Monday, December 01, 2003

Home again home again (well, work actually) and b2b (back to blog). I so need to get my computer problem sorted out. I still want to buy a new system but feel it would be an unnecessary extravagance when I could just somehow get my laptop fixed instead. At the moment this is refusing to re-install windows for some obscure and unknowable reason. Something about the way it is behaving and the way it behaved just prior to dieing on me (about 2 years ago!!) makes me think that the problem is non trivial. If it’s some sort of BIOS anti-virus screw up, them I’m shafted as I’ll never figure out some sort of boot patch to bypass this, so I’m hoping it’s either some undeleted file left over from Windows98 (unlikely I fear) or alternatively the hard disk has become mis-connected in some way. So my plan of action is this

1) Attempt to install LINUX instead of Windows. If this fails then
2) Take it apart and fiddle with the hard drive connectors. If still no joy
3) Buy new hard drive and install. Repeat step 2.
4) Give up and buy a new desktop.

I was just down in the staff canteen getting my strangely tasty lunch (chickpeas, sweetcorn & cabbage with a minty mustard dressing + an apple) when I had a sudden, albeit brief, moment of feeling a bit Christmassy. Perhaps it was to some extent the weather – ie raining, gloomy & miserable combined with the cheery indoor lighting or perhaps it was the rows of sweets, or whatever, Anyway for a few seconds I definitely felt a spot of Xmas cheer coming on. But I dealt with it ruthlessly by thinking about Tony Blair which will knock the shine off anyone’s day.

Anyhoo, today is World Aids Day, which is particularly timely given some of the recent press reports. HIV / AIDS is a big deal where I work and one of the things that comes through loud and clear is that we’re all still a long long way from any kind of cure or vaccination, so for the immediate future it does look like treatments aimed at prolonging life and of course programs to help avoid infection in the first place will be centre stage.

This is actually one of the most complex and highly politicised areas in international politics as it pulls together strands from every aspect of the modern world, particularly the Developed / Developing world relationship, our own relationship with multinational companies, both pharmaceutical and non, international aid agencies, attitudes towards disease and prejudice, philanthropy, greed, corruption. Whatever it is, HIV / AIDS seems to highlight the most extreme examples and attitudes. I’ll write some more about this later but for the moment here’s one thought.

There are 42 Million people suffering from HIV/AIDS worldwide. The Uk is the 5th largest donor to UNAIDS, the The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, and here’s how much we donated (USD):-

1995 -
1996 5,630,432
1997 5,446,237
1998 4,611,582
1999 4,839,968
2000 4,622,419
2001 4,318,558
2002 4,719,300
2003 2,389,800

Total : 36,578,296

It’s not actually a lot is it? Top of the heap with $112M was the USA, who just managed to pip the Netherlands on $94M. Now there’s a partnership that Bush doesn’t seem to have picked up on – between the two of them the USA and the Netherlands have picked up the tab for nearly 40% of the UNAIDS $525M spend so far.

No comments: