Monday, June 30, 2008

Top 10 animation films by AFI and for the ladies, click here.

What's the matter with Malaysia?

Apparently the only tactic the government can throw against the opposition leader "Anwar Ibrahim" is a SODOMIZER !!

"Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has denied accusations he sodomized a male aide in a politically explosive scandal, which he blamed on a government conspiracy to thwart his rising clout."

"The accusations revived memories of a similar sex scandal a decade ago that led to his imprisonment and ouster as deputy prime minister.

Hours after the aide filed the complaint, Anwar, 60, took refuge at the Turkish Embassy, claiming his life was in danger. Anwar, 60, dismissed the accusation as "a complete fabrication."(CNN)

The last time he was thrown in jail after going against his former mentor Mahatir Mohammed (Sodomy !!)

and now that he threaten the establishment, the "sodomizer" accusation comes back alive.

"A three-party opposition coalition led by Anwar made spectacular gains, winning an unprecedented 82 seats in the 222-member Parliament and the legislatures of five states. Anwar has threatened to engineer defections from the National Front -- which has ruled continuously since 1957 -- to bring down the government by September."

Jezz folks, get a fuckin' grip.

Pet peeves of drivers

Winding road invites readers to post their pet peeves while on the road...



(photo courtesy: winding road)

Top 20 Failed States

(ForeignPolicy)

Pakistan is more "failed" than North Korea? Bangladesh, e tu?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mugabe sworn in for his sixth term

Robert Mugabe has been sworn in for a new five-year term as Zimbabwe's president after election officials declared a landslide victory for him.

Official results show Mr Mugabe won all 10 provinces, with 85.5% of the vote, but there were many spoiled ballots.

He was the only candidate to run after the opposition boycotted the vote amid claims of state-sponsored violence. (BBC News)

It's up to the neighboring countries and the international community to decide whether to accept him as a true leader of Zimbabwe. The opinions are clear, but the outcome is not.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Ain't it the truth

"Not only should this specific point be remembered, but one should also recall as a general rule of thumb that if you see a large, powerful, well-organized lobby citing the needs of the poor as the rationale for something or other they're almost certainly full of it. In the real world, poor people have extremely little political clout and anything that's attracting a lot of political attention is almost certainly doing so because it's of concern to the non-poor." (Matthew Yglesis)

Nudge (book)

"Debit or credit? Paper or plastic? Lease or buy? Public or private school? Have you made the right choices? Probably not, according to the important new research on the science of choice. In clear and entertaining style, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness provides a crash course on how and why humans are prone to make bad choices, and what we can do about it. Through dozens of eye-opening examples, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein demonstrate how "choice architecture"--a fancy term for the particular scenario or context in which we are asked to make a decision--can actually nudge us toward making better decisions. More importantly, the authors show that by putting the right "nudges" in place, choice architects (who range from cafeteria managers to divorce lawyers) can substantially improve just about everything important to us, from our retirement savings to the health of our planet, without removing our range of options. Recommended for fans and foes of Freakonomics and Predictably Irrational. --Lauren Nemroff" (Amazon)

I heard that this book is super bloody awesome.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Bill Gates Rides Off into the Sunset


It's Bill's last day on the job - BBC News has a retrospective of Microsoft's ups and downs.

It mentions that he received an honorary degree from Harvard last year, leading to him joking about "finally [having] a college degree on my resume" - what does Bill Gates' resume even look like? Is it just a piece of A4 with "Microsoft, y'all" written in big Times New Roman in the middle?

Cool, planet saving, cars




(left) A car that runs on compressed air (like a scuba tank) available this summer, from 12,700 USD in taxi form in India. Includes an on board air compressor so you can charge it from the mains in 4 hrs, or from a custom air compressor at a 'gas' station in 3 minutes, and it will go for 125 miles. Well, why not? TATA is the conglomerate behind it. (right) This car has Solar panels on the roof, pedals in the front seats, is made of carbon fiber and does 150 miles to the gallon (because it is so light). Available from 2012, for 20,000 USD.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rock on !!



Rolling Stone magazine top 100 guitar songs of all time can be found here.

EuroScience Open Forum 2008

Hello Nomadlifers,

I was wondering if any of you is planning to attend the EuroScience Open Forum 2008 in Barcelona, July 18th-22nd, 2008.
It would be awesome to meet up with AIESECers or Nomadlifers in Barcelona either at this conference or not. If you are attending please leave a comment and we can start communication that way.

World Top 20 intellectual by FP

FETHULLAH GÜLEN

Religious leader • Turkey

An Islamic scholar with a global network of millions of followers, Gülen is both revered and reviled in his native Turkey. To members of the Gülen movement, he is an inspirational leader who encourages a life guided by moderate Islamic principles. To his detractors, he represents a threat to Turkey’s secular order. He has kept a relatively low profile since settling in the United States in 1999, having fled Turkey after being accused of undermining secularism.

(Foreign Policy)

It's a good read. I don't know half of those people listed (ignorant !)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"The number of people around the world with at least $1 million in assets passed 10 million for the first time last year, accorLinkding to a report. And their bank accounts are growing even faster.

The combined wealth of the globe's millionaires grew to nearly $41 trillion last year, an increase of 9 percent from a year before, Merrill Lynch & Co. and consulting firm Capgemini Group said Tuesday.

That means their average wealth was more than $4 million, the highest it's ever been. Home values were not included in asset totals." (CNN)

UPDATE: (Tom G) And they're getting rich faster in the Middle East than anywhere else in the world...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New web portal by AIESEC Alumni!

A few AIESEC alumni recently started a web portal for rating people, meeting friends, rating wars and having a great time. The portal is named YoMacha.com! Do check it out and send in your feedbacks!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Say no to Tobacco !

"1. As of July 1, the Netherlands will ban smoking in public places.

2. The smoking of cannabis and hashish, however, will be allowed, at least in licensed cafes.

3. The regulation will be that adding tobacco to the smoke (a popular practice) will be forbidden and that only "pure pot" will be allowed." (Marginal Revolution)

Titan

"Reliance Entertainment’s chairman, Amit Khanna, a Bollywood director and producer, and the company president, Rajesh Sawhney, a former newspaper group executive, have laid out ambitious plans that include creating a $10 billion entertainment company that would be one of the world’s largest. They envision nothing short of remaking Hollywood.

After several good years, entertainment companies in India are finding that they have plenty of money but not enough places to spend it." (NY Times)


Read this for the article



"
Product Description
When Hugh Hefner quit his job at Esquire to start a magazine called Playboy, he didn't just want to make money. He wanted to make dreams come true. The first issue of Playboy had a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an article on the Dorsey brothers, and a feature on desk design for the modern office, called "Gentlemen, Be Seated." Hefner wrote much of the copy himself and drew all the cartoons. But the most memorable part by far was the set of pictures he bought from a local calendar printer of a scantily clad Marilyn Monroe.

In this wise and penetrating biography, intellectual historian Steven Watts looks at what Hugh Hefner went onto become, and how he took America with him. Hefner became one of the most hated and envied celebrities in America, dating a long list of his magazine's beauties and always standing just barely on the wrong side of decency and moral uprightness. He also, at one time, had 7 million subscribers to his magazine. Though in time he would lose readers to more explicit magazines on one side and "lad" magazines on the other, the Playboy brand never lost its luster."

(Amazon.com)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Russia has Arrived.

















Well we all got a bit of a scare after we got drubbed by Spain 4 - 1 in the opening match but I think the boys were just a bit unsettled by the level of competition. But we're back baby. After 1 - 0 and 2 - 0 victories against Greece and Sweden respectively we now have a 3 - 1 demolition of the perpetually disappointing Dutch to add to our records. We dominated the entire match against a team that beat Italy 3 - 0, France 4 - 1 and who's B team beat Romania 2 - 0. We're back baby. Euro Championship semi-finals, here we come.


Saturday, June 21, 2008

One cheer for fragmented Internet

Internet is global, but the boundary of languages and cultures still exists. Cheers for that!

"In Russia, the American Internet giants appear to have run into cultural and linguistic barriers. When Google failed to take off here, its designers pointed to its lack of “understanding of Russian.” And social networking sites must master informal slang and local culture to succeed. Anton Nossik, who is widely considered one of the gurus of the Russian Internet as an executive at the Internet company SUP, said that Yandex works better than Google Russia, even for basic searches. Mr. Nossik noted that a search for the Kremlin on Google Maps using the Cyrillic alphabet (“Кремль”) returns with, “We could not understand the location Кремль." (Google)

Best interview this month



John Stewart of the Daily Show interviewed Lara Logan of CBS news.

Diamonds on Demand | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine

Diamonds on Demand | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine: "Natural diamonds aren't particularly rare. In 2006, more than 75,000 pounds were produced worldwide. A diamond is a precious commodity because everyone thinks it's a precious commodity, the geological equivalent of a bouquet of red roses, elegant and alluring, a symbol of romance, but ultimately pretty ordinary."

The cool thing about natural diamond is, if you get lucky, you get the ones washed with human blood (snicker).

Buy the lab grown diamonds instead.

Top 100 movie posters of all time



My favourite poster, listed at #3 (TC Candler)

World Nomads Travel Insurance

Don't know why I haven't shared this before .. but for everyone who is looking for easy, flexible and independent traveller friendly insurance .. your wait is over

They cover various risks including skiboarding accidents and iPod theft! Claims are a breeze, I've processed claims online in four continents .. never had a problem. Its a fair process that cuts out the hassle and inconvenience one usually faces with insurance. This is insurance 2.0


Friday, June 20, 2008

"
Thailand used to fit the the classic 'virtuous girls, philandering boys' model. At the start of the 1990s, 57 percent of twenty-one-year-old men in Northern Thailand trooped off to the brothel to do their philandering. More than half the sex workers who soaked up their excess energy were HIV-infected....

Then...the Thai economy boomed. Girls were getting better educations than ever before...Educated girls were waiting longer before getting married, but not before having sex. By the end of the 1990s, 45 percent of girls aged 15-21 in northern Thailand admitted to having sex with boyfriends before marriage, compared to less than a tenth of that in a nationwide survey in 1993.

...So at the end of the decade, we have a lot more premarital sex and not all that much condom use with girlfriends. But now that these young, cash-strapped guys can have sex without paying, they've stopped handing over cash for sex. By the end of the 1990s, only 7 percent of young men were paying for sex, and HIV prevalence in sex workers had come down too.

....In short, more women having premarital sex equals less HIV." (from Marginal Revolution)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Jim and Amanda got engaged

Doh

"This month’s issue of the Journal of Consumer Research features a paper titled “Bikinis Instigate Generalized Impatience in Intertemporal Choice,” which is a neuroeconomist’s (definition in a moment) way of saying that men don’t make good decisions while checking out pretty girls in bikinis." (msnbc)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Good news - sorta

"They say they have seen no signs of starvation or widespread outbreaks of disease. The number of lives lost because of the junta’s slow response to the disaster appears to have been few.


Relief workers here continue to criticize the government’s secretive posture and obsession with security, its restrictions on foreign aid experts and the weeks of dawdling that left bloated bodies befouling waterways and survivors marooned with little food. But the specific character of Cyclone Nargis, the hardiness of villagers and aid efforts by private citizens helped prevent further death and sickness, aid workers say.


The storm that struck May 2 and 3 killed probably upward of 130,000, drowning most in a tidal surge. But those who survived were not likely to need urgent medical attention, doctors say.
“We saw very, very few serious injuries,” said Frank Smithuis, head of the substantial mission in Myanmar for Doctors Without Borders. “You were dead or you were in O.K. shape.”" (NY Times)



Or maybe the reviled Military Junta's response has been effective.

New way to plant rice

"Rejecting old customs as well as the modern reliance on genetic engineering, Dr. Uphoff, 67, an emeritus professor of government and international agriculture with a trim white beard and a tidy office, advocates a management revolt.

Harvests typically double, he says, if farmers plant early, give seedlings more room to grow and stop flooding fields. That cuts water and seed costs while promoting root and leaf growth." (NY Times)

Beijing Olympics Mascots



Some are calling them Tokens of Doom

The five Olympic mascots are Jingjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, Nini and Beibei.
  • Jingjing, a panda, Sichuan earthquake
  • Huanhuan, a cartoon character with flame-red hair, Olympic torch debacle
  • Yingying, an antelope, is an animal confined to the borders of Tibet, Tibet riot.
  • Nini, represented by a kite, is being viewed as a reference to the "kite city" of Weifang, in Shandong, train crash
  • Beibei, represented by a sturgeon fish, not disaster yet.
Read more in SMH

Now maybe now we can all appreciate the London Olympic logo, where it's a disaster to itself and no one else.

Monday, June 16, 2008

How to chill beer in less than 3 minutes

Read up and remember.

Rules for knife fight

"Bissage, let's inject a little humor into this with the Marine (Army) rules for a knife fight:

1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns."
(The Drill SGT)

Boycott Associate Press

"A.P. vice president Jim Kennedy says they will issue guidelines telling bloggers what is acceptable and what isn’t, over and above what the law says is acceptable. They will “attempt to define clear standards as to how much of its articles and broadcasts bloggers and Web sites can excerpt without infringing on The A.P.’s copyright.”

Those that disregard the guidelines risk being sued by the A.P., despite the fact that such use may fall under the concept of fair use.

The A.P. doesn’t get to make it’s own rules around how its content is used, if those rules are stricter than the law allows. So even thought they say they are making these new guidelines in the spirit of cooperation, it’s clear that, like the RIAA and MPAA, they are trying to claw their way to a set of property rights that don’t exist today and that they are not legally entitled to. And like the RIAA and MPAA, this is done to protect a dying business model - paid content.

So here’s our new policy on A.P. stories: they don’t exist. We don’t see them, we don’t quote them, we don’t link to them. They’re banned until they abandon this new strategy, and I encourage others to do the same until they back down from these ridiculous attempts to stop the spread of information around the Internet." (Techcrunch)


Associate Press is pissing a lot of people on the blogosphere.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"The good news: More Egyptians today can afford to live like Americans. The bad news: Even more Egyptians can’t even afford to live like Egyptians anymore. This is not good — not for them, not for us." (Tom Friedman)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ireland rejects EU reform treaty

Voters in Ireland have rejected the European Union's Lisbon reform treaty in a referendum by 53.4% to 46.6%.

The vote is a major blow to leaders in the 27-nation EU, which requires all its members to ratify the treaty. Only Ireland has held a public vote.

The European Commission says nations should continue to ratify the treaty, designed to streamline decision-making.

Full story HERE

Netherlands trashed France 4 - 1

Wow

R.I.P. Tim

Tim Russert is dead, of heart attack. Man, I'm going to miss him on Sundays.
"Vernon Smith's team is doing fascinating experiments on the emergence of cooperative behavior and property rights in anarchic systems. It turns out that in most of these systems, there are two possible equilibria: cooperative systems in which everyone gets richer, and systems that stay autarkic, where people stay poor. There's not any particular way of predicting in advance which groups will succeed, no particular awesome people who will obviously make things work." (Megan McArdle)

This is a continuation on her discussion about evil.

It's an issue worth pondering about. What makes formerly good neighbors of 20 years in Rwanda start killing each other? What enables some of the most horrific killings in the 20th century where killings goes up to the millions?

You'd think somebody would say, stop, we can't do this. Human in a herd seems to have lost its free will.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alternative Fuel - No Hoax

"Enter SwiftFuel, the Splenda of motor fuels because it is made from ethanol yet contains no ethanol. SwiftFuel is the invention of John and Mary Rusek from Swift Enterprises in Indiana. To your airplane SwiftFuel looks and tastes just like gasoline. It has an octane rating of 104 (higher than the 100 octane fuel it replaces) yet contains no lead or ethanol. SwiftFuel mixes with gasoline, can be stored in the same tanks as gasoline, and be shipped in the same pipelines as gasoline. It is made entirely from biomass, which means it has a net zero carbon footprint and does nothing to increase global warming. Its emission of other polluting byproducts of burning gasoline are significantly lower, too. SwiftFuel has more energy per gallon than gasoline so your airplane (or your car) will go 15-20 percent further on each gallon.

Oh, and based on an average $1.42 per gallon wholesale cost for the ethanol used as its feedstock, SwiftFuel costs $1.80 per gallon to produce, meaning that it ought to be able to sell for $3 per gallon or less no matter what happens in the Middle East.

Heck of a deal.

The ethanol used to make SwiftFuel can be any type, according to Mary Rusek, president of Swift Enterprises. The pilot plant they are building in Indiana will, interestingly, make ethanol from sorghum, not corn. The Ruseks claim that sorghum, which isn't a typical U.S. crop, can produce six times the ethanol per acre of corn, turning on its head the argument that ethanol production consumes more energy than it produces. China, the third largest producer of ethanol after Brazil and the U.S., is switching entirely to sorghum for its ethanol production.

The FAA is already testing SwiftFuel with the goal of approving it for use without modification in all aircraft, leaving the platform unchanged while improving its impact on almost any scale. Hopefully by the 2010 cutoff for tetraethyl lead SwiftFuel will replace the 1.8 million gallons of 100LL aviation fuel used every day." (PBS)


This is very promising in a small scale only. Nothing beats oil for global energy fulfillment.

Say what you want

"
"It's hate speech!" yelled one man.

"It’s free speech!" yelled another.

In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions — even false, provocative or hateful things — without legal consequence." (NY Times)

I prefer the US approach to free speech. In certain countries in Europe, Nazi related symbols and speech are banned. In a lot of countries, religious insults or article critical to religions are banned. More than enough countries also ban "insulting the government".

I prefer the approach of "the answer to hate speech is more speech" that the US takes. I think the only type of speech prosecuted in the US is the one that invite imminent violence.

"In much of the developed world, one uses racial epithets at one’s legal peril, one displays Nazi regalia and the other trappings of ethnic hatred at significant legal risk, and one urges discrimination against religious minorities under threat of fine or imprisonment," Frederick Schauer, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, wrote in a recent essay called “The Exceptional First Amendment."

"But in the United States," Professor Schauer continued, "all such speech remains constitutionally protected."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Latest iPhone news - $299 iPhone 16GB


(more on macrumors.com)


"
11:45 am$299 for the 16GB -- a white version of this size will be available too.
11:45 amNow on to the final challenge -- affordability. Started at $599 for an 8GB iPhone, now $399. The iPhone 3G 8GB will sell for... $199.
"

Wecome to Euro 2008



And a Polish tabloid opens it with style in anticipation for Poland - Germany match (more)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Wanna be a part of a Guiness record for free and you like Firefox?

Help the guys who make the world's best browser enter the big book... by downloading Firefox 3 on Download Day 2008. Leave your email address at this website to get a reminder to download.

Mozilla says that v3 has "more than 14,000 improvements"....! If that wasn't incentive enough, you'll even get a personalised certificate if the record is official...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Blu-Ray digital format won

Amazon has the proof.

(Blu-Ray is like DVD on crack - there's an alternative format called HD-DVD which lost the battle a couple of months ago)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

"The Cincinnati chemist who invented the iconic Pringles potato chip can was buried in one.

Relatives revealed yesterday they honored Fredric Baur's bizarre last wish and buried part of his cremated remains in a Pringles can.

Baur was so proud of the tube-shaped container he patented in 1970 that he wanted one to accompany him to his grave, his children told the Cincinnati Enquirer." (NY Daily News)

History


There you go. Barack Hussein Obama, the first black nominee for US major party in a presidential election. More.

Black Kenyan father, White Kansas mother, Indonesian step father and sister, grew up in Jakarta and Hawaii, the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, a constitutional law professor at University of Chicago, State Senator of Illinois, US Senator and most likely the next President of the United States.

And he will get there by transforming the way political campaign are done. He raises the largest amount of money of any delegates with half of it from the Internet (over 1.5 million donors). He has the most decentralized and effective grass root campaign ever. The turnout of the Democratic primary this year is the largest ever. An unknown senator just a few years ago, he has managed to out-execute one of the most formidable political couple in history, Hillary and Bill Clinton, with all their years of accumulated political machinery supporters and experience.

History.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New Intelligence Law in Venezuela

Chavez has done it one more time, now by putting forward a new Intelligence Law which will create 2 new agencies, the General Intelligence Office and General Counterintelligence Office, both under his control.
"The new law requires people in the country to comply with requests to assist the agencies, secret police or community activist groups loyal to Mr. Chávez. Refusal can result in prison terms of two to four years for most people and four to six years for government employees." mentioned the New York Times
The new law for instance authorizes his new intelligence agencies to use “any special or technically designed method” to intercept and obtain information.
Ramón Rodríguez Chacín mentioned "Basically, we are talking about secret organizations. If someone is part of the intelligence agency, well nobody should know it. On another topic, it also means high level of academic and ideological education is required for those involved" (Read here in Spanish)
Chavez has already talked about the resistance showed by the opposition and media, saying that the media has tried to sabotage the law, and that they are under the influence North American Empire (as he calls the US). That the Empire has a plan "a good strategy, let's not underestimate the Empire, US has experts in psychological war, several centers for psychological operations working 24/7" (Read more here in Spanish)

Wonderful right? I wonder if we will soon go back to the time of the "Seguridad Nacional" secret police, used by Marcos Perez Jimenez during his dictatorship.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Go Royals



In what many people are arguing was a seminal tournament in Cricket history, Australia's Shane Warne led the "Rajasthan Royals" to victory in the first ever Indian Premier League: a shortened 3 hour format of cricket; in a tournament contested among teams much like franchise sports in the US such as American football, the NBA or like the English Premier League.

At 39 years of age, Warne endeared himself yet again not only to the Jaipur team franchise he was the captain & coach of, but to all of India and I am sure cricket lovers around the world. Already, there is talk of this tournament changing Cricket completely but that remains to be seen.

For now, its enough that we celebrate the fact that a retired (and at times much maligned) Australian led a team from the city of Jaipur comprising 7 Indians, 1 South African, 1 Pakistani & 1 other Australian to victory in Mumbai, scoring the winning runs in the final few seconds of the game with a Pakistani fast bowler as his partner. Simply fantastic stuff.

The Scientist : Banana: R.I.P.

The Scientist : Banana: R.I.P. [30th May 2008 02:21 PM GMT]: "Panama disease - or Fusarium wilt of banana - is back, and the Cavendish does not appear to be safe from this new strain, which appeared two decades ago in Malaysia, spread slowly at first, but is now moving at a geometrically quicker pace. There is no cure, and nearly every banana scientist says that though Panama disease has yet to hit the banana crops of Latin America, which feed our hemisphere, the question is not if this will happen, but when. Even worse, the malady has the potential to spread to dozens of other banana varieties, including African bananas, the primary source of nutrition for millions of people."





How to cook bugs

Time magazine has the video.