Thursday, June 29, 2006
In general, Americans are more optimistic?or less gloomy?about Islam than Europeans. A poll published this week by the Pew Research Centre says that Americans who see Muslim-Western relations as ?generally bad? outnumber those who take the opposite view by 55% to 32%. Not exactly cheery. But in Germany the pessimists are ahead by 70% to 23%, in France by 66% to 33%, and in Britain by 61% to 28%.
Some things are off-limits even in America. In Britain, for example, members of the radical (but non-violent) Hizb ut-Tahrir movement have appeared on television to express their rejection of the principles of liberal democracy and secular justice. That is unlikely to happen in America. Nor would it be possible, in any American context, to argue for the superiority of sharia?Islamic law?over laws passed by elected law-makers.
But the right to say almost anything on most other subjects is deeply entrenched in America. This means that, whatever weapons the parties in America's religious arguments try to use, they do not usually include attempts to deny the other side's right to speak.
The result is that there is more space for hard religious argument. No law restrains that quite large body of American thought which is critical not just of extreme readings of Islam but of Islam itself?arguing that the warrior ethos of the faith's earlier centuries was one of its essential features, not just a regrettable excess. But the American system also guarantees the rights of those who argue for the opposite view: that Islam is basically a peaceful, universalist faith which restricts rather than enjoins the use of violence." (Economist)
It is the first amendment baby - the right to free speech that actually underline this split between Europe and USA. And so far the US is doing much better in integrating its Muslim population than Europe.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
(It's in English and already a month old, but definitely worth a read.)
I think it is pretty scary stuff, no matter what's your opinion on the issue whether Iran has a right to build nuclear weapons or not. I find it hard to understand (let alone accept) his view on the Holocaust and the existence of Israel.
What's your reaction to it?
"NEW strains of highly potent cannabis are as dangerous as heroin and cocaine and the drug can no longer be dismissed as soft and relatively harmless, the United Nations has warned."Any nomads out there know much about the UN Office on Drugs and Crime? My instinct is that some bat shit insane evangelical in the US government managed to make saying something like this a pre-condition for recieving US funding - but could it be that they are actually believing this shite?
Monday, June 26, 2006
My vote goes to the decision that gave Italy the penalty kick that put Australia out in the final minute of the game.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
We were sitting in a Manhattan living room on a spring afternoon, and Warren Buffett had a Cherry Coke in his hand as usual. But this unremarkable scene was about to take a surprising turn.
"Brace yourself," Buffett warned with a grin. He then described a momentous change in his thinking. Within months, he said, he would begin to give away his Berkshire Hathaway fortune, then and now worth well over $40 billion. (Fortune)
Bravo Mr Buffett ! Bravo !
Specifically, it seems a growing number of people are retaining the behaviors and attitudes associated with youth.
As a consequence, many older people simply never achieve mental adulthood, according to a leading expert on evolutionary psychiatry." (Discovery Channel)
Saturday, June 24, 2006
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Unexpected ... unbelievable ... but true ! Read it all here.
The screams from the bar in NYC were surreal, just wish I was in Oz to hear it. A message from my brother who was at the match "In stadium in Stuttgart. This is fucking magic. Here we go. Call now to hear the Aussie anthem. We are going to South Africa together... deal !"
What a game people, what a game. Only four more and we are the champions :) Italy up next.
Oh ... the Brazil game was impressive too :) But we all knew they were going to win right ?
Australia in T minus three hours and counting. Come on Aussie, come on !
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
We're looking for an accounting summer intern
We're also hiring for Customer Service, the domain parking, domain transfer and IT teams. You can check out our website here: http://www.sedo.com/main.php3?language=us
Descriptions for most of the open positions (except the accounting intern) are on our website under the Careers link:
If you're interested, please feel free to get in touch with me! You don't need specific industry knowledge, almost nobody we hire does. But being computer savvy and speaking more than one language is a big plus!
I've been talking to my guy friends online on "dating etiquettes" but the more I talk to them the more I think that their opinion is a bit to...er...western... (an American guy told me that American guys usually wait for a week after first date to call the girl?? WTF??)
So what's the dating scene is like in your culture/country? Who usually should take the initiative for the first date and for the follow up? How long should you wait until you have to call after the date? What are the indicators that it was a date or not a date? Etc.
I'm pretty sure there's something more than just "men are from mars; women are from venus"? :D
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Can someone who has lived/ or is living in Brussels, tell me what would be the minimum cost of living per month. A fair idea on accomodation, transportation and food stuff is what i am looking for.
If you can give me a link which has specific details of things, that would be cool as well.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Also, does anyone have experience with having repairs done on international warranties with Toshiba, Fujitsu, IBM, or Apple? They all SAY they have international warranties but I am wondering how much hassle they will give me when I walk into the service center in Casablanca with an American laptop.
I'm curious about what this might mean in the longer term, both for Catalonia and the rest of Spain, particularly this claim that Catalonia may want to become an independent nation.
However, as I know S.F.A. about this topic (S.F.A. = not much), I was wondering if people who do know a bit about this could share the thoughts / ideas / opinions.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Saturday, June 17, 2006
Friday, June 16, 2006
MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB
Her father shot it dead.
Now it goes to school with her,
Between two hunks of bread.
Mary had a little pig,
She kept it fat and plastered;
And when the price of pork went up,
She shot the little bastard.
JACK AND JILL Went up the hill
To have a little fun.
Stupid Jill forgot the pill
And now they have a son.
SIMPLE SIMON met a Pie man going to the fair.
Said Simple Simon to the Pie man,
"What have you got there?"
Said the Pie man unto Simon,
"Pies, you dumb #$%!"
HUMPTY DUMPTY sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the kings' horses,
And all the kings' men.
Had scrambled eggs,
For breakfast again.
HEY DIDDLE, DIDDLE the cat took a piddle,
All over the bedside clock.
The little dog laughed to see such fun.
Then died of electric shock.
There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good, she was very, ver! y good.
But when she was bad........
She got a fur coat, jewels, a waterfront condo, and a sports car.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
England 2: 0 Trinidad and Tobago
Bring on Sweden. And lets hope Rooney starts this time.
AIESEC'ers, expect much breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth in the coming year.
To understand the 'utility' or usefulness of Chinese thought, Let's look at a completely different kind of script: Ancient Greek. Script basically allowed the Greeks to 'draw' out sounds (words). They invented new sounds (words) to describe new experiences and then put together predetermined patterns of letters to draw these new sounds out.To the Greek mind that was given to reason and logic, script was merely a tool that allowed them to record their experiences without ambiguity.
Ancient Chinese philosophers on the other hand, didn't emphasize on communicating their experiences. To them, an experience once placed within the confines of an individual's description of it, limited the possibilities of the experience to evolve for other people. To them, the deeply personal aspect of going through an emotional, spiritual and mental meditative experience itself was more important that describing it. This is why analogies and metaphors from nature were often used to describe these experiences.
An example: The word 'Tian' can be used to describe both Heaven & sky - fairly close concepts, yet with completely different connotations in English. For the Chinese, it is up to the reader to interpret the meaning of the character through the filters of their own experiences each time they see it. Thus, the reader 'sees' the words from their own perspective. Visual scripts such as the ones developed in China and Japan allowed philosophers to communicated analogies and metaphors without limiting the possibilities of evolving the experience. Visual scripts thus allowed ordinary people to 'see' the experience for themselves... LITERALLY!
Beautiful concept isn't it. :)
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
"FOR the next month the world will be engaged in the closest thing yet found to a universal religion?watching football (or soccer, as Americans call it). From the mansions of Pimlico to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, everyone but a few eccentrics will stop what they are doing in order to watch teams of young men trying?usually without success?to get a ball into a net. The World Cup will be broadcast to 5 billion people in 189 countries.
Amid this global fervour the United States will stand out like a temperance preacher at a Bierfest. Football is not quite the non-sport that it once was. The American team is not bad. There are a few pockets of football enthusiasts, mostly in posh suburbs and Latino-crowded inner cities. Fans will be able to follow the game without resorting to Spanish-language channels. But football still remains a distant also-ran behind American sports such as baseball, basketball, hockey and American football (in 2002 only 3.9m Americans watched the World Cup final, compared with 95m who watched this year's Super Bowl). The country that dominates the world's popular culture is hopelessly marginal when it comes to the world's most popular sport..."Pick up this week's Economist for the full story. You'll find it in the Lexington column. Read it online too although its subscriber only. The guys at the Economist as usual draw parallel between prevailing political atmosphere in the States and the sports played. My only request is...please at least call it football :-) at least at this most sacred of times!
...not only the act itself, but the crowd cheering... :(
this happened 2 years ago during March 17th pogrom in Kosovo...
Countless number of churches has been and is still being destroyed... there were 2400 before the war... now... well... noone really knows...
Czech Republic won in the finals with 4:3... I think they bribed the judges :P
Anyways, an interesting event... I wish I was one of the degustators...
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
0 - 0
Women held up banners calling for equal rights
Several people were arrested by the security forces who moved in almost as soon as activists started gathering.
About 20 women sat on the grass in Haft-e Tir Square in central Teheran and began to sing a feminist song.
They were calling for equal divorce and custody rights and a ban on polygamy.
The BBC's Frances Harrison in Tehran says the police who massively outnumbered the protestors, almost immediately started beating the women to disperse them.
The viciousness of the police attack caused men who were passing by in the street to protest, our correspondent says.
"These are our sisters, how can you do this?" passers-by shouted at police.
The women then gathered again on the other side of the square, but the police used pepper spray against them and onlookers.
As the police started making arrests members of the public who had nothing to do with the protest repeatedly shouted: "Leave them alone."
Monday, June 12, 2006
In a study of more than 125,000 people, one cup of coffee per day cut the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by 20 percent. Four cups per day reduced the risk by 80 percent. The coffee effect held true for women and men of various ethnic backgrounds." (msnbc)
Alcohol is good for the heart and now coffee is good for the liver. I'm waiting for new findings that sheesha is good for the lung.
- Mask your IP and watch it on BBC online. Instructions to do that here.
- Download the latest Tuvplayer version from Rapidshare and select the channel ESPN2, they show the games live and it's working. I am using this option.
If there is a will, there is a way :)
Startups are fragile things, like frozen roses in winter snow.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Read story and watch video here
As an Indian living in Bogota, I feel compelled to respond to this story.
This video definitely has the dirtiest shade of grey to it, reality usually has that shade. More importantly, this is not an isolated story. Dozens of guerilla groups operate from within the dense jungles of the North and till date, continue to extort, kidnap, pillage, rape and harvest (yes, cocaine). That they are protecting the country from the right-wing, is a fallacy. What started as a genuine ideological rebellion decades ago by the guerillas turned into a seperatist movement and then to a time today .. where their only motive is to instill a fear in the people of Colombia and thus send out a signal to the forces - that they exist. And of course, to flourish their illicit but extremely lucrative harvest. Drug money can fund global wars, maintaining an army uses up their small change.
Coutries around Latin America in general (and El Salvador in specific) have lost their children to similar guerilla movements. Young children are to them what young children are to the world - fearless, idealistic. Not to mention .. physically fit enough to assemble and fire an AK-47 and naive enough to look beyond the mortal view of death.
The 'third wave' guerillas are a menace to Colombia and a menace to mankind. I say mankind because it is said that more than 50% of narco movement across the world can be routed back to guerilla owned plantations in Colombia. They grow the damn Coke, they therefore perpetuate absolutely every crime associated with it.
BUT, this is not the point of my response really. It pains many many Colombians (like it pains some foreigners who live here) that this is the ONLY story the world knows of Colombia.
I've only spent three months here, but I've felt as safe in Colombia as I have in my own country. Come to think of it, any city in India could very easily feel as safe or as dangerous as any other city in the world that you could dream of, or dread!
I know people here whose parents, relatives and friends have been kidnapped and .. killed. Recently, a friend's younger brother was kidnapped .. exactly 6 years after his father was. It has been confirmed that both of them are alive and are being well taken care of, but the family might never seen them again.
Now .. There is a little town in Andhra Pradesh (a state in Southern India) called Nalgonda, where an elaborate seperatist rebellion has been in motion for years. The Naxalites in this town can boast of crimes far more attrocious. I was in Nalgonda when I was 12 years old, and I saw with my very own eyes a man running a constable down and murdering him. A friend of my brother saw his father being shot at and killed in the same town. Women (especially foreigners) feel no safer in Delhi and Mumbai than I do, walking alone through an unguarded Colombian forest. Same danger, different demons.
This is a TINY sample of the India we don't like to talk about.
But it would pain, frustrate and throw us into denial mode if this was the only India that the world knew. Thankfully we have the IT companies, the BSE and Bollywood to account for stories more newsworthy in the international domain.
So, consider this of Colombia ..
1. The President of Colombia, Sr. Alvaro Uribe has single handedly scripted what can possibly be viewed as the most dramatic socio-political turnaround in the history of the world and it's great democracies. This democracy is over 150 years old and has been ridden with corruption and guerilla effected terror. In the last 4 years, he has re-integrated tens of thousands of terrorists into mainstream society, reduced the number of coca hectares by half and given 44 million people a freedom they never knew existed .. the freedom to drive a car 10 hours any direction in the country. He has had his fair share of critics, but I am not aware of an elected head of state who enjoys the support of his country a) from across it's social strata and b) FOR THE RIGHT REASONS. The World could learn from this democracy.
2. The country of Colombia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. The fact that is has the highest per-capita bio-diversity in the world is more than just a fact. Snow-capped mountain ranges, deserts, beaches, rainforests, volcanoes .. really, its a sight to see! It is a magnificent country and happiness is a way of life here.
Do watch this video before reading further ..
The world could cut this country some slack. Colombians find it really hard to get visas to travel (Indians have it easier in comparison!) and the country is generally perceived as being full of drug addicts and sand & thorn landscapes (think Blow and Mr.&Mrs. Smith, 2 decent movies no doubt.)
It is a beautiful country with a fabulous heritage and history. It's people are amongst the happiest and the most hospitable you will find. In Colombia live some of the hottest women on the planet :) and no, Colombians can't buy cocaine at the local department store (people wonder if Indians were taught the Kamasutra at school)
I come to my point, finally! ...
I don't really intend for this story to highlight what I dislike about my own country or why I think Colombia is so cool. I am proud to be an Indian and want to spend the most part of my productive life there and really, I am in Colombia for only a year.
This story is really an attempt to highlight how people's perceptions of a country, of a culture, of a religion or of an individual are fashioned not by what they know, but by what they don't.
Saturday, June 10, 2006
The official site and pictures are here.
Soccer is not the only sport of the day :P
Friday, June 09, 2006
Folks, greetings from Peter!
Who is Peter?
Peter is a UK policeman from Manchester who has been "imported" to Frankfurt, Germany, to serve as a member of the security team for the 2006 Football World Cup. He is patrolling the main train station in Frankfurt in his UK police uniform in order "to keep the English fans under control". I had a chat with Peter yesterday while waiting for the train and he asked me to greet (and warn ;)) all my English friends and anybody else who is coming to see the Championship.
Despite being a committed fan of the English team, even Peter could not argue against this convincing evidence that Germany will win the Cup this year:
In 1986, Germany loses against Argentina in the World Cup's final match. Four years later, Germany wins the 1990 World Cup, again playing against Argentina in the final.
In 2002, Germany loses against Brazil in the Final. Thus, four years later, Germany will win against Brazil in the final match.
In 1974, Franz Beckenbauer, being a player in the German team, wins the World Cup. In 1990, sixteen years later, Franz Beckenbauer, now the national trainer, wins the World Cup.
In 1990, Juergen Klinsmann is a player in the national team and wins the Cup. In 2006, sixteen years later, Juergen Klinsmann is the national trainer and will win the Cup, of course.
In 1980, Germany wins the European Championship. Ten years later, in 1990, it becomes the World Champion.
In 1996, Germany wins the European Championship again. So, ten years later, in 2006, they will win the World Cup.
I am off to Frankfurt now to watch Germany score the first of many victories in the nex four weeks ...
Thursday, June 08, 2006
During the week end, 17 young men have been arrested in the suburbs of Toronto and have been charged in an alleged terror plot. 5 underage people are among the arrested.Apparently, the suspects were frustrated by the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and by the mistreatment of Muslims around the world...
they thought they have to do something to change things and defend the humiliated brothers and sisters... so they came up with the brilliant idea of terrorist attacks.
These kids, warmed up by images of war and heated radical preaches by a fundamental imam (arrested with the gang) lost their marbles and believed they were the missionaries of God to spread its "love" among the people...
Once again, the name of Islam has been stained by fools who play war games and think they are being sent to heaven in the first express train to leave planet earth.It's so painful to read the news and realize how radical and stupid people can be. Realize that these people belong to the same religious community as you... Once again...
I was in Valladolid, Spain (200 km north of Madrid) when the train attacks happened in the Spanish capital in March 11, 2004... I remember how everybody was astonished by what happened and the mixed feelings of disbelief, confusion and anger.
As Aznar's government started pointing fingers at the Basque terrorist group (ETA), spontaneous demonstrations took place in all Spanish cities with the biggest in Madrid where 2 million people took the streets, chanting the main slogan against ETA terrorism: "BASTA YA"... I was part of the Valladolid one.
The following days, the two main national newspapers were giving completely different info (due to the upcoming election): El Mundo (close to Aznar's El partido Popular) was accusing ETA, El Pais (close to the Socialist Party) started mentioning Radical Islamic terrorism...
I was secretly hoping it wasn't the latter.Unfortunately, it was...When the information became official, I wished I could disappear from the face of the earth. I couldn't look in my friend's eyes anymore. But, I was blessed to have great friends who helped me to get over it; they were tolerant and intelligent enough to make the difference between the self declared warriors of God and the rest of the Muslim world. But this isn't the case of everybody...
It needs a massive reaction from the Muslim world to fight this extremist and erroneous ideology that made its way among the God freaks. EVERY terrorist act has to be strongly condemned and those who spread radical ideology in the name of God or nationalism should be sued... Starting by Haniya and his Hamas.
Thanks to you, Superheroes, Islam became the public enemy #1 in the world... Mission accomplished... thank you very much.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
"New Delhi and Beijing plan to reopen the Nathu-la pass in June after more than 40 years, a potent symbol of rapprochement between Asian giants who fought a Himalayan war in 1962.
For an initial five-year period the pass, at an altitude of 4,310 meters (14,200 feet), will handle limited border trade between the tiny northeast Indian state of Sikkim and southern Tibet. It will be a modest start, but it promises much more." (CNN has more)
The ice-age is coming to an end. Will this form of global warming will be as dangerous as the kind the scientists are predicting? Time and meetings over endless cups of chai or cha will tell...
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
2. Open it to page 165.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.
I had William Dalrymple's In Xanadu: " We left the Afghans there, barely half a kilometre from the border, kneeling down to pray in a barbed-wire pen, while the teenagers looked on, tittering like schoolchildren."
What's on your bedstand/backpack/coffee table/desk?
Monday, June 05, 2006
Sunday, June 04, 2006
After a dramatic breakdown in law and order in the tiny Pacific state, the government of East Timor asked for assistance from foreign troops.
But will the world's youngest country ever conquer its internal unrest and build upon the independence it gained just four years ago?
"If this nation is to survive, it needs to find new leaders"
PRAGUE, Czech Republic (Reuters) -- Czech voters face weeks of political uncertainty or even fresh elections after delivering a deadlock between center-right and leftist parties in weekend general elections.
Full preliminary results showed the opposition Civic Democrats won the biggest share of the popular vote but not a majority in the first elections since the ex-communist nation joined the European Union two years ago.
The conservative party and its two smaller centrist allies, the Greens and Christian Democrats, would hold 100 seats in the 200-member lower house -- the same as the ruling Social Democrats and far-left Communists.Full article is here
(Uh-oh, we're in trouble)
Saturday, June 03, 2006
I wish all my economics professors were like him ... Prof. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, professor for development economics at Columbia University, provides some evidence on the inefficiency of governments in building road infrastructure.
Generally, his website is intriguing and shows that even economists can have quite some interesting side interests.
Enjoy the weekend!