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Friday, October 10, 2014

A FEW THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE NOBEL PRIZE...AND MALALA

Swedish engineer/chemist (hey, I'm a chemical engineer) Alfred Nobel was the inventor of dynamite and 355 other inventions. The story is that when his brother Ludvig passed away in 1888, Alfred happened to read a Paris newspaper which mistakenly wrote his obituary, where it was indicated that the merchant of death was dead.  He  changed his will and bequeathed 94% of his fortune with a current worth  of $186 million to the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris to create a series of prizes for those who confer the "greatest benefit on mankind (this blog site is dedicated to saving Planet Earth and Humanity)."  Sweden eventually got control of the funds and in 1900 (ceremony in 1901) awarded prizes in physics, chemistry, peach, physiology/medicine and literature (economic sciences was added in 1968 through another donor).  The current reserve is more than half a billion dollars.

Norway separated from Sweden in 1905, and left with the Nobel Peace Prize.  Both countries confer to each laureate a medal, diploma and $1.1 million (amount changes depending on various factors) on December 10,  the date Nobel died.

The Peace Prize is by far the most controversial, and you never heard of anyone (and no one was from Scandanavia) until 1906, when Theodore Roosevelt was honored for ending the Russo-Japanese War and dignifying the Hague arbitration court.  The next recognizable awardee was Woodrow Wilson in 1919.  Then, again, no one particularly noteworthy until Cordell Hull in 1945.  The most badly snubbed was Mahatma Gandhi.  Among the more recognized from the U.S. were 1964 Martin Luther King,1979 Norman Borlaug (Green Revolution), 1973 Henry Kissinger, 2002 Jimmy Carter, 2007 Al Gore and 2009 Barack Obama.  Since then the Peace Prize has gone to:  2010 Liu Xiaogo (China), 2011 Ellen Sirlea/Leymah Gbowee/Tawakkul Karman of Liberia and Yemen...and this year, Kailash Satyarthi (India) and Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan).


There have been a total of 95 Nobel peace prizes, with 16 going to women.  The average age is 62.  Liu Xiaobo is still under arrest and Aung San Suu Kyi (1991, Myanmar) is essentially being controlled.

You can read about Satyarthi, but let me again effuse on Malala.  I first wrote about her two years ago and wished for greater things.  She certainly is blossoming, for Malala at 17 is the youngest Nobel Laureate ever.

Malala:

With her courage and determination, Malala has shown what terrorists fear most:  a girl with a book.
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There are two major ocean storms.  First, Typhoon Vongfong is now down to 125 MPH and has a path that was moved east, again, right over my November hotels in Myazaki, Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo and Sendai.


In the Indian Ocean is Tropical Cyclone Hudhud, now at 100 MPH, but projected to strengthen into a Category 3 and crash into India (can't find a major city close by).


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