Curbing the Public Nuisance (Part 2)

Written by David Leonhardt

Continued from page 1

I was positively giddy that my fellow passengers were so eager to participate. One of them even wanted to get his hands on my Automated Elevator Hostage Taker, but for public safety reasons I couldn't let it into untrained hands until it had been fully tested in both laboratory and field conditions.

"How did your test drive go?" my wife asked.

I looked up at her from my hospital bed. "I thinkrepparttar next prototype will be equipped with life insurance."

Fortunately, I came up with another invention as soon as I recovered. I call itrepparttar 132304 Tailpipe Plug-in. Cars emitrepparttar 132305 most ghastly-smelling fumes. No. Wait. I take that back. Cars emitrepparttar 132306 second-most ghastly-smelling fumes. Diesel buses emitrepparttar 132307 most ghastly-smelling fumes.

But those days will soon be over, as people arm themselves with their personal Tailpipe Plug-ins.

"How does it work?" my wife asked.

"So glad you asked. It uses spidey technology."

"Spidey technology?" she looked puzzled.

"That's right. You know, like Spiderman. Let's say a bus come within a few yards and threatens to belch out yucky black stinky stuff. You just flick your wrist like this..."



"You knocked over my prize lamp and broke it. And what's this ugly goop splattered all overrepparttar 132308 carpet andrepparttar 132309 wall? Yuck. Get it off," my wife demanded.

"I can't."

"What do you mean, you can't?" she raged.

"It's like that expanding foam insulation. No. Wait. It's like very fast-curing expanding foam insulation."

"Well, what do you plan to do about it?" my wife wanted to know.

"I guess I'll have to put on a warning label Do not use indoors."

Once back in my hospital bed, I realized I had not givenrepparttar 132310 right answer.

I still had many inventions left in me. Likerepparttar 132311 Automatic No-parking Sign Dissolver. Andrepparttar 132312 Perfumalizer, handy for use in crowded buses where people hold onto bars and posts above their heads. And I can't wait to inventrepparttar 132313 Escalator Fast-forward Button.

But for now, I am way too distracted byrepparttar 132314 very loud TV show my hospital roommate is watching. I sure could use Mitch's TV-B-Gone right about now.

David Leonhardt is a humor columnist He is author of Climb Your Stairway to Heaven Read more personal growth articles: Visit his liquid vitamins store:

AIDS - Europe's New Plague

Written by Sam Vaknin

Continued from page 1

Very little is done to confrontrepparttar looming plague. One third of young women in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan never heard of AIDS. Over-crowded prisons provide no clean needles or condoms to their inmates. There are no early warning "sentinel" programs anywhere. Needle exchanges are unheard of. UNICEF warns, in its report titled "Social Monitor 2002", that HIV/AIDS imperils both future generations andrepparttar 132302 social order.

The political class is unmoved. President Vladimir Putin never as much as mentions AIDS in his litany of speeches. Even Macedonia's western-minded and western-propped president, Boris Trajkovski, dealt withrepparttar 132303 subject forrepparttar 132304 first time only yesterday. Belarus did not bother to apply torepparttar 132305 United Nation's Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria or to draw approved resources fromrepparttar 132306 World Bank's anti-TB/HIV/AIDS project.

In many backward, tribal countries - especially inrepparttar 132307 Balkan and in central Asia -repparttar 132308 subjects of procreation, let alone contraception, are taboo. Vehicles belonging to Medecins du Monde, a French NGO running a pioneer needle exchange program in Russia, were torched. The Orthodox Church has strongly objected to cinema ads promoting safer sex. Sexual education is rare.

Even when education is on offer - like last year's media campaign in Ukraine - it rarely mitigates or alters high-risk conduct. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty,repparttar 132309 St. Petersburg AIDS Center carried out a survey of 2000 people who came to be tested there and were consequently exposed to AIDS prevention training. "Neitherrepparttar 132310 men norrepparttar 132311 women had changed their high-risk behavior", isrepparttar 132312 unsettling conclusion.

Ignorance is compounded by a dismal level personal hygiene, notrepparttar 132313 least due to chronically malfunctioning water, sanitation and electricity grids and torepparttar 132314 prohibitive costs of cleansing agents and medicines. Sexually transmitted diseases -repparttar 132315 gateways torepparttar 132316 virus - are rampant. Close to half a million new cases of syphilis are diagnosed annually only in Russia.

The first step in confrontingrepparttar 132317 epidemic is proper diagnosis and acknowledgement ofrepparttar 132318 magnitude ofrepparttar 132319 problem. Macedonia, with 2 million citizens, implausibly claims to harbor only 18 carriers and 5 AIDS patients. A national strategy to confrontrepparttar 132320 syndrome is not due until June next year. Though AIDS medication is theoretically provided free of charge to all patients,repparttar 132321 country's health insurance fund, looted by its management, is unable to afford to import them.

In a year of buoyant tax revenues,repparttar 132322 Russian government reduced spending on AIDS-related issues from $6 million to $5 million. By comparison,repparttar 132323 U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) alone allocated $4 million to Russia's HIV/AIDS activities last year. Another $1.5 were given to Ukraine. Russia blocked last year a $150 million World Bank loan forrepparttar 132324 treatment of tuberculosis and AIDS.

Money is a cardinal issue, though. Christof Ruehl,repparttar 132325 World Bank's chief economist in Russia and Murray Feshbach, a senior scholar atrepparttar 132326 Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, putrepparttar 132327 number of infected people inrepparttar 132328 Russian Federation at 1-1.2 million. Even this figure - five timesrepparttar 132329 official guesstimate - may be irrationally exuberant. A report byrepparttar 132330 US National Intelligence Council forecasts 5-8 million HIV-positives in Russia byrepparttar 132331 end ofrepparttar 132332 decade. Already one third of conscripts are deemed unfit for service due to HIV and hepatitis.

Medicines are scarce. Only 100 of St. Petersburg's 17,000 registered HIV carriers receive retroviral care of any kind. Most of them will die if not given access to free treatment. Yet, even a locally manufactured, generic version, of an annual dose ofrepparttar 132333 least potent antiretroviral cocktail would cost hundreds of dollars - about half a year's wages. At market prices, free medicines for all AIDS sufferers in this vast country would amount to as much as four fifths ofrepparttar 132334 entire federal budget, says Ruehl.

Some pharmaceutical multinationals - spearheaded by Merck - have offeredrepparttar 132335 more impoverished countries ofrepparttar 132336 region, such as Romania, AIDS prescriptions at 10 percent ofrepparttar 132337 retail price inrepparttar 132338 United States. But this is still an unaffordable $1100 per year per patient. To this should be addedrepparttar 132339 cost of repeated laboratory tests and antibiotics - c. $10,000 annually, according torepparttar 132340 New York Times. The average monthly salary in Romania is $100, in Macedonia $160, in Ukraine $60. It is cheaper to die than to be treated for AIDS.

Indeed, society would rather letrepparttar 132341 tainted expire. People diagnosed with AIDS in eastern Europe are superstitiously shunned, sacked from their jobs and mistreated by health and law enforcement authorities. Municipal bureaucracies scuttle evenrepparttar 132342 little initiative shown by reluctant governments. These self-defeating attitudes have changed only in central Europe, notably in Poland where an outbreak of AIDS was contained successfully.

And, thus,repparttar 132343 bleak picture is unlikely to improve soon. UNAIDS, UNICEF and WHO publish country-specific "Epidemiological Factsheets on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections". The latest edition, released this year, is disheartening. Under-reporting, shoddy, intermittent testing, increasing transmission through heterosexual contact, a rising number of infected children. This is part ofrepparttar 132344 dowry east Europe brings to its long-delayed marriage with a commitment-phobic European Union.

Sam Vaknin ( ) is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He is the the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

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