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Short China

The World Health Organization or WHO announced today that “the worst is over” regarding the SARS epidemic in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada.  WHO pronounced Vietnam for being the first country to eradicate the disease, and praised it for doing so transparently, quickly, and efficiently.

One reason Vietnam was able to do so is because it closed its border with China.  For notably absent in the WHO announcement was any praise for China.  The worst is not over for China.  The worst — far worse — is yet to come.

90% of SARS cases worldwide to this day are

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Bulletin on SARS

It is important to understand that that the actual death rate for SARS is far higher than the currently reported rate. The death rate publicly given in press reports is a percentage of the reported cases, now running at a little over 2%. The figure to focus on however is the death rate as a percentage of the recovered cases. This figure is much higher, over 10%.

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North Pole Memo

april2003.jpgMy youngest son Jackson and I will be making a trip to the North Pole this month. I started leading expeditions to the North Pole in 1978. This will be my 21st time to 90 North, the apex of the world. It will be Jackson’s 3rd. He’s 10 years old.

People often ask me: "Why in the world would you go to the North Pole so many times?" My stock answer is: "Because people keep paying me to take them there." But it is so much more than that.

Standing on the sea ice of the frozen Arctic Ocean, the

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Dr. Jack’s Reading Recommendations for April, 2003

This month we’re going to focus upon books on Islam.  The first thing to do in this regard, however, is to go into the To The Point  Archives and read the Myth of Mecca article.  It explains how the religion of Islam was invented as a religious rationale to justify Arab imperialism.  At the end of that article, you’ll see a list of sources, all of which I strongly recommend as works of serious professional scholarship:

 • Al-Rawandi, I.M. Origins of Islam:  A Critical Look at the Sources.  Prometheus, 2000 • Crone, P.M.  Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam.  Oxford, 1987.**

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PROUDER THAN EVER

[Written ten days after the start of The War in Iraq, March 31, 2003]Let me say it straight. I am almost sixty years old, and I have never in my life been prouder to be an American than I am today.I was talking to my friend Tony Blankley, editorial editor of the Washington Times, the other day, and when I compared George Bush to Ronald Reagan, Tony replied, “It may turn out to be the other way around.”

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How to End Civilization as We Know It

Doomsday scenarios were ever-popular during the Cold War. But the reality was that if a nuclear missile hit a U.S. city, we would know for sure who launched it: the Soviets. Thus we knew against whom to retaliate. And thus the Cold War was conducted without a single nuclear shot fired.We are now facing a threat an order of magnitude or greater than that of the Cold War. What if a nuclear bomb goes off in a U.S. city and we're not sure who did it, so we don't know against whom to retaliate?

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Something’s in the Air for 2003

STRATEGIC INVESTMENT, January 2003

One hundred and sixty years ago, in 1843, the Commissioner of the US Patent Office, Henry Ellsworth, reported to Congress:  “The advancement of the arts, from year to year, taxes our credulity and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement must end.”  (This is the source of the spurious quote attributed in 1899 to Ellsworth’s successor, Charles Duell, who never said “Everything that can be invented has been invented”).

Human improvement did not come to an end in 1843, nor will it in 2003.  In fact, I think 2003 is going to

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PLAYING POKER WITH KOREA

One of the meta-reasons America won the Cold War is that Russians play chess, while Americans play poker. Chess demands great skill and intelligence, particularly at developing complex long-range strategies and anticipating your opponent's moves.  But it bears little resemblance to life in the real world.  It is completely static and open.  Nothing is hidden.  Poker is very different.  You have to guess what your opponent has and the extent to which he is bluffing.  In business, in politics, in life in general, the folks who know how to play poker will almost always fare better than those who know how to play chess.

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THE SECRET RUSSIAN GAS IDENTIFIED

Across the world, today's newspapers carried front-page headlines similar to that of the Washington Times:  "Russia Remains Silent on Deadly Knockout Gas."  The mystery of the Knockout Gas's identity has been solved.

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