Thursday, April 26, 2012

On the Road to Nasiriya

The time is right for startup investment, says. U. Basrah Vice Chancellor Dr Ali Attar. On the way to interview PhD candidates from southern Iraqi Universities, he discussed his vision for joint ventures in food packaging, water bottling, and recycling. Opportunity abounds for sustainability ventures and education. - J. R. Pournelle. Posted from my iPhone.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

vive la différence

U. Basrah Geology Students
Scroll back to the beginning of this blog in 2003, and you'll read of university corridors stripped even of basic wiring and strewn with rubble and ash. Women who braved the streets were forced under the black of the abaya, reduced from their former regional and social variations in attire to the uniformity of a flock of crows. So imagine my delight on return to Basrah U. after less than a year, to find the Geology Department moved in to its new, bright, naturally lit, well-appointed building. Flatscreens for HD laptop projection in every classroom; labs now outfitted with the basics necessary for undergraduate hands-on work. Women compose half of the student population, and dominate the upper class ranks, a fact of which Dept. Chair Badir Albadran is justly proud.N ext step: outfitting labs for specialized research: this is still hampered by the difficulty of letting reliable contracts for delivery, installation, and maintenence.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

That Hazy Glow

After 50 hours in transit, arrival at someplace so remote and yet so familiar numbs together reminiscence of everything from Imperial Valley to BBC News. So nice to relax with a Turkish coffee and watch the sun gild the city from my dust-caked window - 30 day Visa in hand! - J. R. Pournelle. Posted from my iPhone.

Location:Basra, Iraq

Waiting, waiting

Once again, held up at the Emirates boarding gate, bc no visa has been delivered from Baghdad to Basra - or if it has, it has not made it's way from the visa office to airport immigration, or if it has, nobody has notified the airline. We'll see - but it is pretty clear from the long line of contractors just waved through that Iraq's placing it's bets on China.

- J. R. Pournelle. Posted from my iPhone.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Back to Business

Arrival Dubai airport: 6:30. Departure to hotel: 9:30. Baggage? Nope. 2 hours to get boarding pass for Basra tomorrow. Half hour wait for hotel shuttle. At least for that part I was out in the balmy, cardamom -scented air.

- J. R. Pournelle. Posted from my iPhone.