Monday, August 31, 2009

Stripclub destroys everything

"A nation sent you to study in the western world so that you can come home and build all of its broken dreams. $ 50 dollars came from the money Pakistanis and Fulbright have together devoted to you. You spent it on a lap dancer instead. How tragic. And, you wonder why Pakistan is heading the way it is.

There were days when Pakistanis and all men have chosen hypocrisies over the overt bragging of their rendezvous - now young Pakistanis educated in Aitcheson and LUMS bragged their lap dance experience to the world. The world has indeed reach a different stage altogether.

The men of South Asia who once dreamt of virgins as their wives (while visiting brothels of the yesteryears) have evolved to be men of unquenchable sexual thirst - whose sexual desire and fantasies are open to be read. They cursed Karo-Kari and those who committed them while at the same choose to objectify and dehumanize women in a different setting.

The above piece is so tragic in many ways. I have been a fan of your writing. You wrote about Pakistan and Pakistanis with great humor. But there’s nothing funny about the above piece. You have chosen to dehumanize women and justified it on the piece of meat dangling between your thighs.

Most importantly, you have betrayed a nation's hope on you. - the same nation which dreams to be a haven for Muslim enlightenment where women will be treated with utmost respect." (a comment from Sohaib's post)

Hey rich kids, kill your (grand)parents next year

to take advantage of the ZERO estate tax for 2010. It's a ONE TIME OFFER ONLY!

"It was Sen. Grassley himself who rammed the GOP's most astonishing pro-death policy through the Senate in 2001. The estate-tax revision he championed reduces the estate tax to zero next year. But when the law expires at year's end, the tax will jump back up to its previous level of 55 percent. Grassley's exploding offer has an entirely foreseen if unintended consequence: It's going to encourage those whose parents and grandparents are worth anything more than a million bucks to get them dead by midnight on Dec. 31, 2010. This would be a great plot for a P.D. James novel if it weren't an actual piece of legislation." (Slate)

It's actually a true legislation. The US has an estate tax, a tax that affect money accepted through inheritance. In 2001, Republican congress set up a legislation that reduce the estate tax every year(I think) until it reaches zero in 2010. In 2011, it returns to 55%.

Geek Chart

via AS

Sunday, August 30, 2009

AIESEC IC 2009 currently underway in Malaysia



http://www.ic2009malaysia.org/

They have a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ic2009

Wow

"In a rare display of democratic muscle in this traditionally apolitical nation, Japan’s voters cast out the Liberal Democratic Party for only the second time in postwar history, handing a landslide victory to the opposition in hard-fought elections on Sunday.

The victor, the main opposition Democratic Party, must now tackle Japan’s worsening economic problems. Almost as crucially, it faces questions here about its ability to manage the relationship with Washington.

Voters set aside doubts about the untested Democrats, a broad coalition of former socialists and ruling party defectors who campaigned with promises to ease Japan’s growing social inequalities and change the way the country is governed."
(NY Times)

Israel politics

" Israeli authorities indicted former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on corruption charges Sunday, the first criminal indictment ever filed against a current or past Israeli prime minister."
(AP)
"Israeli police have recommended that Avigdor Lieberman, the country's foreign minister, be indicted on a string of corruption charges.

Officials have said that there is sufficient evidence to bring the ultra-nationalist politician to trial for charges including receiving bribes, money-laundering and embezzling public funds."
(Al Jazeera)

The good news is that the justice system is actually pursuing them. The bad news is that for such a small government, there are quite a number of proven crooks.

Trouble

It seems that some blogs are having trouble publishing. I'm working on it.

Lockerbie-Gate

"
The British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.

Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.

The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.

The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests."
(Times of London)

The cynics are proven right again.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Euthanasia during the time of Katrina

"Within days, the grisly tableau became the focus of an investigation into what happened when the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina marooned Memorial Medical Center in Uptown New Orleans. The hurricane knocked out power and running water and sent the temperatures inside above 100 degrees. Still, investigators were surprised at the number of bodies in the makeshift morgue and were stunned when health care workers charged that a well-regarded doctor and two respected nurses had hastened the deaths of some patients by injecting them with lethal doses of drugs. Mortuary workers eventually carried 45 corpses from Memorial, more than from any comparable-size hospital in the drowned city."
(NY Times)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Eco Piracy Documentary



Salow reviews the documentary film. This is the ships' website.

This is their actual logo.

Downtime

If you are subscribed to http://twitter.com/nomadlife, you'll find out that some of the blogs here are still down. I am doing some technical upgrade right now and it takes a while for the machine to get through all the sites (around 1630 sites).

OK. Upgrade is done. Everything should resume to normal.

70's and 80's were terrible time to fly

"1976: A Cubana DC-8 crashes near Barbados, killing 73. An anti-Castro exile and three alleged accomplices are put on trial but acquitted for lack of evidence.

1977: Both pilots of a Malaysian Airline System (today called Malaysia Airlines) 737 are shot by a skyjacker. The plane crashes into a swamp. All 100 people aboard die.

1985: The Abu Nidal group kills 20 people in a pair of coordinated ticket-counter assaults at airports in Vienna and Rome.

1985: Shiite militiamen armed with grenades and pistols overtake TWA Flight 847 traveling (again) from Athens to Rome. The purloined 727 then embarks on a remarkable 17-day odyssey to Lebanon, Algeria and back again. At one point passengers are removed, split into groups and held captive in downtown Beirut. The sole casualty is a U.S. Navy diver who is shot in the temple and dumped on the tarmac. All remaining hostages are eventually released, but not before the Israeli government agrees to free more than 700 Shiite fighters captured in southern Lebanon. The photograph of TWA captain John Testrake, his head out the cockpit window, collared by a gun-wielding terrorist, was broadcast worldwide and became an unforgettable icon of the siege.

1985: An Air India 747 on a service between Toronto and Bombay is bombed over the North Atlantic by Sikh extremists. The 329 fatalities remain history's worst single-plane act of terrorism. A second bomb, intended for another Air India 747, detonates prematurely in Tokyo before being loaded."
(Salon)

Salon has an excellent list of all terrible air crimes from the 70's to 90's.

Not just in Austria

"On Wednesday, the police arrested Phillip Garrido and his wife, Nancy, and charged them with Ms. Dugard’s abduction.

Mr. Garrido, a convicted sex offender who was on federal parole for a 1971 rape and kidnapping, was also charged with rape and acts of child molestation and sexual penetration of a minor. The police said that he had apparently fathered two girls — now 11 and 15 — with Ms. Dugard.

Ms. Dugard, 29, and her two children had apparently lived in a collection of ragged tents and sheds secreted behind the Garridos’ home, a ranch-style house in a ramshackle neighborhood in an unincorporated area outside Antioch, a Bay Area suburb of 100,000.

“None have ever gone to school; none have ever gone to a doctor,” Fred Kollar, the under sheriff for El Dorado County, said at an afternoon press conference. “They were kept in complete isolation.” (NY Times)

A little girl was abducted 18 years ago. She is found now. The story in between is pure horror.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How's everybody doing?



Is it getting better for you compared to last year or even earlier this year? Does your friend who lost their jobs gaining employment?



Check out that tiny spike at the end of house pricing recovery in the US. The graph shows an amazing collapse that we have witnessed in the past two years.


and I hope you are not this guy

"After he lost his job as a television reporter two years ago, Derek Fanciullo considered law school, thinking it was a historically sure bet. He took out “a ferocious amount of debt,” he said — $210,000, to be exact — and enrolled last September in the School of Law at New York University."
(NY Times)

One great place to commit crime

"Their handcuffs were hardly even off before two heavily armed and masked men broke into the room, forced all present to lie prostrate, including six guards armed only with pepper spray and clubs. The masked men, together with three of the four defendants, then ran from the courthouse, jumped into a waiting Renault Clio, and fled. No trace has been found of them since.

The dramatic flight from the country’s most prestigious courthouse was only the latest in a string of escapes bedeviling the nation. Twelve days earlier, a helicopter landed in the courtyard of a prison in Bruges during recreation time and swept three convicts to freedom.

That escape was followed a few days later by a similarly brazen one at Merksplas, north of Brussels near the Dutch border, when six inmates seized a ladder from a building site in the prison courtyard and clambered over the wall. Four were seized by guards, but two succeeded in fleeing with the mother of one convict, who waited below the walls in her dark blue Toyota Yaris."
(NY Times)

The story makes Belgium court security system looks like a bunch of bumbling idiots.

organ harvest

"China is trying to move away from the use of executed prisoners as the major source of organs for transplants.

According to the China Daily newspaper, executed prisoners currently provide two-thirds of all transplant organs.

The government is now launching a voluntary donation scheme, which it hopes will also curb the illegal trafficking in organs.

But analysts say cultural bias against removing organs after death will make a voluntary scheme hard to implement."
(bbc)

This is an investigative report that happened a couple years back

"
Call time: March 30, 2006
A: Investigator B: Hospital Staff
City: Wuhan (Tongji Hospital in Wuhan City)
Tel No.: 0118627-83662688 ext. Kidney Transplant Department (or Urological Surgery Department)
Telephone company record: 3/30/2006 17:46

A: Hello. Is it the Wuhan Tongji Hospital?
B: Yes, it is.
A: Are you the Urological Surgery Department? We need to have kidney transplant.
B: Yes, this is the Kidney Transplant Department.
A: When did you start the large volume kidney transplantation?
B: We are the earliest place. We started a long time ago.
A: How many operations do you do each year?
B: Our hospital is the place where largest amount of transplants have been done. In the whole Hubei Province area, our department is the most productive one. We’ve done a lot because we have ample organ supplies.
A: From a patient’s perspective, live kidney source is preferred. So we are looking for live organ transplantation from prisoners, for example, from those who practice Falun Gong. Is it possible?
B: Sure, it’s not a problem.
A: So do you get enough supplies of live organs from prisoners such as those who practice Falun Gong?
B: Yes, sure, no problem. When you are ready, you can come over directly and we will discuss it in detail." (China View)

What black dude?

(cnn)

Microsoft Poland replaced the black dude in the original ad to a white dude. There's a minor controversy about it but I think it's overblown. The ads was designed for Poland which has different outlook to racial issues that the US. And remember, they actually change the person, not whitening the dude's skin color.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Awesome Breakfast



KFC is coming with a Sandwich menu that use Chicken instead of bread. That's like the densest concentration of goodness per square inch.

Measure your fitness

Check the US Army PT chart.

The liberal lion of US Senate has died - RIP



I think he had redeemed his cowardly act in Chappaquiddick back in 1969 through his work in the US Senate. His wikipedia profile is here.

He was pretty fucked up when he was younger - but again, two of his really successful brothers, Jack and Robert got assasinated. That and family previlege will do that to you. Over the years though he had dedicated himself to fight the liberal cause in the US - from the rise of minimum wage to various health care legistlations. He provided an early critical support for then candidate Barack Obama (back in January 2008) - and I think his dream of a comprehensive health care system in the US will be accomplished this year.



Ted eulogized for his brother, Robert Kennedy by reading Robert's speech given in a university in South Africa (Apartheid)




"There is a new wave of change all around us, and if we set our compass true, we will reach our destination -- not merely victory for our party, but renewal for our nation. And this November, the torch will be passed again to a new generation of Americans. So with Barack Obama, and for you and for me, our country will be committed to his cause. The work begins anew. The hope rises again. And the dream lives on.""

Pre-flight checklist.

Interesting stats, whether or not you're scared of flying.

Pearls of wisdom include,
- Boeing 777 never involved in a fatal accident.
- Don't fly Aeroflot, ever. (duh)
- Sit as close to the tail as possible
- Don't fly in Aug or Sep :)
- If you have time to kill, blog. At 35M:1, the odds of dying while blogging are lower than flying (11M:1) or say, being attacked by a mountain lion (32M:1)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Breast Implants - nothing it cannot do

"When police found the remains of former Playboy model Jasmine Fiore on Aug. 15, her body was so mutilated that they had to use the serial numbers on her breast implants to identify her. How much information can be gleaned from a fake breast?

The owner's name, address, phone number, and Social Security number, as well as the contact information for her surgeon and primary-care doctor. By checking an implant's serial number against a manufacturer database, police can also learn the date of implantation, whether the fake breast was on the left or right side of the body, and whether the implant had to be removed or replaced at any point." (Slate)

I didn't know that breast implants actually come with a serial numbers. It is kinda weird. The last time a number marked to a human body, it was the Holocaust serial number tattoo.


Saved?

""In March of this year, the world was staring down the barrel of a Great Depression," Rudd said in an interview here last week. "This is a case study in bringing the world back from the brink, and it was American leadership from President Obama that was the key to that." Rudd is Obama's political kinsman not only because they are philosophically in tune but also because the 51-year-old Australian's election in November 2007 foreshadowed Obama's own.

The leader of the center-left Labor Party, Rudd ousted one of George W. Bush's best friends, conservative Prime Minister John Howard, by riding the same theme of change and the same generational tide that carried in his American friend.

Yet if Rudd praises Obama, he also praises Bush for acting swiftly when the global economy began coming apart in the fall of 2008. As Rudd put it in a speech to the Australian-American Leadership Dialogue, Bush acted in dire circumstances, at a moment when "global financial flows ground to a virtual halt." In fact, for all the flaws in the execution of the bank bailout program, Bush's willingness last fall to put the urgent need for massive action above his own ideological proclivities is likely to go down as the most enduringly constructive act of his presidency.

Rudd argues that in the last months of Bush's administration and the first months of Obama's, every economic indicator pointed to "catastrophe." He speaks of banks running out of money, developers whose credit was frozen and signs of panic among individual savers.

What prevented a repeat of the 1930s, he says, is that the world's governments actually learned from that era, particularly from "the deliberations on the Great Depression by John Maynard Keynes." The British economist stressed the imperative of government action at moments when the private economy falters."
(WP)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Malaysia - truly Malaysia

" Malaysia abruptly granted a Ramadan reprieve to the first Muslim Malay woman to be sentenced to caning for drinking beer, but insisted Monday the thrashing would still take place after the Islamic holy month of fasting.

Kartika Sari Dewi Shukarno, a 32-year-old mother of two, had been en route to a women's prison for the caning when Islamic officials who took her into custody drove her back home and released her."
(MSNBC)

That's a title for you. This 'Ramadan reprieve' is bullshit off course. If you are going to cane the woman, delaying it for a month is not going to make any difference.

She wants her caning punishment to be carried in public. Good for her - let the country see what it has imposed on its own people.





Here's to our courageous Malaysian beer Martyr.

Drinking beer is a small morality issue - let God sort out her/his sin - a state must concentrate on the big morality issues - try corruption for example. Corruptions are rampant in a lot of Muslim countries - that's imperative for the state to tackle, not some women drinking beers. or how about stop beating up demonstrators.

Miss Universe 2009

Stefania Fernandez, from Venezuela.



Venezuelan might not know how to govern, but boy, they dominate all these international pageantry business.

Shibam oasis - Yemen


They call it "Manhattan on the desert". Check out more.


It's also a site of Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2007 winner

Miles davis et John Coltrane



Mix this with a bourbon.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Escape from Dubai



She's a French dude.

"A former spy convicted of fraud in the United Arab Emirates has told how he made a bid for freedom by donning a wetsuit disguised under a burka before diving into the ocean.
"

Read more

Back up your digital artifacts

Now that most of us have tons of digital artifacts in the form of photos, documents, arts, backing up become a critical issue.

The good thing is that backing up is easy to do. No, a second hard drive does not count as a proper backup because external hard drive is prone to crashes (I learn it the hard way) and the data recovery to be done on that hard drive can run up to thousands.

The best solution right now is using Amazon S3 storage system. You pay 15 cents/GB every month to Amazon for them to keep your digital crap :) So it's pretty cheap and very very reliable.

Once you sign up, get the access key and password and go to http://www.s3fm.com/ and simply start your backup.

There is also a free windows program that connect to s3 http://www.maluke.com/software/s3-backup.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Just like the movies

There's news coming out that CIA performed mock execution in trying to get information from captured terrorist (via Newsweek).

They also turned on a power drill and threatened to use them on a person.

Bad ass.

For movies.

Not for intelligence gathering and most likely illegal as well.

special, "download decade"

Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail has a multi-part special on "download decade," or the changes that the media industry has undergone since the start of Napster.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ramadan Kareem

Good luck and as a kind reminder, Ramadan is an excellent month to try quiting smoking.

cloak and dagger

BEIJING — Lead pollution from a newly opened and unlicensed manganese smelter has poisoned more than 1,300 children in southeastern China’s Hunan Province, state-run media said on Thursday, the second case of mass lead poisoning in the past month.

Officials in Wenping, 970 miles south of Beijing, shut down the smelter, the Wugang Fine-Processed Manganese Smelting Factory, last week and detained two of its owners after about 1,000 local residents protested the poisoning, the English-language state newspaper China Daily reported. (NYTimes)

how the fuck do you build and operate a black market manganese smelter??? and how do you have black market petroleum refineries in chechnya??? these are huge operations, requiring highly specialized talent, that cannot go unnoticed at all. whenever you are baffled like this, the answer is usually corruption.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DEAR SIR / MADAM ,

GOOD DAY

MY NAME IS JANE OWENE,NATIONALITY SOUTH AFRICA. I AM 21 YEARS OLD STUDYING MARKETING AND BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION AT THE UNIVERSITY BEFORE THE DEATH OF MY FATHER, I GOT YOUR CONTACT FROM THE SITE I PRAYED AND FASTED OVER IT AND SELECTED YOUR NAME AMONG OTHER NAMES.

I LOST MY FATHER YEARS BACK, HE WAS A WELL KNOWN COCAO AND COFFE MARCHANT HERE IN ABIDJAN COTE'DIVORE BEFORE HIS DEATH,HE WAS POISONED BY HIS BUSINESS ASSOCIATES DURING ONE OF THIER BUSINESS ASSOCIATES MEETING IN THE NORTHERN PART OF THIS COUNTRY.RIGTH NOW I AM STILL LEAVING IN COTE'DIVORE AND, IT INTEREST ME TO WRITE YOU FROM MY HEART HOPING THAT YOU WILL NOT BETRAY ME.

MY FATHER DEPOSITED SOME HUGE SOME OF MONEY IN ONE OF THE BANKS HERE IN ABIDJAN WHEN HE WAS ALIFE AS THE PROFITS HE MADE FROM HIS BUSINESS,ACCORDING TO HIM HE SAID THAT IT WAS BECAUSE OF THIS MONEY THAT HE WAS POISONED,INFACT IN A BREAF INTRODUTION ALL THE INFORMATION WILL BE GIVEN TO YOU WHEN I HEAR FROM YOU, (THE NAME OF THE BANK AND ALL THE DEPOSIT DOCUMENTS) AS WAS GIVEN TO ME BY MY FATHER ON HIS BED SIDE BEFORE HE GAVE UP AGAIN HE TOLD ME TO ARRANGE WITH ANY GOD FEARING FOREIGNER WHO WILL HELP ME TO RECEIVE THIS MONEY IN HIS BANK ACCOUNT TO ENABLE ME GET OUT OF THIS COUNTRY BEFORE HIS ENEMIES KILL ME.

THIS MONEY TOTALING US$ 6.400,000.00( SIX MILLION FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS) NOW I AM SEEKING FOR A TRUSTED PERSON WHO WILL RECEIVE THIS MONEY INTO HIS OR HER ACCOUNT FOR ONWARD INVESTMENT.HOWEVER, WHAT I NEEDED FROM YOU IS YOUR GOOD ASSISTANCE IN HELPING ME TRANSFERRING THE SAID SUM TO YOUR ACCOUNT SINCE I AM INEXPERENCED IN THE WORLD OF BUSINESS,TO TREAT ME LIKE YOUR OWN WIFE OR CHILD THAT'S THE REASON WHY I AM ASKING FOR YOUR SUPPORT. I REALLY NEED TO MOVE THE FUND OUT .

I AND GOD WILL REWARD YOU FOR YOUR KIND ASSISTANCE. THE WORLD IS FULL OF BAD PEOPLE, PLEASE CAN YOU PROVE YOUR GENUETY TO ME FOR ME TO HAVE YOU AS A PARTNER? SORRY, I AM NOT SAYING YOU ARE A BAD PERSON BUT CONSIDERING THAT THIS IS MONEY AND , INHERITANCE AND LAST HOPE.SHOW YOUR INTEREST AND WE PROCCEED ON THE NEXT STEP OF ACTION HERE IS NO LONGER CONDUSIVE FOR ME TO STAY MY UNCLE IS BECAME GREEDY OVER MY LATE FATHER PROPERTY SINCE MY FATHER DONT HAVE A MALE
CHILD

BEST REGARDS
JANE OWENE


|

Aquatic Ape Theory



This is her site

I find her argument appealing.

We come from outerspace



"For the first time, a building block of proteins — and hence of life as we know it — has been found in a comet.

That adds to the prevailing notion that many of the ingredients for the origin of life showered down on the early Earth when asteroids (interplanetary rocks orbiting the inner solar system) and comets (dirty ice balls that generally congregate in the outer solar system beyond Neptune) made impact with the planet."
(NY Times)

When we die, we fly on our personal flying saucer



(cue spooky music)

The Scientologist got it right, see?

"In the OT levels, Hubbard explains how to reverse the effects of past-life trauma patterns that supposedly extend millions of years into the past.[116] Among these advanced teachings is the story of Xenu (sometimes Xemu), introduced as an alien ruler of the "Galactic Confederacy." According to this story, 75 million years ago Xenu brought billions of people to Earth in spacecraft resembling Douglas DC-8 airliners, stacked them around volcanoes and detonated hydrogen bombs in the volcanoes. The thetans then clustered together, stuck to the bodies of the living, and continue to do this today. Scientologists at advanced levels place considerable emphasis on isolating body thetans and neutralizing their ill effects."
Wikipedia

Monday, August 17, 2009

INXS - Don't Change

So far so good



"PROCLAMATION
WE THE PEOPLE OF INDONESIA HEREBY DECLARE THE INDEPENDENCE OF
INDONESIA. MATTERS WHICH CONCERN THE TRANSFER OF POWER AND
OTHER THINGS WILL BE EXECUTED BY CAREFUL MEANS AND IN THE
SHORTEST POSSIBLE TIME.
DJAKARTA, 17 AUGUST 1945
IN THE NAME OF THE PEOPLE OF INDONESIA
SOEKARNO—HATTA"

Wikipedia

The new guy

Good ole times return



Japan is the latest industrial nation that ended their recession. Germany and France were first and and second.

We are not out of the woods yet although this is certainly good news. We'll see in one or two future quarters whether this is a V recession or a double dip one (W).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

hammers and scalpels

"So, should the United States negotiate with the Taliban? This is the wrong question. There isn’t one monolithic Taliban-driven insurgency that is unified in goals, organization and desires. The right questions are: What are the goals of the local Taliban in a particular district? In which areas should the U.S. negotiate with the local Taliban? And, in places where violence and insurgency isn’t driven by the Taliban, should the U.S. negotiate with leaders of those groups?

good NYTimes editorial on the Afghanistan problems

Cocktail DB





Cash Aid


a basic income scheme pioneered by German aid workers has helped alleviate poverty in a Nambian village. Every person in the village of Otjivero gets 100 Namibian dollars (about €9 a month).

"The full, red Namibian sun is setting outside his living room window, the workers are returning to their corrugated metal huts, and Siggi von Lüttwitz is hitting a wooden table with the palm of his hand to explain why the experiment cannot work.

"They all drink, you know," he says, smoking an unfiltered cigarette, "and if you give them 100 dollars, they'll just drink more." By "they" Lüttwitz means the people of Otjivero, a settlement adjacent to his farmland. And by "they" he means people who are poor and black.

Lüttwitz, a Namibian of German descent, is a farmer. He is sitting at his dining table, which is covered with wax cloth. A calendar of prize bulls is on the wall. "Stealing, having children, that's what it's like here."

He pays his workers, his "cadets," the minimum hourly wage of 2.21 Namibian dollars, which is about 20 euro cents, as well as rations of meat and milk, which he believes is sufficient. He knows that the people in Otjivero are hungry. "They're poor wretches," he says, "and in some ways I feel sorry for them." But giving them money? "An idiotic idea," says Lüttwitz, insisting that it isn't the right way to teach them to be hardworking.
"
(Spiegel)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Not to forget this

"When someone leaves the organization—whether through resignation, getting fired, or even death—the chances that their replacement will be more effective than them, less effective, or about the same are: 33, 33, 33."
(AD)

General Charles De Gaulle quote - "The graveyards are full of indispensable men".

Awesome sand drawing - Ukraine

Kseniya Simonova tells story by drawing scenes using sands and accompanying each scene with appproriate musics. It's quite haunting in some places. Really great.



..from Ukraine's Got Talent show. Yeah, she won it.
This one tells a tragic history about WWII German's conquer of Ukraine. She also put in an amazing rendition of Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" on the last part of her drawing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Life lesson

I try to remember that:

1. We're all bozos on this bus.

2. My shit stinks. (So does yours.)

3. It's not like anyone gets out of this alive.
Dave Winer

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Steppes of Mongolia - 2009




Boooo

"The Swiss banking giant UBS and the Justice Department said Wednesday that they had reached an accord that would force the bank to disclose names of American clients suspected of tax evasion."

(NY Times)

Dammit, now I got not place to hide my swindled millions.

Close but no cigar

"But Saparwoko said the man who died in the shootout at a farmhouse in central Java on Saturday was a florist, identified only as Ibrohim. He made floral arrangements at the J.W. Marriott Hotel and Ritz-Carlton, where suicide bombers attacked last month during breakfast, killing themselves and wounding more than 50 others."
(HP)

The dead one was not Nordin M. Top, the most wanted person in Indonesia.

Restraint - for now

"Bombing Shiite mosques has become so common that Sunni extremists have been forced to look elsewhere to provoke outrage — much as they did in 2005, when Shiites similarly showed patience when attacked. They have attacked groups of Shiite refugees waiting for food rations, children gathering for handouts of candy, lines of unemployed men hoping for a day’s work, school buses, religious pilgrimages, weddings, marketplaces and hospitals in Shiite areas and even the funerals of their victims from the day before.

Iraq’s Shiites, counseled by their political and religious leaders and habituated to suffering by centuries as the region’s underclass, have refused to rise to the bait — for now. Instead, they have made a virtue of forbearance and have convinced their followers that they win by not responding with violence. Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has brought once violent Shiite militiamen into the fold, while the Shiites’ spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has forbidden any sort of violent reprisals."
(NY Times)

Mosque bombing used to be a big deal a while ago - now nobody bats an eye when it happens - too much of it happening that it has become some sort of cliche. We have witnessesed all sort of attacks on mosques, during friday prayer, normal business days, night, day, during Ramadan, mosque as based of operation, weapon storage, attack on pilgrims, mosque siege, suicide bombers attack, car bomb attack, straight shooting, etc. If you think it, it has probably happened.

That's a regression but not surprising. House of worships are commonly targeted in human conflicts, from temples to synagoges to churches. If you have an active civil war in Africa, Churches are actually great place to find your victims. They usually huddled together there.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Awesome

"Speaking during an unprecedented visit by an American secretary of state to Goma, in the epicenter of Congo’s war-torn east, she said the American government would help train gynecologists, supply rape victims with video cameras to document violence and send military engineers to help train Congolese police officers to crack down on rapists.

“This problem is too big for one country to solve alone,” she said at a round-table meeting here with doctors and human rights advocates.

“I’m not here to leave a business card, but I can’t wave a magic wand either,” she said when human rights workers pressed her for concrete assistance."
(NY Times)

I can't recall a US Secretary of State ever going to Eastern Congo.

R.I.P Eunice Kennedy Shriver


She's the founder of Special Olympics, that makes her super awesome woman in my book. Oh, she's a sister of John, Robert and Ted Kennedy as well.

Genome sequencing for 50K USD

An engineer has managed to sequence his own genome for 50K. It used to cost 500 million dollars back in early 2000. That's a couple order of magnitude improvement. NY Times has more.

They are predicting that the price will fall down to less than 10K in a couple of years. With that progress, soon we will all posting our genome code in our facebook profile.

Monday, August 10, 2009

health care reform.

United Health Group has sent out pre-written, pre-addressed postcards to its employees that they may send them along to their representatives in congress, with the following text:
=====================================
As someone who works in health care, I am writing in support of health care reform and modernization. I believe this effort can best be achieved by building upon the current employer-based system upon which 160 million Americans rely.

While I am writing to you today as an individual, I am also an employee at United Health Group, one of the largest and most diverse participants in the health care system. I know first-hand the significant challenges our nation faces in improving access to quality care, while at the same time managing rapidly growing health care costs. Based on my experience, the employer-based system is in the best position to take on this crucial challenge in the years to come.

I strongly agree with the comments of many policy makers, including President Obama, that Americans should be able to keep their current health insurance if they wish. Efforts to waken the employer-based system, however, could force many American families to opt out of employer-based coverage.

Thank you for your role in ensuring meaningful health care reform.
=========================================

Classic - Al Kyder and Terry Wrist

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Inch by inch

"I have had several experiences of women trying to convince me that being straight would make me incredibly happy and sex with women is much more fulfilling. Thanks ladies, but no thanks, somehow it's hard to imagine replacing my interest in sweaty jockstrap with lacy panties. You may think homosexuality is just a phase, but this way of thinking shows a problem with the ways in which that kind of a woman was taught to associate, and also demonstrates the problems that stem from a society riddled with phobias and stereotypes.

I believe it will be beyond beneficial for both sides when a gay man and straight woman build a friendship without necessarily crossing each others sexual preference or being disrespectful. Besides sharing the same passion for fashion and men, most ladies like to get a guys point of view on things; and by having gay friend they can be sure he just wants to be friends, sharing opinions without wanting to get in her pants. They can also go guy hunting or just gossip about them. A gay friend is also a good style advisor - most gay men, of course, if he's a drag queen he'll be busy indulging his own fetish for women's wear! And a GFF will tell you honestly if your boobs need some work done without necessarily offending your feeling."
(The Jakarta Post)

Indonesian culture accepts transgendered than gay easily. This is the latest about gay in Indonesia in 2009. The above article was the first time for me to read an op-ed by an openly gay Indonesian although the English only article definitely limit its exposure.

Assuredly I don't think gay rights are still as equal as it is in Europe but there are several NGOs that represent gay rights movement fighting for this. Good for them (on the other hand, this not even something that we should be fighting for - it should just be there already).

At least being gay is not a crime under Indonesia penal code (Source) - although one or two provinces are introducing laws against it (we have autonomous provinces).

Anyway, it's still a work in progress but I think we are in a much better positions that a lot of developing countries in this regards. It's time to stop discriminate people based on who they are. Societies will be better for it.

Oh, now they tell us

"I was skeptical when Berthoud said this. Don't you need to raise your heart rate and sweat in order to strengthen your cardiovascular system? Don't you need to push your muscles to the max in order to build them?

Actually, it's not clear that vigorous exercise like running carries more benefits than a moderately strenuous activity like walking while carrying groceries. You regularly hear about the benefits of exercise in news stories, but if you read the academic papers on which these stories are based, you frequently see that the research subjects who were studied didn't clobber themselves on the elliptical machine. A routine example: in June the Association for Psychological Science issued a news release saying that "physical exercise ... may indeed preserve or enhance various aspects of cognitive functioning." But in fact, those who had better cognitive function merely walked more and climbed more stairs. They didn't even walk faster; walking speed wasn't correlated with cognitive ability.

There's also growing evidence that when it comes to preventing certain diseases, losing weight may be more important than improving cardiovascular health. In June, Northwestern University researchers released the results of the longest observational study ever to investigate the relationship between aerobic fitness and the development of diabetes. The results? Being aerobically fit was far less important than having a normal body mass index in preventing the disease. And as we have seen, exercise often does little to help heavy people reach a normal weight."
Time

That exercise has little effect on weight loss and doing small activities spread during the day is better than going to the gym.

Stupid Language War

"LANGUAGE laws may protect minority rights or infringe them. Slovakia’s new law, which comes into force on September 1st, is under fire for its harshness. It imposes fines of up to €5,000 ($7,000) on those who break rules promoting the use of Slovak in public. Hungarian-speakers, who number around a tenth of the population, mainly in the south of the country, see that as a direct attack on their right to speak their mother-tongue. So do politicians in neighbouring Hungary. A long-running dispute between two of Europe’s most prickly neighbours is turning nasty."

(Economist)

Somaliland



There is a part of Somalia that has been secure and relatively prosperous for the past two decades. It's called Somaliland and this is their government website.

http://www.somalilandgov.com/

They are also renting diplomats since they are not an internationally recognized government.

Comfortably numb



I heard that this song is huge in India (or any songs from Pink Floyd) - definitely best enjoyed while stoned.

This week in history


Nagasaki - August 9


Nagasaki Aftermath


Nagasaki Before - After


Hiroshima - August 6

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Pawnd

It looks like the Indonesian police just fragged Indonesia's number one terrorist, Noordin M Top, a Malaysian who was the mastermind of several high profile terrorist attacks, including the one in Jakarta a couple of weeks ago.

The police hasn't officially confirmed his identity yet (pending DNA confirmation), but it looks pretty good that this dude is dead. If the corpse was indeed him, then good riddance.

Time has more and the Jakarta Post as well.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

All around awesome - Sudan all female deminer teams


"But Kjell Ivar Breili, NPA's programme manager, says this is the first such team to be used in Sudan.

Mr Breili said NPA's two female teams have recently beaten several of the six male teams in terms of the numbers of mines cleared.

"The women do a great job - and we don't have problems of fighting or drinking," he said.

Each de-miner creeps painstakingly forward down thin alleys, moving the safety line forward only once every section has been checked.

It is tough work in baking sun, and the plastic face-shields they wear inside the minefield mean that it is not possible to drink water during each 45-minute shift.

However, the women must pour water on to the hard-baked soil to soften the earth and allow the gentle probing of suspect objects."
(BBC)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

SOS Mata Atlântica (Xixi no Banho)

Do your part to conserve water.



"Spilled guts: After being cleaned, this 10-meter Baird's beaked whale receives a long incision to prepare for slaughtering. The number of whales killed by Japan has steadily risen in recent years, prompting U.S. officials to criticize Tokyo for exploiting the International Whaling Commission (IWC) moratorium's scientific loophole. Other countries have withdrawn from the IWC and defied the organization outright. Norway and Iceland, for example, have deliberately ignored the ban.

Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images"
(FP)

An alternative to cutting penis

"A Wisconsin man who thought he was joining his lover at a motel for an afternoon tryst was instead blindfolded and bound while she and three other women, including his wife, berated and humiliated him over his infidelity, according to a criminal complaint.

Four of the women have been charged with false imprisonment in the romance-revenge scheme and one of them is accused of sexual assault for allegedly super-gluing the man's genitals to his stomach, the complaint says." (USA Today)

Super glue it instead to his stomach.

publicity for hobo-hookah


IMG_2552
Originally uploaded by uylin22

Now even men are getting raped in Congo

"I understand the world feels guilty about what happened in Rwanda in 1994," said Denis Mukwege, the lead doctor at Panzi Hospital . . . "But shouldn't the world feel guilty about what's happening in Congo today?"

(link)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Dawg


North Korea released the two captured US journalists after Bill Clinton meeting.

Obama's Birthday

His birthday is today.



This is an opposition pamphlet that's being going around in some part of California depicting him as the Joker (the villain of Batman). I think he kindda look cool in this.

Not just pirates

Melbourne terror raids (more)

"Four men - all Australian citizens - were arrested this morning as federal and state police, armed with search warrants, swooped on members of the suspected terror cell this morning in the second-largest counter-terrorism operation in the nation's history.

"Police believe members of a Melbourne-based group have been undertaking planning to carry out a terrorist attack in Australia and allegedly involved in hostilities in Somalia,'' a joint police statement said.

The men are expected to be charged with a range of terrorism-related offences.

Authorities believe the group is at an advanced stage of preparing to storm an Australian Army base, using automatic weapons, as punishment for Australia's military involvement in Muslim countries. It is understood the men plan to kill as many soldiers as possible before they are themselves killed.

The cell has been inspired by the Somalia-based terrorist movement al-Shabaab, with two Melbourne men, both Somalis, having travelled to Somalia in recent months to obtain training with the extremist organisation, which is aligned with al-Qa'ida.

One of those men has already returned to Melbourne. The other is still in Somalia.
" (The Australian)
Dude, Australia took you as refugees from the chaos of Somalia to a pleasant, albeit boring existance in Melbourne and what you do in return in planning a terrorist attack?

Burmese going Nuclear?

A Burmese general in Naypyidaw (Capital of Burma).

This writes like a bad dream

""Our own starting position was one of deep skepticism, but the testimonies from two defectors forced us to consider the uncomfortable possibilities of a Burma with nuclear capability."

Oi. If they do, we know where they got the nuclear from.

This evil genius!

Monday, August 03, 2009

How to lose American support

"Israeli security forces evicted two Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem early Sunday after the families lost a long legal battle to remain in the contested properties, furthering a plan for Jewish settlement in the predominantly Arab area.

The houses were built in the 1950s by a United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees when the area was under Jordanian control. Jordan gave the families ownership of the houses but had not formally registered the buildings in their names by the time the 1967 war broke out, according to the families’ lawyer, Hosni Abu Hussein.

In the early 1970s, a Jewish association claimed ownership of the land around the tomb, based on property deeds from Ottoman times. At first the Palestinian families agreed to pay rent to the association to continue living there as protected tenants. Mr. Abu Hussein said they stopped paying when he learned that the Jewish deeds had been forged.

Eviction orders were issued, though the authenticity of the property deeds is still debated in Israeli courts."


(NY Times)

The settlers will cost Israel of American public's support.


and Tom Friedman brought down the hammer (yeah, he's uneven at most but he's right this time)

"Here’s what Israelis need to understand: President Obama is not some outlier when it comes to Israel. His call for a settlements freeze reflects attitudes that have been building in America for a long time. For the last 40 years, a succession of Israeli governments has misled, manipulated or persuaded naïve U.S. presidents that since Israel was negotiating to give up significant territory, there was no need to fight over “insignificant” settlements on some territory. Behind this charade, Israeli settlers bit off more and more of the West Bank, creating a huge moral, security and economic burden for Israel and its friends.

The Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Ethan Bronner, captured the we-are-untouchable arrogance of the settlers last week when he quoted Rabbi Yigael Shandorfi, leader of a religious academy at the settlement of Nahliel, calling Mr. Obama in a speech “that Arab they call a president.

So if Mr. Obama has bluntly pressed for a settlements freeze, he is, in fact, reflecting a broad sentiment in Congress, the Pentagon and among many Americans, Jews included. Haaretz quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as calling two Obama aides pushing the freeze “self-hating Jews.” Bibi’s spokesman denies he said that. I hope he didn’t. When you have to trot that one out, you’re really, really out of ammo.
(NY Times)

Here's why things are different now. The US is involved in two major wars, dealing with a catastrophic financial meltdown, dealing with high unemployment numbers, etc. It has less tolerance against shenanighans of its allies, especially the one that can undermine its goal in the region and the safety of its troops. Israel is US closest ally. This closeness will become a liability really really quickly if it refuses the wish of an American President.

And take a look at the overwhelming support for the Iranian green movement on how quickly the American public adopt a cause that ticks its sense justice although Iran really is a foreign and negative concept. Now if only Palestinian stop sabotaging their own chances and learn from the Iranian kids we'll have this long overdue conflict over and we all can move on with our lives.

Scary Teddy

First class awesome

700 already?

We were quite surprised by the high death toll of the Urumqi riots last month. Now Nigeria has shown us what a real riot is like:

An AP story gives a figure of at least 700 deaths in Maiduguri after the attack of a police station by a radical Islamic cult and then the counterattack. The story says that the police ignored warnings from mainstream Muslims. The story also states, puzzlingly, that

"International concern is growing over the ability of Al Qaeda affiliates to cross the porous desert borders of countries like Niger into Nigeria."

This implies that the cult is somehow related to Al Qaeda. That is probably not the case, since the region has had a history of religious riots caused by grassroots, locally motivated, extremists. The so-called Maitatsine riots, for example, included an episode on October 30th 1982 in Maiduguri where more than 4,000 people were killed. Cultists attacked a police station, then were eventually subdued in an armed state response.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Indonesians can't fly worth a damn

"A Merpati Nusantara Airlines plane with 15 passengers and crew on board
disappeared shortly after takeoff in eastern Indonesia on Sunday, an airline
official said.

Among the 13 passengers were 11 adults and two babies,
said Nikmatullah, director of operations for the airline. The crew included a
pilot and co-pilot. "

(CNN)

Yet another missing plane in Indonesia. It's a flying coffin.

Venezuelan government targets and closes radio stations

A new media law has been proposed in Venezuela which several people in Venezuela see as aimed at having the media self-restrain from publishing "harmful" materials, as they could face 6 months to 4 years of imprisonment for it. Interestingly enough a leftist parliament member mentioned that "this new law corresponds to the era of Mussolini, Pinoche, Hitler and other Argentinian military, but never to our revolutionary process" (link in Spanish)

Also yesterday (Saturday August 1st) the government has taken 34 radio stations off the air (more at El Universal), which based on comments I received seemed to be a targeted attack to the stations that re-transmitted several opinion programs criticized before by the government as opposition centric. Nevertheless the argument presented is that these stations did not manage to submit a necessary paperwork on time. El Universal (link in Spanish) mentions that out of the 656 existing AM and FM ration stations, 360 are at risk of being closed, that's a whooping 55%.

Chavez insists that the radio stations were not closed but "recovered" (link in Spanish) and the Minister in charge of doing this said that "almost all of these circuits had to do with illegal actions that allowed a family or group to take ownership of 10 and even 15 stations" (link also in Spanish).

Interestingly enough the Venezuelan community took twitter by assault and vented their opinions using the #FreeMediaVe hashtag which apparently made it to the top 10 topics in twitter and made the "Bolivarian News Agency" post an information accusing opposition tweeters of this with an article titled "Ultra-right media campaign has repercussions on social networks in Internet" (link in Spanish).

I am intrigued at how twitter with its short posting has played a central role lately in allowing communities to share their opinions and views, thus allowing the global community to get a glimpse of what is happening on the ground of the events.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

R.I.P. Madam President



"Corazon Aquino, the former president of the Philippines who swept away a dictator with a "people power" revolt and then sustained democracy by fighting off seven coup attempts in six years, died on Saturday. She was 76.

The uprising she led in 1986 ended the repressive 20-year regime of Ferdinand Marcos and inspired nonviolent protests across the globe, including those that ended Communist rule in eastern Europe."
(Telegraph)

Remember she did this in 1986, under the gloom of Cold War, when much of the world still under dictactorships.