Wednesday, April 30, 2008

venality

A recent study has concluded that administrative corruption should not be thought of as a regressive tax, as it is often characterized. It is progressive, or, at most, a flat tax, claim the authors.

Using data from a Peruvian census, Hunt and Laszlo found that the non-poor pay more in bribes absolutely and pay more as a share of their income than the poor. The reasons are several. First, the rich have more dealings with government agents. The government agents that they use have more discretionary power and are thus more likely to be more corrupt. Finally, they suspect that officials practice price-discrimination when angling for a bribe, setting their price on the client's perceived ability to pay. They also construct a model which confirms the empirical data.

Can new data change our ideas about corruption?

Coldplay's giving away music...

Go here to download Coldplay's new single Violet Hill. It's quick, painless and FREE... (I won't comment on the song. Maybe it's the sort that grows on you...)

In a related story, Radiohead say they won't repeat the "In Rainbows" experiment...

Architecture of Authority



"Book Description For the past several years--and with seemingly limitless access--photographer Richard Ross has been making unsettling and thought-provoking pictures of architectural spaces that exert power over the individuals within them. From a Montessori preschool to churches, mosques and diverse civic spaces including a Swedish courtroom, the Iraqi National Assembly hall and the United Nations, the images in Architecture of Authority build to ever harsher manifestations of power: an interrogation room at Guantanamo, segregation cells at Abu Ghraib, and finally, a capital punishment death chamber.Though visually cool, this work deals with hot-button issues--from the surveillance that increasingly intrudes on post-9/11 life to the abuse of power and the erosion of individual liberty. The connections among the various architectures are striking, as Ross points out: "The Santa Barbara Mission confessional and the LAPD robbery homicide interrogation rooms are the same intimate proportions. Both are made to solicit a confession in exchange for some form of redemption." Essay by Harper's Magazine publisher, John R. MacArthur, also a columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail." (Amazon.com)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

priceless read

For some priceless genuine egyptianness please read the following post about the decision to make Cairo even greater than it actually is.

P.S. by great i am referring to none other than the size attribute

Monday, April 28, 2008

An AIESECer's New Project Empowering Indigenous Women in Panama

Sarah Moore, an AIESEC alumn from Austin, TX living in Panama, found an isolated, impoverished community of indigenous women artisans who make incredible handbags. Now the goal is to start a fair trade luxury handbag venture to empower women all over the world. Read the stories here: http://www.bagsmakeadifference.com
"So does the Hajj open minds, or does it expose Muslims to radical views that unite them against the non-Islamic world? To find out, researchers David Clingingsmith, Asim Khwaja, and Michael Kremer surveyed more than 1,600 Pakistanis, about half of whom went on the Hajj in 2006. In a recent, as yet unpublished study, they report that those who went to Mecca came back with more moderate views on a range of issues, both religious and nonreligious, suggesting that the Hajj may be helpful in curbing the spread of extremism in the Islamic world. " (Slate)



This is a fascinating study. One aspect of a Hajj is you pretty much meet with everybody from all around the world and that, in some respect, will open minds.

another reason to visit Kyrgyzstan this summer

is to get the taste of real nomadic lifestyle!







Johar Joshanda: Best for the Body...

Pakistan's answer to "Chicken Soup"! Who'd have thunk it? Definitely not me, I say!
It's good though, I've had to take it several times, and not only does the thing taste good (although it looks suspicious), it really does make you feel better.

MCP ESAL APPLICATION OPEN

Due to a personal/familiar situation, our MCP 0809 elected last January is not able to fulfill her commitment. The MC 0708 met our Supervisory Group and together we determined that the best option was to re-open the position for a new election.

The process will be the following:

1. Applications are open starting today and will close May 13th. Applications: http://www.myaiesec.net/content/viewfile.do?contentid=10013402

2. The Supervisory Group will review the applicants and give their opinions on May 15th.

3. Elections will take place on May 17th and 18th.

I am contacting you to ask you for a huge favor: please forward this information to people with the profile and the motivation to take a challenge like this one; people who you would personally endorse. This is a determining situation in the history of AIESEC El Salvador.

more info here: http://www.myaiesec.net/content/viewclassified.do?contentid=10013956

Regards,

Ethel Nuila
MCP ESAL 0708

+503 78414858

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Free Natural Teeth Whitener

"If you've never been keen on commercial teeth-whitening products and you love strawberries, today is your lucky day: Web site Health.com says that one ripe strawberry plus half a teaspoon of baking powder equals a natural teeth whitener." (lifehacker)

Into the Wild

This is the article that first chronicle the journey of Christopher McCandless, the adventourer that died in the wilderness of Alaska. His story was later covered in a book titled "into the wild" and last year made into film directed by Sean Pean.

"
James Gallien had driven five miles out of Fairbanks when he spotted the hitchhiker standing in the snow beside the road, thumb raised high, shivering in the gray Alaskan dawn. A rifle protruded from the young man's pack, but he looked friendly enough; a hitchhiker with a Remington semiautomatic isn't the sort of thing that gives motorists pause in the 49th state. Gallien steered his four-by-four onto the shoulder and told him to climb in. The hitchhiker introduced himself as Alex. "Alex?" Gallien responded, fishing for a last name. "Just Alex," the young man replied, pointedly rejecting the bait. He explained that he wanted a ride as far as the edge of Denali National Park, where he intended to walk deep into the bush and "live off the land for a few months." Alex's backpack appeared to weigh only 25 or 30 pounds, which struck Gallien, an accomplished outdoorsman, as an improbably light load for a three-month sojourn in the backcountry, especially so early in the spring. Immediately Gallien began to wonder if he'd picked up one of those crackpots from the Lower 48 who come north to live out their ill-considered Jack London fantasies. Alaska has long been a magnet for unbalanced souls, often outfitted with little more than innocence and desire, who hope to find their footing in the unsullied enormity of the Last Frontier. The bush, however, is a harsh place and cares nothing for hope or longing. More than a few such dreamers have met predictably unpleasant ends. " (The Outside)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thursday, April 24, 2008

10 dollars Big Mac

The US dollars has gone down dramatically against the Czech Crown (and other currencies) in the past few months. Last year it was 24 Crown for one US dollar. Now the dollar trades at 15 Crowns a piece.

It makes the Big Mac in downtown Prague costs 10 dollars for a meal menu.

The secret of good powerpointing

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy St. George's Day!



...
...Anyone?

*Sigh*

Foreign Policy questioned Peace Corps

" In the eyes of Americans, no government agency better exemplifies the optimism, can-do spirit, and selfless nature of the United States than the Peace Corps. Unfortunately, it’s never lived up to its purpose or principles." (FP)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dody, happy 30th birthday!

All the best for the new start!

Us vs Them: China vs the World

I am sure everyone is aware of the current controversies surrounding the Olympics, Sudan, Tibet and so on. Based in China, what is incredibly interesting is not just how biased the Chinese media is, but how biased the Western media is (though, the Chinese government does make it hard for them to be impartial since it refuses to let them into Tibet freely). What this has led to, is the entire online chinese population (hundreds of millions) forwarding sms and emails showcasing the biased (arguable) western media and generating an incredible storm of patriotism amongst Chinese (which is not difficult to generate).

What is interesting is that, in the space of a few months a country that has been so welcoming to the World, trading with the World, open to new ideas, desperate to learn English... is now hostile to foreigners, distrusting of the 'West', making it very hard to get visas, actively protesting against Western businesses (there are extra police outside the Carrefours in Beijing because of protests there) and now very very closed to any kind of constructive dialogue, because everything is being taken as a 'us vs them' framework.

This is a real shame, and, though not yet on the scale of the anti-japanese riots a few years back (where Japanese people and the Embassy were physically attached), something that will be very hard to change. It is certainly not going to help diffuse the situation and, at a time when the World needs to co-operate with China, because otherwise China might destroy the World (environmentally), this kind of attitude could hardly have developed at a worse time!

(nytimes.com has an article about the unrest here)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fury

(ABC News)

Last night, ABC News hosted a televised debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Take a look at the amount of comments created on the website (15528) in 24 hours. 99% of them are bad reviews.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

contaminated food

cases of acute lead poisoning have been noted in Leipzig, Germany, as unscrupulous marijuana sellers added lead powder to increase profits (link)

always prefer fresh, local, organic produce.

Payday : the winners of the mortgage crisis

You know the losers (mainly big banks and lots of consumers and investors).

Now let's meet the winner



Meet the champion: John Paulson, a hedge fund manager, won 3.7 billion dollars last year.

"

Top hedge fund managers made money in many ways last year, from investing in overseas stock markets to betting that prices of commodities like oil, wheat and copper would rise. Some, like Mr. Paulson, profited handsomely from the turmoil in the mortgage market ripping through the economy.

As early as 2005, Mr. Paulson began betting that complex mortgage investments known as collateralized debt obligations would decline in value, much as Wall Street traders bet that shares will drop in price. In that case, known as shorting, they borrow shares and sell them, wait for the price to fall, buy the shares back at a lower price and return them, pocketing the profit.

Then, over the next two years, Mr. Paulson established two funds to focus on the credit markets. One of those funds returned 590 percent last year, and the other handed back 353 percent, according to Alpha. By the end of 2007, Mr. Paulson sat atop $28 billion in assets, up from $6 billion 12 months earlier.

Mr. Soros, one of the world’s most successful speculators and richest men, leapt out of retirement last summer as the market turmoil spread — and he won big. He made $2.9 billion for the year, when his flagship Quantum fund returned almost 32 percent, according to Alpha. Mr. Simon, a mathematician and former Defense Department code breaker who uses complex computer models to trade, earned $2.8 billion. His flagship Medallion fund returned 73 percent.

Like Mr. Paulson, Philip Falcone, who founded Harbinger Partners with $25 million in June 2001, cast a winning bet against the mortgage market. He pulled in returns of 117 percent after fees in 2007 and made $1.7 billion. The trade thrust him from relative obscurity to hedge fund heavyweight: he now manages $18 billion. Harbinger recently won agreement from The New York Times Company to add two members to its board." (NY Times)

Monday, April 14, 2008

start your day..

I started my day with Kenyans singing 'Jana Gana Mana'..

France sings for USA
Kenya sings for India
Japan sings for Turkey


TED strikes again.

Lost Generation

This just screams AIESEC. It seems to capture both the apathy we fight, and the idea that we can make a difference.

Lost Generation






Apparently it's from an AARP contest "U@50"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

@nomadlife.org email address is up again

And now it runs on Google Apps. There are 200 slots available before we have to upgrade the free version of Google Apps. If you have your old @nomadlife.org alias you want to activate again, send me an email at dody@nomadlife.org.

Google will give you a new account of gmail with this @nomadlife.org. You either use this email as is or you can tell it to redirect all email to your current email.

With this @nomadlife.org alias, you also have access to the full range of Google Apps services. The gmail interface is accessible through mail.nomadlife.org address.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

If you're in London: Friday May 16th

I've been working on this since September. It's going to be a great program, with attendees from the entire UK MBA Community. You can check out the agenda details and buy your tickets here: http://www.londonresponsiblebusiness.org.uk

People, Planet, Profits:
How Responsible Business Impacts our Careers
The Responsible Business Club would like to invite youto its annual conference. The event is an opportunity to
meet business leaders and learn how their careers have increasingly focused on issues of responsibility and sustainability. You will also be able to connect with many prominent organisations that are looking for support in responding to the call for responsibility in business.
Topics include:
Business & Climate Change
Emerging Markets
Business & Government
Sustainable Finance
Careers Fair
Organisations participating include:

ARUP, Unilever, Cadbury-Schweppes, Cisco Systems, Accenture, UNDP, HSBC, and Standard Chartered Bank

Selling Soul to the devil

I'm setting up Google Apps for nomadlife at http://google.nomadlife.org. In two days, we'll get a nomadlife.org email redirection working again and this time, it's backed by Google instead of the puny server the old redirection relied on.

If you want to join the apps, email me at empirebuilder@gmail.com so I can add you to the user account. I also need some help with the administration of the applications. You can see the features of Google Apps here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's not a German opera unless someone's naked. Photo: DPA

Verdi opera with 35 naked seniors sells out

Published: 10 Apr 08 16:05 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.de/11225/

The ruins of the World Trade Center and naked senior citizens wearing Mickey Mouse masks will share a stage Saturday, when a German theatre's sell-out reinterpretation of a Verdi opera opens.

The Erfurt Theatre's production of "A Masked Ball" will feature 35 naked seniors wearing masks of the Disney character throughout the performance.

"It's a very beautiful, poetic scene," Guy Montavon, the theatre's general manager, told AFP. Sixty local senior citizens applied for one of the on-stage roles, Montavon said.

The 1859 opera is no stranger to controversy. Giuseppe Verdi wrote it about the 1792 assassination of Swedish king Gustavus III, who was shot while attending a masked ball.

Nineteenth century censors demanded that Verdi move the opera's setting from Europe to colonial America so as not to depict the assassination of a European monarch.

The United States remains the setting for Austrian director Johann Kresnik's re-imagined opera, but this version is set in the United States after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"The concept is a little critical about America, the world of America with very rich people, very poor people, with war and the excesses of American society today," Montavon said.

An Erfurt politician has called for a boycott of the production but local theatergoers have not heeded his call. Theatre manager Montavon told AFP the Saturday premiere and four other performances had already sold out.

AFP (news@thelocal.de)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The 3:00 a.m. call :)

Through the ads on TV, I know the President is more accessible than an escort at a 1.900 number. So I call.

'Hello' I say politely.
'Is it 3:00 a.m.?' a groggy voice answers.
'No,' I reply puzzled. 'Why would it be?'
'Then, why are you calling me?'
I am a man who believes in cutting to the chase.
'I want to talk about my economic situation.'
'Please call me at 3:00 a.m.'

Read the rest here! (Link via India Uncut)

MC ESAL applications OPEN

mc0809

Deadline to apply: April 30th


Questions to: georgina.recinos at aiesec or ethel.nuila at aiesec

Find the application here: http://www.myaiesec.net/content/viewfile.do?contentid=10005605

Friday, April 04, 2008

Cafe Shisha

Hey guys!

Back in Feb, Lobov started an idea on community/topic-based blogs. I'm thinking to start a MENA-oriented blog, where people can blog about everything that's happening in the region: from business and investments, arts and culture, entertainment, sports, politics, latest hype among youth in Damascus, travel hot spots in Oman...anything!! It'll pretty similar to arabisto.com. But while Arabisto is an Arab-American blog, I'm hoping that this blog will be targeted more towards the younger people, and will be more international. I do hope to keep it away from AIESEC, although an entry about, say, DLD from MENAXLDS would be cool.

For the moment, I'm naming the blog Cafe Shisha. I know it's a bit cliche: a blog about the Middle East-North Africa with the name "Cafe Shisha". But come to think of it, particularly in this region, people go to a shisha cafe to talk about anything.

To ensure the blog to be updated regularly and can cater to audience with many different interests, I will only start this blog if I can find a minimum of 10 people as its contributors. So if you're up for it, reply to this post, email me, leave a message on my wall on Facebook, annoy me on MSN, or SMS me...

Siz

PS: Also, if you can think of a better name for the blog, let me know ;)

Dignity Doctrine

This could be the US next foreign policy doctrine under a new president. Well worth a look.

"What's typically neglected in these arguments is the simple insight that democracy does not fill stomachs, alleviate malaria, or protect neighborhoods from marauding bands of militiamen." (prospect)

how to be picky

A recent study found that women's standards for a mate depend on their own attractiveness. Unlike men, women's pickiness about potential mates depends on how pretty they are:

Results supported the hypothesis that high mate value women, as indexed by observer-judged physical attractiveness, expressed elevated standards for all four clusters of mate characteristics.

(article)(press release)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Data Porn (Global)

http://data.un.org/

One successful April Fools

This arrives April 1st.
"
Dear friends!

Sorry for the mass email, but I’ve got to write to everyone whom I know to share this excellent news!

After wandering around the world for some time, it’s time to settle down and think about more settled future and family. Some find it a bit early, for some it is already late. For me it is set and clear; time is soon! The last few days things were really in rush, and everything happened so quickly and fast. As you may know, in Kyrgyzstan parents can agree about their children’s weddings among themselves. In my case, it was about my childhood love with whom I’ve been not in touch for past few years. But it turned out that our parents were already thinking of us getting together. And I talked with her over the phone and asked her opinion. It seems she still remembers me and had those feelings. I did some thinking, and deep inside I wanted that as well. Sometimes it is good not to suppress old feelings, I guess.

Now let me come to the point. I’d like to personally invite you to my wedding that will happen on 10-May, 2008. Please book this day on your calendars! For those friends whom I promised to show around in my beautiful country, I will organize a trip right after the wedding. So make sure to take 1 week off to experience the unexplored secrets of this part of Asia!

Yours,

Aibek Dunaev
System Analyst / Developer
System Engineering - Professional Services

"

and bastards!!, it's a joke !! :)

April 2nd

"
Dear friends,

First of all, thanks so much for the attention, love and wishes you sent me since yesterday. I was overwhelmed with emotions and feelings; it is such a great thing to have so many friends from all over the world sharing such important moments in one’s life. I very very much appreciate all the phone calls, emails and personal warm congratulations. And I was so pleased to hear that many of you would like to accept this invitation and come to the wedding all the way to Kyrgyzstan! It’d honor me and my family. That said, now I know that I’d need much bigger wedding salon to be able to host so many guests if I was really getting married! That I’d be warm-heartedly congratulated by my friends. At some point, I myself started to believe that I was indeed getting married. You know what I’m talking about; no matter how sweet and realistic it sounded, the wedding invitation was just an April fool’s day hoax. :))) I beg your pardon and ask you to take it just as a joke, laugh at it together with me.;) Yet, I accept all your warm wishes and words as not-a-joke as an advance, they truly worth remembering and keeping. And when I will be really getting married, I’ll make sure to inform you much in advance.

Thanks for the participation and till the next real announcement!

Yours truly,

Aibek Dunaev
System Analyst / Developer
System Engineering - Professional Services"


Everything Old is New Again

This article piqued my curiosity. It seems there are a few companies out there bringing sails back to merchant vessels. Done right it looks to save 20 to 50 percent on fuel costs.



Here is this blog's original coverage of the concept.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

april first

i fell for this one for about a minute: gmail

Commit this to memory !!!!

"In a break from decades-old first aid guidelines, the American Heart Association on Monday endorsed "hands only" cardio-pulmonary resuscitation - rapid chest compression without mouth-to-mouth resuscitation - to improve the odds for victims of cardiac arrest." (sfgate)

Don't worry about breaking the victim's rib cage either. It's common for a third of the cases.

"
The compressions also have to come in rapid succession - about 100 per minute. According to Hazinski, one easy way to remember the rhythm is that it is roughly equivalent to the beat of the 1977 Bee Gees' disco hit "Stayin' Alive."

"If you are untrained, just remember to push hard and push fast," Hazinski said. "Doing something is better than doing nothing.""


Caveat

" The new guidelines apply only to adult victims shortly after they collapse and have no pulse. They do not apply to children or drowning victims.
"