Saturday, September 26, 2009

Beggars of Addis Ababa

I just watched a 45 minute gut-wrenching documentary titled "The Beggars in Addis Ababa" courtesy of Ethiomedia. The documentary was made in 2008 by a Danish film-maker Jakob Gottschau who followed two women beggars from a village called Kajima in north Wollo region. Begging is nothing new in Addis Ababa or Ethiopia, but there is no mistaking that the beggar population of Addis Ababa has skyrocketed in the last two decades. Next to the astounding population explosion of the country, I would have to say that this beggar phenomenon is one thing that struck me the most on my trip to Ethiopia in 2003. I just do not remember seeing able-bodied people, like these two women in this documentary, begging in the streets of Addis Ababa back in the 80's. Back then, the beggars were folks who had some kind of physical ailment that made them "untouchable" or an outcast in their own villages such as lepers, blind people, etc. Would it be fair to blame this sad reality on the incumbent regime of Ethiopia that has ruled the country for more than 18 years? Sure, it is.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dereje Kebede, Volume 9

By Fikru Helebo

After a hiatus of more than a decade, Dr. Dereje Kebede, the preeminent Ethiopian Christian singer/songwriter of our time, has put out his long awaited latest album Ye-Aadnaquote Qen Le-Egziabhare (A Day of Praise to God) this past summer. The album contains 11 tracks with thought provoking lyrics. Two of the tracks are a timely and necessary admonishment to materialistic church leaders who abuse their trust. With the exception of one track, I do think that all the songs in this album have original sound and their melody is infectious. Here is a sample of my favorite track from this CD which is titled Egziabhare Yetaal Lemin Tilegnaleh (Why do You Say There is No God?):

If you are not familiar with Dereje's songs, give him a try. I am sure you will enjoy his songs. Here is a track from his last album (vol. 8) titled Yibeqanaal Mezenatelu (Enough with Tearing One Another Apart) where Dereje exhorts about the ills of ethnic division:

You can find the lyrics for his latest album by clicking on the album cover picture at the top. You can also find my two previous postings on Dereje's songs here and here. Enjoy!

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

"Anatomy" of a Molecule

Perhaps you've heard about nanotechnology, but you are not sure what it is. Well, below is an image that can help you better understand what it is. We need to be familiar with nanotechnology because it has already began to play a significant role in our lives through its application in medicine and electronics and will be more prevalent in the future.

For the first time, scientists achieved a resolution that revealed the chemical structure of a molecule. IBM scientists in Zurich, Switzerland announced last month that they captured the image of a pentacene molecule with an atomic force microscope.
Above is a ball-and-stick model of the pentacene molecule showing the arrangement of the atoms and the bonds in between. Twenty-two carbon atoms (gray balls) form five interconnected hexagonal rings. Fourteen hydrogen atoms (white balls) bind to the carbon atoms. The molecule itself measures 1.4 nanometers in length. More pictures here.