us_globe.jpgDid you know there are only three countries in the world that have not officially adopted the metric system? They are (drumroll) the United States, Liberia, and Myanmar. I don’t know what Liberia’s excuse is. More on Myanmar later. (Britain and Ireland and probably many other countries are part-time metric users.) I love the odd globes on that first link. The one on this page represents our fearless Leader’s view of the world, by the way. (Just don’t go quizzing him on the state capitals! Man’s got a job to do.) Speaking of our glorious Commander-in-Chief, Peter of The Buddha Diaries reminds us of his gaffe heroic remark in Australia last week:

Iraq and Afghanistan dominated discussions. Mr Bush later thanked Australian military personnel at a lunch at Garden Island. He believes success is being achieved in Iraq and told the Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile, upon arrival on Tuesday night that “we’re kicking ass”.

Kicking ass in Iraq?… To an extent, Boss, to an extent. More on the militants-trying-to-erase-Buddhist-history-in-Central-Asia thing. I’m no expert but I think it takes time to drill holes in statues and plant dynamite. I understand how the Taliban could destroy the Buddhas of Bamiyan, running the country and all, but aren’t these militants on the run in a hostile country? Guess not. Anyway the statues are still standing, until next time. According to The Daily Shame, [the Christian] God is considering leaving Christianity and joining Buddhism. Quite a scoop! This will certainly raise Buddhism’s profile here in the States. But sadly, all the billions of Buddhas may be jumping ship over to Christianity as part of a reciprocity-type deal, so Big G won’t find many loyal subjects waiting when He sets up in His new office. I’m not sure why this isn’t bigger news. Here’s a long and learned post on Burmese-Thai Relations, a very interesting subject most of us know next to nothing about. You’ll learn dozens of things if you read this post. Thank goodness the U.S. had the wisdom and foresight to clean up southeast Asia back in the 60s and 70s (and possibly a little bit in the 50s.) People all over the world better be careful unless they want Uncle Sam to come to town and clean up their countries for them. Just ask whatever countries we’re fixing up now. Here’s a taste of the Burma-Thailand article:

For centuries, the two nations have shared a common territory in Southeast Asia, whose prominent physical feature – the north-south valleys and rivers – were the highways of migrants from China and the Himalayas from time immemorial. New arrivals settled on both sides of today’s common border and populated the area with peoples of the same languages, cultures and traditions. Even now, as migration from China to Burma continues, a relatively larger migration is occurring from Burma to Thailand, as Burmese ethnic minorities flee from oppression and violence at home for safety in Thailand. These new migrants follow a new route, moving across mountains and rivers which, in the past, were barriers to west-east movement. But the conditions inside Burma are so terrible, the latest migrants are creating new routes at great personal hardship because they see no other way to escape from the murderous wrath of the Burmese military. This migration is one of the key problems in the current relations between Burma and Thailand.

Finally, if you don’t already you simply must read Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa. If you’re short on time, don’t even read it, just look at the beautiful pictures. – Philip Ryan, Webmaster

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