thought impossible. A 15-year-old boy in Botswana has an 80% chance of dying of AIDS. Among the many ways that this is destabilising the continent, perhaps the most worrying is the exploding population of orphans. Those who die of AIDS often leave children behind, most of whom are not infected. Counting all those under 15 years old who have lost at least one parent, Africa already had 34m orphans last year. By the end of the decade, that is predicted to rise to 42m, half orphaned by AIDS. A huge number of children without parental guidance is likely to spell trouble. Orphans are far more likely than other children to miss school, turn to begging or prostitution, fall sick, fail to be inoculated, pass on diseases, and die young. In Mozambique, 68% of children with both parents alive attend school, compared with only 24% of those with no parents. Orphans are often disruptive. In Latin America in the 1980s, street children drove up crime rates and were both the perpetrators and the victims of horrendous violence. Africa's orphans are far more numerous. Crowds of them congregate at traffic lights in Nairobi, Lusaka and Johannesburg, begging, sniffing glue and pilfering. Many are traumatised, having watched their parents slowly waste away and die. Most are shunned because of the stigma surrounding death by AIDS and the assumption that they carry the virus too. Such children slip easily into delinquency. In ten years' time, the UN estimates that one-third of South African 18-year-olds will have no mother. Doug Webb of Save the Children, a global charity, predicts “mass psychological problems”. Others link South Africa's high incidence of rape, especially of children, to the large numbers of men brought up in broken families in the 1970s and 1980s. If this is true, things can only get worse. In the rest of Africa, the big worry is orphans with guns. They are “putty in the hands of warlords”, says Hamish Young of UNICEF. Abandoned children know their lives are likely to be short, so they figure they may as well seek thrills while they can. Gangs or rebel armies can provide substitute families, while orphans can make attractively nihilistic recruits. Children as young as five fought in civil wars in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo and Uganda, and have been responsible for many of the worst atrocities. Some observers think AIDS is partly to blame for the mayhem in Zimbabwe: the country has a million orphans and many more young men who expect to die young, easy recruits for land-grabbing militias. What can be done? Extended families do a heroic job of caring for orphans and preventing delinquency. Typically, a grandmother takes on children after her daughter dies. Where governments can afford to help, as in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, bigger pensions and foster grants can keep families together. No parents, no grandparents either But as today's grandparents die of old age, and the middle generation succumbs to AIDS, there will be fewer people to care for future orphans. Carol Bellamy, the head of UNICEF, says that AIDS and hunger have already placed an unbearable strain on over-extended families in southern Africa. She predicts “an entirely disaffected, angry generation of children”. Many children are left looking after their even younger siblings. Child-headed households are becoming common. They need help. But few African governments are prepared to give grants to minors; many do not even allow them to inherit property. Nor are they keen on building day-care centres or orphanages, even cheap village ones. Is there any hope? Much more could be done to keep infected parents alive. If cheap anti-retroviral drugs were widely and safely distributed and better food and nursing care made available, mothers and fathers could expect to live for several more years. Children would of course rather stay at home than go to granny or join a gang. But without massive foreign aid, Africa cannot afford much in the way of drugs, food or nursing.

Principles of Population Genetics
Genetics of Populations
Molecular Evolution
Quantitative Genetics
Evolutionary Quantitative Genetics
Evolutionary Genetics
Molecular Markers, Natural History, and Evolution
The Genetics of Human Populations
Genetics and Analysis of Quantitative Traits
Epistasis and Evolutionary Process
Evolutionary Human Genetics
Mathematical Models in Biology
Evolutionary Genetics: Case Studies and Concepts
Narrow Roads of Gene Land 1
Narrow Roads of Gene Land 2
Narrow Roads of Gene Land 3
Statistical Methods in Molecular Evolution
The History and Geography of Human Genes
Population Genetics and Microevolutionary Theory
Population Genetics, Molecular Evolution, and the Neutral Theory
Genetical Theory of Natural Selection
Evolution and the Genetics of Populations
Genetics and Origins of Species
Tempo and Mode in Evolution
Causes of Evolution
The Great Human Diasporas
Bones, Stones and Molecules
Natural Selection and Social Theory
Journey of Man
Mapping Human History
The Seven Daughters of Eve
Evolution for Everyone
Why Sex Matters
Mother Nature
Grooming, Gossip, and the Evolution of Language
R.A. Fisher, the Life of a Scientist
Sewall Wright and Evolutionary Biology
Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics
A Reason for Everything
The Ancestor's Tale
Dragon Bone Hill
Endless Forms Most Beautiful
The Selfish Gene
Adaptation and Natural Selection
Nature via Nurture
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The Red Queen
Out of Thin Air
Evolutionary Dynamics
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Of Moths and Men
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In Gods We Trust
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Synaptic Self
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Explaining Culture
Origin and Evolution of Cultures
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Prehistory of the Mind
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The Moral Animal
Born That Way
No Two Alike
Survival of the Prettiest
The Blank Slate
The g Factor
The Origin Of The Mind
Unto Others
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The Cultural Origins of Human Cognition
Before the Dawn
Behavioral Genetics in the Postgenomic Era
The Essential Difference
Geography of Thought
The Classical World
The Fall of the Roman Empire
The Fall of Rome
History of Rome
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The Making of a Christian Aristoracy
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Keepers of the Keys of Heaven
A History of the Byzantine State and Society
Europe After Rome
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The Barbarian Conversion
A History of Christianity
God's War
Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople
The Sacred Chain
Divided by the Faith
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Pursuit of Glory
Albion's Seed
From Plato to Nato
China: A New History
China in World History
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
Children of the Revolution
When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World
The Great Arab Conquests
After Tamerlane
A History of Iran
The Horse, the Wheel, and Language
A World History
Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Human Web
Plagues and Peoples
A Concise Economic History of the World
Power and Plenty
A Splendid Exchange
Contours of the World Economy 1-2030 AD
Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations
A Farewell to Alms
The Ascent of Money
The Great Divergence
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War and Peace and War
Historical Dynamics
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What Hath God Wrought
Freedom Just Around the Corner
Throes of Democracy
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A Beautiful Math
When Genius Failed
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American Judaism

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