Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pakistan on the edge

ay

"Members of a Pakistani civil society light candles for victims during a ceremony at the site of Wednesday's car bombing in Peshawar, Pakistan on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2009. Suspected militants exploded a car bomb in a market crowded with women and children on Wednesday, killing more than 100 people. Peshawar, the economic hub of the northwest and the seat of the provincial government, has long been a favorite target of militants who control large parts of nearby tribal regions near the Afghan border."(Daylife)

The country is currently under terrorist attack virtually every other day as a blow back to Pakistan military offensive to recapture areas previously under Pakistan Taliban' (and a bunch of assorted tribes') control.

Good luck folks and stay safe!

Boston.com BigPicture has more.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blasphemy and Free Speech

"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized on Monday an attempt by Islamic countries to prohibit defamation of religions, saying such policies would restrict free speech.

"Some claim that the best way to protect the freedom of religion is to implement so-called anti-defamation policies. . . . I strongly disagree," Clinton said. "The protection of speech about religion is particularly important since persons of different faiths will inevitably hold divergent views on religious questions."

While unnamed in Clinton's speech, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a group of 56 Islamic nations, has been pushing hard for the U.N. Human Rights Council to adopt resolutions that broadly bar the defamation of religion. The effort has raised concerns that such resolutions could be used to justify crackdowns on free speech in Muslim countries.

Clinton made her comments while unveiling the State Department's annual report on international religious freedom." (Washington Post)


OIC effort is foolish. Once you go down this part then you are going to open your own citizens to unfair laws around the world in regards of blasphemy. Remember, there isn't just 5-6 major religions in the world. There are hundreds of minors one too. And who will have the right to decide which act of speech is blasphemy and which are not?

Will a Muslim slaughtering a cow in India prosecuted for blasphemy? Will criticizing the Catholic church make you a criminal in the eye of the state? Will predominantly atheistic countries deserve to be invaded because they really don't think that highly of religions?

Asking for blasphemy resolution on international level is a stupid stupid idea and deserve to be rejected completely.

Seeing double



Both Salon and CNN have recently reworked their websites and it looks like their high priced designers are using the same templates.

The Terminator's Way


CNN

Arnold Arnold Schwarzenegger is the current governor of California. Read the first letter of every line :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Old Europe resurfaces

This is the map of Sudetenland, a part of Czech Republic.

The story is familiar - the area fell into Nazi Germany during WWII and some of the German ethnics in cooperated with the regime. After WWII, there was mass expulsion of German ethnics out of the area as a retaliation and their property was confiscated by whoever happened to be in the area at the time.

Those property owners and their families wanted their properties back - and off course the current populace of the region said, "No dice".

This issue resurfaces to European conversation again because Václav Klaus, the current President of Czech Republic, raises a concern that Lisbon Treaty could expose Czech Republic to the property claim of Sudetenland. Some found this fear unfounded.


Happy day of the liberation of Ukraine from fascist invaders

"Victor Yushchenko decided to celebrate the liberation of Ukraine from the Nazis. On October 21, he signed the “Decree of the day of the liberation of Ukraine from fascist invaders” to be celebrated on October 28. The decree came as a surprise for many."
(Pravda)

The coverage is from Pravda, a major Russian publication, so it is quite snarky. Let it be known that Ukraine and Russia do not have a good relation.

An interview with Abdullah Abdullah


"SPIEGEL: Three years ago, Afghan President Hamid Karzai dismissed you as foreign minister. Now you are his rival in the run-off. Do you feel a sense of gratification?

Abdullah: In 2004 I decided not to vote for him. We have different ideas, different visions. He believes in a strong, centralized system, I believe in a parliamentary system, which is more decentralized. He believes in individuals, I think, parties should become more influential in a democracy. I believe in a truly independent Independent Electoral Commission, in an independent Constitutional Commission and in the judiciary. He doesn't. There are, as you can see, a number of differences. About the only thing we have in common is that we are both candidates in the presidential elections."
(Spiegel)

The run off election for Afghanistan will happen next week. Above is an interview of Abdullah Abdullah, the other main contender in the election.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cool You Tube Tricks

http://www.youtube.com/warp.swf?v=maKVPe677Jc&feature=fvst


Growing up bin Laden

A book review by Time

"The nightmare began in earnest after the Saudi government banished Osama from the Kingdom for railing against Riyadh's decision to allow American soldiers on Saudi soil to repel Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait. From the new family home in Sudan, while Osama plotted to overthrow the Saudi monarchy and the American government, Omar noticed some dangerous new arrivals in their Khartoum neighborhood, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of an Egyptian Islamist movement who becomes al-Qaeda's second in command. When members of another extremist group raped one of Omar's male friends, al-Zawahiri took justice into his own hands — by executing the victim."

This last sentence is quite chilling, isn't it?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Geocities: Going Down

Geocities was, for your eyes and most intents and purposes, hell. But man, back in the 90's it gave a lot of people there first outlet for interacting with the web and building a following.

I had a terrible, javascript ladened and mouse-overview graphicked site, with links and angsty teenager commentary over at http://www.geocities.com/siliconvalley/1686. Now gone forever.

Anyone else do there thing at Geocities at one time? If you haven't seen a Geocities page in a while, XKCD has an excellent send up here.

And Jerusalem burns...again

For a holy city of three major world faith, this place is ironically accustomed to violence.






"A masked Palestinian youth sets a tyre on fire during clashes with Israeli police in Jerusalem's old city on October 25, 2009. Dozens of people were wounded in confrontations between Israeli police and Palestinians in and around the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a flashpoint site holy to Muslims and Jews alike."
(Daylife)

It's not clear to me how this was started since everybody is pointing finger. Regardless, how it started is less important than how it will end.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Battle of the Movies

A film that took on Russia's side in the Georgian War 08/08/08 was released earlier this year titled Olympus Inferno. It tells a story about an American who discovered the proof of Georgian's role in initiating the war.







Now here comes the counterattack!


Andy Garcia in the role of Mikheil Saakashvili in the presidential office in Tbilisi. (The Guardian)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What dating an older man has to offer.....

Runoff election for Afghanistan


"The US government had been increasing the pressure by the day. On Tuesday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave in and announced he would submit to a run-off election against challenger Abdullah Abdullah. Renewed election fraud could mean a loss of face for the US -- and compromise the West as guarantors of democracy.

The waiting for the official election results in Afghanistan has come to an end. On Tuesday, the Election Commission in Afghanistan decided against President Hamid Karzai -- thus joining the United Nations-supported Electoral Complaints Commission, which had found that around one-third of the votes cast in the country's August presidential elections were invalid. Karzai will now face a run-off election against his challenger Abdullah Abdullah on Nov. 7." (Spiegel)
)

When you were growing up, there was no second chance on your test mark if you were caught cheating - the teacher would automatically set your score to zero. Well apparently when you are a leader of a country, the rule doesn't apply. Karzai has substantively been found cheating through the first election (30% of votes for him were thrown out) - and he still get a second round of election participation. He should have been thrown out.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Padma Lakshmi gets up close and personal with a Carl's Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger



Padma Lakshmi, a "culinary expert," gets up close and personal with a Carl's Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger. "Interesting" is all I have to say.

The good guys

Election Campaign Season starts in Ukraine


"After what is widely seen as five years of missed opportunities under incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine's three-month election campaign has begun.

Past presidential elections in Ukraine have been a contest for control of the "swing" region of central Ukraine that Leonid Kuchma and Yushchenko won in 1994 and 2004, respectively. But to win nationwide, a candidate needs either western or eastern Ukraine as well. "
(Radio Free Europe)

I am currently in Kiev and the city is full of billboards and campaign banners.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Interactive Telenovela (Spanish with English Subtitles)

I would like to warmly encourage nomadlifers to participate in the world's first interactive telenovela, a project envisioned by innovative filmmakers based in Austin, TX.

At the end of the clip, you get to vote on how the plot should unfold.

cheating death with poison


http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/10/09/cheating.death.suspended.animation/index.html


"The air we breathe is 21 percent oxygen. At 5 percent, those fish and flies -- like us -- would be dead in a few minutes. At 0.1 percent, it was another story. "You get a state of suspended animation and the creatures do not pass away, and that's the basis of what we see as an alternative way to think about critical care medicine," Roth says. "What you want to do is to have the patient's time slowed down, while everyone around them [like doctors] move at what we would call real time." If the patient's time -- the process of your death -- were slowed down, doctors would have more time to fix you."


So it would be kind of like this.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Horror!

http://khabaronline.ir/news-20198.aspx

It's all in Farsi, but the pictures make it pretty clear what's going on. I love the piece of machinery used in the destruction....

Khamenei in a coma?

"Yesterday afternoon at 2.15PM local time, Khamenei collapsed and

was taken to his special clinic. Nobody – except his son and the
doctors – has since been allowed to get near him.
His official, but secret, status is: “in the hands of the gods”.

Reportedly this collapse is natural. Many would like him to move to his
afterlife but reportedly the collapse was not ‘externally induced’
[no poisioning]. The few insiders who know about the collapse see
this development “as a gift from the gods”.

His condition had already seriously deteriorated over the last
months, aggravated by his nervous condition due to [1] his
inability to solve the problems created by his manipulation of the
election results and the refusal of [a large part of] the
population to accept this, plus [2] his loss of religious authority
by means of the repeated condemnations of events by senior clerics

Reportedly the principal aims of Khamenei of the last couple of
weeks, if not months, were to ensure [1] a positive reputation as
his legacy and [2] the physical survival of his family members and
their wealth, reportedly now largely in Syria and in Turkey (remember the truck convoy of $8.5 billion in cash and gold that was seized by the Turks?).

Outlook is uncertain but speculation is – considering that he is in
coma since more than 24 hours – that he may not come out of his coma and/or that he may die very soon.

If he dies it is expected that immediately a bloody clash will
develop between the powers behind Rafsanjani, who will immediately
claim temporary religious authority and overall control, and the
powers behind Achmadinejad who will scramble in order to regain
control and ensure their survival."
- Via Pajamas Media

A very interesting development.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dow Jones 10,000

It looks like it's going to be today thanks to the strong result from JP Morgan (3.6 billion in profit)






WOHOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Partay Time !!!



ps:
It doesn't mean much. Yeah, it's better to have a higher Dow Jones index than low, but what matters is the unemployment number, which right now still hovers at 9.8%.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pyramids of Egypt - Unknown Complex 2


This is a second unknown complex to me. It's located just north of Dashur (and South of Unknown); good reason to do some weekend expedition :)

Click here to view it on Google Map.

Pyramids of Egypt - Unknown Complex



Unknown means I have no clue about this Pyramid complex. This site located South of Saqqara and North of Dashur complex.

Click here to view it on Google Map.

Pyramids of Egypt - Zawyet el-Aryan


Click here to view this on Google Map. I'm not sure about this Pyramid actually but its location is between Giza and Abu sir which makes it most likely the Pyramid of Zawyet el-Aryan.

Pyramids of Egypt - Abu Sir Complex


Click here to view it on Google Map.

Pyramids of Egypt - Dashur Complex

The Red Pyramid is at the top of the picture - at the bottom is Bent Pyramid. Click here to view this on Google Map.

These two Pyramids are the best ones to visit in Egypt (one hour by car south of Cairo).

Pyramids of Egypt - Saqqara Complex

You can see here the Steps Pyramid, the earliest version of Egyptian Pyramids.

Click here to view it on Google Map

Pyramids of Egypt - Giza Complex

Click here to view it on Google Map.

This is how a Macaroni Salad should be done



Monday, October 12, 2009

Fools

"In a formal reversal, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, said over the weekend that he would push for immediate action on a United Nations report that accused both Israel and Hamas of possible war crimes in last winter’s Gaza war. In a televised speech on Sunday, Mr. Abbas said he had instructed the Palestinian ambassador in Geneva to try to muster an extraordinary session of the United Nations Human Rights Council to endorse and advance the recommendations of the report.

Mr. Abbas had come under harsh criticism at home and in the Arab world for an earlier decision, under American and Israeli pressure, to defer a vote by six months. The United Nations Security Council is expected to debate the report on Tuesday, with Palestinian support. Israel has called the report one-sided and warned that action to promote it would kill any chance of peace talks." (NY Times)

No wonder they got played by Israel - the Palestinian Leadership has no game skills. The damning UN report on Gaza war is a chip on their bargaining table - there is no need to cash it in immediately by pushing the UN to act on it. The UN is toothless - the Palestinian will get nothing out of this thanks to US veto habit. All you get is a self satisfaction yet again that "we are right and Israel is wrong" on this issue based on UN resolution.

Abbas forgot that the release of the report itself has already had an effect on world opinion - yet another fucking UN resolution won't add a dime on this.

Dumb ass.

Screw the "Arab world" opinion. They don't do no shit for the past decades for the Palestinian situation.

The threat of going forward with the UN report is a much more effective than the action itself. He should have traded this chip for some concessions from the Israelis.

Furthermore, the biggest factor to force Israel's hand lies with the United States. That's their Achilles' Heels. So what you do is make it easier for your supporter in the US power structure to support you - one is by changing the narrative in public sphere. Look at how the "green revolution" in Iran completely change the opinion of US public regarding the Iranian people - complete with the "twitter revolution";

Going through yet another "UN Condemnation" or "day of rage" are unproductive at best and harmful at worst to the Palestinian cause.

Dow Jones Today

9908.85 +43.91‎ (0.45%‎) 12 Oct 12:25pm ET

It looks like it's going to break the magic 10,000 number again. Oh so much optimism.

QS World University Rankings 2009

1 HARVARD University, United States
2 University of CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom
3 YALE University, United States
4 UCL (University College London), United Kingdom
5= IMPERIAL College London, United Kingdom
5= University of OXFORD, United Kingdom
7 University of CHICAGO, United States
8 PRINCETON University, United States
9 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
10 California Institute of Technology, United States
(QS World University Rankings)

Hehe.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Niqab ban in Egypt



This is a surprise for me - of all places - that Egypt is contemplating of banning the Niqab from its institutions.

"A Constitutional Court ruled Wednesday against the full face veil (niqab), giving authorities and institutions the right to ban it.

The court based its verdict on its interpretation of Islamic Sharia, which does not oblige women to cover their faces."

The court’s verdict also coincides with a controversial decision by Al-Azhar Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawy to ban the niqab in the religious institution’s schools and universities.
(Daily News Egypt)

This Global Voices Online blog has more.

Stupid Proposal underway in Switzerland


"If voters agree on November 29, one extra sentence will be added to the Swiss constitution: "the construction of minarets is prohibited".

Several planning permission applications in the German-speaking part of the country provided the catalyst for the vote, with local residents collecting signatures against the towers' construction" (swissinfo)


Prohibiting minaret construction is just dumb senseless idea and it interferes with the idea of freedom of religion. You can off course set up a law to regulate how high the minaret can be, requirement for construction, etc just like any municipality building code - that is normal. But banning construction of Minarets is frankly a plain discriminatory act.

The last stage of Lisbon Treaty

When Czech Republic took over the rotating EU Presidency earlier this year, they unveiled this art installation, which make fun of several EU member countries.


Now that Ireland and Poland have ratified the Lisbon Treaty, Czech Republic is the last country to ratify it. The trouble is that its current president is a well known Euro Skeptic Vaclav Klaus and the fear is that he could spoil it for everybody. Most likely he is using this "decider" position to haggle and extract more concession from EU for his country.

Armenia and Turkey are now BFF


"Turkey and Armenia have signed a historic accord normalising relations after a century of hostility.

The deal was signed by the two foreign ministers after last-minute problems delayed the ceremony in Switzerland.

Under the agreement, Turkey and Armenia are to establish diplomatic ties and reopen their shared border.

The accord has been met by protests in Armenia, where many people say it does not fully address the 1915 killing of hundreds of thousands of Armenians."
BBC

Although the agreement still need to be ratified by respective countries' parliament, this is a huge breakthrough. Now they can start working on that Azerbaijan - Armenia conflict.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Stand off in Pakistan

Update:
"Troops stormed Pakistan's army headquarters Sunday to end a day-long hostage drama, freeing 39 people held by militants who brazenly struck at the heart of the military establishment.

Three hostages, two soldiers and four suspected Taliban militants were killed in a rescue operation hailed by the military as 'highly successful', despite a total of 19 dead since the rebels launched their assault."

(Dawn)



"Several gunmen who escaped after the attack Saturday morning on the Pakistan army HQ near Islamabad had taken some security personnel hostage and were encircled by troops, a military spokesman said.

Army Spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said 4-5 militants were holed up in the security agency’s building and they had taken 10-15 hostages. ‘Efforts are under way for their safe recovery,’ said the spokesman."

(DAWN)

This is a suicide mission. Nobody in their right mind would storm an Army HQ just relying on a bunch of guys with AK-47 unless it's a suicide mission. This means that they will most likely try to prolong this stand off as long as possible before killing their hostages.

The Beatles







too super cool



I think the opposite thing happens if you have a cat. My cat is too super cool.
www.happynews.com

Bacon Cheese Doughnut Burger

"I mean there are a lot of ways to end it all. you could take a whole bottle of pills, you know, you could you could go get in a car chase and run out and act like you're gonna shoot somebody and then the cop would kill you, right? or you could just you could just really eat one of those, seems to me. that's a krispy kreme doughnut around a burger. i don't know, man."

Friday, October 09, 2009

Holy Crap


"In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that it had awarded its annual peace prize to President Obama “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” less than nine months after he took office."

“He has created a new international climate,” the committee said in its announcement. With American forces deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama’s name had not figured in speculation about the winner until minutes before the prize was announced here.

Likely candidates had been seen here as including human rights activists in China and Afghanistan and political figures in Africa.

But the committee said it wanted to enhance Mr. Obama’s diplomatic efforts so far rather than reward him for events in the future.
(NY Times)

Damn. It sure is a fucking surprise.

Look, Obama has indeed done a lot in changing the international climate by engaging with international institutions, pulling back global financial catastrophe, reaching out to the Muslim world, and simply picking much smarter approaches in tackling global problems.

But it has just been 9 months and there is such thing as a premature award. Bottom line, I think he would have won the Nobel Peace Prize down the line - but right now it smells like giving an A to all students in a class in the beginning and tell them they have the rest of the semester to bring it down - it worked in school but not sure it is the right approach for a Nobel Prize award.

But regardless, congratulation to President Obama. He is indeed a man in a hurry.

This is the full statement from the Nobel Committee.

Bottom line:
"The committee chair said:
“The question we have to ask is who has done the most in the previous year to enhance peace in the world. And who has done more than Barack Obama?”"


The Economist's take
"Mr Obama’s aspirations may be laudable, but he has several tough years ahead. The Nobel committee evidently wants to encourage him but it might have been wiser to hold judgment until he has achieved more.".

Thursday, October 08, 2009

From China's 60th Anniversary Parade



One commenter on YouTube summed it up:
"u can take all of them i just want the front 3 ladies.. gosh they are pretty.. eventually they don have to shoot me to death .. i just die of heart failure"

Cajones

You gotta give it to the Indian Embassy staff in Kabul. They just got attacked again today. The last major attack for just 14 months ago.


A car packed with explosives blew up beside the Indian Embassy on Thursday, leaving more than a dozen dead in what India’s foreign secretary said was an attack on the embassy compound, the second in two years.

Great ad watch

The beer drinking punishment in Malaysia


Spiegel writes a follow up on the beer drinking lady punished with 6 caning and 1500 USD fine in Malaysia. They outlined also how she got arrested in the first place. She's a mother of two and a hospital worker in Singapore.

The article ended with a surprising twist

"Challenge to the Government

Her relatives are self-confident, modern Muslims. Kartika's father, who owns palm oil plantations and a safari lodge, regularly took his nine children skiing in Switzerland or shopping in Amsterdam. Most of the family members have attended university, many of them abroad. They're religious, but the idea that Kartika should be humiliated with a caning just for enjoying a little beer would never have crossed their minds.

This makes her father's news on this evening in Kuala Kangsar all the more surprising. He's engaged a team of well-known lawyers, the family patriarch explains, and given them a clear assignment. The attorneys are to make sure Kartika is declared fully fit for punishment and that the Shariah law sentence is executed, in public.

This is his challenge to the government, Shukarno Abdul Mutalib declares, because Malaysia needs to finally admit one important thing -- that it's not, in fact, ruled by the Taliban.
"

kredia.is - a flash loan service

A friend of mine just launched a flash micro loan service in Iceland where you can get up to 320 bucks of loan for up to 15 days by sending sms.

CITY OF WHISPERS



"On the 60th anniversary of Burma’s independence, the country is colonized from within by its military rulers. Dinyar Godrej travels to its former capital, Rangoon, to catch what’s in the air." (newint)

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Get your own now!


"Conservative Egyptian lawmakers have called for a ban on imports of a Chinese-made kit meant to help women fake their virginity and one scholar has even called for the "exile" of anyone who imports or uses it.

The Artificial Virginity Hymen kit, distributed by the Chinese company Gigimo, costs about $30. It is intended to help newly married women fool their husbands into believing they are virgins — culturally important in a conservative Middle East where sex before marriage is considered by many to be illicit. The product leaks a blood-like substance when inserted and broken.

Gigimo advertises shipping to every Arab country. But the company did not answer e-mails and phone calls seeking comment on whether it had orders from Egypt or other parts of the Middle East.

The fracas started when a reporter from Radio Netherlands broadcast an Arabic translation of the Chinese advertisement of the product. That set off fears of conservative parliament members that Egyptian women might start ordering the kits." (AP)


This comes from the product description
"No more worry about losing your virginity. With this product, you can have your first night back anytime. Insert this artificial hymen into your vagina carefully. It will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrate, it will ooze out a liquid that look like blood not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groans, you will pass through undetectable. Its easy to use, clinically proven non-toxic to human and has no side effects, no pain to use and no allergic reaction.


This Adult Sex Toy Feature:
  • Easy to use
  • Place inside vagina 15-20 minutes before intercourse
  • Soluble and expandable at body heat
  • Clinically proven non-toxic to human
  • No side effects, no pain to use, no allergic reaction
  • Made in Japan"

China celebrates 60th birthday

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

One Day - Matisyahu



Lyrics

I think he's the world first Hasidic reggae singer :)
So I have cancer. Interferon treatment went well and a stage II melanoma instead of III . So far so good.

(click the links)

Flaming Lips new album

disorientation, the new smart drug

Compared with participants in control conditions, participants exposed to either of two unrelated meaning threats (i.e., reading an absurd short story by Franz Kafka or arguing against one's own self-unity) demonstrated both a heightened motivation to perceive the presence of patterns within letter strings and enhanced learning of a novel pattern actually embedded within letter strings (artificial-grammar learning task). These results suggest that the cognitive mechanisms responsible for implicitly learning patterns are enhanced by the presence of a meaning threat.
(Poulx and Heine)

October 6



The peace discussion at the end of the war was the first time that Arab and Israeli officials met for direct public discussions since the aftermath of the 1948 war.

Militarily, the war could best be described as a stalemate.[120][141] On a tactical level, its end saw Israel with territorial gains in the Golan Heights and the encirclement of the Egyptian third army. Some believe the cease fire prevented Israel from landing its harshest blow, as a USMC report asserts:

They were now in position to threaten the rear administrative and supply areas of the entire Egyptian Army. Largely due to the efforts of the Soviet Union, which was fearful of the possibility of a serious Egyptian defeat, the U.N. Security Council imposed a cease-fire effective 22 October.[120]

The report also argues that the Arab side succeeded in surprising Israeli and worldwide intelligence agencies both strategically and tactically:

From a purely military point of view, the first and most important Arab success was the strategic and tactical surprise achieved. While this was aided to no small degree by mistakes made by Israeli Intelligence and the political and military leadership in Israel, the bulk of the credit must go to the highly sophisticated deception plan mounted by the Egyptians. They succeeded in convincing the Israeli Command that the intensive military activity to the west of the Canal during the summer and autumn of 1973 was nothing more than a series of training operations and maneuvers. This deception must be marked as one of the outstanding plans of deception mounted in the course of military history. The plan was successful not only as far as Israeli intelligence was concerned, but also with world-wide intelligence agencies.

For the Arab states (and Egypt in particular), the psychological trauma of their defeat in the Six-Day War had been healed. In many ways, it allowed them to negotiate with the Israelis as equals. However, given that the war had started about as well as the Arab leaders could have wanted, at the end they had made only limited territorial gains in the Sinai front, while Israel gained more territory on the Golan Heights than it held before the war; also given the fact that Israel managed to gain a foothold on African soil west of the canal, the war helped convince many in the Arab World that Israel could not be defeated militarily, thereby strengthening peace movements. The war effectively ended the old Arab ambition of destroying Israel by force.[142]

The war had a stunning effect on the population in Israel. Following their victory in the Six-Day War, the Israeli military had become complacent. The shock and sudden defeats that occurred at the beginning of the war sent a terrible psychological blow to the Israelis, who had thought they had military supremacy in the region.[143] However, in time, they began to realize what an astounding, almost unprecedented, turnaround they had achieved:

Reeling from a surprise attack on two fronts with the bulk of its army still unmobilized, and confronted by staggering new battlefield realities, Israel's situation was one that could readily bring strong nations to their knees. Yet, within days, it had regained its footing and in less than two weeks it was threatening both enemy capitals, an achievement having few historical parallels.

The report goes on to describe the war as a political and strategic Egyptian victory.[120] (wikipedia)




The Egyptian did not manage to conquer much territory in Sinai at the end of cease fire after completing strategic surprise in the initial attack. The Israel managed to get their shit together a week within the war and the humongous supply line being opened by the US to supply ammunition and weapon to Israel helped tide the war.

In this end, as commonly thought, the war ended up as a stalemate. There are theories on what would happen to the result of the war had the cease fire did not happen - because you have the situation of Egyptian Third Army being trapped and could possibly would not survive a sustained Israel attack. On the other hand, you also see Israel attack repelled in the Battle of Suez which cost the Israel dearly in men and materials.

The good thing about this war is the aftermath, which allow Egypt to negotiate a peace treaty with Israel on the same level. You must remember that the peace treaty of 1978 received a fierce opposition within Egypt and in the wider Arab world and President Sadat was considered as a sell out and a traitor.

Yeah, it was ironic that the arm chair generals and fat kings in the gulf and around dared to criticize the Arab country that has gone to multiple wars with Israel to actually make peace.

Sadat eventually was assassinated by its own people in 1981 partly because of the peace treaty. Like they say, no good deed goes unpunished.



In Sadat's funeral, no Arab head of state attended, apart from Sudan's President at the time. This was the ultimate insult to what he had achieved.


Sadat's Military Funeral

Monday, October 05, 2009

A scientific review


"Women just don't think about sex all that much. They have sexual fantasies only twice a month. Sometimes, they have sex simply out of a sense of duty.

Disagree with any of that? Find those sweeping statements enraging? So did I, at times, while reading "
Why Women Have Sex," a groundbreaking new book by clinical psychologist Cindy M. Meston and evolutionary psychologist David M. Buss, two researchers at the University of Texas at Austin who have conducted a wide-ranging survey into the dark corners of our sexual subconscious. Still, I also found myself nodding vigorously and letting out crescendoed "mhm's" as I read through the study of more than 1,000 women."


I never heard about the term "mate poaching" being used before.

This nugget is also interesting

"The number of premarital sex partners is a good predictor of infidelity post-marriage. That applies for both men and women. The higher the number before marriage, the higher the probability that there’s going to be an infidelity in the marriage. Ultimately, I think that’s part of the reason for that double standard."

It says that if you were a manwhore, you would like more to cheat on your spouse than not.
Which is true especially if you agree with the law of Chris Rock that "a man is as faithful as his options". A manwhore has proven that he has a great track record in bedding women which points out that he has a wider options than the rest of his peers.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Did border control cost Chicago the bid?

"Did Chicago lose the chance to host the 2016 Olympics because of airport security issues?

Among the toughest questions posed to the Chicago bid team this week in Copenhagen was one that raised the issue of what kind of welcome foreigners would get from airport officials when they arrived in this country to attend the Games. Syed Shahid Ali, an I.O.C. member from Pakistan, in the question-and-answer session following Chicago’s official presentation, pointed out that entering the United States can be “a rather harrowing experience.”

President Obama, who was there as part of the 10-person team, assured Mr. Ali that all visitors would be made to feel welcome. “One of the legacies I want to see is a reminder that America at its best is open to the world,” he said.”" (NY Times)

Nah, Rio really is a compelling candidate - it would have won it regardless. But I would agree that the border control issue and the nightmarish stories about US immigration contribute to the fact that Chicago lost the bid in the first round.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Google Wave Invite

I got 2 invitation left for Google Wave. Send me email at empirebuilder@gmail.com. First come, first serve.


It's all gone.

How Rio won 2016


Pretty much all early supporters of Chicago switched to Rio.

(FiveThirtyEight)

Friday, October 02, 2009

Rio 2016


(daylife)

(csmonitor)

"Brazil will become the first South American country to host the Olympics, after the city of Rio de Janeiro was chosen to stage the 2016 Games.
Rio won a majority of the 95 votes at the meeting in Copenhagen, eliminating Madrid in the final round. Tokyo and Chicago had been knocked out earlier.
Earlier, Brazil's president told IOC members "it was time to light the Olympic flame in a tropical country".

(BBC)

Rio took 66 votes and Madrid took 32. Congratulation Rio.

This is the second time Madrid loses the bid to host an Olympic. They lost to London for 2012 and at this round has 75% of the infrastructure ready. I hope they try one more time for 2020.








Rio on track to win



"Chicago was stunningly eliminated in the first round of voting for the 2016 Olympics on Friday, with Rio de Janeiro and Madrid still in contention in the final round of voting by the International Olympic Committee. Tokyo was eliminated in the second round." NY Times

Chicago just got PAWND by the IOC for being eliminated in the first round.

I had assumed the following order of elimination:
Rio (winner)
Chicago
Madrid
Tokyo

Egypt trashed Italy in u-20 world cup 4 - 2



The Fifa u-20 world cup is currently underway in Egypt.

Ig Nobel Prize winners 2009

The Ig Nobel Prizes are a parody of the Nobel Prizes for ten achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think". Please give it up for the 2009 winners (hilarious, but thoughful :P)
  • Veterinary medicine - Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson (UK), for showing that cows with names give more milk than cows that are nameless
  • Peace - Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl (Switzerland) for determining whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle
  • Biology - Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu and Zhang Guanglei (Japan) for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the faeces of giant pandas
  • Public Health - Elena N Bodnar, Raphael C Lee, and Sandra Marijan (US) for inventing a bra that can be quickly converted into a pair of gas masks - one for the wearer and one to be given to a needy bystander

Read the article and other awardees here

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Stiletto Stoners: Successful Career Women Who Unwind With Pot


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/01/stiletto-stoners-successf_n_306773.html

Mother Nature's Fury

It's been a hellish week for Asia Pacific

Ketsana Philippines



"The Philippines government says 246 people are now known to have died in severe flooding caused when Tropical Storm Ketsana struck on Saturday.
The country has appealed for foreign aid to deal with the disaster, which has displaced 450,000 people and left 380,000 living in makeshift shelters.
" BBC


Ketsana Vietnam

image from CBC

"Ketsana Death Toll Rises to 41 in Vietnam
Typhoon Destroyed or Damaged Nearly 170,000 Vietnamese Homes; Forced Mass Evacuations
" CBS News


Samoa Tsunami



"A British boy aged two is feared to have been swept out to sea to his death by the tsunami that devastated Samoa.

He was on the beach with his parents when 20ft waves hit the south Pacific isle.

They were saved. So far 119 are confirmed dead in Samoa but that toll is expected to rise dramatically in the next few days..

" Mirror

The tsunami was triggered by a massive 8.3 undersea earthquake.




"The death toll in Wednesday's powerful earthquake on Indonesia's Sumatra island reached 467 on Thursday, a government official said.

A total of 467 people were confirmed dead and 421 seriously injured in Wednesday's 7.6 magnitude quake, Tugiyo Bisri of the Social Affairs Ministry's crisis center said."
(MSNBC)

Red Cross Red Crescent is taking donation.