Small donors show up U.S. aid

It doesn’t look pretty: The United States ranks last among the world’s 28 top foreign aid donor countries, and its foreign assistance levels have dropped dramatically over the past 10 years, according to a United Nations report released this week.

The United Nations Human Development Report 2002, a wide-ranging report that includes both fascinating country statistics and a questionable development ranking of 137 nations, puts the United States well below Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan and even Spain and Portugal on the list of the biggest foreign aid donor countries relative to the size of their economies.” Miami Herald [thanks to Julie Ferguson]

The Climes They Are A-Changin’

“Not to suspect that a dirty little word lies at the center of the controversy spawned by the most recent Bush administration document on climate change. In the June EPA policy paper “Climate Action Report 2002,” the government admitted that climate change is not only real but getting worse, that human activities are the most likely cause, and that the negative consequences are real and dangerous, a clear and present threat. This dirty little word may have been the reason conservative leaders have privately pressed to have EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman fired from her position—for producing a document that provides the most realistic, scientifically accurate picture of the problem available from current research. This dirty little word may be the main reason President Bush is eternally trying to distance himself from this itchy environmental problem, this foreign cause touted by Russians, Europeans, and Japanese. The word: liability.

In terms of scale, the climate change issue will make any sort of environmental liability lawsuit filed in national or international courts to date seem like tarts and gingerbread.” Village Voice

GPS sparks boundary wars

“Thanks to the military’s Global Positioning System, border disputes — common in the nation’s frontier days — are making a comeback. The system, launched in the 1980s, is a cluster of 24 satellites, designed for targeting weapons and tracking troops. But in recent years it has revolutionized land surveys, making it easier and cheaper for even the smallest municipalities to pinpoint their boundaries.” MSNBC

If you use Outlook for email and have installed the security patch, you’ll discover that all of a sudden you are unable to receive any executable files as email attachments. Yes, I know they can propagate malicious code, but there are still reasons you might want to receive an executable from a trusted source. I discovered this in attempting to send code from one of my email accounts to another. The security update also blocks me from receiving .url files linking to webpages. Here’s a discussion of possible remedies, which range from simply changing the extension of the attachment before sending it; compressing your attachment into a zip file; using any of several downloadable utilities to restore control over which types of files you are willing to receive; to a registry edit that disables the “level 1” security fix on a per-filetype basis. Opening Attachments Blocked by the Microsoft Outlook E-mail Security Update:

‘The Outlook E-Mail Security Update (included in Office 2000 Service Pack 2) and Outlook 2002 block access to .exe, .com and other “dangerous” files. See Attachment Security for a list of the affected file types. You cannot open these files from Outlook, nor can you use Outlook to save them to your system. If you try to forward a message containing an .exe file, Outlook does not include the attachment in the forwarded message.

So what do you do when you receive an .exe file and must find a way to open it? There are several methods, depending on your version of Outlook.’