This is a way to drive home to all the people in China how dangerous bird flu is. We are certainly very encouraged that they are raising the alarm.
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This is a way to drive home to all the people in China how dangerous bird flu is. We are certainly very encouraged that they are raising the alarm.

-Roy Wadia

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Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did not reason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creed there was no guess — no perhaps. They had a revelation from God. They knew the beginning of things. They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand and four years before Christ. They knew that in the eternity — back of that morning, he had done nothing. They knew that it took him six days to make the earth — all plants, all animals, all life, and all the globes that wheel in space. They knew exactly what he did each day and when he rested. They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death.At the same time they knew that God created man in his own image and was perfectly satisfied with his work... They knew all about the Flood -- knew that God, with the exception of eight, drowned all his children -- the old and young -- the bowed patriarch and the dimpled babe -- the young man and the merry maiden -- the loving mother and the laughing child -- because his mercy endureth forever. They knew too, that he drowned the beasts and birds -- everything that walked or crawled or flew -- because his loving kindness is over all his works. They knew that God, for the purpose of civilizing his children, had devoured some with earthquakes, destroyed some with storms of fire, killed some with his lightnings, millions with famine, with pestilence, and sacrificed countless thousands upon the fields of war. They knew that it was necessary to believe these things and to love God. They knew that there could be no salvation except by faith, and through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.Then I asked myself the question: Is there a supernatural power -- an arbitrary mind -- an enthroned God -- a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world -- to which all causes bow?I do not deny. I do not know - but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme - that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken — that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer - no power that worship can persuade or change — no power that cares for man.Is there a God?I do not know.Is man immortal?I do not know.One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be.We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know. We can tell the truth, and we can enjoy the blessed freedom that the brave have won. We can destroy the monsters of superstition, the hissing snakes of ignorance and fear. We can drive from our minds the frightful things that tear and wound with beak and fang. We can civilize our fellow-men. We can fill our lives with generous deeds, with loving words, with art and song, and all the ecstasies of love. We can flood our years with sunshine — with the divine climate of kindness, and we can drain to the last drop the golden cup of joy.

-Robert G.

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If you drive the turnpikes and main-traveled highways of America you may have seen them… How many times have you found yourself waiting behind a lumbering RV eating exhaust and waiting impatiently for your chance to pass? Creeping along at forty when you could have been doing a perfectly legal sixty-five or even seventy? And when there’s finally a hole in the fast lane and you pull out—holy God—you see a long line of those damn things: gas hogs driven at exactly ten miles an hour below the speed limit driven by bespectacled golden oldies who hunch over their steering wheels, gripping them like they’re going to fly away. Or maybe you’ve encountered them in the turnpike rest areas when you stopped to stretch your legs and maybe drop a few quarters into the vending machines. The entrance ramps to those rest areas always divide in two, don’t they? Cars in one parking lot, longhaul trucks and RVs in the other. Usually the lot for the big rigs and RVs is a little farther away. You might have seen the True’s rolling motor homes parked in that lot, all in a cluster. You might have seen their owners walking up to the main building, slow because some of them look old and a lot of them are pretty darned fat. Always in a group. Always keeping to themselves……They’re annoying as Hell when they descend en masse on a rest area and fill up all the toilets, but once their balky, road-stunned bowels finally work and you’re finally able to take a pew yourself you put them out of your mind, don’t you? They’re no more remarkable than a flock of birds on a telephone wire or a herd of cows grazing beside the road. Oh, you might wonder how they can afford to fill those fuel guzzling monstrosities, because they must be on comfy fixed incomes how else could they spend all their time driving around like they do? And you might puzzle over why anyone would want to spend their golden cruising all those endless American miles between hoot and holler, but beyond that you probably never spared them a thought. And if you happen to be one of those unfortunate people who’s ever lost a kid—nothing left but a bike in the vacant lot down the street or a little cap lying in the bushes at the edge of a nearby stream—you probably never thought of them. Why would you? No, it was probably just some hobo, or, worse to consider but horribly plausible, some sick fuck from your very own town. Maybe your very own neighborhood. Maybe even your very own street. Some sick killer pervo who’s very good at looking normal and will go on looking normal until someone finds a clatter of bones in his basement or buried in his backyard. You’d never think of the RV people…

-Stephen King

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Closing The CycleOne always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back.Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.

-Paulo Coelho

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Have you ever wondered What happens to all the poems people write?The poems they neverlet anyone else read?Perhaps they are Too private and personalPerhaps they are just not good enough.Perhaps the prospect of such a heartfeltexpression being seen as clumsyshallow sillypretentious saccharineunoriginal sentimentaltrite boringoverwrought obscure stupidpointless or simply embarrassingis enough to give any aspiringpoet good reason to hide their work frompublic view.forever.Naturally many poems are IMMEDIATELY DESTROYED.Burnt shredded flushed awayOccasionally they are folded Into little squaresAnd wedged under the corner of An unstable piece of furniture(So actually quite useful)Others are hidden behind a loose brickor drainpipe or sealed into the back of an old alarm clockor put between the pages of AN OBSCURE BOOKthat is unlikely to ever be opened.someone might find them one day, BUT PROBABLY NOTThe truth is that unread poetry Will almost always be just that. DOOMED to join a vast invisible river of waste that flows out of suburbia.wellAlmost always.On rare occasions,Some especially insistentpieces of writing will escapeinto a backyard or a lanewaybe blown along a roadside embankmentand finally cometo rest in a shopping centerparking lotas so many things doIt is here that something quite Remarkabletakes placetwo or more pieces of poetry drift toward each otherthrough a strange force of attractionunknown to scienceand ever so slowlycling togetherto form a tiny, shapeless ball.Left undisturbed,this ball graduallybecomes larger and rounder as otherfree versesconfessions secrets stray musings wishes and unsentlove lettersattach themselvesone by one.Such a ball creeps through the streetsLike a tumbleweed for months even yearsIf it comes out only at night it has a goodChance of surviving traffic and childrenand through a slow rolling motionAVOIDS SNAILS(its number one predator)At a certain size, it instinctivelyshelters from bad weather, unnoticedbut otherwise roams the streetssearching for scraps of forgottenthought and feeling.Given time and luckthe poetry ball becomes large HUGE ENORMOUS:A vast accumulation of papery bitsThat ultimately take to the air, levitating byThe sheer force of so much unspoken emotion.It floats gentlyabove suburban rooftops when everybody is asleepinspiring lonely dogsto bark in the middle of the night.Sadlya big ball of papernot matter how large and buoyant, is still a fragile thing.Sooner or LATERit will be surprised bya suddengust of windBeaten by driving rainand REDUCEDin a matter of minutesto a billionsoggy shreds.One morningeveryone will wake upto find a pulpy messcovering front lawnsclogging up guttersand plastering carwindscreens.Traffic will be delayedchildren delightedadults baffledunable to figure outwhere it all came fromStranger stillWill be the Discovery that Every lump of Wet paperContains variousfaded words pressed into accidentalverse.Barely visiblebut undeniably presentTo each reader they will whisper something different something joyfulsomething sadtruthful absurdhilarious profound and perfectNo one will be able to explain the Strange feeling of weightlessnessor the private smilethat remainsLong after the street sweepers have come and gone.

-Shaun Tan

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In every remote corner of the world there are people like Carl Jones and Don Merton who have devoted their lives to saving threatened species. Very often, their determination is all that stands between an endangered species and extinction.But why do they bother? Does it really matter if the Yangtze river dolphin, or the kakapo, or the northern white rhino, or any other species live on only in scientists' notebooks?Well, yes, it does. Every animal and plant is an integral part of its environment: even Komodo dragons have a major role to play in maintaining the ecological stability of their delicate island homes. If they disappear, so could many other species. And conservation is very much in tune with our survival. Animals and plants provide us with life-saving drugs and food, they pollinate crops and provide important ingredients or many industrial processes. Ironically, it is often not the big and beautiful creatures, but the ugly and less dramatic ones, that we need most.Even so, the loss of a few species may seem irrelevant compared to major environmental problems such as global warming or the destruction of the ozone layer. But while nature has considerable resilience, there is a limit to how far that resilience can be stretched. No one knows how close to the limit we are getting. The darker it gets, the faster we're driving.There is one last reason for caring, and I believe that no other is necessary. It is certainly the reason why so many people have devoted their lives to protecting the likes of rhinos, parakeets, kakapos, and dolphins. And it is simply this: the world would be a poorer, darker, lonelier place without them.

-Mark Carwardine

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